AP News in Brief 07-08-19

Admiral to lead Navy instead will retire; bad judgment cited

WASHINGTON — The Navy admiral set to become his service’s top officer on Aug. 1 says he will instead retire.

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The extraordinary downfall of Adm. William Moran was prompted by what Navy Secretary Richard Spencer on Sunday called poor judgment.

Spencer faulted Moran for having a professional relationship with a person who had been disciplined for what Spencer called “failing to meet the values and standards of the naval profession.”

It is highly unusual for a senior officer like Moran to ask to retire after having been confirmed by the Senate for the top job in his service, but before taking the position. The current top Navy officer, Adm. John Richardson, will extend his tenure beyond Aug. 1 while a new candidate is chosen and nominated for Senate confirmation.

DHS official defends conditions at Border Patrol stations

WASHINGTON — Acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan on Sunday defended conditions at U.S. Border Patrol stations following reports of crowded and unsanitary conditions that have heightened debate about President Donald Trump’s immigration policy, a trademark issue for his reelection campaign.

“It’s an extraordinarily challenging situation,” McAleenan told ABC’s “This Week.”

The Homeland Security Department’s internal watchdog provided new details Tuesday about the overcrowding in Texas’ Rio Grande Valley, the busiest corridor for illegal crossings. The report said children at three facilities had no access to showers and that some children under age 7 had been held in jammed centers for more than two weeks. Some cells were so cramped that adults were forced to stand for days on end.

Government inspectors described an increasingly dangerous situation, both for migrants and agents — a “ticking time bomb,” in the words of one facility manager. The report echoed findings in May by the department’s inspector general about holding centers in El Paso, Texas: 900 people crammed into a cell with a maximum capacity of 125; detainees standing on toilets to have room to breathe; others wearing soiled clothing for days or weeks.

In tweets Sunday afternoon, Trump went further than McAleenan in defending his administration’s response, accusing the news media of “phony and exaggerated accounts” but without providing evidence.

From wire sources

UK ambassador called Trump administration ‘clumsy and inept’

LONDON — Britain’s ambassador to the United States described the Trump administration as “diplomatically clumsy and inept” and said he doubted it would become “substantially more normal,” according to a leaked diplomatic cable published Sunday.

The memo was one of several leaked documents published by the Mail on Sunday in which Ambassador Kim Darroch made highly negative statements about the government of Britain’s closest ally.

“We don’t really believe this administration is going to become substantially more normal; less dysfunctional; less unpredictable; less faction riven; less diplomatically clumsy and inept,” Darroch wrote in one memo.

Asked about the leaked cables Sunday, President Donald Trump told reporters that Darroch “has not served the U.K. well.”

The United States and the U.K. enjoy what each describe as a “special relationship” that has held strong since World War II. But the ambassador communicated deep unease with Trump’s foreign policies, which have broken with Britain’s on key issues such as climate change and preventing Iran from developing nuclear weapons.

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Boston suburb reflects broad changes in US immigration

CHELSEA, Mass. — Guatemalan bakeries, Honduran restaurants and Salvadoran markets are joining an already ethnically diverse mix of businesses in downtown Chelsea, a tiny industrial city across the Mystic River from Boston.

Among them is Catracho’s, a modest Honduran eatery recently purchased by Johanna Mateo, who was born in New York and raised in Honduras until she was 12, when she joined her older sister in Chelsea.

“I always wanted to reinvest in Chelsea,” said Mateo, 27, who plans to expand to a vacant storefront next door. “I like the roots it’s set within the Latin American community, and I want to keep it that way.”

Chelsea (population, 40,000) is a microcosm of broader changes sweeping the United States, as the number of Central American immigrants increases and the number of Mexican immigrants decreases. Mexico generated one of the largest immigration waves in U.S. history, starting in 1965 and lasting well into this century, until an improved Mexican economy and lower birthrates helped reverse the trend. Now, more immigrants are fleeing poverty and violence in Central America’s Northern Triangle.

Mexicans are still the largest group in the U.S. illegally but are down to 5 million in 2017 from 7 million a decade earlier, while Central Americans rose by 400,000 to 1.9 million and Asians also grew, the Pew Research Center reported last month. Nationwide, Pew estimated 10.5 million people in the U.S. illegally, down from a peak of 12.2 million a decade earlier.

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Conservative party wins Greek election, ousts left-wing PM

ATHENS, Greece — Conservative opposition leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis comfortably won Greece’s parliamentary elections Sunday, delivering a stinging blow to leftist Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras after a tumultuous four years in office as the country struggled through a crippling financial crisis.

With more than 90% of votes counted, Mitsotakis’ New Democracy party had 39.8% of the votes, compared to 31.5% for Tsipras’ left-wing Syriza party.

The extreme right-wing Golden Dawn party, founded by neo-Nazi supporters, narrowly failed to make the 3% threshold needed to enter parliament — a huge fall of support for a party that had become the third-largest in the Greek legislature during the country’s financial crisis.

The results indicated Greek voters bucked a recent trend in Europe of citizens rejecting the political mainstream and turning to populist and euroskeptic parties.

“I asked for a strong mandate to change Greece. You offered it generously,” Mitsotakis said in his victory speech. “From today, a difficult but beautiful fight begins.”

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Poll: 1 in 4 don’t plan to retire despite realities of aging

CHICAGO — Nearly one-quarter of Americans say they never plan to retire, according to a poll that suggests a disconnection between individuals’ retirement plans and the realities of aging in the workforce.

Experts say illness, injury, layoffs and caregiving responsibilities often force older workers to leave their jobs sooner than they’d like.

According to the poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, 23% of workers, including nearly 2 in 10 of those over 50, don’t expect to stop working. Roughly another quarter of Americans say they will continue working beyond their 65th birthday.

According to government data, about 1 in 5 people 65 and older was working or actively looking for a job in June.

For many, money has a lot to do with the decision to keep working.

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AP Interview: Kamala Harris on race and electability in 2020

NEW ORLEANS — Kamala Harris can’t forget the older black woman she met in Iowa while campaigning for Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama before the state’s 2008 caucus.

“I remember her saying to me, ‘They’re not going to let him win,’” Harris recalled. “She did not want to go to the caucuses. She didn’t want to be disappointed.”

For Harris, it was a revealing moment, one she says illustrated the limitations many Americans, including black Americans, place on who is considered electable for the nation’s highest office.

Twelve years later, with American politics roiled by issues of race and gender, it’s Harris asking Americans to expand their definition of electability once again.

“Sometimes it takes awhile to get people to see that this is possible,” Harris said in an interview with The Associated Press in which she discussed race and her standing as the most viable black woman to seek a major party’s presidential nomination.

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Prominent Detroit priest removed from pulpit

DETROIT — The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Detroit said Sunday that it removed a prominent priest from public ministry after reviewing what it described as a “credible allegation” that he had sexually abused a child decades ago.

The Rev. Eduard Perrone was suspended from ministry Friday, a month after The Associated Press began asking the pastor himself, the archdiocese and law enforcement authorities about a former altar boy’s allegations that Perrone had groped him.

Archdiocese officials told Perrone’s congregation at Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Parish during services Sunday that members of the local archdiocese review board found a “semblance of truth” to the accusations, but that they are maintaining a presumption of innocence.

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Some parishioners expressed shock when they heard, and one woman walked out of the service to gather herself outside. After Mass, a number of people stopped at the back of the church to ask questions of two archdiocesan officials and pick up a written statement about Perrone.

The pastor is prohibited from representing himself as a priest or wearing clerical attire while the Vatican reviews the allegations, the archdiocese said in the written statement.

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