Obama shortens Manning's term, grants clemency to hundreds WASHINGTON (AP) - President Barack Obama granted clemency to Chelsea Manning on Tuesday, allowing the transgender Army intelligence officer convicted of leaking more than 700,000 U.S. documents to go free nearly three decades early. Embracing his clemency powers days before leaving office, Obama also pardoned 64 individuals including retired Gen. James Cartwright, charged with making false statements during another leak probe. Manning was one of 209 inmates with sentences commuted by Obama, who has now granted more commutations than any other president in history. Neil Eggleston, Obama's White House counsel, said the individuals would learn "that our nation is a forgiving nation, where hard work and a commitment to rehabilitation can lead to a second chance, and where wrongs from the past will not deprive an individual of the opportunity to move forward." Manning, Cartwright and Puerto Rican nationalist Oscar Lopez Rivera were the more prominent names on a list otherwise made up mostly of nonviolent drug offenders.
With clemency for Manning, attention turns to WikiLeaks head WASHINGTON (AP) - President Barack Obama's decision Tuesday to commute Chelsea Manning's sentence brought fresh attention to another figure involved in the Army leaker's case: Julian Assange. On Twitter last week, Assange's anti-secrecy site WikiLeaks posted, "If Obama grants Manning clemency Assange will agree to US extradition despite clear unconstitutionality of DoJ case." Obama's move will test the promise. The president commuted Manning's 35-year sentence, freeing her in May, nearly three decades early. Manning has acknowledged leaking a trove of diplomatic cables and national security documents to WikiLeaks in 2010. In a statement, Assange called Manning "a hero, whose bravery should be applauded." Assange went on to demand that the U.S.
10 Things to Know for Wednesday Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Wednesday: 1. OBAMA COMMUTES CHELSEA MANNING'S PRISON SENTENCE The president's action in his final days in office will allow the convicted Army leaker to go free nearly three decades early. 2. PUTIN TAKES PARTING SHOT AT OBAMA The Russian leader accuses the outdoing administration of trying to undermine the legitimacy of Trump's election with fake allegations. 3. TRUMP PICK FOR EDUCATION SECRETARY PUSHES SCHOOL CHOICE At the same time, Betsy DeVos, during a sometimes contentious confirmation hearing, pledges not to dismantle public education. 4. HOW BRITAIN'S BREXIT IS PLAYING OUT In a long-awaited speech, Prime Minister Theresa May makes clear that the U.K.
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Putin: Obama administration trying to undermine Trump MOSCOW (AP) - President Vladimir Putin took a parting shot at the Obama administration Tuesday, accusing it of trying to undermine Donald Trump's legitimacy with fake allegations and "binding the president-elect hand and foot to prevent him from fulfilling his election promises." In his first public remarks about an unsubstantiated dossier outlining unverified claims that Trump engaged in sexual activities with prostitutes at a Moscow hotel, Putin dismissed the material as "nonsense." "People who order such fakes against the U.S. president-elect, fabricate them and use them in political struggle are worse than prostitutes," Putin said. "They have no moral restrictions whatsoever, and it highlights a significant degree of degradation of political elites in the West, including in the United States." Separately, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said the dossier, compiled by former British spy Christopher Steele, was a "rude provocation." The diplomat contemptuously called its author a "runaway swindler from MI6," Britain's foreign intelligence agency.
DeVos pledges not to undo public education, pushes choice WASHINGTON (AP) - In a sometimes contentious confirmation hearing, education secretary pick Betsy DeVos pledged that she would not seek to dismantle public schools amid questions by Democrats about her qualifications, political donations and long-time work advocating for charter schools and school choice. DeVos said she would address "the needs of all parents and students" but that a one-size fits all model doesn't work in education. But Democrats on the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee grilled the wealthy Republican donor on a range of issues from sexual assault to child care, students with disabilities and making public colleges and universities tuition-free.
Caroline Kennedy leaves Japan after 3 years as US ambassador TOKYO (AP) - Caroline Kennedy is stepping down Wednesday after three years as U.S. ambassador to Japan, where she was welcomed like a celebrity and worked to deepen the U.S.-Japan relationship despite regular flare-ups over American military bases on the southern island of Okinawa. She ruffled some feathers early on by tweeting her opposition to Japan's dolphin hunt, shortly after her embassy issued a statement expressing "disappointment" that Japan's leader had visited a shrine that memorializes World War II war criminals, among others. During her tenure, though, the conservative Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and liberal U.S. President Barack Obama built a relationship of trust despite coming from opposite ends of the political spectrum.
18 million more uninsured if Obamacare killed, not replaced WASHINGTON (AP) - Insurance premiums would soar for millions of Americans and 18 million more would be uninsured in just one year if Republicans scuttle much of President Barack Obama's health care overhaul without a replacement, Congress' budget analysts said Tuesday. Spotlighting potential perils for Republicans, the report immediately became a flashing hazard light for this year's effort by Donald Trump and GOP lawmakers to annul Obama's law and - in a more complicated challenge - institute their own alternative. It also swiftly became political fodder in what is expected to be one of this year's biggest battles in Congress. Republicans have produced several outlines for how they'd redraft Obama's 2010 statute, but they've failed to unite behind one plan.
Bill would let women sue doctors who perform their abortions DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Iowa lawmakers are considering a bill that would allow a woman who gets an abortion to sue the doctor who performed the procedure if she experiences emotional distress later. If approved, it would be the first law of its kind in the U.S. The proposal, which was endorsed Tuesday by a GOP-led three-member panel of lawmakers, would permit the woman to file a lawsuit at any point in her life, something that goes against typical statute of limitation rules. It could also make the state vulnerable to costly court challenges. "What we're asking for is that individuals, doctors and clinics that make money off of women by giving them abortions are simply held accountable," said Sen.
Australia defends end of MH370 hunt; investigation continues SYDNEY (AP) - Australia's Transport Minister Darren Chester said on Wednesday that experts will continue analyzing data and scrutinizing debris washing ashore from Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 in a bid to narrow down where it crashed in the southern Indian Ocean. But Chester declined to specify what kind of breakthrough would convince officials to resume the search for the missing airliner that was suspended this week after almost three years. "When we get some information or data or a breakthrough that leads us to a specific location, the experts will know it when they see it," he told reporters in the southern city of Melbourne.
Janet Napolitano in hospital over side effect of cancer care SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - University of California President Janet Napolitano, a former U.S. Homeland Security secretary and governor of Arizona, has been undergoing cancer treatment for five months and was hospitalized after suffering complications, the school system revealed Tuesday. The UC Office of the President said Napolitano, 59, was diagnosed last August but did not say what type of cancer she has or respond to inquiries seeking further details. Her condition had not previously been made public and emerged after a side effect from treatment sent her to the hospital Monday. Her office said Napolitano has performed her duties at full capacity and is expected to be discharged in the next day or so.