French candidate Macron wins new supporter: former PM Valls

PARIS (AP) -- French centrist presidential hopeful Emmanuel Macron has won the backing of Socialist former prime minister Manuel Valls, a high-profile yet embarrassing supporter for the independent candidate who tries to distance himself from the traditional political parties. Valls said on BFM television Wednesday he will vote for Macron in the two-round presidential vote on April 23 and May 7 "because I think we must take no risk for the Republic".

Former Czech Academy of Sciences head to run for president

PRAGUE (AP) -- Jiri Drahos, the former president of the Czech Academy of Sciences says he wants to run for president of the Czech Republic next year's election. Jiri Drahos announced his candidacy on Tuesday. The 68-year-old Drahos is considered a serious contender to unseat President Milos Zeman from the largely ceremonial post. Drahos, who is not affiliated with a political party, says he wants the values of "truth, reason and decency" to win.

Trump's lawyers: 'Apprentice' contestant can't sue president

NEW YORK (AP) -- Republican President Donald Trump's lawyers say he's immune while president from defamation claims brought by a former contestant on his reality TV show "The Apprentice" who accused him of unwanted sexual contact. The lawyers said in a state Supreme Court filing Monday they'll formally ask for a dismissal or a suspension of the January claims by Summer Zervos until he leaves office.

The Latest: Warner says White House not dispelling suspicion

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Latest on an investigation into purported ties between Trump associates and Russia (all times local): 1:50 p.m. The top Democrat on the Senate intelligence committee says White House meddling in Congress' Russia investigations is not helping to lift the cloud of suspicion that hangs over the Trump administration. Virginia Sen.

French candidate's wife faces charges over parliament jobs

PARIS (AP) -- The wife of French presidential candidate Francois Fillon is facing preliminary charges over well-paid parliamentary jobs that investigators suspect she never performed. Fillon himself has already been charged in the case, which has deeply damaged the conservative candidate's chances for the two-round election April 23 and May 7. He is suspected of embezzlement and other charges.

'American Horror Story' stars discuss potential Trump plot

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- The cast of "American Horror Story" is opening up about rumors of a season of the series centered on President Donald Trump. Series creator Ryan Murphy told Bravo's Andy Cohen last month that the seventh season of the FX drama would be focused on the presidential election and mentioned the possibility of a Trump character.

Parody politician is new star in Serbia's presidential race

ORASAC, Serbia (AP) -- Ahead of Serbia's presidential election on Sunday, a political parody has emerged as a true star. His real name is Luka Maksimovic, but the 25-year-old student bidding to become the Balkan country's next leader has won fame -- and public support -- appearing as a grossly exaggerated politician, complete with a white suit, oversized jewelry and a man bun.

N Carolina pro-ERA forces hopeful it will be in Constitution

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) -- North Carolina supporters of the Equal Rights Amendment say a pro-ratification vote last week in Nevada and women's activism following President Donald Trump's election are good signs it will one day be inserted into the U.S. Constitution. Legislators and other speakers representing several women's rights organizations held a news conference Monday to urge passage of ERA ratification legislation in state House and Senate committees.

Non merci: French voters reject corruption in politics

PARIS (AP) -- French voters just won't tolerate corruption in politics anymore -- that appears to be the message from the swift downfall of the country's powerful security minister. It's a notable shift from the past, when influence peddling seemed endemic and politicians untouchable, even when they were accused of shocking scandals.

Bulgarians vote in ballot that may tilt nation toward Russia

SOFIA, Bulgaria (AP) -- Bulgarians voted Sunday for the third time in four years in an early election that could tilt the European Union's poorest member closer to Russia. The election campaign focused on the future of the EU and the influence of Russia and Turkey on domestic politics, as well as on the increased number of migrants coming into this southeastern European nation that borders Greece, Turkey and Romania. Some 6.

AP FACT CHECK: The week when Trump's wiretap accusation died

WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Donald Trump's accusation that his predecessor ordered snooping of his communications has fallen apart, slapped down by the FBI chief and again by the Republican leading the House intelligence committee, a Trump ally. The president gave up on arguing that Barack Obama tapped his phones, and he doesn't give up on anything easily.

French president denounces rival's claims of dirty tricks

PARIS (AP) -- French President Francois Hollande on Friday vigorously denounced suggestions by the conservative presidential hopeful that Hollande is trying to discredit political rivals behind the scenes by using dirty tricks. The clash between the Socialist Hollande and the right-wing Francois Fillon threatens to further stain the French presidential campaign, already tainted by corruption scandals and voter frustration with the political establishment.

Trump campaign chair offers to talk to House panel on Russia

WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Donald Trump's former campaign manager, a key figure in investigations into the Trump campaign's ties to Russia, has volunteered to be interviewed by lawmakers as part of an increasingly partisan House probe of the Kremlin's alleged meddling in the 2016 election. The chairman of the House intelligence committee, Rep.

French candidate Macron wins key backer: defense chief

PARIS (AP) -- Independent French presidential hopeful Emmanuel Macron has won the backing of the country's defense minister, which could bolster voter confidence that the 39-year-old is presidential material despite having no party and limited political experience. Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, who is leading France's military operations against Islamic extremists in Syria and Iraq, announced his support for Macon on Friday in the Ouest-France newspaper.

French president denounces rival's claims of dirty tricks

PARIS (AP) -- French President Francois Hollande on Friday vigorously denounced suggestions by the conservative presidential hopeful that Hollande is trying to discredit political rivals behind the scenes by using dirty tricks. The clash between the Socialist Hollande and the right-wing Francois Fillon threatens to further stain the French presidential campaign, already tainted by corruption scandals and voter frustration with the political establishment.

Eurozone's economic growth near 6-year high: New survey

LONDON (AP) -- Businesses across the 19-country eurozone, and particularly in France, are increasingly upbeat and hiring more people despite big uncertainties -- including France's high-stakes presidential election. A closely watched survey of some 5,000 companies indicates that business activity is growing overall at the fastest rate in over six years. The so-called purchasing managers' index, which serves as a gauge of business activity, rose to 56.

Putin meets Le Pen, denies French election interference

MOSCOW (AP) -- Russian President Vladimir Putin made his preferences in the French presidential election clear Friday by hosting far-right candidate Marine Le Pen at the Kremlin, but analysts are skeptical about Russia's ability to sway the outcome of the vote. Embracing Le Pen is part of Russia's efforts to reach out to nationalist and anti-globalist forces to build up its influence in the West and help overcome the strains in relations with the U.S.

AP FACT CHECK: Trump's truths can come from wisps of info

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Sitting atop that vast apparatus of institutional knowledge, hard-won intelligence and data known as the U.S. government, President Donald Trump forms some of his most contentious opinions from other sources entirely. It could be a pundit's half-remembered comment on TV, a single word in a newspaper headline or the most self-persuasive source of all -- his own instinct.

BC-AP News Digest 6 pm

Here are the AP's latest coverage plans, top stories and promotable content. All times EDT. ---------------------------- NEW/DEVELOPING ---------------------------- Adds HEALTH OVERHAUL-AMERICA REACTS, TRUMP-MEDIA, TRAVEL BAN-LAWSUIT, UNITED NATIONS-ISRAEL-PALESTINIANS, PENN STATE-ABUSE, WISCONSIN SHOOTING, TREASURY-MNUCHIN, NCAA-UCLA-KENTUCKY. NCAA-UCLA-KENTUCKY -- Game starts 9:40 p.m. WCUP-HONDURAS-US -- Game starts 10:50 p.m.