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

March 27, 2017 - 7:55 am


Trump plans office to bring business ideas to government

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump will announce today the start of a new White House office that'll use ideas from the business sector to improve how government works.

A senior administration official says Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner will head the White House Office of American Innovation.

Right now Kushner, Ivanka Trump's husband, is a senior Trump adviser.


Texas Republican quits hard-line Freedom Caucus

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump's aides are opening the door to working with moderate Democrats on health care and other issues.

Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said Sunday that Trump must be willing to drop attempts to repeal his predecessor's signature achievement.

He says Trump is destined to "lose again" on other parts of his agenda if he remains beholden to conservative Republicans.


US economy to grow slower than Trump pledges, survey finds

WASHINGTON (AP) — A survey of economists finds that U.S. economic growth is expected to accelerate this year and next, yet remain modest, even if President Trump's promised tax cuts and infrastructure spending are implemented.

The survey by the National Association for Business Economics predicts the economy will grow a solid 2.3 percent this year and 2.5 percent in 2018.

Still, those rates are below the 3 percent to 4 percent growth that Trump has promised to bring about through steep corporate and individual tax cuts and more spending on roads, airports and tunnels. Most of the economists surveyed assume that a tax reform package will be approved by Congress this year. About two-fifths expect an infrastructure spending proposal to pass this year, while rest forecast it will happen in 2018 or beyond.


AP Exclusive: 'Bathroom bill' to cost North Carolina $3.76B

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Despite Republican assurances that North Carolina's "bathroom bill" isn't hurting the economy, The Associated Press has determined that it'll cost the state more than $3.76 billion in lost business over a dozen years.

The law excludes gender identity and sexual orientation from statewide antidiscrimination protections, and requires transgender people to use restrooms at many public buildings based on their gender at birth.

Already the NCAA has avoided the state and some performers have canceled concerts.


Police search for suspects in deadly nightclub shooting

CINCINNATI (AP) — Cincinnati police are searching for suspects in a nightclub shooting that left one man dead and 15 other people wounded.

Patrons at the crowded Cameo club were sent diving to the ground to dodge bullets early Sunday.

The shooting erupted following a dispute among several patrons. At least five people are still hospitalized.


Powerful winds, large hail hit Southern Plains

TULSA, Okla. (AP) — Large hail and strong winds hit parts of Texas and Oklahoma as a storm system rolled through the Southern Plains.

Heavy rains also occurred during Sunday's storms, and video from KWTV showed a funnel cloud near Ada, Oklahoma, about 70 miles southeast of Oklahoma City.

Denton, Texas, police told the Dallas Morning News that hail up to the size of softballs fell on the area.

The National Weather Service issued multiple storm advisories throughout the day Sunday.

The severe weather happened as residents in the Deep South cleared branches and worked to restore power from earlier weekend storms.

A tornado destroyed four mobile homes and damaged others near Cato, Arkansas, late Friday night. In northwest Louisiana, sheriff's officials said a church was destroyed by an apparent tornado, though no injuries were reported.


Some balk as Seattle seeks to spend more money on homeless

SEATTLE (AP) — Sixteen months after he declared a state of emergency on homelessness, the mayor of Seattle is asking voters in this liberal, affluent city for $55 million a year in new taxes to fight the problem.

In making his case, Mayor Ed Murray says the problem has grown exponentially, and federal and state help is unlikely. He's hoping residents will support a proposed initiative that would raise $275 million over five years to pay for rent subsidies, treatment and other homeless services — almost doubling what Seattle spends each year.

But some are pushing back, saying the city already spends millions to combat homelessness and things have gotten worse, not better.


'Dreamer' immigrant in Oregon detained by US authorities

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Activists say that immigration agents have detained a 25-year-old man who had been allowed to stay in the U.S. because he was brought illegally into the country as a child.

The Oregon chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union says Francisco J. Rodriguez Dominguez was picked up at his home by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents.

Immigration activists say Dominguez had a misdemeanor for DUI.


Sheriff: ICE arrests 26 parolees during community service

FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — Authorities in Fort Worth say federal immigration agents arrested 26 parolees living in the country illegally as they performed community service.

Tarrant County Sheriff Bill Waybourn tells KXAS-TV his office participated in Sunday morning's operation at the request of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. An ICE spokesman confirmed the operation, but didn't provide additional details.

Spokesman Carl Rusnock tells the station "ICE routinely conducts immigration enforcement operations locally and nationwide."

Waybourn says those arrested were convicted of high-level misdemeanors or low-level felonies and were released from jail by mistake. He also says the families of the detainees had been notified.

The sheriff says they were taken to an ICE facility in Dallas for processing, and some may be released.


New Zealand and China plan to renegotiate free trade deal

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — New Zealand and China say they plan to renegotiate their 9-year-old free trade deal.

The countries made the announcement Monday during a visit by Chinese Premier Li Keqiang

New Zealand Prime Minister Bill English said the deal had been a huge success and resulted in trade between the countries tripling. He said an upgrade to the agreement would help expand trade further and that talks would begin next month.

Li also praised the deal, saying it was the first that China had signed with a developed nation and remained the most advanced.

New Zealand hopes that a renegotiated agreement would allow it to sell more dairy products to China. And China would like to erase a small trade deficit it runs with New Zealand by selling more of its products.


British, Scottish leaders to meet amid independence dispute

LONDON (AP) — British Prime Minister Theresa May is meeting Scotland's leader for the first time since they faced off in a struggle over a new push for Scottish independence as the U.K. leaves the European Union.

May is due to meet First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, days after Sturgeon demanded a referendum on Scottish independence to be held within two years. May has rejected that timetable.

May is due to give a speech today promising stronger powers for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and saying she will never allow "our union to become looser and weaker, or our people to drift apart."

May is touring the U.K. before triggering the EU exit process. On Wednesday, she will invoke Article 50 of the EU's key treaty, starting a two-year countdown to Brexit.


2 remain in custody in Britain attack, police say

LONDON (AP) — British police say that two people remain in custody following last week's attack in London as messaging services face criticism for encrypted networks that allow attackers to communicate in secret.

Attacker Khalid Masood is believed to have used the messaging service WhatsApp before running down pedestrians on Westminster Bridge and storming a gate outside Parliament armed with two knives. Four died in the rampage, including a police officer.

Encryption makes it more difficult to know whether Masood was acting with an accomplice. Britain's Home Secretary Amber Rudd wants technology companies to do more to make it possible for security services to have access to such messages.

Police say that a 30-year-old man arrested in Birmingham on Sunday and a 58-year-old man arrested shortly after the attack remain in police custody.


Kremlin accuses protesters of provoking violence

MOSCOW (AP) — The Kremlin is accusing organizers of anti-corruption protests in Russia of provoking violence. Tens of thousands of people took to the streets across Russia Sunday in protests that were largely not authorized by authorities.

Meanwhile, opposition leader Alexei Navalny appeared in court today, a day after he was arrested on his way to a protest in Moscow.


8 presumed dead in avalanche near Tokyo

TOKYO (AP) — Eight Japanese high school students are presumed dead after being caught in an avalanche today while being trained in mountain climbing at a ski resort.

The Fire and Disaster Management Agency says eight people were found with no vital signs, though they had not been formally confirmed dead by medical personnel.

The avalanche happened in the town of Nasu in Tochigi prefecture, about 120 miles north of Tokyo. Officials say 40 other people were injured, including two who are in serious condition.


22 people killed in 2 road accidents in India

NEW DELHI (AP) — Police say at least 22 people were killed in two road accidents in India, with a bus falling into a gorge in the northeast and a truck overturning in central India.

Police say the bus driver smashed through a bridge railing today as he was apparently speeding near Imphal, the capital of Manipur state.

Police say they've recovered 10 bodies and taken 20 injured to the hospital.

Also today, police say 12 people were killed when a truck transporting them overturned near a town in Madhya Pradesh state.


NEW: European regulators clear Dow Chemical-DuPont merger

BRUSSELS (AP) — The European Union has given its go-ahead to the proposed merger of Dow Chemical and DuPont.

The EU says the companies' commitments to divest businesses have addressed its concerns.

Dow and DuPont plan to join in a $62 billion deal and then break apart into three separate companies.

U.S. authorities are still examining the proposed deal.


NEW: It wasn't seaweed; Man finds marijuana bale on Florida beach

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (AP) — Authorities say a 52-year-old man called 911 after finding a bale of marijuana that had washed up on a Florida beach.

Jeff Stolowitz tells local news outlets he was walking on Daytona Beach on Saturday morning when he spotted the object, which was shaped like a giant cigar. As he got closer on Saturday morning, he saw a ripped edge and what appeared to be blood. That's when he called for help.

Volusia County Beach Safety Capt. Mike Berard says narcotics sometimes wash ashore when the surf kicks up. He says small amounts are typically tested and disposed of, but larger amounts are transferred to another agency.

Berard says they've found cocaine, medical waste and 30-gallon drums of diesel fuel on the beach after big storms or high surf.

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