SCHOOL SHOOTING-COLORADO-THE LATEST
The Latest: Hundreds gather for school shooting vigil
HIGHLANDS RANCH, Colo. (AP) — Hundreds gathered to honor victims and survivors of an attack that killed a teenager and wounded eight others at a suburban Denver high school.
About 2,000 people packed a high school gym Wednesday night to remember 18-year-old Kendrick Castillo, who was shot and killed trying to tackle one of the shooters at STEM School Highlands Ranch on Tuesday. Authorities have credited Castillo and two classmates with thwarting the attack.
Sen. Michael Bennet and Rep. Jason Crow, whose congressional district includes STEM, spoke about the need for gun control. The vigil dissolved as STEM students walked out to the parking lot, holding up lighted cellphones and yelling expletives at the media.
Students associated with the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence organized the vigil, held at nearby Highlands Ranch High School.
UNITED STATES-CHINA TRADE TALKS
US, Chinese negotiators to resume talks as US tariffs loom
WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. and Chinese negotiators are set to resume trade talks just hours before the United States plans to raise tariffs on Chinese imports in a dramatic escalation of tensions between the world’s two biggest economies.
China says it will retaliate if President Donald Trump follows through, though the Commerce Ministry in Beijing offered no specifics.
The negotiations starting up again Thursday were thrown into disarray after U.S. officials accused the Chinese of reneging on commitments they’d made in earlier rounds of talks. In response to the backsliding, the United States is raising tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese imports from 10% to 25% at 12:01 a.m. Eastern time Friday.
The two countries are sparring over U.S. allegations that China steals technology and pressures American companies into handing over trade secrets.
The Latest: Trump: Don’t worry about US-China trade talks
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump is telling supporters at his campaign rally in Florida not to worry about the trade talks the U.S. will be holding with China this week.
A Chinese delegation is scheduled to meet Thursday with U.S. trade officials in Washington.
Ahead of the talks, the U.S. government has filed plans to raise tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports from 10% to 25% Friday. The tariffs war has rattled investors this week.
Trump said Wednesday of the talks: “Whatever happens, don’t worry about it. It will all work out. You know why? It always does.”
The Trump administration decided to increase tariffs after accusing China of reneging on commitments it made in earlier talks.
CALIFORNIA SEX EDUCATION LATEST
The Latest: California OKs new sex education guidance
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California has overhauled its sex education guidance for public school teachers, encouraging them to talk about gender identity with kindergarteners and giving advice to help LGBT teenagers navigate relationships and practice safe sex.
LGBT advocates praised the new recommendations for giving such attention to a community that often is left out of sex education policies. But some parents and conservative groups assailed the more than 700-page document as an assault on parental rights. They argued those issues should best be taught by parents in the home.
The guidance approved by the California State Board of Education on Wednesday does not require teachers to teach anything. But it is designed to expose them to the latest research and help them make sure students are meeting state standards.
US lifts sanctions for Venezuelan general who defied Maduro
CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — The U.S. has lifted sanctions on a top Venezuelan general who broke ranks with President Nicolás Maduro, trying to help the opposition regain momentum in the face of a government crackdown following last week’s failed uprising.
Vice President Mike Pence said Tuesday that the lifting of financial sanctions for former spy chief Manuel Figuera is intended to encourage others in the military to abandon their support for Maduro.
The Treasury Department said the move is a display of “good faith” designed to elicit “concrete and meaningful actions to restore democratic order” by dozens of other sanctioned Venezuelan insiders.
As the U.S. looked to lure the Venezuelan military, Maduro and his allies started going after opponents who supported the uprising.
CONGRESSIONAL PAY RAISE
Congressional leaders eye restoring automatic pay hike
WASHINGTON (AP) — A handful of senior House lawmakers, frustrated by more than a decade of frozen congressional salaries, are quietly exploring whether to accept an annual pay raise that they’ve shunned since Barack Obama was first president.
It’s a longshot at best, requiring comity that’s in short supply in a Capitol riven with partisanship. More than two-thirds of House members have never gotten a pay raise because Congress has voted each year since 2009 to reject the annual cost-of-living pay hike.
And President Donald Trump could crush any effort to revive the pay raise with a single tweet.
Still, housing costs in the Washington area are skyrocketing, most lawmakers maintain two homes, and the salary of $174,000 doesn’t go so far in the face of 10 years of inflation.
SPRING FLOODING-THE LATEST
Latest: Interstate reopens weeks after flooding closed it
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A stretch of interstate highway in northwestern Missouri is open again for the first time since floodwaters shut it down in March.
Interstate 29 reopened Wednesday to the Iowa state line. Historic flooding in March forced closure of the busy north-south roadway. I-29 also is open in Iowa, but with some restrictions.
The Missouri Department of Transportation says more than 12,000 vehicles use I-29 in northwestern Missouri on a daily basis.
Many other roads and highways in northwestern Missouri and southwestern Iowa remain closed due to flood damage. The latest round of flooding has forced many other roads to close across several Midwestern states.
TRUMP TAXES-NEW YORK-THE LATEST
The Latest: NY Senate OKs giving US House Trump state return
ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — New York’s Senate has approved legislation that would allow congressional investigators to get access to President Donald Trump’s state tax returns, giving Democrats a potential end-run around the administration’s refusal to disclose his federal returns.
The bill that passed Wednesday would authorize state tax officials to release any state returns filed in New York if requested by any of three congressional committees.
The measure isn’t scheduled for a vote yet in the state Assembly. Both the House and Assembly are led by Democrats
An alternative proposal that wasn’t brought up for a vote would have applied only to returns only filed by select officeholders.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has declined to disclose Trump’s federal returns to the House, saying the request “lacks a legitimate legislative purpose.”
This story has been corrected to show the bill applies to all New Yorkers, not just seven types of state and federal officeholders.
Britney Spears gets restraining order against former friend
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Britney Spears has been granted a restraining order against a former confidante who she says has been harassing her family.
A judge Wednesday ordered the man, 44-year-old Sam Lutfi, to stay at least 200 yards from Spears, her parents and her sons.
The restraining order petition says Lutfi has been sending harassing and threatening texts to Spears’ family and disparaging them on social media and has been causing her severe mental trauma.
The Spears family has been in legal fights for years with Lutfi, a former friend of Spears who once said he was her manager.
She received a restraining order against him on similar grounds in 2009.
Lutfi’s lawyer said in a statement that they are disappointed in the order, which is overly broad and violates Lutfi’s constitutional rights.
Bucks beat Celtics 116-91 to advance to East final
MILWAUKEE (AP) — Giannis Antetokounmpo had 20 points, eight rebounds and eight assists, and the Milwaukee Bucks routed the Boston Celtics 116-91 on Wednesday night to advance to the Eastern Conference final.
The top-seeded Bucks placed seven players in double figures in their fourth straight win after dropping the series opener. Khris Middleton had 19 points and eight rebounds, and Eric Bledsoe finished with 18 points.
Next up for the Bucks is the winner of the Philadelphia-Toronto series. The Raptors are up 3-2 heading into Game 6 on Thursday night.
It’s the first Eastern Conference final for Milwaukee since 2001.
Kyrie Irving scored 15 points for Boston, which shot 31.2 percent from the field. Jayson Tatum and Marcus Morris each had 14.
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