Update on the latest news, sports, business and entertainment:

March 20, 2017 - 11:36 pm

AIRPLANE SECURITY-LAPTOPS

Ban aimed at electronics in cabins of some US-bound flights

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. government is temporarily barring passengers on certain flights originating in eight other countries from bringing laptops, iPads, cameras and most other electronics in carry-on luggage starting Tuesday.

The reason for the ban isn't clear. The ban was revealed Monday in statements from Royal Jordanian Airlines and the official news agency of Saudi Arabia.

A U.S. official tells The Associated Press the ban will apply to nonstop flights to the U.S. from 10 international airports serving the cities of Cairo in Egypt; Amman in Jordan; Kuwait City in Kuwait; Casablanca in Morocco; Doha in Qatar; Riyadh and Jeddah in Saudi Arabia; Istanbul in Turkey; and Abu Dhabi and Dubai in the United Arab Emirates. The official says the restriction is indefinite.

A second U.S. official says the ban will affect nine airlines in total, and the Transportation Security Administration will inform the affected airlines at 3 a.m. Eastern time Tuesday.

Royal Jordanian says the restrictions will affect its flights to New York, Chicago, Detroit and Montreal.

TRUMP-RUSSIA-FBI

FBI chief confirms probe of Russia contacts

WASHINGTON (AP) — The FBI director confirms that the agency is looking into possible links and coordination between Russia and associates of Donald Trump.

It's part of a broader probe of Russian interference in last year's presidential election.

James Comey spoke at the start of a congressional hearing examining Russian meddling and possible connections between Moscow and the Trump campaign.

National Security Agency Director Michael Rogers told the panel that the intelligence community stands behind its January assessment that it is highly confident Russia interfered in the 2016 election with the goal of electing Trump.

In a Monday morning tweet, Trump blamed Democrats for the investigation into his contacts and said the House intelligence committee should be focus on investigating leaks.

TRUMP-RUSSIA

White House downplays role of two former aides

WASHINGTON (AP) — The White House is distancing itself from two former senior members of Donald Trump's team, amid an FBI investigation into possible connections between Trump "associates" and Russia.

White House press secretary Sean Spicer on Monday referred to Trump's former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, as a "volunteer of the campaign." And he said Paul Manafort, who ran Trump's campaign leading up to the Republican National Convention, "played a very limited role for a very limited amount of time."

Flynn resigned from the White House last month after he was found to have misled senior members of the administration about his contacts with Russia's top diplomat to the U.S.

Manafort resigned from Trump's campaign last summer following allegations of contacts with Russian intelligence officials.

TRUMP-WIRETAP-FBI

Comey knocks down Trump's wiretap claim

WASHINGTON (AP) — FBI Director James Comey is the latest government official to reject President Donald Trump's claims that he was wiretapped by Barack Obama.

Testifying to a House panel today, Comey said, "I have no information that supports those tweets, and we have looked carefully inside the FBI."

Comey says no individual can order surveillance of an American. He says courts grant this permission after a rigorous application process.

He testified along with National Security Agency Director Michael Rogers, who also disputed allegations that surfaced last year that British intelligence services were involved in wiretapping of Trump.

Earlier this month, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer referred to unsubstantiated allegations made by a Fox News analyst that GCHQ, the British electronic intelligence agency, had helped Obama wiretap Trump. The British intelligence agency flatly denied it happened.

TRUMP-RUSSIA-MANAFORT

Manafort says he had 'no role' in DNC hack

WASHINGTON (AP) — Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort is defending himself against suggestions he played a role in Russia's efforts to interfere with the U.S. presidential campaign.

Manafort says in a statement that he had "no role or involvement" in the cyber hack of the Democratic National Committee and disclosure of stolen emails. He says he's never spoken to any Russian officials or others who claimed to be involved in the attack.

Manafort says there is "constant scrutiny and innuendo" but "no facts" backing up allegations. He says he's disappointed anyone would legitimize attempts to discredit him and President Donald Trump's election.

Manafort resigned from Trump's campaign amid revelations his firm had lobbied for a pro-Russian party in Ukraine. His name came up repeatedly during a House intelligence committee hearing Monday.

TRUMP-KENTUCKY RALLY

Trump promises executive action on coal mining

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump says he's working on new executive actions aimed at helping revive coal mines.

Trump is telling thousands of supporters at a campaign-style rally in Kentucky that "the miners are coming back."

He says he's working to turn the Environmental Protection Agency from "a job killer into a job creator."

Trump also says he's going to turn to renegotiating the country's trade deals, including NAFTA, "very soon."

He says, "That's going to be an easy one."

He adds, in reference of March Madness: "You just worry about your basketball team. I'll take care of the rest."

US-CUBA-MIGRANTS

Cubans still trying to reach US by sea despite rule change

MIAMI (AP) — Cubans are still making risky sea journeys to the U.S. despite the end of a policy that allowed them to stay if they made it to American soil.

The U.S. Coast Guard says it intercepted 65 Cubans trying to reach Florida or Puerto Rico since Jan. 12. That's when former President Barack Obama ended the so-called "wet foot, dry foot" policy as part of the normalization of relations with Cuba.

The change means Cubans are no longer generally granted the right to stay upon reaching the U.S. Now they must have a visa or prove a credible fear of persecution like migrants from other countries.

The Coast Guard had no statistics Monday for the same period in 2016. The agency caught nearly 2,000 in the three months before the change.

WHITE HOUSE-SECURITY BREACHES

Man arrested at White House says he's telepathic

WASHINGTON (AP) — A man who drove to a security checkpoint near the White House in a stolen car and was arrested after stating "there's a bomb in the trunk," later told authorities that the object in the trunk was an asteroid and that he communicates telepathically with the president.

According to a court document filed Monday, 29-year-old Sean Patrick Keoughan of Roanoke, Virginia, approached the checkpoint at 10 p.m. Saturday and said he had a meeting with President Donald Trump. Officers found no record for a meeting and Keoughan left. He approached again at 11 p.m. and made the statement about the bomb.

Keoughan was arrested and has been charged with threatening and conveying false information concerning the use of an explosive. The charge is punishable by a maximum of 10 years in prison.

Prosecutors said in a statement that Keoughan was ordered held in jail until a hearing Thursday. A mental health screening was also ordered. Keoughan's attorney, Dani Jahn, a federal public defender, declined to comment when reached by telephone Monday afternoon.

BOY KILLED-LOUISIANA SHOOTING

Police officer testifies as prosecution witness

MARKSVILLE, La. (AP) — A police officer who brandished his gun at the scene of a 6-year-old boy's fatal shooting in Louisiana says he didn't join two other officers in shooting at a car carrying the boy because he didn't fear for his life.

Marksville Police Lt. Kenneth Parnell was a witness for the prosecution Monday at the murder trial of Derrick Stafford, one of two deputy city marshals charged in the November 2015 shooting death of Jeremy Mardis.

Parnell's body camera captured the shooting and its bloody aftermath. Parnell acknowledged telling investigators he pulled his gun out of concern for "officer safety." Stafford's attorneys claim he acted in self-defense when he shot at the car driven by Mardis' father, Christopher Few, after a 2 mile chase.

Trial is scheduled to continue Tuesday.

OIL PIPELINE

Company: Dakota Access pipeline on track to start this week

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — The company building the Dakota Access pipeline says the project remains on track to start moving oil this week despite recent "coordinated physical attacks" along the line.

The brief court filing late Monday from Texas-based Energy Transfer Partners didn't detail the attacks, but said they "pose threats to life, physical safety and the environment."

The filing cited those threats for redacting most of the 2½-page report. A spokeswoman and an attorney for the company didn't immediately respond to emailed questions from The Associated Press.

Two American Indian tribes have battled the $3.8 billion pipeline in court for months, arguing it's a threat to water. The company has said the pipeline will be safe.

When complete, the pipeline will move oil from North Dakota to a shipping point in Illinois.

GREAT PLAINS-RECORD TEMPERATURES

Record high temperatures set for first day of spring

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — The first day of spring saw temperatures in Oklahoma, Arkansas and Texas, that broke or tied records, including four that were more than a century old.

The National Weather Service says it was 92 degrees in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and 90 in Harrison, Arkansas, on Monday, tying records set in 1907. And 92 degree readings in Lubbock, Texas, and Lawton, Oklahoma, broke records of 90 and 91 degrees respectively that were set in 1916.

Other records include 92 degrees in Dallas to break the 1932 record of 91; 84 degrees in Houston to break the 1980 record of 83; and 85 degrees in Fayetteville, Arkansas, to break the 2011 record of 79 degrees.

Weather service meteorologist Jonathan Kurtz in Norman, Oklahoma, said the heat is due to a high pressure system pulling in heat from the desert southwest.

AP Editorial Categories: 
Comments ()
By signing up, I agree to the Terms of Use and acknowledge that I have read the Privacy Policy.