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AP Top News at 3:01 p.m. EST

Death toll stands at 36 in Oakland warehouse fire
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) - As crews searched the Oakland warehouse for more bodies, the founder of the arts collective stood near the gutted building Tuesday morning and said he was "incredibly sorry" and that everything he did was to bring people together. The death toll remains at 36, with officials saying early Tuesday that no additional bodies have been recovered. Alameda County Sheriff's Deputy Tya Modeste said of the 36 victims found, 26 of their families have been notified. Another nine bodies have been "tentatively identified," she said. Officials are still lacking any type of identity for one individual. The fire erupted Friday night during a dance party at the warehouse that had been converted to artists' studios and illegal living spaces.


'Cancel It!' Trump says new Air Force One cost ridiculous
NEW YORK (AP) - The government should cancel its multibillion-dollar order for new Air Force One presidential planes, Donald Trump declared Tuesday, serving notice he's ready to jump in and start making decisions six weeks before his inauguration. Costs for the two Boeing 747s are "totally out of control," Trump told reporters in the lobby of his New York skyscraper. The government has contracted with Boeing to build the planes, which would go into service around 2024. That means Trump wouldn't fly on the aircraft, which carry U.S. presidents around the globe, unless he pursued and won a second term. But the Air Force has pressed for a faster schedule, saying the current version is becoming too expensive to repair and keep in good flying shape.


Q&A: A look at Trump's call to cancel new Air Force 1
WASHINGTON (AP) - President-elect Donald Trump suggested Tuesday that he would cancel Boeing's contract to build a new fleet of presidential aircraft to replace the aging Reagan-era models that currently shuttle the president around the world. Trump cited "out of control" costs of more than $4 billion in a tweet that ended with "Cancel order!" Trump later told reporters the cost was "ridiculous" and that he wanted the aircraft maker to "make a lot of money, but not that much money." Here's a look at Trump's claims about Air Force One, one of the most recognized airborne symbols of the American presidency.


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After mistrial, slain SC man's family still expects justice
CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) - Relatives of Walter Scott, the black motorist fatally shot while fleeing a traffic stop, say they are confident justice will prevail even though a South Carolina jury could not reach a verdict in the murder trial of a white former police officer charged in his death. Circuit Judge Clifton Newman on Monday declared a mistrial in the case of Michael Slager after the jury of 11 whites and one black deadlocked. The panel, considering verdicts of murder or voluntary manslaughter, deliberated more than 22 hours over four days and heard testimony from 55 witnesses during the five-week trial.


Syria says it seized nearly 75 percent of eastern Aleppo
BEIRUT (AP) - Syrian government forces and allied militias captured Aleppo's centrally located al-Shaar neighborhood from rebels on Tuesday, securing nearly three quarters of the besieged enclave less than two weeks after launching a ground offensive, according to the Syrian military. The Syrian government and its ally Russia meanwhile rejected a cease-fire for the war-torn city, keeping up the military offensive amid rebel retreats and massive displacement. Rebels withdrew from al-Shaar under heavy bombardment by pro-government forces to the Marjeh and Maadi neighborhoods, local media activist Mahmoud Raslan told The Associated Press. Several gunmen were killed. "Morale has hit rock bottom," he said from inside the city's remaining rebel-held enclave.


Iraq launches new push in southeast Mosul
MOSUL, Iraq (AP) - After weeks of static front lines in southeast Mosul, the Iraqi army rolled past barricades of dirt and rubble into a neighborhood held by the Islamic State group Tuesday. Iraqi military officials say their forces have advanced more than two kilometers and taken the hospital building in the al-Salam neighborhood, but by evening Iraqi forces had only secured a few hundred meters of advances and clashes were ongoing. The push was launched just after 6 a.m. Tuesday morning with a heavy barrage of airstrikes that sent dark clouds of smoke into the sky over the modest residential neighborhood.


Ransomed: The freeing of 226 Christians from Islamic State
SAARLOUIS, Germany (AP) - The millions in ransom money came in dollar by dollar, euro by euro from around the world. The donations, raised from church offerings, a Christmas concert, and the diaspora of Assyrian Christians on Facebook, landed in a bank account in Iraq. Its ultimate destination: the Islamic State group. Deep inside Syria, a bishop worked around the blurred edges of international law to save the lives of more than 200 people - one of the largest groups of hostages yet documented in IS's war in Syria and Iraq. It took more than a year, and videotaped killings of three captives, before all the rest were freed.


Trump son-in-law's family donated to Israeli settler groups
JERUSALEM (AP) - President-elect Donald Trump's son-in-law co-directs a family foundation that has donated tens of thousands of dollars to Jewish settlement organizations in the West Bank, according to tax records. Trump has said Jared Kushner, who serves as a close adviser, could help negotiate a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians. The donations by Kushner's parents' foundation could complicate his ability to be an impartial broker. The Israeli daily Haaretz on Monday first reported the donations by the family foundation, which Kushner and his siblings direct with their parents. The U.S. and most of the international community consider settlements in the West Bank and east Jerusalem to be illegal or illegitimate and obstacles to peace.


Chopper crash in Rio flashpoint with police in 'City of God'
RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) - Viviane Goncalves cries softly as she explains why she believes her husband was killed. The 32-year-old widow says she thinks military police shot him in revenge after one of their helicopters crashed Nov. 19 while helping an anti-drug operation near the City of God slum where the couple lived, killing all four officers on board. Goncalves said her bricklayer husband Rogerio Alberto de Carvalho had nothing to do with it. He left for work that Saturday and turned up the following day with a bullet in the back of his head, one of at least seven people found killed in the slum the morning after the chopper crashed for unknown reasons.


Man arrested in ex-NFL player's death; sheriff defends probe
HARVEY, La. (AP) - The Louisiana man who fatally shot ex-NFL player Joe McKnight during a road rage dispute was jailed on a manslaughter charge as a sheriff angrily defended the investigation Tuesday, saying authorities "strategically" waited for days to make the arrest because they needed to find independent witnesses. Ronald Gasser, 54, was initially taken into custody after the shooting last Thursday but he was released without being charged, drawing heated criticism from protesters who said race played a role in the investigation. Gasser, who is white, was arrested late Monday. McKnight was black. Jefferson Parish Sheriff Newell Normand pounded on a podium during a news conference explaining the investigation.