HOUSTON (AP) — The Latest on the confrontation on an American Airlines flight (all times local):
A passenger on an American Airlines flight says a flight attendant who has since been grounded nearly hit a baby when he jerked a stroller away from a woman holding the child.
Olivia Morgan, an executive with an education-related nonprofit, tells the New York Times (http://nyti.ms/2pQ17V5 ) that she witnessed the episode take place before a Friday afternoon flight from San Francisco to Dallas.
Morgan says when she complained about the woman’s treatment, the flight attendant pointed his finger in her face and yelled, “You stay out of it.”
A video of the incident posted on Facebook shows the sobbing woman holding a small child and saying, “You can’t use violence with a baby.” A male passenger later got in a verbal confrontation with the flight attendant.
American Airlines says it has grounded a flight attendant who got into a verbal confrontation with a passenger after the flight attendant took a baby stroller away from another passenger.
Spokeswoman Leslie Scott says the airline is looking into whether the male flight attendant violently took away the stroller from the female passenger just before she boarded a Friday flight from San Francisco to Dallas. He has been removed from duty in the meantime.
A video taken by a passenger and posted on Facebook shows the sobbing woman holding a small child and saying, “You can’t use violence with baby.”
Later, an unidentified male passenger confronts the flight attendant, telling him, “You do that to me and I’ll knock you flat.” The flight attendant responds with “Hit me. Bring it on.”
The incident comes less than two weeks after video of a man being violently dragged off a United Express flight sparked widespread outrage.
PARIS (AP) — A man with a knife has been arrested by police at Paris’ Gare du Nord station, sending a brief ripple of concern over social media a day before the French presidential vote. No one was injured.
A French police official told The Associated Press that a man carrying a knife walked into the station and was flagged to police, who arrested him immediately. Video online shows heavily armed police surrounding a prone man as travelers hurried past.
The official spoke on condition of anonymity because she was not authorized to speak publicly.
The Gare de Nord is one of the French capital’s top transit hubs, serving the city’s metro, suburban trains as well as intercity and high-speed trains like the Eurostar from London.
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — In a story April 22 about entrepreneurs from the Middle East, in a section about one Saudi woman who stands out, The Associated Press misspelled her name. She is Manar Alomayri, not Manal Dhod.
A corrected version of the story is below:
A mobile app to track school buses, Arabic cooking videos on YouTube and even a portable bidet are finding support from governments in the Gulf as a slide in oil prices forces states to cull cushy public sector jobs and look to entrepreneurs to plug the gap.
Recent $1 billion valuations of local start-ups Careem, a ride-hailing app, and retailer Souq.com, which was acquired by Amazon in March, have raised interest in the region’s budding entrepreneurship scene. Both companies are headquartered in Dubai, an emirate with futuristic skyscrapers that is working to harness the power of the region’s majority young population with a minister of state for youth affairs who is a mere 22 years old.
Across the Arabian Peninsula, governments — hit hard by a sharp decline in oil prices since 2014 — are competing to attract and keep local entrepreneurs who might provide the region’s next “unicorn,” the industry term for startups that reach a valuation of a billion dollars.
Khaled Talhouni, the managing partner at venture capitalist firm Wamda Capital, says the negative headlines out of the Middle East have tended to overshadow the good, including the growing entrepreneurial spirit.
“There is a huge upswell of entrepreneurial activity happening on the ground, as evidenced by the recent acquisition of Souq by Amazon. And there are hundreds of companies beneath them, following them,” he said.
The Middle East is no Silicon Valley, though. For starters, Talhouni says that unlike the vast single market of the U.S., local entrepreneurs have to grapple with various customs regulations, laws, consumer preferences and norms across nearly two dozen different Arabic-speaking countries to reach the full Middle Eastern market.
Many of the tech startups are finding success by localizing ideas successfully started abroad, from Amazon to Uber.
YallaParking, for example, helps people find and rent parking spots.
“I think it is getting very competitive. What we tend to see, and people that we know, they’re bringing ideas from other places that are not necessarily here yet,” said co-founder and CEO Craig McDonald, a Scottish national who grew up in Dubai. “For example YallaParking: there are big companies around the world that do what we do, but no one was doing it here.”
Local government support for startups has mostly sprung out of a need to create jobs.
According to the World Economic Forum, the Middle East and North Africa needs to create 75 million jobs by 2020 just to keep employment close to current levels. Failing to do so could lead to slow economic growth and the kind of social unrest brought on by the Arab Spring protests of 2011.
“Unfortunately, the governments in general just recognized the importance of the entrepreneurship ecosystem,” said Mohamed al-Ruwais, a partner at STC Ventures, a venture capital fund whose anchor investor is the Saudi Telecom Company.
The kings and ruling sheikhs of the Gulf have so far ridden out the Arab Spring, but demographics and time are forcing governments to look to the private sector where creative startups and savvy entrepreneurs can provide an economic lifeline to future stability.
In one of the starkest examples of this region-wide push, Saudi Arabia’s powerful young defense minister and second-in-line to the throne, Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, is launching a university named after him this fall, in partnership with Massachusetts’ Babson College, focused on business and entrepreneurship training.
In Saudi Arabia, the Middle East’s biggest economy, half of the population is under 25 and around 70 percent is under 35, representing a rapidly-growing labor force.
The kingdom has launched a plan, called Vision 2030, with goals to shore up its foreign reserves and reform the economy for a new generation of tech-savvy youth. The plan specifically calls for encouraging innovation and improving regulation.
Despite efforts to lower unemployment from 11.6 percent today to 7 percent by 2030, unemployment has actually risen to 12.3 percent this year.
Saudi Prince Saud bin Khalid al-Faisal, who heads the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority, says part of the reason why the kingdom sponsors the largest scholarship program on earth, with more than 200,000 students studying across the globe, is to give them a good education and expose them to different ideas.
“We also would like them to get bitten by the entrepreneurship bug, basically, so they can come back and start doing their own thing,” he said.
In the kingdom, where Saudi females represent only about 10 percent of the labor force, Manar Alomayri stands out as a female entrepreneur. She quit a good-paying job in the private sector to found Dhad Audio, an Arabic audio book publisher.
“Instead of waiting for someone to bring a solution for me, I decided to be the change, to bring about a change,” she said.
A Saudi government initiative funded her trip to Dubai and her booth at the recent Step Conference for entrepreneurs in Dubai. Another Saudi startup showcasing at the conference, also backed by this initiative, centers on an innovative design for a squirt bottle that functions as a portable and compact bidet for Muslim travelers.
Despite government efforts, the region still lacks a strong regulatory framework and enough accessible early-stage financing for many small businesses to succeed.
Alia Adi, a Syrian entrepreneur with a successful YouTube Arabic cooking network called Basmaty, says a Dubai government-backed initiative to assist startups, called In5, helped her save thousands of dollars on business licensing fees and work visas for employees. But she still faces a key challenge to expanding her business.
“There’s a lot of creativity. I don’t think we are lacking in that sector, but there’s definitely difficulties in terms of finding funding here in the Middle East,” she said.
Talhouni, of Wamda Capital, says the power of entrepreneurship is that it allows individuals to take control of their lives and economic future. That’s particularly relevant in the Gulf countries where, traditionally, the public sector is the preferred choice of work for locals.
“They are not beholden to the state, to anyone,” Talhouni says. “And that’s a very powerful movement that’s emerging in the Arab world.”
Associated Press writer Maggie Hyde contributed to this report.
Follow Aya Batrawy on Twitter at www.twitter.com/ayaelb
SOUTH BURLINGTON, Vt. (AP) — Authorities have arrested an 18-year-old Vermont student and charged him with making repeated death threats to students and staff at his school, causing three lockdowns and a cancellation of classes.
Josiah Leach, a student at South Burlington High School, was arrested Friday night at his home by the FBI and local police. He’s charged with transmitting threatening communications in interstate commerce.
Authorities say the threats were received this Tuesday through Friday by email, telephone and on Facebook. An FBI agent assigned to the cyber squad worked with local officials to track the messages, including one in a video on Facebook.
Leach is being held pending an appearance in federal court on Monday. It wasn’t immediately known if he’s represented by a lawyer who can comment on the charges.
As one of best defensive players of his generation, Gary Payton knows what it takes to thrive on that end of the floor.
In one of the tightest races for defensive player of the year in quite some time, the nine-time All-Star told The Associated Press that he is leaning toward Golden State’s Draymond Green ever so slightly over San Antonio’s Kawhi Leonard.
“I would rather both of them win. But I think Draymond has done a great job of helping Golden State endure the changes that they’ve had,” said Payton, who does not have an official vote. “He’s been stepping up and making a lot of big plays. Not that Kawhi hasn’t been doing that, but I think Draymond really deserves to win defensive player of the year.”
The winner will not be announced until the NBA’s first awards show after the Finals. But Green, Leonard and Utah’s Rudy Gobert are the three main candidates. Green and Leonard will both be in action during the playoffs on Saturday, with the Warriors trying to take a 3-0 lead over the Portland Trail Blazers and Leonard’s Spurs hoping to bounce back from a Game 3 loss in Memphis on Thursday night.
Payton grew up in Oakland, the city that Green calls home with the Warriors. The outspoken stars also host an internet trash talking show, but Payton said he would never play favorites when making his decision.
He lauded Leonard, the two-time defending winner.
“He guards all the best players,” Payton said. “He can hawk the ball. He’s so long, that he can steal the ball from you one-on-one up top and makes the player he’s defending get rid of the ball.”
But he said Green gets the slight edge because his performance has also helped Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson become better defenders.
“He changed the Golden State tone this year,” Payton said. “He’s a bigger presence on his team and he deserves it.”
Here’s a look at Saturday’s games:
Spurs at Grizzlies, San Antonio leads 2-1. Game 4, 8 p.m., ESPN.
NEED TO KNOW: Spurs coach Gregg Popovich used an ugly start to the third quarter of Game 3 as a teachable moment, pulling his starters when they gave up the first five points of the second half. Asked if Popovich was sending a message saying he was disappointed after the loss, Danny Green said he can only sometimes know what the coach is thinking. “He’s good at what he does, and he gets the best out of us,” Green said. “It might be. I don’t know.”
KEEP AN EYE ON: Turnovers. The Spurs have turned it over 24 times since halftime of Game 2, including 12 in losing Game 3. Memphis turned those mistakes into 13 points while taking very good care of the ball. The Grizzlies had only two of their five turnovers through the first three quarters.
INJURY UPDATE: Grizzlies defensive star Tony Allen was out of his walking boot on Friday, but still remains out indefinitely with a strained right calf.
PRESSURE IS ON: The Grizzlies. Even after a convincing win in Game 3 to get back in the series, losing at home in Game 4 would put them right on the brink of elimination going back to San Antonio. Win, and the pressure shifts squarely to the No. 2 seed in the West.
Raptors at Bucks, Milwaukee leads 2-1. Game 4, 3 p.m., TNT.
NEED TO KNOW: The young Bucks went into the series playing the “chip on shoulder” card against the more experienced Raptors. They’ve flipped the script after dismantling Toronto in Game 3. The performance should feed another eager crowd in Game 4. Now the Raptors look like the underdogs in the series.
KEEP AN EYE ON: Bucks movement away from ball. Milwaukee had 29 assists on 39 field goals, in part due to the extra defensive attention drawn by a href=’https://apnews.com/823d845d717d46c598f7b9bcf265ed80/Bucks’-Giannis-picking-up-the-point-from-NBA-great-Kidd’Giannis Antetokounmpo/a. That opened up more room to move the ball to open shooters on the perimeter and cutters going to the basket. Khris Middleton’s hot start from the field also helped spread the floor.
INJURY UPDATE: None of note.
PRESSURE IS ON: DeMar DeRozan. The Raptors star was held to eight points and missed all eight shots from the field in Game 3. The chances of that happening again seem slim, but DeRozan and backcourt mate Kyle Lowry have to produce to avoid a 3-1 hole heading back to Toronto.
Wizards at Hawks, Washington leads 2-0. Game 3, 5:30 p.m., TNT.
NEED TO KNOW: The bad blood between these two teams has been evident from the start. John Wall has made no secret that he wasn’t happy with Hawks point guard Dennis Schroder’s crowing after the Hawks eliminated the Wizards two years ago, and Wall has excelled so far. He has averaged 32 points and 11.5 assists and snarled at Schroder after a breakaway dunk . Schroder likes to yap as much as the next guy, but Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer wants his mercurial point guard to stay away from the trash talk.
KEEP AN EYE ON: Turnovers. Atlanta is throwing away too many possessions by being sloppy with the ball. The Hawks gave up the ball 19 times in Game 1, followed by 18 turnovers in Game 2. They can’t surrender that many possessions if they’re going to have any chance of turning this series around.
INJURY UPDATE: Wizards center Ian Mahinmi is out for at least the next two games with a strained left calf.
PRESSURE IS ON: Dwight Howard. The Hawks center has taken only 11 shots in two games and is averaging 6.5 points, 10.5 rebounds and 24.5 minutes, a far cry from his career postseason averages of 19.1 points, 14.1 rebounds and 37.7 rebounds entering these playoffs. He was clearly frustrated at being stuck on the bench for much of the fourth quarter in Game 2.
Warriors at Trail Blazers. Golden State leads 2-0. Game 3, 10:30 p.m., ESPN.
NEED TO KNOW: Kevin Durant’s a href=’https://apnews.com/3079a1857caf4895af7a00b351635d02/Kevin-Durant-still-questionable-for-playoff-Game-3-Saturday’status for the game/a is questionable, even though he posted a video to his YouTube channel on Thursday night saying he’s hopeful he can play. Steve Kerr added intrigue to the situation when suggested that being up 2-0 “could” impact his decision to play Durant. “If he’s ready to play, he’s going to play,” Kerr said. “But if there’s any question, then we won’t play him. We’ve got to get him healthy. As for Portland, big man a href=’https://apnews.com/4aee866aa48c44a0b0126b7f61d95c85/Blazers-big-man-Nurkic-upgraded-to-‘doubtful’-for-Game-3’Jusuf Nukic/a was upgraded to “doubtful” for Game 3, which means he’s still unlikely to play.
KEEP AN EYE ON: Warriors reserve JaVale McGee. He picked up the slack with Durant and Shaun Livingston out, coming off the bench to score 15 points in Game 2. Look for the Warriors to turn to the big man again, especially with Nurkic out and the Blazers going small.
INJURY UPDATE: In addition to Durant, Matt Barnes (right ankle/foot sprain), and Shaun Livingston (right index finger sprain) are questionable for the Warriors.
PRESSURE IS ON: The Blazers as a group to pull out at least a face-saving victory at home. They’re still the underdogs by far, but will the Rip City faithful at Moda Center help close the series gap? “It’s not like we’re down 3-0,” Damian Lillard said Friday. “We got an opportunity to take care of our home floor and tomorrow will be the start.”
AP Sports Writers Teresa M. Walker in Memphis, Genaro Armas in Milwaukee, Janie McCauley in Oakland, Anne M. Peterson in Portland, Howard Fendrich in Washington and Paul Newberry in Atlanta contributed to this report.
This story has been corrected to show that the Wizards are playing at the Hawks.
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump waded into France’s upcoming elections Friday, saying he believes an attack on police officers this week will help Marine Le Pen, the far-right presidential candidate.
In an interview with The Associated Press, Trump said that while he is not explicitly endorsing Le Pen, the attack played to her strengths.
“She’s the strongest on borders, and she’s the strongest on what’s been going on in France,” Trump said in the Oval Office interview. “Whoever is the toughest on radical Islamic terrorism, and whoever is the toughest at the borders, will do well in the election.”
U.S. presidents typically avoid weighing in on specific candidates running in overseas election. But Trump suggested his opinion was no different from an average observer, saying, “Everybody is making predictions on who is going to win. I’m no different than you.”
Sunday’s vote is the first round in the French elections, with the top two candidates advancing to a winner-takes-all runoff on May 7. The high-stakes contest is viewed as something of a vote on the future of the European Union, with Le Pen calling for a referendum on France’s membership in the bloc.
Le Pen has also echoed some of Trump’s hard-line rhetoric on immigration, calling for hardening French borders to stanch what she describes as an out-of-control flow of immigrants.
She has spoken of radical Muslims trying to supplant France’s Judeo-Christian heritage and, among other measures, has called for foreigners suspected of extremism to be expelled from the country.
Le Pen, a 48-year-old mother of three, has distanced herself from her father, National Front party founder Jean-Marie Le Pen, who has been convicted of crimes related to anti-Semitism and mocked the Holocaust as a “detail” of history.
Nevertheless, earlier this month she denied the French state was responsible for the roundup of Jews during World War II, drawing condemnation from other presidential candidates and Israel’s Foreign Ministry. And her inner circle still includes old friends from her student days in Paris who were members of a radical group known for violence and anti-Semitism.
Former President Barack Obama has also gotten involved in France’s election, offering centrist candidate Emmanuel Macron his best wishes in a phone call Thursday, though he, too, stopped short of a full endorsement.
Macron’s team released a video recording of the call, a highly unusual move as conversations among different countries’ politicians are usually kept private.
A victory for Macron would be a vote of confidence in France staying in the EU. Obama, when he was in office, encouraged Britain not to leave, though it ultimately voted to do so anyway.
Trump backed Britain’s decision to exit from the EU and has also predicted that other countries would make similar decisions. Yet during a White House news conference Thursday, the president said he believed in a strong Europe.
“A strong Europe is very, very important to me as president of the United States,” he said.
Follow Julie Pace at http://twitter.com/jpaceDC