AP News in Brief 09-10-19

  • An anti-brexit campaigner stands opposite Parliament in London, Monday, Sept. 9, 2019. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson voiced optimism Monday that a new Brexit deal can be reached so Britain leaves the European Union by Oct. 31. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)

Johnson to suspend UK Parliament after latest Brexit defeat

LONDON — The simmering showdown between Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Britain’s Parliament over Brexit came to a head as lawmakers delivered three defeats to the government’s plans for leaving the European Union, before being sent home early Tuesday for a contentious five-week suspension of the legislature.

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In a session that ran past midnight, Parliament enacted a law to block a no-deal Brexit next month, ordered the government to release private communications about its Brexit plans and rejected Johnson’s call for a snap election to break the political deadlock.

Parliament was then set to be suspended at the government’s request until Oct. 14, a drastic move that gives Johnson a respite from rebellious lawmakers as he plots his next move.

Johnson said he would cut short the parliamentary term so he can outline his domestic agenda at a new session of Parliament in October. But opponents called the move anti-democratic and illegal.

“It is blindingly obvious why we are being shut down — to prevent scrutiny,” Labour Party Brexit spokesman Keir Starmer said.

Trump says peace talks with Taliban are now ‘dead’

WASHINGTON — U.S. peace talks with the Taliban are now “dead,” President Donald Trump declared Monday, two days after he abruptly canceled a secret meeting he had arranged with Taliban and Afghan leaders aimed at ending America’s longest war.

Trump’s remark to reporters at the White House suggested he sees no point in resuming a nearly yearlong effort to reach a political settlement with the Taliban, whose protection of al-Qaida extremists in Afghanistan prompted the U.S. to invade after the 9/11 attacks.

Asked about the peace talks, Trump said: “They’re dead. They’re dead. As far as I’m concerned, they’re dead.”

It’s unclear whether Trump will go ahead with planned U.S. troop cuts and how the collapse of his talks will play out in deeply divided Afghanistan.

Trump said his administration is “looking at” whether to proceed with troop reductions that had been one element of the preliminary deal with the Taliban struck by presidential envoy Zalmay Khalilzad.

Fourth and final crewman pulled alive from capsized ship

JEKYLL ISLAND, Ga. — Coast Guard rescuers pulled four trapped men alive from a capsized cargo ship Monday, drilling into the hull’s steel plates to extract the crew members more than a day after their vessel overturned while leaving a Georgia port.

All four were described as alert and in relatively good condition and were taken to a hospital for further evaluation.

“Best day of my 16-year career,” Lt. Lloyd Heflin, who was coordinating the effort, wrote in a text message to The Associated Press.

A video posted online by the Coast Guard showed responders clapping and cheering as the final man, wearing only shorts, climbed out of a hole in the hull and stood up.

Three of the South Korean crew members came out in the midafternoon. The fourth man, who was trapped in a separate compartment, emerged three hours later.

NOAA scientist: Agency likely broke science integrity rules

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — The acting chief scientist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said his agency likely violated its scientific integrity rules last week when it publicly chastised a weather office that contradicted President Donald Trump’s claim that Hurricane Dorian threatened Alabama.

Two top NOAA civil servants not so quietly revolted against an unsigned agency press release issued late Friday rebuking the Birmingham weather office for saying Alabama was safe. The agency’s top scientist called Friday’s release “political” and the head of the National Weather Service said the Alabama office “did what any office would do to protect the public.”

“My understanding is that this intervention to contradict the forecaster was not based on science but on external factors including reputation and appearance, or simply put, political,” acting chief scientist and assistant administrator for ocean and atmospheric research Craig McLean wrote to staffers Sunday night.

In the email, first reported by The Washington Post, McLean said he is “pursuing the potential violations” of the agency’s science integrity policy.

North Korea fires projectiles after offering talks

SEOUL, South Korea — North Korea launched at least two unidentified projectiles toward the sea on Tuesday, South Korea’s military said, hours after the North offered to resume nuclear diplomacy with the United States but warned its dealings with Washington may end without new U.S. proposals.

The North’s projectile launches and demand for new proposals were apparently aimed at pressuring the United States to make concessions when the North Korea-U.S. talks restart. North Korea is widely believed to want the United States to provide it with security guarantees and extensive relief from U.S.-led sanctions in return for limited denuclearization steps.

The North Korean projectiles fired from its South Phyongan province, which surrounds its capital city of Pyongyang, flew across the country and in the direction of the waters off its east coast, according to South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff and Defense Ministry.

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The military said South Korea will monitor possible additional launches by North Korea but gave no further details like exactly what projectile North Korea fired.

By wire sources

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