Border numbers drop amid heat, Mexico crackdown

Lucia Ascencio, of Venezuela, carries a suitcase after she and her husband and two sons were returned to Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, as part of the first group of migrants sent back to Mexico's Tamaulipas state under the so-called Remain in Mexico program for U.S. asylum seekers, Tuesday, July 9, 2019. Approximately 10 migrants crossed the border Monday to seek U.S. asylum and were sent back on Tuesday to wait as their applications are processed.

TEXAS

IRVING (AP) — The mother of three children who drowned in a Dallas-area pool has pleaded no contest to negligence in the 2015 deaths.

The Dallas Morning News reports Patricia Allen was charged with felony injury to a child but pleaded no contest Tuesday to the lesser count and received two years of deferred adjudication probation.

Investigators say Allen on June 24, 2015, was at an Irving apartment complex pool with five of her six children. Three siblings went under.

Allen’s other three children were put into permanent conservatorship and foster homes.

HIGH ISLAND (AP) — A good-fortune message in a bottle tossed overboard last year by a Massachusetts couple sailing in the West Indies has been found thousands of miles away on a Texas beach.

The Houston Chronicle reports James Howie Hill of Carthage says he was thrilled Friday to discover the algae-covered green bottle near High Island.

That’s nearly 2,400 miles from where George and June Smith of Nantucket, Massachusetts, threw the bottle into the water off Martinique.

Hill, who was beachcombing with family and friends, says they were all excited about the bottle with a note inside dated Dec. 22. The Smiths wished the finder “good fortune” and asked to be notified.

NATION

FORT MYER, Virginia (AP) — The top U.S. military officer says Washington will move ahead with plans to build a coalition of nations to monitor and deter Iranian threats against shipping in the Persian Gulf and in a heavy trafficked waterway between the Arabian Peninsula and the Horn of Africa.

Gen. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said the Pentagon has developed a specific plan, and he believes that in a couple of weeks it will be clear which nations are willing to join the effort.

Dunford said he discussed the matter Tuesday with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and the acting secretary of defense, Mark Esper.

The initiative was triggered last month by Trump administration concerns that Iran was behind recent attacks on commercial ships in the Persian Gulf region.

NEW YORK (AP) — A New York judge says the Justice Department can’t change lawyers so late in the dispute over whether to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census.

Judge Jesse Furman ruled Tuesday, saying lawyers must cite satisfactory reasons for withdrawing.

Furman said the urgency to resolve legal claims in the case and the need for efficient judicial proceedings had only grown.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Tom Steyer, the billionaire investor and activist, said Tuesday he’s joining the race for the Democratic presidential nomination, reversing course after deciding earlier this year that he would forgo a run.

Steyer, 62, is one of the most visible and deep-pocketed liberals advocating for President Donald Trump’s impeachment. He surprised many Democrats in January when he traveled to Iowa, home to the nation’s first presidential caucus, to declare that he would focus entirely on the impeachment effort instead of seeking the White House.

Since then, Steyer, of California, has said he’s grown frustrated at the pace at which the Democratic-controlled House is approaching Trump.

WORLD

NUEVO LAREDO, Mexico (AP) — The so-called Remain in Mexico program for U.S. asylum seekers expanded to another Mexican border city Tuesday with the arrival of a first group of migrants to Nuevo Laredo.

The 10 migrants had crossed the border to seek U.S. asylum Monday and will now have to wait in Mexico as their applications are processed.

A spokeswoman with Mexico’s immigration agency confirmed that the first group of 10 returned Tuesday under the program, which is formally known as the Migrant Protection Protocols.

LONDON (AP) — The two men vying to be Britain’s next leader traded verbal blows in a televised debate Tuesday about who is more likely to break the country’s Brexit deadlock and lead the U.K. out of the European Union.

About 160,000 Conservative Party members are voting for a successor to Prime Minister Theresa May, who announced her resignation last month after failing repeatedly to get Parliament to back her divorce deal with the EU.

The two finalists, Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt, both used their only televised debate to argue that they were best placed to negotiate Britain’s twice-postponed exit, currently scheduled for Oct. 31.

TOKYO (AP) — Japan said Tuesday it does not plan to retract or renegotiate its stricter controls on high-tech exports to South Korea, a day after the South Korean president urged that the issue be resolved through diplomacy.

Tokyo tightened the approval process for Japanese shipments of photoresists and other sensitive materials to South Korean companies last week.

Japanese officials say such materials can be exported only to trustworthy trading partners, hinting at security risks without citing specific cases. They have rejected suggestions that the move was driven by a worsening in ties between the two countries related to historical issues.