GRAND RAPIDS, MICH.

Trump shifts on cut

to Great Lakes funding

President Donald Trump announced that he will fully fund the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative after his administration proposed a 90 percent spending cut.

Trump told supporters at a rally in Grand Rapids, Mich., that he will be providing $300 million for the cleanup program, framing the announcement as "breaking news."

Trump's 2020 budget offered just $30 million for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, which receives $300 million most years to remove toxic pollution, prevent algae blooms and species invasions and restore wildlife habitat.

Governors of five states had warned the move would cost jobs, hurt tourism and jeopardize public health.

Trump said he "supports the Great Lakes," noting "they're big" and "very deep."

 

PARIS

1,100 dead dolphins

wash up in France

The dolphins' bodies were horribly mutilated, the fins cut off.

But what shocked French marine researchers wasn't just the brutality of the deaths of these highly intelligent mammals, but the numbers involved — a record 1,100 have landed on France's Atlantic coast beaches since January.

The mass deaths, widely blamed on industrial fishing, have alarmed animal welfare groups and prompted France's ecology minister to launch a national plan to protect them.

La Rochelle University's National Center for Scientific Research said 90 percent of the fatalities resulted from the dolphins being accidentally captured in industrial fishing nets, but the reason behind the spike this year is a mystery.

Activists say it's common for fishermen to cut body parts off the suffocated dolphins after they are pulled up on the nets, to save the nets.

 

CHICAGO

Actor Smollett must pay

$130,000 to cover costs

City officials on Thursday ordered Jussie Smollett to pay $130,000 to cover the cost of the investigation into his report of a street attack that police say was staged to promote his career.

A letter from the city's legal department to Smollett and his attorneys said that figure covers overtime worked by more than two dozen detectives and officers who spent weeks looking into Smollett's claim, including reviewing video and physical evidence and conducting interviews.

Hours earlier, President Donald Trump tweeted that the FBI and the Department of Justice would review the "outrageous" case, calling it an "embarrassment" to the country.

 

NEW YORK

Facebook charged with

housing discrimination

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development charged Facebook with high-tech housing discrimination Thursday for allegedly allowing landlords and real estate brokers to systematically exclude groups such as non-Christians, immigrants and minorities from seeing ads for houses and apartments.

The civil charges could cost the social network millions of dollars in penalties. But more than that, they strike at the heart of Facebook's business model — its vaunted ability to deliver ads with surgical precision to certain groups of people and not others.

In a statement, Facebook expressed surprise over the charges, saying it has been working with HUD to address its concerns.

 

CARACAS, VENEZUELA

Opposition head barred

from office for 15 years

The Venezuelan government on Thursday said it has barred opposition leader Juan Guaido from holding public office for 15 years, though the National Assembly leader brushed off the measure and said it would not derail his campaign to oust President Nicolas Maduro.

The announcement cited alleged irregularities in Guaido's financial records and reflected a tightening of government pressure on an opposition movement backed by the U.S. and its allies.

 

LONDON

UK leader tries again

to tweak Brexit deal

British Prime Minister Theresa May rolled the dice Thursday on another Brexit vote in Parliament, sending a tweaked and trimmed version of her European Union divorce deal back to lawmakers who had rejected it twice before.

But the agreement faced substantial opposition, even after May sacrificed her job for her deal, promising to quit if lawmakers approved the deal and let Britain leave the EU on schedule in May.

Parliament was to vote on it Friday.

 

WISCONSIN

Winning $768 million

Powerball ticket sold

A $768.4 million Powerball jackpot — the third-largest in U.S. lottery history — has been won in Wisconsin.

A single ticket matched all six numbers — 16, 20, 37, 44, 62, plus Powerball 12 — in Wednesday night's drawing, lottery officials said. 

 

Beacon Journal/

Ohio.com wires