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


Trump ignites new firestorm: Gun backers might stop Clinton

WILMINGTON, N.C. (AP) — Donald Trump ignited a fresh political firestorm Tuesday by declaring gun rights supporters might still find a way to stop Hillary Clinton, even if she should defeat him and then name anti-gun Supreme Court justices. Democrats pounced, accusing him of openly encouraging violence against his opponent.

The Republican presidential nominee has been working this week to move past distracting campaign disputes, but once again he put himself at the center of a blazing controversy.

First, he falsely claimed that Clinton, his Democratic opponent, wants to “essentially abolish the Second Amendment.” She has said repeatedly that she supports the Second Amendment right to own guns, though she does back some stricter gun control measures.

Trump then noted the power Clinton would have to nominate justices to the high court.

“By the way, if she gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do, folks. Although the Second Amendment people — maybe there is, I don’t know,” Trump told supporters at a rally in Wilmington, North Carolina. “But I’ll tell you what. That will be a horrible day.”

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US women gymnasts, Phelps, Ledecky all golden again

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Good old Michael Phelps, golden again.

For teenagers Katie Ledecky and Simone Biles, their star turns in the Summer Olympics might be just beginning.

From the pool to the gymnastics floor, Team USA had nice day at the Rio de Janeiro Games.

Not all the American stars were winners Tuesday, though. Serena Williams lost on the tennis court and the U.S. women’s soccer team gave up a late goal and ended up in a draw with Colombia.

But a new generation of U.S. athletes is ready to take up the banner of Olympic standard-bearer from Phelps, a grizzled veteran at 31.

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What to watch at the Rio Games on Wednesday

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Day 5 of the Rio Games features medal action in gymnastics, swimming, judo, fencing and more. Here are some things to watch (all times local):

SWIMMING

A day after Michael Phelps won his 20th and 21st golds , he and Ryan Lochte will be looking to get to the semifinals in the men’s 200 meter individual medleys. Phelps took first Tuesday night in the 200 meter butterfly and later teamed with Lochte as half of the gold medal winning 4×200 meter freestyle relay team.

The 200 meter individual semis are at 11:29 p.m. Heats start earlier in the day, at 2:09 p.m. Lochte holds the world record, which he set in 2011, and Phelps has the Olympic record, set in 2008 (Beijing).

At 11:03 p.m. the men will go in the 100 meter freestyle. Australian Kyle Chalmers had the fastest qualifying time on Tuesday, and he already shared in a bronze in the 4×100 freestyle relay. American Caeleb Dressel was nipping at his heels in the preliminaries, and he takes to the water with a gold already in hand , also from the 4×100.

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10 Things to Know for Wednesday

Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Wednesday:

1. TRUMP SPARKS ANOTHER POLITICAL FIRESTORM

He says Second Amendment advocates might find a way to stop Hillary Clinton from rolling back gun rights if she’s elected — and Democrats accuse him of encouraging violence against his opponent.

2. BALTIMORE POLICE FACE WITHERING CRITICISM

The city’s officers routinely discriminate against blacks, use excessive force and aren’t adequately disciplined for misconduct, a federal investigation concludes.

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US to release report criticizing Baltimore police force

BALTIMORE (AP) — Baltimore police officers routinely discriminate against blacks, repeatedly use excessive force and are not adequately held accountable for misconduct, according to a harshly critical Justice Department report being presented Wednesday.

The report, the culmination of a yearlong investigation into one of the country’s largest police forces, also found that officers make large numbers of stops — mostly in poor, black neighborhoods — with dubious justification and unlawfully arrest citizens for speech deemed disrespectful. Physical force is used unnecessarily, including against the mentally disabled, and black pedestrians and drivers are disproportionately searched during stops, the report says.

The Justice Department released a copy of the report in advance of its public announcement at an event Wednesday morning in Baltimore.

The report represents a damning indictment of how the city’s police officers carry out the most fundamental of policing practices, including traffic stops and searches and responding to First Amendment expression. Beyond that, though, it could serve as a blueprint for change: The Justice Department is seeking a court-enforceable consent decree that would force the police agency to commit to improvements to avoid a federal lawsuit.

The Justice Department in recent years has undertaken similar wide-reaching investigations into police in Chicago, Cleveland, Albuquerque and Ferguson, Missouri, among other cities.

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Computer outage could tarnish Delta’s on-time reputation

NEW YORK (AP) — We don’t cancel flights.

That’s been the message for the past two years from Delta Air Lines. Double decker buses roamed the streets of New York, wrapped in ads proclaiming “canceling cancellations.” Delta executives boasted about the number of days without a single flight scrapped.

That all literally ground to a halt Monday when a system-wide computer outage led to the cancellation of more than 1,500 flights. Passengers were stranded around the globe with many spending the night in the airport.

Until this outage, Delta had an impressive record, envied by other airlines. By June 9 of this year, Delta had already notched up 100 days where none of its own jets canceled flights — more than all of its major competitors’ no-cancel days combined. And the cancellations during the other 61 days were mostly related to weather, not maintenance issues.

“Our people are hitting it out of the park, delivering on our promise to be a safe and reliable airline and making canceling cancellations a reality,” Gil West, Delta’s chief operating officer, said in a news release at the time trumpeting its record.

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House Speaker Paul Ryan wins GOP nomination to run again

JANESVILLE, Wis. (AP) — House Speaker Paul Ryan rejected the idea that his easy win Tuesday over a longshot Republican primary challenger praised by Donald Trump spells danger for Trump’s presidential prospects in the swing state of Wisconsin.

All the huge primary win means, Ryan insisted, is that he’s really well-liked in the congressional district where he was born and raised and has won election to represent since 1998.

Businessman Paul Nehlen had been courting Trump supporters and won praise from the Republican presidential nominee last week. But despite their strained relationship, Trump endorsed Ryan days later.

“I don’t think it means he’s doomed in November,” Ryan said of Trump. “I think it means right here in Wisconsin, people know me very, very well.”

Ryan had largely ignored Nehlen in what had been a sleepy primary before Trump thanked Nehlen on Twitter for his comments defending Trump. Nehlen won the backing of some prominent conservative figures, including former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, but it wasn’t enough to overcome Ryan’s popularity in his southeastern Wisconsin district.

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Judge denies Blagojevich’s bid to lighten 14-year sentence

CHICAGO (AP) — A federal judge refused Tuesday to lighten Rod Blagojevich’s original 14-year prison sentence for corruption, rejecting pleas for lenience by the now white-haired former Illinois governor who attended the resentencing hearing by video from a Colorado prison a thousand miles away.

Blagojevich, 59, was eligible for resentencing after an appeals court last year threw out several convictions related to his alleged attempt to sell or trade an appointment to President Barack Obama’s old Senate seat.

A somber, contrite Blagojevich spoke for 20 minutes in a sometimes apologetic, sometimes rambling statement before U.S. District Judge James Zagel announced the sentence, telling the court he understood he made mistakes.

“I wish I could turn back the clock and make different choices,” said Blagojevich, who didn’t use notes. “These have been hard years.”

Zagel said that even though the appeals court threw out five of the 18 counts against the former governor, the remaining ones still justified the original sentence. The appeals court said in its ruling last year that Blagojevich wasn’t necessarily entitled to a lower sentence, adding that the 14-year term fell below what federal guidelines recommended.

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Pop stars, diplomacy victims of cooling China-Korea ties

BEIJING (AP) — Growing Chinese anger at South Korea over a U.S. anti-missile defense system bodes ill for everything from pop star appearances to United Nations action against North Korea’s nuclear and missile threats.

South Korea’s mighty entertainment sector has been on edge since Beijing criticized Seoul’s decision last month to proceed with the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense, or THAAD, system, with reports of event cancellations and possible bans on South Korean TV series, amid scattered calls for a total boycott of imports from the South.

In the latest cancellation, Youku, China’s biggest streaming site, deep-sixed a meet-and-greet for fans with South Korean stars Kim Woo-Bin and Bae Suzy to promote the hugely popular TV drama “Uncontrollably Fond.” A company statement gave the reason simply as “forces beyond our control.”

A chill has already descended over the political relationship, with Chinese state media employing its trademark searing rhetoric in daily screeds against South Korea and the U.S. over the THAAD plans.

State outlets have even hinted that Beijing will stop future cooperation with the U.S. against North Korea at the United Nations Security Council. THAAD “has declared the death of that short-lived United Front,” the English-language China Daily said in a recent editorial. The Foreign Ministry did not respond directly to a faxed question about future U.N. sanctions cooperation, but said the Security Council’s resolutions on North Korean missile tests contained “clear rules.”

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Turkey unlikely to drop Syria rebels in latest realignment

BEIRUT (AP) — Minutes after news broke of a coup against Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, government-held areas in Syria broke out in celebratory gunfire, heralding what they believed was the removal of the leader they blame for fueling their country’s five-year civil war.

Erdogan survived the insurrection, and judging by the surprise reversal of rebel fortunes in Aleppo this week, so has his government’s support for the Syrian opposition. But Turkey, post-coup, is realigning, and as tensions with the West soar, Erdogan has shown a desire to mend fences with Russia, a key ally of Syrian President Bashar Assad.

On Tuesday, following talks in St. Petersburg, Russia, with President Vladimir Putin, the Turkish leader agreed to hold a separate discussion on Syria, involving top military and intelligence officials.

The meeting — Erdogan’s first trip abroad following the July 15 failed coup attempt — comes amid boiling tensions over the contested northern city of Aleppo near the Turkish border, with both nations supporting opposing sides.

Here is a look at the Turkish involvement in Syria and how Turkey’s latest post-coup realignment may play out:

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