AP FACT CHECK: Trump on the border wall

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By ELLIOT SPAGAT

SAN DIEGO (AP) — A look at one of President Donald Trump’s statements Tuesday night in his State of the Union address and how it compares with the facts:

TRUMP: “These (border) agents will tell you where walls go up, illegal crossings go way, way down … San Diego used to have the most illegal border crossings in our country. In response, a strong security wall was put in place. This powerful barrier almost completely ended illegal crossings … Simply put, walls work and walls save lives.”

THE FACTS: It’s a lot more complicated than that.

Yes, Border Patrol arrests in the San Diego sector plummeted 96 percent from nearly 630,000 in 1986 to barely 26,000 in 2017, a period during which walls were built. But the crackdown pushed illegal crossings to less-patrolled and more remote Arizona deserts, where thousands died in the heat. Arrests in Tucson in 2000 nearly matched San Diego’s peak.

Critics say the “water-balloon effect” — build a wall in one spot and migrants will find an opening elsewhere — undermines Trump’s argument, though proponents say it only demonstrates that walls should be extended.

The Government Accountability Office reported in 2017 that the U.S. has not developed metrics that demonstrate how barriers have contributed to border security.

Reports: Sony drops R. Kelly after furor over allegations

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By MESFIN FEKADU

NEW YORK (AP) — Multiple outlets have reported that Sony Music has dropped embattled R&B star R. Kelly from its roster.

The announcement comes two weeks after the popular documentary series “Surviving R. Kelly” drew fresh attention to the sex abuse allegations against R. Kelly, which have dogged him most of his career. The #MeToo and #MuteRKelly movements have held protests, demanding his music be dropped from streaming services and beyond.

Representatives for Sony and RCA Records, where R. Kelly was signed to, didn’t immediately return emails seeking comment.

Lady Gaga and Celine Dion recently removed their duets with R. Kelly from streaming services and French rock band Phoenix apologized for collaborating with the singer in 2013.

R. Kelly has denied all allegations of sexual misconduct involving women and underage girls.

His first album on Sony, 1992′s “Born into the 90′s,” was with the group Public Announcement. His massively successful solo debut, “12 Play,” was released a year later.

Timberlake pops in on patients at Texas children’s hospital

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DALLAS (AP) — Justin Timberlake has pulled some sunshine from his pocket for the patients at a Texas children’s hospital.

Timberlake took a break from his “Man of the Woods” tour to pop in and pose for pictures with the young patients at HCA Healthcare’s Methodist Children’s Hospital in San Antonio.

A video of the kids was widely shared all week, with many in their hospital beds as they danced to Timberlake’s hit “Can’t Stop The Feeling” with its refrain of “got some sunshine in my pocket.” The kids held up signs that read “JT See me!” and on Friday afternoon JT obliged.

One girl in a picture with Timberlake held up a sign that read “JT saw me!”

The 37-year-old pop star recently resumed his tour after canceling several dates because of bruised vocal chords.

Sociologist and intellectual, Nathan Glazer, dead at 95

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CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (AP) — Sociologist Nathan Glazer, who assisted on a classic study of conformity, “The Lonely Crowd,” and co-authored a groundbreaking document of non-conformity, “Beyond the Melting Pot,” has died. He was 95.

Glazer’s daughter, Sarah Glazer, confirmed her father died at his home in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Saturday morning.

A longtime professor at Harvard University, Glazer, was among the last of the deeply-read thinkers who influenced culture and politics in the mid-20th century. Starting in the 1940s, Glazer was a writer and editor for Commentary and The New Republic. He was a co-editor of The Public Interest, and wrote or co-wrote numerous books. With peers such as Daniel Bell and Irving Howe, he had a wide range of interests, “a notion of universal competence,” from foreign policy to Modernist architecture, subject of one his latter books, “From a Cause to a Style.”

A radical in his youth, he was regarded as a founding “neo-conservative,” a label he resisted. His most famous projects were the million-selling “The Lonely Crowd,” primarily written by David Riesman and a prescient 1950 release about consumerism and peer pressure, and the landmark “Beyond the Melting Pot,” which countered the core American myth of assimilation.

Glazer and Daniel Patrick Moynihan examined five racial and ethnic groups in New York City — blacks, Italian-Americans, Jews, Puerto Ricans and Irish-Americans — and concluded that even as languages and customs from the old world faded, new styles and traditions emerged that reflected distinct identities. “It was reasonable to believe that a new American type would emerge, a new nationality in which it would be a matter of indifference whether a man was of Anglo-Saxon or German or Italian or Jewish origin,” the authors wrote. “The initial notion of an American melting pot did not, it seems, quite grasp what would happen in America.”

The book was published in 1963 to immediate and continuing debate over its refutation of a blended society, over the authors’ belief that blacks’ struggles could not be blamed on discrimination alone and that blacks would eventually achieve the kinds of advances enjoyed by immigrant populations. “Melting Pot” has been widely taught, and remains a standard reference for urban and ethnic studies, whether the subject has been civil rights, education or city politics. Glazer, a chronic re-assessor, questioned his assumptions in a 1970 reissue of the book and after. He had hoped for a post-ethnic, post-racial country, but in a 1997 release, “We Are All Multiculturalists Now,” Glazer resigned himself to multiculturalism, infuriating conservatives but bringing praise from others.

“Glazer is a gentleman, always ready to concede, at least rhetorically, the sincerity of his opponent’s feelings,” James Traub wrote in a review published in Slate.

Glazer was the last survivor of those featured in “Arguing the World,” a 1998 documentary about four former students at the City College of New York: Glazer, Howe, Bell and Irving Kristol. His many jobs included working in the editorial divisions of Random House and Anchor Books in the 1950s, serving during the Kennedy administration in what is now the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and teaching education and social structure at Harvard.

He was married once married to writer Ruth Gay. Glazer is survived by his second wife, Sulochana (Raghavan) Glazer, three daughters, Sarah Glazer, Sophie Glazer and Elizabeth Glazer, seven grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

The son of Yiddish-speaking Jewish immigrants, Glazer was born in New York and raised in working class neighborhoods in the Bronx and East Harlem. He followed a similar path to Kristol and other neo-conservatives — from socialism in his college years to liberalism as a young man to an increasing turn right.

He began attracting attention in his mid-20s. Glazer’s work in Commentary was noticed by Riesman, a visiting Yale University professor who thought his “incisive critiques” would be useful for a planned book about social behavior, “The Lonely Crowd,” which sold millions of copies and helped define fears that independence and individuality were being lost in the post-World War II economic boom.

Glazer himself would prove unhappy with the new thinking of the 1960s. As a faculty member in 1964 at the University of California at Berkeley, he was appalled by the student Free Speech Movement and condemned its “enthusiastic and euphoric rejection of forms and norms.” He and Kristol soon helped launch a seminal neo-conservative journal, The Public Interest, which Glazer edited from 1973 to 2002.

A deep skeptic about the effectiveness of government, Glazer was a critic of President Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society domestic programs and especially opposed to affirmative action. His 1975 book, “Affirmative Discrimination: Ethnic Inequality and Public Policy,” became a prime text for the “reverse discrimination” movement. He would, characteristically, challenge his own conclusions. In 1998, he filed an amicus brief in support of an affirmative action program at the University of Michigan. While he still believed in a colorblind, merit-based society, he wrote in The New Republic that “the reality is that strict adherence to this principle would result in few African Americans getting jobs, admissions, and contracts.”

Trump salutes remains of 4 Americans killed in Syria attack

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By JILL COLVIN

DOVER AIR FORCE BASE, Del. (AP) — A solemn procession. A long salute. A chaplain’s prayer.

President Donald Trump traveled to Delaware’s Dover Air Force Base on Saturday to pay his respects to the returning remains of four Americans who were killed this week in a suicide bomb attack in Syria.

The bombing, which was the deadliest assault on U.S. troops in Syria since American forces moved into the country in 2015, came as Trump prepares to pull U.S. troops out of Syria. And it underscored the threat still posed by Islamic State militants, even as Trump has claimed the group’s defeat.

The president stood solemnly and saluted the remains of civilian Scott A. Wirtz of St. Louis, Missouri, as his body was carried from a C-17 military aircraft into a waiting van on a bitterly cold, wind-whipped tarmac.

Earlier, he, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan accompanied a small group of Army and Navy officers as they walked up the plane’s cargo ramp, where a chaplain said a prayer.

Wirtz and the three other Americans — Army Chief Warrant Officer 2 Jonathan R. Farmer, Navy Chief Cryptologic Technician (Interpretive) Shannon M. Kent and an unnamed civilian contractor — were killed in a suicide bombing Wednesday in the northern Syrian town of Manbij. Wirtz had been assigned to the Defense Intelligence Agency as an operations support specialist.

The three other transfers were conducted privately, with the president observing. He also spent time with the families of those killed.

Trump told reporters as he left the White House on Saturday that meeting the relatives of the country’s fallen heroes “might be the toughest thing” he has to do as president. In discussing his withdrawal decision, Trump has repeatedly referenced how much he dislikes making calls and writing letters to the families of those killed while serving overseas.

The trip was not listed on the president’s public schedule that was released Friday night, but he tweeted the news in the morning.

“Will be leaving for Dover to be with the families of 4 very special people who lost their lives in service to our Country!” he wrote.

The visit came during a budget fight that has consumed Washington for the past month, shuttering parts of the federal government and leaving hundreds of thousands of workers without pay. Raising the stakes in his dispute with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., the president on Thursday abruptly canceled her military flight, hours before she and a congressional delegation were to depart for Afghanistan on a previously undisclosed visit to U.S. troops.

Trump delivered a speech later Saturday in which he offered to extend temporary protections for young people brought to the U.S. illegally as children in exchange for billions for his long-stalled border wall. But while Trump cast the move as a “common-sense compromise,” Democrats were quick to dismiss it at a “non-starter.”

Trump has made one other visit to Dover during his presidency, soon after taking office. On Feb. 1, 2017, Trump honored the returning remains of a U.S. Navy SEAL killed in a raid in Yemen. Chief Special Warfare Operator William “Ryan” Owens, a 36-year-old from Peoria, Illinois, was the first known U.S. combat casualty of Trump’s presidency.

In a Dec. 19 tweet announcing the withdrawal from Syria, Trump declared, “We have defeated ISIS in Syria, my only reason for being there during the Trump Presidency.” He said the troops would begin coming home “now.” That plan triggered immediate pushback from military leaders and led to the resignation of Defense Secretary Jim Mattis.

Over the past month, Trump and others have appeared to adjust the timeline, and U.S. officials have suggested it will likely take several months to safely withdraw the approximately 2,000 U.S. troops from Syria.

A leading U.S. voice on foreign policy and close ally of the president, Sen. Lindsey Graham, said during a visit Saturday to Turkey that an American withdrawal from Syria that had not been thought through would lead to “chaos” and “an Iraq on steroids.” Graham, R-S.C., urged Trump not to get out without a plan and said the goal of destroying Islamic State militants in Syria had not yet been accomplished.

The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for Wednesday’s attack in Manbij, which killed 19 people, including the four Americans.

Trump said before arriving in Dover that IS has lost almost all its territory but “that doesn’t mean you’re not going to have somebody around.” He also said “we can be pulling back but we’ve been hitting ISIS very hard over the last three weeks … and it’s moving along very well.”

Manbij is the main town on the westernmost edge of Syrian territory held by the U.S.-backed Syrian Kurds, running along the border with Turkey. Mixed Kurdish-Arab Syrian forces liberated Manbij from IS in 2016 with help from the U.S.-led coalition.

But Kurdish control of the town infuriated Turkey, which views the main U.S. Kurdish ally, the YPG militia, as “terrorists” linked to Kurdish insurgents on its own soil.

Trump reinforced his withdrawal decision during a meeting with about a half-dozen GOP senators late Wednesday at the White House.

Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, who was at the meeting, told reporters on a conference call that the president remained “steadfast” in his decision not to stay in Syria, or Afghanistan, “forever.” But the senator did not disclose the latest thinking on the withdrawal timeline.

Paul said Trump told the group, “We’re not going to continue the way we’ve done it.”

Trump offers temporary ‘Dreamers’ deal for border wall

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By JILL COLVIN, CATHERINE LUCEY and ZEKE MILLER

WASHINGTON (AP) — In a bid to break the shutdown stalemate, President Donald Trump on Saturday offered to extend temporary protections for young people brought to the U.S. illegally as children and those fleeing disaster zones in exchange for his long-promised border wall. But while Trump cast the move as a “common-sense compromise,” Democrats were quick to dismiss it at a “non-starter.”

With polls showing a majority of Americans blaming him and Republicans for the impasse, Trump said from the White House that he was there “to break the logjam and provide Congress with a path forward to end the government shutdown and solve the crisis on the southern border.”

Hoping to put pressure on Democrats, the White House billed the announcement as a major step forward. But Trump did not budge on his $5.7 billion demand for the wall and, in essence, offered to temporarily roll-back some of his own hawkish immigration actions — actions that have been blocked by federal courts.

Following a week marked by his pointed clashes with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, it was not clear if Trump’s offer would lead to serious steps to reopen the government, shut for a record 29 days. Trump’s move came as hundreds of thousands of federal workers go without paychecks, with many enduring financial hardship. Many public services are unavailable to Americans during the closure.

Democrats dismissed Trump’s proposal even before his formal remarks. Pelosi said the expected offer was nothing more than “a compilation of several previously rejected initiatives” and that the effort could not pass the House

“What is original in the President’s proposal is not good. What is good in the proposal is not original,” she later tweeted.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer also panned the proposal as “more hostage taking,” saying that it was Trump who had “single-handedly” imperiled the future of the immigrants he proposed to help.

The New York Democrat said there is only “one way out” of the shutdown. “Open up the government, Mr. President, and then Democrats and Republicans can have a civil discussion and come up with bipartisan solutions.” he said.

Democrats had made their own move late Friday to try to break the impasse when they pledged to provide hundreds of millions of dollars more for border security. But Trump, who has yet to acknowledge that offer, laid out his own plan, which officials said had been in the works for days.

Seeking to cast the plan as a bipartisan way forward, Trump said Saturday he was incorporating ideas from “rank-and-file” Democrats, as top Democrats made clear they had not been consulted. He also said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell would bring the legislation to a vote this week, though Democrats appeared likely to block it. McConnell had previously stated that no vote should be held in the Senate until Trump and Democrats agreed on a bill.

Trump’s remarks from the Diplomatic Room marked the second time he has addressed the nation as the partial shutdown drags on. On this occasion, he sought to strike a diplomatic tone, emphasizing the need to work across the aisle. He maintained a border barrier was needed to block what he describes as the flow of drugs and crime into the country — but described “steel barriers in high-priority locations” instead of “a 2,000-mile concrete structure from sea to sea.”

The proposal was met with immediate criticism from some conservative corners, including NumbersUSA, which seeks to reduce both legal and illegal immigration to the U.S. “The offer the President announced today is a loser for the forgotten American workers who were central to his campaign promises,” said Roy Beck, the group’s president.

At the other end of the political spectrum, Trump’s offer was panned by progressive groups, with Anthony Romero, the executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union, calling it a “one-sided proposal.”

Trump embraced the shutdown in December in large part because of angry warnings from his most ardent supporters that he was passing up on his last, best shot to build the wall before Democrat took control of the House in the new year. After his announcement Saturday, some supporters appeared unhappy with his effort to bridge the divide with Democrats.

“Trump proposes amnesty,” tweeted conservative firebrand Ann Coulter. “We voted for Trump and got Jeb!” she said, in a reference to Trump’s 2016 rival, Jeb Bush.

In a briefing with reporters, Vice President Mike Pence defended the proposal from criticism from the right. “This is not an amnesty bill,” he insisted.

White House acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney also sought to increase the pressure on congressional Democrats in advance of Tuesday, the deadline for the next federal pay period and the day officials said McConnell would begin to move on legislation.

“If the bill is filibustered on Tuesday…people will not get paid,” he said.

Mulvaney said that Trump had not ruled out one day declaring a national emergency to circumvent Congress to get his wall money — as he has threatened — but added that Trump maintains that the “best way to fix this is through legislation.”

Trump’s son-in-law and senior aide, Jared Kushner, along with Vice President Mike Pence, had led the efforts build the plan Trump announced on Saturday, according to three people familiar with White House thinking who were not authorized to speak publicly. After a heated meeting with Pelosi and Schumer that Trump stormed out of, the president directed his aides to bypass Democratic leaders and instead reach out to rank-and-file members for ideas.

To ensure wall funding, Trump said he would extend temporary protections for three years for “Dreamers,” young people brought to the country illegally as children. Administration officials said the protections would apply only to the approximately 700,000 people currently enrolled in the Obama-era program shielding them from deportation, and not all those who could be eligible. The plan would offer no pathway to citizenship for those immigrants — a deal breaker for many Democrats.

Trump also proposed a three-year extension to the temporary protected status the U.S. offers to immigrants fleeing countries affected by natural disasters or violence. Officials said the exemption would apply to about 300,000 people who currently live in the U.S. under the program and have been here since 2011. That means people from El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Haiti — countries that saw the status revoked since Trump took office — would get a reprieve.

Democrats, however, criticized Trump’s proposal for failing to offer a permanent solution for the immigrants in question and because he refuses back away from his demand a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, which the party strongly oppposes. Democrats have told Trump he must reopen government before talks can start.

Trump had repeatedly dismissed the idea of a deal involving Dreamers in recent weeks, saying he would prefer to see first whether the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA, survived a court challenge.

On Friday, the Supreme Court took no action on the Trump administration’s request to decide by early summer whether Trump’s bid to end that program was legal, meaning it probably will survive at least another year.

But during a recent trip to the U.S.-Mexico border, Trump hinted at the possibility, saying he would consider working on the wall and DACA “simultaneously.”

A previous attempt to reach a compromise that addressed the status of “Dreamers” broke down a year ago as a result of escalating White House demands.

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Associated Press writers Alan Fram and Matthew Daly in Washington and Colleen Long in Brooklyn, New York, contributed to this report.

Coal mine collapses in northern China, killing at least 21

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BEIJING (AP) — Twenty-one coal miners were killed when a mine collapsed in northern China, state media reported Sunday.

The disaster occurred Saturday in Shenmu in Shaanxi province in the heart of the country’s coal-mining belt, according to state TV and the Xinhua News Agency.

Sixty-six other miners were rescued, the city government said in a statement.

The number of fatalities reported in cave-ins, explosions and other disasters in Chinese coal mines has fallen sharply over the past decade but the industry still is the world’s deadliest.