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    Turkish authorities have renamed a street where the U.S. Embassy sits on after Turkey's military offensive in Syria that had led to tensions between the allies. Ankara municipal workers on Monday took down the sign for Nevzat Tandogan Street and replaced it with one that reads 'Olive Branch Street.' Turkey launched Operation Olive Branch last month to drive a Syrian Kurdish militia out of northwest Syria. The militia group is a major U.S. ally in fighting the Islamic State group. Turkey regards them as 'terrorists.' The U.S. State Department has said that it's up to Turkish authorities to decide on street names. In November, Turkey renamed the street where the United Arab Emirates has its embassy after a long-dead Ottoman military commander following a disputed tweet.
  • A judge in Britain has sentenced a prolific pedophile to 38 years in prison in what is being described as a watershed moment for authorities coming to grips with technology's ability to spread depravity. Geophysicist Matthew Falder admitted 137 offenses, including blackmail and encouraging the rape of a child. Falder posed as a female artist to lure victims into sending him humiliating images, many of which were then distributed on the dark web. He approached 300 people worldwide. Judge Philip Parker branded Falder an 'internet highwayman,' whose behavior was 'cunning, persistent, manipulative and cruel.' Will Kerr of the National Crime Agency said Monday such crimes require 'unprecedented' levels of resources to stop. The agency worked with U.S. Homeland Security, the Australian Federal Police and Europol to crack the case.
  • Chancellor Angela Merkel proposed Monday that the governor of Germany's tiny western state of Saarland run her party's day-to-day operations — putting her in prime position eventually to succeed Merkel as leader of the center-right Christian Democratic Union. Merkel said she wants the party to elect Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer to the post of general-secretary next Monday. The party's current general-secretary, Peter Tauber, is stepping down after facing health issues. Speaking alongside Kramp-Karrenbauer at the party's headquarters in Berlin, Merkel said the 55-year-old Catholic would bring a lot of experience and credibility to the role at a time when the Christian Democrats are under pressure to define their political positions. Conservative voters have abandoned the party in recent years, partly over Merkel's welcoming stance on immigration, even though it still came first in last September's election with almost 33 percent of the vote. 'We are experiencing one of the most difficult political phases in the history of (post-war) Germany,' Kramp-Karrenbauer told reporters, explaining why she was willing to leave her post as governor of one of Germany's 16 states to devote her energy to the party's headquarters in Berlin. Kramp-Karrenbauer has been governor of Saarland on Germany's western border with France and Luxembourg since 2011. During that time she worked to make French a second language in the state and improve economic, cultural and political ties with France. Merkel was elected general-secretary in 1998, a role that traditionally involves managing the party's campaigns and developing its political messages. Merkel went from general-secretary to party leader in 2000, and becoming Germany's chancellor five years later. Asked whether she considered herself Merkel's 'crown princess' now, Kramp-Karrenbauer — who is often referred to by her acronym A.K.K. in German media — said: 'I was never suited for princess roles.
  • America's union leaders are about to find out if they were right to fiercely oppose Neil Gorsuch's nomination to the Supreme Court as a pivotal, potentially devastating vote against organized labor. The newest justice holds the deciding vote in a case to be argued Feb. 26 that could affect the financial viability of unions that are major supporters of Democratic candidates and causes. The unions represent more than 5 million government workers in 24 states and the District of Columbia who could be affected by the outcome. The other eight justices split 4 to 4 when the issue was last at the court in 2016. The court is being asked to jettison a 41-year-old ruling that allows states to require government employees who don't want to be union members to pay for their share of activities the union undertakes on behalf of all workers, not just its members. These so-called fair share fees cover the costs of collective bargaining and grievance procedures to deal with workplace complaints. Employees who don't join the union do not have to pay for the unions' political activities. Conservative anti-union interests are backing an Illinois government employee who says that being forced to pay anything at all violates his First Amendment speech rights. 'I'm not against unions,' said the employee, 65-year-old Mark Janus, who is represented by American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Council 31. 'I don't oppose the right of workers to organize. But the right to say no to unions is just as important as the right to say yes.' He said he opposes his union's fight for wage and benefit increases when the state is 'in pretty terrible financial condition right now.' William Messenger, the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation lawyer who is representing Janus at the Supreme Court, said everything the union does, including its bargaining with the state, is political and employees should not be forced to pay for it. The issue might have been settled in Janus' favor two years ago. In January 2016, the court heard an identical complaint from California teachers and appeared to be ready to decide that states have no right to compel workers to pay money to unions. But less than a month later, Justice Antonin Scalia died and the court soon after announced its tie, in effect a win for the unions. The one-sentence opinion did not identify how each justice voted, but the court appeared split between its conservatives and liberals, the same breakdown seen in two other recent cases about public sector unions. Those unions cheered President Barack Obama's Supreme Court nomination of Judge Merrick Garland to fill the court's vacancy. But the Senate took no action on Garland's nomination, President Donald Trump won the election and the union opponents rushed new cases to the court to challenge the union fee arrangement. Union sentiment about Gorsuch was unvarnished when he was nominated and confirmed. 'In Neil Gorsuch, Trump has nominated an extremist judge intent on overturning basic, well-established Supreme Court precedents,' American Federation of Teachers president Randi Weingarten said. Following Gorsuch's Senate hearing, the Service Employees International Union said, 'Throughout the last three days of testimony, Judge Gorsuch has again proved that he isn't the kind of judge who gives working people a fair shot at justice.' Having won an unexpected reprieve in 2016 and with Gorsuch on the bench, labor leaders are predictably fatalistic about where this case is headed, focusing on how they might adapt to a world without compulsory payments. Union leaders have described the years-long fight against fair share fees as a political attack launched by wealthy special interests that want to destroy the labor movement Their fear is that a ruling for Janus that frees employees from supporting the unions financially will cause union members to stop paying dues, too. 'Are you going to lose some people?' asked Lee Saunders, president of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. 'Sure. I'm not going to lie to you.' Three Nobel Prize-winning economists and 33 other scholars described the potential fallout as a classic free-rider problem. 'If individuals are not required to contribute, many who undisputedly benefit will nevertheless withhold their contributions out of simple self-interest, and others will withhold their contributions to avoid being taken advantage of by the free riders,' the academics wrote in a Supreme Court filing in support of the unions. But Saunders, Weingarten and other union presidents said their focus has been on reconnecting with members, who have been more engaged since Trump's election. 'The opportunity here is to re-engage in a way that the reason for unions in the first place becomes a prominent reason again,' Weingarten said.
  • Israeli energy company Delek Drilling has announced a $15 billion deal to supply natural gas to Egypt. Delek and its U.S. partner, Noble Energy, signed a deal Monday to sell a total of 64 billion cubic meters of gas over a 10-year period to Egyptian company Dolphinus Holdings. Yossi Abu, chief executive of Delek Drilling, said in an interview that the deal is the largest-ever export agreement for Israel's nascent natural gas industry. He called it 'great news' for both countries. He says he expects most of the gas to be used for Egypt's domestic market. But he says it could help pave the way toward turning Egypt into an export hub for Israeli gas. The gas is expected to start flowing next year.
  • The Latest on the deadly Florida high school shooting (all times local): 7:50 a.m. The couple who took in the Florida school shooting suspect after his mother died says he told them he was sorry after the shooting. Speaking Monday on ABC's 'Good Morning America,' James and Kimberly Snead said they've only seen Nikolas Cruz once since the shooting that killed 17 when they briefly saw him at the police station. Kimberly Snead says she yelled at him and 'really wanted to strangle him more than anything.' The couple says Cruz told them he was sorry. The Sneads also said the person who's been shown to the world since the shootings isn't the person they knew when he lived with them. They said Cruz was very polite and followed all their rules. Cruz is facing 17 counts of murder in the Wednesday afternoon shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland. ___ 12:50 a.m. Student survivors of the deadly Florida school shooting who hope to become the face of a revived gun control movement are on a potential collision course with President Donald Trump. Several of the students have criticized the president, whose election was strongly supported by the National Rifle Association and who ran on a platform opposing gun control. Trump spent the weekend in South Florida, only an hour's drive from Stoneman Douglas High School where 17 people were fatally shot last week. His only mentions of the massacre came in tweets Saturday contending the FBI was too focused on the Russia investigation to respond to warnings about the alleged shooter and mocking Democrats for failing to pass gun control.
  • Heavy rains triggered the partial collapse of a huge mound of garbage in Mozambique's capital on Monday, killing as many as 17 people who were buried by debris. Authorities believe more bodies could be buried at the Hulene garbage dump on the outskirts of Maputo, and a search was underway. The garbage in the poor, densely populated area where the disaster happened rose to the height of a three-story building, according to the Portuguese news agency Lusa. Twelve people died, Lusa reported. Radio Mocambique put the death toll at 17. Half a dozen homes were destroyed and some residents in the area fled for fear of another collapse. 'The mountains of garbage collapsed on the houses and many families were still inside these residences,' Fatima Belchoir, a national disaster official, told Lusa. Authorities are trying to help people who lost their homes, she said. The Hulene garbage dump is the largest such facility in Maputo. People often comb through the garbage, searching for food and items to sell. Health workers have long raised concerns about the impact of the fumes, flies and other hazards of the dump on the surrounding community. Municipal officials have previously discussed the closure of the dump.
  • A pending court case in Kuwait against dozens of politicians, activists and others stemming from the country's 2011 Arab Spring protests represents a rare crackdown on dissent in what is relatively the most politically open Gulf Arab state. The defendants were initially acquitted over storming Kuwait's parliament but a shock court decision in November resurrected the case against them. It comes as Kuwait's ruler emir earlier warned the country's national unity is at stake amid regional turmoil. Meanwhile, activists gather nightly in Kuwait City to peacefully demonstrate against the government — something unthinkable elsewhere in the Arabian Peninsula The rallies, across the street from Kuwait's National Assembly, show the unique political system in this tiny, oil-rich nation, where its emir rules absolutely but lawmakers and citizens can criticize officials.
  • Fergie tried something different with her national anthem at the NBA All-Star Game, and not everybody was cheering. The Black Eyed Peas singer's slow, bluesy rendition of 'The Star-Spangled Banner' on Sunday night wasn't particularly well received at Staples Center or on social media before the 67th edition of the NBA's annual showcase. A low chuckle rumbled through the sold-out arena after Fergie finished the first line of the song with a throaty growl on 'the dawn's early light.' Fans throughout the star-studded crowd reacted with varying levels of bemusement and enthusiasm while her languid, 2 ½-minute version of the song continued. Although Fergie was on pitch, her tempo, musical accompaniment and sexy delivery were not exactly typical for a sporting event or a patriotic song. Golden State All-Star Draymond Green captured the mood — and became an instant GIF — when he was shown open-mouthed on the scoreboard and the television broadcast in apparent confusion over the unique vocal stylings. Green then chuckled to himself after realizing he was on TV. After a forceful finish, Fergie finally got big cheers when she shouted, 'Let's play some basketball!' The Grammy Award-winning singer, born Stacy Ann Ferguson, is from nearby Hacienda Heights, California. Famed basketball commentator Charles Barkley joked that he 'needed a cigarette' after Fergie's performance during the TNT halftime show. Former Lakers star Shaquille O'Neal leaped to Fergie's defense, saying: 'Fergie, I love you. It was different. It was sexy. I liked it. Leave her alone.' Others on social media weren't as kind, with criticism of the performance outpacing the positive reviews. The Forum in nearby Inglewood, California, was the site of arguably the most famous national anthem in sports history during another NBA All-Star Game 35 years ago. Marvin Gaye's touching rhythm-and-blues version of 'The Star-Spangled Banner' at the 1983 game was initially criticized, but has since gained widespread acceptance as a groundbreaking musical performance. Instead, Fergie is more likely to join the long list of curious versions of the anthem, even though she showed far more impressive vocal chops than the likes of Roseanne Barr or Carl Lewis. ___ More AP basketball: www.apnews.com/tags/NBAbasketball
  • South African authorities are escalating an anti-corruption drive against a business family linked to former president Jacob Zuma, saying they could seek Interpol's help to track suspects believed to be out of the country. Police Minister Fikile Mbalula said in an interview with state broadcaster SABC on Sunday that the search for several suspects, including a member of the Gupta family, is focusing on India, China or Dubai. One of the missing suspects is India-born Ajay Gupta, accused along with his brothers of using connections to Zuma to manipulate state companies for their own financial benefit. Eight other suspects, including a Gupta family member, appeared in a South African court last week as part of a probe into the alleged embezzlement of state funds earmarked for a dairy project.