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.
Californians under siege try to fight fires, find loved ones
SONOMA, Calif. (AP) They are trying to find lost loved ones, to sift through the remains of lost homes, to count, identify and mourn the dozens of dead all while the fires rage on. The communities of Northern California were preparing for another day under siege Friday, despite being driven to exhaustion by evacuations, destruction and danger amid the deadliest week of wildfires the state has ever seen. "It wears you out," said winemaker Kristin Belair, who was driving back from Lake Tahoe to her as-yet-unburnt home in Napa. "Anybody who's been in a natural disaster can tell you that it goes on and on.
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.
Murky timeline is a focus of Las Vegas shooting probe
Nearly two weeks after one of the deadliest shootings in modern U.S. history, authorities have yet to sort out the basic facts surrounding the case of a high-stakes video poker player who murdered 58 people from his high-rise hotel room in Las Vegas. What drove Stephen Paddock to open fire on the country music festival? Police and the FBI say they're still at a loss to explain his motive. When did he fire his first shots in his Mandalay Bay hotel room? Those facts are still in dispute amid a constantly shifting timeline of events. Why did Paddock stop firing into the concert?
In Weinstein saga, Rose McGowan emerges as powerful voice
NEW YORK (AP) In a flurry of unrestrained tweets and with the "RoseArmy" at her back, Rose McGowan has emerged a kind of whistleblowing avenger in the Harvey Weinstein saga, leaving a scorched path behind her across social media. After long referencing a past incident with Weinstein, McGowan on Thursday for the first time said it outright: "HW raped me," the actress wrote, apparently referring to the embattled former Weinstein Co. co-chairman. Weinstein representative Sallie Hofmeister said "any allegations of non-consensual contact are unequivocally denied by Mr. Weinstein." The Hollywood Reporter said McGowan confirmed it was Weinstein she was referring to; her representative did not respond to a message seeking comment.
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.
Turkish troops move into al-Qaida-dominated Syrian province
BEIRUT (AP) A Syria monitoring group and a rebel fighter say Turkish armored vehicles have rolled into northwestern Syria to implement a de-escalation agreement in a province dominated by al-Qaida-linked militants. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says the deployment of nearly 16 armored vehicles, five tanks and a military force late Thursday came days after Turkey sent reconnaissance missions to the area. A rebel fighter says the troops deployed near a border crossing into the Idlib province, between a Kurdish-held area and an area held by Syrian rebels. The fighter spoke on condition of anonymity because he wasn't authorized to talk to the press.