AP News in Brief at 9:04 p.m. EST


Gunman in New Year slayings at Istanbul club still at large

ISTANBUL (AP) — Turkish police struggled Sunday to track down a gunman who attacked New Year’s Eve revelers at a popular Istanbul nightclub, killing at least 39 people, most of them foreigners. Close to 70 more were wounded.

The attacker, armed with a long-barreled weapon, killed a policeman and a civilian outside the Reina club around 1:15 a.m. before entering and firing at people partying inside, Istanbul Gov. Vasip Sahin said.

“Unfortunately, (he) rained bullets in a very cruel and merciless way on innocent people who were there to celebrate New Year’s and have fun,” Sahin told reporters.

Nearly two-thirds of the people killed were foreigners, many from the Middle East, Turkey’s state-run Anadolu Agency said. It said the bodies of 25 foreign nationals killed in the attack would be delivered to their families Monday.

Countries from India to Belgium reported their citizens among the casualties.

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Obama boosted White House technology; Trump sees risks

WASHINGTON (AP) — As Barack Obama began preparing to leave office, the first smartphone-toting U.S. president ordered his team to upgrade the White House’s aging technology for his successor. New computers were purchased and faster internet was installed.

Not included in the modernization plans? A courier service.

But that delivery method of a bygone era may be in for a comeback under Donald Trump. Despite his voracious use of Twitter, the president-elect appears to be leaning toward old tech to ensure the security of sensitive messages.

“It’s very important, if you have something really important, write it out and have it delivered by courier, the old-fashioned way because I’ll tell you what, no computer is safe,” Trump told reporters Saturday in response to questions about Russia’s alleged hacking of Democrats during the presidential election. Trump, who doesn’t email or surf the internet, said days earlier that computers “have complicated lives very greatly.”

Trump’s skepticism of some technology marks a sharp contrast from the president he’ll replace on Jan. 20. Obama, who was a youthful 47 years old when he took office, carries a specially outfitted Blackberry, emails with a small number of friends and aides, and has received some of his daily security briefings on an iPad. He celebrated technological innovations at an annual science fair, created the job of chief technology officer in the White House and viewed technology as key to making the sprawling federal government more efficient and responsive to the public.

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Obama has few options to protect young immigrants

WASHINGTON (AP) — Barack Obama is under pressure during his final weeks as president to do something — anything — to secure the future of hundreds of thousands of immigrants brought to the U.S. as children who could face deportation under the Trump administration. His options appear few.

At least 50 congressional Democrats are pushing Obama to take the rare if not unprecedented step of granting pardons to the young immigrants who have stepped forward to identify themselves in exchange for a promise that they’d be safe from deportation. The White House, though, has repeatedly ruled that out.

Several Republican lawmakers are crafting legislative proposals to solidify the place of these immigrants, sometimes called Dreamers, before Donald Trump takes office Jan. 20. Similar efforts have repeatedly failed, even with Democratic majorities in both chambers of Congress, so the likelihood of a legislative Hail Mary isn’t great.

That leaves more than 741,000 immigrants wondering what’s next.

Trump’s plans for Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program are unclear. As a candidate, he pledged an immediate end to what he called an “illegal executive amnesty.” But as the president-elect, he has softened that stance.

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Q&A: The GOP’s path to repealing health care law

WASHINGTON (AP) — The stakes confronting Republicans determined to dismantle President Barack Obama’s health care law were evident in one recent encounter between an Ohio congressman and a constituent.

“He said, ‘Now you guys own it. Now fix it. It’s on your watch now,'” recalled GOP Rep. Pat Tiberi, chairman of a pivotal health subcommittee. “And this is a supporter.”

Republicans have unanimously opposed Obama’s law since Democrats muscled it through Congress in 2010. They’ve tried derailing it scores of times but have failed, stymied by internal divisions and Obama’s veto power.

With the Republicans controlling Congress and Donald Trump entering the White House on Jan. 20, their mantra of repeal and replace is now a top-tier goal that the party’s voters fully expect them to achieve — starting this week.

But by unwinding the statute, the GOP would kill or recast programs that provide coverage to 20 million Americans who will be wary of anyone threatening their health insurance. That and continuing Republican rifts over how to reshape the law, pay for the replacement and avoid destabilizing health insurance markets mean party leaders have a bumpy path ahead.

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US general praises Iraqi forces fighting in Mosul

IRBIL, Iraq (AP) — A senior U.S. military commander on Sunday praised Iraqi forces fighting to recapture the northern city of Mosul from the Islamic State group, saying they were “at their peak” and adjusting well to changing realities on the battlefield.

Brig. Gen. Rick Uribe told The Associated Press he agrees with the forecast given by Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi that it would take another three months to liberate Mosul, the last Iraqi urban center still in the hands of the extremist group.

“We are on pretty close to where we want to be,” Uribe said, adding that military planners knew that while the initial push toward the city would be quick, progress would become “significantly” slower on the city’s fringes.

Speaking in Irbil, capital of the self-ruled Kurdish region in northern Iraq, Uribe said Iraqi forces north and south of Mosul have made progress since a new advance was launched last week after a two-week lull in fighting.

A government campaign to liberate Mosul and surrounding areas in Nineveh province began in mid-October, but most of the major fighting inside the city has been done by Iraqi special forces, known as the Counter Terrorism Service.

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Illinois law enlists hairstylists to prevent domestic abuse

CHICAGO (AP) — An Illinois law that takes effect Sunday aims to take advantage of the trusted relationship between hairstylists and their clients to prevent domestic violence.

Stylists, barbers, cosmetologists, estheticians, hair braiders and nail technicians in Illinois will receive an hour of mandated abuse-prevention training as part of the licensing process. The law does not require them to report any violence, and it shelters them from any liability.

Instead, the training provides beauty professionals with information about local help and resources they can share with clients. The Illinois measure appears to be the first of its kind in the country, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Hairstylists are well situated to notice signs of abuse, said Vi Nelson, spokeswoman for the industry group Cosmetologists Chicago.

Abusers “tend to try to find places where it could be an accident or it’s not as visible,” Nelson said. “They may hit them in the back of the head, and there’s a bruise or a bump. The hairdresser is touching you and can see things that cannot be visible to the casual observer.”

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In red states, businesses gearing up to fight bathroom bills

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Sean Henry, the president of Tennessee’s NHL team, is stunned he even has to explain why he hopes state legislators will snub bills similar to North Carolina’s transgender bathroom law, which has consumed that state for months and scared off businesses and sporting events.

The Nashville Predators team is among about 300 companies, ranging from health-care giant HCA to FedEx, joining under the moniker Tennessee Thrives to oppose bathroom and religious objection bills, which they consider discriminatory and bad for business. Companies in other GOP-led states have had success voicing opposition under similar names: Georgia Prospers, Opportunity West Virginia, Missouri Competes.

“I honestly cannot believe that in 2016 I’m actually asked a question as to why I would support anti-discrimination groups,” Henry said. “I think the real question is: who hasn’t joined?”

After the United States Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage in 2015, social conservatives turned to statehouses, seeking state laws to let businesses, pastors and government refuse services to LGBT people based on their religious objections to same-sex unions.

Social progressives hoping to hold back that tide appealed to citizens’ sense of equality and people’s pocketbooks.

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Oil pipeline protesters unfurl huge banner at Vikings game

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Protesters trying to stymie the Dakota Access oil pipeline sneaked up on a truss connected to the roof and rappelled down to unfurl a huge banner inside U.S. Bank Stadium during the Minnesota Vikings’ season finale against the Chicago Bears.

Play was not interrupted on the field during Sunday’s game, but eight rows of fans seated below the banner were cleared as a precaution. The two protesters — a man and a woman — were later arrested for trespassing, Minneapolis police spokesman Officer Corey Schmidt said.

The banner urged Minneapolis-based U.S. Bank to divest from the four-state, $3.8 billion pipeline. Opponents contend the pipeline could affect drinking water and Native American artifacts. Texas-based developer Energy Transfer Partners says the pipeline will be safe.

The protesters rappelled into place during the second quarter, and then hung in a seated position about 100 feet above the seats that were evacuated for safety. The pair watched the rest of the game, occasionally shifting positions or waving at people in sections behind the east end zone. One wore a purple Brett Favre Vikings jersey.

Authorities declined to aggressively remove them out of safety concerns.

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Carey’s New Year’s show is latest mishap in the spotlight

Few singers can match the career of the multi-octave superstar Mariah Carey, the winner of five Grammys who has sold more than 200 million records worldwide.

But sometimes, life gets a little strange in the spotlight. .

She cursed on television during a 2013 appearance in Central Park that aired on “Good Morning America,” a performance also disrupted by a tear in the back of her dress. While singing “Always Be My Baby” on the “Today” show in 2014, she seemed to suffer from temporary voice freeze, as her mouth moved but for several seconds no sounds came out.

TV watchers also remember her wacky “ice cream cart” cameo on MTV and the sight of her needing four people to put on her shoes during a scene from the reality program “Mariah’s World.”

Then there was the humiliation of “Glitter,” Carey’s disastrous 2001 foray into film stardom, which was lambasted by the critics and public alike.

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Vandalized Hollywood sign briefly reads ‘HOLLYWeeD’

LOS ANGELES (AP) — No, Los Angeles residents, it wasn’t your hangovers playing tricks on you. The Hollywood sign really did read “HOLLYWeeD” for a few hours on New Year’s Day.

Police were investigating Sunday after a prankster used giant tarps to turn two of the iconic sign’s white Os into Es sometime overnight.

The vandal, dressed in all black, was recorded by security cameras and could face a misdemeanor trespassing charge, said Sgt. Robert Payan.

The person scaled a protective fence surrounding the sign above Griffith Park and then clambered up each giant letter to drape the coverings, Payan said.

The prank may be a nod to California voters’ approval in November of Proposition 64, which legalized the recreational use of marijuana, beginning in 2018.

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