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    The British government saw its flagship Brexit legislation pass through Parliament on Wednesday, but remains locked in a tussle with lawmakers over the direction of the country's departure from the European Union. The EU Withdrawal Bill was approved after Prime Minister Theresa May's government narrowly won a key vote. The House of Commons rejected by 319-303 a proposal to require Parliament's approval before the government agrees to a final divorce deal with the EU — or before walking away from the bloc without an agreement. Later in the day, the withdrawal bill — intended to replace thousands of EU rules and regulations with U.K. statute on the day Britain leaves the bloc — also passed in the unelected House of Lords, its last parliamentary hurdle. It will become law once it receives royal assent, a formality. A majority of lawmakers favor retaining close ties with the bloc, so if the amendment requiring parliamentary approval had been adopted, it would have reduced the chances of a 'no deal' Brexit. That's a scenario feared by U.K. businesses but favored by some euroskeptic members of May's Conservative minority government, who want a clean break from the EU. May faced rebellion last week from pro-EU Conservative legislators, but avoided defeat by promising that Parliament would get a 'meaningful vote' on the U.K.-EU divorce agreement before Brexit occurs in March. Pro-EU lawmakers later accused the government of going back on its word by offering only a symbolic 'take it or leave it' vote on the final deal and not the ability to take control of the negotiations. Labour Party Brexit spokesman Keir Starmer accused May of telling Parliament: 'Tough luck. If you don't like my proposed deal, you can have something much worse.' The rebels sought to amend the flagship bill so they could send the government back to the negotiating table if they don't like the deal, or if talks with the EU break down. The government claimed that would undermine its negotiating hand with the EU. 'You cannot enter a negotiation without the right to walk away,' Brexit Secretary David Davis told lawmakers. 'If you do, it rapidly ceases to be a negotiation.' But Davis also told lawmakers it would be for the Commons speaker to decide whether lawmakers could amend any motion on a Brexit deal that was put to the House of Commons. The concession was enough to get Conservative lawmaker Dominic Grieve, a leader of the pro-EU rebel faction, to back down and say he would support the government. Grieve said the government had acknowledged 'the sovereignty of this place (Parliament) over the executive.' While the withdrawal bill cleared a major hurdle, the government faces more tumult in Parliament in the months to come over other pieces of Brexit legislation. It has been two years since Britain voted by 52-48 percent to exit the 28-nation EU after four decades of membership, and there are eight months until the U.K. is due to leave the bloc on March 29, 2019. But Britain — and its government — remains divided over Brexit, and EU leaders are frustrated with what they see as a lack of firm proposals from the U.K about future relations. May's government is divided between Brexit-backing ministers such as Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson who support a clean break with the EU, and those such as Treasury chief Philip Hammond who want to keep closely aligned to the bloc, Britain's biggest trading partner. A paper setting out the U.K. government position on future relations, due to be published this month, has been delayed until July because the Cabinet cannot agree on a united stance. The European Parliament's leader on Brexit, Guy Verhofstadt, said Wednesday that he remains hopeful a U.K.-EU withdrawal agreement could be finalized by the fall so national parliaments have time to approve it before March. 'The worst scenario for both parties is no deal,' he told a committee of British lawmakers. 'The disruption that would create to the economy, not only on the continent but certainly in Britain, would be huge and that we have to avoid.
  • California legislation that was billed as one of the nation's most aggressive efforts to revive net neutrality was watered down during a tense legislative hearing Wednesday, leading the author to repudiate what he called a 'mutilated' bill. The legislation has been closely watched by energetic net neutrality advocates, who quickly denounced the decision. Sen. Scott Wiener has been pushing legislation to revive regulations repealed last year by the Federal Communications Commission that prevented internet companies from exercising more control over what people watch and see over the internet. Wiener urged the Communications and Conveyance Committee not to move forward his legislation, but the panel voted 8-2 to advance it to another Assembly committee. Wiener, a San Francisco Democrat, said passing the diluted measure would be worse than passing nothing at all. 'California is the progressive bastion for the country right now. People look to us to lead the way,' Wiener told The Associated Press. 'If California passes a weak, watered-down, ineffectual net neutrality bill, that sets a terrible standard not just for other states but for the federal government.' Assemblyman Miguel Santiago, a Los Angeles Democrat who chairs the committee, did not give a specific reason for the amendments. In a statement, he said California needs to beat back efforts by Trump administration and the telecommunications industry to end net neutrality. In a tense exchange with Wiener, he said his committee deserves input and said Wiener was trying to be a martyr for a purist view of net neutrality. It was an unusually public display of differences among Democrats that are usually aired in private. Internet providers remain opposed even with the changes. They say it's unrealistic to expect them to comply with internet regulations that vary across the country. 'We strongly believe that state-by-state regulation of the internet is inappropriate,' Steve Carlson of the wireless industry group CTIA said. Net neutrality advocates linked the amendments to political contributions from internet companies to Santiago and other committee members. Evan Greer, deputy director of the advocacy group Fight for the Future, said the committee is 'blatantly corrupt.' Oregon, Washington and Vermont have approved legislation related to net neutrality, but California's bill was seen as the most comprehensive attempt to codify the principle in a way that might survive a likely court challenge. An identical bill was introduced in New York. 'This was seen as a gold standard that could spread to other states,' Greer said, but she still holds out hope that it can be improved in the next legislative committee. Wiener's bill would prohibit internet providers from blocking or slowing data based on its content or from favoring websites or video streams from companies that pay extra. Those protections remain. But other provisions Wiener sought were removed — including a ban on so-called 'zero rating,' in which internet providers don't count content from their own subsidiaries or partners against a monthly data cap. The bill also no-longer includes provisions that Wiener says ensure internet providers can't get around the spirit of net neutrality. Wiener's bill drew a letter of support from U.S. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, a San Francisco Democrat who rarely weighs in on state legislative matters. 'I urge you to maintain all of the comprehensive protections in SB 822 to ensure that California citizens, not the companies we pay to get online, are able to decide which apps, services and websites they use,' Pelosi wrote in the letter dated Monday. U.S. Rep. Edward Markey, a Massachusetts Democrat, tweeted a day before the hearing that 'California lawmakers need to stay strong; everyone is watching.' Net neutrality advocates worry that, absent rules prohibiting it, internet providers could create fast lanes and slow lanes that favor their own sites and apps or make it harder for consumers to see content from their competitors. That could limit consumer choice or shut out upstart companies that can't afford to buy access to the fast lane, critics worry. Internet providers say they've publicly committed to upholding the values of net neutrality, but that strict rules like Wiener's would inhibit investment in faster technology.
  • A family of industrial chemicals turning up in public water supplies around the country is even more toxic than previously thought, threatening human health at concentrations seven to 10 times lower than once realized, according to a government report released Wednesday. The chemicals are called perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl. They were used in such goods as fire-suppressing foam, nonstick pans, fast-food wrappers, and stain-resistant fabric and carpet, but are no longer used in U.S. manufacturing. Water sampling has found contamination in water around military bases, factories and other sites. Exposure at high levels is linked to liver damage, developmental problems and some forms of cancer, among other risks. A draft of the report, by the Department of Health and Human Services' toxicology office, had set off alarms within the Trump administration earlier this year. A January email from a White House official, released under the Freedom of Information Act, referred to the findings as a 'potential public relations nightmare.' The draft went under months of government review before Wednesday's publication, but the key finding — that the chemicals are dangerous at specific levels much lower than previously stated — was not changed. The EPA, which scheduled a series of hearings on the chemicals, said last month that it would move toward formally declaring the two most common forms of PFAS as hazardous substances and make recommendations for groundwater cleanup, among other steps. U.S. manufacturers agreed in 2006 to an EPA-crafted deal to stop using one of the most common forms of the chemical in consumer products. The findings will likely lead state and local water systems with the contaminant to boost filtering. 'The more we test, the more we find,' Olga Naidenko, a science adviser to the Environmental Working Group nonprofit, said Wednesday.
  • A Northern California landlord has been charged with trying to kill a tenant in the third such violent incident between renters and property owners in recent weeks in a region mired in an affordable housing crisis. The Alameda County district attorney's office charged Herman Levi Little, 75, with attempted murder last week for allegedly shooting Timothy Loving, 39, in the Berkeley apartment building where they lived. Neither police nor prosecutors would discuss a possible motive. Little shot Loving three times on June 13, police said. Loving's friend, Dottie Moore, said Loving recently missed several rent payments because of health reasons. But she says Loving told her the landlord said he was satisfied with a payment plan the two had worked out. He lived in the apartment for five years and appeared to be on good terms with Little, she said. 'We don't know why he shot Timothy,' said Moore, who said she visited him in the hospital Wednesday where he is expected to recover from his injuries. Police recovered multiple guns and a homemade silencer from Little's apartment, court records showed. A judge ordered Little to hire a private attorney by Friday after ruling that he didn't qualify for a public defender. Little is not yet represented by an attorney, court records show. The shooting occurred in the college town of Berkeley, where affordable housing is especially scarce. But the entire region is suffering from a housing crunch, prompting public protests, tenant lawsuits and landlord evictions. On at least two occasions, an apparent rent dispute led to deadly violence. In San Francisco, a 47-year woman was charged earlier this month with killing and dismembering a roommate who wouldn't move out of her home. Lisa Gonzales, 47, has pleaded not guilty to killing her 61-year-old tenant who was paying $400 a month for a room in a neighborhood where rents for a two-bedroom apartment average $4,000 a month. In Mill Valley about 25 miles north of San Francisco, Victor Aurelino Lugo, 71, killed himself on May 3 after fatally shooting his landlord's daughter and wounding the landlord. Lugo was being evicted from his apartment, investigators said.
  • Thinking about shopping your auto insurance? A huge percent of people never shop their insurance needs — and that’s a bad idea considering that modern American business punishes loyalty, rather than rewarding it. Car insurance ads on TV promise accident forgiveness, vanishing deductibles and other selling points. But those features are just a side show to the main act, which is a company’s reputation with satisfying customers after a claim is made. Read more:  Car insurance rates: Geico vs. Progressive vs. Amica vs. State Farm Best and worst auto insurers Money expert Clark Howard has long sung the praises of two insurers in particular — USAA and Amica Mutual. USAA in particular recently was named the top pick for auto insurance in every single region of the country, according to the J.D. Power 2018 U.S. Auto Insurance Study. But the downside with USAA, if there can be said to be one at all, is that its insurance coverage and other financial services are only available to those in the military or who are affiliated with the military through direct family ties. So that may eliminate it from consideration for a lot of people. Amica Mutual, meanwhile, has no such barriers to entry. But the thing with Amica is that the first year tends to be very expensive because it is a mutual company. That simply means there are no shareholders and you become a part owner of Amica when you sign up for insurance. So that first year is basically you “buying into” the company. After that, customers typically get an annual premium rebate equal to about 20% of what they paid that year if they have no claims. 10 top-rated insurers Consumer Reports took a look at the auto insurance industry by surveying nearly 24,000 readers in the winter of 2017 about their satisfaction on the claims process, the cost of premiums and the overall customer experience. Here are the winners and losers, according to the magazine: (#1 is best) Amica Insurance New Jersey Manufacturers Insurance Company USAA Property & Casualty Auto Club Group Erie Insurance Group PEMCO Mutual Insurance Company The Cincinnati Insurance Company Auto-Owners Insurance Group of Companies Auto Club Enterprises Insurance Group Travelers Group 10 lowest-rated insurers (#1 is worst) MAPFRE North America Group MetLife Auto & Home Group Mercury General Group Progressive Insurance Group Liberty Mutual Insurance Companies Nationwide Group Allstate Farmers Insurance Berkshire Hathaway Insurance Group (Geico) State Farm Best auto insurers by region So much of the auto insurance industry is local. Sure, you have the national players you see advertising on TV. We’re talking about the GEICOs, Progressives, Allstates, State Farms and others of the world. But many smaller insurers are regional and they’re among the best in the business, according to J.D. Power. J.D. Power’s 2018 U.S. Auto Insurance Study surveyed nearly 45,000 customers across the country — almost twice as many as the Consumer Reports survey — from February-April 2018. Here are their top insurers by region: California: Ameriprise Central: Shelter Florida: MetLife Mid-Atlantic: Erie Insurance New England: Amica Mutual New York: New York Central Mutual North Central: Auto-Owners Insurance Northwest: PEMCO Insurance Southeast: Farm Bureau Insurance—Tennessee Southwest: CSAA Insurance Group Texas: Texas Farm Bureau We’ve got a deeper dive with the Top 5 insurers in your region of the country right here. How much should you expect to pay for an auto insurance policy? According to an industry association analysis of data from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, the average American paid $866 for a policy in 2014 — the latest year for which numbers are available. Of course, that can vary greatly from state to state, where you’ll find everything from an average of $572 in Idaho to $1,264 in New Jersey! Shopping your insurance every three years is a great way to save money. We’ll have more on that in a bit. But first, consider these factors on your current policy… Your deductible is important When it comes to car insurance, be sure the deductible you have isn’t too low. Take as high a deductible as you’re allowed to if you have a loan on your car. That’s usually $1,000. Having a low deductible pushes premiums higher. It could also tempt you to make a claim for a small incident that will leave you in trouble with insurers going forward. More on that in a bit, too. Pay attention to the level of coverage State minimums for liability If you have any assets in life to protect, you should think about going past the state minimums for liability. If you own a home, have savings, etc., you do not want to do state minimums for liability. Why? Because that one time you hit a car in your blind spot or whatever the case may be, you can have serious exposure for liability. The liability risk for fixing someone’s car is peanuts. The big money is when somebody is injured or says they’re injured. A lot of times people are able to dream up injuries from watching the ads on TV with the lawyers on who say they can get you big money when you’re involved in an accident. You don’t want to fall into that trap if you have assets to protect. Of course, if you have no assets and you rent a home rather than owning, then it’s acceptable if you want to just do state minimums. Collision and comprehensive Collision and comprehensive covers the damage to the car from a driving event or something else. When do you need it and when should you drop it? The general rule is when the cost of comp and collision exceeds 10% of your old vehicle’s value, that’s the time to dump it and just have liability coverage. You can determine your vehicle’s value at Edmunds.com, KBB.com or NADA.com. So let’s take a simple example. Say your vehicle is worth $4,000. If you’re paying anything more than $400 annually (that’s 10% of $4,000) for comp and collision, it no longer makes any financial sense. One notable exception to this rule: If there’s no way you could financially cover the loss of your vehicle, forget the math and keep paying for comp and collision. If you have a newer car, you need to have comprehensive and collision — along with that higher deductible of $1,000. If you’re buying a new car and you can’t afford the $1,000 deductible, then you probably can’t afford the new car in the first place. What you need to know about making a claim You never want to make a claim on auto insurance for something small — like a cracked windshield or a broken side-view mirror — because the consequences are so ugly. The insurer can surcharge you for a number of years; eliminate the discounts you would otherwise qualify for; or put a black mark on your C.L.U.E. report, a little-known industry database of claims. The latter effectively limits your ability to shop with the competition for 36 months. The hidden dark side of roadside assistance Auto insurers are great about offering add-ons to your policy that seem in theory like great conveniences at a great price. But using these seemingly benign “benefits” could marginalize you in the insurance marketplace and result in jacked-up rates! Some auto insurers that offer roadside assistance treat your use of it as an at-fault claim and put that through on your C.L.U.E. report — even though you only needed a tow or the fix or a flat tire! “It’s the Wild West with no rules on what insurers can decide to report on your C.L.U.E. report,” money expert Clark Howard says. “And you have no right of appeal either.” So here’s the # 1 rule about roadside assistance: Never get it from your own insurer. Get it from AAA or elsewhere. Read more: Emergency roadside assistance app is an alternative to AAA Shopping around is the best way to get a lower rate If your auto insurance is costing you too much, you’ve got to look around at other insurers. Here’s how to start the process… Begin by identifying solid companies Clark has long talked about the merits of Amica Mutual and USAA. But those aren’t the only two companies you should look at. Consider buying a one-time subscription to Consumer Reports and checking their latest list of the best auto insurance companies to find others that should make it onto your shortlist. Get your quotes Once you have a list of candidates, you’ll want to start getting quotes. This typically takes around 15 minutes on the phone per insurer. Have your most recent policy in front of you in case any questions come up about the make and model of your vehicle(s). Working with an insurance broker is another option. He or she will get multiple quotes for you and you’ll have access to all the insurers they do business with. It’s an easy one-stop shop that lets you still have the flexibility of comparison pricing. Compare quotes Once you get the quotes back, it’s time to compare them. Each quote should be based on the same amount of coverage so you can do an apples-to-apples comparison. What if a poorly ranked company offers you a great quote? Clark says to avoid them! While the premium might be tempting, you want to be sure your insurer is there for you when the chips are down. Don’t forget about discounts! There are a ton of different discounts out there. Here are some you can ask about: Antitheft devices Multiple policies with the same company College students living away from home Defensive driving courses Drivers ed courses Low annual mileage Long-time customer More than one car No accidents in three years No moving violations in three years Student drivers with good grades More insurance stories on Clark.com: Best and worst home insurance companies Auto insurance: How to shop for a new policy in 2018 How to shop for term life insurance Related Articles from clark.com: 7 things to know before you buy gas at Costco Wholesale Read More Chase is eliminating these big credit card benefits as of August 26 Read More The best live TV streaming plans and deals in 2018 Read More
  • President Donald Trump met Wednesday with Republican lawmakers after the Senate moved to block a White House plan to allow Chinese telecom giant ZTE Corp. to buy component parts from the U.S. ZTE is accused of violating trade laws by selling sensitive technologies to North Korea and Iran. The administration announced an agreement with ZTE earlier this month but has run into opposition in Congress. The public part of Trump's meeting with 16 Republican lawmakers focused heavily on the debate over the separation of immigrant children from their families at the southern border. But they also discussed the dispute over the agreement involving the Chinese company. Opponents in Congress have argued that ZTE poses a national security threat to the U.S. and Trump's deal with the telecom company was too lenient. The Senate on Monday approved a defense package with a provision that would reverse the ZTE agreement. The House previously approved the bill without the ZTE language, prompting the administration to seek a pathway to maintain the White House agreement with the Chinese firm in a joint House-Senate conference committee. The scrutiny over the ZTE agreement comes as the Trump administration has been engaged in a sweeping trade dispute with China. Trump has ordered tariffs on $50 billion in Chinese goods in response to Beijing's forced transfer of U.S. technology and intellectual property theft. Those tariffs are set to start taking effect July 6, and China has matched them with tariffs on U.S. exports. Earlier this week, Trump threatened to impose duties on up to $400 billion more in Chinese goods if it doesn't reduce its trade surplus with the U.S. and further open its markets. China has warned that it will retaliate. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, said after the White House meeting that the administration was trying to differentiate between U.S. government procurement and non-government procurement. 'Obviously government procurement is much more sensitive when it comes to national security,' Cornyn said after the meeting. 'A House version of the bill barred ZTE from U.S. government contracts. Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer of New York said Republican senators shouldn't 'water down or back off the Senate's strong language on ZTE in the defense bill.' He said protecting jobs and national security 'must remain paramount and not something that we can compromise on.' __ Associated Press writer Alan Fram contributed.
  • Facebook's Instagram service is loosening its restraints on video in an attempt to lure younger viewers away from YouTube when they're looking for something to watch on their smartphones. The expansion announced Wednesday, dubbed IGTV, will increase Instagram's video time limit from one minute to 10 minutes for most users. Accounts with large audiences will be able to go as long as an hour. Video will be available through Instagram or a new app called IGTV. The video will eventually give Facebook more opportunities to sell advertising. It's the latest instance in which Instagram has ripped a page from a rival's playbook in an effort to preserve its status as a cool place for young people to share and view content. In this case, Instagram is mimicking Google's YouTube. Before, Facebook and Instagram have copied Snapchat — another magnet for teens and young adults. Instagram, now nearly 8 years old, is moving further from its roots as a photo-sharing service as it dives headlong into longer-form video. The initiative comes as parent company Facebook struggles to attract teens, while also dealing with a scandal that exposed its leaky controls for protecting users' personal information. Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom told The Associated Press that he hopes IGTV will emerge as a hub of creativity for relative unknowns who turn into internet sensations with fervent followings among teens and young adults. That is what's already happening on YouTube, which has become the world's most popular video outlet since Google bought it for $1.76 billion nearly 12 years ago. YouTube now boasts 1.8 billion users. Instagram, which Facebook bought for $1 billion six years ago, now has 1 billion users, up from 800 million nine months ago. More importantly, 72 percent of U.S. kids ranging from 13 to 17 years old use Instagram, second to YouTube at 85 percent, according to the Pew Research Center. Only 51 percent of people in that group now use Facebook, down from 71 percent from a similar Pew survey in 2014-15. That trend appears to be one of the reasons that Facebook is 'hedging its bets' by opening Instagram to the longer-form videos typically found on YouTube, said analyst Paul Verna of the research firm eMarketer. Besides giving Instagram another potential drawing card, longer clips are more conducive for video ads lasting from 30 seconds to one minute. Instagram doesn't currently allow video ads, but Systrom said it eventually will. When the ads come, Instagram intends to share revenue with the videos' creators — just as YouTube already does. 'We want to make sure they make a living because that is the only way it works in the long run,' Systrom said. The ads also will help Facebook sustain its revenue growth. Total spending on online video ads in the U.S. is expected to rise from nearly $18 billion this year to $27 billion in 2021, according to eMarketer. Lele Pons, a YouTube sensation who also has amassed 25 million followers on Instagram, plans to launch a new cooking show on IGTV in hopes of increasing her audience and eventually generating more revenue. 'It's like Coca-Cola and Pepsi,' she said. 'You will never know what you like better unless you try both.' IGTV's programming format will consist exclusively of vertical video designed to fill the entire screen of smartphones — the devices that are emerging as the main way younger people watch video. By contrast, most YouTube videos fill only a portion of the screen unless the phone is tilted horizontally. Snapchat began featuring vertical video before Instagram, another example of its penchant for copying rivals. But Systrom sees it differently. 'This is acknowledging vertical video is the future and we want the future to come more quickly, so we built IGTV.
  • Almost four years after a Philadelphia food truck exploded into a fireball killing a woman and her teenage daughter, a U-Haul subsidiary and the general manager of one of its Philadelphia stores have been indicted. The U.S. Attorney's office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania announced the charges of violating federal hazardous materials regulations against the U-Haul Company of Pennsylvania and Miguel Rivera this week. A lawyer for the company declined comment Wednesday. A lawyer for Rivera says he has consistently maintained his innocence. Investigators say food truck owner, Olga Galdamez, took her propane tanks to U-Haul where they were filled despite being old and damaged. Galdamez and her 17-year-old daughter, Jaylin, died from burn-related injuries days after the July 2014 blast likely caused by a leak in one of those tanks.
  • American Airlines and United Airlines said Wednesday that they asked the Trump administration not to use their flights to carry migrant children who were separated from their parents by immigration authorities. Facing growing opposition to his administration's recent policy of separating migrant families, President Donald Trump signed an order later in the day to keep families together at the nation's southern border. The issue had galvanized flight attendants, some of whom took to social media to post accounts of seeing young passengers whom they believed to be migrants separated from their parents. 'We have no desire to be associated with separating families, or worse, to profit from it,' American said in a statement. United then issued a statement in which CEO Oscar Munoz said the company's purpose is to connect people. 'This policy and its impact on thousands of children is in deep conflict with that mission and we want no part of it,' he said. Southwest, Frontier and Alaska also criticized the policy and asked not to be involved in transporting separated children.  A spokesman for the Homeland Security Department criticized the airlines in strong terms, accusing them of no longer wanting to help the agency protect the traveling public and reunite unaccompanied illegal immigrant children with their families. 'Despite being provided facts on this issue, these airlines clearly do not understand our immigration laws,' the spokesman, Tyler Houlton, said in a statement. He accused the airlines of 'buckling to a false media narrative.' Things shifted again when Trump signed an executive order to keep families together at the southern border, saying at the White House that he doesn't like the sight of children being separated from their families. But he added that the 'zero tolerance' policy will continue. Delta Air Lines, which had been notably silent most of the day, then issued a brief statement calling reports of families being separated 'disheartening,' and praising Trump's executive order. The White House announced its zero-tolerance policy toward undocumented migrants in early May. Since then, more than 2,300 children have been taken from their parents at the southwestern border, leading to a spike in the number of young children under government care. However, most of the unaccompanied minors in the custody of U.S. authorities arrived at the border without their parents. Both American and United said they do not know whether any migrant children separated from their parents have been placed on their flights. In recent days several flight attendants have gone on social media to report seeing groups of children on their flights whom they believed to be children separated from their migrant families. 'These flight attendants were well aware of what was going on, so how can these airlines claim they didn't know? I don't believe that,' said Michael Avenatti, a lawyer better known for representing a porn actress in a legal fight against Trump, but who said he also represents more than 50 migrant families who have been separated from their children. Many airlines have contracts to provide travel services to the U.S. government. American said, however, that the government doesn't provide information about the passengers or their reason for travel. ___ David Koenig can be reached at http://twitter.com/airlinewriter ___ This story has been corrected to show that American Airlines issued a statement, not CEO Doug Parker.
  • A former employee hacked into computers at Tesla's Nevada battery factory, stole confidential information and combined it with falsehoods in leaks to the media, the electric car maker alleged in a federal lawsuit. The suit was filed Wednesday, three days after CEO Elon Musk warned employees of sabotage from within the company. Martin Tripp of Sparks, Nevada, admitted to Tesla investigators that he wrote software that transferred several gigabytes of data outside the company, including dozens of photographs and a video, according to the lawsuit filed Wednesday. Hacking software from Tripp also was running on three computer systems of other employees 'so that the data would be exported even after he left the company and so that those individuals would be falsely implicated,' the lawsuit alleged. A man who answered a call Wednesday at a number believed to be Tripp's said he did not know Tripp. An email message was not answered. Tripp made false claims about the information he stole, including claims that Tesla used punctured battery cells in the Model 3 electric car, and claims about the amount and value of scrap material generated by Tesla in the manufacturing process, the lawsuit alleged. Some of the claims made it into media stories about the company, but media organizations are not identified in the lawsuit. The company also alleges that Tripp sent photographs and data to unspecified third parties including financial information and battery manufacturing details. Data was combined with false information given to the media, the lawsuit said. The company says Tesla's name was damaged and the company lost business and profits due to the disclosures. On Sunday night, Musk emailed employees telling them of 'extensive and damaging sabotage' to the company's manufacturing operating system done under false user names. He wrote that the person's motivation was that he wanted a promotion that he did not receive. Musk wrote that there's a long list of organizations that 'want Tesla to die,' including Wall Street stock short-sellers and oil and gas companies. The company was investigating whether the former employee acted alone, Musk wrote. Tesla wants monetary damages and an order to prevent Tripp from obtaining or disclosing information. It also seeks a court order to inspect his computers, electronic storage devices, email accounts and external storage accounts. Tesla would not comment on the lawsuit Wednesday. It was unclear if the company reported the alleged thefts to law enforcement. Sparks police Officer Ken Gallop said there was no record of an investigation involving Martin Tripp. Storey County Sheriff Gerald Antinoro did not immediately respond to email and telephone messages from The Associated Press. Sandra Breault, spokeswoman for the FBI in Nevada, said she was checking into the matter. Tripp joined the company in October of 2017 at the battery factory as a process technician, and had electronically signed a non-disclosure agreement, the lawsuit said. Within a few months of his hiring, managers identified problems with his job performance, including at times being disruptive and combative with colleagues, according to the document. He was reassigned on May 17, 2018, and retaliated against the company by stealing the information, the lawsuit alleged. ____ Associated Press Writer Ken Ritter in Las Vegas and News Researcher Rhonda Shafner in New York City contributed.

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  • A 17-year-old was shot and killed by police in East Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on Tuesday night after he allegedly ran away from a traffic stop on foot, authorities said. >> Read more trending news  The Allegheny County Medical Examiner's Officer identified the teenager as Antwon Rose of Rankin. He attended Woodland Hills High School last year. Update 5:30 p.m. ET:  The mayor of East Pittsburgh confirmed that the officer involved in the shooting Tuesday night was sworn in to their department a few hours before. He has been an officer with other departments in the area for seven years. He still has not been identified. Update 4 p.m. ET:  The family of Antwon Rose has hired civil rights Attorney Lee Merritt to represent them. Merritt has previously represented the victims of violence in Charlottesville and several cases related to the Black Lives Matter movement. Update 2:53 p.m. ET:  Rose was shot three times while running from police, said Coleman McDonough, superintendent of the Allegheny County Police Department. McDonough said two guns were found in the car after the traffic stop, but Rose was not armed at the time of the shooting. The driver of the vehicle was initially detained by police. He has since been released, police said. A third person who was in the vehicle and fled has not been located. The East Pittsburgh police officer involved in the shooting has been placed on administrative leave. Pittsburgh Mayor William Peduto released the following statement: “Any loss of life is tragic, and especially the loss of life of a child. This is a devastating situation and I am saddened for Antwon Rose and his family.  “While Tuesday's shooting was not within the city's official borders it impacts all of us in the Pittsburgh region, and particularly those in the African American community. In my reactions to the incident I should have acknowledged that these shootings affect all of us, no matter where we live, and for that I am sorry.  “Tuesday night I was receiving numerous calls and messages asking me to respond to the involvement of police in a shooting in East Pittsburgh borough, and at the time I was attempting to clarify for the national public that the City of Pittsburgh Bureau of Police, which I ultimately oversee, were not involved.”   Original Story:  According to the Allegheny County Police Department, Rose got out of a vehicle that matched the description of a vehicle seen near a shooting that occurred shortly before 8:30 a.m. on Kirkpatrick Avenue in North Braddock. >> Visit WPXI.com for the latest on this developing story The vehicle, which police said had damage from bullets to the back window, was stopped near Grandview Avenue and Howard Street. An officer from the East Pittsburgh Police Department was handcuffing the driver when two males ran from the car, police said. One of those males was Rose, according to officials. Rose was taken to McKeesport Hospital, where he was pronounced dead. The Allegheny County Police Department is asking the other person who ran away from the vehicle to turn himself in 'so that he can give a comprehensive description of what occurred.' The victim in the North Braddock shooting, a 22-year-old man, was treated for his injuries and released from an area trauma center. The Allegheny County Police Homicide Unit is investigating both incidents. 
  • Florida Gov. Rick Scott has joined other leaders to urge the federal government to stop separating children from their parents when they enter the U.S. illegally. Scott sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services on Tuesday. Read: Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen taunted by protesters as she eats at Mexican restaurant U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson accused the Trump administration of a cover-up after officials denied him entry Tuesday to a detention center for migrant children in South Florida where he had hoped to survey living conditions. Nelson and U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, both Florida Democrats, went to the contractor-run Homestead Temporary Shelter for Unaccompanied Children following reports it was receiving detained children who had arrived at the country illegally. Read: Sen. Nelson, other lawmakers denied entry to facility housing immigrant children in Florida Nelson said on the Senate floor Wednesday that he wanted to check to see if the facility was clean and wanted to see where the children were sleeping. .@SenBillNelson: “I wanted to see for myself. I wanted to see, is the facility clean? Are the children sleeping in beds? I also wanted to be able to talk to the young children, the ones who had been separated.” #WFTV — Field Sutton (@FSuttonWFTV) June 20, 2018 Nelson said the deputy HHS secretary told him it was the department's policy that he would have to fill out a form and wait two weeks before a visit. Nelson told the Senate floor he filled out the form. 'Why do they not want the senator from Florida to get into this detention facility where there are children that have been separated from their parents?' Nelson asked. 'It must be that not only is this department policy, this is being directed from the president in the White House, and they don't want me to see it because they don't want us to know what is going on in there.' Read: Trump announces plan to keep migrant families together Wasserman Schultz said the facility was being used for an estimated 1,000 children, ages 13 to 17 -- most of whom arrived as unaccompanied minors and about 10 percent of whom are children separated from their families at the border. She said two other South Florida facilities were being used for younger children. At some point, the facility had been closed, but it reopened in February, officials said. Martin Levine was one of several protesters who demonstrated outside the Homestead Detention Facility Wednesday. 'The kids were totally innocent. Why not put them together with their parents, which is what the policy used to be?' he said. 'It's never too late to do the right thing. So I would praise him to do the right thing.' President Donald Trump on Wednesday signed an executive order, which requires authorities to stop separating immigrant families. 'I didn't like the sight or the feeling of families being separated,' Trump said. 'I consider this to be a very important executive order. It's about keeping families together.' The order doesn't outline a plan for reuniting the 2,300 children who have already been separated from their parents. It's unknown when they'll be released. Immigration attorney Nayef Mubarak told Channel 9 the order is not a simple fix. 'What this does end is perhaps separating a mother and a child, each being in separate cells. But now these children will be in cells indefinitely until their court case has been concluded,' he said. 'It's clear here that these children are not getting out of these facilities, and there's no clear end as to when they're going to be getting out.' The order doesn't change the Trump administration's zero tolerance policy of prosecuting anyone who tries to cross the border illegally. Attorneys expect the order to be challenged in court. The Associated Press contributed to this report. Download: WFTV news and weather apps .@SenBillNelson: “The power to end this painful chapter in American history lies with the President and his pen.” #WFTV — Field Sutton (@FSuttonWFTV) June 20, 2018 Watch below: Sen. Nelson speaks to Senate floor about denied entry to Homestead facility
  • Award-winning Getty Images photographer John Moore said he knew he had managed to capture the emotional impact of the Trump administration’s immigration policy just moments after photographing a young Honduran girl crying at her mother’s feet last week. >> Read more trending news The image appeared on television sets, computer screens and newspaper front pages around the globe. The photo spurred a California couple to start a fundraiser that has since raised millions of dollars to help migrants detained on suspicion of illegally crossing the border. It spurred public outrage over the immigration policy that led to the separation of thousands of children from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border. >> Couple raises more than $4.7 million to help reunite migrant children, parents Moore told The Washington Post that he noticed the girl when her mother stopped to breastfeed her in the middle of the road on June 12. She and dozens of other migrants, nearly all women and children, were stopped by the Border Patrol agents just after crossing the Rio Grande from Mexico into Texas. “There was no place for privacy,” Moore told the Post. “(The mother) said they’d been on the road for a month, and they were from Honduras. I can only imagine what dangers she’d passed through, alone with the girl.” The woman gave Moore permission to follow her and her 2-year-old daughter as Border Patrol agents processed them, the Post reported. It was after agents confiscated their personal items, when the girl’s mother put her on the ground to allow an agent to search her, that the girl started to wail. The moment passed quickly. “I took a knee and had very few frames of that moment before it was over,” Moore told NPR. “And I knew at that moment that this point in their journey, which was very emotional for me to see them being detained, for them was just part of a very, very long journey.” Moore told the Post that the feeling he had after photographing the girl was similar to emotions he felt while covering war zones and Ebola wards abroad. 'Ever since I took those pictures, I think about that moment often. And it's emotional for me every time,' he told NPR. “I do not know what happened to them. I would very much like to know.” >> Trump border policy: How to help immigrant children separated from families The Trump administration in April directed prosecutors to pursue cases against all people suspected of crossing the border illegally as part of a “zero tolerance” immigration enforcement policy. Parents have been separated from their children as they face prosecution. Nearly 2,000 children were separated from their families over a six-week period in April and May, according to the Department of Homeland Security. According to CNN, a spokesman later told them that the girl and mother in the viral photo were not separated. President Donald Trump on Wednesday signed an executive order ending his administration’s policy of separating children from parents at the U.S.-Mexico border amid global criticism of the practice.
  • A woman said she was robbed at gunpoint in her own driveway after driving 80 miles home from a shopping trip. Police believe the robbers may have followed her from the shopping center in Atlanta to her home in Dalton. Brittany McEntire told WSB that two men robbed her at gunpoint about three weeks ago. Her mother, husband and three children were also in the driveway.  >> Read more trending news  McEntire said the two men ran up the driveway and took her two Louis Vuitton diaper bags and demanded all of her jewelry, including her late father’s ring that she cherishes. She said the whole robbery took less than a minute, but she has not regained her peace of mind. “I could’ve lost my whole family if they had started shooting,” McEntire told WSB. The suspects allegedly followed McEntire from Buckhead for about two hours in an unidentified white car, police said. McEntire said she is unsure why she was targeted because she did not take home many bags from the store.  “It was not a shopping spree,” McEntire said. Police believe the men will try to follow and rob more people.
  • President Donald Trump on Wednesday signed an executive order ending his administration’s policy of separating children from parents at the U.S.-Mexico border amid global criticism of the practice. Update 10:30 p.m. EDT June 20: Senate Democrats took a stand on the floor of the U.S. Senate against President Donald Trump’s immigration plan just hours after the president signed an executive order revoking his policy of separating migrant children from their parents during illegal border crossings. Democrats, who spoke from the Senate floor for two hours, warned that the executive order will worsen the crisis along the U.S.-Mexico border, The Hill reported. 'If you can imagine it what this executive order does is raise the possibility of children being in prison for very, very long periods of time. ... Does anybody really believe that we should be imprisoning for an indefinite period of time little children,' Sanders said. Update 6:45 p.m. EDT June 20: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell issued a statement in response to President Donald Trump’s executive order overturning his administration’s own policy of separating migrant families at the border. “I am glad the president took this step today,” McConnell tweeted. “When families with children breach our border, we should keep those families together whenever possible while our legal system fairly and promptly evaluates their status,” McConnell said. Update 6:30 p.m. EDT June 20: Some Republican senators have expressed relief that President Donald Trump rescinded the policy separating migrant families at the border. Ohio Sen. Rob Portman, who introduced legislation to address the family separation issue at the border, said Trump’s executive order was a good move, but that Congress needs to act. “I’m pleased the administration has agreed to keep families apprehended at the border together. We can have strong border security without separating parents from their children,” he said on Twitter. Update 6 p.m. EDT June 20: Democratic senators are weighing in on President Donald Trump’s decision to end the practice of separating children from their families during illegal border crossings. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) said Trump is actually “doubling down” on his zero tolerance policy with his signing of the executive order. “His new executive order criminalizes asylum-seekers and seeks to indefinitely detain their children,” Durbin said in a tweet. Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA) also tweeted that Trump’s executive order does not end the administration’s “zero tolerance” policy. “ In fact, the President now wants to detain parents and children together indefinitely, and contemplates DoD building internment camps to house them. This is no solution to a problem Trump created,” Markey said. Update 4 p.m. EDT June 20: White House officials on Wednesday afternoon released the full text of the executive order signed by the president. >> Trump ends migrant family separations: Read the executive order In it, Trump directed officials to detain migrant families together. Officials have come under fire in recent months after reports surfaced that migrant children were being taken from their parents at the border. The order did not address what will happen to children and parents who are currently separated and in government custody. Update 3:20 p.m. EDT June 20: Trump signed the order, which will keep families together but continue the administration’s “zero tolerance” immigration policy, on Wednesday afternoon. >> From Jamie Dupree: President Trump to reverse course on immigrant family separations “We're keeping families together and this will solve that problem,” Trump said. “At the same time we are keeping a very powerful border and it continues to be a ‘zero tolerance,’ we have zero tolerance for people who enter our country illegally.” Original report: Trump told reporters Wednesday that he will “be signing something in a little while” to address family separations at the U.S.-Mexico border. >> Read more trending news “We want to keep families together, it’s very important,” Trump said. 'I’ll be doing something that’s somewhat preemptive and ultimately will be matched by legislation I’m sure.”  It was not immediately clear what the president planned to sign. Trump has repeatedly called on Congress to change laws that he says mandates the family separations. There is no law that requires children be separated from parents at the border. He blamed Democrats for the continued separations in a Wednesday morning tweet, but he added that he was “working on something.” The Associated Press reported Wednesday that Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen was drafting an executive action for Trump that would allow the Department of Homeland Security to keep migrant families together at the border. Nielsen does not believe Congress will act to resolve the issue of migrant family separations, the AP reported, citing two unidentified sources familiar with the matter. She’s working with officials from other agencies, including the Justice Department and the Department of Health and Human Services, to draft the executive action.  The Trump administration in April directed prosecutors to pursue cases against all people suspected of crossing the border illegally as part of a “zero tolerance” immigration enforcement policy. Parents have been separated from their children as they face prosecution. Nearly 2,000 children were separated from their families over a six-week period in April and May, according to the Department of Homeland Security. The executive action Nielson is drafting “wouldn’t end the zero tolerance policy, but would aim to keep families together and ask the Department of Defense to help house the detained families,” according to the AP.