Trump picks labor secretary, heads west to meet OSU victims NEW YORK (AP) - President-elect Donald Trump is taking on a somber task Thursday that became all too familiar to his predecessor - supporting survivors after an outbreak of violence, this time families and victims from last week's attack at Ohio State University. Trump is flying to Columbus, Ohio, to meet with several people who were slashed by Ohio State student Abdul Razak Ali Artan. Artan, 18, first rammed a campus crowd with his car before getting out with a knife and stabbing students before being fatally shot by police. As Trump left for Ohio, there was word that he is expected to pick fast-food executive Andrew Puzder to lead the Labor Department.
Union president Jones challenges Trump on Carrier WASHINGTON (AP) - The union president slammed by Donald Trump on Twitter challenged the president-elect Thursday to back up his claim that a deal to discourage Carrier Corp. from closing an Indiana factory would save 1,100 American jobs. "He overreacted, President-elect Trump did," United Steelworkers Local 1999 President Chuck Jones told CNN. "He should have come out and tried to justify his numbers." Trump and Vice President-elect Mike Pence - governor of Indiana - visited Carrier's Indianapolis factory Dec. 1 to celebrate the deal. Trump suggested then that the number of jobs saved could top 1,100. Jones said following Trump's announcement that the number of jobs saved is more like 800.
Syria's Assad says victory in Aleppo won't end the war BEIRUT (AP) - President Bashar Assad said in comments published Thursday that Syrian forces' victory in the battle for Aleppo will be a "big gain" for his government but that it will not end of the country's civil war. Assad's comments came as his troops were pushing further into the rebel-held enclave in eastern Aleppo, in swift advances that were hardly possible earlier in the bitter conflict, now in its sixth year. Deeply divided since 2012 between Syrian government and rebel-controlled areas, more than three quarters of the rebel section have now fallen under the government's control, including the symbolically important ancient Aleppo quarters.
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Pirates preying on Venezuelan fishermen as industry unravels PUNTA DE ARAYA, Venezuela (AP) - The pirates had killed Flaco Marval's brother and two cousins, and word was they were coming for the rest of the family. So the skinny 17-year-old and the other Marval men ran to grab the guns they'd soldered together from kitchen pipes, smoked an acrid-smelling drug to boost their energy, and went out into the night to patrol the sandy village streets. Flaco was flying high. "We just have to kill these thugs, and then we can go back to fishing like we always did," he said. Pirates are terrorizing the coastal state of Sucre, once home to the world's fourth-largest tuna fleet and a thriving fishing industry.
Aid groups descend on Indonesia quake zone; deaths reach 102 MEUREUDU, Indonesia (AP) - Humanitarian organizations descended on Indonesia's Aceh province Thursday as the local disaster agency called for urgent food supplies and officials raced to assess the full extent of damage from an earthquake that killed more than 100 people. Volunteers and nearly 1,500 rescue personnel concentrated their search on the hard-hit town of Meureudu in Pidie Jaya district near the epicenter of the magnitude 6.5 quake that hit before dawn Wednesday. But the small number of heavy excavators on the scene meant progress was slow. Humanitarian assessment teams fanned out to other areas of the district. National Disaster Mitigation Agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said the death toll had risen to 102 and warned it could increase.
Pizza shop gunman says he regrets how he handled situation SALISBURY, N.C. (AP) - The man accused of firing an assault rifle inside a Washington restaurant said he regrets how he handled the situation but refused to completely dismiss the false online claims involving a child sex ring that brought him there. "I just wanted to do some good and went about it the wrong way," Edgar Maddison Welch, who's been jailed since his Sunday arrest, told The New York Times in a Wednesday videoconference. Welch, 28, told the newspaper he started driving to Washington from his Salisbury, North Carolina, home intending only to give the Comet Ping Pong pizza restaurant a "closer look." But while on the way, he said he felt his "heart breaking over the thought of innocent people suffering." Welch would not say why he brought an AR-15 into the pizza shop and fired it, the newspaper reported.
Parisians grapple with worst winter pollution in a decade PARIS (AP) - Under deceptively blue skies, the marvels of Paris beckoned. But art dealer Sophie Vigourous wore a face mask to appreciate them because of the pollution. The 38-year-old has lung cancer, putting her in the groups most at risk from the toxic, throat-tickling broth of tiny particles - far smaller than the width of a human hair - blanketing France's capital and other cities. It has prompted vehicle bans and other extraordinary but only moderately effective anti-pollution measures. When viewed from the 210-meter (690-feet) tall Montparnasse Tower, Paris' tallest skyscraper, the city's worst episode of winter pollution in a decade was clearly visible, a brown haze punctured by the Eiffel Tower.
Woman described as Canada's Rosa Parks to appear on banknote GATINEAU, Quebec (AP) - A black woman often described as Canada's Rosa Parks for her 1946 decision to sit in a whites-only section of a Nova Scotia movie theater will be the first Canadian woman to be celebrated on the face of a Canadian banknote. Finance Minister Bill Morneau said Thursday that Viola Desmond will grace the front of the $10 bill when the next series goes into circulation in 2018. A businesswoman turned civil libertarian, Desmond built a business as a beautician and mentored young black women in Nova Scotia. It was in 1946 when she rejected racial discrimination by sitting in a whites-only section of a New Glasgow movie theatre.
Coca-Cola's new push: Pair Coke with lobster, paella, ramen NEW YORK (AP) - What beverage goes best with lobster rolls, a bagel sandwich stuffed with whitefish, or a bowl of ramen? Coke wants you to think of soda. Coca-Cola is trying to sell more of its flagship beverage by suggesting the cola can accompany a wide range of meals, rather than just the fast food and pizza with which it's a mainstay. It's why a recent TV ad featured a young couple grabbling mini-Cokes while making paella, and why food bloggers were paid to post photos on Instagram of various dishes, paired specifically with glass bottles of Coke that might appeal to the aesthetic of "foodie" culture.
Rolling Stone's Mick Jagger celebrates birth of 8th child NEW YORK (AP) - Mick Jagger's representatives say the rock legend has welcomed the birth of his eighth child. Jagger, the 73-year-old frontman of the Rolling Stones, was on hand Thursday at a New York hospital when girlfriend, Melanie Hamrick, gave birth to the couple's son. According to a statement, both parents are "delighted" and "mother and baby are doing well." Jagger already has seven children - Georgia, James, Jade, Elizabeth, Lucas, Karis and Gabriel - who range in age from their 40s to teenagers. He became a great-grandfather in May 2014 when Jade's daughter, Assisi, gave birth to a baby girl.