AP News in Brief at 9:04 p.m. EST


Trump refuses to debate; calls Fox’s Kelly ‘a lightweight’

MARSHALLTOWN, Iowa (AP) — Republican Donald Trump on Tuesday bowed out of the final Republican presidential debate before the leadoff Iowa caucuses, saying Fox News moderator Megyn Kelly is “a lightweight.”

With 48 hours to go before the faceoff, campaign manager Corey Lewandowski confirmed Trump’s decision Tuesday evening after a press conference in which Trump lashed out at Kelly and said she’d been “toying” with him.

“He will not be participating in the Fox News debate Thursday,” Lewandowski said immediately after the press conference.

Trump, who called his decision “pretty close to irrevocable” in the press conference, said he’d hold an Iowa event at the same time as the debate to raise money for wounded veterans. Iowa hosts the nation’s opening presidential primary contest on Monday.

“With me, they’re dealing with somebody that’s a little bit different. They can’t toy with me like they toy with everybody else,” he said. “Let them have their debate and let’s see how they do with the ratings.”

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The Latest: Cruz challenge Trump to debate ‘mano y mano’

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Here are the latest developments from the 2016 race for president, one week out from the Iowa caucuses. All times local.

7:50 p.m.

Sen. Ted Cruz is challenging Donald Trump to a one-on-one debate, saying he and the billionaire can go at it “mano y mano” if they can’t agree on a moderator.

Trump’s campaign announced Tuesday that he’s skipping the last scheduled debate with leading Republican candidates before the Iowa caucuses. Trump has criticized host Fox News and scheduled moderate Megyn Kelly in particular for what he calls “playing games.”

At a campaign stop Tuesday in Fairfield, Iowa, Cruz accused Trump of being afraid of mean questions from Kelly and said skipping the debate was tantamount to refusing to be interviewed for a job.

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Health minister: Brazil is ‘losing battle’ against mosquito

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Brazil’s health minister says the country is sending some 220,000 troops to battle the mosquito blamed for spreading a virus suspected of causing birth defects — but he also says the war is already being lost.

Marcelo Castro said that nearly 220,000 members of Brazil’s Armed Forces would go door-to-door to help in mosquito eradication efforts ahead of the country’s Carnival celebrations. Agency spokesman Nivaldo Coelho said Tuesday details of the deployment are still being worked out.

Castro also said the government would distribute mosquito repellent to some 400,000 pregnant women who receive cash-transfer benefits.

But the minister also said the country has failed in efforts against the Aedes aegypti mosquito that transmits Zika, dengue, chikungunya and yellow fever.

“The mosquito has been here in Brazil for three decades, and we are badly losing the battle against the mosquito,” the ministers told reporters as a crisis group on Zika was meeting in the capital, Brasilia.

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Creator of covert Planned Parenthood videos in the spotlight

David Daleiden became an anti-abortion activist back in high school in Davis, California, learning tactics from his elders and helping mobilize his peers. In college, he co-wrote an article with a professor depicting self-doubt among some abortion providers.

Now, as he turns 27, Daleiden has established himself as one of the most polarizing figures in America’s ever-heated abortion debate.

The anti-abortion movement views him as a hero for producing a series of undercover videos that seek to implicate Planned Parenthood in illegalities related to the handling of fetal tissue. Many abortion rights supporters see him as a villain, contending that he used deceptive and illegal tactics to infiltrate locations where the videos were made.

Both the praise and the invective intensified after Monday’s announcement in Houston that a grand jury had indicted Daleiden and one of his colleagues, Sandra Merritt, on a felony charge for using fake driver’s licenses to gain access to a Planned Parenthood facility in Texas. Daleiden was also indicted on a misdemeanor count related to purchasing human organs; Planned Parenthood says it turned down an “astronomical amount” offered by Daleiden to procure fetal organs.

Daleiden issued a statement saying his group — the Center for Medical Progress — “uses the same undercover techniques” as investigative journalists and follows all applicable laws.

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The Latest: Virginia resident tests positive for Zika virus

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — The latest on the fight against the Zika virus that health officials suspect is linked to a wave of birth defects in Brazil. (All times local):

6:30 p.m.

Health officials say a Virginia resident who traveled outside the United States has tested positive for Zika, a mosquito-transmitted virus.

Health Commissioner Dr. Marissa Levine says the resident traveled to a country where the Zika virus transmission is ongoing. She says this person poses no risk to other residents, because it is not mosquito season in Virginia.

Health officials suspect Zika is linked to a wave of birth defects in Brazil in which babies have small heads. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is recommending that pregnant women consider postponing trips to countries and areas in the Caribbean and South America where there are Zika virus disease outbreaks.

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Hopes of a turnaround in Flint jeopardized by water crisis

FLINT, Mich. (AP) — In a city long stereotyped for despair, some began seeing reasons for hope: A smattering of just-opened restaurants, students filling new college classrooms, fields of green growing where abandoned houses had stood.

The red-brick streets of downtown Flint became lined with once-unlikely businesses like a crepe shop and wine bar, and nearby, hundreds did the previously unthinkable, moving into new apartments at the city’s core.

A sprawling new farmers market began drawing hundreds of thousands for everything from mango ginger stilton at a cheese shop to thick, fresh-cut pork loins at a butcher. New programs lured students from around the globe to the city’s campuses, an ice-skating rink opened, the planetarium got a state-of-the-art upgrade and performances such as “Blue Man Group” put Flint on their schedule.

Even some signs of blight were beginning to fall, with hundreds of abandoned homes cleared away.

“It felt different,” said Kimberly Roberson, a Flint native who directs grant-making in the city for the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, “until we hit lead.”

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Escaped inmate was ordered deported to Vietnam in 1998

SANTA ANA, Calif. (AP) — One of three fugitive inmates who escaped from a California jail last week was ordered deported to Vietnam in 1998 but has been in this country racking up a lengthy rap sheet, immigration officials said Tuesday.

Bac Duong, 43, came to the United States legally in 1991 but was ordered removed seven years later, Immigration and Customs Enforcement said in a statement.

The order came shortly after he served time in state prison on a 1997 burglary conviction, state records show.

The case is one of thousands involving immigrants convicted of crimes who federal authorities want to deport but haven’t been able to because their native countries wouldn’t take them back.

In 2012, ex-convict Binh Thai Luc was charged with killing five people in San Francisco after Vietnam didn’t issue the travel documents needed to repatriate him.

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After setting iPhone record, Apple forecasts rare sales drop

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Apple is bracing for its first sales decline in 13 years, despite selling a record 74.8 million iPhones in the final three months of 2015, in what may prove to be a turning point for the world’s most valuable company.

The tech giant says revenue could fall at least 8.6 percent during the January-March quarter, compared with a year earlier. Analysts say the latest iPhone models aren’t providing the boost Apple needs to match the massive sales growth it enjoyed last year.

Apple executives painted the downturn as a momentary hiccup. But they also acknowledged the company is working to broaden its business beyond the iPhone itself, which in recent years has provided the bulk of Apple’s revenue.

“We have become more and more of a platform company,” Chief Financial Officer Luca Maestri told The Associated Press. He said Apple has a large base of customers — with 1 billion Apple devices now in active use — who can be relied on to purchase new Apple gadgets, mobile apps and services like Apple Music.

Reporting on its financial performance in the December quarter, Apple said it managed to inch past its previous record, established when it sold 74.5 million iPhones in the holiday quarter of 2014. But Tuesday’s forecast implies Apple doesn’t expect to match the 61 million iPhones sold in last year’s January-March quarter.

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Abe Vigoda, sad-eyed character actor, dead at 94

NEW YORK (AP) — Character actor Abe Vigoda, whose leathery, sad-eyed face made him ideal for playing the over-the-hill detective Phil Fish in the 1970s TV series “Barney Miller” and the doomed Mafia soldier in “The Godfather,” died Tuesday at age 94.

Vigoda’s daughter, Carol Vigoda Fuchs, told The Associated Press that Vigoda died Tuesday morning in his sleep at Fuchs’ home in Woodland Park, New Jersey. The cause of death was old age. “This man was never sick,” Fuchs said.

His death brought to an end years of questions on whether he was still alive — sparked by a false report of his death more than three decades ago. Though Vigoda took it in stride, the question of whether he was dead or alive became something of a running joke: There was even a website devoted to answering the much-Googled question, “Is Abe Vigoda dead?” (On Tuesday, it had been updated with “Yes,” with the date of his death.)

Vigoda worked in relative obscurity as a supporting actor in the New York theater and in television until Francis Ford Coppola cast him in the 1972 Oscar-winning “The Godfather.”

Vigoda played Sal Tessio, an old friend of Vito Corleone’s (Marlon Brando) who hopes to take over the family after Vito’s death by killing his son Michael Corleone (Al Pacino). But Michael anticipates that Sal’s suggestion for a “peace summit” among crime families is a setup and the escorts Sal thought were taking him to the meeting turn out to be his executioners.

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AP Exclusive: Medics beat blizzard to make transplant happen

STONY BROOK, N.Y. (AP) — Melanie Chirichella had been waiting a year and a half for a kidney transplant when she finally got the call from her doctors Saturday that they had found a perfect match in South Carolina.

“It was like a miracle,” the 64-year-old told The Associated Press. “When she called and said, ‘We have a kidney for you,’ I almost fell off the bed.”

But there was a problem: A blizzard was raging up and down the East Coast. The medical team would have to beat the elements and the clock to make sure the transplant surgery happened while the organ, taken from a brain-dead patient on Friday morning, was still usable.

In the end, Chirichella got her new kidney, but it required a combination of daring and improvisation, maybe even a little recklessness. And more than once, it looked as if she and the organ might not even make it to the operating room.

At first, emergency crews told her there would be no way an ambulance could navigate through whiteout conditions to bring Chirichella the nearly 20 miles from her home in Bohemia, New York, to Stony Brook University Hospital on Long Island.

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