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AP News in Brief 10-29-17

Updated: 
October 29, 2017 - 12:05am

Egypt triggers major security shakeup a week after ambush

CAIRO — Egypt launched a major shakeup of its security services on Saturday in an apparent reaction to an ambush by militants outside Cairo last week that killed at least 16 police troopers.

President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi replaced his armed forces chief of staff, while the Interior Ministry, in charge of police, dismissed the head of national security, a handful of generals, and a dozen senior leaders responsible for the area where the deadly shootout occurred.

DeVos may only partly forgive some student loans

WASHINGTON — The Education Department is considering only partially forgiving federal loans for students defrauded by for-profit colleges, according to department officials, abandoning the Obama administration’s policy of erasing that debt.

Under President Barack Obama, tens of thousands of students deceived by now-defunct for-profit schools had over $550 million in such loans canceled.

But President Donald Trump’s education secretary, Betsy DeVos, is working on a plan that could grant such students just partial relief, according to department officials. The department may look at the average earnings of students in similar programs and schools to determine how much debt to wipe away.

From wire sources

The officials were not authorized to publicly comment on the issue and spoke on condition of anonymity.

If DeVos goes ahead, the change could leave many students scrambling after expecting full loan forgiveness, based on the previous administration’s track record. It was not immediately clear how many students might be affected.

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Power of anti-Trump resistance in question in Virginia race

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Virginia’s gubernatorial election stands as a test for the anti-Donald Trump resistance, and whether it can energize voters and donors for the less glamorous races featuring traditional Democratic politicians.

The Nov. 7 contest pits Democratic Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam, a physician, Army veteran and former state senator, against Ed Gillespie, onetime aide to President George W. Bush and former head of the Republican Party. The current governor, Democrat Terry McAuliffe, is term-limited.

The stakes in Virginia are immense: Though Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton won the state by five percentage points in 2016, Republicans typically are more likely to turn out in off-year statewide elections. Northam has led in most polls, but the race is close. A loss would be devastating after Democrats failed to capture any GOP-held seats in contested special congressional elections earlier this year that galvanized anti-Trump activists.

The next Virginia governor also will have a major say in the state’s next congressional redistricting. A Republican wave in statehouse elections around the country in 2010 — just prior to the last redistricting — has helped the GOP maintain a firm grip on the House.

Former President Barack Obama highlighted the importance of the Virginia race last week at his first large political rally since leaving office, urging Democrats not to get “a little sleepy” in the off-year election.

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Pentagon chief says North Korea engages in ‘outlaw’ behavior

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — The threat of nuclear missile attack by North Korea is accelerating, U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said Saturday, accusing the North of illegal and unnecessary missile and nuclear programs and pledging to repel any strike.

In remarks in Seoul with South Korean Defense Minister Song Young-moo at his side, Mattis said North Korea engages in “outlaw” behavior and that the U.S. will never accept a nuclear North.

The Pentagon chief added that regardless of what the North might try, it is overmatched by the firepower and cohesiveness of the decades-old U.S.-South Korean alliance.

“North Korea has accelerated the threat that it poses to its neighbors and the world through its illegal and unnecessary missile and nuclear weapons programs,” he said, adding that U.S.-South Korean military and diplomatic collaboration thus has taken on “a new urgency.”

“I cannot imagine a condition under which the United States would accept North Korea as a nuclear power,” Mattis said.

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Ousted Catalan leader vows peaceful resistance to Spain

BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Catalonia’s ousted leader called for peaceful opposition to Spain’s decision to take direct control of the region, saying Saturday that he and other regional officials fired by the central government will keep “working to build a free country.”

Carles Puigdemont’s comments, made in a recorded televised address that was broadcast as he sat in a cafe in his hometown of Girona, were a veiled refusal to accept his Cabinet’s dismissal as ordered by central authorities.

They came a day after one of the most tumultuous days in Spain’s recent history, when Catalan lawmakers in Barcelona passed a declaration of independence Friday for the prosperous northeastern region, and the national parliament in Madrid approved unprecedented constitutional measures to halt the secessionist drive.

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy also dissolved the regional parliament and called a new regional election to be held on Dec. 21.

In his televised statement, Puigdemont said only the regional parliament can elect or dismiss the Catalan government, vowing to “continue working to build a free country.”

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Opioid epidemic shares chilling similarities with the past

NEW YORK (AP) — While declaring the opioid crisis a national public health emergency Thursday, President Donald Trump said: “Nobody has seen anything like what’s going on now.”

He was right, and he was wrong.

Yes, this is the most widespread and deadly drug crisis in the nation’s history. But there has been a long string of other such epidemics, each sharing chilling similarities with today’s unfolding tragedy.

There was an outbreak after the Civil War when soldiers and others became addicted to a new pharmaceutical called morphine, one of the first of many man-made opioids. There was another in the early 1900s after a different drug was developed to help “cure” morphine addiction. It was called heroin.

Cocaine was also developed by drugmakers and sold to help morphine addiction. It cleared nasal passages, too, and became the official remedy of the Hay Fever Association. In 1910, President William H. Taft told Congress that cocaine was the most serious drug problem the nation had ever faced.

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Astros, Dodgers keep same batting orders for Series’ Game 4

HOUSTON (AP) — The Los Angeles Dodgers and Houston Astros are staying with the same batting orders for Game 4 of the World Series.

Center fielder Chris Taylor leads off Saturday night for the Dodgers, followed by shortstop Corey Seager, third baseman Justin Turner, first baseman Cody Bellinger, right fielder Yasiel Puig, second baseman Logan Forsythe, catcher Austin Barnes, designated hitter Joc Pederson and left fielder Enrique Hernandez. Left-hander Alex Wood pitches.

Center fielder George Springer tops the Astros’ order, followed by third baseman Alex Bregman, second baseman Jose Altuve, shortstop Carlos Correa, first baseman Yuli Gurriel, right fielder Josh Reddick, designated hitter Evan Gattis, left fielder Marwin Gonzalez and catcher Brian McCann. Right-hander Charlie Morton is on the mound.

Los Angeles won the opener 3-1, Houston rallied to win Game 2 7-6 in 11 innings and the Astros won Game 3 by a 5-3 score for a 2-1 Series lead.

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Comeback! No. 6 Ohio State rallies to beat No. 2 Penn State

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Ohio State coach Urban Meyer called it the best he has ever seen a quarterback play.

J.T. Barrett capped the greatest game of his decorated career with a 16-yard touchdown pass to Marcus Baugh with 1:48 left in the fourth quarter and No. 6 Ohio State rallied from 11 down in the final five minutes to hand No. 2 Penn State its first loss, 39-38 on Saturday.

Barrett was near flawless, going 33 for 39 for 328 yards and four touchdown passes, three in the fourth quarter after the Buckeyes (7-1, 5-0 Big Ten) were down 35-20.

“I’ve never had a kid play perfect, but damn he was close tonight,” Meyer said.

Penn State led 38-27 with 5:42 left and it looked as if the Nittany Lions (7-1, 4-1) were going to knock the Buckeyes out of the College Football Playoff race and put a firm grip on the Big Ten East. Saquon Barkley scored two long touchdowns for Penn State, but it was Barrett who surged into the Heisman Trophy race in what was billed as the Big Ten game of the year and lived up to the hype.

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