Saturday, April 30
Kasich calls for balance on gay rights, religious beliefs
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Asked about gay rights and marriage equality, Republican presidential candidate John Kasich says more people should take a "chill pill" and try to get along with one another rather than turn to unwieldy legislation.
The Ohio governor appeared at a town hall hosted by the Commonwealth Club of California on Friday, where he answered questions on issues that included terrorism and health care as well as discrimination against gays and lesbians.
In a a spirited exchange with a gay man, Kasich said "Do I think people are born gay? Probably. I've never studied the issue, but I don't see any reason to hurt you or discriminate (against) you or make you feel bad or make you feel like a second-class citizen."
Kasich added --quote-- "I don't think that's right. Because you know what? Everybody's created in the image of the Lord."
Kasich has walked a fine line on the issue, saying that he does not support same-sex marriage but that he also has attended a gay wedding. He said that he does not believe in discriminating against anybody, but religious views must also be honored.
Trump says he can win even without GOP unity
BURLINGAME, Calif. (AP) — Donald Trump is giving Republican power brokers a warning — he'll beat Hillary Clinton with or without them.
Trump told the California Republican Party convention that the party needs to unify behind him as its nominee. But he adds that even if it doesn't, he thinks he can beat Hillary Clinton.
"Could I win without it?" Trump asks the crowd of powerbrokers and activists. "I think so because they're going to be voting for me" — and not the party.
Trump rarely speaks at state party events, but California is the big prize on June 7, as the primary series wraps up.
Meanwhile, Trump picked up two more delegates in Rhode Island, giving him 81 percent of the delegates needed to clinch the nomination and avoid a contested convention. Trump won the recent Rhode Island primary in a landslide.
Trump needs 1,237 delegates to clinch the nomination ahead of the GOP convention in Cleveland in July.
Overall, Trump has 996 delegates, compared to 565 for Cruz and 153 for Kasich, according to the AP delegate count.
Hundreds of rowdy protesters dogged the hotel where Trump spoke.
Because of the protest, Trump was rerouted to a back entrance.
Cruz gets backing of Indiana governor
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana Gov. Mike Pence is endorsing Ted Cruz in the state's critical Republican primary next week.
Pence announced his support for the Texas senator this afternoon in a radio interview (on The Garrison Show on WIBC-FM.) He said, "I will be voting for Ted Cruz." Pence called Cruz "a principled conservative" who has "shown the courage of his convictions."
But Pence also had kind words for Cruz's rival Donald Trump. He says Trump "has given voice to the frustration of millions of working Americans" and he is "grateful for his voice in the national debate."
Cruz is desperately seeking momentum in his fight to block Trump from claiming the delegate majority before the GOP's national convention in July. A Trump win in Indiana on Tuesday would all but ensure he becomes the presumptive nominee.
Cruz said earlier today he would "enthusiastically welcome" Pence's support.
GOP 2016-DELEGATE DECISIONS
NEW: Pennsylvania GOP delegates voice strong support for Trump
HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — A solid majority of Pennsylvania Republicans elected this week as delegates to the GOP's presidential nominating convention in Cleveland say they intend to vote for the candidate who won a thumping primary victory in their state — Donald Trump.
The ballot didn't tell voters which candidate the delegates support, and the 54 people who were elected can choose any candidate.
It's an unusual system that raised the prospect that Pennsylvania delegates could be decisive in depriving Trump of the nomination by scattering to his rivals despite his victory in the state.
That appears unlikely. A canvass of the winners by The Associated Press finds that 40 of the 54 intend to vote for Trump.
NEW: Iran state media: Moderate bloc wins more seats in runoff
TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran's moderate-reformist bloc secured more than 25 more seats in parliamentary runoff elections, according to a Saturday report on state TV.
The bloc, which supports President Hassan Rouhani and a nuclear deal the country reached with world powers last summer, will have to dominate the remaining unannounced seats in order to secure an outright majority in the 290-seat legislature.
State TV on Saturday morning announced winners for 55 of the remaining 68 seats being contested. Among them there are 27 moderate-reformist candidates, with the rest divided between hard-liners and independent candidates.
Final results are expected later on Saturday.
In February, the moderate-reformist bloc dominated the vote in Tehran, securing all 30 seats there. But their support is less dominant outside the capital.
The bloc needs to win 40 seats in the runoffs to control the parliament, which will begin its work in late May.
Panama experts to recommend financial system cleanup
PANAMA CITY (AP) — The government of Panama has established a committee of independent experts to make recommendations on cleaning up the country's financial system, after leaks of documents from the Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca caused an international uproar over offshore accounts.
President Juan Carlos Varela called for the review after the "Panama Papers" leak suggested rich foreigners were using the accounts to hide their wealth.
The advisory group includes Nobel economics laureate Joseph Stiglitz, former Panamanian President Nicolas Ardito Barletta and former Panama Canal administrator Alberto Aleman Zubieta. The group is to present recommendations to Varela in six months.
Varela said Friday at the committee's inauguration that "our administration is committed to bullet-proofing Panama" financial services sector "against threats from people and groups who want to use it for illegal activities."
Fugitive wanted in 2 states captured in southeast Alabama
TROY, Ala. (AP) — Authorities say a man wanted in Alabama and Florida on multiple charges including murder has been captured in southeast Alabama.
The U.S. Marshals Service says 39-year-old Raymond Pruitt was arrested Friday afternoon in Pike County after being sought after a crime spree that started on April 5. Authorities say Pruitt was captured after he crashed his vehicle following a high-speed chase with law enforcement.
Authorities say Pruitt allegedly stabbed his girlfriend and shot her with her own pistol.
Pruitt was initially sought by Montgomery Police on an attempted murder charge. He allegedly went on an armed robbery crime spree stretching across at least four Alabama counties.
Police say a suspect believed to be Pruitt committed an armed robbery of a Pensacola, Florida, convenience store before shooting a clerk to death.
11 Cubans on 1984 list deported, but no US policy change
MIAMI (AP) — The U.S. has deported 11 Cubans under an agreement Washington made with Havana after a massive 1980 boatlift.
In a statement to El Nuevo Herald, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokesman Nestor Yglesias said the deportations took place under the terms of a 1984 agreement listing specific Cubans to be returned to the communist island.
More than 2,700 Cubans who arrived around the time of the Mariel boatlift were included on the list. It's unclear how many still await deportation. ICE officials told the newspaper that by January 2015, about 2,000 already had been deported.
The Miami Herald has previously reported that nearly 30,000 Cuban nationals convicted of crimes in the U.S. eventually may face deportation. They were released under supervision by immigration authorities when the U.S. had no diplomatic relations with Cuba.
UN says N. Korea accusations vs US troops 'unsubstantiated'
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — The American-led U.N. command at the Demilitarized Zone dividing the two Koreas has dismissed as unsubstantiated accusations from North Korea that U.S. troops tried to provoke its frontline troops with "disgusting acts."
A North Korean military statement Friday warned U.S. soldiers to stop what it called "hooliganism" at the inter-Korean border village of Panmunjom or they'll meet a "dog's death any time and any place."
It said U.S. troops pointed their fingers at North Korean soldiers and made strange noises and unspecified "disgusting" facial expressions.
Saturday's statement from Christopher Bush, a spokesman for the U.N. command, says they looked into the allegations and determined they were unsubstantiated.
UNITED NATIONS-NORTH KOREA
China ambassador says North Korean proposal merits study
UNITED NATIONS (AP) — China's U.N. ambassador says a North Korea proposal under which Pyongyang would halt its nuclear program if the U.S. and South Korea suspend joint military exercises merits consideration.
"I think anything, anything, any proposal, no matter where the proposal comes from, so long it is conducive to a negotiated solution that will contribute to denuclearization to peace and stability on the Korean peninsula should be studied very carefully," Liu Jieyi said Friday.
He stressed the need for a multidimensional approach to the North Korea situation and said that sanctions and Security Council resolutions alone would not resolve the issue. He added countries could also work directly with North Koreans to diffuse tensions.
Liu made his remarks during a news conference wrapping up his month-long term as Security Council president.
Overturned truck carrying stones kills 14 in China
BEIJING (AP) — Chinese authorities say 14 people were killed when a truck carrying stones overturned and dumped its cargo onto a roadside activity center.
The central government's State Administration of Work Safety said Friday's accident in the southern province of Guizhou was apparently caused by brake failure.
The incident occurred on the eve of the three-day May Day holiday, during which millions of Chinese are expected to travel within China and abroad. Traffic police in recent days have been cracking down on overloading, poorly maintained vehicles and drunk driving in an effort to avoid the carnage regularly seen on Chinese highways during public holidays.
Those efforts have been intensified with the rise of private car ownership among China's growing middle class, which now drives more than 172 million vehicles.