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AP Top News at 9:04 p.m. EST

AP-NORC Poll: Americans of all stripes say fix health care
WASHINGTON (AP) - Sylvia Douglas twice voted for President Barack Obama and last year cast a ballot for Democrat Hillary Clinton. But when it comes to ``Obamacare,'' she now sounds like President-elect Donald Trump. This makes her chuckle amid the serious choices she faces every month between groceries, electricity and paying a health insurance bill that has jumped by nearly $400. ``It's a universal thing, nobody likes it,'' Douglas, a licensed practical nurse in Huntsville, Alabama, said of Obama's signature law. ``They need to fix it with whatever works, but not make more of a mess like they have now.'' That Americans agree on much of anything is remarkable after a presidential race that ripped open the nation's economic, political and cultural divisions.


In break with Trump, EPA pick says climate change isn't hoax
WASHINGTON (AP) - Donald Trump's choice to head the Environmental Protection Agency said Wednesday that climate change is real, breaking with both the president-elect and his own past statements. In response to questions from Democrats during his Senate confirmation hearing, Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt said he disagreed with Trump's earlier claims that global warming is a hoax created by the Chinese to harm the economic competitiveness of the United States. "I do not believe climate change is a hoax," Pruitt said. The 48-year-old Republican has previously cast doubt on the extensive body of scientific evidence showing that the planet is warming and man-made carbon emissions are to blame.


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. OBAMA HOLDS FINAL WHITE HOUSE NEWS CONFERENCE For all his campaign warnings about a Trump presidency, the outgoing president says: "At my core, I think we're going to be OK." 2. WHAT AMERICANS BELIEVE IS JOB NO. 1 People across the political spectrum put health care atop the list of the nation's priorities, an AP-NORC poll finds. 3. EPA PICK NOT IN LOCKSTEP WITH POTENTIAL BOSS Trump's choice to head the Environmental Protection Agency says climate change is real, breaking with both the president-elect and his own past statements.


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Former President George H.W. Bush and wife hospitalized
HOUSTON (AP) - Former President George H.W. Bush was admitted Wednesday to the intensive care unit of a Houston hospital with pneumonia, and his wife, Barbara, was hospitalized as a precaution after suffering fatigue and coughing, a spokesman said. The 92-year-old former president, who had been hospitalized since Saturday, underwent a procedure "to protect and clear his airway that required sedation," family spokesman Jim McGrath said in a statement. Bush was stable and resting comfortably at Houston Methodist Hospital, where he was to stay for observation, the statement said. The 41st president was placed in the ICU to address "an acute respiratory problem stemming from pneumonia," McGrath said.


So long from White House: Obama aims final messages at Trump
WASHINGTON (AP) - Barack Obama stepped behind the White House podium for the last time Wednesday, fielding questions from the crush of journalists crammed in for the occasion and offering assurances to Americans watching on TV. But at times, his answers seemed aimed at an audience of one: the man who will replace him at noon Friday. Obama gently chided Donald Trump's suggestion that the U.S. might end its sanctions on Russia over Ukraine in exchange for nuclear stockpile reductions, saying it was in America's interest to make sure "we don't confuse why these sanctions have been imposed with a whole set of other issues." And, with Trump vowing to move the U.S.


No word from Jammeh as midnight deadline arrives in Gambia
DAKAR, Senegal (AP) - After more than two decades in power, Gambian President Yahya Jammeh faced the prospect of a military intervention by regional forces, as the man who once pledged to rule the West African nation for a billion years clung to power. After a midnight deadline set by the West African regional bloc to step down, there was no word from Jammeh. But Mauritania's leader appeared to be making a last-ditch diplomatic effort, meeting with Jammeh and then flying to Senegal to meet with its leader and Gambia President-elect Adama Barrow. Earlier, a military commander with the regional bloc known as ECOWAS announced that troops were positioning along Gambia's borders with Senegal.


Inaugural crowds sure to be huge _ but how huge?
WASHINGTON (AP) - Donald Trump says his inauguration will have "an unbelievable, perhaps record-setting turnout." Organizers of a protest the next day call it the biggest demonstration in history to welcome a new president. Exactly how many people actually show up for both events will likely never be known. Counting the number of people at major public events is as much art as science, and there will be no official tally of how many people attend either Friday's inaugural festivities or the Women's March on Washington on Saturday. Here's a look at why crowd size is so mysterious. --- IT STARTS WITH THE MILLION MAN MARCH For decades, the National Park Service provided official crowd estimates for gatherings on the National Mall.


Earth sets hottest year record for third-straight time,
WASHINGTON (AP) - Earth sizzled to a third-straight record hot year in 2016, with scientists mostly blaming man-made global warming with help from a natural El Nino that's now gone. Two U.S. agencies and international weather groups reported Wednesday that last year was the warmest on record. They measure global temperatures in slightly different ways, and came up with a range of increases, from minuscule to what top American climate scientists described as substantial. They're "all singing the same song even if they are hitting different notes along the way. The pattern is very clear," said Deke Arndt of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.


WikiLeaks' Julian Assange retreats from extradition pledge
PARIS (AP) - WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange retreated from his pledge to accept extradition to the U.S. if Chelsea Manning was granted clemency, arguing Wednesday via his lawyers that what he was really asking for was an immediate pardon for the ex-Army analyst. It was only last week that Assange raised eyebrows across the internet when he appeared to offer himself up as a kind of swap for Manning, the former private convicted of leaking the hundreds of thousands of documents that made WikiLeaks a household name. "If Obama grants Manning clemency Assange will agree to US extradition despite clear unconstitutionality of DoJ case," WikiLeaks said, apparently referring to the U.S.


Bagwell, Raines, Ivan Rodriguez elected to Hall of Fame
NEW YORK (AP) - Bags and Rock and Pudge are heading to Cooperstown. After a vote that could prove to be a turning point how Steroids Era stars are viewed, Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens could be joining them in the next few years. Jeff Bagwell, Tim Raines and Ivan Rodriguez were elected to baseball's Hall of Fame on Wednesday, earning the honor as Trevor Hoffman and Vladimir Guerrero fell just short of the necessary 75 percent. Bonds and Clemens, their careers tainted by allegations of steroids use, were passed over for the fifth straight year by the Baseball Writers' Association of America but each received a majority of votes for the first time.


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