Tlaib declines to visit West Bank, citing Israeli conditions

JERUSALEM — Democratic Rep. Rashida Tlaib said Friday she would not visit her grandmother in the occupied West Bank, despite being granted an Israeli permit on humanitarian grounds, saying Israel’s “oppressive” conditions aimed to humiliate her.

Israel barred Tlaib and another Democrat, Rep. Ilhan Omar, from visiting Jerusalem and the West Bank over their support for the international boycott movement following an unprecedented appeal from President Donald Trump to deny them entry.

Israel had said Tlaib could visit relatives in the West Bank on humanitarian grounds. But then the Interior Ministry released a letter purportedly signed by Tlaib in which she promised not to advocate boycotts during her visit. That appears to have led to her decision to cancel the visit.

“Visiting my grandmother under these oppressive conditions meant to humiliate me would break my grandmother’s heart,” she said in a statement. “Silencing me with treatment to make me feel less-than is not what she wants for me — it would kill a piece of me that always stands up against racism and injustice.”

Tlaib and Omar had planned to visit Jerusalem and the Israeli-occupied West Bank next week on a tour organized by a Palestinian group. The two are outspoken critics of Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians and support the Palestinian-led international movement boycotting Israel.

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Medical examiner rules Epstein death a suicide by hanging

NEW YORK — New York City’s medical examiner ruled Jeffrey Epstein’s death a suicide Friday, confirming after nearly a week of speculation that the financier faced with sex trafficking charges hanged himself in his jail cell.

Epstein, 66, was found dead at the Metropolitan Correctional Center on Aug. 10, touching off outrage that such a high-profile prisoner could have gone unwatched at the Manhattan federal lockup where infamous inmates Mexican drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman and Wall Street swindler Bernard Madoff came and went without incident.

Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Barbara Sampson said in a statement that she made the suicide determination “after careful review of all investigative information, including complete autopsy findings.”

Sampson’s announcement came as a Justice Department official told The Associated Press that some prison staffers believed to have relevant information aren’t cooperating with investigators.

Epstein’s lawyers said they were “not satisfied” with Sampson’s conclusions and that they would conduct their own investigation, including seeking to obtain any video of the area around Epstein’s cell from the time leading to his death.

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Hundreds arrive to honor El Paso victim after public invited

EL PASO, Texas — When Jordan Ballard read that one of the victims of the El Paso massacre had few relatives and the public was invited to her funeral, the Los Angeles resident bought a plane ticket and flew to Texas to honor a woman she had never met.

She was one of hundreds of strangers who braved 100-degree (38 Celsius) heat to pay their respects to 63-year-old Margie Reckard. Feeling heartbroken and alone after her death, Reckard’s companion of 22 years, Antonio Basco, had welcomed anyone to attend.

“I arrived here this morning,” said Ballard, 38, who lived in New York City during the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. “His story moved me.”

The service was moved from a funeral home to La Paz Faith Memorial & Spiritual Center to accommodate the crowd. Vocalists and musicians volunteered to help, including a mariachi band. Condolences and orders for flowers poured in.

“He felt like he was going to kind of just be by himself with this whole thing but it’s not so,” Perches Funeral Homes director Harrison Johnson said Thursday of Basco.

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Recession signs worry Trump ahead of 2020

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump is warning of an economic crash if he loses reelection, arguing that even voters who personally dislike him should base their ballots on the nation’s strong growth and low unemployment rate.

But privately, Trump is growing increasingly worried the economy won’t look so good come Election Day.

The financial markets signaled the possibility of a U.S. recession this week, sending a jolt of anxiety to investors, companies and consumers. That’s on top of concerns over Trump’s plans to impose punishing tariffs on goods from China and word from the United Kingdom and Germany that their economies are shrinking.

Though a pre-election recession here is far from certain, a downturn would be a devastating blow to the president, who has made a strong economy his central argument for a second term. Trump advisers fear a weakened economy would hurt him with moderate Republican and independent voters who have been willing to give him a pass on some his incendiary policies and rhetoric. And White House economic advisers see few options for reversing course should the economy start to slip.

Trump has taken to blaming others for the recession fears, mostly the Federal Reserve, which he is pushing for further interest rate cuts. Yet much of the markets’ uncertainty stems from his own escalation of a trade war with China, as well as weakened economies in key countries around the world.

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‘Easy Rider’ star, 1960s swashbuckler Peter Fonda dies at 79

LOS ANGELES — Actor Peter Fonda, the son of a Hollywood legend who became a movie star in his own right after both writing and starring in the counter-culture classic “Easy Rider,” died Friday at his home of complications from lung cancer. He was 79.

“I am very sad,” Jane Fonda said in a statement. “He was my sweet-hearted baby brother. The talker of the family. I have had beautiful alone time with him these last days. He went out laughing.”

Born into Hollywood royalty as Henry Fonda’s only son, Peter Fonda carved his own path with his non-conformist tendencies and earned an Oscar nomination for co-writing the psychedelic road trip movie “Easy Rider.” He would never win that golden statuette, but he would later be nominated for his leading performance as a Vietnam veteran and widowed beekeeper in “Ulee’s Gold.”

Fonda was born in New York in 1940 to parents whose personas were the very opposite of the rebellious images their kids would cultivate. Father Henry Fonda was already a Hollywood giant, known for playing straight-shooting cowboys and soldiers. Mother Frances Ford Seymour was a Canadian-born U.S. socialite.

He was only 10 years old when his mother died. She had a nervous breakdown after learning of her husband’s affair and was confined to a hospital. In 1950, she killed herself. It would be about five years before Peter Fonda learned the truth behind her death.

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Customs and Border Protection outage snarls major airports

DALLAS — Travelers flying into the United States on Friday ran into long lines at major airports nationwide because of a temporary computer outage that affected the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency.

Airports warned travelers — both Americans returning home and foreign visitors — of delays, and some travelers tweeted photos and videos of huge lines.

A CBP spokeswoman said the systems were running again by early evening on the East Coast.

The agency didn’t precisely describe the breakdown, but the spokeswoman said there was “no indication of any nefarious activity.” She said officers were able to access security-related databases and maintain security standards while screening people manually.

Rebekah Tromble, an associate professor at George Washington University, tweeted a video clip in which she panned over the arrival hall at Dulles International Airport in northern Virginia. She estimated there were at least 5,000 people packed into the hall.

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AP Interview: Pelosi assails ‘weakness’ of Trump, Netanyahu

WASHINGTON — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Friday the U.S.-Israel relationship can withstand the “weakness” of President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who shook diplomatic norms this week in barring two members of Congress from visiting the country.

Pelosi told The Associated Press that the “weakness of Netanyahu and the weakness of Donald Trump combined” into a policy that’s “a no.”

“We have a deep relationship and long-standing relationship with Israel that can withstand Donald Trump and Benjamin Netanyahu,” Pelosi said. “We cannot let their weaknesses stand in the way of our ongoing relationship.”

She said the U.S. commitment to Israel isn’t dependent on either leader, a sign there may not be lasting fallout from this week’s incident, particularly in terms of foreign aid, which must be approved by Congress.

In an extraordinary move, Netanyahu, with a push from Trump, barred entry for Democratic Reps. Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and Ilhan Omar of Minnesota ahead of their planned visit. Tlaib was later granted a humanitarian exception to visit her grandmother in the West Bank, but ultimately decided against the trip .

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Court: US can reject asylum along parts of Mexico border

HOUSTON — A federal appeals court on Friday cleared the way for the U.S. government to forbid Central American immigrants from seeking asylum at the two busiest stretches of the southern border in a partial legal victory for the Trump administration.

The ruling from the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals allows President Donald Trump to enforce the policy in New Mexico and Texas, rejecting asylum seekers who cross from Mexico into either state. Under Friday’s ruling, U.S. District Judge Jon Tigar’s July 24 order stopping the policy would apply only in California and Arizona, which are covered by the 9th Circuit.

The two busiest areas for unauthorized border crossings are in South Texas’ Rio Grande Valley and the region around El Paso, Texas, which includes New Mexico. Nearly 50,000 people in July crossed the U.S. border without permission in those two regions, according to the U.S. Border Patrol.

The policy would deny asylum to anyone who passes through another country on the way to the U.S. without seeking protection there. Most crossing the southern border are Central Americans fleeing violence and poverty, who would largely be ineligible. The policy would also apply to people from Africa, Asia, and South America who come to the southern border to request asylum.

If the policy is implemented, ineligible migrants who cross in New Mexico and Texas could be detained and more quickly deported. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security did not immediately respond to a request for comment Friday.

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Arrests precede major demonstrations in Portland, Oregon

PORTLAND, Ore. — Authorities arrested the leader of a right-wing group on the eve of a rally that’s expected to draw people from around the U.S. to Portland, Oregon, on Saturday, prompting Patriot Prayer’s Joey Gibson to urge his followers to “show up one hundred-fold” in response.

Self-described anti-fascists have vowed to confront the right-wing groups at the downtown rally and the arrests of Gibson and five other right-wing supporters appeared to be intended to send a signal from police to organizers to remain peaceful or stay away.

Gibson, who is not involved in this weekend’s event but organized similar rallies in 2017 and 2018 that erupted in clashes, surrendered Friday on an arrest warrant for rioting. He was at a confrontation that broke out on May 1 outside a bar where members of the so-called “antifa” movement had gathered after a May Day demonstration.

In a video he livestreamed on Facebook, Gibson accused the police of playing politics by arresting him and other right-wing members but not the masked demonstrators who beat up conservative blogger Andy Ngo at a June 29 rally.

A video of that attack went viral and led the Proud Boys, who have been designated a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, to organize Saturday’s event.

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US stocks end turbulent week with broad gains

You’re not the only one confused about where the economy is headed. Just look at the stock market, where perplexed investors have been sending stocks on a wild ride in August.

And there could be plenty more where that came from. Two notoriously volatile months for stocks lie just ahead.

Stocks around the world jumped Friday to cap another tumultuous week. Investors have been frantically trying to rejigger their predictions about whether President Donald Trump’s trade war and slowing economies around the world will drag the United States into a recession. In the U.S., the result was a week where the Dow Jones Industrial Average had four days where it rose or fell by more than 300 points — with an 800-point drop thrown into the mix.

On Friday, the S&P 500 rose 1.4%. The Dow climbed 1.2% and the Nasdaq picked up 1.7%. But each index still finished with a third-straight weekly decline.

Stocks, bonds and other investments heaved up and down throughout the week, with worries hitting a crescendo on Wednesday when a fairly reliable warning signal of recession flipped on in the U.S. Treasury market.

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