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February 25, 2019

TRUMP, PENCE OUT OF COUNTRY TODAY

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence are expected to be abroad at the same time for a day, an unusual bit of scheduling for the nation’s top two officials.

Today, Trump leaves for a summit in Vietnam with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un. Meanwhile, Pence will be in Colombia for a one-day emergency summit on Venezuela.

The vice president’s daytrip will involve meeting with the so-called Lima Group, made up of mostly conservative Latin American nations. Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido will take part.

The two leaders have been outside the U.S. at the same time before, notably last year when Trump was in Argentina for a G20 meeting and Pence traveled to Mexico for the inauguration of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador.

TRUMP - INDEPENDENCE DAY

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump says he’ll host a July Fourth celebration at the Lincoln Memorial. And though the event he’s calling “A Salute to America” is months away, he’s boasting it’ll be one of the city’s biggest Independence Day gatherings ever.

Here’s what seems to be known: Trump will give a speech and there’ll be fireworks, expected to be the free annual holiday show from the National Park Service.

Here’s what’s not known: Who’ll provide the entertainment and how it may fit in with the annual evening concert on the Capitol’s West Lawn and the usual holiday parades.

Trump’s past crowd estimates have drawn criticism. Trump claimed that up to 1.5 million people attended his inauguration at the Capitol and National Mall, but Park Service photographs undermined that claim.

VIRGINIA LT. GOV. COMPARES HIMSELF TO LYNCHING VICTIMS

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Embattled Virginia Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax is compared himself to Jim Crow-era lynching victims as he resists widespread calls to resign, prompted by allegations of sexual assault.

In a surprise speech yesterday in the state Senate at end of the 2019 legislative session, Fairfax denied the allegations and said the truth is on his side.

He mentioned legislation that the General Assembly passed expressing “profound regret” for lynchings in Virginia between 1877 and 1950. Fairfax, who is black, said his opponents were “willing to do the same thing.”

Fairfax has been accused by two women of sexual assault. Both of the alleged victims are African American.

He has opposed an effort by House Republicans to hold a hearing on the allegations, saying the matter should be investigated by law enforcement.

MISSISSIPPI CHURCH REBOUNDS AFTER TORNADO STRIKES

COLUMBUS, Miss. (AP) — A Mississippi church is persevering, and even held a baptism service outdoors in a portable pool, after a tornado blew apart its building.

First Pentecostal Church in Columbus, Mississippi, was in the path of a tornado on Saturday that blew down one wall and tore the roof to shreds.

Yesterday, the congregation picked up whatever furnishings they could salvage and then held a prayer service outdoors. Several people were baptized.

The pastor says the service is a sign that the church pulls together in challenging times.

Church officials say the building is “a total loss.”

CAPE COD - SHARKS

BOSTON (AP) — Some Cape Cod residents are concerned officials are responding too slowly after last summer’s two shark attacks.

A long-awaited study on shark prevention strategies is launching, but it won’t be completed before the summer as hoped.

Wellfleet Town Manager Dan Hoort and other officials say they’re focused on expanding lifeguard hours, installing emergency call boxes and other measures this beach season.

But Chatham fisherman Nick Muto is among those concerned officials won’t ultimately address the massive seal population great white sharks feast on.

The study will analyze seal culls, shark barriers and new technology like aerial drones.

A Revere man killed off Wellfleet last September was the nation’s lone fatal shark attack last year and Massachusetts’ first in decades.

A New York man was also badly bitten off Truro but survived.