Jeff Sessions pushed out after a year of attacks from Trump
WASHINGTON — Attorney General Jeff Sessions was pushed out Wednesday after enduring more than a year of blistering and personal attacks from President Donald Trump, who inserted in his place a Republican Party loyalist with authority to oversee the remainder of the special counsel’s Russia investigation.
The move has potentially ominous implications for special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe given that the new acting attorney general, Matthew Whitaker, until now Sessions’ chief of staff, has questioned the inquiry’s scope and spoke publicly before joining the Justice Department about ways an attorney general could theoretically stymie the investigation.
Congressional Democrats, concerned about protecting Mueller, called on Whitaker to recuse himself from overseeing the investigation in its final but potentially explosive stages.
That duty has belonged to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who appointed Mueller and closely monitors his work.
The resignation, in a one-page letter to Trump, came one day after Republicans lost control of the House of Representatives and was the first of several expected post-midterms Cabinet and White House departures. Though Sessions was an early and prominent campaign backer of Trump, his departure letter lacked effusive praise for the president and made it clear the resignation came “at your request.”
In Honduras, most returnees from caravan hope to try again
SAN PEDRO SULA, Honduras — The Metropolitan Grand Central bus terminal in this city where the migrant caravan traveling through Mexico originated more than three weeks ago is a place of crossing destinies for Hondurans dreaming of seeking a better life in the United States.
Some of the dozens of people sleeping on the concrete floor or outside on the grass underneath palm trees bathed by the light of street lamps are awaiting buses to the Guatemalan border to begin the journey north. Others are arriving after failing to complete the trip and are being ferried back to the precarious lives they left behind.
Hundreds of the mostly Honduran migrants who set out with the caravan that has traversed hundreds of miles through three countries before arriving in Mexico City this week have returned home, according to the Mexican government. Some grew disillusioned. Others simply wore out. Still others were detained and returned, or gave up on waiting for possible asylum in Mexico and accepted bus rides back home.
Disembarking at the bus station in San Pedro Sula, nearly all of those returning said the same thing: Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but they intend to try again.
“I would go 30 times more if possible,” said Daniel Castaneda, an 18-year-old from the central city of Comayagua. He was detained shortly after migrants in a caravan following in the footsteps of the first one clashed with police on a bridge on the Mexican border with Guatemala late last month.
From wire sources
Red bull drawn in Indonesian cave dated to 40,000 years ago
WASHINGTON (AP) — Scientists have found the oldest known example of an animal drawing: a red silhouette of a bull-like beast on the wall of an Indonesian cave.
The sketch is at least 40,000 years old, slightly older than similar animal paintings found in famous caves in France and Spain. Until a few years ago, experts believed Europe was where our ancestors started drawing animals and other figures.
But the age of the drawing reported Wednesday in the journal Nature, along with previous discoveries in Southeast Asia, suggest that figurative drawing appeared in both continents about the same time.
The new findings fuel discussions about whether historical or evolutionary events prompted this near-simultaneous “burst of human creativity,” said lead author Maxime Aubert, an archaeologist and geochemist at Griffith University in Australia.
The remote limestones caves on Borneo have been known to contain prehistoric drawings since the 1990s. To reach them, Aubert and his team used machetes to hack through thick jungle in a verdant corner of the island.
Smartphone makers bet on foldable screens as next big thing
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — For the past few years, the smartphone industry has been searching for a breakthrough to revive a market mired in an innovation lull and a sales slump. A potential catalyst is on the horizon in the form of flexible screens that can be folded in half without breaking.
Samsung and several rivals are preparing to roll out such screens to make devices more versatile for work and pleasure. The foldable screens could increase display space to the size of a mini-tablet, but fold like a wallet so they revert to the size of regular phones. But there are questions about price and durability.
If the new phones fulfill their makers’ ambitions, they will become a leap ahead for an industry whose origins can be traced to the old flip phones that consumers once embraced as cool and convenient. Foldable-screen phones, though, won’t need hinges because they have continuous displays that can bend.
In an indication of how difficult it is to make a flexible screen that’s also durable, Samsung first announced plans to build a folding-screen phone five years ago. It wasn’t until Wednesday, though, that Samsung finally provided a glimpse at what it’s been working on.
“We have been living in a world where the size of a screen could only be as large as the device itself,” said Justin Denison, Samsung’s senior vice president of mobile product marketing. “We have just entered a new dimension.”