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Shutdown Appears Less Likely…Two More Arkansas Executions…North Korea Conducts Live-Fire Drills

WASHINGTON (AP) – Democratic negotiators are getting closer to working out a budget deal in hopes of preventing a partial federal shutdown this weekend. They overcame a major hurdle when President Donald Trump backed away from insisting that money for a border wall with Mexico be included in the budget. White House spokesman Sean Spicer says administration negotiators including Trump’s budget chief, Mick Mulvaney, “feel very confident” that a shutdown won’t occur.

VARNER, Ark. (AP) – Two Arkansas death row inmates have received lethal injections just three hours apart, and on the same gurney. Fifty-two-year-old Jack Jones and 46-year-old Marcel Williams were put to death Monday night, in the nation’s first double execution since 2000. Arkansas put to death one other inmate last week and has a final one scheduled for Thursday. Four others have been blocked.

PYONGYANG, North Korea (AP) – South Korea’s military says North Korea held major live-fire drills in an area around its eastern coastal town of Wonsan as it marked the anniversary of the founding of its military. Tuesday’s exercise took place as a U.S. guided-missile submarine arrived in South Korea and envoys from the United States, Japan and South Korea met in Tokyo to discuss the growing threat posed by North Korea’s nuclear weapons and missiles program.

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) – For teenagers in treatment for addiction, returning to school means resisting offers to get high with old friends. Researchers say these kids do better at special recovery schools that use peer pressure in a different way – to support sobriety. Hope Academy in Indianapolis is one of about three dozen recovery schools in the United States. Interest in these schools is growing as the nation’s opioid epidemic puts young lives on the line.

DEL RIO, Texas (AP) – A courthouse on the border in Texas is serving as a model for the kind of tough immigration enforcement advocated by President Donald Trump. While, elsewhere, most immigrants entering the U.S. illegally are simply deported, in the Del Rio court, they are prosecuted.

Trump Approaching 100 Day Milestone…LePen vs. Macron in France…Another North Korean Test Possible

WASHINGTON (AP) – For nearly 100 days, President Donald Trump has startled world leaders with his unpredictability, but won their praise for a surprise strike on Syria. He’s been embraced by business executives, but not always by his own Republican Party. Trump said in an Oval Office interview with The Associated Press that he questions “the first 100 days” as a meaningful measure.

WASHINGTON (AP) – With a budget deadline looming, President Donald Trump plans a whirlwind of activities seeking to highlight his administration’s accomplishments. He also is putting fresh pressure on congressional Democrats to pay for a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border, even if that pressure risks a possible government shutdown. Trump approaches the symbolic 100-day mark for his administration juggling a renewed health care push and demands that a must-pass government funding bill include money for the wall.

PARIS (AP) – French voters have shut out the political mainstream from the presidency for the first time in modern history, and now they’re being courted for the runoff election between populist Marine Le Pen and centrist Emmanuel Macron. French politicians on the moderate left and right are urging voters to block Le Pen’s path to power in the May 7 vote.

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) – North Korea marks the founding anniversary of its military on Tuesday, and South Korea and its allies are bracing for the possibility that it could conduct another nuclear test or launch an intercontinental ballistic missile for the first time. North Korea often marks significant dates by displaying its military capability.

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) – U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis has arrived unannounced in Afghanistan. Mattis is in Kabul to assess America’s longest war as the Trump administration weighs sending more U.S. troops.