Trump team challenges intel on Russian election influence WASHINGTON (AP) - Donald Trump's presidential transition team on Saturday challenged the veracity of U.S. intelligence assessments that Russia was trying to tip the November election to the Republican. A top Senate Democrat demanded a full congressional investigation. The CIA has now concluded with "high confidence" that Moscow was not only interfering with the election, but that its actions were intended to help Trump, according to a senior U.S. official. The assessment is based in part on evidence that Russian actors had hacked Republicans as well as Democrats but were only releasing information harmful to Trump's rival, Hillary Clinton. The official was not authorized to discuss the private intelligence assessment publicly and insisted on anonymity.
Trump expected to tap Exxon's Tillerson for State Dept. post WASHINGTON (AP) - President-elect Donald Trump moved closer to nominating Exxon Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson as his secretary of State Saturday, meeting privately with the business leader for the second time in a week. Trump's transition team cautioned that no announcement was expected over the weekend. Trump has privately signaled that he plans to tap Tillerson for the powerful Cabinet post, but had not formally offered him the job as of Saturday afternoon, according to people who have spoken with Trump and his transition team. Some advisers worry that Tillerson's ties to Russia would lead to a contentious Senate confirmation hearing and keep alive questions about Trump's own relationship with Moscow.
Blasts hit near Istanbul soccer stadium, wound 20 police ISTANBUL (AP) - Two explosions struck Saturday night outside a major soccer stadium in Istanbul after fans had gone home, an attack that wounded about 20 police officers, Turkish authorities said. One of the blasts was thought to be a car bomb and the second appeared to have been caused by a suicide bomber. Police cordoned off the area as smoke rose from behind the newly built Vodafone Arena Stadium, known colloquially as Besiktas Stadium after the local team and neighborhood. Witnesses also heard gunfire after the explosions. The first and larger explosion took place about 10:30 p.m. after the home team Besiktas beat visitor Bursaspor 2-1 in the Turkish Super League.
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Islamic State militants re-enter Syria's historic Palmyra BEIRUT (AP) - Islamic State militants re-entered the historic city of Palmyra in central Syria on Saturday for the first time since they were expelled by Syrian and Russian forces nine months ago. The activist-run Palmyra Coordination network said the militants had nearly encircled the city and entered its northern and northwestern neighborhoods. The group, which maintains contacts inside the city, said IS fighters were approaching the city's UNESCO heritage site as well. Osama al-Khatib said government soldiers were fleeing Palmyra. "The army as an institution has dissolved," he said. Some soldiers and militiamen remain in the city, along with 120 families who have not been able to leave, Khatib said.
KKK, other racist groups disavow the white supremacist label PELHAM, N.C. (AP) - In today's racially charged environment, there's a label that even the KKK disavows: white supremacy. Standing on a muddy dirt road in the dead of night near the North Carolina-Virginia border, masked Ku Klux Klan members claimed Donald Trump's election as president proves whites are taking back America from blacks, immigrants, Jews and other groups they describe as criminals and freeloaders. America was founded by and for whites, they say, and only whites can run a peaceful, productive society. But still, the KKK members insisted in an interview with The Associated Press, they're not white supremacists, a label that is gaining traction in the country since Trump won with the public backing of the Klan, neo-Nazis and other white racists.
Non-OPEC oil producers to cut output 558,000 barrels a day VIENNA (AP) - OPEC has persuaded 11 non-members to cut oil production, a move aimed at draining a worldwide oil glut and boosting low prices that have squeezed government finances in Russia and Saudi Arabia. Officials said Saturday that non-members agreed to cut 558,000 barrels per day for six months starting Jan. 1, and that the deal was renewable for another six months after that. The figure was less than the 600,000 barrels a day that OPEC had hoped for. Those non-member cuts come on top of an OPEC decision Nov. 30 to reduce member output by 1.2 million barrels a day.
Workers at endangered Indiana plant feel forgotten by Trump HUNTINGTON, Ind. (AP) - A full parking lot and 50-hour workweeks belie the anxiety at the United Technologies-owned factory outside a small northeastern Indiana city, where Mike Harmon and co-workers wonder whether they aren't just stockpiling parts for when the company sends their 700 jobs to Mexico. Their situation has gained scant attention compared to the sister Carrier Corp. factory two hours away in Indianapolis, which became a rallying cause against plant closures during the presidential campaign and where President-elect Donald Trump intervened to stem some - not all - job losses. "I don't think they look at us, being from a small town ..." said Harmon, a 44-year-old Huntington native who's worked at the factory for seven years.
The Latest: Trump edges toward Tillerson for State President-elect Donald Trump is moving closer to nominating Exxon Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson as his secretary of state, following a private meeting with the business leader. That's according to several people who have spoken with Trump and his transition team. Trump has privately signaled to associates that he plans to tap Tillerson for the powerful Cabinet post, but had not formally offered him the job as of Saturday afternoon. Some advisers worry that Tillerson's ties to Russia would lead to a contentious Senate confirmation hearing and keep alive questions about Trump's own relationship with Moscow. The people who have spoken with Trump and his transition team insisted on anonymity because they were not authorized to publicly disclose the internal deliberations.
Recounts bring Stein publicity that eluded her on the trail Long before presidential recounts crossed her mind, trash dumping and mercury contamination pushed Jill Stein into politics. Stein, a physician, joined a 1990s movement to shut down or better regulate mercury-polluting incinerators in Massachusetts. She authored papers on child neurological damage and spoke at public gatherings. She testified at hearings as a medical expert. Massachusetts eventually enacted strict limits on mercury emissions, and a few incinerators closed. But Stein had begun to see the system as set up to block change, and when the Green Party recruited her to run for governor in 2002, she took the chance. "I was part of a very frustrated public health initiative, and then the Green Party came to me and said, 'Why don't you run for office?'" Stein said in an October interview with The Associated Press.
Colombia's Santos accepts Nobel, urges shift in drug war STOCKHOLM (AP) - Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos accepted the Nobel Peace Prize on Saturday, saying it helped his country achieve the "impossible dream" of ending a half-century-long civil war. A smiling Santos received his Nobel diploma and gold medal at a ceremony in Oslo, Norway, for his efforts to end a conflict that has killed 220,000 people and displaced 8 million. "Ladies and gentlemen, there is one less war in the world, and it is the war in Colombia," the 65-year-old head of state said, referring to the historic peace deal this year with leftist rebels from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC.