AP Top News at 7:12 p.m. EST

Trump taps military strategist as national security adviser
PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) - President Donald Trump has tapped Army Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster, a prominent military strategist known as a creative thinker, as his new national security adviser, replacing the ousted Michael Flynn. Trump announced the pick Monday at his Palm Beach, Florida, club and said McMaster is "a man of tremendous talent and tremendous experience." Sitting next to Trump for the announcement, McMaster said he was honored to take on the role and added that he looks forward to "doing everything that I can to advance and protect the interests of the American people." The president's choice further elevates the influence of military officers in the new administration.


Trump tries to move past controversies, toward legislating
WASHINGTON (AP) - As President Donald Trump begins his second month in office, his team is trying to move past the crush of controversies that overtook his first month and make progress on health care and tax overhauls long sought by Republicans. Both issues thrust Trump, a real estate executive who has never held elected office, into the unfamiliar world of legislating. The president has thus far relied exclusively on executive powers to muscle through policy priorities and has offered few details about what he'll require in any final legislative packages, like how the proposals should be paid for. The White House also sent conflicting signals about whether the president will send Congress his own legislative blueprints or let lawmakers drive the process.


Conservative group cancels speech by Yiannopoulos
LOS ANGELES (AP) - Right-wing provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos has been disinvited to this year's Conservative Political Action Conference after his attempt to clarify past comments on relationships between boys and older men fell flat with organizers. Hours later, his publisher cancelled his book "Dangerous," which had been scheduled to come out in June. The American Conservative Union founded and hosts CPAC, is being held Wednesday through Saturday outside Washington. In a tweet on Monday, ACU chairman Matt Schlapp said that "due to the revelation of an offensive video in the past 24 hours condoning pedophilia, the American Conservative Union has decided to rescind the invitation of Milo Yiannopoulos to speak."


Watch Top News Video




Russia's ambassador to United Nations falls ill, dies at 64
NEW YORK (AP) - Russia's ambassador to the United Nations, a veteran diplomat known as a potent, savvy yet personable voice for his country's interests who could both spar and get along with his Western counterparts, died suddenly Monday after falling ill in his office at Russia's U.N. mission. Vitaly Churkin was taken to a hospital, where he died a day before his 65th birthday, said Russia's deputy U.N. ambassador, Vladimir Safronkov. The cause of his death was unknown. As Russia's envoy at the United Nations since 2006 and a diplomat for decades, Churkin was considered Moscow's great champion at the U.N., where he was the longest-serving ambassador on the powerful Security Council.


Thousands of demonstrators across US say 'Not My President'
Thousands of demonstrators turned out Monday across the U.S. to challenge Donald Trump in a Presidents Day protest dubbed Not My President's Day. The events on the federal holiday didn't draw nearly as many people as the million-plus who thronged the streets following the Republican president's inauguration a month earlier, but the message was similar. Thousands of flag-waving protesters lined up outside Central Park in Manhattan. Many in the crowd chanted "No ban, no wall. The Trump regime has got to fall." They held aloft signs saying "Uphold the Constitution Now" and "Impeach the Liar." A rally in downtown Los Angeles also drew thousands.


Iraqi troops advance on western Mosul as Mattis holds talks
SOUTH OF MOSUL, Iraq (AP) - Iraqi forces advanced Monday into the southern outskirts of Mosul on the second day of a push to drive Islamic State militants from the city's western half, as the visiting U.S. defense secretary met with officials to discuss the fight against the extremists. With aerial support from the U.S.-led coalition, Iraqi police and army troops launched the offensive Sunday, part of a 100-day-old campaign that has already driven the militants from the eastern half of the city. Iraqi helicopters fired rockets at the village of Abu Saif early Monday, targeting a hill that overlooks the city's airport.


N. Korean envoy blasts Malaysians, calls for joint probe
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) - North Korea's ambassador to Malaysia denounced the country's investigation into the death of the exiled half brother of North Korea's ruler, calling it politically motivated and demanding a joint probe amid increasingly bitter exchanges between the once-friendly nations. Malaysia responded with its own accusations, with a foreign ministry statement saying the ambassador's comments were "culled from delusions, lies and half-truths." Earlier Monday, Malaysia said it was recalling its ambassador to Pyongyang. The diplomatic spat comes in the wake of the death last week of Kim Jong Nam, who died after apparently being poisoned in the Kuala Lumpur airport.


Teen suicide attempts fell as same-sex marriage became legal
CHICAGO (AP) - Teen suicide attempts in the U.S. declined after same-sex marriage became legal and the biggest impact was among gay, lesbian and bisexual kids, a study found. The research found declines in states that passed laws allowing gays to marry before the Supreme Court made it legal nationwide. The results don't prove there's a connection, but researchers said policymakers should be aware of the measures' potential benefits for youth mental health. Suicide is the second-leading cause of death for all U.S. teens. Suicidal behavior is much more common among gay, lesbian and bisexual kids and adults; about 29 percent of these teens in the study reported attempting suicide, compared with just 6 percent of straight teens.


AP, other media ask judge to order release of iPhone records
WASHINGTON (AP) - The Associated Press and two other news organizations asked a judge Monday to force the federal government to reveal how much it paid for a tool to unlock an iPhone used by one of the San Bernardino, California, shooters. The news organizations said in a court filing there was "no adequate justification" for the FBI to continue to withhold information on the cost of the tool or the identity of the vendor that sold it. They said their requests were narrowly tailored and, contrary to the arguments of the FBI and Justice Department, did not seek information that would jeopardize national security or be exploited by America's enemies.


Special delivery: US-born panda cub Bao Bao bound for China
WASHINGTON (AP) - The National Zoo is packing up its American-born panda cub Bao Bao for a one-way flight to China, where the 3-year-old will eventually join a panda breeding program. The cub won't have to worry about finding overhead bin space or dealing with a talkative seatmate on the 16-hour, nonstop flight Tuesday afternoon into Wednesday. She'll be the only panda on the plane, traveling with a keeper and a veterinarian. Her accommodations are first class, too: a special metal crate the size of a double bed she can stretch out in. A sticker on its outside announces its contents: "one panda."