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WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump is talking optimistically about prospects for passage of the Republican health care overhaul despite some divisions within the GOP and staunch opposition for Democrats. Trump said Thursday that contrary to some media reports, the plans of the Republicans are "coming along great." Democrats assailed GOP lawmakers for what they said were rush tactics used this week to get the bill through the committee process.

SHANGHAI (AP) — China is defending its handling of 38 trademarks it recently approved provisionally for President Donald Trump, saying it followed the law in processing the applications at a pace that some experts view as unusually quick. Congressional Democrats were critical of Trump after The Associated Press reported that the potentially valuable trademarks had been granted, raising questions of conflict of interest and political favoritism. One senator said the issue "merits investigation."

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — A federal safety official says the Texas tour bus hit by a freight train in a crash that killed three people earlier this week wasn't supposed to have taken the road where it got stuck at a rail crossing. National Transportation Safety Board member Robert Sumwalt says the driver may have followed a GPS set for commercial vehicle use rather than directions from the tour company. That's according to, WLOX-TV.

WASHINGTON (AP) — The head of the Environmental Protection Agency's office on environmental justice is resigning in protest over the Trump administration's proposal to slash funding for programs that help poor and minority communities. Mustafa Ali, an associate assistant EPA administrator, helped found the environmental justice office in the 1990s and worked under Republican and Democratic presidents.

WASHINGTON (AP) — The State Department says top U.S. diplomat Rex Tillerson has recused himself from TransCanada's application for a presidential permit for the proposed Keystone XL pipeline. Environmental group Greenpeace has called for Tillerson, former CEO of oil giant Exxon Mobil, to take that step. The pipeline, which would bring oil from Canada to the U.S., was halted by then-President Barack Obama. In one of his first decisions as president, Donald Trump invited the Keystone builder, TransCanada, to resubmit its application to construct and operate the pipeline.

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