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AP Top News at 2:45 a.m. EDT

Back home after foreign trip, Trump faces slew of challenges
WASHINGTON (AP) - His whirlwind foreign trip complete, President Donald Trump faces a slew of political and policy challenges at home and mushrooming inquiries into allegations that Russia meddled in the U.S. election and had improper dealings with his campaign and associates. Trump returned to Washington late Saturday after a nine-day trip to the Middle East and Europe, his first trip abroad as president. Awaiting him were reports that his son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner, spoke with Russia's ambassador to the United States about setting up secret communications with Moscow during the presidential transition. White House aides prepared for potential changes ahead, with the president mulling a staff overhaul amid frustrations over what he views as his communication team's failures to push back against allegations.


Rocker Gregg Allman dies at age 69; sang and lived the blues
SAVANNAH, Ga. (AP) - Gregg Allman, a survivor of tragedy, knew the blues musically and in a painfully personal way. Raised by a single mother after his father was shot to death, he idolized his guitar-slinging older brother, Duane, and became his musical partner. They formed the nucleus of The Allman Brothers Band, which helped define the Southern rock sound of the 1970s. Their songs such as "Whipping Post," ''Ramblin' Man" and "Midnight Rider" laid the foundation for the genre and opened the doors for groups like Lynyrd Skynyrd and the Marshall Tucker Band. Gregg Allman, whose bluesy vocals and soulful touch on the Hammond B-3 organ helped propel the Allman Brothers Band to superstardom, died Saturday.


AP source: Kushner sought secret communications with Russia
WASHINGTON (AP) - Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump's son-in-law and a top White House adviser, proposed a secret back channel between the Kremlin and the Trump transition team during a December meeting with the Russian ambassador to the U.S. Kushner spoke with Ambassador Sergey Kislyak about creating that line of communication to facilitate sensitive discussions aimed at exploring the incoming administration's options with Russia as it was developing its Syria policy, a person familiar with the discussions told The Associated Press. The intent was to connect Trump's chief national security adviser at the time, Michael Flynn, with Russian military leaders, said this person, who wasn't authorized to publicly discuss private policy deliberations and spoke on condition of anonymity.


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UK police show photo of concert bomber, ask public for info
MANCHESTER, England (AP) - British police on Saturday released surveillance-camera images of the Manchester concert bomber on the night of the attack as they appealed for more information about his final days. Authorities said they had made major progress in unravelling the plot behind the concert bombing but acknowledged there were still gaps in their knowledge. Britain reduced its terrorism threat level a notch Saturday, from "critical" to "severe," yet security remained high as jittery residents tried to enjoy a long holiday weekend. Armed police officers and soldiers were deployed at soccer matches, concerts and other big events. Abedi, a 22-year-old Briton of Libyan descent, died in Monday's explosion, which killed 22 others and wounded nearly 120 as crowds were leaving an Ariana Grande concert.


BA outage creates London travel chaos; power issue blamed
LONDON (AP) - British Airways canceled all flights from London's Heathrow and Gatwick airports on Saturday as a global IT failure upended the travel plans of tens of thousands of people on a busy U.K. holiday weekend. The airline said it was suffering a "major IT systems failure" around the world. Chief executive Alex Cruz said "we believe the root cause was a power-supply issue and we have no evidence of any cyberattack." He said the crash had affected "all of our check-in and operational systems." BA operates hundreds of flights from the two London airports on a typical day - and both are major hubs for worldwide travel.


Philippines says militants shot dead at least 16 civilians
MARAWI, Philippines (AP) - Philippine troops found the bodies of 16 civilians in the streets as they fought Sunday to drive out militants linked to the Islamic State group who have occupied parts of a southern city. The overall death toll was 92. The dead civilians included a group of four men, three women and a child who were found near a road close to the Mindanao State University in Marawi, said military spokesman Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla. Eight other men were found gunned down and thrown in a shallow ravine early Sunday in Marawi's Emi village, said police officer Jamail Mangadang.


Australia's most notorious drug smuggler returns from Bali
SYDNEY (AP) - Australian drug smuggler Schapelle Corby, whose trial and imprisonment on Indonesia's tourist island of Bali mesmerized her country for more than a decade, returned home Sunday. Corby landed in the Queensland capital of Brisbane early Sunday morning, after she was deported from Bali amid a frenzy of journalists. More than 200 police officers were deployed to secure her departure from Denpasar, Bali's capital, said Ida Bagus Adnyana, who heads Bali's Justice and Human Rights office. "Corby signed a document to end her parole. She is completely free now," he said. Back on Australian soil, she managed to evade the waiting media throng and slip out of the airport unseen.


Mayor: 'Heroes' died protecting women from anti-Muslim rant
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) - Police said Saturday they'll examine what appears to be the extremist ideology of an Oregon man accused of fatally stabbing two men who tried to intervene when the suspect yelled racial slurs at two young women who appeared to be Muslim on a Portland light-rail train. The attack Friday happened on the first day of Ramadan, the holiest time of the year for Muslims, and it sent shockwaves through a city that prides itself on its tolerance and liberal views. A memorial where the stabbing occurred grew steadily Saturday, and a vigil was planned. "That people feel emboldened to come out and show their racism and bigotry in that way is horrifying to me.


Mother of Uber CEO Travis Kalanick killed in boat accident
FRESNO, Calif. (AP) - The mother of the CEO of the ride-hailing company Uber died in a boat accident in a California lake, the company said. Bonnie Kalanick, 71, died after the boat she and her husband, Donald, 78, were riding in hit a rock in Pine Flat Lake and sank, Fresno County authorities said. They are the parents of Travis Kalanick, 40, who founded Uber in 2009. The company has since grown to become an international operation with a market value of nearly $70 billion. The Kalanicks, from the Northridge neighborhood of Los Angeles, have been longtime boaters. In a memo to Uber staff, Liane Hornsey, the chief human resources officer, called the Friday evening accident an "unthinkable tragedy." She wrote that "everyone in the Uber family knows how incredibly close Travis is to his parents." Officers were called to the scene and found the couple on a shore of the lake, the Sheriff's office said in a statement.


Underdog Cavs insist they have plenty of bite for Finals
INDEPENDENCE, Ohio (AP) - Vegas is betting against them and the bookies are hardly alone. Let's be honest, not many are giving the Cleveland Cavaliers much of a chance in the NBA Finals. They may be defending champions and they may have LeBron James, but against Golden State, they are definite underdogs. Just don't try to tell them that. "The whole underdog thing is funny to me, because yeah, at the end of the day we are defending our title," Cavs forward Kevin Love said following Saturday's practice. "We're trying to repeat, which is so hard to do. I think we will use it as fuel.