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AP News in Brief at 9:04 p.m. EST

Last Updated Jan 13, 2018 at 9:20 pm EST

‘We made a mistake’ Hawaii sends false missile alert

HONOLULU (AP) — A false alarm that warned of a ballistic missile headed for Hawaii sent the islands into a panic Saturday, with people abandoning cars in a highway and preparing to flee their homes until officials said the cellphone alert was a mistake.

Hawaii officials apologized repeatedly and said the alert was sent when someone hit the wrong button during a shift change. They vowed to ensure it would never happen again.

“We made a mistake,” said Hawaii Emergency Management Agency Administrator Vern Miyagi.

For nearly 40 minutes, it seemed like the world was about to end in Hawaii, an island paradise already jittery over the threat of nuclear-tipped missiles from North Korea.

The emergency alert, which was sent to cellphones statewide just before 8:10 a.m., said: “BALLISTIC MISSILE THREAT INBOUND TO HAWAII. SEEK IMMEDIATE SHELTER. THIS IS NOT A DRILL.”

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California mudslides death toll rises to 19

MONTECITO, Calif. (AP) — The death toll from the mudslides in a California coastal town rose to 19 on Saturday but a man who had also been on the list of missing persons was located alive, authorities said.

The body of Morgan Christine Corey, 25, was found in mud and debris in Montecito, Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown said. Her 12-year-old sister, Sawyer, had been found dead earlier.

“We ask that you keep this devastated family in your thoughts and prayers,” Brown said.

Another person who had been on the list of missing, 62-year-old Delbert Weltzin, was found alive and well, Brown said without elaborating on the circumstances.

The two developments reduced the number of missing from seven to five.

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Medicaid work mandate will create uncertainty in some states

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Republicans this past week began to realize their long-held goal of requiring certain adults to work, get job training or perform community service in exchange for getting health coverage through Medicaid.

Whether that’s a commonsense approach or an added burden that will end up costing many Americans their health insurance will now be debated in states across the country considering the landmark change to the nation’s largest health insurance program.

To Medicaid recipients such as Thomas J. Penister of Milwaukee, it’s created uncertainty about their ability to have health coverage.

He’s been unemployed for the last four or five years and has received Medicaid for the past two. He sees a behavioural health specialist to deal with anxiety and said Medicaid has made a big difference in his life.

Penister, 36, said he is not yet ready to rejoin the workforce and is unnerved by the prospect of potentially losing Medicaid. His state, Wisconsin, is one 10 that applied to the federal government for a waiver seeking to implement work and other requirements for single adults.

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Keith Jackson, 89, announcer with ‘Whoa, Nelly!’ call, dies

Keith Jackson laid down the soundtrack to Saturday for a generation of college football fans with phrases such as his signature “Whoa, Nelly!” From the World Series to the Olympics, NFL to NBA, he did it all over five decades as a sportscaster, but most appropriately his final assignment before retiring 12 years ago was one of the greatest college football games ever.

Jackson died Friday. He was 89.

A statement by ESPN, which consolidated with ABC Sports, Jackson’s longtime employer, announced his death Saturday. No cause was given. He was a longtime resident of Sherman Oaks, California, and died near his home there.

A native of west Georgia, near the Alabama border, his smooth baritone voice and use of phrases like “big uglies” for linemen gave his game calls a familiar feel.

“He was one of our giants,” longtime broadcaster Brent Musburger told The Associated Press. “He could do anything and loved doing it.”

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Trump’s nuclear strategy seeks new weapons to counter Russia

WASHINGTON (AP) — With Russia in mind, the Trump administration is aiming to develop new nuclear firepower that it says will make it easier to deter threats to European allies.

The plan, not yet approved by President Donald Trump, is intended to make nuclear conflict less likely. Critics argue it would do the opposite.

The proposal is spelled out in a policy document, known officially as a “nuclear posture review,” that puts the U.S. in a generally more aggressive nuclear stance. It is the first review of its kind since 2010 and is among several studies of security strategy undertaken since Trump took office.

In many ways it reaffirms the nuclear policy of President Barack Obama, including his commitment to replace all key elements of the nuclear arsenal with new, more modern weapons over the coming two decades.

It says the U.S. will adhere to existing arms control agreements, while expressing doubt about prospects for any new such pacts. The Trump nuclear doctrine is expected to be published in early February, followed by a related policy on the role and development of U.S. defences against ballistic missiles.

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Leaders say Trump presidency is at odds with MLK’s legacy

ATLANTA (AP) — The first Martin Luther King Jr. holiday of Donald Trump’s presidency is taking place amid a racial firestorm of Trump’s own making.

In the same week that he honoured King by making a national park out of the ground where King was born and preached until his death, Trump denigrated practically the entire African diaspora, and left many Americans headed into the civil rights icon’s birthday convinced that the leader of their country is a racist.

For African-Americans in particular, this latest insult from Trump felt like whiplash. Barely a year ago, America’s first black president, Barack Obama, marked his final King Day in office with his usual community service; now, his successor is presiding over a racial backlash the country has hardly seen in more than a generation.

Trump has denied being racist, labeling himself the “least racist person there is” during his 2016 campaign. Some of his actions leading up to this year’s federal holiday honouring King’s birth seemed to be an attempt to live up to that.

He began last week by designating the historic site around King’s Atlanta birth home as a national park. By week’s end, Trump was signing a King holiday proclamation with the martyred activist’s nephew at his side.

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Chelsea Manning files for US Senate bid in Maryland

NORTH BETHESDA, Md. (AP) — Chelsea Manning intends to run for the U.S. Senate in Maryland, returning the transgender former soldier to the spotlight after her conviction for leaking classified documents and her early release from military prison.

Manning, 30, filed her statement of candidacy with the Federal Election Commission on Thursday, listing an apartment in North Bethesda as her address.

She is running as a Democrat and will likely challenge two-term Sen. Ben Cardin in the primary. The state’s senior senator is an overwhelming favourite to win.

Known as Bradley Manning at the time of her 2010 arrest, the former Army intelligence analyst was convicted of leaking more than 700,000 military and State Department documents to the anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks. She’s been hailed as a traitor as well as a courageous hero.

Manning came out as transgender after being sentenced to 35 years in prison. President Barack Obama granted Manning clemency before leaving office last year.

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Islamic State group offshoot claims 2017 Niger attack on US

DAKAR, Senegal (AP) — An Islamic State group offshoot is claiming it carried out the October attack in Niger that killed four U.S. soldiers and four Nigerien troops and sparked questions about U.S. military involvement in West Africa’s vast Sahel region.

The Mauritanian Nouakchott News Agency reported Friday that Abu al-Walid al-Sahrawi with the self-professed IS affiliate claimed responsibility for the Oct. 4 ambush about 120 miles (200 kilometres) north of Niger’s capital, Niamey. The news agency has carried messages from the affiliate before, according to the SITE Intelligence Group, which monitors jihadist websites.

The U.S. Africa Command has been investigating the attack, which also wounded two U.S. and eight Nigerien troops. A final report is expected to be released this month.

A 12-member Army special forces unit was accompanying 30 Nigerien forces when they were attacked in a densely wooded area by as many as 50 militants travelling by vehicle and carrying small arms and rocket-propelled grenade launchers.

The Pentagon has declined to release details about the commando team’s exact mission. U.S. officials have said the joint U.S.-Niger patrol had been asked to assist a second American commando team hunting for a senior Islamic State group member. The team had been asked to go to a location where the insurgent had last been seen.

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Katie Couric breaks silence on Matt Lauer: ‘I had no idea’

Katie Couric, who was Matt Lauer’s “Today” co-host for several years, broke her silence Saturday on sexual misconduct allegations against him.

Couric told People magazine: “I had no idea this was going on during my tenure or after I left.”

She departed NBC in 2006 to anchor the “CBS Evening News” and has been criticized for her silence in the more than a month since Lauer was fired. NBC News conducted an investigation of a Lauer colleague’s detailed complaint of “inappropriate sexual behaviour.” Other women have come forward with accusations against him.

“I think I speak for many of my former colleagues when I say this was not the Matt we knew,” Couric told People. “Matt was a kind and generous colleague who treated me with respect. In fact, a joke I once made on late-night television was just that, because it was completely contrary to our brother-sister relationship. It’s still very upsetting. I really admire the way Savannah (Guthrie) and Hoda (Kotb) and the entire ‘Today’ show staff have handled a very difficult situation.”

Couric was referring to a remark she made in 2012 on “Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen” that Lauer “pinches me on the ass a lot.” The clip received wide attention online after Lauer’s firing in late November.

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Eagles use goal-line stand, Elliott FGs to beat Falcons

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Fly Eagles Fly.

With the wind and against it.

With Nick Foles engineering several long drives, Jake Elliott converting three field goals, and the defence getting stingy in the tightest spot, Philadelphia moved into the NFC championship game with a 15-10 victory over the Atlanta Falcons on Saturday.

Foles directed brilliant marches of 74 and 80 yards in the second half — one into the whipping wind, the other with it — and Elliott atoned for missing an extra point by converting from 53 yards at the end of the second quarter, 37 and 21 in the second half. Then the Eagles (14-3) held when Atlanta (11-7) got to the 9-yard line with a first down, and to the 2 on fourth down.

When Matt Ryan’s final pass sailed over Julio Jones’ head in the end zone , Philly could celebrate its first playoff victory since the 2008 season.

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