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National News

National News from the Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) – A federal judge in Texas has ruled President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act unconstitutional. But the law remains in place while the ruling is appealed. U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor ruled Friday that last year’s tax overhaul knocked the constitutional foundation from under the health care act dubbed “Obamacare.” Supporters of the law immediately said they will appeal. President Donald Trump is hailing the ruling and says Congress should pass a new law.

WASHINGTON (AP) – President Donald Trump is announcing that budget director Mick Mulvaney will be his next chief of staff. Trump tweeted Friday that Mulvaney “has done an outstanding job” in his administration and will take over next year. Trump deemed Mulvaney his “acting chief of staff” but it was not immediately clear what that meant for the length of his tenure. He will replace John Kelly. Trump praised Kelly’s service and called him a “great patriot” in the tweet.

WASHINGTON (AP) – The story of a 7-year-old Guatemalan girl raises questions about how well U.S. authorities are prepared for the growing number of Central American families and children showing up at the border with Mexico. The girl, Jakelin Caal, was picked up with her father and other migrants in a remote stretch of New Mexico desert. More than seven hours later she began vomiting on a bus en route to a Border Patrol station. Then she stopped breathing – and died after being airlifted to a hospital.

PARIS (AP) – A minor scuffle has broken out between protesters and police in Paris during demonstrations by the “yellow vest” movement, with police briefly using pepper spray to disperse a crowd. The scuffle broke out on the Champs-Elysees boulevard in the French capital late Saturday morning. Thousands of people were gathering on the wide boulevard amid a heavy police presence after previous protests turned violent.

UNDATED (AP) – Joe Biden is aware that age is an issue as he ponders a 2020 presidential run. He is talking with friends and longtime supporters about whether he’s too old to seek the White House. That’s according to several sources who have spoken with the 76-year-old former Democratic vice president. It could be the biggest hurdle to launching another bid for the Democratic presidential nomination, especially in an era when many in the party yearn for a new generation of leadership.

Senate Recommends Ending Saudi Aid…7-Year-Old Migrant Dies in US Custody…Still No Replacement for Kelly

WASHINGTON (AP) – Resolutions passed by the Senate recommend the U.S. end its aid to Saudi Arabia for the war in Yemen and put the blame for the death of a Saudi journalist squarely on Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. The Senate delivered the back-to-back votes against Saudi Arabia on Thursday in an unusual rebuke of President Donald Trump’s response to the death of Jamal Khashoggi. The resolutions are largely symbolic but signal new skepticism from Capitol Hill toward the longtime Middle East ally.

LAS CRUCES, N.M. (AP) – Federal immigration authorities have confirmed that a 7-year-old girl who crossed the U.S.-Mexico border with her father last week died after being taken into the custody of the U.S. Border Patrol. The Washington Post reports the Guatemalan girl died of dehydration and shock more than eight hours after she was arrested by agents near Lordsburg, New Mexico.

STRASBOURG, France (AP) – Investigators looking into the Strasbourg attack are trying to establish whether the main suspect was helped by accomplices while on the run, Paris prosecutor Remy Heitz says. The prosecutor, who handles terror cases throughout France, told a news conference on Friday that seven people are in police custody, including four family members of Cherif Chekatt.

TORONTO (AP) – Canada is being battered by diplomatic ill winds. First, President Donald Trump attacked Canada on trade. Then Saudi Arabia punished it for speaking up for human rights. Now China has the country in its cross-hairs, detaining two Canadians in apparent retaliation for the arrest of a top Chinese tech executive on behalf of the U.S. Canada’s normally reliable ally to the south has left it high and dry.

WASHINGTON (AP) – President Donald Trump’s hunt for a new chief of staff has taken on a reality TV tone. No leading contender has emerged in the days since Trump’s first pick to replace John Kelly bowed out. But the void has quickly filled with drama. The chaotic process was hardly a novelty for the Trump administration, which has struggled with high staff turnover and attracting top talent.

Canadian Men Detained in China…Hackers Target Treasury Officials…Germany: Brexit Can’t Be Renegotiated

BEIJING (AP) – China has confirmed it has detained two Canadian men, saying they were being detained on suspicion of “endangering national security.” The Foreign Ministry spokesman says entrepreneur Michael Spavor and former Canadian diplomat Michael Kovrig were taken into custody on Monday. The spokesman says Canada has been informed of the detentions, but declined to say whether the men have been provided with lawyers. He says they are being handled separately.

LONDON (AP) – The Associated Press has found that a hacking group often nicknamed Charming Kitten has spent the past month trying to break into the personal emails of more than a dozen U.S. Treasury officials. Also on the hackers’ hit list: high-profile opponents, defenders and enforcers of the nuclear deal struck between Washington and Tehran, along with Arab atomic scientists, D.C. think tank employees and Iranian civil society figures.

LONDON (AP) – The German parliament has approved a motion stating that the Brexit deal can’t be renegotiated, underlining the stance of the government and European Union allies. The largely symbolic motion was approved hours before Chancellor Angela Merkel and the other 27 EU leaders gather in Brussels.

WASHINGTON (AP) – Senators enraged by the killing of a Saudi journalist and the White House response are expected to vote on a resolution that would call on the U.S. to pull assistance from the Saudi-led war in Yemen. The Senate voted Wednesday to open debate on a measure that would rebuke Saudi Arabia and is expected to vote on it Thursday. U.S. intelligence officials have concluded the Saudi crown prince must have at least known of the death plot, but President Donald Trump has been reluctant to pin the blame.

FATUKOKO, Indonesia (AP) – A trafficking network has descended upon an impoverished corner of Indonesia to hunt for teenage girls. Possibly hundreds of girls have died or disappeared from East Nusa Tenggara province after being lured from their homes by illegal recruiters promising work in neighboring Malaysia. The girls are part of an army of Indonesians who migrate every year to wealthier countries in Asia and the Middle East for work. Thousands of these migrants come home in coffins, or vanish.