AfricCom chief favors more aggressive approach in Somalia

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The commander of U.S. Africa Command says he would like to be granted more authority to battle al-Qaida-linked militants in Somalia. Marine Gen. Thomas Waldhauser told reporters at the Pentagon on Friday that it would be "very helpful" to be given more flexibility in combatting al-Shabad militants, both directly and through local partner forces. He said this would allow him to deliver airstrikes in a more timely way.

Double-amputee Marine vet joins New York police department

BRENTWOOD, N.Y. (AP) -- The wounded warrior is now a cop -- and he'll be walking the beat on titanium legs. Matias Ferreira, a former U.S. Marine Corps lance corporal who lost his legs below the knee when he stepped on a hidden explosive in Afghanistan in 2011, is joining a suburban New York police department. The 28-year-old graduated Friday from the Suffolk County Police Academy on Long Island following 29 weeks of training.

US: Syrian fighters facing little resistance at Tabqa dam

WASHINGTON (AP) -- A U.S. military spokesman says the Syrian Arab and Kurdish fighters airlifted into combat in northern Syria earlier this week have encountered only light resistance, suggesting that the operation caught Islamic State militants by surprise. Col. Joseph Scrocca, spokesman in Baghdad for the U.S.-led coalition fighting IS in Syria and Iraq, said in an email exchange Friday that the U.S.

Trump touts jobs commitment first made in 2015

WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Donald Trump on Friday praised a plan by cable company Charter Communications to hire 20,000 American call center workers, but the hiring initiative dates back to 2015 as part of the company's successful efforts to merge with Time Warner Cable. It's the latest corporate jobs announcement made at the White House that capitalized on plans made before Trump won the presidency.

California Guard helps Sierra town remove huge snowpack

MAMMOTH LAKES, Calif. (AP) -- The Eastern Sierra town of Mammoth Lakes got so much snow this winter that it had to get removal help from the California National Guard. Faced with more than 40 feet (12 meters) of snow, the Mono County community declared a state of emergency and a request for snow removal assistance was sent to the state Office of Emergency Services, which called in the Guard earlier this month.

US imposes sanctions on China, North Korea entities, people

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Trump administration announced sanctions Friday on 30 foreign companies and people from 10 countries, including China, and accused the entities of engaging in proliferation activity. "These determinations underscore that the United States continues to regularly impose sanctions under existing authorities, as warranted, against entities and individuals that engage in proliferation activity with Iran, North Korea, and Syria," the State Department statement said in a statement.

How the House GOP health care bill compares to Obama-era law

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The House health care bill repeals major parts of former President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act, or ACA, as Republicans push to scale back the federal government's role in health care. Some elements of the Obama-era law are maintained in the House GOP legislation. For example, parents can keep young adult children on their plans until age 26. And insurers can't turn away people with pre-existing medical problems.

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CONGRESS-HEALTH OVERHAUL-RYAN UPDATE: Ryan visits White House WASHINGTON (AP) -- House Speaker Paul Ryan has gone to the White House to brief President Donald Trump on the state of play on the health care bill. The visit comes ahead of a planned showdown vote on the legislation later in the day Friday.

Two-lane bridge to Outer Banks to be repaired, not replaced

COLUMBIA, N.C. (AP) -- A two-lane bridge that links central North Carolina to the Outer Banks will not be replaced and instead will get a $16.7 million upgrade. Transportation Department spokesman Tim Hass told The Virginian-Pilot of Norfolk (http://bit.ly/2mYQVqR) that a $400 million project to replace the 57-year-old Alligator River bridge and widen U.S. Highway 64 is on hold.

Winners and losers in House Republican health plan

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The rich and the almost rich would make out well under the House Republican bill to dismantle Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act. The old and the poor, not so much. The measure would repeal major parts of Obama's health law, capping future funding for Medicaid and cutting tax increases for high-income families, health insurance companies and drugmakers.

Democrats oppose Gorsuch, say he rules against workers

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Three additional Democrats said Friday that they will vote against Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch and will support a filibuster against him. California Sen. Kamala Harris and Washington Sen. Patty Murray both said that they believe the Denver-based appeals court judge has ruled too often against workers and in favor of corporations. New Mexico Sen.

The Latest: Cable company to hire 20K workers over 4 years

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Latest on President Donald Trump (all times local): 11:15 a.m. President Donald Trump is praising a plan by cable company Charter Communications to invest $25 billion and hire 20,000 American workers over the next four years. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and Charter Communications CEO Thomas Rutledge joined Trump at the White House for the announcement.

Troopers: National Guard Humvee stolen from Ohio armory

STOW, Ohio (AP) -- Authorities in Ohio are still on the hunt for a Humvee swiped from an Ohio National Guard Armory. The State Highway Patrol says someone cut through a fence at the Ohio National Guard Armory in Stow southeast of Cleveland and made off with the sand-colored Humvee. A guard spokeswoman says they think the Humvee was stolen either late Tuesday or early Wednesday.

Mnuchin says administration tax plan coming soon

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Friday that after the initial congressional battle over health care, the administration plans to turn quickly to tax reform with the goal of getting a program approved by Congress by August. "Health care is a very complicated issue," Mnuchin said. "In a way, tax reform is a lot simpler.

The Latest: WH says it's optimistic on health care bill

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Latest on an effort in Congress to pass a health care bill (all times local): 1:30 p.m. The White House says it still remains optimistic about a troubled Republican-led health care bill to repeal and replace "Obamacare." White House press secretary Sean Spicer says President Donald Trump is looking forward to the House passing the bill and it expects the House to vote on the bill later Friday.

Spacewalking astronauts prep station for new parking spot

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) -- Spacewalking astronauts prepped the International Space Station on Friday for a new parking spot reserved for commercial crew capsules. The 250-mile-high complex already has one docking port in place for the SpaceX Crew Dragon and Boeing Starliner, which should start carrying up astronauts as early as next year. Friday's spacewalk set the stage for a second docking location.

Trumps plot big hotel expansion, but political problems loom

NEW YORK (AP) -- The Trump family is launching a new hotel chain in a bold expansion of a company that critics say is already too big and opaque for an enterprise whose owner sits in the Oval Office. The chain, called Scion, will feature the first Trump-run hotels not to bear the family's gilded name.

New Congress, all-GOP, same political divisions

WASHINGTON (AP) -- With control of the White House and Senate and a commanding majority in the House, Republicans were supposed to brush off any challenge from the hardline Freedom Caucus and work their will with impunity. But something happened on the way to governing. Now, House Republican leaders are struggling with the same divisions that plagued them under President Barack Obama.