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April 10, 2017 - 6:53 pm


Official: Russia knew in advance of Syrian chemical attack

WASHINGTON (AP) — A senior U.S. official says the United States has concluded that Russia knew in advance of Syria's chemical weapons attack last week.

The official says a Russian-operated drone flew over a hospital in Syria as victims of the attack were rushing to get treatment.

Hours after the drone left, a Russian-made fighter jet bombed the hospital in what American officials believe was an attempt to cover up the usage of chemical weapons.

Until Monday, U.S. officials had said they weren't sure if the drone was operated by Russia or Syria. The senior official said it still wasn't clear who was flying the jet that bombed the hospital.

The official said the presence of the drone couldn't have been a coincidence, and that Russia must have known the chemical weapons attack was coming and that victims were seeking treatment.

The official wasn't authorized to speak publicly on intelligence matters and demanded anonymity.


US seeks support on Syria, but big questions remain

LUCCA, Italy (AP) — The United States struggled Monday to explain a Syria strategy that has yet to clarify key questions: Whether President Bashar Assad must go, how displaced Syrians will be protected and when America will feel compelled to take action.

Successive attempts by top Trump administration officials to articulate the plan have only furthered the appearance of a policy still evolving, even after the U.S. broke with precedent last week by attacking Assad's forces. In the absence of answers, other countries seem to be moving ahead on their own terms.

British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, after a meeting in Italy with U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, floated the possibility of new sanctions on both the Syrian and Russian militaries — a step the U.S. hadn't yet proposed publicly. In an unusual announcement for a foreign government to make, Johnson also said the U.S. could launch more cruise missiles into Syria like the ones President Donald Trump ordered to punish Assad for using chemical weapons.

r Assad must go, how displaced Syrians will be protected and when America might feel compelled to take more action.

The Trump administration is seeking support from abroad. But attempts by U.S. officials to articulate the plan have only furthered the appearance of a policy still evolving. That's even after the U.S. broke with precedent last week by attacking Assad's forces. In the absence of answers, other countries seem to be moving ahead on their own.

British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, after a meeting in Italy with U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, floated the possibility of new sanctions on both the Syrian and Russian militaries.


The Latest: With Gorsuch, high court takes conservative tilt

WASHINGTON (AP) — Justice Neil Gorsuch is taking his place in history as the newest addition on the bench of the Supreme Court.

With the swearing-in of Gorsuch, the court returns to a narrow conservative majority and President Donald Trump scores a much-needed political victor.

The swearing-in ceremony Monday morning in the Rose Garden of the White House came nearly 14 months after the seat was left vacant with the unexpected death of Justice Antonin Scalia.

Justice Anthony Kennedy administered the oath to Gorsuch, his former law clerk. A smiling Trump stood behind his nominee.

The White House ceremony was the second of two oaths, the first conducted privately in the Justices' Conference Room by Chief Justice John Roberts.


The Latest: Officer who dragged man off jet placed on leave

CHICAGO (AP) — Chicago's aviation department says one of its police officers involved in dragging a man off a United Airlines flight at O'Hare International Airport did not follow standard operating procedures and has been placed on leave.

The department said in a brief statement Monday it did not condone the aviation security officers' actions Sunday night.

The statement did not release the officer's name and it was not immediately clear which of the three men seen in the now-widely seen video taken by another passenger which one was placed on leave.

United has said that the incident came after the flight to Louisville, Kentucky, was overbooked and airline officials asked for volunteers to get off the plane. When none of them did, the airline told four passengers who were selected at random that they had to get off the plane. Three of them did but the fourth refused. United called the airport police, who came aboard the plane and dragged him away.


Police: 8-year-old student shot at San Bernardino school dies

SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. (AP) — An 8-year-old student has died after being shot in a San Bernardino classroom during what police describe as a murder-suicide.

The suspected gunman, 53-year-old Cedric Anderson, of Riverside, shot his wife, 53-year-old Elaine Smith. She was a teacher in the special-needs classroom for students in first through fourth grades where the shooting took place.

Police say he said nothing and opened fire on his wife with a large-caliber revolver. Two children standing behind Smith were struck by gunfire.

Police identified the boy who died as Jonathan Martinez. Authorities didn't name the other boy who was wounded and is now in stable condition.


The Latest: Charleston church killer gets life in state case

CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) — Convicted Charleston church shooter Dylann Roof has been given nine life sentences for the 2015 massacre at Emanuel AME Church in exchange for his guilty plea in state court.

The plea entered Monday by the self-avowed white supremacist marks the end of his court cases and signals his departure for the federal prison system, where he'll await execution.

The deal with state prosecutors spared his victims and their families the burden of a second trial.

The 23-year-old Roof was sentenced to death earlier this year on 33 federal crimes. He was unapologetic during that trial as he listened to survivors and relatives describe the hail of bullets that began when parishioners closed their eyes to pray during a June 2015 Bible study at the historically black Emanuel AME Church.


The Latest: Gun theft suspect with Trump manifesto at large

JANESVILLE, Wis. (AP) — Law enforcement officials searching for a Wisconsin man suspected of stealing a large number of firearms and threatening an attack are getting more help from federal investigators as they follow hundreds of leads in search of the man.

The Rock County Sheriff's Office said Monday "additional federal resources have been brought in" from around the country to search for Joseph Jakubowski but provided few details. Authorities suspect the 32-year-old of stealing handguns and rifles from a Janesville store April 4 and making threats to schools and public officials.

The sheriff's office says Jakubowski expressed anti-religious views in the 161-page manifesto that he apparently sent to the White House.


Toyota announces $1.33 billion investment in Kentucky plant

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Toyota says it's investing $1.3 billion to retool its sprawling Georgetown, Kentucky, factory where its flagship Camry sedans are built.

The automaker said Monday that no new factory jobs are being added, but the investment will sustain the existing 8,200 jobs at Toyota's largest plant, where nearly one-fourth of all Toyota vehicles produced in North America are made.

Toyota says the upgrades amount to its biggest single investment ever at an existing plant in the United States.

The factory-wide upgrade in Kentucky comes as Toyota is preparing for production of the revamped 2018 Camry featuring a new exterior design, an upgraded interior and a new engine.

The Kentucky plant also assembles the Avalon and the Lexus ES 350.


Fox investigating sexual harassment claim against O'Reilly

NEW YORK (AP) — Amid allegations of sexual harassment by Fox News Channel's Bill O'Reilly, the network's parent company 21st Century Fox has launched an investigation.

The probe comes in response to a complaint lodged last week by Wendy Walsh, a former regular guest on Fox News' "The O'Reilly Factor."

"21st Century Fox investigates all complaints," the company said in a statement.

As part of the investigation, Walsh and her lawyer, Lisa Bloom, had a two-hour telephone interview with four Fox News lawyers Monday afternoon, Bloom said.

Last week, The New York Times reported that five women had been paid $13 million to settle allegations of sexual harassment or other inappropriate conduct by O'Reilly. He has denied all the allegations. Since the allegations surfaced, dozens of advertisers have pulled their spots from O'Reilly's show.


Wells Fargo Board faults aggressive culture in sales scandal

NEW YORK (AP) — Wells Fargo's board of directors has blamed the bank's most senior management for creating an "aggressive sales culture" at Wells that eventually led to the bank's scandal over millions of unauthorized accounts.

The report released Monday morning also called for millions of dollars in compensation to be clawed back from former CEO John Stumpf and community bank executive Carrie Tolstedt.

The report has been in the works since September, when Wells acknowledged that its employees opened up to 2 million checking and credit card accounts without customers' authorization. Trying to meet unrealistic sales goals, Wells employees even created phony email addresses to sign customers up for online banking.

Wells Fargo has already paid $185 million in fines to federal and local authorities and settled a $110 million class-action lawsuit.

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