AP News in Brief 12-02-18

  • During his meeting with Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel at the G20 summit, President Donald Trump speaks to media about the death of former President George H. W. Bush. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

  • President Donald Trump arrives and joins other heads of state for a family photo at the G20 summit, Friday in Buenos Aires, Argentina. From left in the front row are Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Brazil President Michel Temer. From left on the top row are Rwanda President Paul Kagame and Saudi Arabia’s crown prince Mohammed bin Salman. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

  • This aerial photo shows damage on Vine Road, south of Wasilla, Alaska, after earthquakes Friday. (Marc Lester/Anchorage Daily News via AP)

Strict building codes helped Anchorage withstand quake

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — The magnitude 7.0 earthquake that rattled Alaska’s largest city cracked roads and collapsed highway ramps, but there were no reports of widespread catastrophic damage or collapsed buildings.

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There’s a good reason for that.

A devastating 1964 Alaska earthquake — the most powerful on record in the United States — led to stricter building codes that helped structures withstand the shifting earth Friday.

“Congratulations to the people of Alaska for being really prepared for this earthquake,” U.S. Geological Survey Geophysicist Paul Caruso said Saturday. “Because a magnitude 7.0 in a city like that, you know, it could have been significantly worse.”

A seismic expert said Alaska and California use the most stringent standards to help buildings withstand earthquakes.

Bush hailed across party and global lines as man of decency

WASHINGTON — Former President George H.W. Bush is returning to Washington as a revered political statesman, hailed by leaders across the political spectrum and around the world as a man not only of greatness but also of uncommon decency and kindness.

Bush, who died late Friday at his Houston home at age 94, is to be honored with a funeral service at National Cathedral in the nation’s capital on Wednesday, followed by burial Thursday on the grounds of his presidential library at Texas A&M. Following an arrival ceremony Monday, his body will lie in state in the Capitol Rotunda for a public viewing until Wednesday morning.

President Donald Trump, who ordered federal offices closed for a national day of mourning on Wednesday, is to attend with first lady Melania Trump and other high-ranking officials.

Bush’s crowning achievement as president was assembling the international military coalition that liberated the tiny, oil-rich nation of Kuwait from invading neighbor Iraq in 1991 in a war that lasted just 100 hours. He also presided over the end of the Cold War between the United States and the former Soviet Union.

“We didn’t agree much on domestic policy, but when it came to the international side of things, he was a very wise and thoughtful man,” former Massachusetts Gov. Michael Dukakis, a Democrat who lost the presidency to Bush in 1988, told The Associated Press on Saturday. He credited Bush’s ability to negotiate with former Soviet Premier Mikhail Gorbachev as playing a key role.

Trump sets aside political differences in honoring Bush

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina — Donald Trump, the disruptive, anti-establishment president who spent years deriding much of what George H.W. Bush stood for, set aside differences in politics and temperament Saturday to honor the iconic American and former president a day after his death.

Trump declared a day of national mourning and ordered American flags to be flown at half-staff for 30 days to honor a man of “sound judgment, common sense and unflappable leadership.” The president and first lady Melania Trump added that Bush had “inspired generations of his fellow Americans to public service.”

The quarter-century since Bush left office featured his Republican Party’s steady march away from his steely pragmatism and international partnership, culminating in the dramatic break from long-held GOP principles ushered by Trump’s election. It coincided with a swing in the nation as a whole toward more tribal politics.

While Trump spoke graciously, he has not always been so kind to Bush or his family. He ran against one of Bush’s sons, Jeb Bush, in the GOP presidential primaries in 2016, and was sharply critical of the two-term presidency of another, George W. Bush. He shattered the unwritten norms of the small fraternity of Oval Office occupants by keeping up criticism of the Bushes from the West Wing.

G-20 agrees on trade, migration, US goes own way on climate

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina — Leaders of the world’s top economies agreed Saturday to repair the global trading system as they closed a Group of 20 summit that saw the Trump administration at odds with many allies over the Paris accord on climate change and issues like migration.

The joint statement signed by all 20 member nations said 19 of them reaffirmed their commitment to the Paris climate accord, with the United States, which withdrew from the pact under President Donald Trump, the lone holdout. The official communique acknowledged flaws in global commerce and called for reforming the World Trade Organization, but it didn’t mention the word “protectionism” after negotiators said that had met resistance from the United States.

Applause broke out in the convention center hall as the leaders, including Trump, signed off on the statement at the end of the two-day summit in the Argentine capital, the first time it has been held in South America.

The non-binding agreement was reached after marathon talks by diplomats stretched overnight and into daylight, amid deep divisions between member nations. European Union officials said the United States was the main holdout on nearly every issue. Trump has criticized the WTO and taken aggressive trade policies targeting China and the EU.

But China also pushed back in talks on steel, South Africa objected to language on trade, Australia didn’t want the statement to be too soft on migration and Turkey worried it would push too far on climate change, according to the officials.

Trump’s on-off dance with complicated acquaintances

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina — Broken dates. Coy suggestions. Missed encounters. Private opportunities.

Amid weighty issues of state, another fascination at the Group of 20 summit has been President Donald Trump’s will-he, won’t-he dance with two fellow leaders who are something of international outcasts these days. Would Trump, who has an affinity for strongmen and a distaste for business as usual, stay away from Russian President Vladimir Putin and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman?

On Day One of the summit in Argentina — fittingly, the land of the tango — the diplomatic quick-stepping was everywhere Friday.

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Trump has not been shy in his praise of the crown prince and Putin in the past. But Prince Mohammed has been under global pressure lately over the murder of a Saudi journalist, and Putin has drawn fresh criticism for his country’s mounting aggression against Ukraine.

So Trump canceled his plans to meet with Putin and left bin Salman off his public agenda. But even then, Trump said he looked forward to meeting Putin soon. And he never fully ruled out seeing bin Salman, saying Thursday, “I would have met with him but we didn’t set that one up.”