Trump taps military strategist as national security adviser PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) - President Donald Trump has tapped Army Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster as his new national security adviser, replacing the ousted Michael Flynn. Trump announced the pick Monday at his Palm Beach club and said McMaster is "a man of tremendous talent and tremendous experience." The president, who has no military experience, has shown a preference for generals in the top security roles. McMaster, who wore his uniform for the announcement, joins Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly, both retired generals. Trump says retired Army Lt. Gen. Keith Kellogg who had been his acting adviser, will now serve as the National Security Council chief of staff.
Trump tries to move past controversies, toward legislating WASHINGTON (AP) - As President Donald Trump begins his second month in office, his team is trying to move past the crush of controversies that overtook his first month and make progress on health care and tax overhauls long sought by Republicans. Both issues thrust Trump, a real estate executive who has never held elected office, into the unfamiliar world of legislating. The president has thus far relied exclusively on executive powers to muscle through policy priorities and has offered few details about what he'll require in any final legislative packages, like how the proposals should be paid for. The White House also sent conflicting signals about whether the president will send Congress his own legislative blueprints or let lawmakers drive the process.
US Defense Secretary Mattis: US will stay in Iraq a while BAGHDAD (AP) - U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said Monday he believes U.S. forces will be in Iraq and in the fight against Islamic State militants for a while, despite some rocky times between the two nations. Speaking at the end of a day of meetings in Baghdad with military commanders and Iraqi political leaders, Mattis said he is open to any request from his military commanders to aid the battle to retake Mosul and launch a major battle to oust IS from the base of its so-called caliphate in Raqqa, Syria. He would not provide details. Despite President Donald Trump's past threats to take Iraq's oil and his attempt to impose a travel ban that includes Iraqi citizens, Mattis said his meetings with Iraqi leaders underscored the partnership the U.S.
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Iraqi troops advance on western Mosul as Mattis holds talks SOUTH OF MOSUL, Iraq (AP) - Iraqi forces advanced Monday into the southern outskirts of Mosul on the second day of a push to drive Islamic State militants from the city's western half, as the visiting U.S. defense secretary met with officials to discuss the fight against the extremists. With aerial support from the U.S.-led coalition, Iraqi police and army troops launched the offensive Sunday, part of a 100-day-old campaign that has already driven the militants from the eastern half of the city. Iraqi helicopters fired rockets at the village of Abu Saif early Monday, targeting a hill that overlooks the city's airport.
Russia's ambassador to United Nations dies in NYC at 64 NEW YORK (AP) - Russia's ambassador to the United Nations, a veteran diplomat known as a potent and personable voice for his country's interests as he sparred with his Western counterparts, died suddenly after falling ill Monday in his office at the mission. Vitaly Churkin, 64, was taken to a hospital in New York, where he died, Russia's deputy U.N. ambassador, Vladimir Safronkov, told The Associated Press. His cause of death wasn't immediately known. He had been Russia's envoy at the United Nations since 2006 and was considered Moscow's great champion at the U.N. Diplomatic colleagues from around the world mourned Churkin as a powerful and passionate voice for his nation, with both a deep knowledge of diplomacy and a large and colorful personality.
N. Korean envoy blasts Malaysians, calls for joint probe KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) - North Korea's ambassador to Malaysia on Monday denounced the country's investigation into the death of the exiled half brother of North Korea's ruler, calling it politically motivated and demanding a joint probe amid increasingly bitter exchanges between the once-friendly nations. Malaysia responded with its own accusations, with a foreign ministry statement saying the ambassador's comments were "culled from delusions, lies and half-truths." Earlier Monday, Malaysia said it was recalling its ambassador to Pyongyang. The diplomatic spat comes in the wake of the death last week of Kim Jong Nam, who died after apparently being poisoned in the Kuala Lumpur airport.
Trans-Atlantic relations put to test in Trump's first month BRUSSELS (AP) - After President Donald Trump's raucous first month in office, Europeans have reacted with demonstrations, counter-barbs and sheer angst that a century of trans-Atlantic friendship may be sinking. "Too much has happened," European Union leader Donald Tusk said Monday, "for us to pretend that everything is as it used to be." The governments of some traditional allies have gone a step further, uniting with fundraising plans and a special conference to balance the new U.S. administration's reverse tack from Barack Obama's presidency on abortion policies. Beyond Trump's orders on immigration, few of the administration's policies have unsettled many European nations as much as his ban on funding for international groups that perform abortions or provide information about abortions to women in developing nations.
Teen suicide attempts fell as same-sex marriage became legal CHICAGO (AP) - Teen suicide attempts in the U.S. declined after same-sex marriage became legal and the biggest impact was among gay, lesbian and bisexual kids, a study found. The research found declines in states that passed laws allowing gays to marry before the Supreme Court made it legal nationwide. The results don't prove there's a connection, but researchers said policymakers should be aware of the measures' potential benefits for youth mental health. Suicide is the second-leading cause of death for all U.S. teens. Suicidal behavior is much more common among gay, lesbian and bisexual kids and adults; about 29 percent of these teens in the study reported attempting suicide, compared with just 6 percent of straight teens.
AP, other media ask judge to order release of iPhone records WASHINGTON (AP) - The Associated Press and two other news organizations asked a judge Monday to force the federal government to reveal how much it paid for a tool to unlock an iPhone used by one of the San Bernardino, California, shooters. The news organizations said in a court filing there was "no adequate justification" for the FBI to continue to withhold information on the cost of the tool or the identity of the vendor that sold it. They said their requests were narrowly tailored and, contrary to the arguments of the FBI and Justice Department, did not seek information that would jeopardize national security or be exploited by America's enemies.
Special delivery: US-born panda cub Bao Bao bound for China WASHINGTON (AP) - The National Zoo is packing up its American-born panda cub Bao Bao for a one-way flight to China, where the 3-year-old will eventually join a panda breeding program. The cub won't have to worry about finding overhead bin space or dealing with a talkative seatmate on the 16-hour, nonstop flight Tuesday afternoon into Wednesday. She'll be the only panda on the plane, traveling with a keeper and a veterinarian. Her accommodations are first class, too: a special metal crate the size of a double bed she can stretch out in. A sticker on its outside announces its contents: "one panda."