Supreme Court ruling imperils abortion laws in many states
NEW YORK (AP) — By striking down tough abortion restrictions in Texas, the U.S. Supreme Court has emboldened abortion-rights activists nationwide and imperiled a range of anti-abortion laws in numerous states.
Many anti-abortion leaders were openly disappointed, bracing for the demise of restrictions that they had worked vigorously to enact over the past few years.
The Supreme Court has decided "the abortion industry will continue to reign unchecked as mothers are subjected to subpar conditions," said Heather Weininger, executive director of Wisconsin Right to Life.
On the other side of the debate, Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards hailed the ruling as "an enormous victory for women," and joined her abortion-rights allies in vowing to quickly seek gains beyond Texas.
"Far too many women still face insurmountable barriers, which is why we are taking this fight state by state," she said. "It's time to pass state laws to protect a woman's constitutional right to abortion, and repeal ones that block it."
EU pressures UK to trigger exit talks
BRUSSELS (AP) — The European Union ratcheted up pressure Tuesday on the U.K. to trigger negotiations to leave the bloc and end the uncertainty that has rattled stock markets.
In Berlin, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she will use "all her strength" to prevent the EU from drifting apart in the wake of Britain's decision.
At an emergency session in the European Parliament hours ahead of a summit of EU leaders, EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker called on Britain to clarify its future, after Prime Minister David Cameron suggested that exit talks might not be launched before October.
"I want the U.K. to clarify its position. Not today, not tomorrow at 9 a.m., but soon. We cannot allow ourselves to remain in a prolonged period of uncertainty," Juncker told EU lawmakers.
Juncker said that he had banned policy commissioners under his command from holding any secret talks with Britain on its future until London triggers the exit clause known as Article 50 that launches negotiations on Britain's departure.
UK business in limbo in face of years of Brexit uncertainty
LONDON (AP) — The impact of Britain's vote to leave the European Union was swift and painful for Ed Bussey's small tech firm in London.
The founder and CEO of Quill, an online content company, had been looking to fill a software development job paying 70,000 pounds ($95,000) a year that's been open for six months. He had a job interview set up with a promising candidate from EU member Italy on Friday — the day after the vote.
"Because of what had happened on Thursday, he was not prepared to up sticks and move to London," Bussey said with chagrin. "He was saying: 'Look, I'm not sure I'm not going to get booted out in two years.'"
Businesses in Britain already are seeing the impact of the seismic vote to have the country leave the other 27-nations in the trading bloc and strike out on its own. Companies large and small are feeling the shockwave which left Britain in uncharted waters, unclear of what the future will hold.
Being part of the EU guarantees no tariffs on trade on goods and services and the free movement of workers, without the hassle of visas or work permits. Now that it is leaving, Britain will have to first negotiate its exit, which could take years, and then renegotiate new relations with Europe, which could take even longer.
Trump's Muslim ban: From simple clarity to plain confusion
NEW YORK (AP) — From the moment he first declared it, the plan has been a signature of his campaign for president: "Donald J. Trump is calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country's representatives can figure out what is going on."
Yet from that first moment, the Republican White House candidate has evaded questions when pressed for details. Now that he's a presumptive nominee with sliding poll numbers, his spokeswoman says he's no longer seeking the ban at all.
In its place, he's offering an approach based on a standard of terrorism that he and his campaign refuse to define.
The ban idea originated with 28 direct and forceful words, issued immediately after the December shootings in San Bernardino, California, that killed 14 people. The blanket nature of the proposal, which appeared to stretch beyond immigration to include any member of the Muslim faith seeking to cross the U.S. border, provoked a flurry of questions.
Would it apply to U.S. citizens traveling or living abroad? Members of the armed forces? What about foreign leaders seeking to visit the U.S., such as Jordan's King Abdullah II — a staunch American ally? Or Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai?
How Clinton's and Trump's economic prescriptions clash
WASHINGTON (AP) — Republican Donald Trump will deliver a speech outlining his trade policies on Tuesday — a talk that is sure to underscore the stark differences between his approach and that of likely Democratic rival Hillary Clinton when it comes to handling the economy.
Trump favors big tax cuts that mainly would help the rich. Clinton wants to boost taxes on high earners.
Clinton wants to raise the minimum wage nationwide. Trump favors leaving it to the states.
Trump sees a middle class crushed by trade deals, globalization and shameless corporations moving jobs overseas.
Clinton argues that rebuilding the middle class requires government aid for higher education and job training. She wants to push corporations to share profits and raise pay.
Volkswagen reaches $14.7B emissions settlement
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Volkswagen diesel owners can choose to either sell their car back to the company or get a repair that could diminish the vehicle's performance under a settlement of claims tied to the German automaker's emissions-cheating scandal.
The settlement will cost VW $14.7 billion, a person briefed on the settlement talks said Monday, but does not resolve all the legal issues stemming from its admission that nearly a half million vehicles with 2-liter diesel engines were programmed to turn on emissions controls during government lab tests and turn them off while on the road.
The figure represents the largest auto scandal settlement in U.S. history. The deal sets aside $10 billion to repair or buy back roughly 475,000 polluting Volkswagen vehicles. Whether they choose to have BW buy back their vehicle or repair it, they will receive a payment of $5,100 to $10,000, the person said. The person asked not to be identified because the deal will not be filed in court until Tuesday, and a judge has ordered attorneys not to talk about it before then.
How VW would repair the vehicles to bring them into compliance with clean air laws has not yet been finalized, the person said.
Owners who choose to have VW buy back their cars would get the clean trade-in value from before the scandal became public on Sept. 18, 2015. The average value of a VW diesel has dropped 19 percent since just before the scandal began. In August of 2015, the average was $13,196, and this May it was $10,674, according to Kelley Blue Book.
Airport security fix: better training – for humans and dogs
GLYNCO, Ga. (AP) — Covering their ears, 192 future airport security officers watched from a grandstand as Larry Colburn detonates a plastic-explosives device like the one carried by the underwear bomber in a failed attempt to blow up a plane on Christmas Day 2009.
A tremendous boom was accompanied by a plume of black and gray smoke. A wave of blast pressure ripples through the air, hitting the spectators.
Colburn, a former Memphis police bomb squad commander, tells his audience that a very small amount of the explosive, PTEN, can do tremendous damage.
"That is an eye-opener," says Betsy Bueno. "That makes you want to do the job."
Bueno is joining the Transportation Security Administration, the agency responsible for protecting the traveling public from terrorists. Many travelers associate the TSA with long lines and uncomfortable pat-downs. Critics say the agency gives the appearance of airport security without doing much to make air travel safe.
US medical schools expand training to curb painkiller abuse
WORCESTER, Mass. (AP) — At first, the woman tried to hide her painkiller problem. She told the doctor that she still had pain from her past pregnancy, and that she just wanted a refill on her pain medication.
After a few questions, though, she admitted that a friend had sold her some OxyContin, and that she'd stolen pills from another friend.
The interaction was all staged, with the patient played by an actor and the doctor played by a medical student last month. The exercise was part of a daylong boot camp at the University of Massachusetts Medical School designed to help physicians in training identify and fight opioid abuse.
"There's a lot at stake here. We have a public health epidemic, and it's not getting better, and the health care profession is part of the problem," said Michele Pugnaire, the medical school's senior associate dean for educational affairs.
Medical schools nationwide are rethinking their training on opioids amid rising overdose deaths. Schools are taking action after critics said they had inadvertently contributed to addiction problems. Federal health experts say that physicians have been prescribing addictive opioid painkillers too often, and that poor training is frequently to blame.
Palestinians say Israel caused their summer water shortage
SALEM, West Bank (AP) — As Palestinians in the West Bank fast from dawn to dusk in scorching heat during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, tens of thousands of people have been affected by a drought that has greatly reduced the flow to their taps.
Israel admits it's been forced to cut water supplies to the parched area, saying that nearby Jewish settlements have also been affected. But Palestinian areas appear to have been hit much harder, and both sides are blaming each other for the painful situation.
The water shortage has harmed farmers, forced people to bathe less and created a booming business for tanker trucks that travel from house to house delivering water.
Israel blames it on the unusually early summer heat and the Palestinians' refusal to cooperate with Israel on renovating their leaky pipe system. Palestinians say the shortage is evidence of the uneven distribution of the water that runs beneath their feet in an underground aquifer — a distribution that was enshrined in an outdated peace agreement.
Ironically, the shortages come as Israel has made great strides toward water independence through a fast-growing desalinization program. Today, desalinated water provides about 30 percent of Israel's water and has reduced the semi-arid country's dependency on meek rivers and sparse rainfall.