Top German shepherd is a no-go at Westminster dog show
NEW YORK — A German shepherd that survived a brutal highway accident a few years is out of Westminster, and his show career might be over.
Fanucci was unable to walk into the ring Monday, the first day of two days of America’s most prestigious dog show.
His owners think he might have been nipped by a playful puppy recently, or perhaps he shook his ear too hard and broke a blood vessel.
The 5-year-old was considered by many the nation’s top German shepherd. But his left ear, the one closest to the judge, bubbled up and knocked him out of the competition.
Fanucci’s right rear leg was shattered in 2014 when he jumped out of a van that was being towed. He was injured so badly his owners considered euthanizing him.
Trump’s $4.4 trillion budget moves deficit sharply higher
WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump unveiled a $4.4 trillion budget for next year that heralds an era of $1 trillion-plus federal deficits and — unlike the plan he released last year — never comes close to promising a balanced ledger even after 10 years.
The budget submitted Monday shows the growing deficits despite major cuts for domestic programs, largely because of last year’s tax overhaul, which is projected to cause federal tax revenue to drop. This budget does not yet reflect last week’s two-year bipartisan $300 billion pact that wholly rejects Trump’s plans to slash domestic agencies.
The president’s budget proposes dramatic cuts to a wide range of domestic agencies from the Departments of Labor and Interior to the Environmental Protection Agency and the National Science Foundation. Unlike last year’s submission, the 2019 Trump plan would cut Medicare by $554 billion over the next 10 years, a 6 percent reduction from projected spending, including cuts in Medicare payments going to hospitals and rehabilitation centers.
Presidential budgets are often declared dead-on-arrival in Congress where lawmakers have their own ideas about spending priorities. But the documents do represent the most detailed elaboration of an administration’s priorities.
Tax revenue would plummet by $3.7 trillion over the 2018-27 decade relative to last year’s “baseline” estimates, the budget projects. Trump is requesting a record $686 billion for the Pentagon, a 13 percent increase from the 2017 budget enacted last May.
Olympic swimmer who alleges abuse: Ex-coach ‘stole so much’
NEW YORK — Olympic swimmer Ariana Kukors said in an emotional interview Monday that her former coach “stole so much” from her in the decade she alleges he sexually abused her starting when she was a minor.
Kukors, 28, told The Associated Press that she can’t get the time back but she can speak out so others recognize the signs of people grooming others for abuse or similar misconduct.
“If I save one person who’s currently being groomed. If I have a dialogue with one parent about something that they think is alarming with their child and their coach. If I could do that, this is worth it — as painful as it is,” Kukors said through tears in New York.
Kukors alleges Sean Hutchison, who began coaching her at a swim club near Seattle, groomed her for sexual abuse when she was 13 and started it when she was 16. The Seattle-area native also told authorities that he took thousands of sexually explicit photos of her as a minor.
Hutchison, 46, a former Olympic assistant coach, has denied the allegations and has not been charged with a crime. Federal and local investigators searched his Seattle apartment last week for computers and other devices.
At the #metoo Olympics, organizers confront sexual abuse
PYEONGCHANG, South Korea — A Catholic nun waits eight hours each day at a folding table, ready for a call but praying nothing has happened to cause the phone to ring.
Her office, the “Gender Equality Support Centre,” a tiny trailer tucked between a bathroom and a police post under the ski lift at the Phoenix Snow Park, is a nondescript acknowledgment of the revolution in women’s rights that, outside the Olympic gates, is thundering through the world.
Sungsook Kim — who goes by her religious name, Sister Droste — speaks little English. But to describe her mission, she says the name of the American movement: “me too.”
The Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang arrives amid the reckoning that has brought down celebrities, politicians and the entire board of U.S.A Gymnastics. NBC star Matt Lauer was fired for sexual misconduct, and his accuser said the harassment began at the last Winter Olympics, in Sochi.
During the Summer Games in Rio, two athletes were accused of assaulting housekeepers. A horrified world recently watched dozens of women and girls, some of them Olympians, describe in detail how Larry Nassar, the gymnastics doctor, had sexually abused them for decades as layers of elite athletic organizations failed to stop it.
AP Analysis: Trump’s economic policy rooted in debt
WASHINGTON — One clear principle runs through President Donald Trump’s emerging economic policy: Debt is good.
When defending a tax plan or laying out his budget, the man who once called himself “the king of debt” is trying to persuade Americans there’s no price to pay for running trillion dollar budget deficits over the next few years. Stronger economic growth will permanently follow the borrowing spree, officials argue, even as many economists and investors already warn about what could happen when the debt becomes due.
The White House budget plan released Monday is the latest example of the Trump principle. The budget proposal not only envisions soaring deficits through 2020, but it also outlines an infrastructure plan that would encourage state and local government to borrow heavily. The result, the plan suggests, would be exceptional growth that would then cause deficits to fall. The proposal assumes economic growth will climb above 3 percent and eventually settle into a solid 2.8 percent groove.
The plan amounts to a gamble that nothing can slow a high-flying U.S. economy and force a reckoning over the debt. Not higher interest rates. Not rising inflation. Not a foreign crisis. Not an aging U.S. population. Not even — based on the budget plan’s own estimates — an increase in the unemployment rate. Should the economy stumble, the risk is that the gravitational pull of the debt would worsen as the government would likely borrow more to stop a downturn.
“They’re assuming that the expansion lasts forever, basically,” said Jim O’Sullivan, chief U.S. economist at High Frequency Economics. “You have to ask what will ultimately happen when we do go into a recession.”
Obama jokes he failed to get artist to give him smaller ears
WASHINGTON — When Barack Obama speaks, people listen. At least they did when he was in the White House. But that kind of authority didn’t hold much sway when it came time for his presidential portrait.
At a ceremony Monday to unveil portraits of him and former first lady Michelle Obama, the former president said artist Kehinde Wiley cheerfully ignored almost all of his suggestions.
“He listened very thoughtfully to what I had to say before doing exactly what he always intended to do,” he said. “I tried to negotiate less gray hair, but Kehinde’s artistic integrity would not allow it. I tried to negotiate smaller ears and struck out on that as well.”
The final product depicts Obama sitting in a straight-backed chair, leaning forward and looking serious while surrounded by greenery and flowers. Michelle Obama’s portrait, painted by Amy Sherald, shows her in a black and white dress looking thoughtful with her hand on her chin.
Both artists were personally chosen by the Obamas.
Vanessa Trump taken to hospital after white powder scare
NEW YORK — Donald Trump Jr.’s wife was taken to a New York City hospital on Monday as a precaution after she opened an envelope addressed to her husband that contained an unidentified white powder, though police later said the substance wasn’t dangerous, authorities said.
The frightening episode happened after 10 a.m. when Trump, 40, opened the letter addressed to the president’s son at her mother’s midtown Manhattan apartment, investigators said. She called 911 and said she was coughing and felt nauseous, police said.
“Thankful that Vanessa & my children are safe and unharmed after the incredibly scary situation that occurred this morning,” Donald Trump Jr. wrote on Twitter. “Truly disgusting that certain individuals choose to express their opposing views with such disturbing behavior.”
The New York Fire Department said it treated three patients who were then taken to a hospital for evaluation.
Police said the envelope contained a letter but provided no other details.
Workers comb snowy field for clues to Russian plane crash
MOSCOW — Wading through knee-deep snow, hundreds of emergency workers searched a vast field near Moscow on Monday for remains of the 71 victims from the crash of a Russian airliner, and aviation experts began deciphering the jet’s two flight recorders.
Investigators quickly ruled out a terrorist attack in Sunday’s crash of the An-148 regional jet bound for Orsk in the southern Urals. The air disaster has reignited questions, however, about the twin-engine plane that was developed jointly by Russia and Ukraine but phased out of production amid the political crisis between the neighbors.
The model has a spotty safety record, with one previous crash and a string of major incidents in which pilots struggled to land safely. The carrier, Saratov Airlines, has grounded several other An-148s in its fleet pending the crash investigation.
The plane crashed several minutes after taking off from Moscow’s Domodedovo airport, and all 65 passengers and the crew of six were killed when the aircraft hit the ground and exploded in a giant fireball.
The Investigative Committee, Russia’s top agency for looking into such disasters, said that before the crash, the plane was intact and there had been no fire on board. Officials would not speculate on possible causes.