The Latest: Iran says it ‘unintentionally’ shot down plane
WASHINGTON (AP) — Iran has announced that its military ‘unintentionally’ shot down a Ukrainian jetliner, killing all 176 aboard. The statement Saturday morning blames “human error” for the shootdown. The jetliner, a Boeing 737 operated by Ukrainian International Airlines, went down on the outskirts of Tehran during takeoff just hours after Iran launched a barrage of missiles at U.S. forces. Iran had denied for several days that a missile downed the aircraft. But then the U.S. and Canada, citing intelligence, said they believe Iran shot down the aircraft.
Trump ups Iran accusations, says 4 US embassies targeted
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump and his top officials are offering a string of fresh explanations for this week's U.S. military action in the Middle East. Confronted by persistent questions about justifications, Trump says Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani and others were planning major attacks on four U.S. embassies. But Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo continue to rebuff questions about what they mean when they say those attacks were “imminent.” Meanwhile, Trump has ordered new economic sanctions against Iran, targeting senior Iranian officials and important sectors of an economy that is already straining under previous sanctions.
Tornadoes hit Missouri, Oklahoma, as severe storms move east
DALLAS (AP) — Tornadoes have destroyed homes in Arkansas and Missouri and also caused damage in Oklahoma amid severe storms. The storms also unleashed downpours that caused widespread flash flooding. Dallas police say one person died Friday night when a car flipped into a creek west of downtown Dallas. Earlier in the afternoon, a tornado destroyed two homes near Fair Play, Missouri. Tornado watches Friday night covered parts of eastern Texas, northwestern Louisiana, southern Missouri and much of Arkansas. Forecasters say wicked weather also will pose a threat to Alabama and Georgia as the system moves eastward on Saturday.
Man burned as huge wildfire forms during Australia crisis
BURRAGATE, Australia (AP) — Two wildfires have merged to form a massive inferno in southeast Australia, near where a man suffered serious burns protecting a home during a night of treacherous conditions. Authorities are assessing the damage Saturday after firefighters battled flames fanned by strong winds and lightning strikes sparked new blazes in the states of New South Wales and Victoria. Conditions are milder and forecast to remain relatively benign for the next week. Officials say a man suffered burns protecting a home and was airlifted to a Sydney hospital in a serious condition. Several firefighters got minor burns, and one suffered shortness of breath, but they didn't go to a hospital.
White House considering dramatic expansion of travel ban
WASHINGTON (AP) — The White House is considering dramatically expanding its much-litigated travel ban to additional countries amid a renewed election-year focus by President Donald Trump on immigration issues. That's according to a half-dozen people familiar with the deliberations. Two of the people said a document circulating in the White House outlines the plans, but the countries that would be affected were blacked out. The people spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the measure has yet to be finalized. The expanded ban could include several countries that were initially included in the ban but later removed from the list.
FBI tightening up wiretap protocols after watchdog report
WASHINGTON (AP) — The FBI says it's taking steps to improve the accuracy and completeness of its wiretap applications for national security investigations and to provide better training for agents. The changes were described in a 30-page filing with the secretive Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. They come one month after the chief judge of that court ordered the FBI to say how it would fix problems identified in a harshly critical Justice Department inspector general report on the bureau's investigation into ties between the Trump campaign and Russia.
IS gloats at Iran general's death, says it pleased Muslims
BEIRUT (AP) — The Islamic State group is gloating over the recent U.S. killing of a senior Iranian general, who rose to prominence by advising forces fighting the extremists in Iraq. The first IS comments since the general's killing say his death “pleased the hearts of believers.” The IS editorial was released in the group's al-Nabaa online newspaper late Thursday. Although the U.S. and Iran strictly avoided working together directly, they were once on the same side in the fight against IS. Neither side wants to see the extremists stage a comeback. But as the various players in Iraq jockey to come out ahead in a post-Soleimani landscape, IS may find an opening.
FAA seeks to fine Boeing $5.4 million over faulty Max parts
Federal safety officials say they will fine Boeing $5.4 million for installing substandard parts on the wings of some of its now-grounded 737 Max jetliners. The Federal Aviation Administration said Friday that poor oversight of suppliers led Boeing to install the parts, which could become brittle and weak because of mistakes during manufacturing. Boeing already faces a $3.9 million fine for installing the same flawed parts on other 737s besides the Max. The faulty wing parts are not believed to have played any role in the two crashes that led to grounding of the Max.
Texas governor to reject new refugees, first under Trump
HOUSTON (AP) — Texas Gov. Greg Abbott says the state will reject the resettlement of new refugees, becoming the first state known to do so under a recent Trump administration order. In a letter released Friday, Abbott wrote that Texas “has been left by Congress to deal with disproportionate migration issues resulting from a broken federal immigration system.” He added that Texas, which typically takes in thousands of refugees each year, has done "more than its share.” Governors in 42 other states have said they will consent to allowing in more refugees, according to the Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service.
Lawmaker slams report labeling him a 'domestic terrorist'
SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — A right-wing lawmaker from Washington state says that a recent report that branded him a ‘’domestic terrorist'' is a lie and that he will continue to represent the people of his district. Democrats and some Republicans have called for state Rep. Matt Shea, R-Spokane Valley, to resign in the wake of a December report involving anti-government activities. Shea has refused to resign. He issued a statement on Friday saying he will be in the chamber when the state House convenes its 2020 session on Monday. The report was done by the Rampart Group, a Seattle-based private investigation agency.