AP News in Brief 04-13-19

Trump ‘strongly looking’ at releasing migrants in sanctuary cities

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump said Friday he is strongly considering releasing “Illegal Immigrants” into Democratic strongholds to punish congressional foes for inaction on the border— just hours after White House and Homeland Security officials insisted the idea had been rejected as fast as it had been proposed.

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“Due to the fact that Democrats are unwilling to change our very dangerous immigration laws, we are indeed, as reported, giving strong considerations to placing Illegal Immigrants in Sanctuary Cities only,” Trump tweeted. He added that, “The Radical Left always seems to have an Open Borders, Open Arms policy – so this should make them very happy!”

The reversal, which appeared to catch officials at the Department of Homeland Security off guard, came as critics were blasting Trump for the supposedly-rejected idea, accusing him of turning migrants into pawns to go after his political opponents. It comes as Trump has grown increasingly exasperated by a surge of Central American migrant families crossing the southern border and is looking for new ways to pressure congressional Democrats to change laws that he insists are making the problem worse.

Indeed, last week Trump urged his soon-to-be acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan to seal the southern border and told McAleenan he would pardon him if he were to find himself in trouble for blocking legal asylum-seekers, according to two people familiar with the conversation who spoke on condition of anonymity to describe a private exchange.

It was not clear whether the president was joking, and a Homeland Security spokesman said in a statement: “At no time has the president indicated, asked, directed or pressured the acting secretary to do anything illegal.” The reported conversation came during the president’s trip last week to Calexico, California, a day after he announced he was delaying his threat to close the border because Mexico appeared to be stepping up its enforcement efforts.

Child attack suspect had previous Mall of America arrests

MINNEAPOLIS — A 5-year-old boy plummeted three floors Friday after being pushed or thrown from a balcony at the Mall of America, according to witnesses, and a 24-year-old man with a history of causing disturbances at the mall was in custody.

Bloomington Police Chief Jeffrey Potts said police don’t think there is any relationship between the man and the family of the child, who suffered life-threatening injuries. He was being treated at a hospital, but no details on his condition were immediately available.

Witnesses told police that the child may have been pushed or thrown from the mall’s third level to the first floor, Potts said. He said the suspect immediately took off running but was quickly found and arrested at the mall.

A witness said a woman screamed that her child was thrown from the balcony.

Brian Johnson told WCCO-TV the woman was screaming, “Everybody pray, everybody pray. Oh my God, my baby, someone threw him over the edge.”

FCC to hold big 5G auction, spend $20B for rural internet

WASHINGTON — The U.S. government will hold a massive auction later this year to bolster 5G service, the next generation of mobile networks. President Donald Trump showcased the announcement Friday, declaring that the race to stand up these faster, more powerful networks is a competition “America must win.”

“We cannot allow any other country to outcompete the United States in this powerful industry of the future,” Trump said at the White House. “We are leading by so much in so many different industries of that type, and we just can’t let that happen.”

Trump also announced a $20 billion plan to expand broadband access to rural areas currently without it, a decadelong extension of an existing program.

5G will mean faster wireless speeds and has implications for technologies like self-driving cars and augmented reality. Trump said it will transform the way people work, learn, communicate and travel, making farms more productive, manufacturers more competitive and health care better and more accessible. But experts say it’s hard to know now how much life will actually change because of the much-hyped network upgrade.

It will take years to roll out, and the highest data speeds and capacities may not reach rural areas at all.

Syria’s Assad: Last man standing amid new Arab uprisings

BEIRUT — It’s Arab Spring, season II, and he’s one of the few holdovers. The last man standing among a crop of Arab autocrats, after a new wave of protests forced the removal of the Algerian and Sudanese leaders from the posts they held for decades.

Syria’s President Bashar Assad has survived an uprising, a years-long ruinous war and an Islamic “caliphate” established over parts of his broken country. As the Syrian conflict enters its ninth year, the 53-year-old leader appears more secure and confident than at any time since the revolt against his rule began in 2011.

But the war for Syria is not over yet, and the path ahead is strewn with difficulties.

The back-to-back ouster of Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika after two decades of rule and Sudanese leader Omar al-Bashir after three, has been dubbed a “second Arab Spring,” after the 2011 wave of protests that shook the Middle East and deposed longtime dictators in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and Yemen.

Social media has been filled with pictures of leaders at past Arab summits, noting almost all of them were now deposed except for Assad. Some pointed out ironically that al-Bashir’s last trip outside of Sudan in December was to Damascus, where he met with the Syrian leader.

From wire sources

Fisher-Price recalls sleepers after more than 30 babies died

NEW YORK — Fisher-Price recalled nearly 5 million infant sleepers on Friday after more than 30 babies died in them over a 10-year period.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission said anyone who bought a Fisher-Price Rock ‘n Play sleeper should stop using it right away and contact Fisher-Price for a refund or voucher. The sleepers, which are used to put babies to sleep, are soft padded cradles that vibrate.

Fisher-Price and the CPSC said the deaths occurred after infants rolled over from their backs to their stomachs or sides while unrestrained, but did not specify how they died. In an article this week, Consumer Reports found that some of the infants died from suffocation.

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A safety warning was issued last week, but The American Academy of Pediatrics urged Fisher-Price and the CPSC to recall the sleepers, calling them “deadly.”

In a statement Friday, Fisher-Price said that it stood by the safety of its products and said it issued the voluntary recall “due to reported incidents in which the product was used contrary to the safety warnings and instructions.”

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