Post impeachment, Brazil’s road ahead filled with challenges
SAO PAULO (AP) — To say that Michel Temer faces huge challenges would be an understatement.
Brazil’s 75-year-old acting president must fight the Zika virus, which can cause birth defects and has ravaged thousands of families in poor northeastern states. He must rescue Latin America’s largest economy from its worst recession since the 1930s, most likely by making painful — and protest-invoking — cuts to the pension system and social welfare spending.
He must win back the trust of a populace that has come to believe virtually all politicians, including him, are lining their pockets with taxpayer money.
And he must begin these gargantuan tasks with the Summer Olympics just months away and while his predecessor and former-ally-turned enemy, Dilma Rousseff, is living in the presidential residence and rallying supporters around assertions she was the victim of a coup led by Temer.
“This is going to be a real mess. The combination of all these factors at once is unbelievable,” said Alexandre Barros, a Brasilia-based consultant. “Everybody is unhappy with the situation but nobody knows what to do.”
On more than one issue, GOP’s Trump sounds like a Democrat
NEW YORK (AP) — As he tries to charm Republicans still skeptical of his presidential candidacy, Donald Trump has a challenge: On several key issues, he sounds an awful lot like a Democrat.
And on some points of policy, such as trade and national defense, the billionaire businessman could even find himself running to the left of Hillary Clinton, his likely Democratic rival in the general election.
Trump is a classic Republican in many ways. He rails against environmental and corporate regulations, proposes dramatically lower tax rates and holds firm on opposing abortion rights. But the presumptive GOP nominee doesn’t fit neatly into a traditional ideological box.
“I think I’m running on common sense,” he said in a recent interview with The Associated Press. “I think I’m running on what’s right. I don’t think in terms of labels.”
Perhaps Trump’s clearest break with Republican orthodoxy is on trade, which the party’s 2012 platform said was “crucial for our economy” and a path to “more American jobs, higher wages, and a better standard of living.”
10 Things to Know for Monday
Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Monday:
1. US ENVOY: ISLAMIC STATE LOSING GROUND
The militant extremist group has suffered recent military setbacks and lost territory in both Iraq and Syria, says Brett McGurk, presidential adviser for the anti-ISIS coalition.
2. WHERE TRUMP’S PLANS RUN AFOUL OF GOP
Unlike most leaders in his party, the presumptive Republican nominee opposes any changes to Social Security and says he is open to the idea of a higher minimum wage.
Clinton campaigns in Kentucky before Tuesday’s primary
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Hillary Clinton is making a big final push in Kentucky, where rival Bernie Sanders hopes to extend his winning streak and further delay her clinching the Democratic presidential nomination.
Big-name surrogates have been sent, television ads are playing and Clinton is touring the state in advance of Tuesday’s voting. On Sunday, the former secretary of state dropped in at Louisville churches and held rallies in Louisville and Fort Mitchell. Sanders on Sunday made a swing through Kentucky as well.
“We need a president who will work every single day to make life better for American families,” Clinton said at a union training center in Louisville. “We want somebody who can protect us and work with the rest of the world. Not talk about building walls, but building bridges.”
While Clinton leads Sanders by nearly 300 pledged delegates going into Tuesday’s primaries in Kentucky and Oregon, the Vermont senator continues to win contests and has pledged to stay in the race until the July convention. With Donald Trump set as the presumptive Republican nominee, Clinton’s team would like to turn their attention to the general election contest, but they still can’t fully make that shift.
A win in at least one of the two upcoming contests would give Clinton momentum heading into the primaries in California and New Jersey in early June. Oregon is favorable terrain for Sanders, but Clinton’s campaign thinks the race is competitive in Kentucky, where she planned to spend Sunday and Monday courting voters.
Will robot cars drive traffic congestion off a cliff?
WASHINGTON (AP) — Self-driving cars are expected to usher in a new era of mobility, safety and convenience. The problem, say transportation researchers, is that people will use them too much.
Experts foresee robot cars chauffeuring children to school, dance class and baseball practice. The disabled and elderly will have new mobility. Commuters will be able to work, sleep, eat or watch movies on the way to the office. People may stay home more because they can send their cars to do things like pick up groceries they’ve ordered online.
Researchers believe the number of miles driven will skyrocket. It’s less certain whether that will mean a corresponding surge in traffic congestion, but it’s a clear possibility.
Gary Silberg, an auto industry expert at accounting firm KPMG, compares it to the introduction of smartphones. “It will be indispensable to your life,” he said. “It will be all sorts of things we can’t even think of today.”
Cars that can drive themselves under limited conditions are expected to be available within five to 10 years. Versions able to navigate under most conditions may take 10 to 20 years.
Police: Fake bomb at Man United left from training exercise
MANCHESTER, England (AP) — A fake bomb left behind during a security exercise led police to evacuate Manchester United’s home stadium on Sunday, disrupting the final day of the English Premier League season and bringing embarrassment to one of the world’s best-known sports teams.
Police initially described the device as “incredibly lifelike” as United’s planned match with Bournemouth was cancelled, to boos from some fans, and a controlled explosion was carried out.
But hours later, bomb technicians reported it was a fake. And a later statement by police said the device had been inadvertently left in a toilet during an earlier training exercise involving sniffer dogs.
The series of events Sunday came amid tightened security at Premier League stadiums following last year’s Paris attacks that targeted the Stade de France sports stadium as well as cafes, bars and a concert hall. It also followed the British government’s announcement Wednesday that it was raising the nation’s threat level due to intelligence indicating the “strong possibility” of attacks in Britain by factions of the outlawed Irish Republican Army.
The Premier League has rescheduled the match for Tuesday. United said it was investigating the incident.
Rebuking Trump, Obama tells graduates walls won’t solve ills
PISCATAWAY, N.J. (AP) — President Barack Obama on Sunday urged college graduates to shun those who want to confront a rapidly changing world by building walls around the United States or by embracing ignorance, as he delivered a sharp and barely concealed critique of Donald Trump.
Obama used his commencement speech at Rutgers University to illustrate a world view antithetical to the ideas espoused by the presumptive Republican presidential nominee. Looking out at a sea of red and black gowns, Obama told the roughly 12,000 graduating students that the pace of change on the planet is accelerating, not subsiding, and that recent history had proved that the toughest challenges cannot be solved in isolation.
“A wall won’t stop that,” Obama said, bringing to mind Trump’s call for building a border wall between the U.S. and Mexico. “The point is, to help ourselves, we’ve got to help others — not pull up the drawbridge and try to keep the world out.”
The president never mentioned Trump by name, but his intended target seemed clear. Repeatedly, Obama referred to disparaging comments about Muslims and immigrants, and opposition to free trade deals. But he appeared most incensed by what he described as a rejection of facts, science and intellectualism that he said was pervading politics.
“In politics and in life, ignorance is not a virtue,” Obama said. “It’s not cool to not know what you’re talking about. That’s not keeping it real or telling it like it is. That’s not challenging political correctness. That’s just not knowing what you’re talking about,” the president said.
IS attack and bombings leave 29 dead across Iraq
BAGHDAD (AP) — The Islamic State group launched a coordinated assault Sunday on a natural gas plant north of Baghdad that killed at least 14 people, while a string of other bomb attacks in or close to the capital killed 15 others, Iraqi officials said.
The dawn attack on the gas plant began with a suicide car bombing at the facility’s main gate in the town of Taji, about 20 kilometers (12 miles) north of Baghdad. Several suicide bombers and militants then broke into the plant and clashed with security forces. The dead included six civilians and eight security forces; 27 troops were wounded.
The IS-affiliated Aamaq news agency credited a group of “caliphate soldiers” for the attack.
Closed-circuit television images showed as an explosion hit inside the facility. As flames engulfed the facility and nearby palm trees, pedestrians were seen running for cover. A crowd gathered to watch as thick black smoke rose above the plant, sections of which were left in ruins. The top of one of the gas-processing units was blown off.
In a statement, Deputy Oil Minister Hamid Younis said firefighters managed to control and extinguish the fire. He said technicians were examining the damage. Hours after the attack, passers-by inspecting the damage posed for cell phone photos in front of the ruined complex.
US envoy in anti-IS battle: ‘perverse caliphate’ shrinking
AMMAN, Jordan (AP) — The Obama administration’s diplomatic point man in the fight against the Islamic State group said Sunday that the extremists have been losing control over territory and that “this perverse caliphate is shrinking.”
Brett McGurk, presidential envoy to a 66-member anti-IS coalition, also told a news conference that the tide has turned in the ideological battle against the extremists.
He described a round-the-clock anti-IS propaganda campaign involving companies such as Facebook and YouTube and the governments of Jordan, Malaysia and the United Arab Emirates.
“For every pro-Daesh Twitter handle, there are now six calling out its lies and countering its message,” McGurk said, referring to IS by its Arabic acronym.
U.S. officials said earlier this year that the military had ramped up cyber operations against the group.
Nostalgia for Mao 50 years after China’s Cultural Revolution
LUOYANG, China (AP) — Fifty years after Mao Zedong unleashed the decade-long Cultural Revolution to reassert his authority and revive his radical communist agenda, the spirit of modern China’s founder still exerts a powerful pull.
Millions of people were persecuted, publicly humiliated, beaten or killed during the upheaval, as zealous factionalism metastasized countrywide, tearing apart Chinese society at a most basic level.
Student groups tortured their own teachers, and children were made to watch mobs beat their own parents condemned as counter-revolutionaries. Gangs engaging in “armed struggle” killed at least a half million people while countless more committed suicide, unable to cope with relentless persecution.
It was only in 1981 — five years after Mao’s death — that China’s government officially pronounced the Cultural Revolution “a catastrophe.”
But in the ancient city of Luoyang, the old, the poor and the marginalized gather daily in the main public square to profess nostalgia for the political movement, downplaying that period’s violent excesses. In the marble halls of power in Beijing, Cultural Revolution-era song-and-dance performances are being revived. China’s liberals see ominous signs of a society tugged backward by ideological currents.