AP News in Brief 03-16-18

Footbridge collapses onto busy highway, crushes 8 vehicles

MIAMI — A pedestrian bridge that was under construction collapsed onto a busy Miami highway Thursday, crushing at least eight vehicles under massive slabs of concrete and steel and killing multiple people, authorities said.

ADVERTISING


Search-and-rescue crews drilled holes into the debris and used dogs to look for survivors. They had to work carefully because part of the structure was still unsafe. At least 10 people were taken to hospitals. The number of fatalities was not immediately known.

The 950-ton bridge had been assembled by the side of the highway and moved into place Saturday to great fanfare. The span stretched almost 200 feet to connect Florida International University with the city of Sweetwater. It was expected to open to foot traffic next year.

“We have a national tragedy on our hands,” Sweetwater Mayor Orlando Lopez said.

Jacob Miller, a senior at FIU, was visiting a friend in a dorm when he heard sirens and horns honking. He went to a balcony and could see rubble coming down.

Trump owns up to making things up

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump has owned up to making things up.

For a meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Trump was by his own admission unprepared — deficient in the fundamentals of the Canada-U.S. trade relationship that he’d been railing about since the campaign.

He insisted to Trudeau that the U.S. was running a trade deficit with Canada, a statement contradicted by U.S. government statistics. He was winging it, he confided to donors at a private Missouri political fundraiser Wednesday night.

“I didn’t even know,” he said. “I had no idea.”

Trump wildlife protection board stuffed with trophy hunters

WASHINGTON — A new U.S. advisory board created to help rewrite federal rules for importing the heads and hides of African elephants, lions and rhinos is stacked with trophy hunters, including some members with direct ties to President Donald Trump and his family.

A review by The Associated Press of the backgrounds and social media posts of the 16 board members appointed by Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke indicates they will agree with his position that the best way to protect critically threatened or endangered species is by encouraging wealthy Americans to shoot some of them.

One appointee co-owns a private New York hunting preserve with Trump’s adult sons. The oldest son, Donald Trump Jr., drew the ire of animal rights activists after a 2011 photo emerged of him holding a bloody knife and the severed tail of an elephant he killed in Zimbabwe.

Trump has decried big-game hunting as a “horror show” in tweets. But under Zinke, a former Montana congressman who is an avid hunter, the Fish and Wildlife Service has quietly moved to reverse Obama-era restrictions on bringing trophies from African lions and elephants into the United States.

Thousands flee from violence in exodus from Syrian towns

BEIRUT — Tens of thousands of terrified men, women and children streamed out on foot and in pick-up trucks Thursday from besieged enclaves on two fronts, fleeing bombings from the Syrian military near the capital, Damascus, and Turkish troops in the country’s north.

It was the largest single-day exodus of civilians from fighting in Syria’s civil war and a reminder of how the conflict that sparked the world’s worst humanitarian catastrophe continues to hit new lows as it enters its eighth year.

The flight of an estimated 42,000 civilians came as Syrian government troops, backed by Russian aircraft, and Turkish forces — pushed their way into civilian centers, in strategic military advances that could turn the page on some of the most volatile flashpoints of the conflict.

ADVERTISING


Near the capital, Damascus, the Syrian government is chipping away at one of the largest and most significant opposition bastions since the early days of the rebellion — communities where some 400,000 people are estimated to be holed up.

Since mid-February, Syrian troops have targeted the capital’s sprawling eastern Ghouta region with shells, airstrikes and, at times, even toxic gas, according to opposition medics. They are now in control of the majority of the enclave that had been in rebel hands since 2012.