Update on the latest news, sports, business and entertainment at 11:20 p.m. EST

November 14, 2017 - 11:29 pm

TRUMP-RUSSIA PROBE-SESSIONS

Sessions denies lying on Russia, pleads hazy memory

WASHINGTON (AP) — Attorney General Jeff Sessions is having trouble remembering the Trump campaign's discussions about and dealings with Russians in the 2016 election.

Sessions denies that he ever lied to Congress about those contacts, but he blames the chaos of the race for fogging his recollections. Sessions says he can't be expected to remember encounters from more than a year ago. He delivered more than five hours of testimony to Congress on Tuesday.

He appeared before the House Judiciary Committee.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Attorney General Jeff Sessions returns to Capitol Hill Tuesday amid growing evidence of contacts between Russians and associates of President Donald Trump. And he'll be bracing for an onslaught of lawmakers' questions about how much he knew of that outreach during last year's White House campaign.

The appearance before the House Judiciary Committee follows a guilty plea from one Trump campaign aide who served on a foreign policy council that Sessions chaired, as well as statements from another adviser who said he'd advised the then-GOP Alabama senator about an upcoming trip to Russia.

Those details complicate Sessions' effort to downplay knowledge of the campaign's foreign contacts.

ZIMBABWE-POLITICAL TURMOIL-THE LATEST

The Latest: Zimbabwe's army warns against provocation

HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) — Zimbabwe's army urges other security services to "cooperate for the good of our country," warning that "any provocation will be met with an appropriate response."

The statement read out early Wednesday on state-run television calls on troops to return to barracks immediately, with all leave canceled.

It says that if the country's degenerating political, social and economic situation is not addressed, it "may result in a violent conflict."

The army insists that this is not a military takeover and that President Robert Mugabe's security is guaranteed.

CHINA-NORTH KOREA

Following Trump visit, China sending envoy to North Korea

BEIJING (AP) — Following President Donald Trump's visit to Beijing, China says it's sending a high-level special envoy to North Korea amid an extended chill in relations between the neighbors over Pyongyang's nuclear weapons and missile programs.

The official Xinhua News Agency said Wednesday that director of the ruling Communist Party's International Liaison Department, Song Tao, would travel to Pyongyang on Friday to report on the party's national congress held last month.

Xinhua made no mention of Trump's visit or the North's defense programs, although Trump has repeatedly called on Beijing to do more to use its influence to pressure Pyongyang into altering its behavior.

Song would be the first ministerial-level Chinese official to visit North Korea since October 2015 when Politburo Standing Committee member Liu Yunshan met with leader Kim Jong Un.

CONGRESS-TAXES-THE LATEST

The Latest: Groups urge lawmakers to keep insurance mandate

WASHINGTON (AP) — Major organizations representing insurers, doctors and hospitals are urging lawmakers to keep "Obamacare's" unpopular requirement that most Americans have health insurance — at least for now.

Doing away with the "individual mandate" would prompt healthy people to leave the insurance market in droves, driving up premiums, the groups argue in a letter Tuesday to congressional leaders. Senate Republicans are planning to include repeal of the insurance requirement in their tax bill.

The letter says eliminating the mandate without a "workable alternative" could lead to "a significant increase in premiums, which would in turn substantially increase the number of uninsured Americans."

Signing were America's Health Insurance Plans, the BlueCross BlueShield Association, the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Family Physicians, the American Hospital Association and the Federation of American Hospitals.

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ALABAMA SENATE-MOORE-THE LATEST

The Latest: Moore claims 'spiritual battle' in US politics

WASHINGTON (AP) — Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore says there is a "spiritual battle" going on in American politics as he faces mounting pressure from national Republicans to drop out of the race.

Speaking Tuesday night at a Baptist church revival in southwest Alabama, Moore made only passing reference to the sexual misconduct allegations enveloping his Senate bid. As he has done at other stops, he suggested the allegations were an effort to stop his political career.

Moore asks: "Why do you think they're giving me this trouble? Why do you think I'm being harassed in the media and people pushing for an allegation in the last 28 days of the election?"

Moore has been accused of sexual misconduct with two teenagers when he was in a man in his 30s.

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DEADLY CALIFORNIA SHOOTINGS

Shootings at multiple sites kill 3, wound kids at school

RED BLUFF, Calif. (AP) — Authorities say three people have been killed in shootings at multiple locations in rural Northern California, and the shooter has been killed by law enforcement. Students also were shot and wounded at an elementary school.

It's not clear if the shooter is included among the dead Tuesday.

Tehama County Assistant Sheriff Phil Johnston tells a TV station in the city of Chico that officers are investigating at least five crime scenes in and around the school in Rancho Tehama Reserve, about 130 miles north of Sacramento.

Jeanine Quist, an administrative assistant with the Corning Union Elementary School District, says no one was killed at the school but a "number" of students were shot and wounded.

AUSTRALIA-GAY MARRIAGE

Aussie lawmakers debate laws for boycotters of gay weddings

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Australian lawmakers who fear a national survey will reveal that most voters want marriage equality are moving to wind back anti-discrimination laws to reduce barriers for people who would boycott gay weddings.

Almost 80 percent of Australia's registered voters have responded to a postal survey on whether Parliament should lift the country's prohibition on same-sex marriage. Opinions polls show most Australians support gay marriage.

The survey results will be announced on Wednesday, but debate is intensifying on whether Australians who would refuse to provide gay weddings with a celebrant, venue, flowers or a cake should have added protection against anti-discrimination laws.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, a gay marriage advocate, on Tuesday ruled out downgrading anti-discrimination laws.

T25-UCLA-PLAYERS QUESTIONED-TRUMP

3 UCLA players return to US after China shoplifting incident

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Three UCLA basketball players detained in China on suspicion of shoplifting are on a plane back to Los Angeles.

Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott said Tuesday the matter "has been resolved to the satisfaction of the Chinese authorities."

Freshmen LiAngelo Ball, Jalen Hill and Cody Riley were detained in Hangzhou for questioning following allegations of shoplifting last week before the 23rd-ranked Bruins played Georgia Tech in their season-opening game in Shanghai.

The rest of the UCLA team returned to Los Angeles last Saturday without the three.

There was no immediate word on the players' status for the team's home opener Wednesday night against Central Arkansas.

Scott thanked President Donald Trump, the White House and the State Department for their efforts in resolving what he called "the incident with authorities in Hangzhou, China." He indicated that UCLA made "significant efforts" on behalf of its three players.

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FRANCE-SEXUAL CONSENT

When child sex isn't rape: French to set age of consent

PARIS (AP) — Is a 13-year-old girl old enough to agree to sex with an adult? That's a question France is asking itself as the government prepares to set a legal age for sexual consent for the first time.

Twice in recent weeks, French courts refused to prosecute grown men for rape after they had sex with 11-year-olds because authorities couldn't prove coercion. Amid public horror, the government is drafting a bill to say sex with children under a certain age is by definition coercive.

Feminist groups plan a protest Tuesday to argue the age should be set at 15. Justice Minister Nicole Belloubet says 13 "is worth considering."

The age is just one piece of an upcoming bill on sexual violence and harassment. The bill has gained importance amid worldwide concern unleashed by the allegations against Harvey Weinstein.

TRUMP-THE LATEST

The Latest: Trump leaves uncertain Asia capitals in his wake

MANILA, Philippines (AP) — For all the pageantry and promises on his lengthy Asia trip, President Donald Trump is returning to Washington with few concrete accomplishments in hand and leaving uncertain Asian capitals in his wake.

Trump time and again portrayed himself as a sharp break from presidents past on his five-nation, 12-day trip.

He urged the region to reshape its trade deals to America's liking, declined to spotlight violent human rights abuses and cranked up pressure on North Korea.

He pushed a go-it-alone trade policy yet reaffirmed traditional strategic alliances.

And he opened the door to negotiations with North Korea, but the diplomatic overture was overshadowed by a tweet in which Trump derided dictator Kim Jong Un as "short and fat."

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