Democrats elect Perez national chairman ATLANTA (AP) - Democrats chose former Labor Secretary Tom Perez as their new national chairman Saturday over a liberal Minnesota congressman, capping a divisive campaign that reflected the depths of the party's electoral failures as well as the energy from resistance to President Donald Trump. Perez, the first Latino to hold the post, edged Rep. Keith Ellison in the second round of voting by Democratic National Committee members gathered in Atlanta. The new chairman must rebuild a party that in the last decade has lost about 1,000 elected posts from the White House to Congress to the 50 statehouses, a power deficit Democrats have not seen nationally in 90 years.
Malaysia says airport safe, autopsy shows nerve agent effect KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) - Malaysia's health minister said Sunday autopsy results suggested a nerve agent caused "very serious paralysis" that killed the exiled half brother of North Korea's leader, as police completed a sweep of the budget terminal where he was poisoned and declared it safe of any toxin. The investigation has unleashed a serious diplomatic fight between Malaysia and North Korea, a prime suspect in the Feb. 13 killing of Kim Jong Nam at Kuala Lumpur's airport. Friday's revelation by Malaysian police that the banned chemical weapon VX nerve agent was used to kill Kim raised the stakes significantly in a case that has broad geopolitical implications.
In Trump's first speech to Congress, will decorum hold? WASHINGTON (AP) - A presidential speech to Congress is one of those all-American moments that ooze ritual and decorum. The House sergeant-at-arms will stand at the rear of the House of Representatives on Tuesday night and announce the arrival of Donald Trump before a joint session of Congress by intoning: "Mister Speaker, the President of the United States" just like always. Trump will stride down the center aisle to lusty cheers and hearty handshakes from his Republican supporters. First lady Melania Trump, accompanied by special guests, will smile from the gallery above. From there, though, the president who favors disruption over decorum can take the night in any number of directions.
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Neighbor: Bar attack suspect a 'drunken mess,' not political OLATHE, Kan. (AP) - A Kansas man accused of shooting two Indian immigrants and a third man at a bar, in what some believe was a hate crime, was always a drinker but became a "drunken mess" after his father died about 18 months ago, a longtime neighbor said Saturday. Andy Berthelsen said his neighbor Adam Purinton, who is charged with murder and attempted murder in Wednesday night's attack, was very close to his father, who died of pancreatic cancer. He said in the past year, Purinton bounced from one menial job to the next and was sometimes drunk by mid-morning.
Deadly insurgent attack in Homs weighs on UN-led Syria talks GENEVA (AP) - A deadly terrorist attack in central Syria on Saturday threatened to thwart efforts to wrest a political solution at peace talks in Geneva, with the U.N. mediator decrying "spoilers" who try to derail the efforts to end the country's disastrous six-year war. The government's envoy demanded a firm condemnation from all opposition groups of the synchronized attacks by insurgents on security offices in Homs that left dozens dead, while the opposition retorted that it has long denounced terrorism - even suggesting it may have been an inside job. "Any party that refuses to condemn these attacks today, we will consider that party to be an accomplice of terrorism," Syria's U.N.
Border agents ask Muhammad Ali's son: 'Are you Muslim?' Muhammad Ali's son, who bears the boxing great's name, was detained by immigration officials at a Florida airport and questioned about his ancestry and religion in what amounted to unconstitutional profiling, a family friend said Saturday. Returning from a Black History Month event in Jamaica, Muhammad Ali Jr. and his mother, Khalilah Camacho Ali, were pulled aside and separated from each other on Feb. 7 at the immigration checkpoint at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, said Chris Mancini, a family friend and attorney. Camacho Ali was released a short time later after showing a photo of herself with her ex-husband, the former heavyweight boxing champion, Mancini said.
Warren Buffett sticks to business, avoids politics in letter OMAHA, Neb. (AP) - Billionaire investor Warren Buffett reiterated his rosy long-term outlook for the U.S. economy and his distaste for high Wall Street fees in his annual letter to Berkshire Hathaway shareholders that always draws a big audience. The letter released Saturday also describes the performance of the more than 90 companies that Berkshire owns. But aside from that, Buffett largely emphasized points he's made in the past. Buffett will likely address other topics during a three-hour television appearance Monday on CNBC, but he still may leave some people wanting more. Here are some highlights of what Berkshire's 86-year-old chairman and CEO did say, and some of the top things investors wish he had addressed: --- ROSY OUTLOOK While reiterating his long-term outlook for a prosperous America, Buffett mostly steered clear of politics this year.
Trump says he won't attend correspondents dinner this spring WASHINGTON (AP) - President Donald Trump, who has been criticizing the news media and is famously thin-skinned, says he won't be attending the White House Correspondents' Association dinner - sparing himself the dubious honor of being an in-the-house target of jokes. The annual fundraiser for college scholarships and venue for reporting awards mixes politicians, journalists and celebrities and is typically attended by the president and first lady. Remarks by a comedian, often roasting the president, and a humorous address by the president himself, often roasting the press and political opponents, have highlighted the event, which C-SPAN has carried live. In a tweet Saturday, Trump wrote: "I will not be attending the White House Correspondents' Association Dinner this year.
Fox News' Swedish 'security advisor' has heads scratching NEW YORK (AP) - A trans-Atlantic wave of puzzlement is rippling across Sweden for the second time in a week, after a prominent Fox News program featured a "Swedish defense and national security advisor" who's unknown to the country's military and foreign-affairs officials. Swedes, and some Americans, have been wondering about representations of the Nordic nation in the U.S. since President Donald Trump invoked "what's happening last night in Sweden" while alluding to past terror attacks in Europe during a rally Feb. 18. There hadn't been any major incident in Sweden the previous night. Then, Fox News commentator Bill O'Reilly convened an on-air faceoff Thursday over Swedish immigration and crime between a Swedish newspaper reporter and a man identified on screen and verbally as a "Swedish defense and national security advisor," Nils Bildt.
Song and dance, protest and politics to mingle at Oscars LOS ANGELES (AP) - The 89th Academy Awards show promises to be equal parts pomp and politics. The only thing expected to take the stage more often than the frothy front-runner "La La Land" at Sunday's ceremony is protest (and probably some punchlines) over the policies of President Donald Trump. For largely liberal Hollywood, his election has proven a rallying cause-celebre throughout an awards season that has otherwise been a parade of honors for Damien Chazelle's celebrated musical. Just how political things are going to get at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles may be the biggest question of Sunday night's show, to be broadcast by ABC beginning at 8:30 p.m.