Michael Cohen heads to prison in Trump hush-money scheme
NEW YORK (AP) — Michael Cohen, the former lawyer, media attack dog and all-around fixer for President Donald Trump, is scheduled to begin serving a three-year prison sentence Monday for crimes including campaign finance violations related to hush-money payments made on Trump's behalf.
Cohen faces a 2 p.m. deadline to report to the Federal Correctional Institution, Otisville, a federal prison in the countryside 70 miles (113 kilometers) northwest of New York City. A minimum-security prison camp there has become a haven for white-collar criminals.
Cohen, who has been disbarred, is trading plaid blazers for khaki prison garb after trying and failing in recent weeks to get his sentence delayed or reduced.
His legal team asked House Democrats last month to intercede after Cohen testified on Capitol Hill, but they were reticent to do so. Federal prosecutors in New York were also no help, Cohen's lawyers said.
Cohen was originally scheduled to start his sentence in March, but a judge granted a two-month delay so he could recover from surgery and get his affairs in order.
China says trade envoys preparing to go to Washington
BEIJING (AP) — Chinese envoys are preparing to travel to the United States for trade talks, a government spokesman said Monday, suggesting negotiations on ending a bruising tariff war will proceed despite President Donald Trump's threat to raise import taxes.
Beijing is "trying to get more information" following Trump's surprise announcement he might impose 25 percent tariffs on more Chinese imports, said the foreign ministry spokesman, Geng Shuang.
Trump's announcement Sunday on Twitter caused financial markets to plunge. It prompted suggestions Beijing might pull out of talks planned for this week to avoid looking weak in the face of American pressure.
Asked whether the top Chinese envoy, Vice Premier Liu He, would visit Washington as planned, Geng said, "a Chinese team is preparing to travel to the United States for trade talks."
Geng declined to give further details when asked who might participate or whether the talks would go ahead as scheduled Wednesday. He referred other questions to the Commerce Ministry, which did not respond to requests for comment.
Israel army lifts restrictions, cease-fire reached with Gaza
JERUSALEM (AP) — The Israeli military lifted protective restrictions on residents in southern Israel on Monday, while Gaza's ruling Hamas militant group reported a cease-fire deal had been reached to end the deadliest fighting between the two sides since a 2014 war.
The escalation had killed 23 on the Gaza side, both militants and civilians, while on the Israeli side four civilians were killed from incoming fire.
The Islamic Jihad militant group, which Israel accused of instigating the latest violence, confirmed that a "mutual and concurrent" truce had been brokered by Egypt. Hamas spokesman Hazem Qassem said Egyptian mediators, along with officials from Qatar and the U.N., helped reach the deal. He said Hamas could still use "different pressuring tools" to pressure Israel into easing a crippling blockade of Gaza it has enforced along with Egypt.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pointedly noted that "the campaign is not over, and it requires patience and judgment."
The intense fighting over the past two days came to a halt in the early morning hours and residents on both sides went back to their daily routines. The Israeli military said that as of 7 a.m., "all protective restrictions in the home front will be lifted."
US dispatched aircraft carrier to send message to Iran
WASHINGTON (AP) — A White House decision to dispatch an aircraft carrier and other military resources to send a message to Iran followed "clear indications" that Iranian and Iranian proxy forces were preparing to possibly attack U.S. forces in the region, a defense official told the Associated Press.
The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive information, said the Pentagon approved the deployments and that U.S. forces at sea and on land were thought to be the potential targets. The official declined to be more specific.
White House national security adviser John Bolton said in a statement Sunday night that the U.S. is deploying the USS Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group and a bomber task force to the U.S. Central Command region, an area that includes the Middle East.
Bolton said the move was in response to "a number of troubling and escalatory indications and warnings." He didn't provide details, but said the U.S. wants to send a message that "unrelenting force" will meet any attack on U.S. interests or those of its allies.
"The United States is not seeking war with the Iranian regime, but we are fully prepared to respond to any attack, whether by proxy, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, or regular Iranian forces," he said.
North Korea tests new missile - and Trump's resolve
TOKYO (AP) — North Korea appears to have tested a new short-range missile — and President Donald Trump's resolve to keep it from doing more of the same in the future.
The test early Saturday was quickly played down by Trump and his top advisers, who noted it was not the kind of long-range missile leader Kim Jong Un has refrained from launching since 2017.
But the sudden activity on the North's east coast, complete with fiery photos of a purported bull's eye out to sea, alarmed Washington's regional allies and suggests that Kim's missiles are improving even as the Trump administration wrestles with how to get him back to the negotiating table.
Kim personally supervised the test of what experts believe was a short-range ballistic missile first displayed by the North at a military parade early last year, along with a drill involving 240 millimeter- and 300 millimeter-caliber multiple rocket launchers.
There remains some uncertainty over what was tested.
Student who charged a campus gunman remembered as a hero
WAYNESVILLE, N.C. (AP) — Family, hundreds of friends and a military honor guard on Sunday remembered a North Carolina college student credited with saving classmates by rushing a gunman firing inside their lecture hall.
Riley Howell, 21, was fatally shot Tuesday while tackling the gunman accused of killing Howell and one other person and wounding four more at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Howell has been called a hero.
"A man I never knew is now a man I'll never forget," the Rev. Robert Blackburn remembered one young man's sign reading as Howell's body was returned earlier this week to his hometown in the Blue Ridge Mountains. His memorial service was held Sunday at a 1,900-seat auditorium on the grounds of a Methodist retreat on Lake Junaluska.
Blackburn opened the service by asking participants to remember the horror of the shooting, pray for the other victims, and offer compassion for the family of the man arrested in the case, Trystan Andrew Terrell.
Terrell, a 22-year-old former UNC-Charlotte student, has been charged with first-degree murder, first-degree attempted murder and other offenses in connection with the attack.
Boeing didn't tell airlines that safety alert wasn't on
Boeing said Sunday that it discovered after airlines had been flying its 737 Max plane for several months that a safety alert in the cockpit was not working as intended, yet it didn't disclose that fact to airlines or federal regulators until after one of the planes crashed.
The feature was designed to warn pilots when a key sensor might be providing incorrect information about the pitch of the plane's nose.
But within months of the plane's debut in 2017, Boeing said, its engineers realized that the sensor warning light only worked when airlines also bought a separate, optional feature.
The sensors malfunctioned during an October flight in Indonesia and another in March in Ethiopia, causing software on the plane to push the nose down. Pilots were unable to regain control of either plane, and both crashed, killing 346 people.
It is not clear whether having the warning light would have prevented either the Lion Air crash or the March 10 crash of an Ethiopian Airlines Max near Addis Ababa. Boeing's disclosure on Sunday, however, raised fresh questions about the company's candor with regulators and airline customers.
Trump changes position on Mueller testimony
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump's turnabout on whether the special counsel should appear before Congress — "Bob Mueller should not testify," he tweeted — has sparked criticism from Democratic lawmakers eager to question the author of the report on Russia's election interference.
Trump had previously said he would leave the question of Robert Mueller testifying to Attorney General William Barr. The attorney general has said he has no objection to Mueller testifying.
Not only did Trump in tweets Sunday contend that Mueller's report didn't reveal collusion and that there was no obstruction, he asserted: "Bob Mueller should not testify. No redos for the Dems!"
Tensions between the White House and House Democrats have been fueled by disputes over calling administration officials before multiple committees, among them former White House counsel Don McGahn, and obtaining an unredacted copy of the special counsel's report and its underlying evidence as well as information relating to Trump's personal and business finances.
"First @realDonaldTrump repeatedly tried to fire Mueller," Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., tweeted Sunday in response to Trump's messages. "Then he refused to be interviewed by Mueller. Now he's trying to silence Mueller. For a man who constantly proclaims his innocence, @realDonaldTrump is acting awfully guilty. Mueller must testify publicly before Congress."
French telecom giant Orange on trial over staff suicides
PARIS (AP) — The toll is shocking: 19 suicides, 12 suicide attempts and eight cases of serious depression among employees over a three-year span at France's main telephone and internet company.
A Paris court on Monday begins a long-awaited trial accusing telecom giant Orange and seven former or current managers of moral harassment and related charges. The company — then called France Telecom — was undergoing job cuts and modernization efforts at the time of the suicides a decade ago.
On trial are the former president of France Telecom, Didier Lombard, former human resources director Olivier Barberot and former deputy executive director Louis-Pierre Wenes. It's the largest trial to date in France for moral harassment on a company-wide scale, and is expected to last two months.
The defendants are suspected of having "degraded work conditions of personnel that risked hurting their rights and dignity, altering the physical or mental health (of personnel), or compromising their professional future."
Four other officials are suspected of complicity in moral harassment.