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

March 17, 2017 - 2:01 am


Judge doesn't extend order on new travel ban

GREENBELT, Md. (AP) — A federal judge in Seattle has ruled that his order blocking President Donald Trump's original travel ban does not apply to the revised executive order.

Judge James Robart entered his ruling Thursday, one day after a federal judge in Hawaii blocked Trump's new executive order that would've suspended new visas for people from six predominantly Muslim countries and halted the U.S. refugee program.

Robart said his order last month blocking the original ban should not apply to the new one because there were enough differences between the two.

Robart noted that Washington and several other states have also asked him to block the revised ban. He said he would rule on that request later.


GOP governors say health care bill doesn't work

WASHINGTON (AP) — Some Republican governors are telling their party's congressional leaders that the House GOP health care bill doesn't work for their states.

Govs. John Kasich of Ohio, Rick Snyder of Michigan, Brian Sandoval of Nevada and Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas said Thursday in a letter that the beleaguered legislation "provides almost no new flexibility for states," fails to ensure enough resources to protect vulnerable residents, and shifts significant new costs to states.

A copy of the letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan was provided to The Associated Press.

Instead, the governors are presenting their own proposal, which tracks with a plan GOP governors developed earlier this year. Like the House plan, it calls for fundamental changes to Medicaid, but states would have many more options.


Documents detail Flynn payments from Russian interests

WASHINGTON (AP) — Documents released in a congressional inquiry show former national security adviser Michael Flynn was paid more than $33,750 by RT, Russia's government-run television system, for appearing at a Moscow event in December 2015. Flynn had retired months earlier as head of the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency.

Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., wants the Defense Department to recover the payments, saying they violate the Constitution's emoluments clause, which prohibits retired military officers from accepting gifts from foreign governments.

Russia's RT network was identified last year by U.S. intelligence as a propaganda arm of the Russian government.

Flynn was also paid $11,250 each by two other Russian firms, including a major cybersecurity company.

A Flynn spokesman said Thursday that Flynn informed the government before he went to Moscow and on his return.


Syrian activists say airstrike on mosque kills at least 35

DAMASCUS, Syria (AP) — Syrian first responders and activists say an airstrike on a mosque in a rebel-held area has killed at least 35 people.

The Syrian Civil Defense, volunteer paramedics known as the White Helmets, says first responders are racing to the scene after Thursday's airstrike in the Jeenah area, near the rebel-held province of Idlib.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says at least 42 people were killed, mainly civilians.

Jeeneh is in the western Aleppo countryside, which along with Idlib is home to hundreds of thousands of Syrians displaced by fighting in other areas.

Russian and Syrian aircraft are known to operate in the opposition-held region.


Tillerson gets a look at NKorea at the DMZ between Koreas

CAMP BONIFAS, South Korea (AP) — U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is visiting the world's most heavily armed border, which stands between rivals North and South Korea.

He met with U.S. soldiers Friday at a U.S. base about 400 meters (438 yards) from the tense Demilitarized Zone, a Cold War vestige created as a buffer zone after the Korean War ended in 1953.

He then planned to tour the DMZ.

Tillerson is the latest in a parade of senior U.S. officials to have their photos taken at the border. But it's the first trip by the new Trump administration's senior diplomat as he makes a tour of Japan, South Korea and China.

Tillerson earlier vowed a tougher strategy to confront North Korea's nuclear threat.


Mexico program to offer up to 50,000 jobs for deportees

MEXICO CITY (AP) — The Mexican government has signed an agreement with a private organization to provide thousands of jobs for repatriated citizens as the United States moves to boost deportations of immigrants in that country illegally.

Interior Secretary Miguel Angel Osorio Chong says 22 associations that make up the organization known as ASUME will work to offer as many as 50,000 jobs. The initiative aims to take advantage of the skills and knowledge of deportees.

Osorio Chong says he rejects U.S. policies targeting Mexican migrants, but his country is prepared to receive those who return.

He said Thursday that 2.5 million Mexicans have been deported back home in the last eight years, during the administration of then-U.S. President Barack Obama. President Donald Trump has promised to implement even more aggressive migration-enforcement policies.


NEW: EMT struck, killed by stolen ambulance in NYC

NEW YORK (AP) — Police say an emergency medical technician in New York City has died after she was run over by a stolen ambulance.

Authorities say 44-year-old Yadira Arroyo had stopped her ambulance in the Bronx around 7 p.m. Thursday after being alerted that a man was riding on the back of the vehicle.

Police say when she got out to investigate, the man jumped into the vehicle.

Arroyo tried to stop the man, but he put the ambulance in reverse, striking her. He then crashed into parked cars and got stuck on a snowbank.

He's now in custody.


NEW: Illinois paramedic saves infant from submerged SUV

ST. LOUIS (AP) — Authorities have praised the actions of a fast-thinking paramedic who dove into a frigid Illinois lake and saved an infant from a submerged SUV.

Madison County Sheriff John Lakin says a motorist called 911 Thursday morning to report a car heading down a hill toward Silver Lake in Highland, Illinois. Paramedic Todd Zobrist arrived on the scene and swam toward the SUV, where he found a baby floating inside. He pulled the baby onto the hood of the vehicle and administered CPR. The child was then taken to a hospital.

Lakin says the baby is expected to make a full recovery. Highland Emergency Medical Services chief Brian Wilson called Zobrist's actions heroic.

Authorities later recovered two bodies in related incidents. One was recovered from the lake and the other after a house fire.


Blues harmonica star James Cotton dead at 81

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — James Cotton, a Grammy Award-winning blues harmonica master whose full-throated sound backed such blues legends as Muddy Waters, Sonny Boy Williamson II and Howlin' Wolf, has died at age 81.

A statement from Alligator Records, Cotton's label, says he died Thursday of pneumonia at St. David's Medical Center in Austin.

The Mississippi Delta native performed professionally since age 9. Cotton backed Muddy Waters in his landmark album "At Newport" on Chess Records.

After going solo in the 1960s, Cotton released almost 30 albums, including his 1996 Grammy Award-winning Verve album, "Deep In The Blues." His most recent album, "Cotton Mouth Man" for Alligator Records in 2013, was nominated for a Grammy.


NEW: Oklahoma GOP senator's fall from power is stunningly fast

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — A two-term Oklahoma Republican state senator's fall from political power following his arrest on child prostitution charges has been stunningly fast.

Before state Sen. Ralph Shortey was even arrested or formally charged, Senate workers already had scraped his name from his office door, changed the locks and painted over his name in the parking lot.

After felony charges were filed Thursday alleging the 35-year-old solicited sex from a 17-year-old boy, the state's most prominent Republican leaders immediately began calling for his resignation, including Gov. Mary Fallin.

A conservative Republican with a wife and three young daughters, Shortey surrendered to authorities on charges of engaging in child prostitution, transporting a minor for prostitution and engaging in prostitution within 1,000 feet of a church. He was released on a $100,000 bond.


NEW: Slammer Sale: States find closed prisons can be a tough sell

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — States are finding out the hard way that closed prisons can be a tough sell.

A recent national study found at least 94 state correctional facilities have been shut down since 2011, and only a few have been sold.

Developers say cell blocks and dormitories tend to be too expensive to tear down, and too restrictive to repurpose.

In New York, a mountaintop site in the Adirondacks is on the market for the second time in two years despite stunning views and proximity to the tourist destination of Saratoga Springs.

But a few states have had success. In Virginia, a former prison will be the site of more than 270 homes. In Tennessee, the former Brushy Mountain State Penitentiary is being turned into a whiskey distillery and tourist attraction.


NEW: Detroit Zoo's own Dr. Ruth encourages amorous amphibians

ROYAL OAK, Mich. (AP) — The Detroit Zoo wants Dr. Ruth to help endangered amphibians make a love connection.

Ruth Marcec (mar-SEK') is not to be confused with the famed human sex therapist, Dr. Ruth Westheimer. But as a veterinarian and reproductive physiologist, Marcec has unique expertise in the science of amphibian breeding and among her responsibilities as the new director of the zoo's National Amphibian Conservation Center, Marcec is tasked with encouraging frogs and salamanders to get down.

And with about half of the world's 7,600 known species of amphibians under threat, her work is integral in saving them.

Marcec has developed a grading scale for amphibian ultrasound procedures used at zoos and aquariums around the globe. The 30-year-old travels to other institutions to assist with their amphibian breeding efforts.

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