AP News in Brief at 9:04 p.m. EDT


Trump stumbling in Wisconsin as forces coalesce against him

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Next Tuesday’s Wisconsin presidential primary is emerging as a crucial lifeline for Republicans desperate to stop Donald Trump’s march to their party’s nomination. One of his worst weeks of the 2016 campaign is colliding with a state already skeptical of his brash brand of politics.

A big loss for Trump in Wisconsin would greatly reduce his chances of securing the delegates he needs to clinch the GOP nomination before next July’s national convention. It could also offer new hope to rival Ted Cruz and outside groups that see Trump as a threat to the future of the Republican Party.

“I think the whole country is looking to Wisconsin right now to make a choice in this race, and I think the choice Wisconsin makes is going to have repercussions for a long time to come,” Cruz said Thursday in an interview with Milwaukee radio station WTMJ.

Trump’s view is rosier for his own campaign: “If we win Wisconsin, it’s pretty much over.”

But almost nothing has gone right for him since Wisconsin stepped into the primary spotlight.

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A look at North Carolina’s law on restrooms, discrimination

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina’s new law limiting discrimination claims was approved in a special legislative session and signed by Gov. Pat McCrory later the same day to prevent a Charlotte City Council anti-discrimination ordinance from taking effect this Friday.

The measure goes well beyond stopping transgender people from using bathrooms matching their new gender identities, which McCrory called a “radical breach of trust and security.” Here are more details about the law, which is now being challenged in federal court.

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PUBLIC ACCOMODATIONS

The law blocked a range of protections from taking effect in the state’s largest city. Charlotte’s ordinance would have covered gays and lesbians as well as bisexual and transgender people when they try to check into hotels, eat in restaurants or hail cabs; it also added marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression to the city’s list of protected characteristics in public accommodations and commercial businesses.

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10 Things to Know for Friday

Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Friday:

1. IMPORTANT TEST FOR TRUMP IN WISCONSIN

A big loss in next week’s state primary would greatly reduce his chances of securing the delegates he needs to clinch the GOP nomination before next July’s national convention.

2. WORLD LEADERS GATHER AT NUCLEAR SUMMIT

The conference in Washington during its first day produces a pledge by the U.S. and China to cooperate to confront the North Korean nuclear threat.

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California lawmakers OK highest statewide minimum wage

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California lawmakers on Thursday approved the nation’s highest statewide minimum wage of $15 an hour to take effect by 2022 after it was hailed by Democrats as an example to the nation as it struggles with a growing gap between rich and poor.

The legislation now goes to Gov. Jerry Brown, who says he will sign it into law Monday after previously working out the plan with labor unions.

Brown says the measure approved by the Legislature proves again that California can get things done and help people get ahead.

The state of New York was considering a similar move.

The income divide has become a key issue across the U.S., with President Barack Obama proposing an increase to the federal minimum wage and the issue getting attention in the Democratic presidential primary.

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Trump’s abortion flub shows risks of ‘winging it’ on policy

APPLETON, Wis. (AP) — It was a question sure to come up at some point in the Republican primary campaign.

“What should the law be on abortion?” asked MSNBC’s Chris Matthews to Donald Trump at a town hall event in Wisconsin.

“Should the woman be punished for having an abortion?” Matthews pressed. “This is not something you can dodge.”

Trump’s bungled response — an awkward, extended attempt to evade the question, followed by an answer that, yes, “there has to be some form of punishment” — prompted a backlash that managed to unite abortion rights activists and opponents. And it also brought an unprecedented reversal from the notoriously unapologetic candidate less than a week before Wisconsin’s important primary.

The episode demonstrated the extent to which Trump has glossed over the rigorous policy preparation that is fundamental to most presidential campaigns, underscoring the risks of the billionaire businessman’s winging-it approach as he inches closer to the Republican nomination.

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Kasich pitches himself as a sturdy alternative to GOP rivals

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — Often an afterthought in the chaotic GOP presidential contest, John Kasich is soldiering on with the belief that he can convince hundreds of delegates to swing his way at a contested summer convention by warning that the alternative could be detrimental to the party and the country.

Kasich’s fight to win the GOP nomination remains feasible only if Donald Trump enters the convention in Cleveland without the number of delegates required to secure the nomination outright. Even then, Kasich will need delegates friendly to his cause to set convention rules that allow him to compete. His team has brought on experienced delegate hunters and national strategists in recent weeks to help navigate the complicated math of state-by-state delegate rules to boost his chances at the convention.

It’s a tall task for a candidate who has won just one state and struggled to raise money, but Kasich is striking a defiant tone about his plans to stay in the race.

“People say, ‘Why does he stay in the race?’ What, am I, supposed to get out and leave it to these guys?” Kasich said Wednesday on ABC’s Good Morning America, referencing Trump and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz.

To lead its delegate hunting efforts, Kasich’s campaign has tapped New Hampshire-based operative Michael Biundo, who ran Rick Santorum’s 2012 campaign and previously advised Rand Paul. Biundo has been working to build a 50-state delegate strategy aimed at convincing delegates — many of whom are longtime party leaders or elected officials — that Kasich is the most electable Republican. A slew of recent preference polls back up the argument that he’s far more likely to defeat Clinton than Trump or Cruz.

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Veteran Miami officer named police chief in Ferguson

FERGUSON, Mo. (AP) — A veteran Miami police officer with two decades of experience dealing with the media and community leaders will take over as police chief in Ferguson, hoping to help the St. Louis suburb heal as it rebounds after the fatal 2014 police shooting of Michael Brown.

Miami Police Maj. Delrish Moss was announced as chief Thursday, putting a black man in charge of a mostly white department that serves a town where African-Americans make up two-thirds of the residents.

“This has been a long and strenuous process, but we believe Major Moss is the right choice,” Ferguson Mayor James Knowles III said in a statement. “We understand the past 18 months have not been easy for everyone, but the City is now moving forward and we are excited to have Major Moss lead our police department.”

The 18-year-old Brown, who was black and unarmed, was fatally shot by white officer Darren Wilson during a street confrontation on Aug. 9, 2014. The shooting prompted months of unrest that sometimes grew violent and helped spark the national Black Lives Matter movement.

A St. Louis County grand jury and the U.S. Department of Justice declined to indict Wilson, who resigned in November 2014. But the Justice Department issued a critical report of Ferguson in March 2015, citing racial bias in policing and a municipal court system that made money at poor and minority residents’ expense.

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Women accuse US soccer federation of wage discrimination

Five stars from the World Cup-winning U.S. women’s national team have accused the U.S. Soccer Federation of wage discrimination in an action filed with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Alex Morgan, Carli Lloyd, Megan Rapinoe, Becky Sauerbrunn and Hope Solo maintain in the EEOC filing that they are paid nearly four times less than their male counterparts on the U.S. men’s national team, based on U.S. Soccer’s 2015 financial report. The filing was announced Thursday in a statement from the law firm representing the players.

“The numbers speak for themselves,” Solo said in the statement. “We are the best in the world, have three World Cup Championships, four Olympic Championships, and the USMNT get paid more just to show up than we get paid to win major championships.”

The union representing the players is currently involved in a legal dispute with U.S. Soccer over the terms of their collective bargaining agreement. The federation filed a lawsuit this year seeking to clarify that its contract with the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team Players Association runs through the Rio Olympics until Dec. 31. The union maintains the memorandum of understanding agreed to in March 2013 can be terminated at any time. That case is pending.

Attorney Jeffrey Kessler, one of the attorneys representing the players, claimed that the tenor of the negotiations over the CBA created the need for the women to act in hopes of ending what they say is the “discriminatory and unfair treatment” they have endured for years.

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After 7 hurt in Oklahoma tornado, stormy weather slams South

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Thunderstorms rumbled across parts of the South on Thursday, bringing the threat of possible tornadoes, a day after at least seven people were injured when severe storms spawned multiple tornado touchdowns in northeastern Oklahoma.

Hail and damaging winds were moving across the lower Mississippi River Valley, and the National Weather Service said the heavy rain may produce flash flooding in some areas.

The weather service’s Storm Prediction Center said the worst threat of tornadoes and large hail was in northern Mississippi and Alabama, along with parts of Tennessee and southern Kentucky. Forecasters say more than 8 million people will be at an “enhanced” risk of severe weather in parts of Mississippi, Alabama and Tennessee.

The National Weather Service says it will investigate storm damage in Lamar County, Mississippi, that may have been caused by a tornado Thursday morning. Meteorologist Joanne Culin in Jackson said trees were down in two areas of Purvis and one crashed into a house. There were no reports of injuries.

Heavy rain in the Mississippi Delta caused some widespread flooding. Sunflower County Emergency Manager Ben Grant said about two dozen homes in Moorhead were evacuated.

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Innovative Iraqi-British architect Zaha Hadid dies at 65

LONDON (AP) — Iraqi-British architect Zaha Hadid, whose modernist, futuristic designs included the swooping aquatic center for the 2012 London Olympics, has died at age 65. She leaves a string of bold, often beautiful and sometimes controversial buildings around the world.

Hadid’s firm said she died Thursday in a Miami hospital. She had contracted bronchitis earlier this week and had a heart attack while being treated.

In London, where she lived and worked, Mayor Boris Johnson tweeted that “she was an inspiration and her legacy lives on in wonderful buildings” at the Olympic park and around the world.

Born and raised in Baghdad, Hadid studied mathematics at the American University of Beirut before enrolling at the Architectural Association in London in 1972.

She worked for the groundbreaking Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas before setting up London-based Zaha Hadid Architects in 1979.