[ {"id":"155c6063-b4e3-592b-9e95-7beb9b41203a","type":"article","starttime":"1490350138","starttime_iso8601":"2017-03-24T03:08:58-07:00","priority":0,"sections":[{"national":"news/national"}],"flags":{"ap":"true"},"application":"editorial","title":"10 Things to Know for Today","url":"http://tucson.com/news/national/article_155c6063-b4e3-592b-9e95-7beb9b41203a.html","permalink":"http://tucson.com/news/national/things-to-know-for-today/article_155c6063-b4e3-592b-9e95-7beb9b41203a.html","canonical":"http://www.apnewsarchive.com/2017/10-Things-to-Know-for-Today/id-0741ba0c10454ccca84f53504fed926a","relatedAssetCounts":{"article":0,"audio":0,"image":3,"link":0,"vmix":0,"youtube":0,"gallery":0},"byline":"By The Associated Press","prologue":"Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about today:","supportsComments":true,"commentCount":0,"keywords":["wire","general news"],"internalKeywords":["#lee","#ap"],"customProperties":{},"presentation":null,"images":[{"id":"a6ff8c5c-8108-5f76-a077-66d92d2748bd","description":"Xavier guard Trevon Bluiett (5) drives to the basket against Arizona during the second half of an NCAA Tournament college basketball regional semifinal game Thursday, March 23, 2017, in San Jose, Calif. 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Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about today:

1. TRUMP DEMANDS VOTE ON HEALTH CARE OVERHAUL

GOP House leaders seemed to be calculating that at crunch time, they could coax enough dissidents to pass the bill that aims to repeal and replace Obamacare.

2. UK POLICE ARREST 2 MORE IN LONDON TERROR ATTACK

Nine people are currently in custody in connection with the Westminster attack that killed 4.

3. SENIOR US OFFICIALS: TRUMP SET TO APPROVE KEYSTONE XL PIPELINE

Advocates say the pipeline will improve U.S. energy security and create jobs, while opponents contend the jobs will be minimal and short-lived, and the project threatens the environment.

4. FACTS OFTEN FOLLOW FICTION FOR TRUMP

The president has developed a pattern of making an outrageous claim, then wait until something emerges that can be spun as vindication.

5. WHY 9/11 SAUDI ARABIA LAWSUITS GAIN MOMENTUM

Congress overrode then-President Obama's veto last fall and approved a law that allows a civil case to go forward that seeks to hold Saudi Arabia accountable for the Sept. 11 attacks.

6. HONG KONG IS POISED TO CHOOSE NEW LEADER

Members of a committee dominated by Beijing-favored elites will cast their ballots in the first such vote since 2014's huge pro-democracy protests.

7. WHY BLACK LIVES MATTER GROUPS BAND TOGETHER WITH WAGE ACTIVISTS

The organizations are joining forces to push for $15-an-hour minimum wage.

8. S. KOREA RAISES SUNKEN FERRY

More than 300 people \u2014 most of whom were students on a high school trip \u2014 died when the vessel sank on April 16, 2014.

9. CAR STOLEN IN S. CALIF. WITH 2 TODDLERS INSIDE

The boys were in their babysitters' car when she stepped out for an errand and someone stole it.

10. WHERE'S THE NEXT NCAA CINDERELLA

No. 11 seed Xavier and No. 7 South Carolina emerge as the latest underdogs in the basketball tourney.

"} ]
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WASHINGTON (AP) \u2014 President Donald Trump thought he had a deal.

He'd been greeted with a standing ovation \u2014 one of his favorite measures of success \u2014 when he entered the Roosevelt Room on Thursday to meet with members of the hard-line House Freedom Caucus.

After seven years of promises, the president said Republicans had reached a crucial moment to repeal and replace the \"Obamacare\" health care law. They had the right bill in front of them and a president who could get them across the finish line, he argued.

\"Have you read 'The Art of the Deal?' You need to read, 'The Art of the Deal,'\" Rep. Paul Gosar, R-Ariz., said of the president's message to lawmakers.

But Trump's guide to closing a deal in the boardroom turned out not to provide a roadmap to passing a bill. Less than 24 hours later, the Trump-backed health care law would collapse in a shocking failure for a new president on his first attempt to legislate. The final push to round up the votes, as told by administration officials, congressional aides and others familiar with the president's thinking, demonstrates Trump's difficulty in navigating competing factions in his own party.

Although the White House referred to Trump as a \"the closer,\" every time the president attempted to make concessions to conservatives, it alienated more moderate members.

In relatively short order, the president encountered the complexity of legislating and found he could not master the art of building consensus.

___

\"No deal,\" Rep. Mark Meadows, the House Freedom Caucus chairman, said hours after the standing ovation for Trump on Thursday.

The concessions Trump offered to the conservatives weren't enough, much to the frustration of the White House.

To Trump, health care had been more of a necessary agenda item than a passion project. Still, he had signed on to House Speaker Paul Ryan's plan and promised to work the phones to help rack up votes. Throughout the process, Trump wanted a vote on the bill that would force House members to make clear which side they were on.

\"There's going to be no waiting and no more excuses by anybody,\" Trump told Rep. Steve Scalise of Louisiana and the Republican House vote-counting team in early March.

The White House thought it had a natural ally in Meadows and the conservative members of his group. On Wednesday, the night before the House planned to vote, Trump agreed to eliminate the essential services requirements, the part of the law that mandated insurers cover a slate of popular services, such as maternity and mental health care. The move cost him moderate Republicans.

But by Thursday afternoon, about 25 members of the caucus were still in opposition, forcing Ryan to postpone the vote a day in hopes of salvaging the bill.

\"We really had it. It was pretty much there, within grasp,\" Trump later told reporters, expressing disappointment in the group.

__

Trump, meanwhile, seemed preoccupied with other matters. As negotiations went down to the wire Thursday, Trump was busy welcoming a group of truckers he'd invited to the White House with their big rigs. It was a stunning split screen, with the president hamming it up in the cab of a truck, as news broke that the vote had been postponed.

It wasn't the first time Trump had seemed to be disconnected from the fight. People familiar with Trump's approach described him as more focused on getting to a deal than bogged down in the details of the policy.

Outside groups formed to push his policy agenda ran no ads to promote the bill. And in speeches this week, Trump had started to sound ready to move on to an agenda item that he hopes will be more gratifying: tax reform.

\"We want a very big tax cut, but cannot do that until we keep our promise to repeal and replace the disaster known as 'Obamacare,'\" he told a rally in Louisville, Kentucky, earlier this week.

__

Meadows told reporters on Thursday night that he remained optimistic that a deal could be reached. He disputed criticism that he was moving the goal posts on a deal.

By nightfall, Trump's team had had enough.

The president dispatched his top deputies to Capitol Hill and demanded a make-or-break vote. The president, said budget director Mick Mulvaney, was done negotiating. Aides warned that Trump would walk away from the table, leaving \"Obamacare\" in place if the vote failed.

During the meeting, White House officials tried to get individual members of the Freedom Caucus to say how they would vote, a play to isolate and identify the holdouts. They began with Rep. Mo Brooks of Alabama, but were quickly rebuffed by Meadows, who said he spoke for the caucus.

Trump's ultimatum did little to persuade.

By Friday morning, an angry president was lashing out on Twitter, writing \"this is finally your chance for a great plan!\" in a message that called out the members of the Freedom Caucus. \"The irony is that the Freedom Caucus, which is very pro-life and against Planned Parenthood, allows P.P. to continue if they stop this plan!\"

As the bill's chances were sinking on Friday, Gosar pinned the blame on Trump's team. \"I don't think the president bluffs at all, but I think he follows a pattern. He trusts the people that are around him. I don't know that the people around him, and the people he trusts, actually did him a service,\" Gosar said.

__

The House vote was scheduled for 3:30 p.m. Friday, but the writing was already on the wall.

Lacking the votes, Ryan left the Capitol shortly after noon and rode down Pennsylvania Avenue to the White House to make the case for the last time that that the vote should be pulled.

Trump and several White House advisers had pushed for a vote on the bill regardless. They wanted to make clear which House Republicans had opposed him on the key legislation.

Over a lunch of chicken and Brussel sprouts, Trump and Ryan, joined by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, discussed the prospects for tax reform, a topic that allowed the president to begin planning for future legislative battles.

Ryan and Trump emerged from the meeting with an agreement to pull the bill, rather than risk a humiliating, and possibly sizable, defeat.

Trump almost immediately began dialing reporters from The Washington Post and The New York Times to explain the decision.

He blamed the collapse on Democrats.

__

Associated Press writer Erica Werner contributed to this report.

__

Follow Thomas and Colvin on Twitter at https://twitter.com/KThomasDC and https://twitter.com/colvinj

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WASHINGTON (AP) \u2014 House Republicans passed roughly 60 bills over the past six years dismembering President Barack Obama's health care overhaul. Other than minor tweaks, they knew the measures would go nowhere because the Democrat still lived in the White House.

With a bill that counted Friday, they choked. It was an epic, damaging, self-inflicted collapse that smothered the GOP effort.

\"We're going to be living with Obamacare for the foreseeable future,\" a flustered Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., told reporters after abruptly yanking the legislation off the House floor to avert a certain defeat. \"I don't know how long it's going to take us to repeal this law.\"

The measure would have erased much of Obama's 2010 law, eliminating its unpopular requirement that people buy coverage, ending its Medicaid expansion and trimming federal assistance to people to help pay medical bills. It represented the culmination of seven years of unsuccessful GOP attempts to craft a replacement bill the party could rally behind \u2014 a unity that ended up eluding them.

With President Donald Trump serving alongside a Congress controlled by the GOP, the bill was the party's first genuine opportunity to repeal Obama's statute. Ryan shelved it amid defections from centrist Republicans who thought it went too far and conservatives who considered it too weak, plus solid Democratic opposition.

Its rejection was fueled by nonpartisan congressional analysts concluding it would cause 24 million people to lose coverage in a decade and drive up costs for poorer and older people. There was also opposition from doctors, hospitals, consumer groups and AARP.

One problem facing the GOP is repercussions from the party's voters. For nearly a decade, they've heard countless Republican congressional candidates promise to repeal Obama's statute, a pledge that became a centerpiece of Trump's presidential campaign.

\"It's a really good question,\" Ryan said, asked how Republicans could face constituents after failing to deliver on years of promises. \"I wish I had a better answer for you.\"

Democrats, loyal defenders of Obama's law, were literally jumping for joy. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., removed her shoes and took a victory leap while meeting activists outside the Capitol.

Obama's statute has spread coverage to 20 million people and required insurers to cover numerous services and barred them from refusing policies to the very sick.

Top congressional Republicans conceded the measure's demise meant it was time to move onto other issues.

Among them was Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., who has spoken repeatedly about how unraveling Obama's law was a top priority for his chamber. In a statement, he expressed only gloom about the effort's future.

\"Obamacare is failing the American people and I deeply appreciate the efforts of the speaker and the president to keep our promise to repeal and replace it, \"McConnell said. \"I share their disappointment that this effort came up short.\"

Two chief House authors expressed no taste for diving back into the issue.

\"D-O-N-E done. This bill is dead,\" said Rep. Greg Walden, R-Ore., who heads the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady, R-Texas, said Republicans \"are moving full speed ahead with President Trump on the first pro-growth tax reform in a generation.\"

Conveying some hope was Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La., who with Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, proposed health care legislation that would let states decide to continue Obama's programs.

\"Mr. President, Cassidy-Collins is still an option to fulfill your promise to repeal and replace #Obamacare,\" Cassidy tweeted Friday.

But there was no easy path ahead. Retooling America's health care system \u2014 it comprises one-sixth of the nation's economy \u2014 is a multi-tiered puzzle.

On the economic side, it involves refashioning how providers, patients and federal programs should interact. And a political balance must be struck between conservatives eager to erase Obama's law and push the system toward a free-market approach, and GOP moderates wary that would strip coverage from some voters and drive up out-of-pocket costs for others.

Earlier this month, Ryan thought he would find that balance.

\"We'll have 218 (votes) when this thing comes to the floor, I can guarantee you that,\" he said, referring to the House majority usually needed to pass legislation.

Ironically, the outcome hewed more closely to a prediction by Ryan's predecessor, former Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio. Boehner was forced out of office in 2015 largely by the hard-right House Freedom Caucus, the same group whose opposition was largely responsible for the crumpling of the GOP bill on Friday.

Boehner said last month that while Republicans would fix some problems of Obama's law, a repeal and replacement is \"not going to happen.\"

He added, \"Republicans never ever agree on health care.\"

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LOS ANGELES (AP) \u2014 Stars and fans will gather Saturday for a public memorial to honor late actresses Debbie Reynolds and Carrie Fisher nearly three months after their deaths.

The ceremony honoring the lives of the mother-daughter duo will be held at Forest Lawn-Hollywood Hills, the storied cemetery that is their final resting place. People will be granted attendance at the event on a first-come, first-served basis, and it will be live-streamed on www.debbiereynolds.com beginning at 1 p.m. Pacific.

The ceremony is slated to feature music by James Blunt and \"Star Wars\" composer John Williams and display Hollywood memorabilia that Reynolds collected throughout her life.

Fisher, 60, an actress and writer who starred as Princess Leia in the original \"Star Wars\" trilogy, died Dec. 27 after suffering a medical emergency days earlier aboard a flight from London. Reynolds, 84, an Oscar-nominated actress who shot to fame after starring in \"Singin' in the Rain\" at age 19, died the following day after being briefly hospitalized.

\"She said, 'I want to be with Carrie,'\" Reynolds' son, Todd Fisher, told The Associated Press after his mother's death. \"And then she was gone.\"

The back-to-back deaths of two prominent actresses were stunning, but they were made even more poignant by the women's complex history. Fisher and Reynolds had a strained relationship that Fisher explored in her writing, but they later reconciled and became trusted confidantes brought closer by painful events in their lives.

Reynolds lost one husband to Elizabeth Taylor, and two other husbands plundered her for millions. Fisher struggled with addiction and mental illness, which she candidly described in books and interviews.

Fisher died after finishing work on \"The Last Jedi,\" the eighth film in the core \"Star Wars\" saga. Disney CEO Bob Iger said this week that Fisher appears throughout the film, and her performance will not be changed.

Reynolds earned an Oscar nomination for her starring role in \"The Unsinkable Molly Brown.\"

The actresses participated in an HBO documentary on their lives called \"Bright Lights,\" which aired in January.

Todd Fisher organized Saturday's memorial to give fans an opportunity to honor his mother and sister. Fisher's daughter, actress Billie Lourd, is expected to attend.

Stars including Meryl Streep, Tracey Ullman and Stephen Fry mourned the actresses at a private memorial in January.

___

Anthony McCartney can be reached at http://twitter.com/mccartneyAP

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CHICAGO (AP) \u2014 A blogger from Singapore who was jailed for his online posts blasting his government was granted asylum to remain in the United States, an immigration judge ruled.

Amos Yee, 18, has been detained by federal immigration authorities since December when he was taken into custody at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport. Attorneys said he could be released from a Wisconsin detention center as early as Monday.

Judge Samuel Cole issued a 13-page decision Friday, more than two weeks after Yee's closed-door hearing on the asylum application.

\"Yee has met his burden of showing that he suffered past persecution on account of his political opinion and has a well-founded fear of future persecution in Singapore,\" Cole wrote.

Yee left Singapore with the intention of seeking asylum in the U.S. after being jailed for several weeks in 2015 and 2016. He was accused of hurting the religious feelings of Muslims and Christians in the multiethnic city-state. Yee is an atheist.

Many of his blog and social media posts criticized Singapore's leaders. He created controversy in 2015 as the city-state was mourning the death of its first prime minister and he posted an expletive-laden video about Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew just after his death.

Such open criticism of political leaders is discouraged in Singapore. The case raised questions about free speech and censorship and has been closely watched abroad.

Cole said testimony during Yee's hearing showed that while the Singapore government's stated reason for punishing him involved religion, \"its real purpose was to stifle Yee's political speech.\" He said Yee's prison sentence was \"unusually long and harsh\" especially for his age.

Officials at Singapore's embassy in Washington, D.C., have not addressed the case and messages left for the government on Saturday morning in Singapore weren't immediately returned.

The ruling was praised by others.

\"I think this is a major embarrassment for the government, that all along claimed Amos' persecution was not political,\" Kenneth Jeyaretnam, an opposition politician who gave testimony supporting Yee's asylum, told The Associated Press.

Jeyaretnam said the decision \"may create waves in Singapore. It may show Singaporeans that there's nothing to be afraid about. The Singapore government is a paper tiger. We don't have to swallow the brainwashing that is constantly put out.\"

His father, the late J.B. Jeyaretnam, attained folklore stature in the country's politics and was bankrupted after contesting a series of lawsuits by the ruling People's Action Party.

The party has dominated national politics since Singapore's independence in 1965 and its detractors often were taken to court on defamation or other charges.

U.S.-based Human Rights Watch applauded the asylum decision.

\"Singapore excels at creating a pressure cooker environment for dissidents and free thinkers who dare challenge the political, economic and social diktats from the ruling People's Action Party. It's clear the Singapore government saw Amos Yee as the proverbial nail sticking up that had to be hammered down,\" said a statement from Phil Robertson, Human Rights Watch deputy Asia director.

Yee's attorney Sandra Grossman said her client was elated.

\"He's very excited to begin new life in the United States,\" Grossman said.

Yee told AP in a phone interview from jail this month that he feared returning to Singapore. But he said he'd continue to speak out and had already planned a line of T-shirts and started writing a book about his experiences.

\"I have an infinite amount of ideas of what to do,\" he told AP.

Department of Homeland Security attorneys had opposed the asylum bid, saying Yee's case didn't qualify as persecution based on political beliefs. It was unclear whether they'd appeal the decision or if Yee would have to remain imprisoned if they did. Attorneys have 30 days to appeal.

Officials with Department of Homeland Security and Immigration and Customs Enforcement didn't immediately return messages Friday. A spokeswoman for the Executive Office for Immigration Review, which oversees U.S. immigration courts, declined comment.

___

Associated Press writer Annabelle Liang in Singapore contributed to this report.

___

Follow Sophia Tareen on Twitter at https://twitter.com/sophiatareen.

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WINCHESTER, Va. (AP) \u2014 Police in Virginia have arrested a man who was dressed as comic book villain the Joker and reportedly carrying a sword.

Winchester Police Department spokeswoman Jennifer Hall said in a news release that the department got several 911 calls Friday afternoon reporting a man made up as Batman's nemesis. He was wearing a cape and carrying a sword.

Thirty-one-year-old Jeremy Putman has been charged with wearing a mask in public, a felony that can result in a year in jail.

It wasn't immediately clear whether Putman has a lawyer.

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The Latest on the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament on Friday (all times Eastern):

1:15 a.m.

The Southeastern Conference had a big Friday night.

Chris Chiozza's incredible running 3-pointer at the buzzer lifted Florida past Wisconsin in overtime, and it gave the SEC three teams in the Elite Eight for the first time since 1986.

Kentucky beat UCLA in the South Region, while South Carolina beat Baylor in the East. The Gators closed the night by eliminating the Badgers and the Big Ten.

No other league has multiple teams alive, with North Carolina (Atlantic Coast), Kansas (Big 12), Gonzaga (West Coast), Oregon (Pac-12) and Xavier (Big East) representing the rest of the Elite Eight.

Final Four tickets go out Saturday.

___

12:55 a.m.

After Zak Showalter's incredible shot for Wisconsin, Florida's Chris Chiozza came up with an even wilder one to send the Gators into the Elite Eight.

Chiozza took an inbounds pass, sprinted nearly the length of the court and hit a running 3-pointer at the buzzer to help Florida beat Wisconsin 84-83 in overtime.

Chiozza's shot came after Nigel Hayes had hit two free throws with 4.0 seconds left to put the Badgers up 83-81.

The game went to overtime \u2014 the first of the tournament \u2014 when Showalter hit an off-balance 3-pointer off his right foot with 2.5 seconds left in regulation to cap a late comeback for Wisconsin.

___

12:30 a.m.

Wow! How about overtime?

Zak Showalter just hit an off-balance 3-pointer off his right foot for Wisconsin, tying the game at 72-all with 2.5 seconds left to cap a late comeback. Showalter then gave the \"Discount Doublecheck\" gesture to Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who was attending the game to root for the Badgers.

Florida had one more chance, but the Gators couldn't get off a shot after a fullcourt inbounds heave.

___

12:10 a.m.

Wisconsin forward Vitto Brown picked up his fifth foul with 7:10 to go in the game. Brown had 10 points in 26 minutes. He leaves with Wisconsin trailing 64-56.

___

12 a.m.

Kentucky has advanced to the Elite Eight behind a big night from freshman De'Aaron Fox.

The second-seeded Wildcats beat third-seeded UCLA 86-75 in the South Region semifinals in Memphis, Tennessee. And Fox scored a season-high 39 points to get the better of UCLA's Lonzo Ball in a matchup of star freshmen point guards.

Fellow freshman Malik Monk scored 21 points to help Kentucky earn a matchup with No. 1 seed North Carolina in Sunday's regional final.

Ball managed just 10 points.

___

11:55 p.m.

Here comes Wisconsin. The Badgers used a 12-1 run and a three-point play by Nigel Hayes to regain the lead, but KeVaughn Allen came right back with a 3 to make it 55-53 Florida with 9:29 left.

\u2014 Ralph D. Russo reporting from New York.

___

11:45 p.m.

Florida has Wisconsin on the ropes early in the second half \u2014 and Gators leading scorer KeVaughn Allen is busting out of his scoring slump.

After scoring just 11 points total in two victories last week, Allen has 24 against Wisconsin. Florida leads 49-41 with 15:06 left.

\u2014 Ralph D. Russo reporting from New York.

___

11:40 p.m.

Kentucky is taking over.

The second-seeded Wildcats have stretched out to a 69-58 lead with 5:58 left against third-seeded UCLA. Freshman Malik Monk has 14 of his 21 points in the second half, while fellow rookie De'Aaron Fox has 26 points while getting the better of his star-freshman matchup with UCLA's Lonzo Ball at the point.

Making matters worse for the Bruins, UCLA's Thomas Welsh has already fouled out.

___

11:30 p.m.

Things are changing in New York.

Florida wiped out an 11-point deficit in the first half by turning up the pressure on Wisconsin. The Gators guards started getting into the jersey of Bronson Koenig and the Badgers offense, so fluid early, was suddenly out of sorts.

KeVaughn Allen hit a 3 and was fouled shooting 3s twice late in the first half. He made all six free throws.

Florida has taken a 45-39 lead at the 16-minute mark.

\u2014 Ralph D. Russo reporting from New York.

___

11:10 p.m.

Well, Malik Monk finally is knocking down shots.

The Kentucky freshman had only seven points in the first half, and he already has 10 within the first five minutes of the second half. Monk has hit 4 of 5 shots, including a pair of 3s.

That has helped Kentucky push its lead to as much as six. The Wildcats lead UCLA 50-46 with the ball with 15:16 left.

\u2014 Teresa M. Walker reporting from Memphis, Tennessee.

___

10:45 p.m.

It's halftime in Memphis.

Second-seeded Kentucky leads third-seeded UCLA 36-33 in the South Region semifinals. And Kentucky's De'Aaron Fox is winning the battle of touted freshmen point guards, scoring 20 points to just six from UCLA's Lonzo Ball.

___

10:30 p.m.

So far, the South Regional semifinal between a pair of the nation's best scoring teams is just muddling along.

UCLA led the nation averaging 90.2 points a game with Kentucky ninth averaging 85.2 points a game. Six Bruins averaged double figures during the season, and only TJ Leaf has gotten there so far with 10 points for UCLA.

Malik Monk, the Southeastern Conference player of the year, has just two points for Kentucky. But UCLA leads only 26-25 after 17 minutes of the first half.

\u2014 Teresa M. Walker reporting from Memphis, Tennessee.

___

10:25 p.m.

Live from New York, it's Friday Night \u2014 with a late East Coast start time.

The Wisconsin-Florida didn't tip off until 10:12 p.m. and the Badgers fans seemed to outnumber the Gators, who were trying to make it an all-Southeastern Conference matchup in the East Regional final.

SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey was at Madison Square Garden and between games he changed from his garnet (South Carolina) tie to one with orange and blue for Florida. Meanwhile, he also had to keep tabs on Kentucky, which was playing UCLA in Memphis.

\u2014 Ralph D. Russo reporting from New York.

___

10:07 p.m.

UCLA and Kentucky is starting out just as fast as expected between a pair of programs that are among the nation's top-scoring teams.

Now the Wildcats need somebody other than De'Aaron Fox to score.

The freshman guard has hit his first four shots and has all of Kentucky's first eight points.

But, UCLA is up 11-8 after back-to-back dunks, the last a three-point play by Thomas Welsh.

\u2014 Teresa M. Walker reporting from Memphis, Tennessee.

___

9:54 p.m.

Sindarius Thornwell scored 24 points and seventh-seeded South Carolina cruised past third-seeded Baylor 70-50 on Friday night in the East Regional semifinals, the Bears' worst NCAA Tournament loss.

The Gamecocks (25-10) were in control from the middle of the first half on, mixing defenses and hustling all over the Madison Square Garden court to advance to the Elite Eight for the first time.

South Carolina will meet the winner of the Wisconsin-Florida game on Sunday with a trip to the Final Four at stake.

DJ Dozier and Chris Silva had 12 points each and Duane Notice added 11 for the Gamecocks.

Johnathan Motley had 18 points, 12 in the second half, for Baylor (27-8), which just couldn't get any offense going. The Bears missed 11 of their first 13 shots from the field and it didn't get a whole lot better the entire game. They finished 17 for 56 from the field (30.4 percent), including 3 for 13 from 3-point range.

\u2014 Jim O'Connell reporting from New York.

___

9:20 p.m.

North Carolina is now within a win of a second straight Final Four.

The No. 1 seed in the South Region led by as many as 20 points before beating fourth-seeded Butler 92-80 in Memphis, Tennessee. That sent UNC back to the regional final, the latest step toward its season-long goal of returning to the national championship game and playing for the title that slipped away in last year's loss to Villanova.

The Tar Heels (30-7) will face the UCLA-Kentucky winner on Sunday.

___

9:14 p.m.

South Carolina is blowing away Baylor \u2014 and Baylor isn't used to being blown out.

The seventh-seeded Gamecocks jumped ahead 55-38 with just over nine minutes left and appears set to cruise to the East Region finals. It's unchartered territory for the Bears, who haven't lost by more than six points since a 21-point defeat at West Virginia in early January.

But Baylor is shooting just 29 percent from the floor and is losing the rebounding battle, two areas the Bears typically excel at.

___

8:46 p.m.

Top-seeded North Carolina is well on its way to a blowout of Butler.

But the basketball should be much better in the nightcap of the South Region.

UCLA, led by freshman phenom Lonzo Ball, has the nation's top-scoring offense at 90.2 points per game. The Bruins also shoot 52.1 percent.

The Kentucky Wildcats aren't too shabby themselves, scoring 85.2 points a game. Coach John Calipari, in his return to Memphis, will counter Ball with his trio of freshmen: Malik Monk, De'Aaron Fox and Bam Adebayo.

UCLA also topped Kentucky by five at Rupp Arena earlier this season \u2014 so motivation shouldn't be an issue for the 'Cats either.

\u2014Teresa M. Walker reporting from Memphis, Tennessee.

8:21 p.m.

South Carolina might be more than just a cute story after all.

The seventh-seeded Gamecocks used a 14-0 run to take a 29-15 lead over Baylor late in the first half in an East Region semifinal.

Chris Silva and Sindarius Thornwell each had four points during the game's first decisive run. South Carolina is also doing a very effective job with Baylor big man Johnathan Motley down low. He is just 2 for 8 from the field \u2014 and the Bears are 6 of 27 overall.

\u2014 Jim O'Connell reporting from New York.

___

8:10 p.m.

The top-seeded North Carolina Tar Heels are in cruise control at halftime of their South Regional semifinal.

The Tar Heels lead No. 4 seed Butler 52-36. They were up by as much as 20 before going the final 2:05 of the first half without a point.

Justin Jackson is leading North Carolina with 17 points. Luke Maye is a rebound shy of a double-double with 14 points and nine rebounds, while Joel Berry II has 10 points.

The Tar Heels have cooled off a bit behind the arc and are just shooting 47 percent (8 of 17) from 3-point range. But they are hitting 52.9 percent (18 of 34) and have a 22-11 edge on the boards over the smaller Bulldogs.

The winner of this game will play either UCLA or Kentucky on Sunday for a spot in the Final Four in Phoenix.

\u2014Teresa M. Walker reporting from Memphis, Tennessee.

____

For more AP college basketball coverage: http://collegebasketball.ap.org and http://twitter.com/AP_Top25

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CHICAGO (AP) \u2014 A teenage blogger from Singapore whose online posts blasting his government landed in him jail was granted asylum to remain in the United States, an immigration judge in Chicago ruled Friday.

Amos Yee has been detained by federal immigration authorities since December when he was taken into custody at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport. Attorneys said the 18-year-old could be released from a Wisconsin detention center as early as Monday.

Judge Samuel Cole issued a 13-page decision more than two weeks after Yee's closed-door hearing on the asylum application.

\"Yee has met his burden of showing that he suffered past persecution on account of his political opinion and has a well-founded fear of future persecution in Singapore,\" Cole wrote.

Yee left Singapore with the intention of seeking asylum in the U.S. after being jailed for several weeks in 2015 and 2016. He was accused of hurting the religious feelings of Muslims and Christians in the multiethnic city-state; Yee is an atheist. However, many of his blog and social media posts criticized Singapore's leaders. He created controversy in 2015 as the city-state was mourning the death of its first prime minister and he posted an expletive-laden video about Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew just after his death.

Such open criticism of political leaders is discouraged in Singapore. The case, which raised questions about free speech and censorship, has been closely watched abroad.

Cole said testimony during Yee's hearing showed that while the Singapore government's stated reason for punishing him involved religion, \"its real purpose was to stifle Yee's political speech.\" He said Yee's prison sentence was \"unusually long and harsh\" especially for his age.

Officials at Singapore's embassy in Washington, D.C., have not addressed the case and messages left for the government on Saturday morning in Singapore weren't immediately returned.

The ruling was praised by others.

\"I think this is a major embarrassment for the government, that all along claimed Amos' persecution was not political,\" Kenneth Jeyaretnam, an opposition politician who gave testimony supporting Yee's asylum, told The Associated Press.

Jeyaretnam said the decision \"may create waves in Singapore. It may show Singaporeans that there's nothing to be afraid about. The Singapore government is a paper tiger. We don't have to swallow the brainwashing that is constantly put out.\"

His father, the late J.B. Jeyaretnam, attained folklore stature in the country's politics and was bankrupted after contesting a series of lawsuits by the ruling People's Action Party.

PAP has dominated national politics since Singapore's independence in 1965 and its detractors often were taken to court on defamation or other charges.

U.S.-based Human Rights Watch applauded the asylum decision and expressed hope the decision would not be appealed.

\"Singapore excels at creating a pressure cooker environment for dissidents and free thinkers who dare challenge the political, economic and social diktats from the ruling People's Action Party. It's clear the Singapore government saw Amos Yee as the proverbial nail sticking up that had to be hammered down,\" said a statement from Phil Robertson, HRW's deputy Asia director.

Yee's attorney Sandra Grossman said her client was elated with the news.

\"He's very excited to begin new life in the United States,\" Grossman said.

Yee told the AP in a phone interview from jail this month that he feared returning to Singapore. But he said he'd continue to speak out and had already planned a line of T-shirts and started writing a book about his experiences.

\"I have an infinite amount of ideas of what to do,\" he told the AP.

Department of Homeland Security attorneys had opposed the asylum bid, saying Yee's case didn't qualify as persecution based on political beliefs. It was unclear whether they'd appeal the decision or if Yee would have to remain imprisoned if they did. Attorneys have 30 days to appeal.

Officials with DHS and Immigration and Customs Enforcement didn't immediately return messages Friday. A spokeswoman for the Executive Office for Immigration Review, which oversees U.S. immigration courts, declined comment.

___

Associated Press writer Annabelle Liang in Singapore contributed to this report.

___

Follow Sophia Tareen on Twitter at https://twitter.com/sophiatareen .

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Today in History

Today is Saturday, March 25, the 84th day of 2017. There are 281 days left in the year.

Today's Highlight in History:

On March 25, 1947, a coal-dust explosion inside the Centralia Coal Co. Mine No. 5 in Washington County, Illinois, claimed 111 lives; 31 men survived.

On this date:

In 1306, Robert the Bruce was crowned King of Scots.

In 1776, Gen. George Washington, commander of the Continental Army, was awarded the first Congressional Gold Medal by the Continental Congress.

In 1865, during the Civil War, Confederate forces attacked Fort Stedman in Virginia but were forced to withdraw because of counterattacking Union troops.

In 1911, 146 people, mostly young female immigrants, were killed when fire broke out at the Triangle Shirtwaist Co. in New York.

In 1924, the Second Hellenic Republic was proclaimed in Greece.

In 1931, in the so-called \"Scottsboro Boys\" case, nine young black men were taken off a train in Alabama, accused of raping two white women; after years of convictions, death sentences and imprisonment, the nine were eventually vindicated.

In 1957, a signing ceremony was held for the Treaty of Rome, which established the European Economic Community.

In 1965, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. led 25,000 people to the Alabama state capitol in Montgomery after a five-day march from Selma to protest the denial of voting rights to blacks. Later that day, civil rights activist Viola Liuzzo, a white Detroit homemaker, was shot and killed by Ku Klux Klansmen.

In 1975, King Faisal (FY'-suhl) of Saudi Arabia was shot to death by a nephew with a history of mental illness. (The nephew was beheaded in June 1975.)

In 1987, the Supreme Court, in Johnson v. Transportation Agency, ruled 6-3 that an employer could promote a woman over an arguably more-qualified man to help get women into higher-ranking jobs.

In 1990, 87 people, most of them Honduran and Dominican immigrants, were killed when fire raced through an illegal social club in New York City.

In 1996, an 81-day standoff by the anti-government Freemen began at a ranch near Jordan, Montana.

Ten years ago: Iran announced it was partially suspending cooperation with the U.N. nuclear watchdog agency, citing what it called \"illegal and bullying\" Security Council sanctions imposed on the country for its refusal to stop enriching uranium. Sidi Ould Cheikh Abdallahi (SEE'-dee oold shayk ahb-duh-LAH'-hee) won Mauritania's first free presidential election in a runoff.

Five years ago: President Barack Obama arrived in South Korea, where he visited the Demilitarized Zone separating the South from the communist North, telling American troops stationed nearby they were protectors of \"freedom's frontier.\" Pope Benedict XVI, on his first trip to Latin America, urged Mexicans to wield their faith against drug violence, poverty and other ills, celebrating Mass before a sea of worshippers in Silao.

One year ago: A suicide bomber believed to be a teenager blew himself up in a soccer stadium south of the Iraqi capital, killing 29 people and wounding 60. The Rolling Stones unleashed two hours of thundering rock and roll on an ecstatic crowd of hundreds of thousands of Cubans and foreign visitors in Havana; the free concert came two days after President Barack Obama concluded his historic visit to Cuba.

Today's Birthdays: Movie reviewer Gene Shalit is 91. Former astronaut James Lovell is 89. Feminist activist and author Gloria Steinem is 83. Singer Anita Bryant is 77. Singer Aretha Franklin is 75. Actor Paul Michael Glaser is 74. Singer Elton John is 70. Actress Bonnie Bedelia is 69. Actress-comedian Mary Gross is 64. Actor James McDaniel is 59. Former Sen. John Ensign, R-Nev., is 59. Movie producer Amy Pascal is 59. Rock musician Steve Norman (Spandau Ballet) is 57. Actress Brenda Strong is 57. Actor Fred Goss is 56. Actor-writer-director John Stockwell is 56. Actress Marcia Cross is 55. Author Kate DiCamillo is 53. Actress Lisa Gay Hamilton is 53. Actress Sarah Jessica Parker is 52. Baseball Hall of Famer Tom Glavine is 51. TV personality Ben Mankiewicz is 50. Olympic bronze medal figure skater Debi Thomas is 50. Actor Laz Alonso is 46. Singer Melanie Blatt (All Saints) is 42. Actor Domenick Lombardozzi is 41. Actor Lee Pace is 38. Actor Sean Faris is 35. Comedian/actor Alex Moffat (\"Saturday Night Live\") is 35. Auto racer Danica Patrick is 35. Actress-singer Katharine McPhee is 33. Singer Jason Castro is 30. Rapper Big Sean is 29. Rap DJ/producer Ryan Lewis is 29. Actor Matthew Beard is 28. Actress-singer Aly (AKA Alyson) Michalka (mish-AL'-kah) is 28. Actor Kiowa Gordon is 27. Actress Seychelle Gabriel is 26.

Thought for Today: \"In every person, even in such as appear most reckless, there is an inherent desire to attain balance.\" \u2014 Jakob (YAH'-kawb) Wassermann, German author (1873-1934).

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SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) \u2014 Police arrested a 56-year-old man who works for the state Friday on suspicion that he killed two adults and two children in a quiet Northern California neighborhood.

Authorities did not release the names of the victims, but friends and relatives of a young family that lived in the Sacramento house feared the worst.

Rita Munoz, who lives in the neighborhood, said her grandchildren played with an 11-year-old boy and 14-year-old girl who lived with their mother in the house. Munoz said her neighbor's mother arrived at the house shortly after the bodies were found Thursday and was heard crying \"Oh my gosh, my only baby. My grandbabies are all gone,\" after she learned what happened.

Later Munoz said she overheard the woman say: \"I told her not to go back to him.\"

Sacramento police declined to discuss the suspect's relationship with the victims and said they haven't determined a motive.

\"It's a horrible thing,\" Munoz said.

Police originally detained Salvador Vasquez-Oliva in San Francisco about 90 miles (145 kilometers) away on Thursday afternoon and formally arrested him Friday morning.

He was being held in the Sacramento County Jail, police spokesman Sgt. Bryce Heinlein said.

The four victims were discovered Thursday morning when police broke into the home after a relative reported that something might be wrong.

Vasquez-Oliva was quickly singled out by investigators on Thursday. Police said he is from Sacramento, but records show he is also is associated with an apartment near the University of San Francisco, six blocks from where police found him. The building is in a nice neighborhood, but is worn and run down. There was no answer at the door, though a light remained on inside.

The California Employment Development Department, which administers the state's unemployment checks, said it has employed Vasquez-Oliva as an office technician since 2014.

The single-story beige home with sculpted shrubbery where the bodies were found has a basketball hoop in a driveway that police blocked with yellow crime scene tape. It's located in a tree-lined residential neighborhood of neatly maintained homes near a church.

Police have not said when or how the victims were killed.

___

Associated Press writers Kristin J. Bender and Amanda Lee Myers also contributed to this report. Elias and Bender contributed from San Francisco, and Myers contributed from Los Angeles.

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MURRIETA, Calif. (AP) \u2014 An Army veteran was awarded the Bronze Star this week for his heroism in a Vietnam War battle that left more than 50 fellow U.S. soldiers dead and close to 200 injured.

Retired Sgt. Joseph Engles was presented with the military distinction on Monday during a ceremony in his hometown of Murrieta, in Southern California, for gallantry in the face of the enemy during the Battle of Suoi Tre in March 1967.

Former Army Maj. Gen. Juilian Burns, who presented the award, said Engles was seriously wounded on the battlefield but continued to man his gun and return fire at the enemy. Burns said that when military officials spoke to those who witnessed the battle, \"we came to realize Joe was more than just a gunner.\"

Engles was seriously wounded during the battle, but he continued to man his gun and return fire, Burns said in a statement.

\"As the battle commenced with intense rocket and grenade and sniper fire, he (Engles) manned the gun and commanded his team to return fire,\" the statement said. \"When a rocket landed close, without regard for his personal safety he neutralized the enemy ordnance and continued the mission.\"

After battlefield medics removed shrapnel from Engles' arm, he immediately returned to his gun to continue fighting, Burns said.

"} ]