AP News in Brief at 9:04 p.m. EDT
Sheriff: Prince found unresponsive in elevator, CPR failed
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Prince was unresponsive in an elevator when the musician was found by sheriff’s deputies who had been called to his suburban Minneapolis compound, a Minnesota sheriff said Thursday.
Carver County Sheriff Jim Olson said deputies responded to a medical call about 9:43 a.m. Medical personnel tried CPR, but couldn’t revive the 57-year-old Prince, who was pronounced dead at 10:07 a.m.
A cause of death wasn’t immediately determined. An autopsy was scheduled for Friday.
The singer’s death came two weeks after he canceled concerts in Atlanta because he wasn’t feeling well. He performed April 14 in Atlanta, apologizing to the crowd shortly after coming on stage.
Later on, while talking to the crowd between songs, he joked about having been “under the weather,” giving a slight smile. His voice seemed a bit weak at times when he spoke, but he sounded fine when singing during his 80-minute show, which included everything from songs made famous by others (“Nothing Compares 2 U”) to his finale to the first show of the evening, “Baby, I’m A Star.”
Prince, hugely inventive, influential musician, dead at 57
CHANHASSEN, Minn. (AP) — Prince could play guitar like Carlos Santana or Jimi Hendrix, sing like James Brown, turn out pop melodies worthy of Motown or lay down the deepest grooves this side of Sly and the Family Stone. But no one could mistake his sound for anyone but Prince.
The dazzlingly talented and charismatic singer, songwriter, arranger and instrumentalist who died Thursday at his home drew upon the history of modern popular music and created a gender- and genre-defying blend of rock, funk and soul. With hits including “1999,” “Purple Rain” and “Little Red Corvette,” Prince’s records sold more than 100 million copies and earned him Grammys and an Academy Award.
The Minneapolis native stood just 5 feet, 2 inches, yet made a powerful visual impact at the dawn of the MTV era, proving to be the Little Richard for the ’80s, from his wispy moustache and tall pompadour to his colorful and suggestive outfits — the counterpart to the openly erotic lyrics that made him one of the most sexually daring artists of the era.
But his greatest legacy was as a musician, summoning original and compelling sounds at will, whether playing guitar in a flamboyant style that drew on Hendrix, switching his vocals from a nasally scream to an erotic falsetto, or turning out album after album of stunningly innovative material. Among his other notable releases: “Sign O’ the Times,” “Graffiti Bridge” and “The Black Album.”
“He rewrote the rulebook, forging a synthesis of black funk and white rock that served as a blueprint for cutting-edge music in the Eighties,” reads his dedication in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. “Prince made dance music that rocked and rock music that had a bristling, funky backbone. From the beginning, Prince and his music were androgynous, sly, sexy and provocative.”
Justice Department appears open to interrogation suit
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Justice Department has signaled that it won’t try to block a lawsuit arising from the CIA’s harsh interrogation techniques, leaving the door open for a court challenge over tactics that have since been discontinued and widely discredited.
Lawyers call the government’s stance unprecedented, but also a recognition that a once-secret program is now largely out in the open. They say it’s the first time the Justice Department has not sought, as its first step, to dismiss a lawsuit over the interrogation program by arguing that its mere existence is too secret to discuss in court. Judges have previously accepted that assertion, turning aside cases about a program that was designed to extract intelligence from suspected militants captured overseas.
The lawsuit at issue, pending in federal court in Washington state, accuses the two Air Force psychologists who designed the interrogation program of endorsing and teaching torture tactics under the guise of science.
Although the Justice Department isn’t part of the case, it submitted a filing ahead of a Friday hearing saying that it wanted to protect against the disclosure of certain classified information — such as identities of interrogators and locations of detention sites —as the suit moves forward. But the lawyers who brought the case were heartened that the government did not immediately invoke the state secrets privilege, which protects the government’s right to shield sensitive information in lawsuits. Instead, the Justice Department suggested that it was willing to let the suit proceed through the information-sharing stage known as discovery.
“The government is actually going to show up at the hearing instead of trying to shut it down,” said Dror Ladin, a staff attorney at the American Civil Liberties Union, which brought the case. “It’s going to be suggesting procedures that might allow the case to go forward.”
Trump team tells GOP he has been ‘projecting an image’
HOLLYWOOD, Fla. (AP) — Donald Trump’s chief lieutenants told skeptical Republican leaders Thursday that the GOP front-runner has been “projecting an image” so far in the 2016 primary season and “the part that he’s been playing is now evolving” in a way that will improve his standing among general election voters.
The message, delivered behind closed doors in a private briefing, is part of the campaign’s intensifying effort to convince party leaders Trump will moderate his tone in the coming months to help deliver big electoral gains this fall, despite his contentious ways.
Even as his team pressed Trump’s case, he raised fresh concern among some conservatives by speaking against North Carolina’s “bathroom law,” which directs transgender people to use the bathroom that matches the sex on their birth certificates. Trump also came out against the federal government’s plan to replace President Andrew Jackson with the civil-rights figure Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill.
The developments came as the GOP’s messy fight for the White House spilled into a seaside resort in south Florida. While candidates in both parties fanned out across the country before important primary contests in the Northeast, Hollywood’s Diplomat Resort & Spa was transformed into a palm-treed political battleground.
Trump’s newly hired senior aide, Paul Manafort, made the case to Republican National Committee members that Trump has two personalities: one in private and one onstage.
Obama’s UK visit overshadowed by debate about leaving EU
LONDON (AP) — It’s springtime in London, but President Barack Obama might sense a chill in the air.
The U.S. leader is being welcomed by British Prime Minister David Cameron and wined and dined by the royal family on a three-day visit to the U.K. that began late Thursday.
But Britain’s looming June 23 referendum about whether to stay in the 28-nation European Union has strained the “special relationship,” with several senior U.K. politicians bluntly telling the president to butt out of Britain’s debate. They have branded Obama “anti-British” and “unsuccessful” and accused him of meddling for suggesting that the U.S. would be happier if Britain stayed in the bloc.
The White House says Obama is willing to speak out on the subject.
“If he’s asked his view as a friend, he will offer it,” U.S. Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes said, adding that the American stance was clear. “As the president has said, we support a strong United Kingdom in the European Union.”
Tubman replacing Jackson on the $20 a deeply symbolic move
NEW YORK (AP) — Growing up in Oklahoma, Becky Hobbs noticed some of her Cherokee elders wouldn’t even touch a $20 bill because they so despised Andrew Jackson. To this day, the 66-year-old songwriter pokes him in the face whenever she gets one.
For Hobbs and many other Native Americans, the U.S. Treasury’s decision to replace Jackson’s portrait with Harriet Tubman’s is a hugely meaningful change.
A slave-owning president who forced Cherokees and many other Indian nations on deadly marches out of their southern homelands, being succeeded by an African-American abolitionist who risked her life to free others? Unprecedented.
“We’re just thrilled that Andrew Jackson has had a removal of his own,” said Hobbs. “The constant reminder of Andrew Jackson being glorified is sad and sickening to our people.”
The Obama administration’s decision is groundbreaking in many ways — there hasn’t been a woman on paper money in over a century, and there’s never been an African-American. Change also is coming to other bills: The history-making appearances of Martin Luther King, Jr., and opera singer Marian Anderson at the Lincoln Memorial will be displayed on the back of the $5 bill, and suffragettes marching for the right of women to vote will appear on the steps of the U.S. Treasury, on the back of the $10 bill.
Andrew Jackson: populist war hero and no fan of paper money
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — After nearly a century as the face of the $20 bill, President Andrew Jackson is being replaced by abolitionist Harriet Tubman, who helped free slaves from the Southern landowners he defended. What should Americans recall about his legacy?
A POPULIST TO THE CORE
America’s seventh president campaigned as the champion of the common man against the rich and powerful. Preceding him in office were four Virginia plantation owners and two Harvard-educated Massachusetts lawyers. Jackson, by contrast, was born to Irish immigrants near Lancaster, South Carolina, on March 15, 1767, and was orphaned by 14, a year after he volunteered to fight the British in the Revolutionary War. At 17, he became an apprentice to several lawyers, and moved to the frontier outpost of Nashville after earning his license.
“Andrew Jackson came from nowhere. He had no family, few advantages, little education,” Feller said.
“Old Hickory” was a bona-fide Washington outsider, and the enthusiasm of his supporters was evident at his raucous first inauguration, which was overrun by drunken well-wishers who were only persuaded to leave when the alcohol-laced punch was moved onto the lawn. Jackson himself had to escape from a window.
Firms that paid for Clinton speeches have US gov’t interests
WASHINGTON (AP) — It’s not just Wall Street banks. Most companies and groups that paid Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton to speak between 2013 and 2015 have lobbied federal agencies in recent years, and more than one-third are government contractors, an Associated Press review has found. Their interests are sprawling and would follow Clinton to the White House should she win election this fall.
The AP’s review of federal records, regulatory filings and correspondence showed that almost all the 82 corporations, trade associations and other groups that paid for or sponsored Clinton’s speeches have actively sought to sway the government — lobbying, bidding for contracts, commenting on federal policy and in some cases contacting State Department officials or Clinton herself during her tenure as secretary of state.
Presidents are not generally bound by many of the ethics and conflict-of-interest regulations that apply to non-elected executive branch officials, although they are subject to laws covering related conduct, such as bribery and illegal gratuities. Clinton’s 94 paid appearances over two years on the speech circuit leave her open to scrutiny over decisions she would make in the White House or influence that may affect the interests of her speech sponsors.
Rival presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders and Republican critics have mocked Clinton over her closed-door talks to banks and investment firms, saying she is too closely aligned to Wall Street to curb its abuses. Sanders said in a speech in New York that Clinton earned an average of about $225,000 for each speech and goaded her for declining to release transcripts.
“If somebody gets paid $225,000 for a speech, it must be an unbelievably extraordinary speech,” Sanders said at an outdoor rally at Washington Square Park last week in advance of the New York primary. “I kind of think if that $225,000 speech was so extraordinary, she should release the transcripts and share it with all of us.”
Volkswagen owners will get a choice: a buyback or repairs
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The owners of nearly half a million polluting Volkswagens in the U.S. will have the option of selling them back to the company or getting them repaired at VW’s expense, under a deal announced Thursday by a federal judge.
The tentative agreement outlined by Senior U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer, however, left many questions unanswered, among them: How much can car owners expect in a buyback? Will they be compensated for any reduced gas mileage and performance resulting from a repair? And how soon could the program start?
Breyer, who is presiding over a tangle of litigation created by the VW emissions cheating scandal, said the deal will include “substantial compensation” for owners. But he did not elaborate and warned attorneys in the case not to talk about the continuing negotiations, saying that could cause confusion among customers.
A person who was briefed on the matter but asked not to be identified because the deal had not been made public said Wednesday that Volkswagen would spend just over $1 billion to compensate owners. Elizabeth Cabraser, the lead attorney for hundreds of Volkswagen owners, disputed that figure Thursday but did not offer an estimate of her own.
Details of the agreement are expected to come out over the next couple of months. Breyer set a June 21 deadline for attorneys from the U.S. Justice Department and for Volkswagen owners to file additional paperwork about the agreement.
Paris climate agreement on track for early start
UNITED NATIONS (AP) — As many as 170 countries are expected to sign the Paris Agreement on climate change Friday in a symbolic triumph for a landmark deal that once seemed unlikely but now appears on track to enter into force years ahead of schedule.
U.N. officials say the signing ceremony Friday will set a record for international diplomacy: Never before have so many countries inked an agreement on the first day of the signing period.
That could help pave the way for the pact to become effective long before the original 2020 deadline — possibly this year— though countries must first formally approve it through their domestic procedures.
“We are within striking distance of having the agreement start years earlier than anyone anticipated,” Brian Deese, an adviser to President Barack Obama, said in a speech last week at Reed College in Portland, Oregon.
The U.S. and China, which together account for nearly 40 percent of global emissions, have said they intend to formally join the agreement this year. It will enter into force once 55 countries representing at least 55 percent of global emissions have done so.