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

March 21, 2017 - 8:44 pm


Gorsuch faces hours of questioning from senators

WASHINGTON (AP) — Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch says "there is a lot" he regrets about the confirmation process, including putting his family through it.

President Donald Trump's pick appeared to grow somewhat testy after more than four hours of questioning before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Rhode Island Democratic Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse asked about a 2010 Supreme Court decision allowed for more money in politics. Gorsuch refused to offer an opinion on the case. But he replied: "There's a lot about the confirmation process today that I regret. A lot. A lot."

Gorsuch said the late Justice Byron White, a fellow Coloradan who was confirmed in 1962, had a hearing that lasted 90 minutes and smoked through it. Gorsuch also referred to "putting my family through this."


GOP senator rejects revised health care bill

WASHINGTON (AP) — Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas has become the latest Republican senator to go on record against the GOP health care bill that is nearing a vote in the House.

In a statement Tuesday, Cotton said he cannot support the legislation even after the latest changes by House leaders. And Cotton added he doesn't think it can pass the Senate. He urged the House to slow down and continue to refine the legislation.

Cotton said the changes to the House Republicans' American Health Care Act "do little to address the core problem of Obamacare: rising premiums and deductibles, which are making insurance unaffordable for too many Arkansans."

Republicans can only afford to lose two of their own party members in the Senate, in which they hold a 52-seat majority.


UPDATE: Trump makes final push for health care bill

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump is making his final pitch for the GOP health care bill at a House Republican fundraiser.

Trump says Thursday's vote is "crucial" for the Republican Party.

He's putting his full weight behind the plan, saying the bill "ends the Obamacare nightmare" and returns health care decisions back to the states and American people.

He says, "These are the conservative solutions we campaigned on and these are the conservative solutions the American people asked us as a group to deliver."

Trump adds, "it's time to get busy, get to work and to get the job done."

Trump is speaking at the National Republican Congressional Committee's March Dinner at the National Building Museum.

House Speaker Paul Ryan said the event raised a record-breaking $30.1 million for the group


New security measures could cause travelers to reroute trips

DALLAS (AP) — A new U.S. security measure banning many electronic devices on flights from 10 mostly Muslim countries is leading travelers to reconsider their plans to fly through some airports in the Middle East.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security announced today that passengers on U.S.-bound flights at 10 airports in the Middle East and North Africa will have to check electronics bigger than a cellphone. Laptops, tablets, cameras and other gadgets will have to be placed in checked baggage.

The order is a concern for business travelers, journalists and other professionals who work on the devices and use them to store sensitive information.

Paula Berger, an energy-company manager, and a co-worker have tickets to fly from Houston through Dubai to India, where her company has an office. The new rules would require Berger to surrender the laptop she carries and put it in checked baggage on the return trip next month. She is worried the device could be stolen. She says she hasn't yet found a way to re-route the trip without it costing thousands of dollars more.


Muslim advocacy group seeks broader travel-ban injunction

ALEXANDRIA, Va. (AP) — A judge is weighing a request from a Muslim civil rights group for an even broader injunction against President Donald Trump's proposed travel ban than what is already in place.

Federal judges in Hawaii and Maryland have issued orders that already block the vast majority of Trump's revised ban, which would restrict immigration from refugees and from six majority-Muslim countries.

At a hearing Tuesday in Alexandria, lawyers for the Council on American-Islamic Relations asked a judge to issue an injunction blocking the entire executive order. Lawyer Gadeir (geh-DEER') Abbas said a section of the order affecting how waivers are granted for visa applicants remains in force.

Acting Assistant Attorney General Chad Readler said the remaining provisions of the travel ban have no practical effect on how the government issues visas.


Afghanistan supports sending more US forces

WASHINGTON (AP) — Afghanistan says it wants the Trump administration to send more forces and help meet "military shortfalls" in the battle against the Taliban and the Islamic State group.

Foreign Minister Salahuddin Rabbani welcomed the recent call by U.S. Gen. John Nicholson, the top American commander in Afghanistan, for an increase of a few thousand more troops.

The U.S. administration has not yet said whether it will send more troops in response to Nicholson's comments. Some 8,400 U.S. troops are currently deployed there.

In a sign of how regional powers are vying for influence in the war-torn nation, Rabbani said Russia is planning a 12-nation conference on Afghanistan. He said the U.S. is invited.

The State Department said it was aware of the conference but has not yet decided on its participation.


Officials: US expects next North Korean missile launch soon

WASHINGTON (AP) — American defense officials say they expect another North Korean missile launch in the next several days.

The officials say the U.S. has increased its surveillance. The increased scrutiny follows the sighting of a North Korean missile launcher that is being moved around. The construction of VIP seating in the eastern coastal city Wonsan has also been spotted. The experts cite new surveillance from satellites, drones and other aircraft. It's unclear what type of missile may be tested.

North Korea, which is banned by the U.N. from conducting long-range missile tests, says it is in the final stages of developing an intercontinental ballistic missile, fitted with a nuclear warhead, that could reach the U.S. mainland. Experts say the North may be able to reach such capability in the next couple of years.

Earlier this month, Pyongyang fired off four ballistic missiles into the Sea of Japan, reportedly reaching within 120 miles of Japan's shoreline.


Slain boy's father says officers gave no warning

MARKSVILLE, La. (AP) — A father whose 6-year-old boy was killed in a shooting by two Louisiana law enforcement officers says he never heard any warnings from the officers before they opened fire on his car.

Christopher Few testified Tuesday that he remembers hearing the gunshots and raising his hands inside his car after leading officers on a 2-mile (3-kilometer) chase. But Few said he only heard verbal commands from the officers after they stopped shooting.

Few said he learned his son, Jeremy Mardis, was dead when he regained consciousness at a hospital several days after the November 2015 shooting in Marksville.

Few's testimony at the trial of Derrick Stafford — one of two deputy city marshals charged with second-degree murder — were his first public statements about the deadly shooting.


'Norfolk 4' sailor thanks governor for pardon

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — A member of the so-called Norfolk Four who has been pardoned by Virginia's governor says the men look forward to rebuilding their reputations and lives.

Eric Wilson said in a statement on Tuesday that the wrongful convictions have caused them and their families "profound pain, hardships and stress." Wilson said Gov. Terry McAuliffe has given the men their lives back by granting absolute pardons.

Wilson and three other men have long claimed that police intimidated them into falsely confessing to the 1997 rape and murder of Michelle Moore-Bosko. DNA evidence matched a fifth man, Omar Ballard, to the crimes. He confessed to being the only one responsible.

Don Salzman is an attorney for Danial Williams. He says the men will qualify for compensation from the state. He said he believes they should get it now that the governor has officially recognized that they are innocent.


Los Angeles sheriff apologizes to Wyclef Jean

WEST HOLLYWOOD, Calif. (AP) — Los Angeles County sheriff's officials are apologizing to Grammy-winning singer Wyclef Jean who was detained after being mistaken for an armed robbery suspect.

Sheriff's officials say in a statement Tuesday afternoon that while they apologize for the inconvenience, Jean was lawfully stopped by deputies looking for a violent armed robber whose victims described a similar vehicle and article of clothing.

Jean posted a video of the encounter on Twitter after he was detained early Tuesday in West Hollywood.

The former Fugees star said he tried to explain that he wasn't the suspect but was ignored and cuffed.

Authorities say Jean was a passenger in a car that was nearly identical to a description given by victims of an armed robbery and was wearing similar clothing to that of the suspect.


Target celebrates stretch marks in new swimwear campaign

NEW YORK (AP) — Target is celebrating the stretch mark as a thing of beauty. The chain has launched a swimwear campaign on social media that features four models in unretouched images as it promotes a focus on inclusivity.

Social media star Megan Batoon, pro skateboarder Lizzie Armanto, model and body activist Denise Bidot and TV host and model Kamie Crawford star in the ad that features one-piece and two-piece suits.

The move follows Target and other retailers' increasing focus on embracing all body types and bolstering their offerings of plus-size clothing in fashion collections.

Minneapolis-based Target says it wanted to take an approach to swimwear that shows women in all their beauty — stretchmarks and all.


Illinois House votes against making Obama birthday a holiday

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Barack Obama's name is revered in his home state. But the Illinois House has rejected making his birthday a state holiday.

Legislation to make the 44th president's Aug. 4th birthday a state holiday fell six votes short Tuesday. Chicago Democratic Rep. Sonya Harper says it would honor a man who adopted Chicago as his home and served in the Illinois State Senate.

But Rep. Steven Andersson of Geneva suggested it be honorary. The Republican floor leader says even Obama wouldn't want the cash-strapped state to give state workers another paid day off.

He noted that Tampico (TAM'-pih-koh) native and 40th president Ronald Reagan's Feb. 6th birthday isn't a holiday.

The vote was 54-57. Harper used a procedure allowing another vote later.

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