AP Top News at 2:56 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.


Amid national focus on harassment, Trump moves unscathed
WASHINGTON (AP) - The heat is on for men in Hollywood, the news media, business and politics who are accused of sexual harassment, the allegations toppling careers. And that's raising the question of how President Donald Trump has managed to survive accusations of sexual assault as well as harassment. Trump won the White House in spite of charges of groping women and an "Access Hollywood" tape of him boasting about grabbing women's private parts. To some, the unconventional candidacy of the real estate billionaire turned reality TV host turned politician created an entirely different set of rules. A crisis management expert in Washington.


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.


Moscow meeting in June 2017 under scrutiny in Trump probe
WASHINGTON (AP) - Earlier this year, a Russian-American lobbyist and another businessman discussed over coffee in Moscow an extraordinary meeting they had attended 12 months earlier: a gathering at Trump Tower with President Donald Trump's son, his son-in-law and his then-campaign chairman. The Moscow meeting in June, which has not been previously disclosed, is now under scrutiny by investigators who want to know why the two men met in the first place and whether there was some effort to get their stories straight about the Trump Tower meeting just weeks before it would become public, The Associated Press has learned.