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January 12, 2017 / 7:20 PM / a year ago




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U.S. Senate panel backs waiver allowing Mattis to serve as defense secretary

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee backed a waiver on Thursday that will allow James Mattis to serve as President-elect Donald Trump’s secretary of defense despite having retired as a marine general in 2013. (USA-CONGRESS/MATTIS-WAIVER (URGENT), moved at 1:01 p.m., 115 words)

DOJ watchdog investigating FBI decisions in Clinton email probe

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Justice Department’s internal watchdog said on Thursday it would examine whether the FBI followed proper policies and procedures in connection with its probe of Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server. (USA-ELECTION/CLINTON (UPDATE 1), moved at 1:54 p.m., 357 words)


U.S. EPA accuses Fiat Chrysler of excess diesel emissions

NEW YORK/DETROIT - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Thursday accused Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV of illegally using hidden software that allowed significant excess diesel emissions, the result of a probe that stemmed from regulators’ investigation of rival Volkswagen AG. (FIATCHRYSLER-EMISSIONS/ (UPDATE 2, PIX), moved at 12:23 p.m., by David Shepardson and Bernie Woodall, 689 words)

Amazon announces U.S. hiring spree

NEW YORK/WASHINGTON - Inc on Thursday said it plans to create more than 100,000 jobs in the United States, from software development to warehouse work, becoming the latest company to boast a hiring spree since Donald Trump won the U.S. presidential election in November. (AMAZON.COM INC-JOBS/ (UPDATE 2), moved at 12:20 p.m., by Jeffrey Dastin and Emily Stephenson, 348 words)


Trump’s Pentagon choice says U.S. needs to be ready to confront Russia

WASHINGTON - Donald Trump’s pick to lead the Pentagon put Russia at the top of a list of threats to U.S. interests on Thursday and told Congress America must be ready to confront Moscow where necessary, even as he backed Trump’s bid for better relations. (USA-CONGRESS/MATTIS (UPDATE 5, PIX), moved at 1:33 p.m., by Phil Stewart and Patricia Zengerle, 820 words)

Trump’s CIA nominee lists aggressive Russia among challenges to U.S.

WASHINGTON - President-elect Donald Trump’s nominee to head the CIA portrayed multiple challenges facing the United States on Thursday, from an aggressive Russia to a “disruptive” Iran to a China he said is creating “real tensions.” (USA-CONGRESS/POMPEO (UPDATE 1, PIX, TV), moved at noon, by David Alexander and Jonathan Landay, 594 words)

Ben Carson, U.S. housing nominee, says he will monitor Trump conflicts

WASHINGTON - Ben Carson, Donald Trump’s nominee to lead U.S. housing policy, promised senators he would monitor any potential conflicts of interest between his agency and properties controlled by the president-elect. (USA-CONGRESS/CARSON (UPDATE 1, PIX, TV), moved at 1:05 p.m., by Patrick Rucker, 150 words)

French far-right leader Marine Le Pen seen at Trump Tower

NEW YORK - French far-right presidential candidate Marine Le Pen was seen at Trump Tower on Thursday but a spokesman for President-elect Donald Trump said she was not meeting with him or his team. (USA-TRUMP/LEPEN (UPDATE 2, PIX), moved at 1:03 p.m., by Laila Kearney, 398 words)

AT&T chief executive, Trump meet amid planned Time Warner merger

NEW YORK - AT&T Chief Executive Officer Randall Stephenson had an hour-long meeting in New York on Thursday with U.S. President-elect Donald Trump, who has opposed the company’s planned acquisition of Time Warner Inc. (TIME WARNER-M&A/AT&T-TRUMP (UPDATE 2), moved at 11:19 a.m., by Laila Kearney and David Shepardson, 331 words)

Trump wades in on flap over L.L. Bean boycott threats

BOSTON - Donald Trump on Thursday tweeted his support of Maine catalog retailer L.L. Bean after an activist group opposed to the U.S. president-elect called for a boycott of the company. The boycott call began online last week after reports that a member of the Bean family that owns the company, best known for its rubber-bottomed hunting boots, had donated money to Trump’s candidacy. (USA-TRUMP/LL BEAN (UPDATE 1), moved at 1:51 p.m., by Scott Malone, 323 words)

Biden knocks Trump for Nazi reference, intelligence community criticism

WASHINGTON - Vice President Joe Biden criticized President-elect Donald Trump on Thursday for comparing the U.S. intelligence establishment to Nazi Germany and said it was damaging to the United States’ standing in the world to denigrate agencies that protect the nation. (USA-TRUMP/BIDEN, moved at 12:45 p.m., by Jeff Mason, 299 words)

Fast-food workers to protest Trump’s labor secretary nominee

LOS ANGELES/WASHINGTON - The union-backed “Fight for $15” movement will protest at Carl’s Jr and Hardee’s restaurants on Thursday in a bid to stop the U.S Senate from putting fast-food Chief Executive Andrew Puzder, a vocal opponent of minimum wage increases and “overregulation,” in charge of the Labor Department. (USA-CONGRESS/PUZDER, moved at 9:49 a.m., 400 words)

Trump to meet with company executives on cyber security

WASHINGTON - President-elect Donald Trump plans to meet with corporate executives who have faced cyber security challenges in a series of meetings arranged by former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, his transition team said in a statement. (USA-TRUMP/CYBER, moved at 9:20 a.m., 86 words)

Trump, European populists are a threat to human rights -Human Rights Watch

UNITED NATIONS - The election of Donald Trump as president of the United States and the rise of populist leaders in Europe poses a “profound threat” to human rights, U.S.-based Human Rights Watch warned on Thursday in its annual global report. (HUMANRIGHTS-REPORT/USA, moved at 9:45 a.m., 263 words)


Judge refuses to dismiss ‘Bridgegate’ complaint against N.J.’s Christie

NEW YORK - A New Jersey judge on Thursday refused to dismiss a citizen’s criminal complaint against Governor Chris Christie over the “Bridgegate” scandal but ordered a lower court to review it to determine whether the case should continue. (NEW JERSEY-BRIDGEGATE/ (UPDATE 1, PIX), moved at 12:46 p.m., by Joseph Ax, 389 words)

New York seeks to develop U.S.’ biggest offshore wind projects

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo this week proposed to develop up to 2,400 megawatts (MW) of offshore wind power by 2030 capable of powering 1.25 million homes as the state seeks to lead the nation in renewable energy production. (NEW YORK-WINDPOWER/ (PIX), moved at 1:41 p.m., 389 words)

One child dead, five others presumed dead in Baltimore house fire

One child died and five other children were presumed dead in a fire at a three-story house in Baltimore early on Thursday where three siblings and their mother were also injured, city fire department officials said. (MARYLAND-FIRE/ (UPDATE 1, PIX), moved at 12:23 p.m., by Gina Cherelus, 275 words)

Illinois man sues police over flag-burning arrest

CHICAGO - An Illinois man is suing members of a local police department alleging his rights were violated when he was arrested last year after he posted photos of himself burning an American flag on social media and they were shared widely, according to court documents. (ILLINOIS-FLAGBURNING/, moved at 12:55 p.m., by Timothy Mclaughlin, 390 words)


U.S. sanctions Syrian officials for chemical weapons attacks

WASHINGTON - The United States on Thursday blacklisted 18 senior Syrian officials it said were connected to the country’s weapons of mass destruction program after an international investigation found Syrian government forces were responsible for chlorine gas attacks against civilians. (MIDEAST-CRISIS/SYRIA-USA (UPDATE 1), moved at 11:40 a.m., 425 words)

Energy crisis leaves Gaza with little power

GAZA - For weeks, Gazans have been making do with less than half their usual electricity supply - barely a few hours a day - with no sign of the shortages alleviating anytime soon, fuelling distress and frustration among the population. (PALESTINIANS-GAZA/ENERGY (UPDATE 1, PIX, TV), moved at 12:34 p.m., by Nidal al-Mughrabi, 779 words)

As drug supplies run short, Egyptians turn to herbal remedies

CAIRO - In an economic crisis that has led to a shortage of medicines, Egyptians are skipping trips to drug stores and instead turning to herbal remedies to treat everyday illnesses. (EGYPT-ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE/ (PIX, TV), moved at 11:26 a.m., by Mohamed Zaki and Mohamed Abd El-Ghany, 270 words)


Germany’s Merkel says EU must boost security cooperation, funding

BRUSSELS - German Chancellor Angela Merkel called on European Union members on Thursday to increase their security and defence cooperation because there was no “guarantee of perpetuity” in relations with the United States. (GERMANY-MERKEL/EUROPE (PIX, TV), moved at 1:05 p.m., 351 words) See also: Europe erects defences to counter Russia’s information war (USA-CYBER/RUSSIA-EUROPE (PIX), moved at 11 a.m., by Andrea Shalal, 868 words)

Britain, Greece, Turkey discuss Cyprus as UN sees no quick fix

GENEVA - United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres cautioned against any “quick fix” in Geneva talks to forge a security deal for a reunited Cyprus on Thursday as the foreign ministers of Britain, Greece and Turkey joined the efforts. (CYPRUS-CONFLICT/CONFERENCE (UPDATE 4, PIX, TV), moved at 1:40 p.m., by Michele Kambas and Tulay Karadeniz, 687 words)

Austria’s far right struggles to win over Jews with charm offensive

VIENNA - Politically, it could be a fine example of chutzpah. Six decades after it was founded by former Nazis, Austria’s Freedom Party (FPO) is courting Jewish voters, hoping its anti-Muslim message will resonate with the tiny community and help it overcome lingering accusations of anti-Semitism. (AUSTRIA-POLITICS/FPO-JEWS (PIX), moved at 12:57 p.m., by Kirsti Knolle and Francois Murphy, 970 words)

Brazilian farm owners form militias to attack land activists - rights group

RIO DE JANEIRO - Large farm owners in Brazil are forming private militias to attack land rights campaigners, Human Rights Watch said on Thursday, as rural violence in Latin America’s largest country hits its worst levels in a decade. (BRAZIL-LANDRIGHTS/MILITIAS, moved at 12:44 p.m., by Chris Arsenault, 512 words)


Gastric bypass may offer teens lasting weight loss

Extremely obese teens who get surgery to help shed excess pounds may achieve long-term weight loss, but some may also face additional operations and vitamin deficiency, two new studies suggest. (HEALTH-TEENS/OBESITY-SURGERY, moved at 12:43 p.m., by Lisa Rapaport, 747 words)

A scientist shares his lonely battle to withdraw from painkillers

Travis Rieder spent more than four weeks in hospitals and nearly lost his foot after a van ran a stop sign and struck his motorcycle on Memorial Day weekend in 2015. Still, the toughest challenge wasn’t the accident, five surgeries or having to walk with a cane, Rieder writes in a personal essay in Health Affairs. His biggest trial came three months after the crash, when he returned home and one of his doctors advised him to get off the high doses of opioids prescribed to relieve his pain.(HEALTH-PAIN/ADDICTION, moved at 12:38 p.m., by Ronnie Cohen, 777 words)


“La La Land,” “Birth of a Nation” land Director’s Guild nominations

LOS ANGELES - Nate Parker’s historical slavery drama was a surprise inclusion among the Directors Guild of America’s nominations on Thursday, after the early awards frontrunner was derailed by a decade-old lawsuit involving a rape charge against the filmmaker. (AWARDS-DGA/NOMINATIONS (TV, PIX), moving shortly, 269 words)

Paris Jackson ‘wants to vomit’ seeing white actor as ‘King of Pop’

Michael Jackson’s daughter, Paris, says she is “incredibly offended” by a new comic film in which a white British actor, Joseph Fiennes, portrays the late “King of Pop.” (PEOPLE-MICHAELJACKSON/, moved at 11:32 a.m., 369 words)

France puts three suspects under investigation over Kardashian robbery

PARIS - The Paris prosecutor has placed three people suspected of involvement in the armed robbery of U.S. reality television star Kim Kardashian under formal investigation, the prosecutor’s office said on Thursday. (PEOPLE-KARDASHIAN/FRANCE (URGENT), moved at 1 p.m., 146 words)

Oldest aardvark in captivity in the United States dies at 28

The oldest aardvark held in captivity in the United States has died at 28, having outlived its species’ average lifespan by a decade, the Philadelphia Zoo said. (PENNSYLVANIA-AARDVARK/ (PIX), moved at 1:02 p.m., by Gina Cherelus, 162 words)


U.S. weekly jobless claims rise less than expected

WASHINGTON - The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits rose less than expected last week, pointing to a tightening labor market that is starting to spur faster wage growth. (USA-ECONOMY/ (WRAPUP 2), moved at 11:23 a.m., by Lucia Mutikani, 709 words)

Ford expands Takata air bag recall, now affects 3 million vehicles

DETROIT - Ford Motor Co said on Thursday it will recall about 816,000 vehicles as it widened previous actions affecting models with Takata Corp air bags. (AUTOS-TAKATA/FORD MOTOR, moved at 10:45 a.m., 234 words)

Arizona AG plans to sue Theranos over blood-testing devices

The Arizona Attorney General plans to file a lawsuit against Theranos Inc over a “long-running scheme of deceptive acts and misrepresentations” related to the company’s blood-testing equipment, according to a state bidding document. (THERANOS-LAWSUIT/ARIZONA, moved at 12:13 p.m., 240 words)

Climate changing for “green bonds”

LONDON/OSLO - A niche market in debt raised to fund environmental projects may be set for significant growth and could make a bigger contribution to the trillions of dollars needed to stop the world overheating. (GLOBAL-BONDS/GREENBONDS, moved at 11:42 a.m., by John Geddie and Alister Doyle, 854 words)

Ratings outlook never worse as Italy kicks off year’s crucial calls

LONDON - The number of countries at risk of having their credit ratings cut has never been higher as the first of the year’s crucial reviews looms on Friday in the shape of European struggler Italy. (RATINGS-2017/, moved at 11:39 a.m., by Marc Jones, 681 words)

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