AP News in Brief 11-26-18

US agents fire tear gas as some migrants try to breach fence

TIJUANA, Mexico — U.S. border agents fired tear gas on hundreds of migrants protesting near the border with Mexico on Sunday after some of them attempted to get through the fencing and wire separating the two countries, and American authorities shut down border crossings from the city where thousands are waiting to apply for asylum.

ADVERTISING


The situation devolved after the group began a peaceful march to appeal for the U.S. to speed processing of asylum claims for Central American migrants marooned in Tijuana.

Mexican police had kept them from walking over a bridge leading to the Mexican port of entry, but the migrants pushed past officers to walk across the Tijuana River below the bridge. More police carrying plastic riot shields were on the other side, but migrants walked along the river to an area where only an earthen levee and concertina wire separated them from U.S. Border Patrol agents.

Some saw an opportunity to breach the crossing.

An Associated Press reporter saw U.S. agents shoot several rounds of tear gas after some migrants attempted to penetrate several points along the border. Mexico’s Milenio TV showed images of migrants climbing over fences and peeling back metal sheeting to enter.

Device treating pain draws thousands of injury reports

COLUMBIA, South Carolina — Desperate for relief after years of agony, Jim Taft listened intently as his pain management doctor described a medical device that could change his life.

It wouldn’t fix the nerve damage in his mangled right arm, Taft and his wife recalled the doctor saying, but a spinal-cord stimulator would cloak his pain, making him “good as new.”

Taft’s stimulator failed soon after it was surgically implanted. After an operation to repair it, he said, the device shocked him so many times that he couldn’t sleep and even fell down a flight of stairs. Today, the 45-year-old Taft is virtually paralyzed, a prisoner in his own bed, barely able to get to the bathroom by himself.

“I thought I would have a wonderful life,” Taft said. “But look at me.”

For years, medical device companies and doctors have touted spinal-cord stimulators as a panacea for millions of patients suffering from a wide range of pain disorders, making them one of the fastest-growing products in the $400 billion medical device industry. Companies and doctors aggressively push them as a safe antidote to the deadly opioid crisis in the U.S. and as a treatment for an aging population in need of chronic pain relief.

Ex-Trump campaign adviser loses bid to delay prison sentence

WASHINGTON — A federal judge on Sunday rejected a last-minute bid by former Trump campaign foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos to delay his two-week prison term and ordered him to surrender Monday as scheduled.

Papadopoulos sought the delay until an appeals court had ruled in a separate case challenging the constitutionality of special counsel Robert Mueller’s appointment.

But in an order Sunday, U.S. District Court Judge Randolph Moss said Papadopoulos had waited too long to contest his sentence after it was handed down in September. Moss noted that Papadopoulos had agreed not to appeal in most circumstances as part of his plea agreement and the judge said the challenge to Mueller’s appointment was unlikely to be successful in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. Four different federal judges have upheld Mueller’s appointment as proper.

“The prospect that the D.C. Circuit will reach a contrary conclusion is remote,” Moss wrote.

Tweeting in response Sunday, Papadopoulos said he looked forward to telling the full story behind his case. In recent months, he has spent many nights posting on Twitter, as has his wife, venting anger about the FBI and insisting he was framed by the government. He has also offered to testify before the Senate’s intelligence committee, which is investigating Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, if he’s granted immunity or other conditions.

Democrats shun idea of Pelosi floor fight in speaker’s race

WASHINGTON — Call it the chaos theory for picking the next House speaker.

Those Democrats trying to stop California Rep. Nancy Pelosi from reclaiming the job say they don’t need a rival candidate just yet. Instead, they plan to show that Pelosi lacks the votes to win the race. And then, they say, new challengers will emerge.

It’s strategy that has other Democrats cringing at the prospect of their new House majority in disarray. They say voters swept them to office in this month’s elections to govern, not become bogged down by the kind of Republican infighting that sent Ohio Rep. John Boehner to an early exit as speaker and weakened his successor, Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan.

The last thing they want is a floor fight over the leadership post when Congress opens work in January.

“If the first Democratic value they see is chaos, I don’t think that’s very good,” said Rep. Don Beyer, D-Va., who recently wrote an op-ed with colleagues supporting Pelosi. “I don’t think it’s a good look at all.”

Mars landing looms for NASA; anxiety building a day out

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — With just a day to go, NASA’s InSight spacecraft aimed for a bull’s-eye touchdown on Mars, zooming in like an arrow with no turning back.

InSight’s journey of six months and 300 million miles comes to a precarious grand finale Monday afternoon.

The robotic geologist — designed to explore Mars’ insides, surface to core — must go from 12,300 mph (19,800 kph) to zero in six minutes flat as it pierces the Martian atmosphere, pops out a parachute, fires its descent engines and, hopefully, lands on three legs.

It is NASA’s first attempt to land on Mars in six years, and all those involved are understandably anxious.

NASA’s top science mission official, Thomas Zurbuchen, confided Sunday that his stomach is already churning. The hardest thing is sitting on his hands and doing nothing, he said, except hoping and praying everything goes perfectly for InSight.

From wire sources

Hundreds of flights canceled as Midwest braces for snowstorm

CHICAGO — A winter storm blanketed much of the central Midwest with snow on Sunday at the end of the Thanksgiving weekend, bringing blizzard-like conditions that grounded hundreds of flights and forced the closure of major highways on one of the busiest travel days of the year.

“It’s going to be messy,” said Todd Kluber, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service who is based in suburban Chicago.

With much of the central Plains and Great Lakes region under blizzard or winter storm warnings, around 1,200 flights headed to or from the U.S. had been canceled as of 6 p.m. Sunday, according to the flight-tracking website FlightAware.

Most were supposed to be routed through Chicago or Kansas City — areas forecast to be hit hard by the storm.

Strong winds and snow created blizzard conditions across much of Nebraska and parts of Kansas, Iowa and Missouri. The National Weather Service was warning those conditions would make travel difficult in places.

___

Highly flammable gas leak closes major East Coast bridge

PENNSVILLE, N.J. — A chemical leak shut down the Delaware Memorial Bridge in both directions Sunday evening, bringing traffic on a major East Coast artery to a standstill on one of the busiest travel days of the year.

The leak stems from the Delaware chemical production facility Croda Atlas Point, located near the twin suspension bridges on a major route between Washington and New York City, Holloway Terrace Fire Company Public Information Officer George Greenley said.

The leaked chemical is ethylene oxide, a highly flammable gas that is a finished product stemming from methanol, Greenley said.

“If that flume would have had an ignition source it could have been catastrophic with the bridge traffic,” he said.

The bridge closed around 5 p.m. Sunday. Croda operators requested it be shut down, the Delaware River and Bay Authority tweeted.

___

“Thank you President T”: Trump tweets as holiday break ends

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — President Donald Trump congratulated himself for falling oil prices . He chided the Federal Reserve over interest rates . He claimed Central American countries are trying to dump “certain people” into the United States.

Trump’s Florida holiday stay was ending Sunday with a visit to his golf club for the fifth day in a row. His tweeting took no break.

The president patted himself on the back for a dip in petroleum prices, writing “thank you President T.” He also admonished the U.S. central bank over the cost of borrowing money.

In a separate tweet, he called on Mexico to stop caravans of Central American migrants from trying to reach the U.S. border.

“Would be very SMART if Mexico would stop the Caravans long before they get to our Southern Border, or if originating countries would not let them form,” he wrote, claiming, without evidence, that “it is a way they get certain people out of their country and dump in U.S. No longer.”

___

Dolce&Gabbana fiasco shows importance, risks of China market

BEIJING — Don’t mess with China and its growing cadre of powerful luxury consumers.

Dolce&Gabbana learned that lesson the hard way when it faced a boycott after Chinese expressed outrage over what were seen as culturally insensitive videos promoting a major runway show in Shanghai and subsequent posts of insulting comments in a private Instagram chat.

The company blamed hackers for the anti-Chinese insults, but the explanation felt flat to many and the damage was done. The Milan designers canceled the Shanghai runway show, meant as a tribute to China, as their guest list of Asian celebrities quickly joined the protests.

ADVERTISING


Then, as retailers pulled their merchandise from shelves and powerful e-commerce sites deleted their wares, co-founders Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana went on camera — dwarfed against the larger backdrop of an ornate red wall-covering — to apologize to the Chinese people.

“We will never forget this experience, and it will definitely never happen again,” a solemn-looking Gabbana said in a video statement posted Friday on social media.