White House tells Russia probers: Come see intel yourselves WASHINGTON (AP) - The White House refused Thursday to say whether it secretly fed intelligence reports to a top Republican lawmaker, fueling concerns about political interference in the investigation into possible coordination between Russia and the 2016 Trump campaign. Fending off the growing criticism, the administration invited lawmakers from both parties to view classified material it said relates to surveillance of the president's associates. The invitation came as The New York Times reported that two White House officials - including an aide whose job was recently saved by President Donald Trump - secretly helped House intelligence committee chairman Devin Nunes examine intelligence information last week.
North Carolina rolls back 'bathroom bill' despite criticism RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - North Carolina rolled back its "bathroom bill" Thursday in a bid to end the yearlong backlash over transgender rights that has cost the state dearly in business projects, conventions and basketball tournaments. The compromise plan , announced Wednesday night by the Democratic governor and leaders of the Republican-controlled legislature, was worked out under mounting pressure from the NCAA, which threatened to take away more sporting events from the basketball-obsessed state as long as the law, also known as House Bill 2, remained on the books. The new measure cleared the House and Senate and was signed by Gov.
Fire causes interstate overpass to collapse in Atlanta ATLANTA (AP) - A large fire has caused an overpass on Interstate 85 to collapse in Atlanta. WSB-TV reports the massive blaze is burning underneath I-85 northbound near Piedmont Road. It has shut down several roads in northeast Atlanta. Witnesses say troopers were telling cars to turn around on the bridge because they were concerned about its integrity. Minutes later, the bridge collapsed. Black smoke can be seen for miles. --- Information from: WSB-TV, http://www.wsbtv.com/index.html
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As GOP schism grows, Trump attacks fellow Republicans WASHINGTON (AP) - President Donald Trump trained his fire on members of his own party Thursday, declaring in the aftermath of the Republican's failed health care push that the conservative Freedom Caucus will hurt the entire GOP agenda. He vowed to "fight them" in 2018 if they don't get behind him. The early-morning tweet from Trump highlighted the growing schism in a Republican party that controls the White House and both branches of Congress yet appears to be teetering on the precipice of a civil war. Republicans plunged into a blame game over the demise of the years-long push to repeal and replace President Barack Obama's signature health care legislation, with members sniping at each other over how much they can work with Democrats - or even the White House.
China's Xi to meet Trump, who predicts 'difficult' meeting BEIJING (AP) - U.S. President Donald Trump will meet with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping for the first time on April 6-7 at Trump's Florida resort, China's Foreign Ministry announced Thursday, amid a range of pressing issues including trade, North Korea and territorial disputes in the South China Sea. Trump predicted "a very difficult" meeting in a tweet just hours after both governments announced the summit. He wrote in part: "We can no longer have massive trade deficits and job losses. American companies must be prepared to look at other alternatives." The relationship between the world's No. 1 and No. 2 economies has been uncertain following the election of Trump, who accused China during his campaign of unfair trade practices and threatened to raise import taxes on Chinese goods and declare Beijing a currency manipulator.
Israeli Cabinet approves new settlement, first in 2 decades JERUSALEM (AP) - Israel's government approved the first West Bank settlement in two decades Thursday, creating the first serious test for U.S. President Donald Trump's new foray into Middle East peacemaking. The White House pointedly avoided any specific condemnation of the announcement, although it said that further settlement activity "does not help advance peace" and that it expects Israel to show restraint moving forward. Still, the relatively tepid response was a far cry from the automatic condemnations voiced by the Obama's administration in reaction to Israeli settlement announcements. The White House statement even went so far as to "welcome" what appears to be a limited Israeli commitment to take Trump's concerns about settlements into "consideration," without any guarantees to avoid similar announcements.
Trump appeals Hawaii judge's new ruling blocking travel ban HONOLULU (AP) - President Donald Trump's administration on Thursday appealed the latest court ruling against his revised travel ban to the same court that refused to reinstate the original version. A day earlier, U.S. District Judge Derrick Watson in Hawaii handed the government its latest defeat by issuing a longer-lasting hold on Trump's executive order. Watson's decision came after the Department of Justice argued for a narrower ruling covering only the ban on new visas for people from six Muslim-majority countries. The department urged the judge to allow a freeze on the U.S. refugee program to go forward. Government attorney Chad Readler said halting the flow of refugees had no effect on Hawaii and the state has not shown how it is harmed by the ban.
S. Korean ex-president jailed over corruption allegations SEOUL, South Korea (AP) - South Korea's disgraced former President Park Geun-hye was arrested and jailed Friday over high-profile corruption allegations that already ended her tumultuous four-year rule and prompted an election to find her successor. A convoy of vehicles, including a black sedan carrying Park, entered a detention facility near Seoul after the Seoul Central District Court granted prosecutors' request to arrest her. Many Park supporters waved national flags and shouted "president" as Park's car entered the facility. Prosecutors can detain her for up to 20 days before formally charging her, meaning she will likely be in jail while her case is heard.
SpaceX launches its first recycled rocket in historic leap CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) - SpaceX successfully launched and then retrieved its first recycled rocket Thursday, the biggest leap yet in its bid to drive down costs and speed up flights. The Falcon 9 blasted off from Florida's Kennedy Space Center, hoisting a broadcasting satellite into the clear early evening sky on the historic rocket reflight. It was the first time SpaceX founder Elon Musk tried to fly a booster that soared before on an orbital mission. He was at a loss for words after the booster landed on the bull's-eye of the ocean platform following liftoff, just off the east Florida coast.
Frank Mason of Kansas, Gonzaga's Mark Few win AP awards GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) - No piece of hardware could take Frank Mason III's mind off what could have been. The senior point guard from Kansas received the AP Player of the Year trophy Thursday at the Final Four. He was there without his teammates since the Jayhawks were eliminated in the regional final by Oregon. I've still been thinking about it. It's been on my mind a lot," Mason said when asked if he had gotten over that loss. "And I just have to move on to what's next. And I just look at the bigger picture and focus on everything that I can control." Mason said he expected to be at the Final Four with his teammates and coaches.