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AP News in Brief 11-02-17

Updated: 
November 2, 2017 - 12:05am

California family missing in Brazilian jungle found safe

SAO PAULO — A California couple and their two daughters who had been missing since Sunday when pirates attacked their boat in the Amazon River delta area have been found alive.

Except for insect bites and scratches, Adam and Emily Harteau and their 3- and 7-year-old daughters were in good condition and will spend the night in a hospital in the small city of Breves, not far from where they were found, law enforcement officials in Brazil’s northern jungle state of Para said Wednesday.

The Harteaus were headed to Breves when gunmen boarded the boat they were on and forced it to go the city of Porto dos Dias, said Sergio Chene, a spokesman for Para’s Public Safety Department.

There crew and passengers were held hostage for several hours and stripped of their personal belongings before the pirates fled, Chene said. When police arrived there was no sign of the Harteaus.

Police found the van the family had been using in their journey abandoned in the jungle.

Trump demands ‘much tougher’ immigration law after NY attack

WASHINGTON — Roused by the first major ISIS-inspired attack on U.S. soil since he took office, President Donald Trump urged swift repeal of an immigration program that brought the suspect to America and laid into a political foe he said was responsible for it — though Republican George H. W. Bush signed the law.

Trump insisted Wednesday that Congress must end the visa lottery program under which Uzbek immigrant Sayfullo Saipov entered the country, and he ordered still tighter scrutiny of immigrants already subject to what he calls “extreme vetting.” But the White House offered no indication of what new steps the president might be planning.

CIA releases 470,000 more files from bin Laden raid

WASHINGTON — Never-before-seen video of Osama bin Laden’s son and potential successor was released Wednesday by the CIA in a trove of material recovered during the May 2011 raid that killed the al-Qaida leader at his compound in Pakistan.

The video offers the first public look at Hamza bin Laden as an adult. Until now, the public has only seen childhood pictures of him.

In recent years, al-Qaida has released audio messages from Hamza bin Laden. And to mark a recent anniversary of 9/11, al-Qaida superimposed a childhood photo of him over a photo of the World Trade Center. He is expected to rise to prominence in the jihadist movement and is being closely watched as the rival Islamic State organization suffers setbacks in the Middle East.

From wire sources

One hourlong video shows Hamza bin Laden, sporting a trimmed mustache but no beard, at his wedding. He is sitting on a carpet with other men. A man chanting Koranic verses can be heard in the background. Sporting a traditional white headdress, he verbally accepts his marriage to his bride “on the book of God and the example of the prophet. Peace be upon him.”

“Takbeer!” the others shout, marking his marriage with a kind of religious hooray.

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Newly disclosed Facebook ads show Russia’s cyber intrusion

WASHINGTON (AP) — A trove of Facebook ads made public Wednesday by Congress depicts Russia’s extraordinary cyber intrusion into American life in 2016 aimed at upending the nation’s democratic debate and fomenting discord over such disparate issues as immigration, gun control and politics.

The ads, seen by vast numbers of people, encouraged street demonstrations against Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton and fostered support and opposition to Bernie Sanders, Muslims, gays, blacks and the icons of the Civil Rights movement.

The few dozen ads, a small sampling of the roughly 3,000 Russia-connected ones that Facebook has identified and turned over to Congress, were released amid two consecutive days of tough and sometimes caustic questioning by House and Senate lawmakers about why social media giants hadn’t done more to combat Russian interference on their sites.

The ads underscore how foreign agents sought to sow confusion, anger and discord among Americans through messages on hot-button topics. U.S. intelligence services say the Russian use of social media was part of a broad effort to sway the 2016 presidential election in favor of Trump. Special counsel Robert Mueller is investigating whether the Kremlin worked with the Trump campaign to influence voters.

Many of the ads show careful targeting, with messages geared toward particular audiences. One ad, aimed at those with an interest in civil rights and their leaders, highlights a man who claims to be Bill Clinton’s illegitimate son. Another video parodying Trump was targeted at blacks who also are interested in BlackNews.com, HuffPost Politics or HuffPost Black Voices.

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Hollywood sex accusations now levied at Ratner, Hoffman

NEW YORK (AP) — Hollywood’s widening sexual harassment crisis has ensnared a prominent film director after six women — including actress Olivia Munn — accused Brett Ratner of sexual misconduct in a Los Angeles Times report on Wednesday.

Playboy Enterprises quickly distanced itself from Ratner as his attorney denied the allegations. Late Wednesday, Ratner announced he would step away from work with Warner Bros. for an unspecified amount of time.

The reverberations also reached back 32 years as Oscar-winner Dustin Hoffman came forward to apologize for allegedly sexually harassing a 17-year-old intern in 1985.

Writer Anna Graham Hunter alleged in a Wednesday column in The Hollywood Reporter that the now 80-year-old actor groped her on the set of TV movie “Death of a Salesman” and “talked about sex to me and in front of me.”

Hoffman issued a statement Wednesday, apologizing for “anything I might have done could have put her in an uncomfortable situation. I am sorry. It is not reflective of who I am.”

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House GOP’s evolving tax bill leaves retirement plan intact

WASHINGTON (AP) — House Republicans would leave intact current tax rules on retirement accounts popular with middle class Americans and maintain a top income tax rate for million-dollar earners as negotiators scrambled to finalize the first major overhaul in three decades.

The legislation is a long-standing goal for Capitol Hill Republicans who see a once-in-a-generation opportunity to clean up an inefficient, loophole-cluttered tax code. But there is lingering opposition from northeastern Republicans fearful of losing a cherished deduction for state and local taxes and anxiety among other rank-and-file lawmakers over emerging details.

Senior GOP lawmakers confirmed the decision to retain existing rules on 401(k) accounts, which came after assurances from President Donald Trump that they would not be changed. Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady, R-Texas, had hoped to reduce 401(k) contribution limits, in part to generate new tax revenues in the near term to finance the cuts to income tax rates.

Another lawmaker cautioned that the decision might still change. The lawmakers required anonymity because the tax panel is trying to keep its deliberations secret until the tax measure is released Thursday.

Brady said the panel hoped to meet Trump’s goal of a cut in the top corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 20 percent but allowed that the change would not be permanent because of arcane Senate rules. Republicans and Trump argue sharply cutting tax rates for businesses improves U.S. economic competitiveness.

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