Opposition from Democratic liberals and tea-party Republicans in Congress may imperil a budget deal reached by Senate leaders to keep the government operating past midnight Thursday.
The bipartisan compromise would provide the Pentagon and domestic programs with an extra $300 billion over the next two years. That additional spending worries some deficit-minded Republicans, and some Democrats are unhappy that immigration isn’t part of the measure.
To that end, House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi staged a record eight-hour speech arguing in favor of legislation for young immigrants in the country since childhood who face deportation.
The White House backs the Senate deal. Senate leaders hope to approve the measure Thursday and send it to the House for approval. But hurdles remain to avert the second shutdown in a month.
The Latest: Death toll in Syria rebel region reaches 35
BEIRUT (AP) — Syrian rescue workers and activists say the death toll from ongoing government strikes on the opposition-held region near the capital Damascus has risen to at least 35.
The Syrian Civil Defense, known as the White Helmets, said the 35 casualties were spread throughout a number of towns in the eastern Ghouta area, which is devastated by a combination of artillery and airstrikes.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which relies on a network of activists on the ground, said it has documented at least 36 civilians killed so far, including 17 in one town, Jisreen. It said the dead includes a medic and at least 10 children.
Eastern Ghouta has an estimated 400,000 residents, who are also trapped by a tightening government siege and critical shortage of medical supplies and food. The region has been battered in an escalatory government bombing campaign. At least 169 civilians have been killed since Monday.
The Latest: Wellinger tops Stoch in ski jump qualifying
PYEONGCHANG, South Korea (AP) — Andreas Wellinger will take his strong form into the final of the men’s normal hill ski jump at the Pyeongchang Olympics.
The 22-year-old German, who already qualified because he was among the top 10-ranked jumpers on the normal hill going into the event, beat defending Olympic champion Kamil Stoch of Poland, who finished second in Thursday’s qualifying.
The normal hill final is on Saturday.
Wellinger is third in the overall World Cup standings this season and is among the gold medal favorites in Pyeongchang.
Dawid Kubacki of Poland, who also pre-qualified, finished third ahead of Richard Freitag of Germany.
Two-time Olympic champion Simon Ammann qualified 10th among those who had to jump for a spot Saturday.
Thursday’s qualifying was held to reduce the number of jumpers to 50 for the normal hill final.
North Korea stages military parade on eve of Olympics
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — North Korea has held a military parade and rally on Kim Il Sung Square a day before South Korea holds the opening ceremony for the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics.
More than 10,000 troops had trained for the parade in advance. Residents practiced in plazas around the North Korean capital with bouquets of plastic flowers to be used to spell out slogans during the parade.
A South Korean government official said tens of thousands of people participated or watched the parade Thursday morning in Pyongyang.
The official says it wasn’t immediately clear whether North Korea displayed strategic weapons such as intercontinental ballistic missiles during the parade. The official didn’t want to be named, citing office rules.
The North had said the parade would mark the 70th anniversary of its military founding.
Talmadge, the AP’s Pyongyang bureau chief, reported from Pyeongchang, South Korea.
Pentagon misconduct complaints increase; Fewer found guilty
WASHINGTON (AP) — Defense Department investigators say the number of complaints filed against senior military and defense officials has increased over the past several years, but more cases are being rejected as not credible and fewer officers are being found guilty of misconduct.
They say 803 complaints were filed in the fiscal year that ended last Sept. 30, compared to 787 the previous year. But just 144 were deemed credible and investigated by the IG, and 49 senior officials were eventually found guilty of misconduct.
Allegations against the officials often involve ethical misconduct, such as having an inappropriate relationship. They also include violating travel rules, wrongly accepting gifts, sending subordinates on personal errands or treating workers badly.
The data was released during a House Armed Services personnel subcommittee hearing.
MYANMAR-FOOD AS A WEAPON
“They want to erase us.” Hunger used to target Rohingya
NAYAPARA REFUGEE CAMP, Bangladesh (AP) — Refugees and aid groups say hunger is the latest weapon used by the Myanmar military against Rohingya Muslims.
The accounts of the military cutting off access to food could not be independently confirmed, as Myanmar’s government does not allow reporters into the northern part of Rakhine state, where most of the Rohingya lived.
However, more than a dozen interviews by The Associated Press with the most recent refugees show growing desperation, as the noose tightens around their communities in what U.N. officials have said may be a genocide.
Repeated calls to Myanmar’s military weren’t answered, but the Myanmar government denies ethnic cleansing and says it is battling terrorists. Social Welfare Minister Win Myat Aye says the government has been distributing food aid to as many people as possible.
Mars on Earth: Simulation tests in remote desert of Oman
DHOFAR DESERT, Oman (AP) — The desolate desert in southern Oman, near the borders of Yemen and Saudi Arabia, resembles Mars so much that more than 200 scientists from 25 nations have chosen it as their location for the next four weeks, to field-test technology for a manned mission to Mars.
Analog astronaut Kartik Kumar says the successful launch of SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket this week “puts us in a completely different realm of what we can put into deep space, what we can send to Mars.”
Seen from space, the Dhofar Desert is a flat, brown expanse. Few animals or plants survive its temperatures that can top 125 degrees Fahrenheit, or 51 degrees Celsius.
The Oman Mars Base is a giant 2.4-ton inflated habitat surrounded by shipping containers turned into labs and crew quarters.
George W. Bush says Russia meddled in 2016 US election
ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Former President George W. Bush says “there’s pretty clear evidence that the Russians meddled” in the 2016 U.S. president election.
Bush made the comments in a talk in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates.
Bush also said that Russian President Vladimir Putin “is zero-sum. He can’t think, ‘How can we both win?’ He only thinks, ‘How do I win, you lose?’”
Bush also said that the United States needs to reform its immigration law.
While not directly naming President Donald Trump, it appeared Bush was targeting him in his comments.
Bush in 2008 became the first sitting U.S. president to visit the UAE.
Bush spoke on Thursday at a summit in Abu Dhabi put on by the Milken Institute, an economic think tank based in California.
SUPER BOWL-EAGLES PARADE-THE LATEST
The Latest: Eagles have landed on Super Bowl parade route
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — The Eagles have landed on Broad Street: The championship parade Philadelphia has dreamed about for decades is finally underway.
Players are cruising along the 5-mile (8-kilometer) parade route atop open-air, double-decker buses. They started off near their stadium just before 11 a.m. Thursday and winding up at the art museum’s “Rocky” steps.
Many players are sporting their parade finest: Chris Long is donning a faux full-length fur coat over an Allen Iverson 76ers jersey. Jason Kelce is in full Mummers regalia, faintly resembling an Aladdin costume in a nod to Philadelphia’s raucous annual parade on New Year’s Day.
Hundreds of thousands of roaring, jubilant fans are in position to cheer their heroes along the way. Organizers are prepared for as many as 2 million people.
The Latest: Lawyer: Shooting at police criminal, not terror
BRUSSELS (AP) — A lawyer for the sole surviving suspect in the 2015 Islamic State attacks in Paris has denied any links to terrorism in the police shootout that led to his client’s capture.
Lawyer Sven Mary also says Thursday that the attempted murder case against suspect Salah Abdeslam should be thrown out because court orders were in French and not in Dutch. Abdeslam is a French-speaking native of Belgium, a linguistically divided nation.
Mary says the 2016 shootout that left three police officers injured “was a spontaneous act, not a terrorist act,” and the terrorism charges against Abdeslam and another man are invalid.
His co-defendant has denied shooting. Abdeslam refused to testify at the trial that opened Monday and declined to appear in court for the second hearing Thursday.
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