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    French officials say flash floods that swept through the southwest Aude region largely claimed elderly victims, who were seemingly caught off guard by the sudden torrents. The Aude regional government and the Interior Ministry in Paris said Tuesday that the death toll from the flooding overnight Sunday to Monday had risen to 13 and that three people were still listed as missing. The region's top local official, Alain Thirion, said on BFMTV that flood victims were mainly older people who were 'surprised by the amount of rain.' Thirion said that in Trebes, the town with the most deaths, the Aude River quickly swelled from about knee-height to a destructive flood that ended up being over 6.5 meters (21 feet) deep.
  • French president Emmanuel Macron has appointed a high-profile political ally to the key post of interior minister during a limited cabinet reshuffle aimed at preparing for upcoming economic and social reforms. Christophe Castaner, 52, who heads Macron's party La Republique en Marche (Republic on the Move), replaces Gerard Collomb who resigned two weeks ago to run for mayor of the city of Lyon. Four other government members were replaced during Tuesday's reshuffle, including the culture and agriculture ministers. The key members of the government, including the finance and foreign affairs ministers, retained their positions. Macron also appointed new junior ministers focusing mainly on economic matters and fighting poverty. The new jobs mean the size of the government expands to 34 members, split equally between men and women, from 29 before — excluding Prime Minister Edouard Philippe. The reshuffle is seen as an attempt by Macron to regain the initiative following a period during which he has seen his popularity plummet and three ministers, including Collomb, resign. Macron's office said the changes are intended to accompany further reforms. Macron, who was elected last year on a platform to reform the French economy, has pledged to make changes to unemployment benefits and streamline the pension system by next summer. Often perceived as a 'president of the rich' for cutting taxes on the wealthy and pushing pro-business policies that favor investors and entrepreneurs, Macron is increasingly described by opponents as arrogant and aloof. Macron created a new job of junior minister at the solidarity and health ministry that will focus on the fight against poverty. The finance ministry is strengthened with junior ministers focusing on industry policy and the digital economy. The position of junior minister for gender equality Marlene Schiappa is enlarged to include all fights against discrimination. The chief of France's domestic intelligence service Laurent Nunez was also named as a junior interior minister.
  • Cologne police are calling on witnesses to a bloody hostage-taking at the city's train station to upload photos or videos to help their investigation. Police have tweeted a link to an online platform for witnesses to upload images of Monday's incident in which a man lit a gasoline bomb at a restaurant inside the station that injured two people. He then held a woman hostage inside a pharmacy for two hours. The suspect was severely injured when police stormed the pharmacy and later received CPR. His condition Tuesday wasn't immediately clear. Police said Monday that the suspect was likely a Syrian who came to Germany in 2016 and has a criminal record. He allegedly said during the incident that he was a member of the extremist Islamic State group.
  • The Latest on the disappearance of a Saudi writer who Turkish officials fear was killed inside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul (all times local): 12:30 p.m. A Turkish Foreign Ministry official says Turkish authorities will search the residence of the top Saudi diplomat in Istanbul over missing journalist Jamal Khashoggi's disappearance. The official did not say when the search of the consul's home would take place. The official spoke on Tuesday on condition of anonymity in line with government regulations. Khashoggi disappeared two weeks ago on a visit to the consulate. Turkish officials fear Saudi officials killed and dismembered the writer inside the mission. Saudi Arabia previously called the allegation 'baseless,' but reports suggest they may acknowledge Khashoggi was killed there. Overnight, Turkish forensic teams searched the consulate building in Istanbul where Khashoggi was last seen entering. Turkish officials have not said if any significant evidence was found. Surveillance footage leaked in Turkish media shows vehicles moving between the consulate and the consul's home after Khashoggi's disappearance. —Suzan Fraser in Ankara, Turkey; ___ 12:05 p.m. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is meeting now with Saudi King Salman over the disappearance of Saudi writer Jamal Khashoggi. Pompeo arrived at a royal palace in Riyadh on Tuesday. The king greeted Pompeo by saying: 'I hope you are comfortable here.' Pompeo responded: 'Thank you for accepting my visit on behalf of President (Donald) Trump.' Pompeo is to also meet with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Mohammed, whom Khashoggi wrote critically about in The Washington Post and whose rise in power saw the writer go into a self-imposed exile in the U.S. Khashoggi disappeared two weeks ago at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul. Turkey fears Khashoggi was killed and dismembered at the consulate. Saudi Arabia previously called the allegation 'baseless,' but reports suggest the kingdom may soon acknowledge the writer was killed there. ___ 11:45 a.m. The United Nations' high commissioner for human rights is urging Saudi Arabia and Turkey to 'reveal everything they know about the disappearance and possible extrajudicial killing' of Saudi writer Jamal Khashoggi. Michelle Bachelet made the comment on Tuesday as U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo arrived in Saudi Arabia to talk to King Salman about Khashoggi's disappearance. Meanwhile, Turkish forensic investigators overnight searched the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul, where Khashoggi disappeared Oct. 2. Bachelet said: 'Given there seems to be clear evidence that Mr. Khashoggi entered the consulate and has never been seen since, the onus is on the Saudi authorities to reveal what happened to him from that point onwards.' ___ 9:55 a.m. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has arrived in Saudi Arabia to meet with King Salman over the disappearance and alleged slaying of Saudi writer Jamal Khashoggi. Pompeo landed on Tuesday morning in Riyadh and was to immediately meet the king over the crisis surrounding Khashoggi, who disappeared two weeks ago on a visit to the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul. Turkish officials say they fear Khashoggi was killed and dismembered inside the consulate. Saudi officials previously have called the allegations 'baseless,' but reports in U.S. media on Tuesday suggested the kingdom may acknowledge the writer was killed there. ___ 7:20 a.m. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is on his way to Saudi Arabia to speak to its king over the disappearance and alleged slaying of Saudi writer Jamal Khashoggi. Pompeo was in the air when a Turkish police forensics team wrapped up its hourslong search of the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul early Tuesday morning. Khashoggi vanished on a visit to the consulate two weeks ago. Turkish officials fear he was killed and dismembered. Saudi Arabia has called those allegations 'baseless,' but has been unable to explain what happened to him. Reports overnight by U.S. media suggest Saudi Arabia soon may concede Khashoggi was killed at the consulate in an interrogation. The kingdom has not responded to repeated requests for comment from The Associated Press.
  • China is saving Muslim ethnic minorities from the lure of religious extremism by teaching them to speak Mandarin and accept modern science, a senior Chinese official said in a report Tuesday, Beijing's latest propaganda effort to defend its internment of Muslims against mounting criticism. The ruling Communist Party's resistance to Western pressure over the camps highlights China's growing confidence under President Xi Jinping, the country's most powerful leader in decades, who has offered Beijing's system of authoritarianism and economic growth as a model for other countries. The report published by the official Xinhua News Agency indicated that key to the party's vision in the far west Xinjiang region is the assimilation of the indigenous Central Asian ethnic groups into Chinese language, culture and history — and in turn, a 'modern' way of life. Despite growing alarm from the U.S. and the United Nations — which estimates that around 1 million Uighurs, Kazakhs and other minorities have been arbitrarily detained — China has maintained that Xinjiang's vast dragnet of police surveillance is necessary for countering latent extremism and preserving stability. Meanwhile, the Turkic-speaking Uighurs (pronounced WEE-gurs) have long resented restrictions placed on their religious practices. They say they meet widespread discrimination in jobs and access to passports. In the Xinhua report, Xinjiang Gov. Shohrat Zakir described the extrajudicial internment of Muslims as a network of 'free vocational training' centers where people are taught employable skills that will help them find work in the manufacturing, food and service industries. Zakir said they are paid a 'basic income' during the training, in which free food and accommodations are provided. The report was a rare move by the ruling Communist Party to publicly outline what it is trying to achieve with what former detainees have characterized as political indoctrination camps where they are forced to denounce Islam and profess loyalty to the party. Ethnic Uighurs and Kazakhs have told The Associated Press that ostensibly innocuous acts such as praying regularly, viewing a foreign website or taking phone calls from relatives abroad could land one in a camp. Zakir said the vocational training centers were for those 'suspected of minor criminal offenses' who can be 'exempted from criminal punishment.' He suggested the measures were within the legal framework of China's anti-terrorism laws. Maya Wang, senior China researcher at Human Rights Watch, said the system deprived detainees of basic protections in the criminal justice system, such as access to lawyers. The authorities' attempts to justify the camps 'illustrate what the 'rule of law' in China means_that the Party bends it to its will and uses it as a weapon against perceived political enemies,' Wang said in an email. Zakir appeared to try to counter reports of poor living conditions within the camps, saying that 'trainees' were immersed in athletic and cultural activities. The centers' cafeterias provide 'nutritious, free diets,' and dormitories are fully equipped with TVs, air conditioning and showers, he said. Omir Bekali, a Xinjiang-born Kazakh citizen, said he was kept in a cell with 40 people inside a heavily guarded facility. Before meals, they were told to chant 'Thank the Party! Thank the Motherland!' During daily mandatory classes, they were told that their people were backward before being 'liberated' by the party in the 1950s. According to Bekali, he was kept in a locked room with eight other internees. They shared beds and a wretched toilet. Cameras were installed in the toilets, and baths were rare. Internees who refused to criticize their peers or parrot official lines were punished, Bekali said, while those who enthusiastically followed orders were rewarded with better living conditions. The trainees were previously mired in poverty and therefore susceptible to the influence of terrorists, according to Zakir. He said the training gave them a grasp of the country's 'common language' (Mandarin Chinese) as well as its history and laws, putting them on the path toward a 'modern life' and making them 'confident about the future.' The idea that one's beliefs can be transformed through indoctrination dates back to the Mao era, when self-criticisms and public humiliation were routinely employed to stir up ideological fervor.
  • Gambia has launched a truth, reconciliation and reparations commission to lay bare abuses committed under the 22-year rule of former leader Yahya Jammeh, with President Adama Barrow declaring the country's 'dark days' are over. The long-awaited commission is meant to help heal the tiny West African nation after years of extrajudicial killings, torture and abuses in phony 'HIV treatment' centers. It also is expected to lay the groundwork for possible prosecution of Jammeh, who flew into exile in Equatorial Guinea in early 2017, and others. The new government under Barrow, who handed Jammeh a surprise election defeat at the head of an opposition coalition, has vowed to deliver justice to victims. Speaking on Monday to a crowd that came to witness what many have called a historic moment, Barrow called on Gambians to stand together and say never again would a few people subject the country to oppression. The president stressed the government's commitment to put victims at the center of the process: 'It is for this reason that we included reparations.' The Gambian-born prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Fatou Bensouda, said the commission will help the country write a new chapter and that in order to move forward 'it must reckon with its past.' It is not an exercise in settling political scores, she said. The 11-member commission will investigate human rights abuses committed between July 1994 and January 2017. It has the power to subpoena alleged perpetrators. Already, the new freedoms in Gambia have inspired growing demands for justice. 'We know so much more today about the crimes of Jammeh's government than we did a year ago, and when the truth commission is finished hearing from all the victims we should have a complete picture,' said Reed Brody of Human Rights Watch, who has been working with victims. Justice Minister Abubacarr Tambadou called Jammeh's departure a turning point for the country but said the former leader left behind a 'deeply polarized society based on ethnic and political considerations, ethnic hatred manifested through hateful propaganda targeting ethnic communities.' Justice will be done but there will be no witch hunt, the minister said. The head of the Gambia Center for Victims of Human Rights Violations, Sheriff Kijera, said the organization has documented hundreds of cases. He deplored the fact that some alleged perpetrators and enablers of the Jammeh era continue to hold 'lucrative positions' in the government and security forces. 'Many victims suffered terrible human rights violations for many years,' he said. 'Some have high expectations of what the TRRC will be doing for them.' ___ Follow Africa news at https://twitter.com/AP_Africa
  • U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met on Tuesday with Saudi Arabia's King Salman over the disappearance and alleged slaying of Saudi writer Jamal Khashoggi, who vanished two weeks ago during a visit to the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul. Pompeo landed in Riyadh on Tuesday morning and was welcomed by Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir on landing. He didn't make any remarks to the media. Soon after, Pompeo arrived at a royal palace, where King Salman greeted him. America's top diplomat thanked the king 'for accepting my visit on behalf of President (Donald) Trump' before going into a closed-door meeting. Turkish officials say they fear Khashoggi was killed and dismembered inside the Istanbul consulate. Saudi officials previously have called the allegations 'baseless,' but reports in U.S. media on Tuesday suggested the kingdom may acknowledge the writer was killed there. Meanwhile, a Turkish forensics team finished earlier in the morning a search inside the consulate. Technicians in coveralls, gloves and covered shoes treated the diplomatic mission as a crime scene during their hours-long search. It wasn't immediately clear what evidence they gathered. Trump, after speaking with King Salman, had dispatched Pompeo to speak to the monarch of the world's top oil exporter over Khashoggi's disappearance. Trump himself said without offering evidence that the slaying could have been carried out by 'rogue killers,' offering the U.S.-allied kingdom a possible path out of a global diplomatic firestorm. However, left unsaid was the fact that any decision in the ultraconservative kingdom rests solely with the ruling Al Saud family. Pompeo also was to meet with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, whom Khashoggi wrote critically about for The Washington Post and whose rise to power prompted the writer to go into a self-imposed exile in the United States. 'The effort behind the scenes is focused on avoiding a diplomatic crisis between the two countries and has succeeded in finding a pathway to deescalate tensions,' said Ayham Kamel, the head of the Eurasia Group's Mideast and North African practice. 'Riyadh will have to provide some explanation of the journalist's disappearance, but in a manner that distances the leadership from any claim that a decision was made at senior levels to assassinate the prominent journalist.' CNN reported that the Saudis were going to admit the killing happened but deny the king or crown prince had ordered it — which does not match what analysts and experts know about the kingdom's inner workings. The New York Times reported that the Saudi royal court would suggest that an official within the kingdom's intelligence services — a friend of Prince Mohammed — had carried out the killing. According to that reported claim, the crown prince had approved an interrogation or rendition of Khashoggi back to Saudi Arabia, but the intelligence official was tragically incompetent as he eagerly sought to prove himself. Both reports cited anonymous people said to be familiar with the Saudi plans. Saudi officials have not answered repeated requests for comment over recent days from The Associated Press. Saudi officials have been in and out of the building since Khashoggi's disappearance Oct. 2 without being stopped. Under the Vienna Convention, diplomatic posts are technically foreign soil that must be protected and respected by host countries. Forensics tests like spraying luminol, a chemical mixture, can expose blood left behind, said Mechthild Prinz, an associate professor at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice who previously worked at the New York City's Office of the Chief Medical Examiner. 'It depends on how well they cleaned it up,' Prinz told the AP. 'Obviously, you don't want anybody to have a chance to clean it up, but very often people do miss blood.' Told that a cleaning crew walked into the consulate before the team arrived, she said: 'You saw that? Wow. That's going to be a problem.' Turkey has wanted to search the consulate for days. Permission apparently came after a late Sunday night call between King Salman and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. In statements after the call, both praised the creation of a joint Saudi-Turkish probe. The Turkish inspection team included a prosecutor, a deputy prosecutor, anti-terror police and forensic experts, the state-run Anadolu news agency reported. Certain areas of the consulate were to remain off-limits, although officials would be able to inspect surveillance cameras, Turkish media reported. What evidence Turkish officials gathered at the consulate remains unknown. Turkey's private DHA news agency said the Saudi consul's office was among the rooms searched. Khashoggi has written extensively for the Post about Saudi Arabia, criticizing its war in Yemen, its recent diplomatic spat with Canada and its arrest of women's rights activists after the lifting of a driving ban for women. Those policies are all seen as initiatives of Prince Mohammed, the son of King Salman, who is next in line to the throne. Prince Mohammed has aggressively pitched the kingdom as a destination for foreign investment. But Khashoggi's disappearance has led several business leaders and media outlets to back out of the upcoming investment conference in Riyadh, called the Future Investment Initiative. They include the CEO of Uber, a company in which Saudi Arabia has invested billions of dollars; billionaire Richard Branson; JPMorgan Chase & Co. Chief Executive Jamie Dimon; and Ford Motor Co. Executive Chairman Bill Ford. Trump previously warned of 'severe punishment' for the kingdom if it was found to be involved in Khashoggi's disappearance, which has spooked investors in Saudi Arabia and SoftBank, a Japanese firm that manages tens of billions of dollars for the kingdom. Trump's warning drew an angry response Sunday from Saudi Arabia and its state-linked media, including a suggestion that Riyadh could wield its oil production as a weapon. The U.S. president has been after King Salman and OPEC to boost production for weeks to drive down high crude oil prices, caused in part by the coming re-imposition of oil sanctions on Iran after the U.S. withdrawal from that's country's nuclear deal with world powers. ___ Fraser reported from Ankara, Turkey, and Gambrell from Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
  • For 10 years, ever since they bonded over baseball at work, Franlet Bencomo and Elbert Albarran haven't missed an opening day game together. This year, however, they left their kids behind and ate a big breakfast before heading out to watch their beloved Caracas Lions because a hot dog inside the stadium costs more than 10 percent of the roughly $30 each makes a month at their minimum-wage jobs. 'Now we have to eat beforehand, watch the game and go straight home' said Bencomo, in line for tickets six hours before the start of Friday's season opener. 'There's no other way.' Throughout Venezuela, as winter league play gets under way, fans are having to make similar sacrifices to feed their passion for the 'pelota,' or the ball, as the national pastime is affectionately known. Hyperinflation has pulverized incomes while putting ticket prices out of reach for many. Others are avoiding the ballpark for fear of getting mugged or because they don't know how they'll get home amid a nationwide transportation crisis. In response, more daytime games are being played. Venezuela's eight professional teams are struggling. For the second straight year, state-run oil company PDVSA had to step in with a $12 million lifeline to pay for everything from imported baseballs to the salaries of the seven foreign-born players — most of them minor league prospects from the U.S. — on each team's roster. During the offseason, vandals picked through stadiums, stripping bathrooms of metal faucets. Groundskeepers have been battling water shortages in several cities. Meanwhile, ticket prices remain a mystery, with some clubs changing them by the week to keep pace with inflation forecast by the International Monetary Fund to soon reach 10 million percent. In Maracaibo, Venezuela's second-largest city, the situation is so dire that the Aguilas (Eagles) team canceled its opener and five other home games this month after an inspector hired by Major League Baseball ruled their diamond didn't meet minimal safety standards. The club said several of its light towers had the copper wiring stolen and the state government, which owns the facility, hasn't come up with the relatively modest sum of $39,000 needed to repair the lighting. Still, the Eagles will be playing on the road. Venezuela's once highly competitive winter league has been in decline for years. While many of the 70-plus Venezuelan players on big league rosters return home for a few games each season, most arriving this year, such as Los Angeles Angels pitcher Eduardo Paredes or Detroit infielder Harold Castro, are little known and don't reflect the nation's powerhouse talent. Meanwhile, major league organizations have shut down all their academies in the country. Venezuela is scheduled to host the Caribbean Series in February at Barquisimeto, one of the city's hardest hit by power outages that have roiled much of the country. Last year's tournament, which brings together the champions of five Caribbean winter leagues, was moved from Barquisimeto to Guadalajara, Mexico, following deadly protests against Venezuela's socialist government. Ramon Guillermo Aveledo, a former Venezuela league president and prominent opposition leader, said he remembers going to the stadium with his father during the 1960s oil boom and watching future Hall of Famer Earl Weaver manage the Cardinals in Barquisimeto. 'Back then there wasn't such a big difference between salaries in the major leagues and what Venezuelan teams could pay,' he said. In something of a departure from his normally fierce criticism of President Nicolas Maduro, Aveledo applauds the government's decision to spend part of its dwindling supply of dollars on baseball — even if he acknowledges that there are more pressing needs. From field crews to ticket scalpers to hot dog vendors, thousands of families depend on baseball to make a living, and Aveledo says the stadiums have long served as a sporting sanctuary where fans of all classes and political backgrounds can set aside their differences and mounting hardships. 'It is one of the few things that unites us,' he said. 'For the three months the season lasts, there's a different vibe in the country.' Indeed, last year stadium attendance rose 5 percent amid the political and economic crisis, although it remains down by a third from a peak in the 2013-2014 season. It's not just the fans who have to endure sacrifices. Former All-Star shortstop Ozzie Guillen said he was tempted to skip returning home to manage the La Guaira Tiburones (Sharks) for the third straight season. In addition to cross-country bus rides on dangerous roads, players coming from the U.S. run the risk of getting food poisoning at neglected restaurants. And they have to deal with frequent power blackouts, like the one that postponed Monday's game between the Bravos (Braves) and Magallanes in Valencia. 'But I'm not here to cry,' said Guillen, who for the first time since growing up in poverty near Caracas said he has been without running water at his home in a well-to-do district of the capital. Guillen, the first Latino to manage a World Series winner with the 2005 Chicago White Sox, said Venezuelans' passion for the game shows no sign of fading despite the country's problems. While ticket and beer prices are rising fast, he insists the ballpark is still the 'cheapest bar in all of Venezuela.' 'I know things are difficult for the fans,' said Guillen, whose reputation for speaking freely about politics has sometimes gotten him in trouble. 'But the game still brings more happiness and joy than sadness.' ___ Joshua Goodman on Twitter: https://twitter.com/APjoshgoodman ___ More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/tag/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
  • The rival Koreas and the U.S.-led United Nations Command met Tuesday to discuss efforts to disarm a military zone the rivals control within their shared border under a peace agreement between the two countries. The talks at the Panmunjom border village mark the first meeting between the Koreas and the U.N. Command to discuss ways to demilitarize the village's Joint Security Area. South Korea's Defense Ministry said the military officials, including U.S. Army Col. Burke Hamilton, the secretary of the U.N. Command's military armistice committee, reviewed the ongoing demining operations at the Joint Security Area and further plans to demilitarize the zone. The Korean militaries began clearing mines from the area at the start of this month following a broad agreement meant to reduce military tensions that was forged between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in at their summit in September. The Koreas plan to withdraw guard posts and firearms from the Joint Security Area once the demining is complete. At the summit in Pyongyang, the Koreas also agreed to create buffer zones along their land and sea boundaries, as well as a no-fly zone above the border, and remove 11 front-line guard posts by December. Moon and Kim also committed to reviving economic cooperation when possible, voicing optimism that international sanctions could end and allow such activity. The Joint Security Area is overseen by the U.N. Command and by North Korea, with South Korean and North Korean border guards facing each other only meters (yards) apart. It is located inside the 4-kilometer-wide (2 1/2-mile-wide) Demilitarized Zone, which is a heavily fortified zone that has formed the de facto border between the Koreas since the 1950-53 Korean War. The Joint Security Area has been used for diplomatic engagements but was also a site of occasional bloodshed during the Cold War, including the killing of two American army officers by ax-wielding North Korean soldiers in 1976. It was also where a defecting North Korean soldier fled to the South last year in a hail of bullets fired by his former comrades. Moon has said the military agreement is an important trust-building step that will reduce border tensions and create diplomatic space. Some military experts say South Korea is at risk of conceding some of its conventional military strength before the North takes any material steps toward giving up its nuclear weapons program, the goal of global diplomatic efforts. South Korea's enthusiasm for engagement with its rival also appears to have created discomfort with the United States amid growing concerns that the North is lagging behind its supposed promise to denuclearize. South Korea last week walked back on a proposal to lift some of its unilateral sanctions against the North following a blunt retort by President Donald Trump that Seoul could 'do nothing' without Washington's approval. South Korea's foreign minister has also said U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo expressed displeasure about the Koreas' military agreement, fueling speculation that Washington wasn't fully on board with the decision. Trump has encouraged U.S. allies to maintain sanctions and pressure on North Korea until it denuclearizes. North Korea's state media on Tuesday criticized Washington's position, saying it threatens to erase the trust that has supposedly been created in high-level talks so far. 'It is difficult to advance the DPRK-U.S. negotiations even an inch with an obstacle called sanctions kept on the rail, however loudly the whistle is blown,' the North's official Korean Central News Agency said in a commentary, referring to North Korea by its official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. KCNA also made a rare jab directly at Trump — though not by name — saying that his recent comment that suggested Seoul can't act without his approval outraged Koreans in both the North and South. ___ Associated Press writer Eric Talmadge in Tokyo contributed to this report.
  • Australia has raised the prospect of following the United States by relocating its embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in a policy shift that critics described Tuesday as a desperate grab for domestic political gain to win a crucial by-election. Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the idea was suggested to him by a former ambassador to Israel, Dave Sharma, who is a candidate for the ruling conservative Liberal Party in a by-election Saturday in a Sydney electorate with a large Jewish population. At stake is the government's single-seat majority in the House of Representatives and Morrison's ability to retain power without doing deals with independent lawmakers. Morrison said Australia remained committed to finding a two-state solution to Israel's conflict with the Palestinians. 'When sensible suggestions are put forward that are consistent with your policy positioning and in this case pursuing a two-state solution, Australia should be open-minded to this and I am open-minded to this and our government is open-minded to this,' Morrison told reporters. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he had recently spoken to Morrison and welcomed the Australian policy shift. Morrison 'informed me that he is considering officially recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel & moving the Australian embassy to Jerusalem. I'm very thankful to him for this,' Netanyahu tweeted. 'We will continue to strengthen ties.' In Indonesia's capital, Jakarta, Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki, who was attending solidarity events in the country, said Morrison's statement was 'very sad news' that would violate U.N. Security Council resolutions. 'Australia, by doing so, is risking trade and business relations with the rest of the world, particularly the Arab world and Muslim countries,' he said at a joint news conference with Indonesia's foreign minister. 'I hope Australia would reconsider that position before taking action.' Australian Broadcasting Corp. reported that an unnamed Indonesian official had said Jakarta had been taken by surprise by the announcement, which could harm trade negotiations between the two countries. When Morrison became prime minister in August, he made his first overseas trip to Indonesia, a near-neighbor that is the world's largest Muslim-majority nation and an ardent supporter of the Palestinian cause. Morrison and Indonesian President Joko 'Jokowi' Widodo planned to sign an agreement this year aimed at boosting trade and investment. Morrison told Parliament that he had briefed Jokowi overnight about the announcement. 'I've been pleased to be able to explain very clearly the nature of the announcements that I've made today and I've been very pleased with the response that I've received from President Joko Widodo,' Morrison said. 'We'll continue to work closely and cooperatively with our allies and with our partners all around the world on these issues,' he said. But Indonesia's Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi said the government questions the merits of Morrison's announcement and has conveyed its 'strong concern.' 'Indonesia has asked Australia and other countries to continue to support the Palestinian-Israeli peace process in accordance with the principles agreed upon and not take steps that could threaten the peace process itself, and threaten the stability of world peace,' she said. Morrison also announced that Australia would vote against a United Nations resolution this week to recognize the Palestinian Authority as the chair of the Group of 77 developing countries and would review the three-year-old Iran nuclear deal. The opposition center-left Labor Party said the announcement was a desperate attempt to win the by-election in the Wentworth electorate. 'The people of Wentworth, and all Australians, deserve a leader who puts the national interest ahead of his self-interest, and governs in the best long-term interest of the nation,' Labor lawmaker Penny Wong said. The Trump administration turned its back on decades of U.S. policy by recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's capital and moving the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv in May. Labor reminded the government that Frances Adamson, the head of Australia's foreign department, said in June that the U.S. move had 'not been helpful' for the Middle East peace process. George Browning, president of the Australia Palestine Advocacy Network, accused the government of 'aligning itself with the most erratic, reactionary and bullish U.S. foreign policy ever.' 'This is an irresponsible policy that compromises the future of millions of people in the Middle East for a handful of votes in Wentworth,' Browning said in a statement. Morrison denied that the United States or the by-election had influenced his announcement. 'I have made this decision without any reference to the United States. It has not come up in any discussion I have had with the president or with officials,' Morrison said. 'Australia makes its decisions about its foreign policy independently. We do so in our own national interests consistent with our own beliefs and our own values,' he added. ___ Associated Press writer Niniek Karmini in Jakarta, Indonesia contributed.

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  • A former college football standout who briefly signed with the Atlanta Falcons was arrested Saturday by police in Columbus, Georgia, for allegedly having sex with a 12-year-old girl, the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer reported. Justin Crawford, 23, who played running back at Georgia's Hardaway High School and West Virginia University, faces charges of incest, sodomy and enticing a child for indecent purposes, according to Muscogee County Jail records. At a preliminary hearing on Monday, Columbus Detective Mark Scruggs said Crawford’s wife, Chakeya, woke up Saturday around 5 a.m. and walked into her living room to find her husband with an erection as he stood over the child, the newspaper reported. However, she told the Ledger-Enquirer she objected to Scruggs’ account, saying her husband’s penis was exposed but not erect. She said she confronted her husband about it, that he denied any wrongdoing and she decided to go back to bed. >> Read more news stories  She took the 12-year-old to the child’s mother later, and that’s when the girl said she had been asleep in the living room when Crawford came in and had her perform oral sex on him before they had intercourse, Scruggs said. The newspaper reported that Scruggs said Crawford initially denied any sexual contact with the girl to police, but he later admitted to having oral sex and intercourse with her but claimed it was her idea. Crawford remains in the Muscogee County Jail without bond, according to jail records. As a senior in high school, Crawford rushed for 825 yards and seven touchdowns, the Ledger-Enquirer reported. He spent two years at Northwest Mississippi Community College, where he rushed for over 3,000 yards and six touchdowns, putting him in the national spotlight. He then transferred to West Virginia, where he rushed for 2,237 yards and 11 touchdowns over two seasons. Crawford signed with the Falcons as an undrafted free agent on May 1, but he was among 36 players released in September during the preseason. He was on the roster for the Atlanta Legends in the new Alliance of American Football league but was suspended by the team after being arrested, according to The Associated Press.
  • A Georgia man is in jail on assault and battery charges after he allegedly stabbed his father and punched his ex-girlfriend in the face, police said. Jonathan Allen Fain, 25, of Gwinnett County, has been charged with aggravated assault, aggravated battery, battery and possession of a firearm or knife during the commission of a felony. >> On AJC.com: Georgia man accused of taking, posting pictures of sleeping girls in underwear Fain got his ex-girlfriend to give him a ride to the Walmart on Rockbridge Road the morning of Oct. 11, according to a police report. He began yelling at her that she was taking too long shopping while they were inside, and the yelling continued while she was driving him home, the report said. She told him to get out of the car, but he wouldn’t, so she threw his wallet out the window, according to police. Fain punched the woman in the face and exited the car to get his wallet; the woman took that opportunity to drive away, the report said. Soon after, Fain arrived at his father’s house in Lilburn. They got into an argument, and at some point, Fain stabbed his father, according to the police report. When an officer arrived around 11 a.m., Fain had fled on foot into some nearby woods, the report said. Fain’s father was lying on the ground with a stab wound to his stomach. The officer found a kitchen knife with its blade missing; the blade had broken off and was still inside Fain’s father, the report said.  >> Read more trending news  Shortly after, Fain reportedly returned to the house, entering the basement. Fain surrendered when officers entered the basement and was arrested, the report said. The father was transported to a hospital with injuries that were not life-threatening, according to the report. Fain was taken to the Gwinnett County Detention Center, where he is being held without bond. 
  • Update 9:45 p.m. EDT Oct. 15: President Donald Trump responded to Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s (D-Mass.) announcement Monday that a DNA analysis proves she has Native American ancestry. >> Read more trending news  Trump has often taunted and mocked Warren using the term “Pocahantas” and has accused her of claiming a Native American ancestor to gain an advantage as a law professor. He vowed to contribute $1 million to her favorite charity if DNA analysis actually proved she had native ancestry. He changed his mind while touring storm-damaged areas in Georgia, telling reporters he initially offered the donation only if she agreed to a DNA test during a debate as the Democrat’s nominee for president. “I’ll only do it if I can test her personally, and that will not be something I will enjoy doing either,” he said, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.  Also Monday, the Cherokee Nation offered a rare rebuke of Warren. 'Using a DNA test to lay claim to any connection to the Cherokee Nation or any tribal nation, even vaguely, is inappropriate and wrong,' the tribe’s secretary of state, Chuck Hoskin Jr., said in a statement, according to OKNews.com. 'It makes a mockery out of DNA tests and its legitimate uses while also dishonoring legitimate tribal governments and their citizens, whose ancestors are well documented and whose heritage is proven,” Hoskin said. Warren said earlier in the day that when “someone brings up my family story, I’ll use it to lift up the story of Native families and communities.” She said it’s an opportunity to highlight the work of the National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center (NIWRC). “I'll use it today to lift up the NIWRC and their amazing work to protect Native women from violence,” she said. Original story: Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., has released an analysis of her DNA showing that she has Native American ancestry. An analysis of Warren's DNA sample showed she had a Native American ancestor in her family dating back six to 10 generations, according to WFXT. The release of the analysis comes after President Donald Trump has mocked her repeatedly for her claim that she has Native American blood, and repeatedly questioned her ancestry. >> Read more trending news  A Stanford professor, Carlos D. Bustamante, who was awarded a MacArthur genius grant for his work tracking population migration via DNA, performed the analysis of the DNA. His report says the majority of Warren's ancestry is European, but there is strong evidence to suggest that she has a Native American ancestor. Warren's office also released a video to YouTube, 'Elizabeth Warren's family story,' which directly addresses the attacks on her heritage by the President and includes interviews with her family. A 'Fact Squad' website with links to the DNA report and supporting documents was also launched. >> Watch the video here Last month, Warren spoke about her future during a town hall in western Massachusetts on Sept. 30. She said she'll take a 'hard look at running for president' after the November elections. Warren, a frequent critic of President Donald Trump, is running for re-election in November against GOP state Rep. Geoff Diehl, who was co-chairman of Trump's 2016 Massachusetts campaign. She has been at the center of speculation that she might take on Trump in 2020.
  • President Donald Trump and first lady, Melania, arrived at Robbins Air Force Base in Georgia Monday afternoon aboard Air Force One. >> Read more trending news  The first couple toured areas impacted by Hurricane Michael after first visiting the devastation in the Florida Panhandle. The hurricane killed at least 18 people, knocked out power to millions, left a trail of destruction through four states and decimated Georgia’s agricultural industry. During his first stop in Georgia at a Red Cross facility, the president said he would ask Congress for additional disaster aid funding.  When he was asked about climate change and if he ever thought weather would occupy so much of his time during his presidency, he responded: “Weather has been a factor and yet, they say [the] worst hurricanes were 50 years ago. “For a long period of time, we’ve had very few,” he said, according to reporters traveling with the president. “I have a home in Palm Beach Florida and frankly for years, we had none and then, the last couple of years we had more. Hopefully, we’ll go back to many years of having none. We’ve been hit by the weather, there is no doubt about it.”  >> Related: Photos: Trumps tour hurricane-ravaged Florida Panhandle  Gov. Nathan Deal greeted Trump at Robins. And U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, a former Georgia governor, and Brock Long, the administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, accompanied Trump.  Trump also weighed in on several other issues during his stop in Georgia, including the disappearance of a dissident Saudi journalist in Turkey. Trump said a lot of people in his administration are working on the case involving Jamal Khashoggi, the missing columnist for The Washington Post. He added he is sending Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to meet with Saudi King Salman about it. The president called the nation’s immigration laws the “dumbest in the history...and we are getting them changed one by one.” Further, he responded to the news that U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren had released the results of a DNA test that she said indicated she had Native American ancestry. In releasing the results, the Massachusetts Democrat was responding to taunts from Trump and others, who have mocked her as “Pocahontas” and claimed she used her heritage to gain an advantage when she was a law professor. Trump had vowed to contribute $1 million to Warren’s favorite charity if she took a DNA test and it showed she had Native American roots. “I’ll only do it if I can test her personally, and that will not be something I will enjoy doing either,” he said in Georgia Monday. >> Related: Hurricane Michael aftermath: Waffle House opens food truck in Panama City  Trump left the Red Cross building to visit a local farm, where he planned to meet cotton and pecan growers who have suffered storm-related losses.  On Sunday, Trump issued a disaster declaration for Georgia and ordered federal aid for parts of the Peach State affected by the storm. The president's decision makes federal funding available to people in Baker, Decatur, Dougherty, Early, Miller, and Seminole counties. That funding can include grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses and other programs. Federal funding will also be made available to state and local government agencies and nonprofit groups on a cost-sharing basis for emergency work in the the following counties: Baker, Bleckley, Burke, Calhoun, Colquitt, Crisp, Decatur, Dodge, Dooly, Dougherty, Early, Emanuel, Grady, Houston, Jefferson, Jenkins, Johnson, Laurens, Lee, Macon, Miller, Mitchell, Pulaski, Seminole, Sumter, Terrell, Thomas, Treutlen, Turner, Wilcox, and Worth. Georgia residents and business owners can begin applying Monday for assistance by registering at www.disasterassistance.gov or by calling 1-800-621-3362.  More: President Trump issues disaster declaration for Georgia, orders federal aid for Peach State  The president stopped in Georgia after surveying hurricane damage in Lynn Haven, Fla., where volunteers were registering storm victims.  “These are some of the people who make it work, and they do it beautifully,” Trump said, according to reporters traveling with the president.  “Somebody said it was like a very wide, extremely wide, tornado,” Trump said, standing next to Florida Gov. Rick Scott. “This was beyond any winds they’ve seen for — I guess — 50 years. Nobody has seen anything like it.”  Scott thanked Trump for the federal response.  “I want to thank the president for always taking my call — and for showing up. And I want to thank the First Lady,” he said.  Georgia Power said that as of noon Monday it had restored power to 97 percent of its customers impacted by the storm.  Candace Reese, spokeswoman for Dougherty County, said Sunday that about 14,000 people were without power in the Albany area but officials expected power to be back by midweek. Churches and Tyson Foods were offering hot meals as 10 extra chainsaw crews headed down to cut the city out from under the many trees that fell. Phil Buckhalter, an Early County farmer near the Alabama border, said Saturday that conditions were getting worse and would continue that way, with farmers and residents alike running out of gas to power generators. With no clear answer to when power will return, Buckhalter and other farmers have been sharing the precious fuel they have on their farms with desperate residents, who don’t have the means to get their own. The farmers want to help less fortunate residents who aren’t as well off, and certainly not after an unprecedented hurricane.  But that means the farmers can’t use the gas to power machinery for saving the few crops they have left in their battered, soggy fields.  “It’ll run out directly,” Buckhalter said.  Georgia Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black said his office is scrambling to get generators up and running and to reopen sites where peanuts can be graded and dried. “One of the things we are working on right now is bringing things back on line,” he said as he awaited Trump in Macon. “There are so many places and people that are still without power. And our team has been working together on some of those priority places to get plants back open.” >> Related: Hurricane Michael: Neighbors come together to donate supplies for hurricane victims The hurricane has also whipped up the race for Georgia governor. Republican Brian Kemp traveled to southwest Georgia on Saturday to help local officials prepare for the start of early voting and returned to the area on Monday. His campaign organized a disaster relief drive and briefed supporters from a distribution center in Bainbridge.  “The response on the ground, while there is much to do, has been unbelievable from the federal, state and friends and neighbors who are helping men and women indeed,” Kemp said. “It makes you proud to be in Georgia.”  His rival, Democrat Stacey Abrams, ticked through the spate of hurricanes that ravaged her hometown of Gulfport, Miss., to a crowd in Macon as she outlined how she would handle disaster recovery if elected.  “It’s about immediate response and also about long-term planning,” she said. “And I’m running for governor because I believe in making sure that we have a leader who sees these communities not only in the moment of devastation and the immediate aftermath, but a year out when folks have walked away and supplies have dwindled. “  The New York Times, the Associated Press, The Washington Post and AJC staff writers Ben Brasch, Greg Bluestein and Joshua Sharpe contributed to this report.

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