Trump chooses hardliners but talks softer on immigration NEW YORK (AP) - Donald Trump embraced new Cabinet officers Wednesday whose backgrounds suggest he's primed to put tough actions behind his campaign rhetoric on immigration and the environment, even as he seemed to soften his yearlong stance on immigrants brought to the U.S. illegally as children. It's clearer by the day, underscored by Trump's at-times contradictory words, that his actual policies as president won't be settled until after he takes his seat in the Oval Office. Retired Marine Gen. John Kelly has been selected to head the Department of Homeland Security, and Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, a climate-change denier whose policies have helped fossil fuel companies, is to be announced as head of the Environmental Protection Agency.
Trumps taps retired Marine general for homeland security WASHINGTON (AP) - Retired Marine Gen. John Kelly carved out a reputation as a highly respected, but often outspoken commander who could roil debate with blunt assessments or unpopular directives on issues ranging from women in combat to the treatment of detainees at the Guantanamo Bay detention center. But the man chosen by President-elect Donald Trump to lead the Department of Homeland Security holds a more somber distinction. The battle-hardened veteran, who served three tours in Iraq, is the highest-ranking officer to lose a child in combat in Iraq or Afghanistan. That status, as part of what the military calls a Gold Star family, puts him in the Cabinet of a presidential candidate who verbally attacked a Gold Star family: the Khans, Muslim-American immigrants who lost a son in Iraq and had criticized Trump at the Democratic National Convention.
10 Things to Know for Thursday Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Thursday: 1. HARDLINERS PICKED FOR HOMELAND SECURITY, EPA Trump embraces two new Cabinet officers whose backgrounds suggest he's primed to put tough actions behind his campaign rhetoric on immigration and the environment. 2. DEAD REMEMBERED AT PEARL HARBOR Thousands observe a moment of silence before fighter jets streak across the sky on the 75th anniversary of the attack that plunged the U.S. into World War II. 3. SYRIAN TROOPS MAKE GAINS IN ALEPPO Assad's forces capture new neighborhoods around the city center as rebel factions now face a punishing defeat.
Federal judge halts recount, sealing Trump's Michigan win DETROIT (AP) - A federal judge who ordered Michigan to begin its recount effectively ended it on Wednesday, tying his decision to a state court ruling that found Green Party candidate Jill Stein had no legal standing to request another look at ballots. The ruling seals Republican Donald Trump's narrow victory over Democrat Hillary Clinton for Michigan's 16 electoral votes. U.S. District Judge Mark Goldsmith agreed with Republicans who argued that the three-day recount must end a day after the state appeals court dealt a blow to the effort. The court said Stein, who finished fourth in Michigan on Nov. 8, didn't have a chance of winning even after a recount and therefore isn't an "aggrieved" candidate.
Raging Oakland warehouse fire trapped victims in smoke OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) - The fire that killed 36 people during a party at an Oakland warehouse started on the ground floor and quickly raged, with smoke billowing into the second level and trapping victims whose only escape route was through the flames, federal investigators said Wednesday. "The occupants were consumed by smoke before they could get out of the building," said Jill Snyder, special agent in charge of the San Francisco office of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. She also confirmed there were no sprinklers or fire alarm system in the building. Officials previously said recovery efforts at the site had ended with the death toll remaining at 36.
APNewsBreak: Military targets handling of misconduct cases WASHINGTON (AP) - Military leaders are trying to fix the lengthy, inconsistent process for investigating senior officers accused of misconduct, The Associated Press has learned. They are seeking to change a hodgepodge system in which investigations can drag on for years while taxpayers pay six-figure salaries to officers relegated to mid-level administrative posts. Trust in the disciplinary system "is strained," the chiefs of the four military services said in a memo to Defense Secretary Ash Carter. The memo was obtained by The Associated Press. The chiefs said they planned to set up a task force to study the issue. It would be created by the end of the year and likely include former members of the military, lawmakers, and former investigators or inspectors general.
DiCaprio meets with Trump on green jobs to boost economy NEW YORK (AP) - Leonardo DiCaprio and the head of his foundation met Wednesday with President-elect Donald Trump to discuss how jobs centered on preserving the environment can boost the economy. In a statement to The Associated Press, Terry Tamminen, the CEO of the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation, confirmed the meeting at Trump Tower in New York City. Tamminen said the pair gave a presentation to Trump, daughter Ivanka, and other members of Trump's team on how focusing on renewable, clean energy could create millions of jobs. "Today, we presented the President-elect and his advisors with a framework - which LDF developed in consultation with leading voices in the fields of economics and environmentalism - that details how to unleash a major economic revival across the United States that is centered on investments in sustainable infrastructure," Tamminen said.
Rescuers comb Indonesia earthquake rubble for second day MEUREUDU, Indonesia (AP) - Rescue workers, soldiers and police combed through the rubble of a devastated town in Indonesia's Aceh province Thursday, resuming a search for earthquake survivors that was halted at night by rain and blackouts. Nearly 100 people died in the shallow and powerful quake that struck northeast Sumatra before dawn on Wednesday. Hundreds were injured and dozens of buildings were destroyed. The worst damage appears to be in Pidie Jaya district near the epicenter, but assessments of the region are still underway. Scores of rescue personnel were crawling over a market in Meureudu, the hard-hit town, where many shop houses collapsed.
Giraffes, rarer than elephants, put on extinction watch list WASHINGTON (AP) - The giraffe, the tallest land animal, is now at risk of extinction, biologists say. Because the giraffe population has shrunk nearly 40 percent in just 30 years, scientists put it on the official watch list of threatened and endangered species worldwide, calling it "vulnerable." That's two steps up the danger ladder from its previous designation of being a species of least concern. In 1985, there were between 151,000 and 163,000 giraffes but in 2015 the number was down to 97,562, according to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN). At a biodiversity meeting Wednesday in Mexico, the IUCN increased the threat level for 35 species and lowered the threat level for seven species on its "Red List" of threatened species, considered by scientists the official list of what animals and plants are in danger of disappearing.
The Latest: Wedding party among Indonesia quake victims Hajj Yusri Abdullah, owner of a shop in Meureudu town's crumpled market, says he isn't holding out much hope survivors will be found as back hoes and rescuers, worked on the rubble. He says nearly two dozen bodies were pulled from the market debris on Wednesday including a group of eight made up of a newly-wed couple and family members holding an ornate celebration known as Antar Dara Baro. Local TV reported that about 40 shop houses in the market collapsed. Nearly 100 people died in the shallow and powerful quake that struck northeast Sumatra before dawn on Wednesday