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    The Philippine Congress voted overwhelmingly Wednesday to approve President Rodrigo Duterte's request to extend martial law in the south by a year after the military warned that terrorist threats continue to lurk despite the defeat of a disastrous pro-Islamic State group siege.A majority of the Senate and the House of Representatives — with 240 approving and 27 opposing — voted to extend martial law across the Mindanao region through the end of 2018. The vote followed warnings by Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana and other officials that pro-IS militants were trying to recover from their defeat in southern Marawi city and were plotting new attacks.'The rebellion has not stopped, it has just moved to another place,' Lorenzana told the senators and House members in a joint session.Opponents argued that extending martial law in the south is unconstitutional and expressed fears that such a move can be a prelude for Duterte to declare martial law throughout the Philippines.Sen. Francis Pangilinan, who heads the main opposition Liberal Party, rejected the martial law extension without a clear constitutional basis. 'We will be in danger of becoming the monsters that we seek to defeat, those who have no regard for law, order or respect for the constitution,' he said.The Marawi violence left more than 1,100 combatants and noncombatants dead, displaced about half a million people and turned mosque-studded Marawi's central business and residential districts into a smoldering war zone.The uprising, which began on May 23, prompted Duterte to declare martial law and reinforced fears that the Islamic State group was taking steps to gain a foothold in Asia and elsewhere as it faced battle setbacks in Syria and Iraq.Some gunmen and commanders managed to escape during the fighting and are now recruiting new militants, while extremist groups in other southern provinces, including the brutal Abu Sayyaf group, continue to pose threats, according to the military.Filipinos remain hypersensitive to threats to democracy and civil liberties more than three decades after they ousted dictator Ferdinand Marcos in a 1986 'people power' revolt that became a harbinger of change in authoritarian regimes worldwide.
  • Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton was set to reveal his choice Wednesday to replace Al Franken in the U.S. Senate, with the top contender seen as his longtime adviser Lt. Gov. Tina Smith.Dayton has declined to answer questions about the appointment since Franken announced his impending resignation last week following allegations of sexual misconduct. In making the appointment, Dayton was weighing a short-term replacement against pressure from top Democrats in Washington to name someone who would run in 2018 in a special election to complete Franken's term ending in 2020.A Democratic official told The Associated Press last week that Dayton was ready to choose Smith as a placeholder before being pressured to appoint someone who could leverage the appointment into a 2018 run.That official and a second Democratic operative said that Smith was considering a 2018 run amid that pressure. Both Democrats spoke on condition of anonymity to speak freely about private discussions ahead of an announcement.Smith, who earlier this year passed up an expected campaign for governor, did not immediately respond to telephone messages Tuesday. She has not responded to questions about the appointment since Franken announced plans to resign in the coming weeks.Smith, 59, a native of Albuquerque, New Mexico, arrived in Minnesota in 1984 to take a marketing job with General Mills. She grew more political active in the 1990s, founding her own marketing and political consulting firm and eventually managing Walter Mondale's unsuccessful 2002 Senate run as well as his son Ted Mondale's 1998 governor for candidate — also unsuccessful.She also served as a vice president of external affairs for Planned Parenthood Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota, from 2003 to 2006. After that, she served as chief of staff to Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak before taking the same job with Dayton.The special election for Franken's seat is certain to be a closely watched and expensive race for what amounts to a swing seat. Republicans have already floated the possibility that former two-term Gov. Tim Pawlenty will run, giving them a widely known candidate who can raise plenty of money.In a sign of Pawlenty's potential political strength, a top Democratic-allied interest group, Alliance for a Better Minnesota, last month paid for a poll attacking him at a time when he was said to be considering a run for governor.Pawlenty deflected questions about a Senate run Tuesday in an appearance on CNN, where he weighed in on the Alabama Senate race against Republican Roy Moore's candidacy. Moore narrowly lost the race to Democrat Doug Jones.
  • Lou Gehrig's 1931 contract with the New York Yankees has sold at auction for $216,000.Gehrig played with the Yankees from 1923 to 1939, when he retired while suffering from ALS. He batted .340 with 493 home runs and 1995 RBIs, and helped the Yankees win seven World Series titles.The 1931 contract was part of a Yankees Legends offering by Heritage Auctions that was availabe for bidding through Sunday.'In addition to Gehrig's offensive statistics, which sent him to the Baseball Hall of Fame on the first available ballot, it was Gehrig's bravery, reliability and quiet strength, which make him a favorite among the Yankee faithful,' Chris Ivy, Heritage's director of sports auctions, said Tuesday. 'And prices realized for memorabilia related to his Yankee career certainly reflect it.'A scouting report on Derek Jeter from April 1992 sold for $102,000. The report was prepared by Yankees scout Dick Groch after he saw Jeter play in a high school game in Kalamazoo, Michigan. In his summation, Groch said about Jeter: 'A Yankee! A five tool player. Will be a ML Star! +5!!'The Yankees, who have won a record 27 world championships, selected Jeter with the sixth overall pick in the 1992 amateur draft. He went on to win Rookie of the Year honors in 1996 and helped the team win the World Series five times in his 20-year career before retiring in 2014.'Similar to the contract that sold Babe Ruth to the Yankees in 1920 establishing their first championship dynasty, this scouting report brought Jeter to the Yankees, which helped to establish a new championship dynasty for the current generation,' Ivy said. The bat Gehrig used to hit his last two home runs, in an exhibition game in 1939, was also available, but the bidding did not exceed the reserve price and it was retained by the owner.Other items that sold in the auction included: a baseball signed by Eddie Plank in 1915 ($228,000); a bat used by Mickey Mantle in his rookie season of 1951 ($168,000) and a glove he used in 1965 ($144,000); and baseballs signed by the Yankees championship teams from 1926 ($120,000) and the 1927 'Murderers Row' edition ($120,000).___More MLB baseball: https://apnews.com/tag/MLBbaseball
  • In less than 24 hours, authorities say a would-be suicide bomber's botched attack on a Manhattan transportation hub underneath Times Square became an open-and-shut case after a search of his apartment and hearing the suspect's his own words.Akayed Ullah, who's expected to make his first court appearance on Wednesday, made it clear from a hospital bed where he was being treated for burns from a pipe bomb he strapped to his body that he was on a mission to punish the United States for attacking the Islamic State group, said Acting U.S. Attorney Joon Kim. A search of the Bangladeshi immigrant's apartment turned up bomb-making materials, including screws matching those found at the scene intended as carnage-creating shrapnel.'His motivation,' the prosecutor said, 'was not mystery.'Kim said Ullah picked the morning rush on Monday to maximize casualties in his quest 'to kill, to maim and to destroy.'Ullah, 27, with a hate-filled heart and an evil purpose,' carried out the attack after researching how to build a bomb a year ago and planned his mission for several weeks, Kim said.The bomb was assembled in the past week using fragments of a metal pipe, a battery and a Christmas tree light bulb, along with the metal screws, authorities said.The defendant 'had apparently hoped to die in his own misguided rage, taking as many innocent people as he could with him, but through incredible good fortune, his bomb did not seriously injure anyone other than himself,' Kim said.Ullah was charged with providing material support to a terrorist group, use of a weapon of mass destruction and three bomb-related counts. He could get up to life in prison.With a tragedy averted and a growing certainty that he acted alone, attention turned to how best secure New York City's vast public transportation system and the daunting task of identifying those eager to do it harm.The security 'requires every single member of the public's help,' said New York Police Commissioner James O'Neill. 'It requires their vigilance.'There also was political fallout, heightened by news that Ullah had taunted President Donald Trump on Facebook with a post that read, 'Trump you failed to protect your nation.'In reaction to the bombing, the president demanded a tightening of immigration rules that allowed Ullah to enter the country in 2011 on a visa available to certain relatives of U.S. citizens. Less than two months ago, an Uzbek immigrant who came to the U.S. through a visa lottery was accused of killing eight people in New York by mowing them down with a truck along a bike path.'We're going to end both of them — the lottery system and chain migration. We're going to end them fast,' Trump said at the White House.Republican Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley requested background information on Ullah's visa history and whether he'd ever been on a terrorism watch list.Ullah lived with his father, mother and brother in a Brooklyn neighborhood with a large Bangladeshi community, residents said. He was licensed to drive a livery cab from 2012 to 2015, but the license was allowed to lapse, officials said.
  • The decision to allow white nationalist Richard Spencer to speak at the University of Cincinnati is generating strong reactions from the school community.The university announced in October that it would allow Spencer to speak. At the time, UC's board of trustees condemned hate, but cited the fundamental right to free speech at a public university.Messages to first-year president Neville Pinto and other administrators obtained by The Associated Press through a public records request show that crosstown basketball rival Xavier University was among the first to offer support.Xavier spokeswoman Kelly Leon wrote in an email that her school would help in any way that it could.She shared the Xavier leadership's Oct. 16 statement assuring the private Catholic school's community that while its policies uphold the First Amendment, 'Speakers and events that are designed to spread hatred and invoke violence ... are not welcome and will not be tolerated on our campus.'Leon said Spencer has not requested to speak at Xavier.Spencer's attorney, Kyle Bristow, has said Spencer will be at UC on March 14, during spring break. The school said no contract has been signed.Bristow has lawsuits pending against Ohio State, Michigan State and Penn State for not allowing Spencer to speak.UC English professor Russel Durst wrote to Pinto twice by email, first urging him not to allow Spencer to appear and then criticizing him for allegedly buckling under pressure.'As a Jewish person, I feel personally targeted,' Durst said in an interview on Tuesday. 'I feel that it's not educational at all; it's just promoting hate.'Durst said that he is 'very fond of' and impressed by Pinto overall as president and added that if Spencer is speaking at UC, he is pleased it will be during spring break when most students and employees will be away.Messages released by the school indicated that faculty, alumni and students who wrote in the days following the decision to allow Spencer to speak were nearly evenly divided between supporting and condemning it.'Leaders often lack the strength and clarity to handle such conflicts in a principled, honest, and effective way,' UC professor Louis Bilionis, the law school's former dean, wrote to Pinto. 'Thanks for leading UC well.'Spencer uses the term 'alt-right' to describe a mix of racism, white nationalism and anti-immigration views. Pinto, who took office in February after serving as acting president at the University of Louisville, was born in India.The records show that UC officials quickly drew up 'talking points' for communicating with the parents of students, emphasizing that student safety and security would be the top priority. The school created an online site about the decision.The UC Progressive Alliance, a self-described coalition of student groups, wrote to school officials that while it agreed that free speech is a right, 'we as students have the right to feel safe on campus' and that Spencer's presence on campus would threaten that right.Authorities estimated security costs at $600,000 for Spencer's Oct. 19 appearance at the University of Florida, where counter-protesters far outnumbered Spencer supporters and booed him off stage. Spencer was a scheduled speaker at a 'Unite the Right' rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, in August that led to deadly violence when a man struck and killed a protester with his car.A late September email exchange showed that a school events services official initially indicated Spencer could book a space for a $1,500 fee. Georgia State University student Cameron Padgett, who made the request, responded with thanks and advised: 'The speaker Richard Spencer is controversial, so I wanted to be clear on that.'Padgett's comment turned out to be an understatement amid the flurry of responses that followed.___Follow Dan Sewell at http://www.twitter.com/dansewell
  • Closing arguments are set to take place in the New York trial of three former South American soccer officials charged in the corruption scandal engulfing the sport's governing body.Ex-presidents of national soccer federations in Paraguay, Peru and Brazil have denied accusations they participated in a vast conspiracy involving tens of millions of dollars in bribes paid in exchange for help winning lucrative commercial rights to the FIFA (FEE'-fuh) World Cup and other tournaments.The trial has seen a juror dismissed for sleeping, a defendant accused of threatening a witness by running his fingers across his throat in a slicing motion and surprise testimony by a former member of the Jonas Brothers.Prosecutors rested their case Tuesday. The defense chose not to put on a case. Closing arguments are set to begin Wednesday morning.
  • Aaron Rodgers has been 'medically cleared to return' to action after missing seven games with a broken right collarbone, the Green Bay Packers quarterback announced on Instagram Tuesday night.Rodgers was hurt during a loss to Minnesota on Oct. 15 and had surgery four days later. He returned to practice on Dec. 2 and is eligible to rejoin the 53-man roster on Friday, which means the two-time MVP could suit up for Green Bay's game at Carolina on Sunday.'It's been a long road ... but I'm happy to say I've been medically cleared to return,' Rodgers wrote on Tuesday night. 'Thanks for all the love, support, prayers and well wishes over the past 8 weeks and a big thank you to Dr. (Pat) McKenzie and our incredible training staff.'The Packers (7-6) likely need to win their final three games to make the playoffs.Rodgers had his collarbone scanned on Monday morning. That afternoon, with the team in the middle of game-planning for Carolina, coach Mike McCarthy wasn't sure whether Rodgers or backup Brett Hundley would be his quarterback.'I'd like to know as soon as possible,' McCarthy said. 'Frankly, it's best for Aaron to know as soon as possible. He's the one that has to get ready and, obviously, in his mind he's ready to go if you watch him practice and the conversations with him. But this is a medical decision and Dr. McKenzie is in touch with a number of different medical experts and they're evaluating the information.'Those meetings ran deep into Tuesday before a conclusion was reached.The Packers were 4-2 in Rodgers' six starts, including the Minnesota game, where he was hurt on the second possession on a hit by Vikings linebacker Anthony Barr. In the three prior games, he threw 10 touchdown passes with only one interception in in consecutive victories over Cincinnati, Chicago and Dallas.After playing the Panthers, who at 9-4 are in position for the top NFC wild card, the Packers have a rematch against NFC North-leading Minnesota before finishing the season at Detroit. Green Bay's final three opponents have a combined record of 26-13.The Packers went 3-4 in Hundley's seven starts, including back-to-back overtime wins over Tampa Bay and Cleveland that kept their playoff hopes alive and made Rodgers' return a tantalizing possibility.'We've got a chance,' left tackle David Bakhtiari said after Sunday's victory at Cleveland. 'We know what the magic number is. We still have everything in front of us. It's go time.'___More AP NFL: http://pro32.ap.org and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL
  • An Alaska lawmaker who has been accused by several women of inappropriate behavior refused to resign on Tuesday amid calls for him to leave his post from leaders of the House majority and the head of the state Democratic Party.State Rep. Dean Westlake, who is recovering from heart surgery, said he sought the counsel of friends, family, native leaders, elders, and God when making his decision to remain in office. He announced his decision in a statement, and was confirmed by his staff.'I want to once again apologize to any woman whom I have made uncomfortable with either my actions or words. I never intended to hurt anyone, but I understand now that I have. I am truly sorry for that, and I want to thank anyone who came forward. Doing so required strength and bravery,' he said.No one from the House majority was able to comment Tuesday evening, and a message left with the state Democratic party was not immediately returned.He vowed to become an ally and supporter of women moving forward. 'I am committed to being better and to changing my behavior. I will learn from this experience,' he said.His announcement came after a former legislative aide, Olivia Garrett, complained last spring to House leadership about two instances of unwelcome physical contact from the Democrat at work-related functions outside the Capitol. Garrett decided to go public after she said no one informed her how the matter was handled.Six other female aides then came forward to accuse Westlake of acting inappropriately toward them or making them feel uncomfortable, the Anchorage Daily News reported Friday. The paper said those women asked not to be identified.Garrett, who did not work for Westlake, told The Associated Press on Friday that she recently filed a human resources complaint against Westlake and said it was being investigated.'These allegations have become a confidential personnel matter, and in respecting the process I cannot discuss the details,' Westlake said.Garrett initially complained last March in a letter to House Speaker Bryce Edgmon and House Majority Leader Chris Tuck.She provided the AP with a copy of a letter, in which she details the physical contact, including one incident in which she says Westlake grabbed her buttocks.Edgmon, a Democrat from Dillingham, said he spoke with Westlake after receiving the complaint in March. Tuck, an Anchorage Democrat, declined to comment on the matter to the AP, saying it was a personnel issue.Sexual misconduct allegations against movie producer Harvey Weinstein in October have led women around the country to come forward with claims against powerful men in politics, entertainment and media.The Alaska Legislature recently put together a panel to recommend changes to its policy on sexual and other workplace harassment.After Garrett went public, Westlake issued a statement saying he welcomed a review and updated sexual harassment policies.'I firmly believe that everyone deserves a safe, healthy, and professional working environment,' he said. 'I sincerely apologize if an encounter with me has made anyone uncomfortable. That has certainly never been my intent.'Leaders of the House majority coalition on Friday called for Westlake to resign after the other women came forward.A statement from majority leaders, released by Edgmon, said the coalition, largely comprised of Democrats, takes seriously its obligation that everyone who works in the Capitol should feel safe and respected.'In light of recent reports of inappropriate behavior related to his position in the Legislature, House leadership believes Representative Dean Westlake should resign from the office his constituents sent him to Juneau to represent,' the statement said.The chairwoman of the state Democratic Party, Casey Steinau, said Westlake should immediately step down.'There is no place where sexual misconduct, harassment, or sexual assault is acceptable,' Steinau said in a statement. 'Elected officials, regardless of party must be held accountable.'Westlake is a freshman lawmaker from the western Alaska community of Kotzebue. He narrowly won the Democratic primary over incumbent state Rep. Benjamin Nageak of Barrow in August 2016. Nageak challenged the results, claiming election workers botched the election, which Westlake won by eight votes.Nageak won at the state court level, but the Alaska Supreme Court reversed that decision and awarded Westlake the primary election. He was unopposed in the general election___Associated Press writer Becky Bohrer in Juneau, Alaska, contributed to this report.
  • Tampa Bay goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy erased the memory of a bad outing in St. Louis with one solid performance.Vasilevskiy stopped 32 shots, Nikita Kucherov and Brayden Point scored and the Lightning beat the St. Louis Blues 3-0 on Tuesday night in a matchup of the NHL's top two teams.Tyler Johnson added an empty netter as Tampa Bay (22-6-2) earned its fifth straight win. It was Vasilevskiy's third shutout of the season and the seventh of his career.The 23-year-old Vasilevskiy gave up four goals on 16 shots and was pulled from a 5-4 loss at St. Louis last December.'It's a pretty good feeling to win here especially after last year I played half a game and gave up four goals,' Vasilevskiy said. 'It wasn't my best game. But as I say, the guys played pretty well and we all deserved the shutout.'Jake Allen made 22 saves for St. Louis, which had won four in a row. The Blues (21-9-2) were shut out for the third time at home this season.'They're definitely the best team in the West,' Vasilevskiy said. 'It was a tough challenge for us but the guys played pretty well in front of me. Overall, I thought we played well. I played my game, too.'Point put Tampa Bay in front when he lifted in a rebound of his own shot at 19:15 of the first period. From the side of the net, Johnson fed Point in the slot. His shot hit the crossbar and caromed to the right. Point alertly followed the puck and extended his point streak to five games, setting a career high.Vasilevskiy had several nice saves, turning away Vladimir Tarasenko on a 2-on-1 breakaway in the second period. Vasilevskiy leads the league in wins with 20, and Allen is second with 17.He is just the sixth goalie in NHL history to reach the 20-win mark in his first 25 appearances in a season.'I didn't think we made it hard enough on Vasilevskiy,' Allen said. 'He's been the best goalie in the league this year and it's not even really close. We put pucks on net but it was pretty easy for him.'The Lightning got to Allen again when Kucherov scored on a wrist shot at 15:37 of the final period. It was his 21st goal of the season.'We generated opportunities but obviously there's some nights where the goalie deserves some credit,' Blues coach Mike Yeo said. 'That guy's pretty good. That's a good team we played tonight. I thought we gave ourselves a good chance. We didn't finish, we didn't capitalize, but if we keep playing like that then we will get good results.'This is not a night where you come in here and beat people up. It was a good effort but it wasn't enough. We'll find a way to get better.'Tampa Bay earned its first sweep of a multigame season series against St. Louis in franchise history. The Lightning beat the visiting Blues 2-1 on Oct. 14.'I'll be honest. This is my fifth year with the team and I don't I ever remember winning in this building so it was finally nice to win here,' Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. 'I coached junior here we had a lot of success in junior but just haven't had it in the NHL coming to this building so definitely this is nice especially against a team that has the most points in the Western Conference so it's a big confidence builder for us.'NOTES: The Blues placed captain Alex Pietrangelo on injured reserve and recalled fellow defenseman Jordan Schmaltz from the minors. Pietrangelo, who is nursing a lower-body injury, has seven goals and 16 assists in 30 games this season. Schmaltz was selected by St. Louis with the 25th overall pick of the 2012 draft. ... Lightning D Braydon Coburn missed his fifth consecutive game with a lower-body injury.UP NEXTLightning: Visit Arizona on Thursday.Blues: Host Anaheim on Thursday.___More NHL hockey: https://apnews.com/tag/NHLhockey
  • Doug Jones, a Democrat who once prosecuted two Ku Klux Klansmen in a deadly church bombing and has now broken the Republican lock grip on Alabama, is the state's new U.S. senator.Here are some facts about Jones:CLOSE TO HOMEJones, 63, grew up in the working-class city of Fairfield, just west of Birmingham, an area where steel mills once belched smoke that left a rust-colored haze hanging over the metro area. His father was a steelworker and so was one of his grandfathers; the other worked in a coal mine. Jones spent time working in a mill when not in school.Now an attorney in private practice, Jones lives just a few miles from his hometown in the hilly suburb of Mountain Brook, Alabama's richest locale with an average family income estimated by the U.S. Census Bureau at $225,000 annually.DEMOCRATIC ROOTSJones got his start in government as an aide to the last Democrat elected to the U.S. Senate from Alabama, the late Howell Heflin.After graduating from Samford University's law school in 1979, Jones worked as staff counsel to the Judiciary Committee for Heflin, and Jones still considers Heflin a role model.Heflin cited his health in retiring from the Senate, and Republican Jeff Sessions was elected to replace him in 1996. Jones will now assume the seat vacated by Sessions when he was nominated as U.S. attorney general by President Donald Trump. Republican appointee Luther Strange has held the seat in the interim.CHURCH BOMBINGYears before running for Senate, Jones made a name for himself prosecuting two KKK members for the bombing of Birmingham's 16th Street Baptist Church, a brutal crime that killed four black girls in 1963.One Klansman was convicted in the blast in 1977, and a renewed investigation was underway by the time President Bill Clinton appointed Jones as U.S. attorney in Birmingham in 1997. Jones led a team of federal and state attorneys during trials that resulted in the convictions of Thomas Blanton Jr. in 2001 and Bobby Frank Cherry in 2002.Last year, Jones was among the speakers who urged Alabama's parole board to refuse an early release for Blanton. The board agreed, and Blanton remains in prison serving life for murder.PARTY GUYAlabama's Democratic Party has been on life support since Republicans gained ascendency years ago, holding no statewide offices and a minority in each legislative chamber, but Jones supported an effort to revive the organization in 2013.A former party chairman formed the Alabama Democratic Majority to raise money and recruit candidates, and Jones was among those publicly supportive of the effort. The foundation was dormant by 2014, but Trump's victory has helped breathe new life into local organizations, including the Democratic Party in Republican-heavy Shelby County, where officials say membership has jumped from around a dozen to more than 200 people since the 2016 election.Jones' victory can only help re-energize the party even more.