UK politicos vote to seek delay of EU departure
LONDON (AP) – In a stalemate over Brexit, British politicians have chosen to delay it.
After weeks of political gridlock, Parliament voted Thursday to seek to postpone the country’s departure from the European Union, a move that will likely avert a chaotic withdrawal on the scheduled exit date of March 29.
With Brexit due in 15 days and no divorce deal yet approved, the House of Commons voted 413-202 to ask the bloc to put off Britain’s exit until at least June 30. The official result was initially announced as 412-202, but was later amended to 413 in the official voting list.
The vote gives Prime Minister Theresa May some breathing space, but is still humbling for a leader who has spent 2 years telling Britons they were leaving the bloc on March 29.
Trump criticizes British leader’s work with Brexit
WASHINGTON (AP) – President Donald Trump on Thursday sharply criticized Britain’s handling of negotiations over leaving the European Union, saying the talks have been bungled and that the debate was dividing the country.
“I’m surprised at how badly it’s all gone from the standpoint of a negotiation,” he said.
Trump, who holds himself up as a master deal-maker, said he had given Prime Minister Theresa May his ideas on how she could negotiate a successful deal for leaving the 28-member group of nations. But “she didn’t listen to that and that’s fine. I mean she’s got to do what she’s got to do,” he said at the White House as he welcomed Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar for an early St. Patrick’s Day celebration.
“I think it could have been negotiated in a different manner, frankly,” Trump said. “I hate to see it being, everything being ripped apart right now.”
Trump spoke hours before British lawmakers voted to delay Brexit for at least 3 months. Britain’s exit from the EU had been scheduled for March 29. The motion commits May’s government to seek an extension until June 30 if Parliament approves a U.K.-EU withdrawal deal next week.
Students sue colleges in admissions bribery scandal
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) – In the first lawsuit to come out of the college bribery scandal, several students are suing Yale, Georgetown, Stanford and other schools involved in the case, saying they and others were denied a fair shot at admission.
The plaintiffs brought the class-action complaint Wednesday in federal court in San Francisco on behalf of themselves and other applicants and asked for unspecified damages.
They argued that applicants who played by the rules were victimized when rich and famous parents paid bribes that enabled unqualified students to get into highly selective universities.
“Each of the universities took the students’ admission application fees while failing to take adequate steps to ensure that their admissions process was fair and free of fraud, bribery, cheating and dishonesty,” the lawsuit said.
Legal experts, though, said the students could have difficulty holding the colleges responsible.
Coaches accused in bribery scandal wielded outsize authority
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) – Coach Gordie Ernst’s Georgetown University tennis teams didn’t win any Big East championships. At Wake Forest, Bill Ferguson’s volleyball teams struggled near the bottom of their conference.
At Stanford, John Vandemoer’s sailing teams were nationally ranked but competed in a sport that isn’t governed by the NCAA.
All three were coaching lower-tier sports, not the glamorous, big-money ones, basketball and football. And yet, win or lose, these coaches did have something incredibly valuable: the keys that can get students into some of the most exclusive colleges in America.
And now they face criminal charges they leveraged that authority to enrich themselves or their sports programs.
Federal indictments unsealed this week outlined a sweeping college admissions scandal in which coaches allegedly took bribes from wealthy parents to help falsify their children’s sports credentials and designate them as recruited athletes.
Rejected in 2016, Sanders hopes for a warmer reception in SC
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) – South Carolina gave Bernie Sanders the cold shoulder in 2016. Four years and several visits later, Sanders hopes the state is ready to warm to him.
The Vermont senator has spent months working to deepen his ties with the black community in South Carolina, where minority voters make up the majority of the Democratic primary electorate. He returns to South Carolina on Thursday for the first time as a 2020 candidate, eager to prove that those efforts put him in a more competitive position in a state he lost by a staggering 47 points.
“Bernie has kind of laid the groundwork. He’s kept moving,” said state Rep. Terry Alexander, a Sanders supporter. “He never stopped campaigning even after the election. He just kept moving and working, making sure his infrastructure was in place.”
Sanders’ 2016 loss in South Carolina to Hillary Clinton blunted the momentum he generated in the opening primary contests and exposed his weakness with black voters. Rather than skip South Carolina this time around, Sanders’ advisers say they plan to make a serious bid in the first-in-the-South primary state.
Senior adviser Jeff Weaver told reporters this week that Sanders will be in South Carolina much more frequently than during his first campaign and is putting together a “much stronger team on the ground, much earlier in the process.”
Reputed Gambino crime boss shot to death in New York City
NEW YORK (AP) – The reputed boss of New York’s Gambino crime family was shot to death in front of his home by a gunman who may have staged a car accident to lure him outside, dying a virtual unknown compared with his swaggering 1980s-era predecessor, John Gotti.
Police said Thursday they were reviewing surveillance-camera video of the attack on Francesco “Franky Boy” Cali, 53, who was gunned down Wednesday night at his red-brick colonial-style house in a quiet Staten Island neighborhood. The assailant sped off in a pickup truck, police said. No immediate arrests were made.
The motive for the attack was under investigation, police said. Chief of Detectives Dermot Shea said it was still an open question whether it was a mob hit.
Aggressive federal prosecutions in the past 25 years decimated the ranks of New York’s five Mafia families. The cases resulted in long prison terms for their bosses – Gotti included – and encouraged their successors to keep a lower profile.
But the new generation still engages in old-school crimes – loansharking, gambling, extortion – that can make enemies and spark bloodshed.