GOP blocks bill to keep government going; new try ahead

WASHINGTON (AP) — Republican senators blocked a bill Monday night to keep the government operating and allow federal borrowing, but Democrats aiming to avert a shutdown pledged to try again — at the same time pressing ahead on President Joe Biden’s big plans to reshape government. The efforts are not necessarily linked, but the fiscal yearend deadline to fund the government past Thursday is bumping up against the Democrats’ desire to make progress on Biden’s expansive $3.5 trillion federal overhaul. It’s all making for a tumultuous moment for Biden and his party, with consequences certain to shape his presidency and the lawmakers' own political futures.

R&B superstar R. Kelly convicted in sex trafficking trial

NEW YORK (AP) — R. Kelly, the R&B superstar known for his anthem “I Believe I Can Fly,” was convicted Monday in a sex trafficking trial after decades of avoiding criminal responsibility for numerous allegations of misconduct with young women and children. A jury of seven men and five women found Kelly, 54, guilty of all nine counts, including racketeering, on their second day of deliberations. Kelly wore a face mask below black-rimmed glasses, remaining motionless with eyes downcast, as the verdict was read in federal court in Brooklyn. Prosecutors alleged that the entourage of managers and aides who helped Kelly meet girls — and keep them obedient and quiet — amounted to a criminal enterprise.

Biden rule to shield 'Dreamers' seeks to bypass Congress

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Biden administration on Monday renewed efforts to shield hundreds of thousands of immigrants who came to the United States as young children from deportation, the latest maneuver in a long-running drama over the policy’s legality. The administration proposed a rule that attempts to satisfy concerns of a federal judge in Houston who ruled in July that the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program was illegal, largely because the Obama administration bypassed procedural requirements when it took effect in 2012. The new rule mirrors the Obama-era initiative, recreating the 2012 policy and seeking to put it on firmer ground by going through the federal regulatory process.

Hospitals fear staffing shortages as vaccine deadlines loom

Hospitals and nursing homes around the U.S. are bracing for worsening staff shortages as state deadlines arrive for health care workers to get vaccinated against COVID-19. With ultimatums taking effect this week in states like New York, California, Rhode Island and Connecticut, the fear is that some employees will quit or let themselves be fired or suspended rather than get the vaccine. “How this is going to play out, we don’t know. We are concerned about how it will exacerbate an already quite serious staffing problem,” said California Hospital Association spokesperson Jan Emerson-Shea, adding that the organization “absolutely” supports the state's vaccination requirement.

North Korea fires short-range missile to sea in latest test

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — North Korea fired a short-range missile into the sea early Tuesday, its neighboring countries said, in the latest weapon tests by North Korea that has raised questions about the sincerity of its recent offer for talks with South Korea. In an emergency National Security Council meeting, the South Korean government expressed regret over what it called “a short-range missile launch” by the North. South Korea’s military earlier said the object fired from North Korea’s mountainous northern Jagang province flew toward the waters off the North’s eastern coast. The U.S. Indo-Pacific Command said in a statement the launch doesn’t pose an immediate threat to U.S.

EXPLAINER: What's behind all the drama in Congress?

WASHINGTON (AP) — The drama and deadlines driving action on Capitol Hill right now can be disorienting. Democrats are trying to pass more than $4 trillion in infrastructure and social programs at the center of President Joe Biden’s agenda — and at the same time avert a government shutdown and prevent a federal default that could send financial markets crashing. “The next few days will be a time of intensity,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi wrote in a letter to colleagues over the weekend. That might be an understatement. Adding to the challenges for Democrats are their thin advantages in both chambers, the end of the fiscal year and intraparty disagreements over the size and scope of Biden's signature social spending and climate legislation.

Japan's next PM must work quickly on virus, economy, China

TOKYO (AP) — The stakes are high as Japanese governing party members vote Wednesday for four candidates seeking to replace Yoshihide Suga as prime minister. The next leader must address a pandemic-battered economy, a newly empowered military operating in a dangerous neighborhood, crucial ties with an inward-focused ally, Washington, and tense security standoffs with an emboldened China and its ally North Korea. For the long-governing Liberal Democratic Party that often chooses its leaders in backroom negotiations, this election promises to be wide open. Because of the party's control of parliament, its leader will become prime minister. Whoever wins, the party desperately needs new ideas to quickly turn around plunging public support ahead of lower house elections coming within two months, observers say.

China: 2 Canadians in prisoner swap freed for health reasons

TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) — China’s Foreign Ministry said Monday that two Canadians detained in late 2019 who were allowed to return to Canada in a prisoner swap were released on bail for health reasons. A ministry spokesperson made the comment as Beijing sought to downplay the connection between their release and the return to China of a long-detained executive of Huawei Technologies. Canadians Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig were detained in December 2019, days after Huawei’s chief financial officer, Meng Wanzhou, was arrested in Canada at the request of U.S. authorities. Many countries labeled China’s action “hostage politics,” while China accused Canada of arbitrary detention.

Lower death rates for Black moms is goal of California bill

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California has among the lowest death rates nationally among pregnant women and new mothers, but the numbers for Black mothers tell a different story. They were six times more likely to die within a year of pregnancy than white women from 2014 to 2016 and had a higher rate of death than Black women nationally from 2014 to 2017, the most recent time frame for which data is available. A bill before Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom aims to change that. Nicknamed the “Momnibus" bill, it would collect more details about pregnancy-related deaths, diversify the experts looking at that data and require them to recommend ways to reduce racial gaps.

Prescott, Cowboys beat Eagles in 1st home game since injury

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Dak Prescott ran toward the tunnel, raising his arms to the fans and tossing them souvenirs after the Dallas Cowboys manhandled the Philadelphia Eagles in prime time. The scene was a stark contrast to almost a year earlier, when the star quarterback was in tears as he rode on a cart through the same spot after the gruesome ankle injury that ended his season. Prescott threw for three touchdowns in his first home game since the injury, Trevon Diggs returned an interception 59 yards for a score and the Cowboys beat the Eagles 41-21 on Monday night.