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November 16, 2017 - 12:00 am

Big House victory for GOP tax plan, but Senate fate unclear

WASHINGTON (AP) — Republicans rammed a $1.5 trillion overhaul of business and personal income taxes through the House Thursday, edging toward the code's biggest rewrite in three decades and the first major legislative triumph for President Donald Trump and the GOP after 10 bumpy months of controlling government. The mostly party-line 227-205 vote masked more ominous problems in the Senate. There, a similar package received a politically awkward verdict from nonpartisan congressional analysts showing it would eventually produce higher taxes for low- and middle-income earners but deliver deep reductions for those better off. The Senate bill was approved late Thursday by the Finance Committee and sent to the full Senate on a party-line 14-12 vote.

Franken faces ethics probe after woman says he groped her

WASHINGTON (AP) — Minnesota Sen. Al Franken faces a storm of criticism and a likely ethics investigation after a Los Angeles radio anchor accused him Thursday of forcibly kissing her and groping her during a 2006 USO tour. He is the first member of Congress caught up in the recent wave of allegations of sexual abuse and inappropriate behavior. Franken apologized, but the criticism only grew through the day. Fellow Democrats swiftly condemned his actions, mindful of the current climate as well as the prospect of political blowback. Republicans, still forced to answer for the multiple allegations facing Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore, joined in pressing for an investigation.

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. GOP TAX OVERHAUL MAKES HEADWAY Republicans ram a $1.5 trillion overhaul of Americans' business and personal income taxes through the House, edging the nation toward its biggest tax rewrite in three decades, 2. WHO'S LATEST NAME ENSNARED IN HARASSMENT SCANDAL Minnesota Sen. Al Franken apologizes and faces a likely Senate ethics investigation after a Los Angeles radio anchor accuses him of forcibly kissing her during a 2006 USO tour. 3. ROY MOORE TARGETS FEMALE ACCUSERS Ever defiant, the Republican Senate hopeful's campaign lashes out at the women accusing him of sexual misconduct, declaring "let the battle begin." 4.

Moore targets female accusers as critics decry intimidation

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — Ever defiant, Republican Roy Moore's campaign on Thursday lashed out at the women accusing him of sexual misconduct, declaring "let the battle begin." Women's advocates decried the talk as worn intimidation tactics in a desperate attempt to keep his imperiled Senate bid alive. Moore ignored mounting calls from Washington Republicans concerned that Moore may not only lose a seat they were sure to win but also may do significant damage to the party's brand among women nationwide as they prepared for a difficult midterm election season. Moore's team showed no such concerns. "You ask me if I believe the girls.

Congress debates oil drilling in largest US wildlife refuge

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Sometime next April, pregnant cows in the Porcupine Caribou Herd in Canada will take the lead in an annual migration of nearly 200,000 animals north to Alaska. From winter grounds in Canada's Yukon Territory, the caribou traveling in small and large groups will cross rivers and gaps in the mighty Brooks Range on the 400-mile (643-kilometer) journey. Their destination is the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, a strip of flat tundra between the mountains and Arctic Ocean. The plain provides food and a vantage point from which caribou can spot predators from far away.

Rival US and Russian resolutions defeated on Syria weapons

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Rival U.S. and Russian resolutions to extend the mandate of experts trying to determine who was responsible for chemical attacks in Syria were defeated Thursday at a heated Security Council meeting that reflected the deteriorating relations between Washington and Moscow. The result of the two votes means that the expert body — the Joint Investigative Mechanism known as the JIM — will cease operations when its current mandate expires at midnight Thursday. The U.S., its allies and human rights groups called it a serious blow to efforts to hold accountable those responsible for carrying out chemical weapons attacks in Syria.

Killer Charles Manson alive as reports swirl of ill health

LOS ANGELES (AP) — For nearly 50 years Charles Manson has been the living personification of evil, a demonic presence captured in scores of photos, each of them marked by his piercing dark eyes and the crude Nazi swastika he carved into his forehead. That personification returned to the public consciousness again this week, complete with a prison mug shot of a now-elderly but still evil-looking Manson, after a report by TMZ.com that the killer of glamorous actress Sharon Tate and six others is seriously ill and hospitalized in Bakersfield, California. The state Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation declined to confirm that Thursday, saying only that Manson, who turned 83 on Sunday, is still alive.

Menendez avoids 'political grave,' but cloud still looms

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) _ New Jersey Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez exited his federal bribery trial after a mistrial Thursday with an eye on a 2018 re-election effort, but with him neither acquitted nor convicted, the cloud from the investigation remains. The mistrial gave Democrats hoping to hold onto the seat in next year's midterm elections cause for some optimism, but spurred Republicans to keep the pressure up ahead of a campaign season that could feature plenty of attack ads against Menendez based on the allegations that he helped a wealthy friend in exchange for luxury trips and campaign donations.

Meryl Streep says violent experiences changed her profoundly

NEW YORK (AP) — Meryl Streep says the two times in her life she dealt with violence were so profound it changed her "on a cellular level." Streep made the remarks Wednesday at the Committee to Protect Journalists' 27th annual International Press Freedom Awards in New York. The Oscar-winner told the audience she did "know something about real terror." She recounted two incidents, one in which she said she was attacked and "played dead and waited until the blows stopped." Streep then described another incident when someone else was being abused. She said in that case, she "went completely nuts" and chased the man off.

Global hit 'Despacito' dominates Latin Grammys with 4 awards

LAS VEGAS (AP) — The global hit "Despacito" was the big winner at Thursday's Latin Grammy Awards, making good on all four of its nominations, including record and song of the year. Singer-songwriter Luis Fonsi dedicated his awards to his native Puerto Rico, as did several other artists throughout the three-hour show, which opened with a moment of silence for the storm-ravaged island. "I'm here because of Puerto Rico, and this song is a hymn to Puerto Rico," Fonsi said backstage. "Everything I do, and everything I will do, now more than ever, is to continue celebrating my island, my culture, my homeland and my music, and to make sure the public knows that Puerto Rico needs help." Lin-Manuel Miranda received the President's Merit Award at the ceremony, held at the MGM Grand Garden Arena and broadcast live on Univision.

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