12.2.16:  Trump to nominate Gen. Mattis to lead Pentagon




WASHINGTON (AP) — President-elect Donald Trump says he will nominate retired Marine Corps Gen. James Mattis to lead the Defense Department.

Trump made the announcement during a post-election victory rally Thursday in Cincinnati.

Mattis retired in 2013 after serving as the commander of the U.S. Central Command.

In a tweet Sunday, Trump referred to Mattis by his nickname “Mad Dog” and described him as “A true General’s General!”


12.2.16:  Signs point to recovery after wildfires




GATLINBURG, Tenn. (AP) — Residents and business owners in Gatlinsburg, Tennessee get their first chance today to see whether they have anything left but their lives after a wildfire that killed 11 people and damaged hundreds of homes and businesses. Officials there hope to open the city’s main roads to the public by Wednesday.

All around the city, communities in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains are welcoming back residents and visitors.

In Pigeon Forge, the Comedy House rented an electronic billboard message that said it was open for laughs, and a flyer at a hotel urged guests to check out the scenic Cades Cove loop.

Dollywood, the amusement park named after country music legend and native Dolly Parton, will reopen Friday afternoon after it was spared any damage.


12.2.16:  House panel approves stricter voter ID bill




LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan lawmakers have advanced contentious legislation that would change the procedure for voters who don’t show photo identification at their polling place.

Voters without an ID currently must sign an affidavit before voting. Under the bill approved Thursday by the Republican-led House Elections Committee, they could vote but would have to visit the local clerk’s office no later than 10 days after the election to ensure their ballot is counted.

They would have to present a photo ID with their current address or other documentation establishing their residency, or sign an affidavit attesting to an inability to obtain an ID.

House Elections Chairwoman Lisa Posthumus Lyon says the bills are based on an Indiana law that was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court. Democrats say Republicans are trying to suppress the vote.


12.2.16:  Michigan board to hear Trump’s challenge to recount effort




LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan’s elections board will consider President-elect Donald Trump’s request to block a hand recount of all 4.8 million ballots cast in the state he won by 10,700 votes over Hillary Clinton.

Arguments will be heard Friday.

A recount is already underway in Wisconsin, where the first reporting of numbers is expected Friday. In Pennsylvania, a hearing is scheduled for Monday on Stein’s push to secure a court-ordered statewide recount.

Recounts aren’t expected to flip nearly enough votes to change the outcome in any of the three states.

Lawyers for the Trump campaign argue that Green Party candidate Jill Stein can’t seek the recount in Michigan because she wasn’t “aggrieved” to the point where potential miscounting of votes could have cost her the election. She garnered 1 percent of Michigan’s vote.


12.2.16:  Red Wings lost in OT



DETROIT (AP) — Aleksander Barkov scored on a breakaway 2:04 into overtime, lifting Florida to a 2-1 win over the Detroit Red Wings on Thursday night and giving interim coach Tom Rowe his first victory with the Panthers.

Florida, playing its second game with Rowe, had lost its last two games. Detroit was 3-0-1 after losing four straight and nine of 11.

The Red Wings went ahead 1:23 into the game when Henrik Zetterberg scored on their first shot, ending a six-game drought. But they struggled on offense the rest of the night.


12.1.16:  World population grows, young girls struggle




AMMAN, Jordan (AP) — The United Nations population agency says the world’s population grew to 7.4 billion in 2016, with a substantial youth bulge challenging political and social systems across the planet.

The United Nations Population Fund released its 2016 State of the World Population report Thursday in Amman, Jordan. The report highlights the potential fallout — and gains — to be had by overcoming the world’s clear gender inequality in the half of the world’s population under the age of 24.

The report focuses on the well-being of 10-year-old girls as indicators of development success or failure. It says 89 percent of the world’s 125 million 10-year-olds live in developing countries where girls face obstacles to equal education, healthcare and safety.


12.1.16:  Gunman accused of killing officer is dead



SEATTLE (AP) — Authorities in Tacoma, Washington, say the suspect in the shooting death of a police officer is dead.

Authorities this morning say a SWAT team shot and killed the gunman, who had been holed up in a house with two children. The children are safe.

A Tacoma police officer was shot and killed yesterday afternoon after he went to the home on a domestic violence call.


12.1.16:  Ohio pulls license of 1 of state’s last few abortion clinics




COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Ohio has revoked the operating license of one of the state’s few remaining abortion clinics on grounds it failed to obtain a required transfer agreement with a nearby hospital for emergencies.

Women’s Medical Center of Dayton has 15 days to appeal the order, signed Wednesday by Health Director Rick Hodges.

Hodges said the license is being revoked because the facility failed to name an adequate number of physicians to provide backup care. His order falls in line with recommendations of an independent hearing officer.

Ohio requires ambulatory surgical facilities to have emergency backup agreements with nearby hospitals or to obtain a variance from that requirement.

Public hospitals may not participate in transfer agreements and Dayton-area obstetricians have been intimidated by abortion opponents as the clinic sought additional backup doctors.


12.1.16:  Senate adjourns without vote on teacher pensions




LANSING, Mich. (AP) — The Republican-controlled Michigan Senate has adjourned without voting on legislation that would close the pension system to newly hired school employees and give them a 401(k) benefit.

Amber McCann, spokeswoman for Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof, said Wednesday GOP senators have more questions about conflicting costs estimates associated with the move.

A Senate committee approved the legislation earlier Wednesday. Republican Gov. Rick Snyder’s administration voiced opposition.

The legislation would apply to school workers hired on or after July 1, 2017.

Republicans say the Michigan Public School Employees Retirement System is “unsustainable.”

Since mid-2010, new hires have qualified for a “hybrid” plan, with a blending of a traditional pension and a 401(k). Older teachers receive a pension.

Democrats are unified against the measure.


12.1.16:  Bills would require voters without photo ID to return later



LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan Republicans are considering new legislation to change the procedure for voters who don’t show a photo ID at their polling place.

A bill up for a potential vote Thursday in the House Elections Committee would require those casting a provisional ballot to visit their clerk’s office no later than 10 days after the election to ensure it’s counted. They would have to present a photo ID with their current address or other documentation establishing their residency.

Under current law, voters without a photo ID must sign a brief affidavit before voting.

A hearing on the legislation was held Wednesday.

The liberal advocacy group Progress Michigan says it’s a “voter suppression” bill. The sponsor, Republican Rep. Lisa Posthumus Lyons of Alto, says the measure would protect the integrity of elections.