The Patriot Ledger, Quincy, MA
AP Top News at 10:46 a.m. EDT

Trump keeps up attacks on escalating Russia investigation
WASHINGTON (AP) - President Donald Trump kept up his attack on the escalating Russia investigation, insisting in a new tweet Monday that it was "a total WITCH HUNT with massive conflicts of interest!" The comment came a day after a top White House lawyer tried to calm speculation that the president was considering firing the special counsel leading the probe. White House lawyer Ty Cobb offered a statement late Sunday after top congressional Republicans warned of repercussions if Trump fired special counsel Robert Mueller, who is looking into contacts between Trump's 2016 campaign and Russia and Russian meddling in the presidential election.

Police chief: 4th bombing shows 'different level of skill'
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - Texas' capital city was rocked by the fourth bombing this month, which injured two people and which the police chief says was caused by a tripwire and showed "a different level of skill" than the package bombs used in the three prior attacks. Police Chief Brian Manley also told ABC's "Good Morning America" on Monday that both men who were injured in Sunday night's explosion in the southwestern Austin neighborhood of Travis Country are white, unlike the victims in the three earlier attacks, who were black or Hispanic. He said the men were riding or pushing bicycles when the explosives detonated, which differs from the first three attacks, which involved package bombs left on people's doorsteps.

Kushner Cos. filed false documents on rent-regulated tenants
NEW YORK (AP) - When the Kushner Cos. bought three apartment buildings in a gentrifying neighborhood of Queens in 2015, most of the tenants were protected by special rules that prevent developers from pushing them out, raising rents and turning a tidy profit. But that's exactly what the company then run by Jared Kushner did, and with remarkable speed. Two years later, it sold all three buildings for $60 million, nearly 50 percent more than it paid. Now a clue has emerged as to how President Donald Trump's son-in-law's firm was able to move so fast: The Kushner Cos. routinely filed false paperwork with the city declaring it had zero rent-regulated tenants in dozens of buildings it owned across the city when, in fact, it had hundreds.

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The Latest: Putin calls for unity to solve Russia's problems
President Vladimir Putin says all political forces in Russia must unite efforts to solve the country's problems. Putin, who won 77 percent of Sunday's vote, his best ever election performance, said at a Kremlin meeting with seven other candidates who challenged him that the focus should be on raising living standards and solving other domestic issues. The Russian leader on Monday emphasized the need to encourage economic growth and innovation, improve health care and education and modernize infrastructure. He said the key goal is to combat poverty and reduce the gap between the rich and the poor.

What to expect from Putin and a resurgent Russia
MOSCOW (AP) - Vladimir Putin now has a stronger hold on Russia - and stronger place in the world - thanks to an overwhelming mandate for yet another term as president. His domestic opponents are largely resigned to another six years in the shadows. His foreign opponents are mired in their own problems, from Britain's messy exit from the European Union to chaos and contradiction in the Trump administration. Even widespread voting violations are unlikely to dent Putin's armor. And accusations that he meddled in the U.S. election and sponsored a nerve agent attack in Britain have only bolstered his standing at home.

4 people injured when trains collide, derail in Kentucky
GEORGETOWN, Ky. (AP) - Two freight trains collided and derailed shortly before midnight, injuring four people and igniting a fire that forced nearby residents to evacuate, authorities said Monday. Nearby residents were evacuated "out of an abundance of caution after the crash was reported at 11:14 p.m., Lexington Fire Lt. Jessica Bowman told The Associated Press. Bowman said she couldn't confirm what substance had spilled and was burning, but the people were allowed to return home once safety risks were ruled out. Police told the Scott County School superintendent, Kevin Hub, to open schools as emergency shelters, and buses were sent to the neighborhood to collect people without transportation.

The Latest: Turkey vows to expand Syria operation
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says that after victory in Syria's Afrin region, his country will expand its military operations into other Kurdish-held areas in Syria as well as to Iraq's Sinjar region. Speaking at a ceremony for judicial appointments in Ankara, Erdogan said troops would target the Syrian city of Manbij, as well as Ayn al-Arab, also known as Kobani, and other towns along the border to the east of the Euphrates River. Those areas are controlled by U.S.-backed Syrian Kurdish forces and U.S. troops are stationed there. Erdogan said Turkish troops could also cross into Iraq to drive out Kurdish militants from the region of Sinjar, if the Iraqi government is reluctant to oust militants from the area.

6 months after Mexico quake some still camp outside homes
MEXICO CITY (AP) - Under a patchwork shelter of overlapping tarps and repurposed vinyl advertisements, several dozen residents of 18 Independence Street pack cheek by jowl into donated tents in the street near their building, which was damaged in the Sept. 19 earthquake. Six months after the temblor, improvised camps like this one erected by displaced residents are among the most visible signs that not everyone has moved on from the earthquake that killed 228 people in Mexico City and 141 more elsewhere. Mexico City Reconstruction Commissioner Edgar Oswaldo Tungui Rodriguez said there are 27 such camps around the capital, but denied that people were living in any of them.

What. Just. Happened?! NCAAs amp up the March Madness
One word succinctly describes what's transpired so far in the NCAA Tournament: Madness. But even that's probably underselling it. A comeback for the ages by Nevada. An entire region left without a Top 4 seed in the Sweet 16 for the first time in tourney history. The 16-seed winner UMBC, falling short in its attempt to extend its historic run as underdog darlings. Oh, and defending national champion North Carolina is out, routed in its own state by Texas A&M. And that was just on Sunday. When No. 1 seed Xavier was bounced, too. A memorable, zany first two rounds - even by March Madness standards - set up what could be another wild two weekends in a tournament where anything can become reality.

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