AP News in Brief at 12:04 a.m. EDT

AP News in Brief at 12:04 a.m. EDT
Published June 24

In Mideast, Pompeo seeks a global coalition against Iran

WASHINGTON (AP) — Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Sunday he wants to build a global coalition against Iran during urgent consultations in the Middle East, following a week of crisis that saw the United States pull back from the brink of a military strike on Iran.

Pompeo spoke as he left Washington for Saudi Arabia, followed by the United Arab Emirates, Sunni Arab allies that are alarmed by Shiite Iran's increasing assertiveness and are working to limit its influence in the region. His stops in Jeddah and Abu Dhabi were hastily arranged late last week as additions to a trip to India from where he will join President Donald Trump in Japan and South Korea. But they were not announced until immediately before his departure in a sign of fast-moving and unpredictable developments.

"We'll be talking with them about how to make sure that we are all strategically aligned, and how we can build out a global coalition, a coalition not only throughout the Gulf states, but in Asia and in Europe, that understands this challenge as it is prepared to push back against the world's largest state sponsor of terror," Pompeo said about Iran.

But even as Pompeo delivered his tough talk, he echoed President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence in saying the U.S. is prepared to negotiate with Iran, without preconditions, in a bid to ease tensions. Those tensions have been mounting since Trump last year withdrew the U.S. from a global nuclear deal with Iran and began pressuring Tehran with economic sanctions. A fresh round of Iran sanctions is to be announced Monday in a bid to force the Iranian leadership into talks.

"They know precisely how to find us," Pompeo said.

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Buttigieg criticized at emotional town hall after shooting

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) — Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg faced criticism Sunday from angry residents of South Bend, Indiana, at an emotional town hall meeting a week after a white police officer fatally shot a black man in the city where he is mayor.

Buttigieg (BOO'-tuh-juhj) said he would call for an outside investigation of the shooting of 54-year-old Eric Logan by Sgt. Ryan O'Neill.

The 37-year-old mayor said he would send a letter to the federal Department of Justice's civil rights division and notify the local prosecutor that he'd like an independent investigator appointed. He conceded that his administration had failed on two key initiatives.

"The effort to recruit more minority officers to the police department and the effort to introduce body cameras have not succeeded and I accept responsibility for that," Buttigieg said.

Prosecutors investigating said that the shooting was not recorded by O'Neill's body camera.

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Bikers bid goodbye to 7 motorcyclists killed in crash

COLUMBIA, N.H. (AP) — A long-planned Blessing of the Bikes ceremony for motorcycle enthusiasts became a scene of mourning and reflection Sunday as about 400 people paid tribute to seven bikers killed in a devastating collision with a pickup truck .

The victims of the wreck Friday evening were members or supporters of the Marine JarHeads — a New England motorcycle club that includes Marines and their spouses — and ranged in age from 42 to 62.

"When they fall, we all fall," said Laura Cardinal, vice president of the Manchester Motorcycle Club, adding that fellow bikers will support the families of those who died. "Those families, they're going to go through a lot now. They have a new world ahead of them."

A pickup truck towing a flatbed trailer collided with a group of 10 motorcycles on a two-lane highway in the small town of Randolph, leaving victims strewn on the grass amid their shattered bikes. The cause of the crash was under investigation, and no immediate charges were filed.

Blessing of the Bikes ceremonies are held in many locations as a way to give prayers for a safe season. Sunday's event, situated about an hour from the accident site, was expected to draw maybe 100 or 200 people before it was transformed by tragedy.

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Trump: 'Surprise' question about Pence led him to hesitate

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump says he hesitated to back a possible 2024 presidential run by Vice President Mike Pence because he was caught off-guard by the question. Given a chance at a do-over, however, Trump still did not endorse his loyal lieutenant.

"You can't put me in that position," Trump said June 14 when a host of Fox News Channel's "Fox and Friends" asked him about endorsing Pence should the vice president seek to succeed Trump in 2024. Pence hasn't explicitly said he'll run in 2024, but is widely expected to.

Offered a chance to explain, Trump told NBC News he hesitated "because it was a surprise question."

"I'm not even thinking of it. It's so far out. I mean, It's so far out," Trump told "Meet the Press" in a wide-ranging interview taped Friday and broadcast Sunday. "Now what happens in 2024? I don't know that Mike is going to run. I don't know who's running or anything else."

Also in the interview, Trump criticized Fed chairman Jerome Powell and said his biggest mistake was choosing Jeff Sessions to be attorney general.

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Opposition win in Istanbul a blow to Turkey's Erdogan

ISTANBUL (AP) — The opposition candidate for mayor of Istanbul celebrated a landmark win Sunday in a closely watched repeat election that ended weeks of political tension and broke the long hold President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's party had on leading Turkey's largest city.

"Thank you, Istanbul," Ekrem Imamoglu, 49, said to the tens of thousands of people who gathered to mark his victory after unofficial results showed he won a clear majority of the vote.

The governing party's candidate, former Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim, conceded moments after returns showed him trailing well behind Imamoglu, 54% to 45%. Imamoglu increased his lead from a March mayoral election by hundreds of thousands of votes.

Erdogan congratulated Imamoglu in a tweet. Analysts noted the president, who is grappling with an economic downturn and several international crises, could limit the mayor's power or undermine Imamoglu's authority in other ways.

Imamoglu narrowly won an earlier mayoral election on March 31, but Erdogan's Justice and Development Party, AKP, challenged the vote over alleged irregularities. He spent 18 days in office before Turkey's electoral board annulled the results after weeks of partial recounts.

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Yemeni rebels strike Saudi airport ahead of US-Saudi talks

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — One person was killed and seven others were wounded in an attack by Iranian-allied Yemeni rebels on an airport in Saudi Arabia Sunday evening, the Saudi military said, as the U.S. secretary of state was on his way to the country for talks on Iran.

Regional tensions have flared in recent days. The U.S. abruptly called off military strikes against Iran in response to the shooting down of an unmanned American surveillance drone on Thursday.

The Trump administration has combined a "maximum pressure" campaign of economic sanctions with a buildup of American forces in the region following the U.S. withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers. A new set of U.S. sanctions on Iran are expected to be announced Monday.

The Sunday attack by the Yemeni rebels, known as Houthis, targeted the Saudi airport in Abha. Saudi Arabia has been at war with the Houthis in Yemen for more than four years.

A Houthi spokesman, Yahia al-Sarie, said earlier Sunday the rebels had launched drones targeting Saudi airports in the southern cities of Abha and Jizan.

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Aerial photos help census officials pinpoint faraway people

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The U.S. Census Bureau is using new high-tech tools to help get an accurate population count next year as its faces challenges tallying people of color who live in remote places and can be wary of the federal government.

The agency is using aerial images of rural communities and hard-to-reach areas to verify addresses and determine where to send workers to ensure everyone is counted, Census Bureau Director Steven Dillingham said.

Satellites and planes take photos, and bureau employees compare the housing captured in the images to digital maps from the last census, in 2010. It takes a fraction of the time needed by workers in the field.

The agency has used geographic technology since 1990 but has never had access to such accurate tools from the air, said Deirdre Dalpiaz Bishop, head of the bureau's geography division.

That technology — known as geographic information system, or GIS — uses computers to analyze neighborhoods, land formations, rivers and other data captured by satellites or traditional mapping.

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Feds probe 'quality' of repairs on plane in Hawaii crash

HONOLULU (AP) — Federal investigators will review repair and inspection records on the skydiving plane that became inverted before crashing shortly after takeoff on Oahu's North Shore, killing all 11 people on board in the deadliest civil aviation accident since 2011.

The same plane sustained substantial damage to its tail section in a 2016 accident while carrying skydivers over Northern California.

Repairs were then made to get the plane back into service, National Transportation Safety Board officials said at a news conference Sunday.

"We will be looking at the quality of those repairs and whether it was inspected and whether it was airworthy," the NTSB's Jennifer Homendy said.

The plane was equipped to carry 13 people, she said.

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Report: US must communicate better with hostage families

WASHINGTON (AP) — A new report says the United States must do a better job communicating with families of American hostages held overseas.

That includes telling "hard truths" to loved ones about the chances for rescue and clarifying the government's position on ransom payments to captors.

The report also says hostages who make it home need more support and that Americans unlawfully detained by foreign governments should get the attention as hostages held by terror groups.

The study from the James W. Foley Legacy Foundation is the first non-government review of changes to the hostage recovery process enacted by the Obama administration and left in place by President Donald Trump.

The 2015 actions established an intra-government fusion cell that works on hostage cases and a State Department presidential envoy to handle diplomatic negotiations.

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BET Awards honor Mary J. Blige, Nipsey Hussle, Tyler Perry

The 2019 BET Awards featured a number of contemporary pop and rap stars who are dominating the charts, from Cardi B to Lil Nas X, but the show belonged to artists viewed as icons in the black community, including singer Mary J. Blige, filmmaker Tyler Perry and late rapper Nipsey Hussle.

Hussle, a respected and beloved community activist in South Los Angeles who was shot to death on March 31, posthumously earned the Humanitarian Award on Sunday night. His family, including his mother, father, grandmother, children and fiancιe, actress Lauren London, accepted the honor on his behalf.

"I just want to thank you guys for all the love and support, and the marathon continues again," London said onstage at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles.

John Legend, DJ Khaled, YG and Marsha Ambrosius honored Hussle, born Ermias Asghedom, with a performance.

Blige, who earned the Lifetime Achievement Award, ran through her hits during a lengthy performance, which featured Lil Kim and Method Man. The R&B star went from "My Life" to "No More Drama" to "Just Fine," when audience members turned the aisles into "Soul Train" lines as they showed their best dance moves while the Queen of Hip-Hop Soul sang onstage.

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