July 9 News Briefs

Monday, July 9, 2018

Ethics review sought as Ohio State coaches defend Jordan

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A watchdog group and a former special counsel to President Barack Obama are seeking an ethics review of Rep. Jim Jordan even as former colleagues back his statements that he didn’t know about sexual abuse of wrestlers while coaching at Ohio State University. Some ex-wrestlers say they were groped by team doctor Richard Strauss and that Jordan knew about the alleged abuse when he was an assistant coach. The group Democracy 21 and former White House ethics lawyer Norman Eisen want to know whether the Ohio Republican made false statements about that. The request to the Office of Congressional Ethics says questions of dishonesty can bring discredit to the House in violation of House rules. Jordan is a founder of the conservative Freedom Caucus and potential contender for House speaker.

Pompeo pushes peace talks on surprise trip to Afghanistan

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo reiterated the Trump administration’s calls for peace talks between Afghanistan’s government and the Taliban on an unannounced visit to Kabul. Pompeo made the appeal in meetings with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah on Monday. He said the United States is committed to supporting an Afghan-led peace process under which the Taliban could return to the fold if they renounce terrorism, cut ties to al-Qaida extremists and accept the principles of Afghanistan’s constitution. The Taliban have repeatedly rejected such calls.

Death toll climbs to 76 as heavy rains hammer southern Japan

HIROSHIMA, Japan (AP) — Searches continued Sunday night for victims of heavy rainfall that hammered southern Japan for the third straight day, as the government put the death toll at 48, with 28 others presumed dead. Japanese government spokesman Yoshihide Suga said the whereabouts of 92 other people were unknown, mostly in southern Hiroshima prefecture. More than 100 reports of casualties had been received, such as cars being swept away, he said. Some 40 helicopters were out on rescue missions. The Japan Meteorological Agency said three hours of rainfall in one area in Kochi prefecture reached an accumulated 10.4 inches, the highest since records started in 1976. The assessment of casualties has been difficult because of the widespread area affected by the rainfall, flooding and landslides. Authorities warned that landslides could strike even after rain subsides as the calamity shaped up to be potentially the worst in decades.