The "Two Trumps" surface in president-elect's transition NEW YORK (AP) - Donald Trump's skeptics hope the presidency will reveal a serious side of the brash businessman. His supporters want him to keep the freewheeling style that rattled Washington. In true Trump fashion, so far he's doing both. Trump has soothed some Republican establishment anxieties with many of his early Cabinet picks, including the respected retired Gen. James Mattis to lead the Pentagon and Georgia Rep. Tom Price, an orthopedic surgeon tapped to head the Department of Health and Human Services. He's hinted that he's open to shifting some of his most controversial policies, including his rejection of climate change and support for torture.
Trump speaks with Taiwan's president, risking China tensions TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) - President-elect Donald Trump spoke Friday with the president of Taiwan, a move that will be sure to anger China. It is highly unusual, probably unprecedented, for a U.S. president or president-elect to speak directly with a leader of Taiwan, a self-governing island the U.S. broke diplomatic ties with in 1979. Washington has pursued a so-called "one China" policy since 1979, when it shifted diplomatic recognition of China from the government in Taiwan to the communist government on the mainland. Under that policy, the U.S. recognizes Beijing as representing China but retains unofficial ties with Taiwan. A statement from Trump's transition team said he spoke with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen, who offered her congratulations.
A Cabinet of generals? Trump's choices get mixed reviews WASHINGTON (AP) - Donald Trump's move to pack his administration with military brass is getting mixed reviews, as Congress and others struggle to balance their personal regard for the individuals he's choosing with a broader worry about an increased militarization of American policy. No fewer than three combat-experienced retired Army and Marine leaders, with multiple deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan, are on tap for high-level government jobs normally reserved for civilians. Others are entrenched in Trump's organization as close advisers. Retired Army Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn will serve as the president's national security adviser, and Trump announced retired Marine four-star Gen.
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During first look at wildfire rubble, residents in a daze GATLINBURG, Tenn. (AP) - Residents and business owners in Gatlinburg got their first look at the wildfire destruction on Friday, and many walked around the once-bustling tourist city in a daze, sobbing. They hugged each other and promised that they would stay in touch. "We love it up here so much," said Gary Moore, his voice trembling. "We lost everything. But we're alive, thank goodness. Our neighbors are alive, most of them. And we're just so thankful for that." A county mayor raised the death toll to 13 and said the number of damaged buildings now approached 1,000. After days of waiting to see their homes, some of the shock began to give way to anger, and local authorities bristled when asked why they waited so long to order the evacuation.
Colombia repatriates dead as airline's licensing questioned RIO NEGRO, Colombia (AP) - Victims of this week's tragic air crash in the Andes were flown home Friday as Bolivia's president called for "drastic measures" against aviation officials who signed off on a flight plan that experts and even one of the charter airline's executives said should never have been attempted because of a possible fuel shortage. The move by President Evo Morales came after evidence emerged that the pilot reported the plane was out of fuel minutes before it slammed into a muddy mountainside, killing all but six of the 77 people on board. Among the dead were players and coaches from a small-town Brazilian soccer team that was headed to the finals of one of South America's most prestigious tournaments after a fairy-tale season that had captivated their soccer-crazed nation.
Bodies of Brazil soccer team killed in plane crash head home CHAPECO, Brazil (AP) - This Brazilian hometown of the soccer team whose dream season ended in tragedy this week prepared Friday for the sad return of so many whose lives were cut short on an Andes mountainside, hanging origami figures of peace in the team's green and white colors from the fence of the local soccer stadium. As the bodies of the victims killed in the plane crash began the journey home Friday, gravediggers finished preparing the ground at cemeteries in the small city of Chapeco. A memorial service was planned for Saturday in the southern Brazilian city that was home to the Chapecoense soccer club, which was on its way to the finals of one of South America's most prestigious tournaments when the plane went down in Colombia on Monday, killing all but six of the 77 people on board.
Police: Marksman killed gunman after child ran to porch SEATTLE (AP) - The gunman had already shot a police officer, threatened to kill two children and barricaded himself upstairs in a house for 11 hours when one of the kids, a 6-year-old boy, escaped. As the suspect held a little girl as a human shield, his movements exposed him to a sheriff's marksman who targeted him through a window and killed him with a shot to the head, allowing the 8-year-old girl to break free from his grasp and run to safety, authorities disclosed Friday about the killing of Bruce R. Johnson in Tacoma, Washington. "Once we were able to assess that the kids were still alive, it went into play," sheriff's spokesman Ed Troyer said of the SWAT team's plan to end the standoff in a suburban neighborhood south of Seattle.
Chains and branded skin: California kidnap case baffles cops SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - Three weeks after Sherri Papini disappeared, the question of whether she was dead or alive was answered when the young mother and wife was spotted waving frantically for help along a California freeway early on Thanksgiving morning. But the mystery over what happened to her during those 22 days just seemed to grow stranger. She was battered and bruised, her hands were chained, her long blond hair had been chopped off, and her flesh had been branded with a threatening message. The 34-year-old Papini told authorities that she had been kidnapped at gunpoint by two women Nov. 2 while she was out for a run near her home.
Adulation of Fidel Castro runs deepest in rural eastern Cuba EL GUAYABO, Cuba (AP) - The single dirt street in El Guayabo runs past a few dozen cinderblock homes, the medical clinic and the primary school to a grove of 76 trees planted to honor Fidel Castro on his 76th birthday. On Friday, residents of El Guayabo walked a mile down that street to Cuba's central highway to bid a final farewell to the man they credit for bringing medical care, education and basic comforts to this hamlet in the farming and ranching country of arid, sun-scorched eastern Cuba. "We owe him everything," said Rafael Toledo, a 71-year-old rancher. "There'll never be another one like him." Mourning for Castro has reached near-religious peaks of public adulation across Cuba since his death at age 90 on Nov.
Apparent tax arrangements of top soccer players released MADRID (AP) - A group of European media outlets on Friday published what it claims are details of tax arrangements made by several top soccer players and coaches, including Real Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo, Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho and Arsenal midfielder Mesut Ozil. The news outlets, which include German weekly Der Spiegel and Spanish daily El Mundo, cited documents provided by the website Football Leaks, which has in the past claimed that some players and coaches made transactions that could suggest financial impropriety. The group, which goes by the name European Investigative Collaborations, said it plans to release further reports in the coming days and weeks.
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