The Latest: Trump introduces pick for China ambassador President-elect Donald Trump is calling Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad to the stage in Des Moines to announce him as his choice to be the nation's next ambassador to China. Trump was in Des Moines on the third stop of his "Thank you" tour to salute the states that gave him the White House. Trump, who announced Branstad earlier this week, said he "knew how to get things done" and, with China, would improve "one of the most important relationships we have." The stop in Des Moines also featured the first protests of the "thank you" tour. Several small groups shouted at Trump after he took the stage.
The Latest: Turkey sends 300 more troops to Syria border Turkey's state-run news agency says 300 commandos have deployed to the border area with Syria. Anadolu said Thursday that the commandos would join Turkey's Operation Euphrates Shield, which aims to drive Islamic State militants and Kurdish forces out of a strategic area of northern Syria. The report did not specify if they had crossed into Syria. Turkey supports anti-government forces in Syria and has a military presence in the northern Syrian town of Jarablus and in the outskirts of the IS-held town of al-Bab.
John Glenn, the 1st American to orbit Earth, has died at 95 WASHINGTON (AP) - John Glenn, whose 1962 flight as the first U.S. astronaut to orbit the Earth made him an all-American hero and propelled him to a long career in the U.S. Senate, died Thursday. The last survivor of the original Mercury 7 astronauts was 95. Glenn died at the James Cancer Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, where he was hospitalized for more than a week, said Hank Wilson, communications director for the John Glenn School of Public Affairs. John Herschel Glenn Jr. had two major career paths that often intersected: flying and politics, and he soared in both of them. Before he gained fame orbiting the world, he was a fighter pilot in two wars, and as a test pilot, he set a transcontinental speed record.
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Trump meets with Ohio State victims, taking on somber duty COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - In the midst of his Cabinet deliberations, President-elect Donald Trump flew to Ohio Thursday to meet with victims and families after the latest U.S. outbreak of violence, a somber duty that became all too familiar to his predecessor. In Columbus, he also had words of tribute for astronaut and senator John Glenn of Ohio - "indeed an American hero" - who died Thursday at 95. Then he was off to Iowa for the latest stop on his victory tour to states that helped him win the presidency. In the middle of it all, Trump also made his latest Cabinet announcement, picking fast-food executive Andrew Puzder to lead the Labor Department.
Chief of staff Priebus? Some Trump loyalists still dubious WASHINGTON (AP) - When President-elect Donald Trump tapped Reince Priebus as his chief of staff, Republican leaders cheered the prospect of a close ally having a top White House job. But as Priebus tries to wield his influence and bring more structure to the president-elect's freewheeling political organization, he's frustrating some longtime Trump allies who see him as too conventional a pick for an unconventional president. Others fear being left behind as Priebus fills out West Wing jobs. The dismay over Priebus stems in part from a belief among some Trump loyalists that the outgoing Republican National Committee chairman expected Trump to lose the election.
Russia says Aleppo combat suspended, residents say no let-up BEIRUT (AP) - Russia said the Syrian army was suspending combat operations in Aleppo late Thursday to allow for the evacuation of civilians from besieged rebel-held neighborhoods, but residents and fighters reported no let-up in the bombing and shelling campaign on the opposition's ever-shrinking enclave. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, speaking in Germany after talks with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, said military experts and diplomats would meet Saturday in Geneva to work out details of the rebels' exit from Aleppo's eastern neighborhoods, along with civilians who were willing to leave the city. Lavrov said the Syrian army suspended combat action late Thursday to allow some 8,000 civilians to leave the city in a convoy spreading across a five-kilometer (three-mile) route.
Attorney: Dylann Roof's mom had heart attack during trial CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) - Dylann Roof's mother suffered a heart attack not long after prosecutors described how her son planned a cold and calculated killing of nine black church members in a racially motivated attack, the white man's attorney said in court documents Thursday. Roof's mother collapsed and said "I'm sorry" several times on Wednesday as family members and court security came to help her during the opening of her son's federal death penalty trial. Roof's attorney mentioned the heart attack in court documents asking for a mistrial, saying a survivor's testimony was so emotional that "spectators and even court personnel - including members of the prosecution and defense - were crying with her." The documents didn't give the mother's current condition.
S. Korean president faces possible last day in power SEOUL, South Korea (AP) - South Korean President Park Geun-hye entered what could be her last day in power Friday, as lawmakers geared up for what's widely expected to be a successful impeachment vote amid a corruption scandal that has left her isolated and loathed. The opposition feels confident that they'll get an impeachment Friday, the last day of the current parliamentary session, because dozens of members of Park's ruling party have said they'll vote against the woman who was once their standard bearer. It's possible that the vote could be delayed or fail, but lawmakers from both parties face huge pressure to act against Park, the daughter of a military dictator still revered by many conservatives for lifting the country from poverty in the 1960s and 1970s.
Stay or go? Tribe gives conflicting messages to protest camp BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - For protesters fighting the Dakota Access pipeline, the messages from the Standing Rock Sioux reservation are confusing: The tribal chairman tells demonstrators that it's time to leave their camp and go home. Another leader implores them to stay through the bitter North Dakota winter. The conflicting requests show how the camp's purpose has widened beyond the original intent of protecting the tribe's drinking water and cultural sites into a broader stand for Native American rights. Camp occupants are working through the confusion, said Jade Begay, an organizer with the Indigenous Environmental Network. "The rest of the world just needs to hold tight and be patient," she said.
Oakland artists fear crackdown after Ghost Ship fire OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) - The Ghost Ship is now gone. But there's The Salt Lick, the ominously named Deathtrap and other converted warehouses where artists are holding emergency meetings behind locked metal doors. Oakland has long been hospitable to an underground art scene that flourished in its abandoned industrial warehouses and helped put this gritty city on the world's art map. But now its art and music underground is panicking and bracing for a crackdown. Painters, musicians and struggling artists of all types came to live and work, to perform and dance late into the night and to be surrounded by creativity.