Following is a summary of current US domestic news briefs.
Lorena weakens to a tropical storm as it nears mainland Mexico
Hurricane Lorena weakened to a tropical storm as it approached northwestern Mexico on Saturday, bringing with it heavy wind and rain, U.S. forecasters said. On Saturday afternoon, Lorena had maximum sustained winds of 50 miles (80 km) per hour as it moved north, the Miami-based National Hurricane Center said in a report.
Stealth bomber for Area 51 crowd? U.S. military unit apologizes for tweet
A U.S. military unit apologized on Saturday and deleted a tweet that used the specter of a stealth bomber being deployed against any young people who tried to break into the Area 51 base in Nevada. The tweet, posted on Friday on the Twitter account of the Defense Visual Information Distribution Service (DVIDS), took aim at UFO fans and curiosity seekers who poured into the Nevada desert this week, after an online campaign to "storm" the U.S. military base long rumored to house government secrets about extraterrestrial life and spaceships.
Warren, Sanders to visit striking GM workers as dispute continues
Two major Democratic presidential candidates plan to visit striking General Motors workers in Detroit in the coming days as a five-day-old labor dispute threatens to enter its second week. Senator Elizabeth Warren will join workers on the picket line outside GM's Detroit-Hamtramck plant on Sunday, while Senator Bernie Sanders will do the same on Wednesday. GM has received harsh criticism from Democrats for shifting health insurance costs for its striking workers union as its members walked the picket line for the second day on Tuesday.
U.S. senators urge FDA to remove pod, cartridge-based e-cigarettes from market
A bipartisan group of U.S. senators on Friday urged federal regulators to immediately remove all pod and cartridge-based e-cigarettes from the market until it can be proven the products are safe. In a letter to Ned Sharpless, acting commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Senators Dick Durbin, Lisa Murkowski, Jeff Merkley and Richard Blumenthal cited recent reports of 530 cases of vaping-related lung disease, as well as eight deaths, in asking for the ban.
U.S. Democratic presidential hopefuls vie to wow voters at Iowa steak fry
Democrats vying for the nomination to take on Republican U.S. President Donald Trump tried to make a splash on Saturday as they entered a party steak fry in Des Moines, Iowa, the state that will host the first nominating contest in early February. U.S. Senator Kamala Harris marched in accompanied by a drumline. Former U.S. housing chief Julian Castro danced alongside a mariachi band. Supporters of former U.S. Representative Beto O'Rourke launched a makeshift boat with his campaign poster. Two women wore U.S. pennies fashioned out of cardboard, costumed as U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren's proposed wealth tax.
Shooting at South Carolina bar leaves two dead, eight wounded
Police in South Carolina were hunting for suspects on Saturday after at least one person opened fire before dawn at a crowded bar in the city of Lancaster, killing two people and wounding eight others, officials said. The shooter was still at large and it was not immediately clear if anyone else also opened fire during the incident inside the Old Skool Sports Bar & Grill, the Lancaster County Sheriff's Office said in a statement.
Uber sues New York City over cruising and licensing caps
Uber Technologies Inc sued New York City on Friday, seeking to void a new rule limiting how much time its drivers can spend cruising streets in busy areas of Manhattan without passengers, saying it threatens to undermine the company's ride-sharing model. In a filing in New York state court in Manhattan, Uber also sought to void a rule banning the issuance of new licenses to for-hire vehicles through August 2020.
Biden's LGBTQ record draws scrutiny at Iowa presidential forum
Former Vice President Joe Biden's decades-long record on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender issues was scrutinized on Friday in Iowa at the first major forum focused on the topic during the 2020 Democratic presidential nominating contest. Biden was questioned at the multi-candidate event on Friday night about his votes as a U.S. senator from Delaware on legislation that included the "don't ask, don't tell" policy that prohibited openly gay individuals from serving in the U.S. military and a law defining marriage as between a man and a woman.
Biden urges investigation into Trump Ukraine call
Former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, a frontrunner for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, on Saturday called for an investigation into reports that President Donald Trump pressed his Ukrainian counterpart to investigate Biden and his son. "This appears to be an overwhelming abuse of power. To get on the phone with a foreign leader who is looking for help from the United States and ask about me and imply things … this is outrageous," a visibly angry Biden said while campaigning in Iowa.
California, other states take Trump to court over auto emissions rules
A group of 23 states on Friday sued to block the Trump administration from undoing California's authority to set strict car pollution rules, one of the biggest U.S. battles over climate change. On the day that young people around the world staged protests demanding action on climate, the lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Washington was the first round in a legal battle that many expect will outlast Trump's presidency.