Hurricane Nate makes landfall at mouth of Mississippi River
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Hurricane Nate came ashore a sparsely populated area at the mouth of the Mississippi River on Saturday and pelted the central Gulf Coast with wind and rain as the fast-moving storm headed toward the Mississippi coast, where it was expected to make another landfall and threatened to inundate homes and businesses.
Nate was expected to pass to the east of New Orleans, sparing the city its most ferocious winds and storm surge. And its quick speed lessened the likelihood of prolonged rain that would tax the city's weakened drainage pump system. The city famous for all-night partying was placed under a curfew, effective at 7 p.m., but the mayor lifted it when it appeared the storm would pass by and cause little problems for the city. Still, the streets were not nearly as crowded as they typically are on a Saturday night and Mayor Mitch Landrieu asked people to shelter in place.
Cities along the Mississippi coast such as Gulfport and Biloxi were on high alert. Some beachfront hotels and casinos were evacuated, and rain began falling on the region Saturday. Forecasters called for 3 to 6 inches (7 to 15 centimeters) with as much as 10 inches (25 centimeters) in some isolated places.
Nate weakened slightly and was a Category 1 storm with maximum winds of 85 mph (137 kph) when it made landfall in a sparsely populated area of Plaquemines (PLAK'-uh-minz) Parish. Forecasters had said it was possible that it could strengthen to a Category 2, but that seemed less likely as the night wore on.
Storm surge threatened low-lying communities in southeast Louisiana, eastward to the Alabama fishing village of Bayou la Batre.
In Vegas, Pence praises US resolve to find hope after horror
LAS VEGAS (AP) — Vice President Mike Pence praised the heroic response by police and the resolve of the American people at a prayer service Saturday in Las Vegas before organizers released 58 white doves in memory of each victim killed in the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history.
At the same time, federal agents started hauling away piles of backpacks, baby strollers and lawn chairs left behind by fleeing concertgoers who scrambled to escape raining bullets from a gunman who was shooting from his high-rise hotel suite.
"It was a tragedy of unimaginable proportions," Pence said as he addressed nearly 300 people at Las Vegas City Hall. "Those we lost were taken before their time, but their names and their stories will forever be etched into the hearts of the American people."
Investigators have remained stumped about what drove gunman Stephen Paddock, a reclusive 64-year-old high-stakes video poker player, to begin shooting at the crowd at a country music festival from his 32nd-floor Mandalay Bay hotel suite last Sunday, killing 58 and wounding hundreds before taking his own life.
Investigators believe a note found on a nightstand in Paddock's hotel room contained a series of numbers that helped him calculate a more precise aim, accounting for the trajectory of shots being fired from that height and the distance between his room and the concert, a law enforcement official said Saturday. The official wasn't authorized to discuss the details of the ongoing investigation publicly and spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.
Mourners pay tearful tribute to Vegas victim who saved wife
BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (AP) — Jack Beaton felt equally comfortable gripping a pair of barbecue tongs surrounded by friends or swinging his roofer's hammer on a hot day at work. He died a hero shielding his wife from a gunman in the nation's deadliest mass shooting in modern history.
More than 800 people packed into a California church on Saturday for one of the first memorial services for the 58 people killed when gunman Stephen Paddock opened fire from a Las Vegas casino hotel room nearly a week ago. The service was held in Beaton's hometown of Bakersfield, a community that was home to several victims.
In family pictures and in tearful tributes, Beaton, 54, was remembered as a fun-loving friend, a hard-working roofer by trade, a generous and kind-hearted neighbor, and above all a devoted husband and father. He took his wife, Laurie, to Las Vegas for the Route 91 Harvest festival to celebrate their 23rd wedding anniversary, and he died in her arms.
"He told me, 'Get down, get down, get down!'" Laurie Beaton told The Associated Press ahead of the memorial service.
He put his body on top of hers for protection, she said.
Protesters rally across Russia on Putin's 65th birthday
MOSCOW (AP) — In a challenge to President Vladimir Putin on his 65th birthday, protesters rallied across Russia on Saturday, heeding opposition leader Alexei Navalny's call to pressure authorities into letting him enter the presidential race.
Police allowed demonstrators in Moscow to rally near the Kremlin in an apparent desire to avoid marring Putin's birthday with a crackdown. A bigger rally in St. Petersburg, Putin's hometown, was disbanded by police after protesters blocked traffic and attempted to break through police cordons.
The rallies came as Navalny himself is serving a 20-day jail term for calling for an earlier unsanctioned protest.
In Moscow, several hundred protesters, most of them students, gathered on downtown Pushkinskaya Square, waving Russian flags and chanting "Russia will be free!" and "Let Navalny run!" Police warned them that the rally wasn't sanctioned and urged them to disperse, but let the protest continue for hours without trying to break it up.
Mostly teenage protesters later walked down Moscow's Tverskaya Street toward the Kremlin, shouting "Putin, go away!" and "Future without Putin!"
Trump reaches out to Democrats in bid for 'great' health law
WASHINGTON (AP) — Trying to revive health care talks, President Donald Trump said Saturday that he had spoken to the Senate's Democratic leader to gauge whether the minority party was interested in helping pass "great" health legislation.
The answer back: Democrats are willing to hear his ideas, but scrapping the Obama health law is a nonstarter.
Trump's latest overture to Democrats followed GOP failures so far to fulfill the party's yearslong promise to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. In spite of controlling the White House and Congress since January, Republicans have not passed the legislation.
The president tweeted that he called New York Sen. Chuck Schumer on Friday to discuss the 2010 law known as "Obamacare," which Trump said "is badly broken, big premiums. Who knows!" Trump said he wanted "to see if the Dems want to do a great HealthCare Bill."
In remarks Saturday evening on the South Lawn before a trip to North Carolina, Trump said he was willing to consider "a temporary deal." What that might involve was not clear, but Trump referred to a popular GOP proposal that would have the federal government turn over money for health care directly to states in the form of block grants.
After bombshell Weinstein revelations, many ask, 'Why now'?
NEW YORK (AP) — Why now?
That was the first question many were asking this weekend after explosive revelations came to light about Harvey Weinstein, one of Hollywood's most powerful men, and decades of alleged sexual harassment on his part.
First, it was a question about Hollywood, where tales about Weinstein and his behavior with women had circulated for years, yet news outlets had been unable to nail down the story. But it also fed into a broader question, one that touched on the recent fates of Bill Cosby, the late Roger Ailes, and Bill O'Reilly — all rich and hugely powerful men brought down, in one way or another, by lingering accusations that finally burst into the open. What factors had enabled all those stories to emerge?
In the view of former Fox News anchor Gretchen Carlson, whose accusations led to the downfall last year of former Fox CEO Ailes, the key dynamic was women giving each other courage — spurring each other to tell their stories despite the risk of retaliation.
"When one woman decides to finally say 'enough already,' the courage can be contagious," Carlson said in an email message Friday, a day after the bombshell New York Times report on Weinstein. "And that's what we are seeing now. Women are saying they aren't going to take it anymore. They will have their voices heard."
Arizona Sen. Flake's vulnerability feeds GOP Senate concerns
PHOENIX (AP) — Arizona Republican Sen. Jeff Flake's re-election race is becoming a case study in the GOP's convulsions among the establishment, a furious base and angry donors.
After bucking Donald Trump in a state the president won, Flake is bottoming out in polls. Yet Republicans look like they may be stuck with a hard-core conservative challenger who some fear could win the primary but lose in the general election.
A White House search for a candidate to replace former state Sen. Kelli Ward in the primary appears to have hit a wall. And now conservatives want to turn Arizona into the latest example of a Trump Train outsider taking down a member of the GOP establishment.
"People are fooling themselves if they think Jeff Flake is anything but a walking dead member of the United State Senate," said Andy Surabian, whose Great America Alliance is backing Ward.
"I don't see how he survives a primary. I don't see how he survives a general. The numbers just don't add up," added Surabian, who worked at the White House as an adviser to Steve Bannon, then the president's top strategist.
Minnesota man lived with bodies of mom, brother for year
A Minnesota man who lived in a house with the decomposing bodies of his mother and twin brother for about a year said he could not bring himself to report their deaths to authorities.
"I was traumatized," Robert James Kuefler told The Associated Press on Saturday. "What would you do?"
White Bear Police Capt. Dale Hager said Kuefler, 60, was charged this week with interference with a dead body or scene of death because Kuefler moved his brother's body. Hager said both the brother and the mother died of natural causes in 2015.
Several months after their deaths, Kuefler wrote to other family members in a Christmas card that both were in bad health and could not talk on the phone and did not want visitors. Police did not find the bodies until September 2016, when a neighbor reported that the Kueflers' lawn in the Minneapolis suburb of White Bear Lake was overgrown and that it had been a long time since she had seen activity at the house, the St. Paul Pioneer Press reported.
Kuefler told the AP that his mother, 94-year-old Evelyn Kuefler, died in August 2015 and his brother, Richard Kuefler, died several months before. Court records say the mother's body was decayed and skeletal and the brother's body was "mummified."
Rapper Nelly arrested on rape accusation
SEATTLE (AP) — Police arrested rapper Nelly early Saturday after a woman said he raped her on his tour bus in a town outside Seattle, an accusation the Grammy winner's attorney staunchly denied.
Nelly, whose real name is Cornell Iral Haynes Jr., was arrested about 4:37 a.m. Saturday in his tour bus at a Walmart, Auburn police spokesman Commander Steve Stocker said.
The woman called 911 to report being sexually assaulted by Nelly on the tour bus, police said in a statement.
He will have his first appearance before a judge "at some point," Stocker said. Nelly was scheduled to perform in Ridgefield, Washington, on Saturday night.
Nelly's attorney, Scott Rosenblum, said Saturday afternoon that the singer was released from jail pending the investigation, and he is expected to be at the Ridgefield show.
Harper, Zimmerman HRs lift Nats past Cubs 6-3 to even NLDS
WASHINGTON (AP) — Things were looking bleak for Bryce Harper, Ryan Zimmerman and the rest of the Washington Nationals. They had accumulated one run and four hits through the first 16 innings of their NL Division Series against the Chicago Cubs.
The situation was hardly ideal. Neither was the mood.
"You do your best to keep your spirits up. You get frustrated," Zimmerman acknowledged. "I don't want to say 'pressure,' but, yeah, I mean, the tension builds a little bit, I'll be honest with you. ... Pouting is not going to help you the next time you come up."
Power, though, will. Harper delivered a no-doubt-about-it , tying two-run homer in the eighth, and Zimmerman tacked on a three-run shot that barely made it over the wall moments later, lifting the Nationals to a 6-3 comeback victory over the defending World Series champions on Saturday, evening their NLDS at a game apiece.
"Sometimes," Zimmerman said, "it takes kind of just one hit for everyone to exhale."