Here is the latest news from The Associated Press at 3:40 a.m. EDT

August 27, 2019 GMT

GREENWOOD, Mississippi (AP) — A famed Catholic religious order settled sex abuse cases in recent months by secretly paying two black Mississippi men $15,000 each and requiring them to keep silent about their claims. The Associated Press found that the cash payments are far less than what other Catholic sex abuse survivors have typically received since the abuse scandal emerged in 2002. An official with the Franciscan Friars order denies the men’s race or poverty had anything to do with the size of the settlements.

NEW YORK (AP) — Up to 30 women were expected to take a judge up on his invitation to speak at a hearing after financier Jeffrey Epstein killed himself before facing sex trafficking charges. The hearing Tuesday morning was scheduled last week by U.S. District Judge Richard Berman. The judge set the hearing after prosecutors asked that he scrap the charges against Epstein since the defendant is dead. Berman said he would give prosecutors, Epstein lawyers and any victims a chance to speak.


JACUNDA NATIONAL FOREST, Brazil (AP) — Equipped with hoses connected to rubber backpacks, Brazilian firefighters in the Amazon on Monday raced in a truck along dirt roads toward plumes of smoke after a spotter in a military helicopter instructed them to contain a fast-spreading fire. The smoke-shrouded scene in the Amazonian state of Rondônia showed the enormity of the challenge ahead: putting out similar blazes and safeguarding _ in the long term _ a vast region described by world leaders as critical to the health of the planet.

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran’s president is back-pedaling on professed readiness to hold direct talks with Donald Trump and now says meeting his U.S. counterpart for a photo op is “not possible” and that Washington must first lift sanctions imposed on Tehran. Hassan Rouhani’s change of heart came a day after Trump said there’s a “really good chance” he could meet with Iran’s leader on the nuclear impasse after a surprise intervention by the French president during the G-7 summit to bring Washington and Tehran together.

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — The government of Barbados is urging residents of the eastern Caribbean island to remain vigilant even as Tropical Storm Dorian appeared to have done little damage as it heads toward the northern Windward islands and Puerto Rico. Minister of Home Affairs Edmund Hinkson says the storm “is said to be weakening and that is great news, but we are not out of danger yet.”