Analysis: For Trump, few limits to win-at-any-cost approach
WASHINGTON (AP) — Sitting on his plush private plane surrounded by a gaggle of reporters, Donald Trump laid bare the depths of his win-at-any-cost political philosophy.
“Nothing is presidential except victory,” he said Tuesday. “Victory is presidential.”
Very little about Trump’s surprising White House campaign has fit into any traditional view of what’s deemed “presidential” — the kind of know-it-if-you-see-it behavior befitting an occupant of the Oval Office.
Indeed, that’s part of the draw for Trump’s supporters, many of whom praise the businessman’s willingness to dispense with political correctness.
Yet even with the built-in expectation that Trump is running an atypical campaign, the Republican front-runner continues to surprise with how far he’s willing to go in busting boundaries that restrain other presidential candidates. While he’s suggested that he would be more of a statesman if he’s the GOP nominee, encouraging Republican Party unity and promising to moderate his abrasive tone, he can’t seem to resist the lure of a bareknuckle political brawl.
Unusual dissent erupts inside Cuban Communist Party
HAVANA (AP) — Days after President Barack Obama’s historic visit, the leaders of Cuba’s Communist Party are under highly unusual public criticism from their own ranks for imposing new levels of secrecy on the future of social and economic reforms.
After months of simmering discontent, complaints among party members have become so heated that its official newspaper, Granma, addressed them in a lengthy front-page article Monday, saying the public dissatisfaction is “a sign of the democracy and public participation that are intrinsic characteristics of the socialism that we’re constructing.”
The article did little to calm many party members, some of whom are calling for a Communist Party congress next month to be postponed to allow public debate about the government’s plans to continue market-oriented reforms for Cuba’s centrally controlled economy.
“The base of the party is angry, and rightly so,” party member and noted intellectual Esteban Morales wrote in a blog post published before Obama’s visit. “We’ve gone backward in terms of democracy in the party, because we’ve forgotten about the base, those who are fighting and confronting our problems on a daily basis.”
Across the country, Cuba’s ruling party is facing stiff challenges as it tries to govern an increasingly cynical and disenchanted population.
10 Things to Know for Today
Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about today:
1. FOR TRUMP, FEW LIMITS TO WIN-AT-ANY-COST APPROACH
AP’s Julie Pace finds the GOP front-runner continues to surprise with how far he’s willing to go in busting boundaries that restrain other candidates.
2. EGYPTIAN HIJACK SUSPECT ORDERED HELD FOR EIGHT DAYS
Seif Eddin Mustafa, 59, faces charges for allegedly diverting a Cairo-bound EgyptAir flight to Cyprus and threatening to blow it up.
Two Republican governors, two different calculations
ATLANTA (AP) — Two Republican governors. Two proposals at the heart of LGBT rights. One rejection. One new law.
Georgia’s Gov. Nathan Deal said he was preventing discrimination and protecting commerce when he announced his veto of a measure that would have allowed certain individuals, businesses and faith organizations to deny services based on “sincerely held religious beliefs.”
In North Carolina, Gov. Pat McCrory said he was protecting his citizens’ privacy and using “common sense” when he signed into law a bill that, among other things, prohibits local anti-discrimination ordinances and obligates transgender people to use restrooms matching the gender on their birth certificates.
Their moves highlight a familiar GOP fault line between business conservatives, led by large corporations that have embraced LGBT rights, and social conservatives, who have ramped up their calls for their own legal protections since the U.S. Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage last year.
The tussle is particularly fierce in statehouses like those in Atlanta and Raleigh, where the GOP holds overwhelmingly majorities.
US to beef up military presence in Eastern Europe
WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. officials say the Pentagon will be deploying an armored brigade combat team to Eastern Europe next February as part of the ongoing effort to rotate troops in and out of the region to reassure allies worried about threats from an increasingly aggressive Russia.
The officials said the Army will announce Wednesday that it will be sending a full set of equipment with the brigade to Europe. Earlier plans had called for the Pentagon to rotate troops into Europe, where they would have used a set of training equipment pre-positioned there.
The new proposal would remove the pre-positioned equipment, send it to be refurbished, and allow the U.S. forces to bring more robust, modern equipment in with them when they deploy. There are about 4,500 soldiers in an armored brigade, along with dozens of heavy vehicles, tanks and other equipment.
Wednesday’s announcement is also aimed at easing worries in Europe, where allies had heard rumblings about the pre-positioned equipment being removed and feared the U.S. was scaling back support.
Officials also said the Army would send additional communications equipment to Europe so that headquarters units could have the radios, computers and other equipment needed to work with the brigades.
Ally to power broker Suu Kyi sworn in as Myanmar’s president
NAYPYITAW, Myanmar (AP) — Htin Kyaw, a trusted friend of Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, took over as Myanmar’s president on Wednesday, calling it a “historic moment” in the country’s long-drawn transition to democracy after decades of military rule.
In a day full of ceremony and symbolism, Htin Kyaw was sworn in along with his two vice presidents and 18-member Cabinet. Suu Kyi, the face of Myanmar’s pro-democracy movement, takes on a prominent role as the country’s new foreign minister and the head of three other ministries.
The swearing in was held in an austere hall of parliament, with lawmakers dressed in traditional costume. A few hours later, outgoing President Thein Sein shook hands with his successor and handed him a letter officially transferring power.
While it was a momentous day in the history of this impoverished Southeast Asian country, democracy still feels incomplete. The military retains considerable power in the government and parliament, and the president himself will play second fiddle to Suu Kyi, who has repeatedly said she will run the country from behind the scenes because the military has ensured — through a constitutional manipulation — that she cannot be the president.
Still, the day belonged to Htin Kyaw and Suu Kyi, who sat in the front row watching her confidant become head of a government she had long aspired to lead.
Proposals to increase access to free lawyers in civil cases
More than two dozen bills being considered in 18 states this year would expand poor people’s rights to a lawyer at state expense in certain civil cases, according to the National Coalition for a Civil Right to Counsel, which is run by the Public Justice Center nonprofit in Baltimore.
A look at some of the legislation:
On March 11, the state House and Senate approved a bill that would require judges to appoint lawyers with the state Office of Criminal Conflict and Civil Regional Counsel to represent people facing involuntary outpatient treatment for substance abuse, if they cannot afford their own attorneys.
Flint official: State overruled plan for corrosion control
FLINT, Mich. (AP) — Shortly before this poverty-stricken city began drawing its drinking water from the Flint River in April 2014 in a cost-cutting move, officials huddled at the municipal water treatment plant, running through a checklist of final preparations.
Mike Glasgow, the plant’s laboratory supervisor at the time, says he asked district engineer Mike Prysby of the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality how often staffers would need to check the water for proper levels of phosphate, a chemical they intended to add to prevent lead corrosion from the pipes. Prysby’s response, according to Glasgow: “You don’t need to monitor phosphate because you’re not required to add it.”
Recalling the meeting Tuesday in an interview with The Associated Press, Glasgow said he was taken aback by the state regulator’s instruction; treating drinking water with anti-corrosive additives was routine practice. Glasgow said his gaze shifted to a consulting firm engineer in attendance, who also looked surprised.
“Then,” Glasgow said, “we went on to the next question.”
In hindsight, he said, it was a fateful moment. For nearly 18 months, Flint residents would drink water that had coursed through aging pipes and fixtures, scraping away lead from lines that ran from water mains to some homes and schools.
Caregivers of people with dementia face financial hardships
CHICAGO (AP) — Many relatives and friends providing financial support or care to people with dementia have dipped into their retirement savings, cut back on spending and sold assets to pay for expenses tied to the disease, according to a survey released Wednesday by the Alzheimer’s Association.
About one in five go hungry because they don’t have enough money.
“This was a big shocker for us,” said Keith Fargo, Alzheimer’s Association director of scientific programs and outreach.
Fargo said he didn’t expect so many families to be struggling. He said the survey shows that people are not prepared for the high costs of home care or nursing home care. The median cost of a home care aide is $20 per hour and the average cost of a semi-private room in a nursing home is $80,300 per year.
Nationwide, there are 5.4 million people with Alzheimer’s, the most common cause of dementia. The majority are older than 75.
Craig Sager in high spirits as he works Wizards-Warriors
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Craig Sager has a blood clot behind his right ear that is affecting his hearing, and that’s just another annoyance he is accepting as he continues to work NBA games for Turner Sports with fervor despite his leukemia no longer being in remission.
Dealing with the clot, which Sager compared to swimmer’s ear that won’t subside, could cause him to bleed to death given his blood levels, he said.
Sager’s spirits are undeterred by the latest challenge in his cancer fight, even if it meant a redeye flight after Tuesday’s Wizards-Warriors game to get to a doctor’s appointment in Houston on Wednesday morning before another game Thursday. His new reality includes twice-weekly blood work and regular transfusions, the latest done Monday in Atlanta before he flew West.
“Nice to be here, that’s for sure,” said Sager, who stood up and saluted Steve Kerr as the Warriors coach discussed the one-of-a-kind broadcaster before the game. “I always get here over three hours before tip. It’s fun.”
Sager waved when he received a standing ovation and cheers from one large section of Oracle Arena as he walked along the baseline during a fourth-quarter timeout.