Trump to halt subsidies to health insurers
WASHINGTON (AP) In a brash move likely to roil insurance markets, President Donald Trump will "immediately" halt payments to insurers under the Obama-era health care law he has been trying to unravel for months. The Health and Human Services department made the announcement in a statement late Thursday night. "We will discontinue these payments immediately," said acting HHS Secretary Eric Hargan and Medicare administrator Seema Verma. In a separate statement, the White House said the government cannot legally continue to pay the so-called cost-sharing subsidies because they lack a formal authorization by Congress. However, the administration had been making the payments from month to month, even as Trump threated to cut them off to force Democrats to negotiate over health care.
Grim search for victims as wildfires grow to size of NYC
SONOMA, Calif. (AP) Teams with cadaver dogs began a grim search Thursday for more dead in parts of California wine country devastated by wildfires, resorting in some cases to serial numbers stamped on medical implants to identify remains that turned up in the charred ruins. New deaths confirmed Thursday took the toll to 31, making this the deadliest week of wildfires in California history. Many of the flames still burned out of control, and the fires grew to more than 300 square miles (777 square kilometers), an area as large as New York City. Sonoma and Napa counties endured a fourth day of choking smoke while many residents fled to shelters or camped out on beaches to await word on their homes and loved ones.
Dangerous sound? What Americans heard in Cuba attacks
WASHINGTON (AP) - It sounds sort of like a mass of crickets. A high-pitched whine, but from what? It seems to undulate, even writhe. Listen closely: There are multiple, distinct tones that sound to some like they're colliding in a nails-on-the-chalkboard effect. The Associated Press has obtained a recording of what some U.S. Embassy workers heard in Havana in a series of unnerving incidents later deemed to be deliberate attacks. The recording, released Thursday by the AP, is the first disseminated publicly of the many taken in Cuba of mysterious sounds that led investigators initially to suspect a sonic weapon.
Trump speech to vilify Iran over nuke deal, non-nuke issues
WASHINGTON (AP) President Donald Trump plans to deliver a broad and harsh critique of Iran in a speech Friday declaring that the landmark Iran nuclear deal is not in America's national security interests, according to U.S. officials and outside advisers to the administration. Trump's speech from the White House will outline specific faults he finds in the 2015 accord but will also focus on an array of Iran's troubling non-nuclear activities, four officials and advisers said. Those include Tehran's ballistic missile program, support for Syrian President Bashar Assad, Lebanon's Hezbollah movement and other groups that destabilize the region. Under U.S.
Couple described as adventure-seekers are free from captors
STEWARTSTOWN, Pa. (AP) Just over five years ago, soon after they wed, Caitlan Coleman and Joshua Boyle set off on a journey to areas of the world infrequently traveled by Westerners, an admittedly quixotic trek their parents say was in keeping with the couple's adventure-seeking spirit. During a trip that took them to Afghanistan and neighboring central Asian countries Coleman, a homeschooled devout Catholic and Boyle, her Canadian husband the couple slept in tents and hostels, interacted with villagers and bought local goods from vendors. The couple was supposed to return to the U.S. so that Coleman, then pregnant, could deliver her baby.
Thais mark 1 year since king's death with prayers, ceremony
BANGKOK (AP) Thais marked one year since the death of King Bhumibol Adulyadej with solemn ceremonies and acts of personal devotion Friday before an elaborate five-day funeral later this month. Official commemorations of Bhumibol were organized at Bangkok's Siriraj Hospital, where he died, and at Government House and the ornate royal palace. But many ordinary people showed their respects on the streets, at neighborhood markets and temples, kneeling before orange-robed monks to perform a Buddhist merit-making ritual. "You see his achievements on TV sometimes, but now that he has passed we are learning about so many other things he has done for the country," said Panicha Nuapho, 66, who traveled from a province 330 kilometers (205 miles) north of Bangkok to pay respects at Siriraj Hospital.
Hotel: Gunman shot at crowd seconds after shooting guard
Even as investigators struggle to unravel the mystery of what motivated a gunman to open fire on a Las Vegas concert crowd, confusion surrounds the sequence of events in the fatal few minutes of the worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history. On Thursday, the hotel where gunman Stephen Paddock opened fire from his high-rise hotel suite disputed the official timeline for the Las Vegas massacre and rejected any suggestion hotel officials delayed summoning police for several minutes after the gunman's initial burst of fire. It was the latest head-turning change in the investigation that has been frustrating for all involved.
NYC, London police taking fresh look at Weinstein claims
NEW YORK (AP) Police detectives in New York City and London are taking a fresh look into sexual assault allegations against Harvey Weinstein now that some 30 women have accused the Hollywood film producer of inappropriate conduct. New York Police Department spokesman Peter Donald said Thursday that investigators are reviewing police files to see if anyone else reported being assaulted or harassed by him. So far, no filed complaints have been found, he said, other than one well-known case that prompted an investigation in 2015, but authorities are encouraging anyone with information on Weinstein to contact the department. London police were also looking into a claim it had received from the Merseyside force in northwest England, British media reported Thursday.
Springsteen on Broadway creates new performance template
NEW YORK (AP) After checking off all the rock star superlatives in his 68 years, Bruce Springsteen has set out to create a wholly new performance template. "Springsteen on Broadway," which opened Thursday night, is a deeply personal life story with a soundtrack, a one-man (or one-man and one-woman for two songs) show that's by turns funny and touching. He's onstage five nights a week through Feb. 3 in what has been called his Broadway debut. The distinction is important. This is a set piece, not a concert where Springsteen usually changes his set-list from night to night. He motioned to fans who greeted him at Wednesday's final rehearsal with cheers and familiar "Bruuuucce!" shouts to sit down, and stopped people from clapping along to "Dancing in the Dark" by saying, "I'll handle it myself." The songs 15 of them in a 130-minute performance were secondary to Springsteen's stories about growing up in Freehold, New Jersey, the peeks into what he's reached for artistically and pokes at his own persona.
Cubs get to Scherzer, then hold on to top Nats 9-8 in Game 5
WASHINGTON (AP) The Chicago Cubs win whenever they need to, with whatever it takes, even a seven-out save by Wade Davis to preserve a shrinking lead and a "Did that really happen?" four-run inning against Washington's Max Scherzer in a thriller of a Game 5. That wild, bat-around fifth inning Thursday night for Chicago included Addison Russell's go-ahead, two-run double, a bases-loaded hit by pitch, and a disputed dropped third strike followed by a throwing error, helping the defending World Series champion Cubs come back and then hold on to edge the Nationals 9-8. And for the third year in a row, Chicago reached the NL Championship Series.