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Outbreak casts pall over China new year as deaths surpass 40

BEIJING (AP) — China's most festive holiday has begun in the shadow of a worrying new virus as the death toll surpassed 40, an unprecedented lockdown kept 36 million people from traveling and authorities canceled a host of Lunar New Year events. The National Health Commission reported a jump in the number of people infected with the virus to 1,287 with 41 deaths. Australia announced its first case Saturday, a Chinese man in his 50s who last week returned from China. Malaysia confirmed three cases. France says three people had fallen ill with the virus — the disease's first appearance in Europe. And the United States reported its second case, involving a Chicago woman in her 60s who was hospitalized in isolation after returning from China.


Dems say oust Trump or he'll betray again; 'He is who he is'

WASHINGTON (AP) — Democratic prosecutors are warning as they close out their case in President Donald Trump's impeachment trial that he will persist in abusing his power unless Congress intervenes to remove him from office. Rep. Adam Schiff has wrapped up the presentation by urging Republican senators to “Give America a fair trial” by allowing new testimony before rendering a final verdict. The arguments appear to have done nothing to shake Republicans’ support for Trump or persuade enough centrist GOP lawmakers to call for new witnesses, including former national security adviser John Bolton. The president's legal team is preparing its defense, expected to start Saturday.


House is given tape of Trump calling for ambassador's ouster

NEW YORK (AP) — An associate of Rudy Giuliani has provided congressional investigators with a recording of President Donald Trump saying he wanted to get rid of the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine. Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch’s ouster a year later emerged as an issue in Trump's impeachment. ABC News reported on the recording Friday and said Trump was talking with a small group that included Lev Parnas, an associate of Giuliani. Parnas' lawyer tells The Associated Press he turned over the recording to the House Intelligence Committee. The recording appears to contradict the president's statements that he did not know Parnas, a key figure in the investigation.


AP Exclusive: Feds plan to move Epstein warden to prison job

WASHINGTON (AP) — The federal Bureau of Prisons plans to transfer the warden in charge of the jail where Jeffrey Epstein took his own life to another correctional facility, despite an ongoing investigation into the financier’s death. That’s according to two people familiar with the matter who spoke Friday to The Associated Press. The people said the bureau is planning to move Lamine N’Diaye to a leadership role at FCI Fort Dix, a low-security prison in New Jersey. It comes months after Attorney General William Barr ordered N’Diaye be reassigned to a desk post in Pennsylvania. Epstein killed himself in August while awaiting trial on charges he sexually abused girls.


Actress Rosie Perez says she was told of Weinstein rape

NEW YORK (AP) — "Do the Right Thing" actress Rosie Perez says fellow screen star Annabella Sciorra told her in the mid-1990s that Harvey Weinstein had raped her but that she couldn't go the police because he would “destroy” her. The judge at Weinstein's rape trial decided Friday to let Perez take the stand, over objections from the former Hollywood mogul's lawyers. Sciorra testified on Thursday that Weinstein attacked her and that Perez was one of a few people she told back then. Weinstein denies ever having nonconsensual sex.


NFL’s Saints fight to shield emails in Catholic abuse crisis

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The New Orleans Saints are going to court to keep the public from seeing hundreds of emails that allegedly show team executives doing public relations damage control for the area's Roman Catholic archdiocese to help it contain the fallout from a burgeoning sexual abuse crisis. Attorneys for several men suing the church say 276 documents they obtained through discovery show the NFL team aided the Archdiocese of New Orleans in its “pattern and practice of concealing its crimes.” Saints attorneys dispute any suggestion the team helped cover up crimes and say the documents were intended to be private.


Trump, a late convert to cause, attends anti-abortion rally

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump vowed to stand with anti-abortion activists Friday as he became the first sitting president to speak at the March for Life. Trump called it his “profound honor" to appear at the event, which is one of the movement's highest profile and most symbolic events. He told a crowd of thousands that, “Unborn children have never had a stronger defender in the White House.” He also used his speech to attack Democrats as embracing “radical and extreme positions." Trump once described himself as "pro-choice in every respect." But on Friday, he was hailed by speakers and on signs as “the most pro-life" president in American history.


85,000 museum artifacts feared lost in NYC Chinatown fire

NEW YORK (AP) — A museum official says some 85,000 artifacts that tell the story of the Chinese migration to the United States may have been lost in a fire in Manhattan's Chinatown. The fire started Thursday night and tore through a building that housed most of the collection of the Museum of Chinese in America. The museum president tells The New York Times that most of the thousands of historic and artistic items in its collection were probably lost. A Fire Department spokesman says the fire is still not under control Friday night, 24 hours after it was first reported.


GOP shows little desire for witnesses ahead of critical vote

WASHINGTON (AP) — Republicans in the Senate appear unmoved by the Democratic push for witnesses in President Donald Trump's impeachment trial. Democrats have darkly warned that they will live to regret not delving deeper into the evidence of Trump's dealings with Ukraine. One of the managers, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, even told them it was “treacherous” to vote against gathering more evidence. Still it appears the Democrats are no closer to persuading the necessary four Republicans to break with their party in a critical vote expected next week. Without bipartisan support, a motion to call witnesses is certain to fail.


Virginia House advances gun control measures

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Democrats in the Virginia House are advancing a package of gun-control measures less than a week after tens of thousands of pro-gun advocates from around the country rallied at the state Capitol. But the bills did not include a proposed assault weapon ban, a top priority for Gov. Ralph Northam and one that's drawn fierce resistance from gun-rights advocates. A Democratic-led House committee voted Friday for several pieces of gun legislation that a Republican majority has blocked for years. Those bills include limiting handgun purchases to once a month and universal background checks on gun purchases.

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