Update on the latest news, sports, business and entertainment

March 19, 2017 - 6:03 am


North Korea tests newly developed high-thrust rocket engine

TOKYO (AP) — North Korea has tested a new type of high-thrust engine to propel its rockets.

Leader Kim Jong Un attended the test at the Sohae launch site, according to a report by the Korean Central News Agency, which added the test was intended to confirm the engine's thrust power and gauge the reliability of its control system and structural safety.

The report Sunday said the test was a success.

It provided little detail but indicated the engine is to be used for North Korea's space and satellite-launching program. North Korea is banned by the United Nations from conducting long-range missile tests. But it claims its satellite program is for peaceful use, a claim many in the U.S. and elsewhere believe is questionable.


Tillerson lauds China-US contacts in meeting with leader Xi

BEIJING (AP) — U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson says the U.S. is looking forward to the first meeting between President Donald Trump and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping.

In talks with Xi in Beijing on Sunday, Tillerson said Trump places a "very high value" on communications with the Chinese president via phone calls and exchanges of letters.

Tillerson said Trump looked forward to "the opportunity of a visit in the future," an apparent reference to unconfirmed reports of plans for Trump and Xi to meet in Florida next month.

Tillerson has struck a cordial tone during his meetings in Beijing, the last stop in a tour of Asia that also included visits to Japan and South Korea. His trip has been dominated by concerns over North Korea's missile and nuclear weapons program.


Man who drove suspicious car near White House is detained

WASHINGTON (AP) — A man who drove to a security checkpoint near the White House in a car that was deemed suspicious has been detained by the U.S. Secret Service.

The car was stopped Saturday night about a quarter-mile from the White House.

The Secret Service says it's investigating. It hasn't said what caused the car to be considered suspicious.

Republican President Donald Trump wasn't at the White House because he and his family are spending the weekend at his resort in Palm Beach, Florida.

Earlier Saturday someone jumped a low metal barrier just outside a White House fence. About a week earlier a man breached an outer perimeter fence and scaled a vehicle gate to gain entry to the White House grounds, raising questions about lapses in security under the Secret Service's watch.


NEW: French police release father of Orly Airport attacker

PARIS (AP) — French police have released the father of the Orly Airport attacker who was shot and killed while taking a soldier hostage.

The Paris prosecutor's office, which took charge of the probe after the Saturday morning attack, says the brother and a cousin of the suspect, Ziyed Ben Belgacem, remain in custody. The father was released overnight.

The office says an autopsy Sunday of the attacker's body will include drawing blood for drug and alcohol tests.

Prosecutors say Belgacem attacked a soldier at Paris' Orly Airport and wrested away her assault rifle. Her two colleagues shot and killed him before he could fire the military-grade weapon at the busy airport.

The attack forced Orly to shut down, sent passengers fleeing in panic and trapped hundreds aboard flights that had just landed.


NEW: Duterte: Philippines can't stop China moves in disputed sea

MANILA, Philippines (AP) — The Philippine president says his militarily inferior country can't stop China's actions in contested waters, responding to a reported plan by Beijing to construct an environmental monitoring station in a disputed shoal off the Philippines' northwest coast.

President Rodrigo Duterte, however, warned Sunday that he would invoke a July 12 arbitration ruling that invalidated China's territorial claims in the South China Sea if the Chinese "start to tinker with the entitlement," apparently meaning when Beijing starts to tap the offshore area's resources.

Duterte's remarks differ slightly from those of Manila's Department of Foreign Affairs, which said that it was trying to verify the news reports about China's construction plans on Scarborough Shoal and that it would refrain from commenting while doing so.


Bangladesh confirms death sentence for Islamist leader

NEW DELHI (AP) — Bangladesh's Supreme Court has dismissed an appeal seeking the scrapping of a death sentence for the former head of a banned militant group over a 2004 grenade attack on Britain's then-envoy to Dhaka.

Sunday's dismissal by a three-member panel of judges means there is no more barrier to executing Mufti Hannan and two of his accomplices for the attack on a 700-year-old shrine during a visit. Hannan was the top leader of Harkatul Jihad.

Then-British High Commissioner Anwar Choudhury was unharmed in the attack, but three police officers were killed and 70 people were wounded.

The group, formed in 1992 by Bangladeshis returning from fighting Soviet forces in Afghanistan, has been blamed for many other attacks in the Muslim-majority nation.


Senate panel contacts Trump adviser in Russia investigation

WASHINGTON (AP) — A longtime adviser to President Donald Trump says he has been asked by the Senate intelligence committee to retain any documents that could be related to its investigation into Russia's interference in the 2016 election.

Roger Stone says he welcomes the opportunity to publicly testify before lawmakers. Stone says neither he nor Trump "have anything to fear in a fair, balanced inquiry."

The Senate and House intelligence committees are investigating Russia's hacking of Democratic groups and possible contacts between Trump associates and Russia. Stone has said he communicated with the hacker, Guccifer 2.0, who has taken credit for breaching the Democratic National Committee, but calls the contacts "innocuous."


Report: Trump adviser's husband picked for Justice post

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump has chosen the husband of White House counselor Kellyanne Conway to head the civil division of the Justice Department.

The Wall Street Journal reports that George Conway was chosen to head the office that has responsibility for defending the administration's proposed travel ban and defending lawsuits filed against the administration.

Conway is a partner at the New York law firm of Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz. The law firm's website says Conway has extensive experience in litigation involving securities, mergers and acquisitions, contracts and antitrust cases.

The White House and the Justice Department would not confirm the pick Saturday. George Conway declined to comment.

Ms. Conway is a longtime Republican pollster who helped turn around Trump's Republican presidential campaign at a critical time last summer.


Appeals court refuses to stop oil in Dakota Access pipeline

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — An appeals court has refused to stop the imminent flow of oil through the Dakota Access pipeline.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit on Saturday denied a request from the Standing Rock and Cheyenne River Sioux tribes for an emergency order. That means the pipeline to move North Dakota oil to Illinois could be operating as early as Monday.

The Standing Rock and Cheyenne River Sioux tribes have been trying to stop that from happening while their legal challenge against the pipeline proceeds.

The $3.8 billion pipeline will move North Dakota oil to Illinois. The tribes fear it could harm their water supply. Dallas-based pipeline developer Energy Transfer Partners disputes that.


13 autoworkers get life in prison for 2012 factory riots

NEW DELHI (AP) — A court in north India has sentenced 13 factory workers to life imprisonment for taking part in violence at the country's largest automobile factory that led to the death of a manager nearly five years ago.

Four other workers were sentenced to five years in prison for the rioting that broke out at the Maruti Suzuki manufacturing unit in Manesar in Haryana state in July 2012 following a dispute between workers and management at the factory.

The court on Saturday also fined 14 other workers accused of rioting and vandalism at the factory.

Defense lawyers said they would appeal the verdict in a higher court.

The subsidiary of Japan's Suzuki Motor Corp. operates two factories in India.


Rock 'n' roll legend Chuck Berry dies at 90

ST. LOUIS (AP) — Chuck Berry, rock 'n' roll's founding guitar hero and storyteller who defined the music's joy and rebellion in such classics as "Johnny B. Goode," ''Sweet Little Sixteen" and "Roll Over Beethoven," died Saturday at his home in an unincorporated area west of St. Louis. He was 90.

Police in Missouri's St. Charles County say emergency responders summoned to Berry's residence by his caretaker about 12:40 p.m. found him unresponsive. According to police, attempts to revive Berry failed, and he was pronounced dead shortly before 1:30 p.m.

Berry hit the Top 10 in 1955 with "Maybellene" and with his core repertoire of some three dozen songs went on to influence generations of musicians, from the Beatles and the Rolling Stones to virtually any group from garage band to arena act that called itself rock 'n roll.

Beatles drummer Ringo Starr tweeted in reaction to Berry's passing "R.I .P. And peace and love Chuck Berry Mr. rock 'n' roll music." Quoting from one of Berry's hits, Starr added: "Just let me hear some of that rock 'n' roll music..."

Bruce Springsteen, via Twitter, said "Chuck Berry was rock's greatest practitioner, guitarist, and the greatest pure rock 'n' roll writer who ever lived."

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