AP News in Brief at 12:04 a.m. EDT


Obama cancels meeting with new Philippine president

VIENTIANE, Laos (AP) — President Barack Obama called off a planned meeting Tuesday with new Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, seeking distance from a U.S. ally’s leader during a diplomatic tour that’s put Obama in close quarters with a cast of contentious world figures.

It’s unusual for one president to tell another what to say or not say, and much rarer to call the other a “son of a bitch.” Duterte managed to do both just before flying to Laos for a regional summit, warning Obama not to challenge him over extrajudicial killings in the Philippines.

“Clearly, he’s a colorful guy,” Obama said. “What I’ve instructed my team to do is talk to their Philippine counterparts to find out is this in fact a time where we can have some constructive, productive conversations.”

Early Tuesday, National Security Council spokesman Ned Price said the meeting with Duterte was off.

Duterte has been under intense global scrutiny over the more than 2,000 suspected drug dealers and users killed since he took office. Obama had said he planned to raise the issue in his first meeting with Duterte, but the Philippine leader insisted he was only listening to his own country’s people.

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Clinton blasts Russia, Trump softens immigration stance

CLEVELAND (AP) — Setting the stage on Labor Day for a critical month in their testy presidential campaign, Donald Trump softened his stance on immigration while Hillary Clinton blasted Russia for its suspected tampering in the U.S. electoral process.

In a rare news conference aboard her new campaign plane, Clinton said she is concerned about “credible reports about Russian government interference in our elections.”

“We are going to have to take those threats and attacks seriously,” Clinton told reporters traveling with her from Ohio to Illinois.

Clinton’s comments follow reports that the Russian government may have been involved in the hacking of Democratic National Committee emails just days before the party’s national convention. The emails, later revealed by WikiLeaks, showed some DNC officials favoring Clinton over her primary opponent, Bernie Sanders — who has since endorsed Clinton for president.

She said Russian President Vladimir Putin appears “quite satisfied with himself” and said Trump “has generally parroted what is a Putin-Kremlin line.”

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From remote stronghold, Haiti fugitive seeks political power

PESTEL, Haiti (AP) — Fishermen gathered eagerly at a rickety wooden pier to welcome a boat carrying Haiti’s most divisive and provocative political candidate.

The crowd quickly cleared a path as Guy Philippe stepped to shore and began shaking hands and slapping backs. More people emerged to see the man whose face adorns campaign posters on one-room shacks in a community isolated from the rest of the country by forested mountains and rutted roads.

Philippe is reviled by some Haitians as a leader of the 2004 rebellion that ousted President Jean-Bertrand Aristide. He is wanted on decade-old drug-trafficking charges by U.S. authorities. And last week, a Haitian judge questioned him about a deadly May raid on a police station after he rebuffed previous subpoenas.

Yet Philippe appears to be revered in the rural Grand’Anse region of southern Haiti. Many already call him “senator” as he seeks to win a seat in a runoff election scheduled for Oct. 9 — a victory that would give him immunity from arrest and prosecution in his homeland as well as political power that he has long craved.

“He’s like a father for this area,” said Christin Pierre Louis, who was among those welcoming Philippe to the village.

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Gunfire heard early Tuesday in Kabul after midnight attack

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — Gunfire was heard in Kabul early Tuesday, with security forces searching for attackers hidden in a building a day after twin bombings near the Afghan Defense Ministry killed at least 24 people and wounded more than 90 others.

Sediq Sediqqi, spokesman for the Afghan Interior Minister, said sporadic gunfire started again in the morning hours, not long after a suicide car bomber targeted the Kabul residential neighborhood of Shar-e Now, or New City. The explosion was followed by gunfire that continued for over an hour with sporadic shootings.

At least one person is reported dead and six others were wounded as a result of the attack, said Sediqqi. “More than 30 people who were trapped have been evacuated by the security forces,” Sediqqi said.

The area is home to several guest houses and many foreigners and diplomats reside there. After the explosion, probably two more attackers entered one of the buildings in the area, believed to be a guest house, said Sediqqi.

Security forces have blocked all the roads leading to Shar-e Now.

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Mexico’s Baja battens down as Hurricane Newton approaches

CABO SAN LUCAS, Mexico (AP) — Hurricane Newton soaked Mexico’s western Pacific coast with heavy rain Monday and took aim at Baja California’s twin resorts of Los Cabos, where residents nailed plywood over windows and pulled in fishing boats while preparing for a possible direct hit two years after being slammed by a major storm.

Newton’s maximum sustained winds increased to 90 mph (150 kph) by Monday night, according to the U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami. The Category 1 storm was centered about 125 miles (200 kilometers) south-southeast of Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo and was moving northwest at 16 mph (26 kph) on a forecast path that would bring it near or over the area Tuesday morning.

Officials opened 18 shelters at schools in the two resorts and 38 more in other parts of Baja California Sur state, while warning people against panic buying.

“There is no need for mass buying,” Los Cabos Mayor Arturo de la Rosa Escalante said. “There is enough food and fuel for the next 20 days.”

Los Cabos police were stationed at shopping malls to guard against the kind of looting that occurred after Hurricane Odile struck the area in 2014 as a Category 3 storm, with 125 mph (205 kph) winds.

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Hermine lingers offshore, brings rough waves, rip currents

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Hermine twisted hundreds of miles offshore in the Atlantic Ocean on Monday, creating large waves in some southern New England beach waters that lured in surfers despite the rough surf and rip currents that kept most beachgoers away on the last day of the holiday weekend.

“These are more seasoned surfers who live for the thrill of these waves,” said Kim Buttrick, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Taunton, Massachusetts.

Hermine’s position Monday southeast of Nantucket created 20-foot waves and wind gusts of up to 50 kph about 55 miles southeast of the island, Buttrick said. Hermine was expected to stall over the water before weakening again.

Even as Hermine weakens, wind gusts of 30 to 50 mph were expected across southern Rhode Island and southeastern Massachusetts on Monday, Buttrick said.

Governors along the Eastern Seaboard announced emergency preparations. A tropical storm warning was in effect from New York’s Long Island to Massachusetts. New York officials extended beach closures beyond Labor Day because of continued deadly rip currents.

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Far-right activist, author Phyllis Schlafly dies at 92

ST. LOUIS (AP) — Phyllis Schlafly, the outspoken conservative activist who helped defeat the Equal Rights Amendment in the 1970s and founded the Eagle Forum political group, has died. She was 92.

Schlafly’s family was with her when she died Monday afternoon of cancer at her home in St. Louis, her son John Schlafly said. Funeral arrangements are pending, he said.

Schlafly rose to national attention in 1964 with her self-published book, “A Choice Not an Echo,” that became a manifesto for the far right. The book, which sold three million copies, chronicled the history of the Republican National Convention and is credited for helping conservative Sen. Barry Goldwater of Arizona earn the 1964 GOP nomination.

She later helped lead efforts to defeat the proposed constitutional amendment that would have outlawed gender discrimination, galvanizing the party’s right. She’d graduated from college while working overnight at a factory during World War II, her newspaper column appeared in dozens of newspapers and she was politically active into her 90s — including attending every convention since her first in 1952. She attended this year’s convention as a Donald Trump delegate.

Yet she told The Associated Press in 2007 that perhaps her greatest legacy was the Eagle Forum, which she founded in 1972 in suburban St. Louis, where she lived. The ultraconservative group has chapters in several states and claims 80,000 members.

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Chevy Chase enters rehab for ‘tuneup’ on alcohol problem

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Chevy Chase has checked into a rehab facility in Minnesota for treatment for an alcohol problem.

Chase’s publicist Heidi Schaeffer said Monday that Chase is at Hazelden Addiction Treatment Center for what she calls a “tuneup” in his recovery.

Chase has had struggles with substances during his career. He checked into the Betty Ford Clinic in the 1980s for treatment for an addiction to prescription pain killers.

The 72-year-old former star of “Saturday Night Live” and the “Vacation” movies was recently a regular on TV’s “Community” from 2009 to 2014. He has a pair of films coming up, “The Christmas Apprentice,” and “Dog Years.”

His return to rehab was first reported by TMZ.

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Serena Williams overtakes Federer for most Slam match wins

NEW YORK (AP) — Serena Williams now owns more victories in Grand Slam matches than anyone else in tennis’ Open era, surpassing Roger Federer with her 308th.

So, Serena, who’ll wind up with more?

“I don’t know. We’ll see,” Williams said during her on-court interview after reaching the U.S. Open quarterfinals by beating Yaroslava Shvedova 6-2, 6-3 on Monday.

“Hopefully we’ll both keep going,” she added. “I know I plan on it. I know he does. So we’ll see.”

Federer turned 35 on Aug. 8. Williams turns 35 on Sept. 26.

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Seoul says North Korea fires 3 medium-range missiles

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — North Korea on Monday fired three medium-range missiles that traveled about 1,000 kilometers (620 miles) and landed near Japan in an apparent show of force timed to coincide with the Group of 20 economic summit in China, South Korean officials said.

North Korea has staged a series of recent missile tests with increasing range, part of a program that aims to eventually build long-range nuclear missiles capable of striking the U.S. mainland.

Such tests are fairly common when international attention is turned to Northeast Asia, and this one came as world leaders gathered in eastern China for the G-20 summit of advanced and emerging economies. China is North Korea’s only major ally, but ties between the neighbors have frayed amid a string of North Korean nuclear and missile tests and what many outsiders see as other provocations in recent years.

South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said that the three ballistic missiles, all believed to be Rodongs, were launched from the western North Korean town of Hwangju and flew across the country before splashing into the sea.

A Joint Chiefs of Staff statement described the launches as an “armed protest” meant to demonstrate North Korea’s military capability on the occasion of the G-20 summit and days before the North Korean government’s 68th anniversary.

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