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End of transgender bathroom rule gets conservative praise
WASHINGTON (AP) - Conservatives are praising the Trump administration's rollback of public school bathroom requirements for transgender students, saying the move corrects a legal overreach by the Obama administration that is best left for states to decide. Transgender rights advocates, meanwhile, are vowing to overcome a major setback. "We're not discouraged. And we're going to keep fighting like we have been and keep fighting for the right thing," said Gavin Grimm, a transgender teen who sued his Virginia high school over its bathroom access policy and whose case is set to be heard by the Supreme Court next month. The Justice and Education departments said Wednesday that public schools no longer need to abide by the Obama-era directive instructing them to allow transgender students to use bathrooms and locker rooms of their chosen gender.


US, Mexico at odds over deportation as top officials meet
MEXICO CITY (AP) - Mexico's mounting unease and resentment over President Donald Trump's immigration crackdown are looming over a gathering of U.S. and Mexican leaders that the U.S. had hoped would project a strong future for relations between neighbors. There is no shortage of tension points as U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly meet Thursday with top Mexican officials. After all, it's Kelly who's tasked with executing Trump's plan to target millions for possible deportation, and Tillerson who must explain it to the rest of the world. As the pair arrived in Mexico City, the two countries seemed much farther apart than their close geographical proximity would suggest.


10 Things to Know for Today
Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about today: 1. DIVIDED U.S. REACTS TO NEW TRANSGENDER POLICY Conservatives praise the Trump administration's rollback of public school bathroom requirements for transgender students, while transgender rights advocates vow to overcome a major setback. 2. UNEASE HANGS OVER MEXICO DIPLOMACY Resentment over the proposed border wall and immigration crackdown in the U.S. threatens to sour a meeting between Mexico's president and Trump's chiefs of diplomacy and homeland security. 3. IRAQIS ADVANCE IN FIGHT TO DRIVE MILITANTS FROM MOSUL Iraqi forces enter Mosul International Airport and take over the runway amid fierce clashes with Islamic State militants in the country's second-largest city.


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US-backed Iraqi forces enter Mosul airport, military base
BAGHDAD (AP) - Iraqi forces backed by the U.S.-led international coalition fought their way Thursday into a sprawling military base outside of Mosul and onto the grounds of the city's airport, taking control of the runway amid fierce exchanges of fire with Islamic State group militants. The two-pronged advance is part of a major assault that started earlier this week to drive IS from the western half of Mosul, Iraq's second-largest city Iraqi federal police units, backed by regular army forces, entered the airport Thursday morning, according to two police officials who said heavy clashes were underway hours later with IS militants hunkered down inside several airport buildings.


AP Analysis: Why Venezuelans have lost hope life will change
CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) - Venezuela is so short on food that tens of thousands are going hungry or even starving. Its murder rate is among the highest in the world. Its economy is so crippled that the average shopper spends 35 hours a month waiting in line - three times more than in 2014. Yet even as the country becomes increasingly unlivable, the socialist government is more entrenched than it has been in years. A sense of hopelessness has settled over what was once among the richest nations in South America, a belief that nothing will really change. To understand why people have given up, look at Jhorman Valero and his family.


AP Analysis: Damage control N. Korea style: Deny and attack
TOKYO (AP) - Faced with the killing of its leader's half brother in what appears to have all the trappings of a politically motivated hit, North Korea is turning up the volume on a familiar defense: Flatly deny the allegations, viciously attack the accusers. It's a position the North has been in before, from dismissing U.N. reports outlining human rights abuses or the findings to disputing who threw the first punch in the Korean War. But, while master of the message at home, rarely, if ever, has Pyongyang managed to effectively sway world opinion. With evidence emerging that seems to strongly implicate some kind of North Korea connection to the killing of Kim Jong Un's estranged half brother Kim Jong Nam, the North is intensifying its public attack on the officials in charge of the investigation in Malaysia.


Governor: Dakota Access protesters can leave without arrest
CANNON BALL, N.D. (AP) - A few dozen people still occupying a sprawling encampment on federal land to protest construction of the Dakota Access oil pipeline will have another chance to leave peacefully Thursday, North Dakota's governor said, after public officials pleaded with the self-named "water protectors" to leave so the site can be cleared. Most of the protesters marched out of the area ahead of the 2 p.m. Wednesday deadline imposed by the Army Corps of Engineers. Authorities arrested 10 people who defied the order in a final show of dissent. North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum said law enforcement officers remained outside the camp.


Conservatives learn dealing with Trump can be complicated
WASHINGTON (AP) - For the past eight years, thousands of conservative activists have descended on Washington each spring with dreams of putting a Republican in the White House. This year, they're learning reality can be complicated. With Donald Trump's presidential victory, the future of the conservative movement has become entwined with an unconventional New York businessman better known for his deal-making than any ideological principles. It's an uneasy marriage of political convenience at best. Some conservatives worry whether they can trust their new president to follow decades of orthodoxy on issues like international affairs, small government, abortion and opposition to expanded legal protections for LGBT Americans - and what it means for their movement if he doesn't.


7 Earth-size worlds found orbiting star; could hold life
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) - For the first time, astronomers have discovered seven Earth-size planets orbiting a single nearby star - and these new worlds could hold life. This cluster of planets is less than 40 light-years away in the constellation Aquarius, according to NASA and the Belgian-led research team who announced the discovery Wednesday. The planets circle tightly around a dim dwarf star called Trappist-1, barely the size of Jupiter. Three are in the so-called habitable zone, the area around a star where water and, possibly life, might exist. The others are right on the doorstep. Scientists said they need to study the atmospheres before determining whether these rocky, terrestrial planets could support some sort of life.


Conservative activist James O'Keefe to release CNN tapes
NEW YORK (AP) - Conservative activist James O'Keefe has announced plans to release recordings Thursday morning that he says were made secretly inside CNN. O'Keefe tells the network in an interview that the media is a "huge target" of his and he's targeting CNN specifically because it "has a very important role as an arbiter of news." The network has drawn the ire of President Donald Trump, who has repeatedly labeled it "fake news." A CNN spokeswoman didn't immediately return a request for comment on O'Keefe's announcement. O'Keefe became well-known in 2009 after posing as a pimp in a video to embarrass community-organizing group ACORN.