AP Top News at 3:16 a.m. EST

Keystone pipeline leak won't affect last regulatory hurdle
LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) - Discovery of a 210,000-gallon oil leak from the Keystone pipeline would seem to be poor timing four days before regulators in Nebraska decide whether to allow a major expansion of the system, but officials say state law does not allow pipeline safety to be a factor in their decision. The Nebraska Public Service Commission was scheduled to rule Monday if a Keystone XL expansion pipeline proposed by TransCanada Corp. can cross the state. The commission's decision is the last major regulatory hurdle for a project that has faced numerous local, state and federal reviews and lawsuits since it was announced in 2008.


Sexual misconduct claims roil Alabama campaign, divide women
MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - Standing on the white marble steps of Alabama's Capitol, Kayla Moore surrounded herself with two dozen other women to defend husband Roy Moore against accusations of sexual misconduct that are dividing Republicans, and women in particular. "He will not step down. He will not stop fighting for the people of Alabama," Kayla Moore said Friday at a "Women for Moore" rally. Acting as her husband's lead defender, she lashed out at the news media and thanked people who were sticking behind her husband. "To the people of Alabama, thank you for being smarter than they think you are," Moore said.


Lebanon's Hariri in France, says he wasn't Saudi prisoner
PARIS (AP) - Lebanon's Prime Minister Saad Hariri arrived in France on Saturday from Saudi Arabia, seeking to dismiss fears that he had been held against his will and forced to resign by Saudi authorities. Hariri is scheduled to meet at midday with French President Emmanuel Macron, who is trying to mediate in the region to avert a proxy conflict in Lebanon between Iranian-backed and Saudi-backed camps. An Associated Press journalist saw Hariri emerge from a convoy that arrived Saturday morning at his Paris residence, where police stood guard. Hariri walked out of his car and moved straight into the building without speaking to journalists.


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Trump delays new policy on importing elephant parts
WASHINGTON (AP) - President Donald Trump said Friday he's delaying a new policy allowing the body parts of African elephants shot for sport to be imported until he can review "all conservation facts." The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said Thursday it would allow such importation, arguing that encouraging wealthy big-game hunters to kill the threatened species would help raise money for conservation programs. Animal rights advocates and environmental groups criticized the decision. California Rep. Ed Royce, the Republican chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, urged the administration to reverse the policy, calling it the "wrong move at the wrong time." Trump tweeted Friday that the policy had been "under study for years." He said he would put the decision "on hold" and review it with Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke.


Russia again vetoes extension of chemical experts in Syria
UNITED NATIONS (AP) - Russia again vetoed a U.N. resolution Friday that would extend the mandate of the expert body charged with determining responsibility for chemical weapons attacks in Syria, dooming its operation and making it exceedingly difficult to hold anyone accountable for the deaths of hundreds of civilian victims. It was Russia's second veto in 24 hours of a resolution to keep the Joint Investigative Mechanism, or JIM, in operation. And it was Russia's 11th veto of a Security Council resolution dealing with Syria, its close ally. Russia cast its latest veto Friday night on a last-ditch resolution by Japan to extend the mandate for 30 days for further discussions.


US puts Palestinians on notice: DC office may be shuttered
WASHINGTON (AP) - The Trump administration put the Palestinians on notice Friday that it will shutter their office in Washington unless they've entered serious peace talks with Israel, U.S. officials said, potentially giving President Donald Trump more leverage as he seeks an elusive Mideast peace deal. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has determined that the Palestinians ran afoul of an obscure provision in a U.S. law that says the Palestine Liberation Organization's mission must close if the Palestinians try to get the International Criminal Court to prosecute Israelis for crimes against Palestinians. A State Department official said that in September, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas crossed that line by calling on the ICC to investigate and prosecute Israelis.


Senior Chinese envoy in North Korea amid chill in ties
PYONGYANG, North Korea (AP) - The highest-level Chinese envoy to North Korea in two years held meetings in the country's capital to try to improve relations that have soured over Beijing's tightening of sanctions and expressions of support for President Donald Trump's calls for more pressure on the North to abandon its nuclear weapons program. Song Tao's official mission starting Friday is to brief North Korean officials on the outcome of China's ruling Communist Party congress held last month. He is visiting as President Xi Jinping's special envoy, according to Chinese and North Korean state media, but no other details about his itinerary or whether he will meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un have been announced.


Fighting scandal, Moore stands with homophobic supporters
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) - A smiling Roy Moore stood shoulder to shoulder with his fiercest religious allies. Flanked by a huge sign for Moore's Senate campaign, one supporter railed against the "LGBT mafia" and "homosexualist gay terrorism." Another warned that "homosexual sodomy" destroys those who participate in it and the nations that allow it. And still another described same-sex marriage as "a mirage" because "it's phony and fake." Thursday's news conference was designed to send a powerful message to the political world that religious conservatives across America remain committed to Moore, a Christian conservative and former judge whose Alabama Senate campaign has been rocked by mounting allegations of sexual misconduct.


Amid national focus on harassment, Trump moves unscathed
WASHINGTON (AP) - "You can do anything," Donald Trump once boasted, speaking of groping and kissing unsuspecting women. Maybe he could, but not everyone can. The candidate who openly bragged about grabbing women's private parts - but denied he really did so - was elected president months before the cascading sexual harassment allegations that have been toppling the careers of powerful men in Hollywood, business, the media and politics. He won even though more than a dozen women accused him of sexual misconduct, and roughly half of all voters said they were bothered by his treatment of women, according to exit polls.


Montana congressman misled authorities on reporter's assault
BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) - A Montana congressman misled investigators about his assault on a reporter the day before he was elected and claimed that the "liberal media" was "trying to make a story" out of it, according to documents released Friday. U.S. Rep. Greg Gianforte, a Republican, told an officer in the aftermath of the attack that Guardian newspaper reporter Ben Jacobs had grabbed him by the wrist and pulled both of them to the floor, according to notes from a Gallatin County sheriff's officer who interviewed the politician the night of the attack. Multiple witnesses contradicted that account, and Gianforte later pleaded guilty to misdemeanor assault.