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    Experts cautioned that international statistics on executions are difficult to obtain because many countries shroud the process in secrecy. 'I feel quite certain there are more executions that we don't know about,' said Delphine Lourtau, executive director of the Cornell Center on the Death Penalty Worldwide, which maintains a database on executions across the globe. Lourtau said some of the countries where executions may have taken place but have not been confirmed include Iraq, North Korea, Sudan, Syria, Vietnam and Yemen. Here's a look at executions carried out in the past week outside the U.S.: IRAN Iran has reportedly executed 10 people since April 20, when Arkansas executed its first inmate since 2005. Iranian news media reported that 29-year-old Mehdi Mirzaei was executed on April 22 after serving three years in western Iranian city of Khoramabad. He had been sentenced to death for carrying and possession of seven kilograms of amphetamine. A second person executed the same day was identified by local media as a 21-year-old man sentenced to death for killing another man during an argument about a year and a half ago. He was executed in the northern Iranian city of Babol. Eight prisoners were hanged in Iran on April 20, according to the Human Rights Activists News Agency, a group run by Iranian human rights activists living outside the Middle Eastern country who collect information from reporters operating in Iran. The agency said the prisoners received death sentences following murder convictions in recent years. No names were given and there was no corroboration by officials, who do not always release details of those executed. Executions in Iran are typically carried out early in the morning in prison gallows, often with a chair or bench kicked out from under the inmate. Most happen in the presence of families of victims and the condemned. Public hangings occasionally occur, with the condemned prisoner hoisted up by a crane attached to a rope and noose. Once a death sentence is imposed in murder cases, the victim's family can halt the execution in lieu of prison time — often through payments to the victim's family. SINGAPORE Citing media reports, the Cornell Center on the Death Penalty Worldwide said a man previously convicted of drug offenses was hung in Singapore on April 21. The man's name, age and hometown weren't provided. SAUDI ARABIA Three people have been executed since April 20 in Saudi Arabia, all of whom were Saudi men convicted of murder. One man was executed on April 20 after being found guilty of killing a man with a blow to the head. Three days later, a man convicted of shooting and killing another Saudi was executed. The third execution, on April 24, was of a man convicted of sexually assaulting and murdering a minor. The kingdom did not say how the executions were carried out. Most executions in Saudi Arabia are done by a sword-wielding executioner who swiftly beheads the prisoner. Some are carried out in public, as a warning to others. An execution scheduled for April 27 was called off after so-called blood money was paid to the victim's family. The case stemmed from 2009, when a Saudi man fatally stabbed another person in a bout of road rage in the eastern region of Qatif. Saudi Arabia's legal system allows victims' families in some cases to forgive the convicted murderer or demand compensation in lieu of execution. CHINA China is widely believed to execute more people annually than all other countries combined. Dui Hua, a monitoring group with offices in Hong Kong and San Francisco that uses official government data and unofficial reports on China's criminal justice system, estimates about 2,000 were put to death last year. The precise figure remains a state secret. Death sentences sometimes get reported, but news on actual executions is rare unless cases are especially high-profile or involve foreigners. Executions traditionally have been carried out by firing squad, although the government began introducing lethal injection several years ago. Despite its reputation, China's execution rate has dramatically decreased from years past. An estimated 24,000 executions were carried out in 1983, after provincial courts were given powers to mete out capital punishment. Courts are now ordered to impose the death penalty only for the most heinous crimes, and all are subject to review by the supreme court. ___ Murphy reported from Oklahoma City. Associated Press reporters Aya Batrawy in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Nasser Karimi in Tehran, Iran, and Christopher Bodeen in Beijing contributed to this report. ___ Follow Sean Murphy at www.twitter.com/apseanmurphy
  • Keep the Change,' a romance about a couple who meet at a community for people on the autistic spectrum, and 'Bobbi Jene,' a documentary about an American dancer in the Israeli dance company Batsheva, were the top winners at the 16th Tribeca Film Festival. In the awards, announced in a ceremony Thursday night, Rachel Israel's debut feature, 'Keep the Change,' won the Founders Award for best narrative feature. The jury called it 'a heartwarming, hilarious and consistently surprising reinvention of the New York romantic comedy, which opens a door to a world of vibrant characters not commonly seen on film.' Tribeca co-founder Jane Rosenthal happily noted that all five feature film awards went to movies directed by women. The festival also gives an award, named after Nora Ephron, to a female director. That prize went to Petra Volpe, writer-director of 'The Divine Order,' a drama about women's suffrage in Switzerland. 'Bobbi Jene,' which follows the dancer Bobbi Jene Smith as she moved back the U.S., took the best documentary award and honors for its cinematography and editing. The jury praised director Elvira Lind's film for 'pushing nonfiction intimacy to bold new places.' Best international feature went to Elina Psykou's Greek drama 'Son of Sofia.' The director of the best narrative short, Kaveh Mazaheri, for 'Retouch,' said he was unable to attend the festival because of Republican President Donald Trump's proposed travel ban. Mazaheri, an Iranian filmmaker, said in a video message that he and his crew were unable to get visas for Tribeca. He said his absence was 'a pity' due to Trump's 'fascinating decisions.' Courts have halted Trump's bid to stop immigration from six predominantly Muslim counties: Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. Trump has appealed the courts' rulings, saying he's trying to keep the United States safe.
  • A senior administration official says the White House plans to push its tax overhaul without any support from congressional Democrats. It's a sign of the intense partisanship over the administration's outlines for cutting tax rates, which would repeal several taxes that target the wealthy but eliminate many deductions they use. Democratic lawmakers say the rough sketch of an overhaul released Wednesday would favor the wealthy and blow a deep hole in the federal budget. The administration official suggested the White House might also work around a Senate rule that requires a 60-vote majority to pass bills that increase the deficit over the longer term, in an effort to make their tax code rewrite permanent law. The official spoke on the condition of anonymity in order to discuss private deliberations.
  • The NFL draft will begin in about an hour in Philadelphia. The Cleveland Browns hold the first pick yet again after finishing just 1-15 last season. Though Cleveland could use help at quarterback, the Browns could also help their defense by taking Texas A&M defensive end Myles Garrett, thought by many to be the most talented overall player in the draft. Cleveland will be followed by San Francisco, Chicago and Jacksonville. The first round could see a slew of players from the nation's top college programs get selected. From smaller schools, Temple's Haason Reddick and Western Michigan's Corey Davis are projected to be picked among the first 15 selections. ___ For more NFL coverage: http://www.pro32.ap.org and http://www.twitter.com/AP_NFL
  • The Latest on Arkansas' effort to execute a fourth inmate before its supply of a lethal injection drug expires on Sunday (all times local): 6:40 p.m. A federal judge has rejected an inmate's request for a last-minute stay to stop his execution. U.S. District Judge D. Price Marshall rejected inmate Kenneth Williams' claims that the relatives of one of his victims were never notified of his clemency application. Marshall said that state law only required notification to the relatives of the person whose killing led to Williams' death sentence — in this case, the family of Cecil Boren, whom Williams killed in 1999. Williams still has requests pending at the U.S. Supreme Court. His execution is set for 7 p.m. Thursday, but a spokesman for Gov. Asa Hutchinson says the state won't proceed with the execution until the high court weighs in. ___ 6:15 p.m. A condemned Arkansas inmate has filed a last-minute request to stop his execution, saying that relatives of one of his victims were never notified of his clemency application. Kenneth Williams is scheduled to die at 7 p.m. Thursday. In a filing before a federal judge in Little Rock, Williams' attorneys said they 'only recently learned' that relatives of Michael Greenwood would have supported clemency had they been notified of his hearing last month. Greenwood was killed in a traffic wreck with Williams, who was on the run after escaping prison and killing a man, Cecil Boren. Greenwood's daughter sent a letter to Gov. Asa Hutchinson on Thursday asking him to stop the execution. Arkansas' attorney general's office said in a court response that Williams was only trying to delay his death sentence, knowing that one of the state's lethal drugs expires Sunday. ___ 5:45 p.m. A prison spokesman says an Arkansas inmate scheduled to be the fourth executed in a week opted to receive communion instead of a traditional last meal. Kenneth Williams is scheduled for execution at 7 p.m. Thursday unless a court steps in. Arkansas Department of Correction spokesman Solomon Graves says that Williams received communion from his spiritual adviser. Williams was also served a regular prison meal that included fried chicken, beans, rice, corn, tomatoes, cinnamon rolls, two cookies, four slices of bread and punch. Last week, condemned inmate Ledell Lee also chose to receive communion instead of a last meal. ___ 5:15 p.m. A federal appeals panel says it won't stop Thursday night's execution of Arkansas inmate Kenneth Williams. The three-judge panel of the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected several requests from Williams, who is scheduled to be executed at 7 p.m. Thursday. Williams' attorneys had argued that Williams is intellectually disabled and ineligible for execution, and that there was misconduct and bias among the jury in his trial. The panel rejected those claims and denied Williams' request for an execution stay. ___ 3:20 p.m. The Arkansas Supreme Court has rejected two requests to stop the scheduled execution of Kenneth Williams. The court denied requests for execution stays for Williams, who is set to be put to death at 7 p.m. Thursday. Williams still has several other legal challenges pending in multiple courts. His attorneys have said he's intellectually disabled and that he has medical conditions that could make his execution painful. Williams' attorneys are also questioning whether two inmates put to death earlier this week suffered during their executions. If executed, Williams would be the fourth inmate put to death in Arkansas over the past eight days. ___ 1:35 p.m. An Arkansas inmate scheduled to die by lethal injection Thursday night is asking the nation's highest court to halt his execution. Attorneys for Kenneth Williams on Thursday asked the U.S. Supreme Court to stay the condemned killer's execution. The filing claims Arkansas did not provide Williams a forum to litigate his claim that he is intellectually disabled and ineligible to be executed. The filing is among several appeals Williams' attorneys have filed aimed at halting his execution. Arkansas has executed three inmates during the past week under a plan that originally called for putting eight men to death over an 11-day period. The executions were scheduled to take place before one of the state's lethal injection drugs expires Sunday. ___ 12:20 p.m. The family of a man killed by an Arkansas inmate set for execution is hoping Gov. Asa Hutchinson will put his lethal injection on hold. Lawyers for Kenneth Williams say the family of Michael Greenwood would ask the Arkansas Parole Board to recommend clemency. Williams is scheduled to die Thursday night for killing a different man after breaking out of prison. Greenwood died when his delivery truck collided with a truck Williams was driving in southern Missouri during his getaway. His family says it has endured considerable pain but that Williams' death would cause additional suffering. There was no immediate word from the governor's office on whether Hutchinson had seen the letter. Williams' execution would be the fourth in Arkansas in eight days. The state had intended to put eight men to death before a lethal injection drug expires at midnight Sunday. ___ 11 a.m. An Arkansas death row inmate is arguing that a double execution this week was flawed and raises concerns he could suffer an exceptionally painful death. Kenneth Williams is scheduled to die at 7 p.m. Thursday for the killing of a former deputy prison warden following an escape. Williams broke out less than three weeks into a life term for killing a college cheerleader. If Williams is put to death, it would be the fourth execution for Arkansas since April 20. The state initially planned to execute eight men in 11 days because an execution drug expires Sunday. During a Monday execution, Jack Jones Jr.'s mouth moved several times when he should have been unconscious. Williams' lawyers pointed to that execution in a filing Thursday with the Arkansas Supreme Court. They say their client has medical issues that could cause problems during the execution. ___ 8:40 a.m. An Arkansas inmate's fight to avoid lethal injection is advancing on two fronts just hours before his scheduled execution. Lawyers filed paperwork Thursday saying they want the Arkansas Supreme Court to review a decision rejecting a hearing on whether Kenneth Williams is intellectually disabled, which would make him ineligible for execution. Previously, they asked the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals a similar question. Williams is scheduled to die at 7 p.m. Thursday for the killing of a former deputy prison warden following an escape. Williams broke out less than three weeks into a life term for killing a college cheerleader. If Williams is put to death, it would be the fourth execution for Arkansas since April 20. The state initially planned to execute eight men in 11 days because a key execution drug expires at the end of the month. ___ 7:50 a.m. Few options remain for an Arkansas death row inmate scheduled for a lethal injection Thursday night. Kenneth Williams would be the fourth man executed in Arkansas in eight days. The state initially wanted to put eight men to death in an 11-day period before one of its execution drugs expires at midnight Sunday, but four inmates won stays. The Arkansas Supreme Court on Wednesday rejected Williams' claim his jurors didn't consider mitigating factors. In the county where Williams was convicted, a judge refused to hear claims Williams was intellectually disabled. The Lincoln County Circuit Court said jurors considered that during Williams' sentencing phase. Separately, a Little Rock federal judge refused to reopen a 2007 case in which she rejected Williams' effort to have his conviction and death sentence tossed out. Williams' lawyers have asked a St. Louis-based appeals court to review that Thursday. ___ 12:15 a.m. Arkansas is reaching the end of its aggressive execution schedule. Kenneth Williams is scheduled to die at 7 p.m. Thursday for the death of a former deputy warden killed after Williams escaped from prison in 1999. Williams was being held for the death of a college cheerleader when he escaped in a 500-gallon barrel of hog slop. Williams would be the fourth inmate to die in Arkansas' execution chamber in a week. Initially, Arkansas wanted eight men executed before one of its execution drugs expires Sunday. Courts issued stays for four of the inmates. State officials declared the previous three executions a success. The inmates' lawyers say there are still flaws in the system and that it's difficult to tell whether the inmates are suffering cruel punishment as they die.
  • President Donald Trump's liaison to the black community, the former 'Apprentice' star Omarosa Manigault, says African-American activists aren't trying hard enough to work with the new administration. The White House aide delivered the pointed message in an interview with The Associated Press in advance of an appearance Thursday at the annual convention of an activist organization founded by the Rev. Al Sharpton. 'We're here waiting, willing to work with the community,' Manigault said when asked about Trump's moves to slash programs that benefit minorities. 'This president wants to engage. It's not a one-way street.' She was more measured Thursday afternoon as she faced hundreds of black activists, who, like African-American voters across the nation last fall, overwhelmingly opposed Trump's presidency. Several participants refused to utter the president's name in convention sessions, referring to the 45th president only by the number 45. Trump got just 8 percent of the African-American vote last November, according to exit polls. 'I'm ready,' Manigault told the crowd as some murmured their disapproval. 'I know what I came into, and I ain't never scared.' She insisted she's spent her first 100 days in Washington fighting for the black community. She noted that Trump has met personally with the Congressional Black Caucus and the presidents of historically black colleges and universities. Manigault called on black leaders to help the struggling institutions as well. 'As I fight for you from the White House, I need you to fight on the outside,' she said from the podium of a Manhattan hotel ballroom. The audience listened to Manigault without interruption. Afterward, from the same podium, Sharpton expressed skepticism. He noted that Trump's proposed budget includes less money for historically black institutions than the final year of President Obama's presidency. Others previously complained that Trump plans to slash training, education and health care programs that benefit minorities. Sharpton told Manigault to deliver a message to the new president when she returned to Washington. 'I wish the president would respect us,' Sharpton said, dismissing Trump's early black outreach as little more than photo ops. He added, 'We, as blacks and women, are in the first 100 days seeing a disaster in Washington, D.C.
  • The math is pretty simple for Dusty Baker: His big-hitting lineup plus Coors Field equals loads a runs. 'But I didn't have any idea we were going to score that many,' the Washington manager said. Bryce Harper hit a three-run homer as part of an 11-run seventh inning, Trea Turner enjoyed another big game at the hitter-friendly ballpark and the Nationals routed the Colorado Rockies 16-5 on Thursday. Turner proved to be a pitcher's nightmare throughout the four-game series. He hit for the cycle on Tuesday, finished a triple shy of another cycle Wednesday and added a double and two singles in the finale. In all, he had seven extra-base hits, scored 10 runs and had 11 RBIs. 'This ballpark, for whatever reason, feels pretty comfortable to me,' said Turner, who came off the disabled list less than a week ago. 'It's fun hitting here.' His teammates felt the same way as every starter had a hit Thursday. Washington finished 9-1 on its road trip, taking three of the last four at Colorado. What's more, the Nationals scored 11 or more runs in three straight games for the first time since July 1986 at Atlanta, when the team was the Montreal Expos. Leading 4-2, the Nationals broke the game open in the seventh by sending 15 batters to the plate and pounding out eight hits, including Harper's eighth homer. The 11 runs in the frame were the most by the franchise since the Expos scored 13 in the sixth at San Francisco on May 7, 1997, according to the team. 'With our lineup, it's only a matter of time before we kind of put up a crooked number,' Turner said. 'We scored 11 runs in an inning and at any point during that inning, somebody could've shut it down. Nobody wanted to make that last out. Nobody wants to give an at-bat away.' It was quite a hitting clinic. 'They're on a great streak where groundballs are going through, they're hitting balls over the fence,' Rockies manager Bud Black said. It's sort of the contagious theory.' Gio Gonzalez (3-0) scattered seven hits over 6 2/3 innings to improve to 4-0 all-time against Colorado. He also had a good day at the plate with two RBIs, including a bases-loaded walk in the big seventh. Rockies rookie Antonio Senzatela (3-1) couldn't find his typical command in surrendering four runs over six innings. Before the game, Black said he was going to talk to Senzatela about not walking the pitcher, which he termed a 'bad sin.' Both Tyler Chatwood and German Marquez did just that the previous two games, paving the way to costly innings. Senzatela didn't walk the pitcher, but reliever Carlos Estevez did in the seventh. 'Once the pitcher walked, that sort of set the stage for an extreme add-on,' Black said. 'We just couldn't solve that inning.' Another hurtful play in the pivotal inning was when first baseman Mark Reynolds fielded Harper's grounder and instead of stepping on the bag, threw home to get the runner he figured was breaking for home. Only, the runner wasn't going and the throw wound up in the dugout. TRAINER'S ROOM Nationals: RHP Stephen Strasburg was reinstated from the paternity list after the birth of his second daughter. Strasburg is scheduled to throw Saturday against the New York Mets. Rockies: OF Gerardo Parra made a leaping catch in the sixth just before hitting the wall. Parra was shaking his right hand, but stayed in the game. RESTING SLUGGERS Nationals infielder Ryan Zimmerman and Rockies outfielder Carlos Gonzalez didn't start. Both had planned rest days, although Baker struggled with the decision with Zimmerman. 'It's hard to rest him because he's hot,' Baker said. THIS & THAT OF Charlie Blackmon had two hits to extend his hitting streak to 12 games. ... 3B Nolan Arenado hit a solo homer in the first — about the only mistake Gonzalez made all afternoon. UP NEXT Nationals: RHP Max Scherzer (3-1, 1.95 ERA) starts Friday when the Nationals open a three-game series against the New York Mets. Scherzer has 55 strikeouts in his last five games against the Mets, who will throw RHP Jacob deGrom (0-1). Rockies: LHP Kyle Freeland (2-1, 3.32 ERA) starts Friday at Arizona. The Diamondbacks will throw LHP Robbie Ray (2-0, 3.42). ___ More AP baseball: https://apnews.com/tag/MLBbaseball
  • A fast-moving, 250-acre wildfire broke out Thursday afternoon in DeLand, prompting crews to close a section of State Road 44.Interactive map: Burn bans in effect in Central FloridaThe Florida Forest Service said on Twitter that the fire started as 2-acres on the north side of State Road 44, then spread to the south side near Damascus Road.State Road 44 is closed from Damascus Road and Pioneer Trail. Traffic Section: Find an alternate routeWindy conditions are making it difficult for firefighters to get a handle on the blaze.  Images of brush fire off Damascus Road today causing closure of SR 44 - Air One is assisting w/ bucket pic.twitter.com/1RkhLokxQC— Volusia Co. Sheriff (@VolusiaSheriff) April 27, 2017   #Damascus Fire is between New Smyrna and Deland on SR 44. Please avaoid area!! Road is Closed for a section of 44— FFS Bunnell (@FFS_Bunnell) April 27, 2017    By 3:30 p.m., the blaze had grown to more than 100 acres. Crews had the fire 50 percent contained by 6:20 p.m.The Florida Forest Service said 15 bulldozers are being used to fight the blaze, and crews are also working to put it out by air. Raw video of brush fire: No structures were in danger.Crews are working to contain the fire and ask that people avoid the area.Photos: Massive brush fire in DeLand near State Road 44 Burn Ban Info: Volusia County Fire Rescue has issued an outdoor burn ban due to the ongoing dry conditions. The ban will take effect at 12:01 a.m. Friday and applies to the county’s unincorporated areas, Oak Hill, Lake Helen and Pierson.Raw: Brush fire breaks out in DeLandUnder the burn ban, all outdoor burning, unless authorized by the Florida Forest Service, is prohibited. This includes the burning of yard trash, household paper products, bonfires, campfires, warming fires and cooking fires.Outdoor cooking done with a contained gas or charcoal grill (excluding a fire pit) is the only exception. Follow Ty Russell on Twitter for updates.  #Damascus wildfire in Deland is nearly 20 acres NO structures in danger at this time. 20+ Units on scene @VCNewsInfo @volusiafire pic.twitter.com/nx3umrW1Dx— FFS Bunnell (@FFS_Bunnell) April 27, 2017 https://t.co/oSc93BkvB3. Video of huge fire west of #NewSmyrnaBeach. #wftv pic.twitter.com/zgkvPioUqq— tom terry (@TTerryWFTV) April 27, 2017 #Damascus 🔥 air support. @FLForestService pic.twitter.com/7BlxugSrPX— FFS Bunnell (@FFS_Bunnell) April 27, 2017
  • The Senate on Thursday confirmed Alex Acosta as Labor secretary, filling out President Donald Trump's Cabinet as he approaches his 100th day in office. The 60-38 vote confirms Acosta to the post. Once sworn as the nation's 27th Labor secretary, the son of Cuban immigrants will lead a sprawling agency that enforces more than 180 federal laws covering about 10 million employers and 125 million workers. Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., spoke for many Republicans with a statement issued just after the vote saying he hopes Acosta's focus will be 'promoting labor policies that are free of unnecessarily burdensome federal regulations.' Scott said he wants Acosta to permanently revoke rules governing financial advisers and adding Americans eligible for overtime pay. Democrats said any Labor secretary should advocate for the American workers to whom Trump promised so much during his upstart presidential campaign. They said Acosta has given no such commitment. 'Acosta failed this basic test,' tweeted Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass. Acosta has been a federal prosecutor, a civil rights chief at the Justice Department and a member of the National Labor Relations Board. He will arrive at the top post with relatively little clear record on some of the top issues facing the administration over key pocketbook issues, such as whether to expand the pool of American workers eligible for overtime pay. Acosta wasn't Trump's first choice for the job. Former fast food CEO Andrew Puzder withdrew his name from consideration last month, on the eve of his confirmation vote, after becoming a political headache for the new administration. Puzder acknowledged having hired a housekeeper not authorized to work in the U.S. and paying the related taxes years later — after Trump nominated him — and came under fire from Democrats for other issues related to his company and his private life. Acosta's ascension would come at a key moment for Trump, just two days before he reaches the symbolic, 100-day marker. The White House has sought to cross the threshold with its own list of Trump's accomplishments. Trump can say the Acosta vote was bipartisan, because eight Democrats and one independent voted yes. Joining the Republicans in his favor were Democratic Sens. Catherine Cortez Masto of Nevada, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Claire McCaskill of Missouri, Bob Menendez of New Jersey, Bill Nelson of Florida, Jon Tester of Montana and Mark Warner of Virginia. Independent Sen. Angus King of Maine also voted for Acosta. Labor secretary is the last Cabinet post for Trump to fill. Trump's choice for U.S. trade representative, a job considered Cabinet-level, is awaiting a Senate vote. From the beginning, Acosta's was a quiet march to confirmation that stood out because it didn't attract the deep partisan battles faced by some of Trump's other nominees, including Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. Justice Neil Gorsuch's nomination provoked such a fight that majority Senate Republicans used the 'nuclear option' to remove the 60-vote filibuster barrier for Supreme Court picks. Thursday's vote marks the fourth time Acosta has been confirmed for the Senate. Democrats and most labor groups were mostly muted in their response to Acosta's nomination. At his confirmation hearing, Democratic Sens. Patty Murray of Washington and Warren hammered Acosta for answers on a selection of issues important to labor and whether Acosta would cave to political pressure from Trump. Acosta refused to answer the policy questions until he's confirmed, and he vowed to be an independent and fair voice for workers. Both senators said they had great concerns, and both voted no. Our standard can't be 'not Puzder,'' Murray said Wednesday on the Senate floor. But tellingly, even as Acosta's nomination wound through the Senate, Democrats and their allies also tried to move on to other, labor-related issues — namely, a minimum wage hike to $15 an hour, which Trump opposes. Meanwhile, the Labor Department's online landing page bears a glimpse of Acosta's policy priorities: 'Buy American, Hire American.' That's the title of Trump's executive order this week directing the secretaries of labor and other agencies to issue guidance within 60 days on policies that would 'ensure that, to the extent permitted by law' federal aid 'maximize the use of materials produced in the United States, including manufactured products; components of manufactured products; and materials such as steel, iron, aluminum, and cement.' ___ Online https://www.dol.gov/
  • SeaWorld San Diego is caring for a sea lion that was unexpectedly born to a sick mother. The park says the pup was discovered Wednesday when a team went to check the health of her mother, who was rescued from a beach in the city of Oceanside on Tuesday. The pup made a live appearance online hours after her birth. The black-furred newborn is being nursed with a special milk formula through a feeding tube because the mother is too sick to care for her. The park says the mother may have eaten shellfish or fish poisoned by domoic acid, a naturally occurring toxin from algae. The park hopes the mother will feel better in a day or so and will take over caring for her pup.