Senate hearing to focus on Russian disinformation tactics WASHINGTON (AP) - Some tactics Russia used to meddle in last year's presidential election would give shivers to anyone who believes in American democracy, the Senate intelligence committee's top Democrat says. Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia spoke ahead of a committee session Thursday that will address how the Kremlin allegedly uses technology to spread disinformation in the U.S. and Europe. Warner and the panel's chairman, Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., provided an update the committee's investigation into activities Russia might have taken to alter or influence the 2016 elections and whether there were any campaign contacts with Russian government officials that might have interfered with the election process.
A look at latest ruling on Trump administration travel ban HONOLULU (AP) - A federal judge in Hawaii who temporarily blocked President Donald Trump's revised travel ban hours before it was set to take effect issued a longer-lasting order Wednesday. U.S. District Judge Derrick Watson held a hearing Wednesday on Hawaii's request to extend his temporary hold. Several hours later, he issued a 24-page order blocking the government from suspending new visas for travelers from six Muslim-majority countries and halting the U.S. refugee program. Hawaii Attorney General Douglas Chin argued that even though the revised ban has more neutral language, the implied intent is still there. He likened it to a neon sign flashing "Muslim Ban," which the government hasn't bothered to turn off.
10 Things to Know for Today Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about today: 1. TRUMP'S REVISED TRAVEL BAN BLOCK EXTENDED A federal judge in Hawaii disagreed with a government lawyer's contention that the state hasn't shown how it is harmed by a suspension in the nation's refugee program. 2. WHAT RUSSIA PROBE WILL FOCUS ON A Senate hearing will address how the Kremlin allegedly uses paid internet trolls to spread disinformation in the U.S. and Europe. 3. 'BATHROOM BILL' MAKING PROGRESS IN NORTH CAROLINA Lawmakers and the governor hope an end to the legislation would remove any obstacles to expanding businesses and attracting sporting events, but gay rights groups are not happy with the proposal.
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Agreement to end 'bathroom bill' but are there enough votes? RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - North Carolina Republican lawmakers and Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper said late Wednesday that they have agreed on legislation to resolve a standoff over the state's "bathroom bill" through a replacement measure that still restricts LGBT nondiscrimination protections. GOP leaders announced the new legislation would be debated and voted on Thursday, but it was unclear whether there were enough House and Senate votes to pass it. And leaders of gay rights groups were incensed about the anticipated proposal and vowed political punishment for elected officials who support it. Cooper, who ran successfully last fall on a platform that included repealing House Bill 2, said in a release that he supported the compromise.
Mosul lays bare the challenge of asymmetric warfare BAGHDAD (AP) - As the fight for the Iraqi city of Mosul drags on, many might ask: Why has it taken the combined militaries of the United States and Iraq backed by an international coalition more than two years to dislodge a relatively small force of militants lacking heavy weaponry? Donald Trump raised the question during his campaign, promising to turn up the heat against the Islamic State group if he became president. Now the growing controversy over the high number of civilian casualties believed caused by recent U.S. airstrikes has touched on a major part of the answer: The militants are mingled among tens of thousands of civilians in Mosul and are willing to take the population down with them.
NTSB to begin probe of Texas bus-truck crash that killed 13 UVALDE, Texas (AP) - Federal investigators are getting their first look Thursday at the scene of a head-on collision involving a small church bus and a pickup truck that killed 13 senior adult church members onboard the bus. The Texas Department of Public Safety reported the lone bus survivor remains hospitalized in critical condition, and the pickup truck driver is in stable condition. The National Transportation Safety Board sent investigators to the scene to begin seeking the cause of the crash, NTSB spokesman Terry Williams said Wednesday. Twelve bus occupants, including the driver, were dead at the scene of Wednesday's crash, DPS Lt.
S Korea's Park questioned at court hearing on arrest request SEOUL, South Korea (AP) - South Korea's disgraced ex-President Park Geun-hye was being questioned Thursday by a court that will decide if she should be arrested over corruption allegations that have already toppled her from power. Live TV footage earlier showed a stern-looking Park entering the Seoul Central District Court building amid a barrage of camera flashes. She did not comment to reporters. The court is expected to decide by Friday morning whether to approve her arrest. If the court approves the arrest warrant requested by prosecutors, Park will be immediately sent to a detention facility as prosecutors can detain her for up to 20 days before laying formal charges.
China's Xi to meet Trump in Mar-a-Lago on April 6-7 BEIJING (AP) - President Donald Trump will meet with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping for the first time on April 6-7 at Trump's Florida resort, China's foreign ministry announced Thursday, amid a range of pressing issues from trade, to North Korea and territorial claims in the South China Sea. The future relationship between the world's No. 1 and No. 2 economies has been uncertain following the election of Trump, who accused China during his campaign of unfair trade practices and threatened to raise import taxes on Chinese goods and declare Beijing a currency manipulator. It is unclear whether Trump will follow through with either threat.
UK negotiator denies govt is blackmailing EU on security LONDON (AP) - Britain's chief negotiator in the country's divorce from the European Union on Thursday rejected suggestions the U.K. has threatened to end security cooperation unless it gets the trade deal it wants. David Davis said Prime Minister Theresa May's letter triggering talks on Britain's departure made clear Britain wants to continue to work with the EU on a range of issues, including security, for both sides. "We want a deal, and she was making the point that it's bad for both of us if we don't have a deal," Davis told the BBC. "Now that, I think, is a perfectly reasonable point to make and not in any sense a threat." May's six-page letter triggering two years of divorce negotiations makes 11 references to security, and said that without a good deal, "our cooperation in the fight against crime and terrorism would be weakened." The tabloid Sun was in no doubt about what May meant: "Your money or your lives," was its front-page headline Thursday, along with the words "PM's Brexit threat to EU." Britain is a European security powerhouse - one of only two nuclear powers in the bloc and with some of the world's most capable intelligence services.
Casino mogul Phil Ruffin among Trump's closest friends WASHINGTON (AP) - Billionaire Las Vegas casino owner Phil Ruffin has never been to the White House. On Thursday, he'll have dinner there with his friend, Donald Trump. "It's a lonely job, and I have been friends with him for a long time. It'll be nice to catch up," Ruffin said. Trump has had a rough few weeks, with fellow Republicans dooming a White House-backed health care plan, questions persisting about possible ties between his campaign and Russian interference in the election, and distracting feuds among some of his senior officials. In short: This president could probably use a friend. Trump is living alone in the White House while his wife stays in New York where their son is in school.