AP Top News at 5:10 p.m. EDT

AP Top News at 5:10 p.m. EDT
Published April 26

HOUSTON (AP) U.S. border authorities say they've started to increase the biometric data they take from children 13 years old and younger, including fingerprints, despite privacy concerns and government policy intended to restrict what can be collected from migrant youths. A Border Patrol official said this week that the agency had begun a pilot program to collect the biometrics of children with the permission of the adults accompanying them, though he did not specify where along the border it has been implemented. The Border Patrol also has a "rapid DNA pilot program" in the works, said Anthony Porvaznik, the chief patrol agent in Yuma, Arizona, in a video interview published by the Epoch Times newspaper.WASHINGTON (AP) In a quivering voice, Maria Butina begged for leniency Friday as she awaited sentencing on charges of being a secret agent for Russia. She cast herself as an innocent caught up in a massive geopolitical power game. But a federal judge sentenced her to 18 months in prison followed by deportation. U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan sided with prosecutors, who said the 30-year-old Russian deliberately obscured her true purposes while developing backdoor contacts inside the American conservative movement to advance the interests of Russia. The sentence can be appealed and Butina will get credit for her time in jail since her high-profile arrest in July 2018.TAPACHULA, Mexico (AP) Hours after a mass escape from an immigration detention center in southern Mexico, throngs of detained migrants raised their fists in the air Friday and chanted "We want food! We want out!" It was the largest mass escape from a Mexican immigration center in memory and the latest example of how the government has become overloaded by a flood of Central American, Cuban and Haitian immigrants. Residents of Tapachula, a city on Mexico's southern border with Guatemala, reported seeing hundreds of migrants running through the streets late Thursday, some only half dressed, some cramming themselves into passing minivans to escape.WASHINGTON (AP) The universe is expanding faster than it used to, meaning it's about a billion years younger than we thought, a new study by a Nobel Prize winner says. And that's sending a shudder through the world of physics, making astronomers re-think some of their most basic concepts. At issue is a number called the Hubble constant, a calculation for how fast the universe is expanding. Some scientists call it the most important number in cosmology, the study of the origin and development of the universe. Using NASA's Hubble Space Telescope, Johns Hopkins University astronomer Adam Riess concluded in this week's Astrophysical Journal that the figure is 9% higher than the previous calculation, which was based on studying leftovers from the Big Bang.WASHINGTON (AP) The worries that hung ominously over the U.S. economy early this year appear to have lifted. And that sunnier picture has helped bolster confidence in the stock market driving the benchmark S&P 500 index to another record high Friday. The latest dose of encouragement came in a report Friday that the U.S. economy grew much faster than expected in the January-March quarter, suggesting that the nearly decade-long expansion still has a ways to go. Other recent signs have fed a growing view among many analysts that the economy faces little risk of slipping into a recession anytime soon as some had feared when the year began.NEW YORK (AP) Harvey Weinstein's sexual assault trial has been postponed until September, a judge said Friday after a closed-door hearing that focused on the prosecution's bid to have jurors hear from many women who say the movie mogul violated them. Weinstein's trial had been scheduled to begin June 3, but both the prosecution and the defense indicated they would need more time to sort through potential witnesses and evidence issues. It is now set for Sept. 9. The prosecution and defense asked that the hearing that preceded the delay announcement be held behind closed doors because it focuses on sensitive matters, such as the names of accusers.LAKEWOOD, Colo. (AP) Four people died after a semi-truck hauling lumber lost control and plowed into vehicles on a crowded section of Interstate 70 near Denver, triggering explosions and a fire so intense that it melted the roadway and metal off of cars, authorities said Friday. "It was crash, crash, crash and explosion, explosion, explosion," said John Romero, a spokesman for the Lakewood, Colorado, police department, describing the 28-vehicle chain reaction of blasts from ruptured gas tanks. The truck driver, Rogel Lazaro Aguilera-Mederos, 23, of Houston, was arrested on suspicion of vehicular homicide as police continue to investigate what happened.The amount of gear the East Coast lobster fishery puts in the water must be reduced in order to protect a dwindling species of large whale, a federal government team recommended Friday. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Atlantic Large Whale Take Reduction Team wrapped up several days of discussion Friday about ways to reduce injuries and deaths caused when North Atlantic right whales get entangled in fishing gear. In this decade, the number of North Atlantic right whales has decreased by the dozens to about 411 today. The team issued its recommendations to the federal government on Friday that call for a reduction of vertical trap lines which can ensnare whales by up to 50% in some areas.

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