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National News

    Verne Troyer, famous for his role as Mini-Me in the 'Austin Powers' comedies died Saturday. He was 49.  >> Read more trending news
  • Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif accused the U.S. government of arrogance and belligerence, saying that Washington needed 'a change in attitude' before any meaningful negotiations can begin over several U.S. citizens being held prisoner in Iran. 'It is important... for the (Trump) administration to show the ability to engage in a respectful dialogue,' Zarif said. 'The United States needs to learn how to treat other sovereign nations, particularly sovereign nations who do not depend on the United States for continued existence.' Zarif spoke to CBS' Face the Nation on Friday; the full interview will be broadcast Sunday and portions of the transcript were made available The Associated Press. At least five Iranians, all dual-American citizens or green-card holders, have been sentenced to prison in Iran on espionage-related charges, as has Chinese-American Princeton graduate student Xiyue Wang. Zarif said his government is open to talks on a prisoner release — particularly on health or humanitarian grounds; one of the prisoners, Baquer Namazi, is 81 and in poor health. But he said the current American attitude makes such negotiations impossible. 'You do not engage in negotiations by exercising disrespect for a country, for its people, for its government,' he said. 'Then you do not leave much room for a genuine dialogue.' President Donald Trump has had an antagonistic relationship with Tehran since before his election. Trump campaigned partially on his strong opposition to the 2015 nuclear agreement with Iran signed by his predecessor Barack Obama. Most recently Trump has vowed to withdraw from the agreement by May 12 unless U.S., British, French and German negotiators can agree to fix what he sees as its serious flaws.
  • President Donald Trump says he's considering a posthumous pardon for boxing's first black heavyweight champion more than 100 years after the late Jack Johnson was convicted by all-white jury of accompanying a white woman across state lines. Trump announced Saturday on Twitter that the actor Sylvester Stallone, a friend of his, had called to bring Johnson's story to his attention. 'His trials and tribulations were great, his life complex and controversial,' Trump wrote from his Mar-a-Lago club in Florida. 'Others have looked at this over the years, most thought it would be done, but yes, I am considering a Full Pardon!' Johnson is a legendary figure in boxing and crossed over into popular culture decades ago with biographies, dramas and documentaries following the civil rights era. Most famously, his story was fictionalized for the play 'The Great White Hope,' starring James Earl Jones, which won the Pulitzer Prize for drama and the Tony Award for best play in 1969. A film version with Jones was released in 1970. More recently, the documentary 'Unforgivable Blackness: The Rise and Fall of Jack Johnson,' directed by Ken Burns, was aired on PBS in 2004. Johnson was convicted in 1913 for violating the Mann Act, which made it illegal to transport women across state lines for 'immoral' purposes. The boxer died in 1946. His great-great niece has pressed Trump for a posthumous pardon, and Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., and former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., have been pushing Johnson's case for years. The tweet came a week after Trump pardoned I. Lewis 'Scooter' Libby, who had been a top aide to Vice President Dick Cheney, arguing that Libby had been 'treated unfairly' by a special counsel. Stallone, who starred in the 1976 boxing film 'Rocky' and several sequels, is a supporter of the president and attended Trump's New Years' Eve party at Mar-a-Lago in 2016. McCain previously told The Associated Press that Johnson 'was a boxing legend and pioneer whose career and reputation were ruined by a racially charged conviction more than a century ago.' 'Johnson's imprisonment forced him into the shadows of bigotry and prejudice, and continues to stand as a stain on our national honor,' McCain said earlier this month. In Jim Crow America, Johnson was one of the most despised African-American of his generation, humiliating white fighters and flaunting his affection for white women. The son of former slaves, he defeated Tommy Burns for the heavyweight title in 1908 at a time when blacks and whites rarely entered the same ring. He then mowed down a series of 'great white hopes,' culminating in 1910 with the undefeated former champion, James J. Jeffries. 'He is one of the craftiest, cunningest boxers that ever stepped into the ring,' said the legendary boxer John L. Sullivan, in the aftermath of what was called 'the fight of the century.' But Johnson also refused to adhere to societal norms, living lavishly and brazenly and dating outside of his race in a time when whites often killed African-Americans without fear of legal repercussions. After seven years as a fugitive following his conviction, Johnson eventually returned to the U.S. and turned himself in. He served about a year in federal prison and was released in 1921. He died in 1946 in an auto crash. The stain on Johnson's reputation forced some family members to live in shame of his legacy. The family 'didn't talk about it because they were ashamed of him, that he went to prison,' Linda E. Haywood, 61, has said of her great-great uncle. 'They were led to believe that he did something wrong. They were so ashamed after being so proud of him.' Haywood said she didn't find out she was related to Johnson until she was 12. She remembers learning about Johnson when she was in sixth grade during Black History Month, and only learned later that he was kin. Once, she recalled, she asked her mother about Johnson. 'She just grimaced,' Haywood said. Haywood has pressed to have Johnson pardoned since President George W. Bush was in office, a decade ago. Posthumous pardons are rare, but not unprecedented. President Bill Clinton pardoned Henry O. Flipper, the first African-American officer to lead the Buffalo Soldiers of the 10th Cavalry Regiment during the Civil War; he was framed for embezzlement. Bush pardoned Charles Winters in 2008, an American volunteer in the Arab-Israeli War convicted of violating the U.S. Neutrality Acts in 1949. Haywood wanted Barack Obama, the nation's first black president, to pardon Johnson, but Justice Department policy says 'processing posthumous pardon petitions is grounded in the belief that the time of the officials involved in the clemency process is better spent on the pardon and commutation requests of living persons.' The Justice Department makes decisions on potential pardons through an application process and typically makes recommendations to the president. The general DOJ policy is to not accept applications for posthumous pardons for federal convictions, according to the department's website. But Trump has shown a willingness to work around the DOJ process. __ Associated Press writer Kareem Copeland contributed to this report.
  • The No. 3 House Republican leader has been released from a hospital after follow-up surgery related to the wounds he received from a shooting at a GOP baseball practice 10 months ago. Rep. Steve Scalise (skuh-LEES') of Louisiana is out of MedStar Washington Hospital Center after successful surgery Monday and is expected to recover at home for several days. That's according to a statement from the medical center and his office. An earlier statement said he had 'a series of planned, inpatient procedures.' Scalise suffered shattered bones and damaged internal organs in the June shooting that left him near death. U.S. Capitol Police and other officers killed the gunman, who held grievances against President Donald Trump and the GOP. Scalise's viewed a potential successor to retiring House Speaker Paul Ryan.
  • A San Antonio charter school has apologized after a teacher asked students in an eighth grade American history class to list the positive and negative aspects of slavery. The Great Hearts Monte Vista teacher who distributed the worksheet titled 'The Life of Slaves: A Balanced View' was placed on leave and the school said it would audit the textbook associated with the lesson, said Aaron Kindel, the superintendent of Great Hearts Texas, which operates 28 public charter schools in Texas and Arizona. 'To be clear, there is no debate about slavery. It is immoral and a crime against humanity,' Kindel said in a statement posted Thursday on the Great Hearts Facebook page. He said the school's headmaster plans to explain the mistake to the history class. Scott Overland, a spokesman for Pearson, which published the textbook, said the company didn't create and doesn't endorse the worksheet assigned to the students, KENS-TV reported . 'We do not support the point of view represented in the worksheet and strongly condemn the implication that there was any positive aspect to slavery,' Overland said. A parent of one of the students in the class posted the worksheet Wednesday on Facebook. U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro drew attention to the issue on Thursday when the Democrat tweeted that the worksheet was 'absolutely unacceptable.' 'Asking students to complete such an assignment challenges the reality that slavery was utterly dehumanizing,' Castro said in a statement. He also called on the charter school network to review its history curriculum.
  • One of the longest-serving senators in U.S. history bid farewell to Utah Republican Party delegates Saturday, offering a solemn goodbye to the state that sent him to the Senate for 41 years. Orrin Hatch's remarks to the state GOP convention were brief but emotional. 'Together, we have accomplished incredible things,' the longtime lawmaker told a largely adoring crowd in suburban Salt Lake City. Before his speech, the state party played a video summing up Hatch's political career featuring praise from President Donald Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and late President Ronald Reagan over a swell of inspirational music. Yet Hatch's retirement comes none too soon for some party loyalists who seethed at the possibility that he might break a promise not to seek an eighth term. 'Thank you for retiring,' shouted one woman from the crowd as Hatch, 83, approached the stage. He steps down with his hand-picked successor, former presidential contender Mitt Romney, standing nearby. Romney will look to secure the party's nomination at the convention later in the day. Since encouraging Romney to run, however, Hatch has largely stayed out of the race for his replacement, and he did not mention the former Massachusetts governor during his short speech on Saturday. Hatch's decision to retire in January allowed him to leave his legacy intact and avoid a bruising re-election battle. As his years in office added up, Hatch repeatedly told voters his experience and clout made him more effective. But after Utah's other longtime senator, Republican Bob Bennett, was ousted in a 2010 tea party backlash, Hatch overcame a tough primary challenge and promised to make his next term his last. He flexed his political muscle during his last two years in office, helping push through an overhaul of the tax code and persuading Trump to downsize two national monuments in southern Utah, a controversial move that had long been sought by the state's political leaders. In 2000, he ran a brief campaign for president but abandoned the effort after winning only 1 percent in the Iowa caucuses. His decision to step down now, as the senior-most Republican senator and third in line to the presidency, leaves 71-year-old Romney as the heavy favorite to represent Utah in the Senate. Hatch has not divulged his plans after leaving office, but supporters have begun raising millions of dollars to create a think tank and foundation bearing his name.
  • Former President George H.W. Bush is known for wearing festive socks. He wore a special pair of socks Saturday to the funeral of his wife of 73 years, Barbara Bush, in tribute to her work in literacy awareness. >> Read more trending news  Barbara Bush, the wife of the nation’s 41st president and mother of the nation’s 43rd, died Tuesday at her Houston home. She was 92. Bush family spokesman Jim McGrath posted on Twitter that the former president is wearing socks festooned with books. McGrath went on to say that Barbara Bush's literacy campaign raised over $110 million in 30 years. The private funeral ceremony is being attended by approximately 1,500 invited guests, including first lady Melania Trump, former President Bill Clinton, former first lady and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, former President Barack Obama and former first lady Michelle Obama.
  • U.S. Senate hopeful Mitt Romney will speak to thousands of Utah Republicans gathering Saturday at a party convention to vote for candidates ranging from Congress to state Legislature. He's going to face off against nearly a dozen contenders in a fight to secure the support of far-right-leaning party delegates, but even if he loses he'll be on the Republican primary ballot because he's already won a spot by gathering voter signatures. That path, though, is relatively new and it's still a source of major contention in the party. Some say it takes power away from Utah's traditional caucus-and-convention system for nominating candidates, while others say it lets more people get involved in the process even if they don't have time to become delegates. Some questions and answers about the conventions and Utah's nominating process: ___ HOW DOES THE NOMINATION PROCESS WORK? Utah now offers two paths to run for office. Candidates can participate in long-standing party conventions where they vie for the support of several thousand delegates, who are core party members elected by their neighbors. If a candidate wins at least 60 percent of the delegate votes, he or she is declared the winner. If no candidate clears that threshold, then the top two vote-getters compete in the June primary. The newer option allows candidates to gather voter signatures to get their names on the primary ballot, no matter what happens at the convention. Candidates can choose to take the convention path, the signature-gathering path, or both. Candidates who have chosen to take both paths in past elections include Republicans Gov. Gary Herbert and U.S. Sen. Mike Lee. ___ IF SOMEONE WINS 60 PERCENT AT THE CONVENTION, DO THEY BECOME THE NOMINEE? Not necessarily. Under the new law, anyone coming out of the convention as a winner must still compete in the primary against candidates that gathered signatures. In the GOP race to replace Sen. Orrin Hatch, Romney's choice to use the signature-gathering path could hurt him with delegates who see that option as a rejection of their judgment. But the tactic also gives him a backup plan and another shot at the nomination in June if he fails to win enough support Saturday. On the other hand, if Romney wins at the convention he'll secure the GOP nomination outright because none of the other candidates have gathered enough signatures to qualify for the ballot. __ WHY DID LAWMAKERS ADD THE NEW SIGNATURE-GATHERING METHOD? They were trying to boost voter participation. The 2014 law was a compromise reached with a group called Count My Vote that pushed to get rid of the convention system, arguing it is difficult because it requires people to attend meetings in person. They began pushing for primaries after longtime Sen. Bob Bennett was ousted at the convention in 2010 amid a rise in support for the tea party. ____ WHAT DO CONVENTIONS LOOK LIKE? Thousands of Republican delegates will gather representing various neighborhood districts, where they were picked by voters. Many candidates begin courting delegates before the conventions with phone calls, campaign mailers or meetings where they provide food and speak to a group. They'll continue making their pitch on Saturday, setting up campaign booths, handing out buttons or signs, and giving short speeches before voting starts.
  • It's not uncommon to see brand new commercial jets flying in and out of Paine Field, just north of Seattle, defying rain and low visibility that define the region. That's because the airport with two runways has for decades served as home to Boeing assembly lines, rolling out models such as the 777 for test flights over the Pacific Ocean. Now an entrepreneur is getting a chance to build the airport's first passenger terminal, betting travelers in Seattle's rapidly-expanding suburbs will use it for short-haul trips instead of fighting traffic and long lines at SeaTac International, one of the country's busiest hubs. Brett Smith's company is investing about $40 million to build the terminal. In the process, he wants to increase U.S. acceptance of a global trend: Putting commercial airport terminals in the hands of private companies instead of the government. Smith is the founder and chief executive officer of Propeller Investments LLC., which secured a 50-year agreement with Snohomish County three years ago through a local subsidiary to build and operate the terminal in Everett, Washington. Operations are due to start in the fall, with announcements already made from Alaska Airlines, Southwest Airlines and United Airlines for up to 24 flights per day. The deal stands out for U.S. airports because it's structured as a public-private partnership, a model that divides the responsibilities of owning and operating public assets between governments and the private sector. It's also notable because Propeller has no experience in building or operating airport terminals. The project contrasts with about 500 commercial airports across the U.S., where local governments own and operate most of the facilities. Those airports have relied on decades of federal funding and passenger fees to help finance infrastructure improvements. But traditional funding sources have remained flat since the turn of the century, failing to keep up with increased air travel demand. Airport privatization proponents point to efficiencies and variety of passenger amenities like stores and restaurants found in major European hubs such as London's Heathrow and Frankfurt Airport, both of which are run by companies and rated among the 10 best airports in 2018 by Skytrax, an independent agency that ranks airports and airlines based on traveler reviews. No U.S. airports made the list this year. 'Public-private partnerships in the airport realm were almost unheard of 18 months ago. Now barely a day goes by where I don't get a call asking about them,' said Peter Kirsch, a Denver-based partner at Kaplan Kirsch Rockwell, the law firm that represented Snohomish County during its negotiations with Propeller. The firm also represented Propeller during its talks with the airlines. 'It's the future of airport development.' Only a handful of U.S. airports have adopted any form of privatization. Southwest Airlines financed and built a five-gate terminal at Houston's Hobby Airport that opened in 2015. Denver signed an agreement last year to allow a group of companies led by Madrid-based Ferrovial, the company that built and operates two terminals at Heathrow, to renovate Jeppesen Terminal at Denver International Airport and operate concessions. Almost half of airports in the European Union are either 'fully' or 'partially' private, according to a study by Airports Council International, an advocacy group made up of airport operators. It estimates U.S. airports will need to implement $100 billion of infrastructure works by 2021 to accommodate passenger and cargo volume growth. 'There's an old adage that says 'necessity is the mother of invention,'' said Patti Clark, who used to manage Valdosta Regional Airport in Valdosta, Georgia, and now teaches airport sustainability and environmental management at Embry Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, Fla. 'What we have is an aging infrastructure of airports in the U.S. Partnerships with the private sector help improve facilities and competitiveness.' But those projects carry the risks of being dependent on the airlines, which are already grappling with thin profit margins. Airlines reducing or cancelling their operations in a particular terminal can leave 'gaping holes' in operator revenues, she said. Paine Field handles about 300 flights per day. In 2015, the Snohomish County Council voted to lease 10.5 acres (4.2 hectares), or less than 1 percent of the airport's total area, to Propeller for 30 years and give the company two additional 10-year extension options. It marks the first test for Smith, who tried to secure deals to establish commercial operations in Georgia's Gwinnett and Paulding Counties. He was unsuccessful due to opposition from the communities and Delta Airlines, which dominates traffic at nearby Hartsfield-Jackson Airport in Atlanta. 'To me this is an honor, so it has to go well,' said Smith, who relocated to Seattle from New York to oversee construction. 'We have to be able to show that with privatization you get a really good product.' Propeller sold $50 million of bonds in February to finance the project, paying investors about double the interest rate they would earn on similar U.S. Treasurys, according to data compiled by The Associated Press. The company doesn't have a credit rating. 'We're trying to really grow the job base here in Snohomish County, and having that direct access for businesses, I think it'll be a boon,' County Executive Dave Somers said. The company's lack of a track record isn't a concern because 'it's a land lease. If they can pull it off, then they can pull it off. If they don't pull it off, we haven't lost anything.' ____ AP Business Writer Stan Choe contributed to this story.
  • The Latest on the global finance meetings in Washington (all times local): 1:10 p.m. The International Monetary Fund's policymaking committee says a strong world economy is threatened by increasing tension over trade and a heavy global debt load. Officials say longer-term global prospects are clouded by sluggish productivity growth and aging populations in wealthy countries. Policymakers say in a statement at the end of three days of meetings that countries should take advantage of the broadest-based expansion in a decade and enact reforms that will make their economies more efficient. And cutting government debts is urged. The IMF expects the world economy to grow 3.9 percent this year and next — that would be the fastest since 2011. But an intensifying dispute between the U.S. and China over Beijing's aggressive attempt to challenge U.S. technological dominance has raised the prospect of a trade war that could drag down worldwide growth. ___ 1 p.m. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin (mih-NOO'-shin) says he's had a number of discussions with his counterparts — during global finance meetings in Washington — that have dealt with President Donald Trump's 'America First' trade policies. Mnuchin says he's tried to make clear that the United States isn't trying to erect protectionist barriers through its proposals to impose tariffs on steel and aluminum imports and up to $150 billion worth of Chinese goods. Mnuchin says Trump 'has been very clear on what on what our objectives are. We are looking for reciprocal treatment.' He says some of his one-on-one talks concerned requests for exemptions from the U.S. tariffs. He says he's considering making a trip soon to China. ___ 11:25 a.m. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin (mih-NOO'-shin) is urging the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank to pursue reforms that will support Trump administration foreign policy initiatives. Mnuchin says the World Bank needs to continue to shift its lending from fast-growing developing countries such as China to poorer nations. He says in a speech prepared for the World Bank's policy committee that the bank should direct its resources at 'poorer borrowers and away from countries better able to finance their own development objectives.' Mnuchin cites progress in achieving changes at the World Bank that the U.S. put forward last year, but says more needs to be done. The administration's America First trade policies put it the U.S. at odds with other countries at this weekend's global finance meetings in Washington. ___ 12:50 a.m. The United States is resisting pressure to back off President Donald Trump's tough America First trade policy at a meeting of global finance leaders worried about the threat of a damaging trade war. U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin (mih-NOO'-shin) charged that 'unfair global trade practices impede stronger U.S. and global growth, acting as a persistent drag on the global economy.' He urged the International Monetary Fund to do more to combat unfair trade practices. Mnuchin issued the comments Friday during the spring meetings of the 189-country IMF and its sister lending agency, the World Bank. The three days of meetings wrap up Saturday. Other countries have used the gathering to protest Trump's protectionist trade policies, which mark a reversal of seven decades of U.S. support for ever-freer global commerce.
  • It was a busy and emotional day on Friday in the courtroom during the Michael Bever trial. The 911 call was played and jurors heard from the surviving sister. Tulsa County District Attorney Steve Kunzweiler says the sister was able to testify from a separate courtroom and the jurors heard the testimony through a television. “I was very grateful to the court for the arrangements she had made to try and it make it easier on this young lady,” Kunzweiler said.  “I’m just glad that she’s been able to get through it.” During her testimony, Michael was seen crying on several occasions and putting his hands over his face. KRMG will continue to update the story as more information comes into the newsroom.  
  • If you have outdoor plans for today, bring an umbrella and be prepared to get wet. National Weather Service Meteorologist Brad McGavick says we'll see plenty of rain in Tulsa. “We’re expecting widespread showers, isolated thunderstorms,” McGavick said.  “The chance of rain is 100 percent.” It’s also going to be cooler than normal.  NWS is reporting the high will only reach around 57 degrees.   For reference, the normal high for this time of year in Tulsa is closer to 73 degrees.   Keep that umbrella handy Saturday night as well.  There is an 80 percent chance for rain and the low will be near 49 degrees.  
  • U.S. Rep. Joaquín Castro, D-San Antonio, took to Twitter on Thursday to call out a San Antonio school assignment about slavery that he called “unacceptable.”  >> Read more trending news Castro tweeted an image of the assignment, which asked students to list both positive and negative aspects to living as a slave.  The charter school where the assignment came from, Great Hearts, has since responded in a statement on Facebook saying that it would conduct an audit of the textbook the assignment at its Monte Vista North campus came from and decide whether or not to use the textbook in the future. The statement also said that the assignment had only been used by one teacher, at one campus:  'We fully intend to make sure something like this does not happen again and will keep parents posted as we address this issue further,' Great Hearts said of the incident.
  • A volcano in southern Japan has erupted for the first time in 250 years, and authorities set up a no-go zone around the mountain. Mount Io spewed smoke and ash high into the sky Thursday in its first eruption since 1768. Japan’s Meteorological Agency on Friday expanded a no-go zone to the entire mountain from previously just around the volcano’s crater. Explosions have briefly subsided Friday, but officials cautioned residents in nearby towns against falling volcanic rocks and ash. The volcano is part of the Kirishima mountain range on Japan’s southern main island of Kyushu. The area is about 620 miles southwest of Tokyo. Another volcano nearby also erupted violently in March for the first time in seven years. Japan sits on the Pacific “Ring of Fire” and has 110 active volcanoes.
  • The legal fight over the 2016 elections expanded further on Friday, as the Democratic National Committee filed a wide-ranging lawsuit against President Donald Trump’s campaign, top aides, one of Mr. Trump’s sons, his son-in-law, the Russian government, and others caught up in the investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 race for the White House. The 66 page lawsuit, filed in the Southern District of New York, where an FBI raid recently took place on the President’s personal lawyer, alleges a broad conspiracy involving Russia, its intelligence service, and members of the Trump inner circle, like former campaign manager Paul Manafort. “No one is above the law,” the lawsuit begins. “In the Trump Campaign, Russia found a willing and active partner in this effort.” DNC lawsuit accuses Trump campaign, Russia of a conspiracy that 'constituted an act of previously unimaginable treachery.' — Steven Portnoy (@stevenportnoy) April 20, 2018 The charges cover everything from racketeering, conspiracy, computer fraud, trespass, and more, claiming the hacking effort was a coordinated effort with the Trump Campaign, designed to damage the bid of Hillary Clinton for the White House. Along with the Russian government and intelligence service known as the GRU, the Democratic lawsuit names Julian Assange and Wikileaks, the Trump Campaign, Donald Trump, Jr., Paul Manafort, Roger Stone, Jared Kushner, and two campaign aides who have already agreed to help the Russia investigation, George Papadopoulos and Richard Gates. The document did not seem to make public any brand new details about how the hacking occurred at the DNC or with members of the Clinton campaign. In the lawsuit, Democrats charge “Russia’s cyberattack on the DNC began only weeks after Trump announced his candidacy for President,” in June 2015. “In April 2016, another set of Russian intelligence agents successfully hacked into the DNC, saying that “massive amounts of data” were taken from DNC servers. The lawsuit makes no mention of the FBI warning to the DNC that it was being hacked, and how that was ignored for weeks by officials at DNC headquarters in Washington. If the lawsuit actually goes forward, it would not only involve evidence being gathered from those being challenged by the Democrats – but some made clear it could open the DNC hacking response to a further review as well in terms of discovery.