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April 14, 2017 - 9:26 pm

TRUMP REVERSALS-REACTIONS

Amid policy shifts, Trump voters are forgiving — to a point

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump's voters are showing they can be a forgiving lot — up to a point.

The president's recent shifts in position on big foreign policy issues have got his supporters pondering: Are the policy reversals worth a mere shrug of the shoulders, or are they a cause for greater concern.

Where critics see a flip-flopper, many Trump voters see the kind of adjustments that are to be expected from any new president.

As he shifts positions, Trump says he's just being flexible. For plenty of Trump voters, that's fine.

Nearly three months into his presidency, many supporters say they never really expected him to stick to all his campaign positions anyway.

UNITED STATES-NORTH KOREA

Trump strategy on NKorea: 'Maximum pressure and engagement'

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Trump administration has settled on its North Korea strategy after a two-month review: "Maximum pressure and engagement."

U.S. officials say the president's advisers weighed a range of ideas for how to get North Korea to abandon its nuclear program, including military options and trying to overthrow the isolated communist dictatorship's leadership.

At the other end of the spectrum, they looked at the notion of accepting North Korea as a nuclear state.

In the end, however, they settled on a policy that appears to represent continuity.

The administration's emphasis, the officials say, will be on increasing pressure on Pyongyang with the help of China, North Korea's dominant trade and military partner. The officials weren't authorized to speak publicly on the results of the policy review and requested anonymity.

MOTHER OF ALL BOMBS

Officials: No need for Trump's approval to use massive bomb

WASHINGTON (AP) — Pentagon officials say the U.S. commander in Afghanistan who ordered use of the "mother of all bombs" didn't need President Donald Trump's approval.

The officials say Gen. John Nicholson has standing authority to use the largest non-nuclear bomb ever dropped in combat. He had that authority before Trump took office.

The officials weren't authorized to speak publicly on the matter and requested anonymity.

The Massive Ordnance Air Burst bomb, or MOAB, has attracted enormous attention. Its purpose was relatively mundane by military standards: destroy a tunnel complex used by Islamic State fighters in a remote mountainous area of Afghanistan.

The Air Force estimates each MOAB costs about $170,000 to build. It hasn't said how much it cost to develop the bomb or how many of them exist.

ARKANSAS EXECUTIONS-THE LATEST

Latest: Arkansas judge blocks state from using lethal drug

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — An Arkansas judge has blocked the state from using a lethal injection drug in its upcoming executions of six men after a company says the drug wasn't sold to be used for capital punishment.

Pulaski County Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen issued a temporary restraining order Friday preventing Arkansas from using its supply of vecuronium bromide in the executions. The executions have been scheduled to start Monday night.

McKesson, a medical supply company, has said the prison system bought the drug believing it would be used for medical purposes. The company has said it had been reassured the drug would be returned and even issued a refund, but it never was.

Griffen's order came the same day the state Supreme Court halted the execution of one of two men scheduled to die Monday night.

AARON HERNANDEZ-THE LATEST

The Latest: Attorney calls Aaron Hernandez 'very good' man

BOSTON (AP) — A defense attorney discussing ex-NFL star Aaron Hernandez's acquittal on murder charges says Hernandez is a "very good young man who happened to hang out with a very bad guy."

Attorney Ron Sullivan blames one of Hernandez's friends for the 2012 killings of two men who prosecutors say were gunned down by Hernandez in Boston.

Prosecutors say the former New England Patriots tight end killed the men because he was angry over a spilled drink at a nightclub.

Sullivan says Hernandez had nothing to do with it. He calls Hernandez "a beautiful young man."

Hernandez was acquitted Friday of murder but was convicted of a gun possession charge. A judge sentenced him to four to five more years in prison.

Hernandez already is serving life in the 2013 killing of a man who was dating his fiancee's sister.

SANCTUARY CITIES-THE LATEST

The Latest: Lawyer: Little money involved in sanctuary order

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — An attorney for the U.S. Department of Justice says an executive order withholding funds from sanctuary cities applies to a small pot of grant money, not hundreds of millions of dollars as claimed in lawsuits in California.

Lawyer Chad Readler made the assertion Friday in federal court in cases filed by the city of San Francisco and Santa Clara County against the order issued by President Donald Trump.

U.S. District Court Judge William Orrick in San Francisco heard arguments to decide whether to grant a request by the plaintiffs to block the order. He did not immediately issue a ruling.

John Keker, an attorney representing Santa Clara County, said the order refers to all federal funding and is a threat to local governments.

AIRLINES-PASSENGER COMPENSATION

Delta OKs offers of up to $9,950 to flyers who give up seats

ATLANTA (AP) — Delta is giving airport employees permission to offer passengers up to almost $10,000 in compensation to give up their seats on overbooked flights.

Delta's move comes as United Airlines struggles to recover from images of a passenger's forced removal from a sold-out flight.

In an internal memo obtained by The Associated Press, Delta says gate agents can offer up to $2,000 in compensation, up from a previous maximum of $800, and supervisors can offer up to $9,950, up from $1,350.

VATICAN-GOOD FRIDAY

Pope presides at Good Friday Colosseum procession

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis, wearing a plain, long white coat, is presiding over the traditional Way of the Cross procession at Rome's Colosseum to mark Good Friday.

Thousands of faithful patiently endured exceptionally heavy security as they flocked to the ancient arena near the Roman Forum.

Anti-terrorism measures have been heightened for large public crowds after several vehicle attacks in Nice, Berlin and other European cities.

Nuns, tourists and Romans clutched candles in the warm night. Some parents hoisted children on their shoulders so they could watch, while Francis listened to meditations read aloud about how Jesus suffered before he was crucified.

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