Washington, Mar 16 (AP/UNB) — President Donald Trump has issued the first veto of his presidency, rejecting an effort by Congress to block the emergency declaration he had used to try to shake loose funds for his long-promised wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.
The monthslong confrontation now moves to the courts, but not before marking a new era of divided government and Republicans' increasing independence from the White House.
Trump said Friday, "Congress has the freedom to pass this resolution, and I have the duty to veto it."
A dozen defecting Republicans joined Senate Democrats in approving the joint resolution Thursday. It is unlikely that Congress will have the two-thirds majority required to override Trump's veto.
Republican senators are exhibiting more willingness to stray from President Donald Trump. But those facing re-election next year are showing far more deference than the rest of their colleagues — and that suggests a worry that crossing him could be career-threatening.
When the Senate voted Thursday to block Trump's declared southwest border emergency, 12 of the 53 GOP senators joined Democrats in voting against him. That's a lot of defections for a president who normally has the backing of GOP lawmakers, a tribute to his overwhelming support among Republican voters.
A closer look shows that of the 20 Republican senators facing re-election in 2020, just one voted against Trump's emergency declaration: Maine Sen. Susan Collins.
Of the 33 incumbents not running next year, 11 defied him, or 1 in 3.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says President Donald Trump's veto of legislation blocking the national emergency he's declared at the Mexican border shows he's defying "the Constitution, the Congress and the will of the American people."
The California Democrat says the House will vote March 26 on overriding Trump's veto. The chamber seems certain to fall short of the two-thirds majority needed to succeed. That means his emergency declaration would survive, but it still faces several legal challenges.
Pelosi says GOP lawmakers must "choose between their partisan hypocrisy and their sacred oath to support and defend the Constitution."
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer says Trump holds the Constitution "in minimal regard."
The emergency declaration allows Trump to divert $3.6 billion more than Congress approved to build border barriers. The Constitution gives Congress control over spending.
Trump vetoed the measure Friday.
The American Civil Liberties Union says President Donald Trump's veto of a resolution terminating his national emergency declaration is meaningless.
Anthony Romero, the ACLU's executive director, says the courts will be the ultimate arbiter of the declaration's legality.
The ACLU filed a lawsuit last month challenging the declaration on behalf of the Sierra Club and Southern Border Communities Coalition.
Public Citizen is another group that has taken legal action. Robert Weissman, the group's president, says "the autocratic Donald Trump shows his true colors yet again."
But Weissman says bipartisan rejection of the president's declaration will make it harder for him to declare "future fake emergencies for nefarious ends."
Trump wants to use the emergency order to divert billions of federal dollars earmarked for defense spending toward the southern border wall.
President Donald Trump has issued the first veto of his presidency, overruling Congress to protect his emergency declaration for border wall funding.
Flanked by law enforcement officials as well as the parents of children killed by people in the country illegally, Trump says "our immigration system is stretched beyond the breaking point" and calls the congressional action "dangerous" and "reckless."
A dozen Republicans joined with Senate Democrats on Thursday to back the joint resolution disapproving of Trump's emergency declaration. The House had passed the same resolution last month largely along party lines.
It is unlikely that Congress will have the two-thirds majority required to override Trump's veto.
Trump wants to use the emergency order to redirect billions in federal dollars earmarked for defense spending toward the southern border wall. It still faces several legal challenges in federal court.
President Donald Trump says the United States is facing an invasion and that our immigration system is stretched beyond the breaking point as he prepares to veto a resolution that blocked his declaration of a national emergency on the southern border.
Trump says the nation's immigration laws are dangerous for the country and have to change.
Trump is likely to prevail on his national emergency declaration. Overturning a veto requires a two-thirds majority vote in the House and Senate. But there doesn't appear to be enough votes to override it.
President Donald Trump will sign the first veto of his presidency Friday, a day after Congress vote to terminate the national emergency Trump declared at the southern border. His declaration was an effort to circumvent Congress to secure more money for his proposed border wall.
White House spokesman Hogan Gidley says in an appearance on Fox News that the president will be signing the veto at 3:30 p.m. in the Oval Office. He says Trump will be joined with law enforcement as well as the parents of children killed by people in the country illegally.
Hogan is calling this "a sad moment and a very important moment" and says the vote against the president is also a vote "against the America people and their safety and security."
Republicans joined Senate Democrats in blocking the order but there do not appear to be enough votes for an override.
President Donald Trump is poised to issue the first veto of his presidency after a dozen defecting Republicans joined Senate Democrats to block the national emergency he'd declared at the border. That declaration was an effort to circumvent Congress to secure more money for his southern border wall.
The bill was hand-delivered to the White House around 5:30 p.m. Thursday. And Trump made clear how he plans to respond, tweeting the word "VETO!" in all-caps moments after Thursday's vote.
White House spokeswoman Mercedes Schlapp would not say when the veto would happen, but told reporters Friday Trump is "doing what he believes is his constitutional duty, which is to protect the American people."
She also says the president "is incredibly disappointed" with Republicans who voted against him.
A dozen defecting Republicans joined Senate Democrats to block the national emergency that President Donald Trump declared so he could build his border wall with Mexico. The rejection capped a week of confrontation with the White House as both parties in Congress strained to exert their power in new ways.
The 59-41 tally Thursday, following the Senate's vote a day earlier to end U.S. involvement in the war in Yemen, promised to force Trump into the first vetoes of his presidency. Trump had warned against both actions. Moments after Thursday's vote, the president tweeted a single word of warning: "VETO!"
Two years into the Trump era, a defecting dozen Republicans, pushed along by Democrats, showed a willingness to take that political risk.
Suzano, Mar 14 (AP/UNB) — Two masked men armed with a gun, knives, axes and crossbows descended on a school in southern Brazil on Wednesday, killing five students and two adults before one killed the other and then himself, authorities said.
The men, identified as former students at the school in a suburb of Sao Paulo, also shot and killed the owner of a used car business nearby before launching the attack on the school, authorities said.
Besides the five students, the dead included a teacher and a school administrator, said Joao Camilo Pires de Campos, the state's public secretary. Nine others were wounded in the school attack and hospitalized, he said.
"This is the saddest day of my life," de Campos said, speaking to reporters outside the school in the Sao Paulo suburb of Suzano.
Authorities identified the attackers as 17-year-old Guilherme Taucci Monteiro and 25-year-old Henrique de Castro.
"The big question is: What was the motivation of these former students?" de Campos said.
Monteiro's mother, Tatiana Taucci, offered a possible answer, telling Band News while hiding her face from the camera that her son had been bullied at the school.
"Bullying, they call it. ... He stopped going to school ... because of this," she said.
She said she was surprised by his involvement and found out about the attack from the television like everyone else.
Minutes before the attack, Monteiro had posted 26 photos on his Facebook page, included several posing with a gun and one that showed him giving the middle finger as he looked into the camera.
In some of the photos, he wore a black scarf with a white imprint of a skull and cross bones. No text accompanied the posts.
By Wednesday afternoon, Facebook had taken down Monteiro's page.
During the attack, Monteiro opened fire with a .38 caliber handgun and de Castro used a crossbow, de Campos said, adding that forensics would determine how each of the victims died.
The attackers were also carrying Molotov cocktails, knives and small axes, authorities said
"In 34 years as a policeman, it's the first time I see someone use a crossbow like that," police Col. Marcelo Salles said. "It is horrendous."
The assailants were trying to force their way inside a room at the back of the school where many students were hiding when police arrived. Instead of facing police, they took their own lives. Monteiro shot de Castro in the head and then shot himself, police said.
Students gathered outside the school recounted harrowing attacks and seeing several bodies lying in pools of blood.
Kelly Milene Guerra Cardoso, 16, said she and other students took refuge in the school's cafeteria, locked the door and lay on the floor.
"We stayed there until the door was opened. We thought it was the shooters coming to get us, but it was the police," she said. "They told us to start running."
Horacio Pereira Nunes, a retiree whose house is next to the school, said he heard shots around 10 a.m.
"Then a lot of kids started running out, all screaming," he said. "It didn't take long until police arrived."
The Raul Brasil Professor public school has more than 1,600 students from elementary to high school grades, teachers gathered outside said.
Latin America's most populous nation has the largest number of annual homicides in the world, but school shootings are rare.
In 2011, 12 students were killed by a gunman who roamed the halls of a school in Rio de Janeiro, shooting at them.
President Jair Bolsonaro ran on a platform that included promises to crack down on criminals, in part by expanding public access to guns. Soon after his Jan. 1 inauguration, Bolsonaro issued a decree making it easier to buy a gun.
"A monstrosity and cowardness without equal," Bolsonaro wrote in a tweet expressing his sympathies for the families of the victims of Wednesday's attacks.
Similar to arguments made by proponents of less gun regulation in the United States, Bolsonaro and his supporters argue that expanded access to guns will combat crime.
Sen. Major Olimpio, a member of Bolsonaro's party and a proponent of loosening gun legislation, again made that argument hours after Wednesday's rampage.
"We can't let those who take advantage of this tragedy speak about how disarmament is the solution," he tweeted, adding: "Weak and shameful 'disarmament farce,' which gave guns to criminals and prevented self-defense."
Hanoi, Mar 13 (AP/UNB) — Vietnam has urged Malaysia to release the second woman accused of killing the estranged half brother of North Korea's leader after her co-defendant was unexpectedly set free this week.
Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh made the plea in a phone call Tuesday with his counterpart, Saifuddin Abdullah, according to a statement on the ministry website. It said Minh requested the Malaysian court conduct a fair trial and free Doan Thi Huong.
Malaysia on Monday dropped the murder charge against her co-defendant, Indonesian Siti Aisyah, who has returned to her home village.
Huong's murder trial is to resume Thursday, and prosecutors are expected to reply to a request by Huong's lawyers for the government to withdraw the murder charge against her as well.
The two women were accused along with four missing North Koreans of killing Kim Jong Nam by VX nerve agent at a Malaysian airport in 2017. Both women say they were thought they were playing a prank for a TV show.
Prosecutors did not give any reason for the remarkable retreat in their case against Aisyah, whose home government had lobbied hard for her release.
Vietnam has pushed less hard on behalf of Huong, and recently hosted North Korean leader Kim Jong Un for an official visit and a summit with President Donald Trump.
Indonesia's government said its continued high-level lobbying had resulted in Aisyah's release and alleged the young migrant worker had no idea she was being "manipulated by North Korean intelligence."
Huong's lawyer, Hisyam Teh Poh Teik, said after Monday's court session that Huong felt Aisyah's discharge was unfair to her because the judge last year had found sufficient evidence to continue the murder trial against both of them.
"She is entitled to the same kind of consideration as Aisyah," he said.
Lawyers for the women have previously said that they were pawns in a political assassination with clear links to the North Korean Embassy in Kuala Lumpur, and that the prosecution failed to show the women had any intention to kill. Intent to kill is crucial to a murder charge under Malaysian law.
Malaysian officials have never officially accused North Korea and have made it clear they don't want the trial politicized.
Kim was the eldest son in the current generation of North Korea's ruling family. He had been living abroad for years but could have been seen as a threat to Kim Jong Un's rule.
Sao Paulo, Mar 12 (AP/UNB) — Heavy rains deluged Brazil's biggest city, causing flooding and other damage that resulted in the deaths of at least 12 people, authorities said Monday. Six people were reported injured.
Sao Paulo's emergency center said it rained in one day almost a third of all precipitation expected for the entire month of March. Several roads were blocked by mud and destroyed furniture in different parts of the city.
The Sao Paulo state fire department said four people died when a house collapsed in the city of Ribeirao Pires, on the outskirts of the megalopolis.
It also said two people drowned in flooding of the Tamanduatei River and another died in Sao Bernardo do Campo. Other victims died in the cities of Embu das Artes, Santo Andre and Sao Caetano.
Heavy rain began falling Sunday night and more was expected.
Gov. Joao Doria told Sao Paulo residents to stay home if they were in safe areas, but move as quickly as possible if they were not.
"Between losing the shack and life, choose life," Doria said on the BandNews television channel.
Caracas, Mar 12 (AP/UNB) — Venezuelans on Monday converged on a polluted river in Caracas to fill water bottles and held scattered protests in several cities as growing chaos took hold in a country whose people have had little power, water and communications for days.
A 3-year-old girl with a brain tumor languished in a Caracas hospital, awaiting treatment after doctors started surgery but then suspended the operation when nationwide power outages first hit on Thursday, said the girl's fearful mother, who only gave her first name, Yalimar.
"The doctors told me that there are no miracles," said Yalimar, who hopes her daughter can be transferred Tuesday to one of the few hospitals in Venezuela that would be able to finish the complex procedure.
The girl's story highlighted an unfolding horror in Venezuela, where years of hardship got abruptly worse after the power grid collapsed. On Monday, schools and businesses were closed, long lines of cars waited at the few gasoline stations with electricity and hospitals cared for many patients without power. Generators have alleviated conditions for some of the critically ill.
Late Monday, President Nicolas Maduro said on national television that progress had been made in restoring power in Venezuela. He also said two people who were allegedly trying to sabotage power facilities were captured and were providing information to authorities, though he gave no details.
Opposition leader Juan Guaido and his chief ally, the United States, say Maduro's claims that the U.S. sabotaged the power grid with a "cyberattack" are an attempt to divert attention from the government's own failings.
There have been acts of kindness during Venezuela's crisis: People whose food would rot in fridges without power donated it to a restaurant, which cooked it for distribution to charitable foundations and hospitals.
The blackouts have also hit the oil industry. The country hasn't shipped $358 million in oil since the power failures started, and "the whole system is grinding to a halt," said Russ Dallen, a Miami-based partner at the brokerage firm Caracas Capital Markets.
Two large tankers are sitting empty at the Jose offshore oil-loading dock, and at least 19 other ships are waiting their turns there, Dallen said.
Engineers have restored power in some parts of Venezuela, but it often goes out again. There have been a few protests in Caracas and reports of similar anti-government anger elsewhere. Guaido tweeted about reports of looting in some cities, but details were difficult to confirm.
Security forces in the city of Maracaibo dispersed "criminals" trying to take advantage of the power cuts, Mayor Willy Casanova told local media.
However, numerous videos posted on social media that purported to be from Maracaibo showed crowds roaming the streets and people running from looted, damaged buildings with no police in sight.
In Caracas, some people reported more sightings of "colectivos," a term for armed groups allegedly operating on behalf of the state to intimidate opponents. While Maduro and other government officials said they were working to provide basic necessities, the mood in Caracas was desperate.
Marian Morales, a nurse working for a Catholic youth group, and several colleagues handed out diapers and food from their car, parked near a hospital. Police and men in civilian clothing ordered them to leave, saying they didn't have permission.
Morales said the needy are cautious about approaching to collect the handouts because of the presence of security forces.
The opposition-controlled National Assembly debated the power cuts and declared that the situation was an emergency, a largely symbolic move aimed at pressuring Maduro.
Early Monday, an explosion rocked a power station in the Baruta area of Caracas. Residents gathered to look at the charred, smoldering equipment.
Guaido said three of four electricity transformers servicing the area were knocked out. He has blamed the blackouts on alleged government corruption and mismanagement.
Winston Cabas, the head of Venezuela's electrical engineers union, which opposes the government, disputed government allegations that the dam was sabotaged. He blamed a lack of maintenance as well as the departure of skilled workers from the troubled country over the years.
"The system is vulnerable, fragile and unstable," he said.
Spain's airline pilots union asked for Spanish airline Air Europa to stop flying to Venezuela after one of its crews was attacked at gunpoint in Caracas. The Sepla union said two pilots and eight more crew members of a flight from Madrid were assaulted on Saturday while going from the airport to their hotel in the Venezuelan capital. None of the crew members was injured.
Air Europa responded by ordering the crews of flights to Venezuela to not spend the night in the country, according to the union.
The administration of U.S. President Donald Trump, meanwhile, imposed sanctions on a Moscow-based bank jointly owned by Russian and Venezuelan state-owned companies, for allegedly trying to circumvent U.S. sanctions on the South American country. The U.S. said it is targeting Evrofinance Mosnarbank for supporting Petroleos de Venezuela S.A., an entity previously targeted by sanctions in January.
Evrofinance said it is carrying out its activities normally despite the announcement and pledged to "meet its obligations to the clients and partners in full."
The U.S. and more than 50 governments recognize Guaido as interim president and say Maduro wasn't legitimately re-elected last year because opposition candidates weren't permitted to run. Maduro says he is the target of a U.S. coup plot.
Also Monday, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo criticized Cuba and Russia for continuing to support Maduro and described Cuba as the "true imperialist power" in Venezuela. Cuba has made the same accusation against the U.S., alleging that it is after Venezuela's oil.