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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.


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.


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.


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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


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.


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.


Timeline: The rise and fall of South Korea's Park Geun-hye
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) - The arrest of South Korea's first female president marks a stunning fall for the scion of a powerful general who himself ruled the country during her teenage years and into her 20s. Park Geun-hye was jailed Friday, three weeks after the Constitutional Court stripped her of office over a corruption scandal. Prosecutors accuse her of colluding with a jailed confidante to amass an illicit fortune and allowing the friend to manipulate state affairs. The memories of December 2012, when she convincingly won the presidency thanks to older voters who remembered her father as a hero who lifted a nation from war-torn poverty, couldn't feel more remote.


Venezuela court says it can take over congress' powers
CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) - Venezuela's Supreme Court ruled it can take over the powers of congress in what opponents of socialist President Nicolas Maduro as well as foreign governments denounced as the latest step toward installing a dictatorship in this South American nation. In a decision late Wednesday, the magistrates said that as long as lawmakers remain in contempt of past court rulings nullifying all legislation coming out of the opposition-controlled National Assembly, the high court can step in and assume congressional duties itself. Peru's government immediately recalled its ambassador in protest while condemnations poured in from governments across Latin America.