Update on the latest news, sports, business and entertainment

March 05, 2017 - 2:19 pm


Congress to add wiretapping claim to probes of Russia's election actions

WASHINGTON (AP) — House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes says President Donald Trump's allegations that the Obama administration wiretapped Trump Tower last year will become part of his panel's investigation.

The California Republican says in a statement his committee "will make inquiries into whether the government was conducting surveillance activities on any political party's campaign officials or surrogates."

The committee was already investigating Russian interference in the presidential election.

A Republican member of the Senate Intelligence Committee also said today that he believes the wiretapping allegation will become part of the Senate panel's investigation into Russian actions during the election. Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton told "Fox News Sunday" that "We're going to follow the facts wherever they lead us. And I'm sure that this matter will be a part of that inquiry."

Without offering evidence, Trump claimed in a series of Saturday tweets that former President Barack Obama had telephones at Trump Tower wiretapped.


Clapper denies wiretap ordered

WASHINGTON (AP) — The former director of national intelligence in the Obama administration denies there was a secret court order for surveillance at Trump Tower.

James Clapper says that in the national intelligence activity he oversaw, "there was no such wiretap activity mounted against the president, the president-elect at the time, as a candidate or against his campaign."

Clapper says as intelligence director he would have known about a "FISA court order on something like this. Absolutely, I can deny it."

He left the White House on January 20 when Trump took office.

Clapper's comments on NBC's "Meet the Press" on Sunday came after President Donald Trump accused former President Barack Obama of wiretapping Trump Tower in the last stages of the 2016 presidential campaign. Trump has provided no basis for his allegations.


Trump, Sessions dinner likely on executive order

WASHINGTON (AP) — A White House spokeswoman says President Donald Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions likely discussed a new executive order over dinner on Saturday night.

But White House deputy press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders did not specify what the new order would say. The White House is expected to soon release a new executive order replacing the one barring people from seven predominantly Muslim countries.

The meeting comes days after the attorney general withdrew from overseeing the FBI probe into Russian interference in the presidential election. During his confirmation proceedings, Sessions did not disclose his campaign-season contacts with a Russian ambassador.

Sanders also tells ABC's "This Week": "The president believes that Jeff Sessions is a good man and that he didn't do anything wrong."


Sikh leaders near Seattle shocked by shooting

KENT, Wash. (AP) — Leaders of the Sikh community near Seattle say they're shocked by the shooting of a Sikh man by a suspect who said "go back to your own country."

Hira Singh, a Sikh community leader in the city of Kent, said Sunday that there have been increasing complaints recently from Sikhs who say they have been the target of foul language or other comments.

He says about 50,000 Sikhs live in Washington state, and Friday night's shooting has shaken the community.

The victim, identified by India's foreign minister as Deep Rai, a U.S. national of Indian origin, told police that a gunman approached him as he worked on his car in his driveway. Rai says they got into an argument before the gunman shot him in the arm.

Police are searching for the shooter.


UPDATE: NYPD: No evidence of vandalism at largely Jewish cemetery

(Eds: Updates with NYPD saying no sign of vandalism. APNewsNow.)

NEW YORK (AP) — The New York Police Department says no evidence of vandalism has been found at a predominantly Jewish cemetery where more than 40 tombstones were toppled over.

The NYPD says after consultation with the management of the Washington Cemetery in Brooklyn, it was determined the 42 tombstones came down as a result of a number of factors. Those include long-term neglect or lack of maintenance, as well as environmental factors such as soil erosion.

There has been a rash of vandalism at Jewish cemeteries and 122 bomb threats against Jewish organizations in three dozen states since early January.

Authorities said Friday that Juan Thompson, a former journalist fired for fabricating details in stories, made at least eight threats against Jewish institutions nationwide as part of a campaign against his ex-girlfriend.


NEW: Maine's largest city considers giving jobs to panhandlers

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — Officials in Maine's largest city are considering offering panhandlers work to keep them off the streets.

The Portland Press Herald reports (http://bit.ly/2lLk1JE) the city is working on a 36-week pilot program that would offer panhandlers an opportunity to work for $10.68 an hour cleaning up parks and other light labor jobs, and connect them with social services.

City officials say the proposal is similar to a program in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

The newspaper says panhandling has become a growing concern in cities around the country, where business owners fear it hampers tourism, and residents and visitors complain about panhandlers asking for money on sidewalks and at stoplights.

Portland has a law against aggressive panhandling and also tried to ban loitering on street medians. The loitering proposal was deemed unconstitutional by courts.


NEW: Bird flu detected in chicken breeding facility in Tennessee

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Agriculture officials say a commercial chicken breeding facility in south-central Tennessee has been hit by a strain of bird flu.

The state Agriculture Department says in a news release that tests confirmed the presence of the Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza, or HPAI, at a facility in Lincoln County. The facility alerted the state veterinarian's office on Friday about an increase in chicken deaths.

The statement did not name the facility. The facility and about 30 other poultry farms within about a six-mile radius of the site are under quarantine.

Officials said HPAI poses no risk to the food supply, and no affected chickens entered the food chain.

The statement says the most recent U.S. detection of HPAI was in January 2016 in a commercial turkey flock in Indiana.


Michigan to offer prize in fight against invasive Asian carp

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan is turning to the public for help fighting Asian carp.

The state plans to offer a prize to someone who can come up with a way to keep the invasive fish out of the Great Lakes.

Michigan's Legislature and governor allocated $1 million to develop a global invasive carp challenge. Details on how much prize money will be offered are being worked out. Officials also haven't determined how many winners might be chosen.

The challenge will go live this summer in collaboration with crowdsourcing company InnoCentive.

Asian carp could do serious damage to Michigan's $38 billion tourism economy and the Great Lakes region's $7 billion fishing industry. Researchers are still trying to find ways to combat the fish, but it takes years. Some solutions are still in experimental phases.


'Logan' slices box office with $85.3M, 'Moonlight' gets bump

NEW YORK (AP) — The R-rated "X-Men" spinoff "Logan" slashed into the weekend box office, opening with a massive $85.3 million that surpassed expectations and ranks among the top March debuts ever.

The 20th Century Fox release features Hugh Jackman in what he has hinted could be his final performance as Wolverine. Word of mouth got a boost from good reviews for the unusually dark and dramatic comic-book movie that — like "Deadpool" — further proves moviegoers' hunger for less conventional superhero films.

The Oscar best-picture winner "Moonlight" had its widest release yet, appearing on 1,564 screens. It turned in its biggest weekend, too, with an estimated $2.5 million.

Last week's No. 1 film, Jordan Peele's horror sensation "Get Out" slid remarkably little. It dropped to second place but still grossed $26.1 million.


Bruno Mars, Katy Perry, Sheeran set for iHeartRadio Awards

INGLEWOOD, Calif. (AP) — Bruno Mars, Katy Perry, Ed Sheeran, Shawn Mendes, Coldplay's Chris Martin and The Chainsmokers are set to bring your Top 40 radio stations to life when they perform at Sunday's iHeartRadio Music Awards.

The show, in its fourth year, will take place at the Forum in Inglewood, California, and will air live at 8 p.m. EST on TBS, TNT and truTV.

Drake is the top nominee with 12, followed by The Chainsmokers, who have 11 nominations. Mars will be honored with the Innovator Award for his success in music as a singer, songwriter and producer.

Big Sean, Thomas Rhett, Noah Cyrus and Labrinth will also perform during the live show. Presenters include Miley Cyrus, John Legend, Demi Lovato, DJ Khaled, Florida Georgia Line, Ansel Elgort and Macklemore.

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