US Defense Secretary Mattis: No plan to seize Iraqi oil BAGHDAD (AP) - U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said Monday the United States does not intend to seize Iraqi oil, shifting away from an idea proposed by President Donald Trump that has rattled Iraq's leaders. Mattis' arrived on an unannounced visit in Iraq as the battle to oust Islamic State militants from western Mosul moved into its second day, and as the Pentagon considers ways to accelerate the campaign against IS in Iraq and Syria. Those efforts could be complicated by Trump's oil threat and his inclusion of Iraq in the administration's travel ban - twin blows that have roiled the nation and spurred local lawmakers to pressure Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi to reduce cooperation with Washington.
Trump says remark about Sweden referred to something on TV HELSINKI (AP) - Swedes have been scratching their heads and ridiculing President Donald Trump's remarks that suggested a major incident had happened in the Scandinavian country. The American president now says he was referring to something he saw on television. During a rally in Florida on Saturday, Trump said "look what's happening last night in Sweden" as he alluded to past terror attacks in Europe. It wasn't clear what he was referring to and there were no high-profile situations reported in Sweden on Friday night. The comment prompted a barrage of social media reaction on Sunday, with hundreds of tweets, and a local newspaper published a list of events that happened on Friday that appeared to have no connections to any terror-like activity.
N Korean envoy blasts Malaysians, calls for joint probe KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) - North Korea's top envoy in Kuala Lumpur has denounced Malaysia's investigation into the apparent killing of the exiled half brother of North Korea's ruler, calling it politically motivated and demanding a joint probe into the death. "The investigation by the Malaysian police is not for the clarification of the cause of the death and search of the suspect, but it is out of the political aim," Ambassador Kang Chol told reporters Monday. Police had "pinned the suspicion on us," he said, calling on Malaysia and the international community to work with North Korea on a joint investigation.
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Draft DHS guidelines sharpen focus on those in US illegally WASHINGTON (AP) - The Homeland Security Department has drafted sweeping new guidelines aimed at aggressively detaining and deporting immigrants living in the U.S. illegally, according to a pair of memoranda signed by DHS Secretary John Kelly. The memos dated Friday seek to implement President Donald Trump's broad directive to crack down on illegal immigration. Kelly outlines plans to hire thousands of additional enforcement agents, expand on the priority list for immigrants marked for immediate removal and enlist local law enforcement to help make arrests, according to a person briefed on the documents, who confirmed the details to The Associated Press.
Famine declared in part of South Sudan by government and UN KAMPALA, Uganda (AP) - Famine has been declared in two counties of South Sudan, according to an announcement by the South Sudan government and three U.N. agencies, which says the calamity is the result of prolonged civil war and an entrenched economic crisis that has devastated the war-torn East African nation. The official classification of famine highlights the human suffering caused by South Sudan's three-year civil war and even as it is declared President Salva Kiir's government is blocking food aid to some areas, according to U.N. officials. More than 100,000 people in two counties of Unity state are experiencing famine and there are fears that the famine will spread as an additional 1 million South Sudanese are on the brink of starvation, said the announcement.
AP source: Revised travel ban targets same countries WASHINGTON (AP) - A draft of President Donald Trump's revised immigration ban targets the same seven countries listed in his original executive order and exempts travelers who already have a visa to travel to the U.S., even if they haven't used it yet. A senior administration official said the order, which Trump revised after federal courts held up his original immigration and refugee ban, will target only those same seven Muslim-majority countries - Iran, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, Sudan and Libya. The official said that green-card holders and dual citizens of the U.S. and any of those countries are exempt. The new draft also no longer directs authorities to single out - and reject - Syrian refugees when processing new visa applications.
Trump marks his first month with tweets, turmoil WASHINGTON (AP) - One month after the inauguration, the stretch of Pennsylvania Avenue in front of Donald Trump's White House still is a hard-hat zone. Skeletal remains of the inaugural reviewing stands poke skyward. Random piles of plywood and cables are heaped on the ground inside crooked lines of metal fencing. The disarray outside the president's front door, though not his fault, serves as a metaphor for the tumult still unfolding inside. Four weeks in, the man who says he inherited "a mess" at home and abroad is presiding over a White House that is widely described as itself being a mess.
House GOP hails health plan that Democrats call inadequate WASHINGTON (AP) - Top House Republicans say their outline for replacing President Barack Obama's health care law is a pathway to greater flexibility and lower costs for consumers. Democrats see a road to ruin for millions who'd face lost coverage and higher medical expenses, particularly the poor. The plan "ensures more choices, lower costs and greater control over your health care," according to talking points GOP leaders handed lawmakers heading home to face constituents during this week's recess. Democrats say the proposal would threaten the coverage 20 million Americans gained under Obama's 2010 overhaul. "It's like rationing" health care, said Rep.
Trump seeks national security adviser, health care strategy WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) - President Donald Trump's holiday weekend featured a raucous campaign rally, a health care strategy session, interviews for a new national security adviser - and even a few holes of golf. Trump brought four contenders to his private club Mar-a-Lago club in Florida on Sunday as he seeks a replacement for retired Gen. Michael Flynn, who was ousted last week. Trump says he wants to make a decision in the next few days. The president also drilled down on policy during his working weekend at Mar-a-Lago, attending a strategy session on how to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, with top aides including newly-installed Health Secretary Tom Price and Mick Mulvaney, director of the White House budget office.
Immigration rallies held around US to support Muslims NEW YORK (AP) - Demonstrations were held in cities around the U.S. this weekend to support Muslim Americans and to protest President Donald Trump's immigration policies. More than a thousand people of various faiths rallied in New York City on Sunday. The "I Am A Muslim Too" event was held in Times Square and was organized by several groups, including the Foundation for Ethnic Understanding. Some protesters waved American flags, while others held signs saying "No Muslim Ban." Democratic Mayor Bill de Blasio spoke at the peaceful rally, saying "we have to dispel the stereotypes" and that America is "a country founded to protect all faiths and all beliefs." Trump has initiated a crackdown on illegal immigration.