Conservatives on board with toughened House bill on border crisis, Obama condemns plan

WASHINGTON (AP) -- House Republicans revived their bill on the U.S.-Mexico border crisis in dramatic fashion Friday, preparing to pass it after winning over conservatives with tough new provisions that could threaten deportation for hundreds of thousands of immigrants already working in this country legally. President Barack Obama condemned the Republican action and said he’d act unilaterally, as best he could.

A day after GOP leaders pulled the border bill from the floor in a chaotic retreat, tea party lawmakers were enthusiastically on board with the new $694 million version and a companion measure that would shut off a program created by Obama granting work permits to immigrants brought here illegally as kids. The second bill also seemed designed to prevent the more than 500,000 people who’ve already gotten work permits under the program from renewing them, ultimately making them subject to deportation.

Votes on both measures were expected later Friday.

"It’s dealing with the issue that the American people care about more than any other, and that is stopping the invasion of illegal foreign nationals into our country," said Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn. "And we got to yes."

But Obama said no. "They’re not even trying to solve the problem," the president said. "I’m going to have to act alone, because we do not have enough resources.


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Israel pushes deeper into Gaza after soldier is captured by militants and cease-fire collapses

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) -- Backed by tank fire and airstrikes, Israeli forces pushed deep into southern Gaza on Friday, searching for an Israeli army officer believed to be captured by Hamas fighters during deadly clashes that shattered an internationally brokered cease-fire.

The apparent capture of the soldier and the collapse of the truce set the stage for a possible expansion of Israel’s 25-day-old military operation against Hamas.

President Barack Obama and U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon called for the immediate release of the soldier but also appealed for restraint. In Israel, senior Cabinet ministers convened late Friday in a rare emergency meeting after the start of the Jewish Sabbath.

The search for the missing soldier centered on the outskirts of the town of Rafah, on the Egypt-Gaza border.

At least 140 Palestinians were killed Friday in Gaza, with at least 70 killed in the Rafah area along with two Israeli soldiers.

Ukraine: Body parts retrieved at crash site by investigators working close to war zone

HRABOVE, Ukraine (AP) -- Wearing gloves and carrying blue plastic buckets, international investigators finally began gathering up body parts and victims’ belongings Friday in the fields where Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 came down.

Artillery boomed in the distance as the 70-member team of Dutch and Australian experts painstakingly combed a patch of scrubland not far from the site of bloody clashes between Ukrainian soldiers and pro-Russian separatist rebels.

The team’s top priority: collecting the remains of as many as 80 victims that have been lying out in the open, baking in the midsummer heat, for more than two weeks because investigators were prevented by the fighting from reaching the scene.

Pieter-Jaap Aalbersberg, head of the Dutch recovery mission, said in the Ukrainian capital of Kiev that the experts were able to gather some of the human remains. He would not give details out of respect for the victims’ relatives.

The pace set Friday hinted at the magnitude of the task ahead.

2 Americans detained in NKorea say they will be tried soon, appeal for U.S. help

PYONGYANG, North Korea (AP) -- Two American tourists charged with "anti-state" crimes in North Korea said Friday they expect to be tried soon and pleaded for help from the U.S.government to secure their release from what they say could be long prison terms.

In their first appearance since being detained more than three months ago, Matthew Todd Miller and Jeffrey Edward Fowle told a local AP Television News crew that they were in good health and were being treated well. They also said they were allowed to take daily walks. The brief meeting was conducted under the condition that the specific location not be disclosed.

Fowle said he fears his situation will get much worse once he goes on trial.

"The horizon for me is pretty dark," he said. "I don’t know what the worst-case scenario would be, but I need help to extricate myself from this situation. I ask the government for help in that regards."

It was not clear whether they were speaking on their own initiative, or if their comments were coerced. The TV crew was permitted to ask them questions.

Denver County celebrates pot at county fair with contests for plants, bongs and edible treats

DENVER (AP) -- Marijuana joined roses and dahlias Friday in blue ribbon events at the nation’s first county fair to allow pot competitions.

This weekend’s Denver County Fair includes a 21-and-over "Pot Pavilion" where winning entries for plants, bongs, edible treats and clothes made from hemp are on display.

There is no actual weed at the fairgrounds. Instead, fairgoers will see photos of the competing pot plants and marijuana-infused foods. A sign near the entry warns patrons not to consume pot at the fair.

A speed joint-rolling contest uses oregano, not pot. The only real stuff allowed at the event? Doritos, to be used in the munchie eating contest.

Organizers say the marijuana categories this year -- which come with the debut of legal recreational marijuana in Colorado -- add a fun twist on Denver’s already-quirky county fair, which includes a drag queen pageant and a contest for dioramas made with Peeps candies.

Mayor sends his sympathy to family of NYC man killed by police chokehold after homicide ruling

NEW YORK (AP) -- Mayor Bill de Blasio (dih BLAH’-zee-oh) is extending his "deepest sympathy" to the family of a New York City man whose death was ruled to be caused by a police chokehold.

De Blasio issued a statement Friday shortly after the medical examiner ruled that Eric Garner’s death last month was a homicide.

The mayor also has reiterated his commitment to improving the relationship between minority communities and the police.

Garner, who is black, died after a white police officer placed him in a chokehold during an attempt to arrest the 43-year-old for selling untaxed, loose cigarettes.

The videotaped confrontation caused widespread outcry and calls by the Rev. Al Sharpton for federal prosecution.

Stabbing suspect, 12, ordered to treatment after doctors testify she sees fictional characters

WAUKESHA, Wis. (AP) -- One of two preteens accused of stabbing a classmate 19 times to please a fictional horror character was ordered Friday to receive treatment rather than stand trial, based on doctors’ testimony that she claims to see and have conversations with things others cannot -- including unicorns and a Harry Potter villain.

Judge Michael Bohren ordered the 12-year-old girl evaluated and treated either in a hospital or in a juvenile detention center, where she currently is being held. Doctors have a year to get the girl to a point where she can help with her defense and go to trial. If they can’t, she could be held at a treatment center.

According to court documents, the girls plotted for months to kill their friend to curry favor with Slender Man, a character in horror stories they read online. They told investigators they believed Slender Man had a mansion in a Wisconsin forest and they planned to go live with him after the slaying.

Dr. Kenneth Robbins, a psychiatrist hired by the girl’s defense attorney, testified that the girl believes she can communicate telepathically with Slender Man and was more worried about offending the specter than going to prison.

"If she says the wrong thing, if she somehow upsets Slender Man, not only hers, but her family’s lives, could be in danger," Robbins explained.