Trump rejects intel, lawmakers vow probe of Russia hacking
WASHINGTON (AP) — Donald Trump on Sunday called a recent CIA assessment of Russian hacking “ridiculous” and says he’s not interested in getting daily intelligence briefings — an unprecedented public dismissal by a president-elect of the nation’s massive and sophisticated intelligence apparatus.
Trump’s remarks come as key congressional Republicans joined Democrats in demanding a bipartisan investigation into the Kremlin’s activities and questioned consideration of Exxon Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson — who has close business ties with Moscow — as head of the State Department.
Asked whether he’s rejecting valuable intelligence on “Fox News Sunday,” Trump was defiant.
“I get it when I need it,” he said of the top-secret briefings sessions, adding that he’s leaving it up to the briefers to decide when a development represents a “change” big enough to notify him.
“I’m, like, a smart person. I don’t have to be told the same thing in the same words every single day for the next eight years,” Trump said.
For all his threats, Trump is seen by businesses as key ally
WASHINGTON (AP) — President-elect Donald Trump has lost no chance to bash or threaten individual companies that cross him.
Yet much of corporate America appears to view Trump not as an adversary but as a powerful friend. For all his bullying stance toward some companies, businesses have been cheered by his vows to slash taxes and soften Obama-era rules that were designed to protect workers, the environment and the financial system and by his choices to lead the Labor Department and Environmental Protection Agency.
The prospect of a stronger economy and richer profits is appealing enough that most businesses — and stock investors — are downplaying the uncertainties that followed Trump’s presidential victory last month. The Dow Jones industrial average has rocketed 8 percent to a record high since Election Day on expectations of faster economic growth.
Many manufacturers, which have been reeling for years from shrinking demand for their goods, say they view Trump as more sympathetic to their interests than President Barack Obama was.
“When he uses the phone, he does it to tell manufacturers that he supports them and wants them to create jobs in the United States,” said Jay Timmons, president of the National Association of Manufacturers. “That is a far cry from what we hear in the current administration.”
10 Things to Know for Monday
Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Monday.
1. TRUMP DISMISSES CIA’S RUSSIAN HACKING ASSESSMENT
But key congressional Republicans are joining Democrats in demanding a bipartisan investigation into whether the Kremlin interfered in the presidential election.
2. WHY MUCH OF CORPORATE AMERICA SEES TRUMP AS AN ALLY
Businesses have been cheered by his vows to slash taxes and soften Obama-era rules that were designed to protect workers, the environment and the financial system.
Militants retake ancient city of Palmyra from Syrian forces
BEIRUT (AP) — Islamic State militants recaptured the ancient city of Palmyra from Syrian troops Sunday, according to both sides in the battle, scoring a major advance after a year of setbacks in Syria and neighboring Iraq.
In winning back Palmyra, the extremist group appeared to be taking advantage of the Syrian and Russian preoccupation with Aleppo, timing its attack to coincide with a major government offensive to capture the last remaining opposition-held neighborhoods in the northern city.
Palmyra, with its towering 2,000-year-old ruins, holds mostly symbolic meaning in the wider civil war, although its location in central Syria also gives it some strategic significance.
Islamic State militants re-entered the city Saturday for the first time since they were expelled by Syrian and Russian forces amid much fanfare nine months ago. The government’s first important win against the Islamic State group in the historic city gave Damascus the chance to try to position itself as part of the global anti-terrorism campaign.
The militants had spent 10 months in Palmyra, during which they blew up a number of temples and caused other destruction — severing the heads of statues and partially damaging two temples and famous arch.
US says 2,000 IS fighters killed, gravely wounded in Mosul
QAYARA AIR BASE, Iraq (AP) — Iraqi and U.S.-led coalition forces have killed or gravely wounded more than 2,000 Islamic State fighters in the battle for Mosul since October, the top U.S. commander in Iraq said Sunday.
Lt. Gen. Stephen Townsend told reporters there are still an estimated 3,000 to 5,000 IS fighters defending Mosul. He applauded the efforts of Iraqi security forces, who began their offensive on Oct. 17 in what has been billed a decisive phase of the anti-IS fight.
“By our calculations, we think we have killed or badly wounded over 2,000,” Townsend said at a joint news conference with U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter at Qayara air base.
Iraqi security forces have been slowed in their nearly two-month-old offensive against IS, which has occupied Mosul for more than two years. US officials have declined to say how many Iraqi government troops have been killed in the Mosul fight.
Recapturing the city, Iraq’s second-largest, is crucial to the Iraqis’ hopes of restoring their sovereignty, although political stability will likely remain a challenge afterward.
Nigerian church collapses, 160 dead, says hospital director
WARRI, Nigeria (AP) — Mortuaries overflowed with bodies Sunday from a church collapse in southern Nigeria that killed at least 160 people, and worshippers said construction of the building had been rushed.
Hundreds had been inside the Reigners Bible Church International in the city of Uyo on Saturday for the consecration of founder Akan Weeks as its bishop when the metal girders fell and the corrugated iron roof caved in.
Screaming survivors streamed out amid cries from the injured inside.
“There were trapped bodies, parts of bodies, blood all over the place and people’s handbags and shoes scattered,” said computer analyst Ukeme Eyibio.
Officials feared the death toll could rise.
Have travel plans? Prepare for cold rain and snow
CHICAGO (AP) — A blanket of snow will cover the Great Lakes and the Northeast ahead of an expected dip into Arctic-cold temperatures.
The wintry weather mostly moved out of the Plains overnight, leaving parts of Minnesota with up to a foot of snow as it pushed into Wisconsin, Illinois and Indiana.
It’s a “slap of reality” after a mild November, National Weather Service meteorologist Dave Schmidt in La Crosse, Wisconsin, said.
The Chicago area received 3 to 4 inches of snow as of Sunday morning, and could see another 3 to 5 inches Sunday. The city’s aviation website said more than 1,200 flights had been canceled at O’Hare and 175 at Midway as of late Sunday morning.
Michigan could see the heaviest snowfall, up to 10 inches. It caused problems Sunday when a Delta plane with 70 passengers and crew landed at Detroit Metropolitan Airport but then ended up in snowy grass while it was turning from the runway to a taxiway. No injuries were reported.
Turkey blasts claimed by Kurdish militants; country mourns
ISTANBUL (AP) — Turkey declared a national day of mourning and paid tribute to the dead Sunday after two bombings in Istanbul killed 38 people and wounded 155 others near a soccer stadium. The carnage was claimed by a Turkey-based Kurdish militant group.
The Kurdistan Freedom Falcons, or TAK, said two of its members had sacrificed their lives in the Saturday night attack that targeted security forces outside the Besiktas stadium shortly after the conclusion of a match.
“Two of our comrades were heroically martyred in the attack,” according to a statement posted on TAK’s website.
It described the blasts as reprisal for state violence in the southeast and the ongoing imprisonment of Abdullah Ocalan, the leader of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK. TAK is considered by authorities as a PKK offshoot.
The twin car-and-suicide bombings near the stadium enraged top officials, including President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who vowed to hunt down the perpetrators. The attack was the latest large-scale assault to traumatize a nation confronting an array of security threats.
Police expect Trump to lift limits on surplus military gear
HAGERSTOWN, Md. (AP) — If president-elect Donald Trump keeps his promise, surplus military grenade launchers, bayonets, tracked armored vehicles and high-powered firearms and ammunition will once again be available to state and local U.S. police departments.
National police organizations say they’ll hold Trump to that promise.
President Barack Obama issued an executive order restricting that access in 2015 amid an outcry over police use of armored vehicles and other war-fighting gear to confront protesters in Ferguson, Missouri, after the fatal shooting of Michael Brown. Since then, federal officials have recalled more than 1,800 items, which have been destroyed through target practice or otherwise disposed of, officials say.
But state and local police organizations have protested, insisting that military-style vehicles and gear help protect officers’ lives and public safety — for example, a privately manufactured, tracked armored vehicle played a key role in the police response to the mass shooting at a county government building in San Bernardino, California, in December 2015.
During his campaign, Trump sided with the police. In September, he promised to rescind the executive order in a written response to a Fraternal Order of Police questionnaire that helped him win an endorsement from the organization of rank-and-file officers.
Playoff picture: Texans get much-needed boost with win
The playoff race remains predictably crowded early in the fourth quarter of this NFL season, creating a complicated bundle of scenarios for the division crowns and wild-card spots available for the taking.
The afternoon game Sunday with the biggest impact on the postseason picture was likely Houston’s 22-17 win at Indianapolis, considering the teams began the day in a three-way tie with Tennessee for first place in the underwhelming AFC South.
The Titans, meanwhile, got a big boost with their 13-10 win over defending Super Bowl champion Denver, which fell into a tie with Miami for the final AFC wild card. The Broncos hold a tiebreaker over the Dolphins.
Here’s a closer look at the candidates:
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