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

March 02, 2017 - 4:44 am

ATTORNEY GENERAL-RUSSIA

Sessions responds to allegations

WASHINGTON (AP) — Attorney General Jeff Sessions is responding to allegations that he talked Russia during the presidential campaign.

There are revelations that Sessions talked twice with Russia's ambassador to the United States.

But during his confirmation hearing, Sessions said he had had no communications with the Russians.

Sessions issued a statement last night saying, "I never met with any Russian officials to discuss issues of the campaign. I have no idea what this allegation is about. It is false."

TRUMP-RUSSIA

White House staff told to preserve Russia-related materials

WASHINGTON (AP) — White House attorneys have instructed the president's aides to preserve materials that could be connected to Russian interference in the 2016 election and other related investigations.

That's according to three administration officials.

The orders came after Senate Democrats last week asked the White House and law enforcement agencies to keep all materials involving contacts that Trump's administration, campaign and transition team — or anyone acting on their behalf — have had with Russian government officials or their associates.

SENATE-TRUMP CABINET

Next up in the Senate: Ben Carson, slated for HUD vote

WASHINGTON (AP) — The next Trump administration Cabinet nominee up for a vote in the Senate is celebrated neurosurgeon Ben Carson.

A vote is scheduled today on President Donald Trump's choice to lead the Department of Housing and Urban Development, and approval is expected.

Carson has no government or housing policy experience, and Democrats were critical early on about his credentials. Despite that, he won unanimous support in a Senate committee vote in January.

Carson has been praised by Republicans for his inspiring life story, growing up poor, defying odds and becoming a renowned surgeon. Democrats have welcomed Carson's promises to address homelessness, lead hazards in housing and other issues.

The department has more than 8,000 employees and a budget of about $47 billion.

SENATE-AGRICULTURE SECRETARY

6 weeks later, senators question delay on Agriculture pick

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump tapped former Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue to be his agriculture secretary six weeks ago, but the administration still hasn't formally provided the Senate with the paperwork for the nomination.

The delay is frustrating farm-state senators, who represent many of the core voters who helped elect Trump.

Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts of Kansas says he wishes he knew why Perdue's paperwork hasn't been filed.

HEALTH CARE-INDIANA

Vice President Pence to talk health care in Ohio

CINCINNATI (AP) — Vice President Mike Pence is expected to talk about repealing the health care law when he visits Ohio today.

Pence, the former governor of neighboring Indiana, is scheduled to visit Frame USA, which sells American-made picture frames from its home base near Cincinnati.

Ohio's Republican Gov. John Kasich (KAY'-sihk) has voiced concern about the fate of "Obamacare's" expanded Medicaid federal-state program for low-income Americans.

GEORGE W BUSH

George W. Bush warns against 'isolationist tendency' in US

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Former President George W. Bush is warning against an "isolationist tendency" in the U.S. that he calls dangerous to national security.

The 43rd president spoke Wednesday at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California, to promote his new book, "Portraits of Courage," a volume of his paintings of military veterans.

FATAL FIRE-OREGON

4 children dead, 3 people injured in Oregon fire

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Authorities are providing more details about a deadly house fire in the rural Oregon timber town of Riddle, about 200 miles south of Portland.

A sheriff's official says the early Wednesday blaze killed four children. One was a foster child.

The mother of three of the children, her husband and another one of her children were critically burned.

The dead children were ages 4, 7, 10 and 13. Grief counselors are meeting with students.

RWANDA-GENOCIDE

Rwandan man involved in 1994 genocide faces US prison term

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) — A federal judge is expected to sentence a Rwandan man today for lying to gain citizenship in the U.S. after helping carry out deadly attacks during the country's 1994 genocide.

U.S. District Judge Linda Reade ruled last month that Gervais Ngombwa was a leader of an extremist Hutu political party during the genocide, in which more than 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus were killed.

Reade says testimony shows that Ngombwa personally killed Tutsis, directed a youth militia and led brutal attacks on groups seeking refuge in churches.

Federal agents arrested Ngombwa on immigration charges two decades later as he was living in Iowa, where he was known as a devout Christian and family man named "Ken."

Ngombwa faces prison time before likely deportation to Rwanda, where he faces additional charges.

PAKISTAN

Pakistani police kill vendor suspecting him of being bomber

PESHAWAR, Pakistan (AP) — Pakistani police have shot and killed a vendor they suspected of being a suicide bomber in a northwestern city.

Officer Mumtaz Khan says the vendor was riding a bicycle and didn't stop at a checkpoint outside a courthouse in Mardan city.

He says the police first rammed a vehicle into the bicycle when the vendor didn't listen to warning shouts and shot him when he tried to run away.

Khan says the man died later, and that no explosives or weapons were found.

Pakistani police have been on high alert after a recent string of suicide bombings that have killed more than 125 people, the latest of them inside a court building in another northwestern city.

Pakistani Taliban-linked militants and the Islamic State group have claimed the brazen attacks.

JAPAN-NUCLEAR

Fukushima cleanup chief urges better use of probe robot

TOKYO (AP) — The head of decommissioning for the damaged Fukushima nuclear plant says more creativity in needed in developing robots to locate and assess the condition of melted fuel rods.

Naohiro Masuda, president of Fukushima Dai-ichi decommissioning, says that more data is needed so they can develop a better strategy for removing debris. The plant will decide on a method this summer.

Masuda says a robot sent inside the Unit 2 containment vessel last month could not reach as close to the core area as hoped, because it was blocked on its planned route by deposits. Masuda said he wants another probe sent in before deciding on methods to remove the reactor's debris.

Unit 2 is one of the Fukushima reactors that melted down following the 2011 quake and tsunami.

INDIA-COKE BAN

Traders in south India state pull US drinks in anger at PETA

NEW DELHI (AP) — Traders have pulled Coke and Pepsi off their store shelves in south India in anger at PETA's opposition to a local bull-taming sport.

The Tamil Nadu Traders Association said the soft-drink makers were draining too much of the state's water but that they targeted the iconic American brands because the U.S. animal rights group pushed for a ban on the popular local tradition of Jallikattu (jah-lee-KAH'-tuh).

Late Wednesday, in a separate case, a Tamil Nadu court lifted restrictions on water supplies to Coke and Pepsi factories in the drought-prone state.

The trading association said its ban was supported by more than 1.5 million local shop owners and beverage sellers.

India's Supreme Court had banned the sport as cruel, but it resumed in January under special legislation.

AIRLINE-MOUSE-HAP

Eek! Mouse delays London-to-San Francisco flight for 4 hours

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — How he squeaked through security is anyone's guess.

A little mouse made for a big delay on a British Airways flight from London to San Francisco.

The passengers were all buckled up and ready to go when the crew told them that a mouse-spotting meant they couldn't take off.

The crew joked that the mouse couldn't enter US airspace without a passport, and told everyone they needed a whole new plane. That meant a four-hour delay.

They told KGO-TV in San Francisco after the flight arrived Wednesday that despite the delay most passengers were happy to be on a mouse-free aircraft, especially knowing they'd be eating on the flight.

British Airways apologized and said they were satisfied that only two-legged passengers were on the flight once it took off.

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