Mexico says drug lord 'El Chapo' Guzman extradited to US MEXICO CITY (AP) - Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, Mexico's most notorious cartel kingpin who twice made brazen prison escapes and spent years on the run as the country's most wanted man, was extradited to the United States on Thursday to face drug trafficking and other charges. Mexico's Foreign Relations Department announced Guzman was handed over to U.S. authorities for transportation to the U.S. on Thursday, the last day of President Barack Obama's administration and a day before Donald Trump is to be inaugurated. Two senior U.S. officials confirmed that Guzman was on his way. One said the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration took custody of Guzman in Ciudad Juarez, across the border from El Paso, Texas, and a plane carrying him departed for New York at 5:31 p.m.
Cheers and ceremony: Trump sweeps in for his big day WASHINGTON (AP) - Ready for his big moment, Donald Trump swept into Washington on a military jet Thursday for three days of inaugural festivities and quickly set about building better ties to the Republican Congress. Washington braced for an onslaught of crowds and demonstrators - with all the attendant hoopla and hand-wringing. Trump began taking on more trappings of the presidency, giving a salute to the Air Force officer who welcomed him as he stepped off a U.S. jet with wife Melania at Joint Base Andrews just outside Washington. Later, he placed a ceremonial wreath at Arlington National Cemetery. His first stop was a luncheon in a ballroom at his own hotel, where he gave a shout-out to GOP congressional leaders, declaring: "I just want to let the world know we're doing very well together." House Speaker Paul Ryan, he said, will finally have someone to sign legislation into law.
Italy crews work through night after avalanche hits hotel FARINDOLA, Italy (AP) - Rescue crews who reached the four-star mountain resort on skis found only eerie silence Thursday after a huge avalanche flattened the hotel, trapping more than 30 people inside. Two bodies were recovered, but the search for survivors was hampered by heavy snowfall and fears the buildings would collapse. Two people escaped the devastation at the Hotel Rigopiano in the mountains of central Italy and called for help. But it took hours for responders to verify their claims and arrive at the remote earthquake-stricken zone. They worked through the night, but hopes were dimming of finding survivors.
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The presidency is about to change _ as Trump remains Trump WASHINGTON (AP) - Donald Trump enters the White House on Friday just as he entered the race for president: defiant, unfiltered, unbound by tradition and utterly confident in his chosen course. In the 10 weeks since his surprise election as the nation's 45th president, Trump has violated decades of established diplomatic protocol, sent shockwaves through business boardrooms, tested long-standing ethics rules and continued his combative style of replying to any slight with a personal attack - on Twitter and in person. Past presidents have described walking into the Oval Office for the first time as a humbling experience, one that in an instant makes clear the weight of their new role as caretaker of American democracy.
Energy pick vows to boost agency he had pledged to eliminate WASHINGTON (AP) - Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, tapped by President-elect Donald Trump to head the Energy Department, vowed to be an advocate for an agency he once pledged to eliminate and promised to rely on federal scientists, including those who work on climate change. Perry told a Senate committee on Thursday that he regrets his infamous statement about abolishing the department and insisted it performs critical functions, particularly in protecting and modernizing the nation's nuclear stockpile. "My past statements made over five years ago about abolishing the Department of Energy do not reflect my current thinking," Perry said. "In fact, after being briefed on so many of the vital functions of the Department of Energy, I regret recommending its elimination." In 2011, at a Republican presidential primary debate, Perry became a punchline who famously forgot the department was one of the agencies he wanted to eliminate.
First day goal? Make White House feel like home for Trump WASHINGTON (AP) - It's supposed to feel just like home when Donald Trump steps inside the White House residence for the first time as president on Inauguration Day. His clothes will be hanging in the closet. The kitchen will be stocked with his favorite foods. Windows will have been washed, carpets vacuumed or replaced, and fresh linens and towels will be in all the bedrooms and baths. No packed or half-empty boxes will be lying around either, unlike a typical home move. Trump and his wife, Melania, can thank the nearly 100 butlers, maids, plumbers, electricians and other staffers who maintain the private living areas of the White House.
1 more day: Obama in his final hours in the White House WASHINGTON (AP) - Eight tumultuous years at the helm of American power have come and gone, and for President Barack Obama, this is finally the end. The president spent his last full day Thursday at the White House before becoming an ex-president. The big decisions and grand pronouncements are all behind him, but Obama is still in charge until President-elect Donald Trump takes the oath at noon on Friday. The White House left Obama's schedule mostly empty for the day, saying he would use the time to pack up the home he and his family have lived in for most of a decade.
Black Americans weep for the Obama era and uncertain future WASHINGTON (AP) - On the night in 2008 when Barack Obama was elected the country's first black president, many black Americans wept. Eight years later, they weep again for the end of an era some thought they would never live to see - and for the uncertain future they face without him. In Obama, many African-Americans felt they had a leader who celebrated their culture and confronted their concerns. In his wife, Michelle, they saw a national role model who epitomized style and grace with brown skin. Now some regard the election of his successor as the price of black progress and the culmination of years of racist rhetoric directed at the Obamas - at times stoked by President-elect Donald Trump himself.
Regional troops enter Gambia in effort to get Jammeh to go DAKAR, Senegal (AP) - A West African regional force charged into neighboring Gambia late Thursday to support the country's newly inaugurated president, while longtime ruler Yahya Jammeh showed no sign of stepping down. The troops moved in shortly after Adama Barrow was inaugurated at Gambia's embassy in neighboring Senegal, after a final effort at diplomatic talks with Jammeh failed to secure his departure. His mandate expired at midnight. Senegalese military spokesman Col. Abdoul Ndiaye confirmed to The Associated Press that the first regional troops had crossed into Gambia and were on their way to the capital, Banjul. AP journalists saw at least 20 military vehicles gathered at the border town of Karang.
Doctors consider removing tube for 41st President Bush HOUSTON (AP) - Doctors treating former President George H.W. Bush for pneumonia considered Thursday whether to take out a breathing tube while his wife, Barbara, said she was feeling much better after undergoing treatment for bronchitis. Family spokesman Jim McGrath said physicians for the 92-year-old Bush were evaluating him for removal of the tube, which was inserted Wednesday in a procedure to clear his airway. The 41st president has been in the intensive care unit at Houston Methodist Hospital since Wednesday, relying on a ventilator to breathe. Removing the tube - a procedure known as extubation - would allow Bush to breathe on his own.