CHICAGO (AP) — Four congressional staffers have told the U.S. House that they’ve been subpoenaed by the federal court in Springfield, Illinois, where a grand jury is conducting a probe into the spending of former U.S. Rep. Aaron Schock.
The financial chief for the House, Traci Beaubian, and three other staff members wrote letters notifying the chamber about the subpoenas that were read on the House floor Monday, the Chicago Tribune reported (http://trib.in/22qmdVq ) based on House records noting the letters were received and video of the letters being read. The letters did not mention the subject of the subpoenas.
Schock, the one-time rising GOP star from Peoria, came under intense scrutiny in early 2015 for his spending, including redecorating his office in the style of TV’s “Downton Abbey.” He left office in March 2015 amid questions about congressional and campaign spending.
He has since been issued at least two grand jury subpoenas seeking campaign and congressional records. FBI agents also have removed boxes and other items from his central Illinois campaign office.
Among media reports of irregularities were Associated Press investigations into real estate deals, air travel and entertainment, including trips and events he documented on social media accounts.
Information from: Chicago Tribune, http://www.chicagotribune.com
LISBON, Portugal (AP) — Portugal’s public prosecutor has filed charges that could bring a prison sentence of more than 10 years against a policeman who beat a middle-aged football fan in front of his two young sons, with the video of the incident causing a national scandal.
The prosecutor’s office said evidence suggests the officer used excessive force in May 2015 when he punched Jose Magalhaes, then 42, twice in the face and hit him repeatedly with a truncheon outside the Guimaraes stadium in northern Portugal. Magalhaes was accompanied by his children aged 9 and 13, with the youngest son screaming at officers to stop.
The prosecutor’s office said on its website late Monday that the policeman is also accused of lying in his official report of the incident to justify his conduct.
Magalhaes said police had allowed him and his sons to leave the stadium because the children were being crushed as Benfica fans inside celebrated a result that clinched the Portuguese league title.
Dramatic video footage, played widely on Portuguese TV and social media, showed the Magalhaes family by a low wall outside the stadium as the policeman said something inaudible to the father, then hit him and pushed him to the ground.
The policeman is being charged with assault, giving a misleading statement, and malfeasance and denial of justice. A court could opt for a fine or a prison sentence.
No trial date has been set.
LOS ANGELES (AP) — When a man barricaded himself in a garage after a stolen-car chase in an upscale Los Angeles neighborhood Monday, a Twitter executive who lives on the street live-tweeted the scene.
“GUYS I PICKED A REALLY BAD NIGHT TO FLY BACK FROM AFRICA AND TAKE AN AMBIEN BEFORE BED,” wrote Nathan C. Hubbard, who oversees global media and commerce at Twitter.
The pursuit started about 2 a.m. Monday and ended soon when the car crashed into a parked car and the driver got out, fired shots and ran into the garage. No one was injured, and police were able to remove the residents from the home during the barricade situation.
Hubbard sent more than a dozen tweets about the scene through its conclusion six hours later.
The first said: “Full on helicopter chase and multiple gunshots in the alley behind my house in Pacific Palisades. Police all over the scene.”
He also broadcast parts of the scene with the Periscope app, including the raid of the garage where police ripped the door down.
At one point, his video showed a man running in front of his house during the incident that he assumed was the suspect. But when the actual suspect emerged, it was a different man, leaving Hubbard with a mystery.
His final tweet read: “now the real question: WHO WAS THE GUY IN THE WHITE SHIRT RUNNING IN FRONT OF MY HOUSE?”
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The robots are coming — to help run your life or sell you stuff — at an online texting service near you.
In coming months, users of Facebook’s Messenger app, Microsoft’s Skype and Canada’s Kik can expect to find new automated assistants offering information and services at a variety of businesses. These messaging “chatbots” are basically software that can conduct human-like conversation and do simple jobs once reserved for people. Google and other companies are reportedly working on similar ideas.
In Asia, software butlers are already part of the landscape. When Washington, D.C., attorney Samantha Guo visited China recently, the 32-year-old said she was amazed at how extensively her friends used bots and similar technology on the texting service WeChat to pay for meals, order movie tickets and even send each other gifts.
“It was mind-blowing,” Guo said. U.S. services lag way behind, she added.
Online messaging has become routine for most people, offering more immediacy than email or voice calls, said Michael Wolf, a media and technology consultant. Messaging services are now growing faster than traditional online social platforms such as Facebook or Twitter, according to research by Wolf’s firm, Activate.
And experts say messaging bots can handle a wider range of tasks than apps offered by retailers and other consumer businesses. In part, that’s because bots can recognize a variety of spoken or typed phrases, where apps force users to choose from options on a drop-down menu. Reaching a chatbot can be as simple as clicking a link in an online ad or scanning a boxy bar code with a smartphone camera. A special-purpose app requires a download and often a new account sign-up.
“Bots are the new apps,” Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said last month. Microsoft has just created new programming tools for businesses to build bots that will interact with customers on Skype, the Microsoft-owned Internet voice, video and messaging service.
Facebook is widely expected to unveil similar tools for its Messenger chat service at the company’s annual software conference starting Tuesday. It’s already partnered with a few online retailers and transportation companies so consumers can use Messenger to check the status of a clothing purchase from online retailer Zulily, order car service from Uber or get a boarding pass from KLM Royal Dutch Airlines.
At those services, automated chatbots handle some interactions, with supervision from human operators. Similarly, Facebook has been testing a digital assistant called “M” — sort of like Apple’s Siri or Microsoft’s Cortana — that can answer questions or perform tasks like ordering flowers in response to commands on Messenger. It uses a combination of artificial intelligence and input from human overseers.
Another messaging service, Kik, which is popular among U.S. teenagers, opened a new “bot shop” last week. Kik users can talk to bots that will answer questions about the weather, show funny videos or help with online shopping. Slack, a messaging service used by businesses, has partnered with Taco Bell to introduce a “Taco Bot” that helps Slack users order ahead for meals at a local outlet.
In Asia, many smartphone owners are used to playing games and buying items through messaging services like WeChat, which claims 700 million active users. One in five WeChat users has added bank or credit card information so that person can check balances, pay bills or send money to friends, according to the Andreesen Horowitz venture capital firm.
Tech experts are particularly eager to see what Facebook does with Messenger, since its 900 million users make it the world’s second biggest chat platform after WhatsApp, which claims 1 billion users. Facebook bought WhatsApp in 2014.
Both are free to users and don’t produce much revenue for Facebook. But if Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has given WhatsApp’s co-founders leeway with their service, executives have signaled they are increasingly looking for ways to make money from Messenger.
Although Facebook has not ruled out advertising on Messenger, analyst Ken Sena of the Evercore investment firm says a more immediate revenue source could be fees from businesses, such as hotel and travel companies offering to provide reservations and other services through the chat app.
With the help of artificial intelligence programs that learn from interactions, Sena said in a recent report, chatbots “are becoming scarily good” at carrying on human-like conversations.
Or sometimes just scary. Microsoft last month shut down an experimental chatbot , known as Tay, after malicious Twitter users taught the program to repeat racist and sexist statements. Undeterred, the company has pledged to learn from the experience and build better software in the future.
Follow Brandon Bailey at https://Twitter.com/BrandonBailey or find his reporting at http://www.bigstory.ap.org/journalist/brandon-bailey
This article has been revised to show the correct age for Samantha Guo. She is 32, not 31.
ROCHESTER, New York (AP) — Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s children may be among their father’s most loyal cheerleaders. But only one of his three oldest children will be able to vote for him in next Tuesday’s Republican primary in New York.
New York City voter registration records show that neither Ivanka Trump nor her brother Eric Trump registered with the Republican Party in time to cast their ballots for their father under the state’s arcane voting rules.
“They had a long time to register and they were, you know, unaware of the rules, and they didn’t, they didn’t register in time, so they feel very, very guilty,” Trump said in a phone interview with “Fox and Friends” on Monday morning.
“But it’s fine. I mean I understand that. I think they have to register a year in advance and they didn’t. So Eric and Ivanka I guess won’t be voting,” he said.
While all of Trump’s children have appeared by his side on the campaign trail, Ivanka in particular has played a prominent role, introducing her father at rallies and serving as a key adviser. She also recorded a series of videos urging her father’s supporters’ to vote, including one that explained to Iowa voters how to find their caucus sites and how the process worked.
Trump’s eldest son, Donald Jr., is a registered Republican, according to state records. Trump’s youngest daughter, Tiffany, is registered as a Republican in Philadelphia, where she’s a student at the University of Pennsylvania, according to Pennsylvania state department records.
His youngest son, Barron, recently turned 10.
While many states make it easy for voters to participate in their primaries, New York’s voter laws set Oct. 9, 2015, as the enrollment deadline for changing party enrollment in order to participate in the state’s 2016 party primaries, said New York Board of Elections spokesman John Conklin.
That means any voters who wanted to change their party enrollment in time to vote in the presidential primaries would have had to do so by that date. Enrollment changes submitted after that date won’t take effect until the first Tuesday after the 2016 general election in November.
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Alexi Amarista’s safety squeeze in the seventh scored the go-ahead run and the San Diego Padres beat the Phillies 4-3 Monday to spoil Philadelphia’s home opener.
Will Myers hit a solo homer for the Padres, who benefited from a strange double play and two video reviews going their way.
Kevin Quackenbush (1-0) struck out the only batter he faced to earn the win after starter Andrew Cashner allowed three runs in five-plus innings. Fernando Rodney tossed the ninth for his first save for the Padres.
Philadelphia’s Aaron Nola (0-2) allowed four runs and six hits, striking out a career-best nine in seven innings.
Derek Norris doubled off Nola in the seventh and advanced on Alexei Ramirez’s infield single. Third baseman Maikel Franco made a diving grab but his throw pulled first baseman Darin Ruf off the bag. The play was initially ruled an out, but the Padres challenged and won. Amarista then bunted Norris home on a perfect sacrifice.