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Giuliani associate names Trump, Pence, more in Ukraine plan

WASHINGTON (AP) — A close associate of President Donald Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani is claiming Trump was directly involved in the effort to pressure Ukraine to investigate Democratic rival Joe Biden. Lev Parnas' account undercuts a key Republican defense of Trump during the impeachment investigation — that Trump's withholding of vital military aid to Ukraine wasn't a quid pro quo for Biden investigations. Parnas' potentially explosive claims, made in an extended interview with MSNBC's Rachel Maddow, also involve Vice President Mike Pence, Attorney General William Barr, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and former Energy Secretary Rick Perry. All have denied wrongdoing.


5.3 earthquake shakes southern Mexico, causes some damage

MEXICO CITY (AP) — A 5.3 magnitude earthquake has shaken southern Mexico, causing some damage in part of the southern state of Oaxaca. The U.S. Geological Survey says the temblor occurred at 8:07 p.m. Thursday and was centered 3.6 miles (5.9 km) southwest of Santiago Ixtaltepec in Oaxaca. It struck at a depth of 16 miles (27 km). The Oaxaca state civil defense agency says there was damage in the isthmus region, but has not offered any specifics.


DHS seeks Pentagon funds for 270 miles of border wall

WASHINGTON (AP) — Defense officials say the Department of Homeland Security has asked the Pentagon to fund the construction of 270 miles of border wall this year as part of a counter-drug effort. The officials say the request came in Wednesday, and the Pentagon is beginning what will be a two-week assessment to determine what will be approved. The officials would not provide any cost estimates.


Guatemala sweeps up migrant group, returns them to border

EL CINCHADO, Guatemala (AP) — Police in Guatemala accompanied by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents have swept up most of a group of some 300 migrants and bused them back to Honduras. The action effectively dashes their plans to travel together in a “caravan” toward the U.S. Adults, teens and young children were in the group. They had walked about six hours before stopping to rest. At that point they were asked for entry documents they didn't have and told they could not continue. Police said they had no choice. Guatemala's tactics mirrored those employed last year by Mexico to discourage and disrupt caravans following intense pressure from Washington.


Truck slams into Illinois Starbucks; 4 sent to hospitals

McHENRY, Ill. (AP) — Police say a pickup truck has slammed into an Illinois Starbucks, injuring five people and causing massive damage to the coffee shop. Patrick Polidori, public affairs officer for McHenry police, told The Associated Press that the driver and four people at the cafe were injured. Four were taken to the hospital, including one in critical condition. Polidori said it wasn't known why the full-sized pickup ran off the roadway in McHenry, about 50 miles northwest of Chicago, and collided with the building after striking a vehicle at the drive-thru window.


Panama: 7 killed, 14 tortured in exorcism terror rituals

PANAMA CITY (AP) — Prosecutors in Panama say seven people were killed in a bizarre religious ritual in a jungle community where indigenous residents were rounded up by about 10 lay preachers and tortured, beaten, burned and hacked with machetes to make them "repent their sins.” Police freed 14 members of the Ngabé Buglé indigenous group who had been tied up and beaten with wooden cudgels and Bibles. Authorities said Thursday that police also found the corpses of six children and one adult in a clandestine burial pit. Ten members of an evangelical sect known as “The New Light of God” were arrrested.


Trump's trial begins, senators vowing 'impartial justice'

WASHINGTON (AP) — The impeachment trial of President Donald Trump has opened in the Senate. All the senators stood Thursday and swore an oath of “impartial justice” as jurors for the historic proceeding. Chief Justice John Roberts presided in his black Supreme Court robe. Meanwhile, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said new evidence reinforces the need for senators to call additional witnesses. Trump derided the proceedings anew as a “hoax.” Pelosi warned senators not to become “all the president's henchmen.” The full trial will begin next week.


FBI arrests 3 alleged white supremacists ahead of gun rally

GREENBELT, Md. (AP) — FBI agents have arrested a former Canadian Armed Forces reservist and two other men who authorities say are linked to a violent white supremacist group. The men were believed to be heading to a pro-gun rally next week in Virginia’s capital. A Justice Department news release says the three men are members of The Base. They were arrested Thursday on federal charges in a criminal complaint unsealed in Maryland. A law enforcement official says the men were believed to be planning to attend a pro-gun rally planned for Monday in Richmond. The official spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity to discuss an active investigation.


Organizers appeal ban on arms at upcoming Virginia gun rally

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — A gun-rights group has filed an emergency appeal of a judge's ruling upholding a ban on firearms at a rally expected to draw thousands of gun activists to Virginia next week. The Virginia Citizens Defense League and Gun Owners of America filed a lawsuit Thursday seeking an injunction against the ban, which Gov. Ralph Northam imposed for a planned rally Monday near the Virginia Capitol. A judge ruled within hours that the governor has the authority to take action related to "safety and welfare" in Virginia. But Late Thursday, the gun-rights groups asked the Supreme Court of Virginia to issue an order prohibiting enforcement of the ban.


Giants make Alyssa Nakken first female major league coach

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Alyssa Nakken has become the first female coach on a major league staff in baseball history after being named an assistant under new Giants manager Gabe Kapler. Major League Baseball confirmed Nakken is the first woman coach in the majors. She is a former softball standout at first base for Sacramento State and joined the Giants organization in 2014 as an intern in baseball operations. San Francisco also signed left-hander Drew Smyly to a one-year contract and completed Kapler's coaching staff by naming Mark Hallberg as another assistant.

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