Trump tapping Washington, Wall Street veterans for top jobs
WASHINGTON (AP) — President-elect Donald Trump is enlisting a trio of nominees with deep ties to Washington and Wall Street to fill out his Cabinet, including former Goldman Sachs executive Steven Mnuchin as secretary of the Treasury Department.
On Tuesday, Trump also chose Georgia Rep. Tom Price to oversee the nation’s health care system, picking a fierce “Obamacare” critic who has championed efforts to privatize Medicare. And he selected another veteran Republican, Elaine Chao, a former labor secretary and the wife of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, to lead the Department of Transportation.
Mnuchin’s official announcement was expected as early as Wednesday, according to a person familiar with the decision who insisted on anonymity in order to confirm the pick ahead of time.
Mnuchin, 53, led Trump’s finance operations during the presidential campaign and become close with the president-elect and his family. But he has no government experience, which could prove a hurdle in navigating the tricky politics of Washington.
If confirmed by the Senate, Mnuchin would play a central role in shaping Trump’s tax policies and infrastructure plans. He would also lead an agency tasked with implementing international economic sanctions.
Carrier says it has deal with Trump to keep jobs in Indiana
WASHINGTON (AP) — Air conditioning company Carrier Corp. said Tuesday that it had reached a deal with President-elect Donald Trump to keep nearly 1,000 jobs in Indiana. Trump and Vice President-elect Mike Pence planned to travel to the state Thursday to unveil the agreement alongside company officials.
Trump confirmed the meeting on Twitter late Tuesday, promising a “Great deal for workers!”
Trump spent much of his campaign pledging to keep companies like Carrier from moving jobs overseas. His focus on manufacturing jobs contributed to his unexpected appeal with working-class voters in states like Michigan, which has long voted for Democrats in presidential elections.
The details of the agreement were unclear. Carrier tweeted that the company was “pleased to have reached a deal” with Trump and Pence to keep the jobs in Indianapolis.
A transition official confirmed that the president-elect and Pence, who is ending his tenure as Indiana governor, would appear with Carrier officials Thursday. The official insisted on anonymity because the official was not authorized to discuss the trip ahead of an official announcement.
10 Things to Know for Wednesday
Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Wednesday:
1. TRUMP FILLING OUT HIS CABINET
The president-elect is enlisting a trio of nominees with deep ties to Washington and Wall Street, including former Goldman Sachs executive Steven Mnuchin as treasury secretary.
2. ‘SEASON OF GLORY’ ENDS IN TRAGEDY
The once-downtrodden Brazilian club Chapecoense was in the midst of a remarkable soccer campaign before its plane crashed into a muddy Colombian hillside.
Treasury nominee Mnuchin was Trump’s top fundraiser
WASHINGTON (AP) — Steven Mnuchin, President-elect Donald Trump’s expected choice to be the nation’s 77th treasury secretary, has had a long history as a successful financial executive and a shorter but significant period in a job that ushered him into Trump’s inner circle: head of Trump’s campaign finance operation.
When Mnuchin, 53, was chosen by Trump as his national finance director in May, he told The Associated Press that the two men had been friends for 15 years. Through his work as finance chairman, Mnuchin grew close to Trump’s children and son-in-law, Jared Kushner — a top adviser to Trump — and worked with them on fundraising events.
The campaign raised at least $169 million, in addition to the $66 million Trump spent out of his own pocket. Though that was far short of what Hillary Clinton raised, it represented an impressive haul given that Trump didn’t begin fundraising in earnest until the end of May.
A person familiar with Trump’s decision said Tuesday that the president-elect will nominate Mnuchin to the Treasury position. The person would only discuss the nomination on condition of anonymity because the person was not authorized to reveal it ahead of the official announcement.
If approved by the Senate, Mnuchin would follow in the tradition of two previous treasury secretaries — Robert Rubin in the Clinton administration and Henry Paulson in George W. Bush’s. All had vast Wall Street experience gained from years spent working at powerhouse Goldman Sachs.
Brazilian soccer team’s plane crashes in Colombia; 71 dead
LA UNION, Colombia (AP) — Colombian authorities searched for answers Tuesday into the crash of a chartered airliner that slammed into the Andes mountains while transporting a Brazilian soccer team whose Cinderella story had won it a spot in the finals of one of South America’s most prestigious regional tournaments. All but six of the 77 people on board were killed.
The British Aerospace 146 short-haul plane declared an emergency and lost radar contact just before 10 p.m. Monday (0300 GMT Tuesday), according to Colombia’s aviation agency. It said the plane’s black boxes had been recovered and were being analyzed.
The aircraft, which departed from Santa Cruz, Bolivia, was carrying the Chapecoense soccer team from southern Brazil for Wednesday’s first leg of the two-game Copa Sudamericana final against Atletico Nacional of Medellin. Twenty-one Brazilian journalists were also on board the flight.
Colombian officials initially said the plane suffered an electrical failure but there was also heavy rainfall at the time of the crash. Authorities also said they were not ruling out the possibility, relayed to rescuers by a surviving flight attendant, that the plane ran out of fuel minutes before its scheduled landing at Jose Maria Cordova airport outside Medellin.
Whatever the cause, the emotional pain of Colombia’s deadliest air tragedy in two decades was felt across the soccer world.
S. Korean opposition parties agree to impeach President Park
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — South Korea’s three main opposition parties agreed Wednesday to stick to their plans to impeach President Park Geun-hye, dismissing as a stalling tactic her offer to resign if parliament arranges a safe transfer of power.
Park’s conditional resignation offer Tuesday came as she faces nosediving approval ratings and massive street rallies calling for her ouster amid a huge political scandal involving her and a longtime shadowy confidante.
“The people of South Korea do not want to enter the new year with Park Geun-hye as president,” Choo Mi-ae, leader of the main opposition Democratic Party, said at the start of the meeting. “There is only one way under our constitution to halt a term of a president and that’s an impeachment motion.”
After the meeting, the three parties told a joint news conference that Park must step down immediately without setting any conditions and that their push for her impeachment remains unchanged.
The opposition parties agreed to put an impeachment motion to a vote as early as this Friday or meet again if this plan doesn’t work, according to Yonhap news agency. The Democratic Party, formerly known by its Korean-language name, Minjoo, couldn’t immediately confirm the report.
Escaping wildfires meant fleeing through hell-like landscape
GATLINBURG, Tenn. (AP) — With flames dripping from tree branches and the air filled with embers, thousands of people raced through a hellish landscape as they fled wildfires that killed three people and destroyed hundreds of homes and a resort in the Great Smoky Mountains.
Fanned by hurricane-force winds, the flames reached the doorstep of Dollywood, the theme park named after country music legend and local hero Dolly Parton. But the attraction was spared significant damage.
The fires spread quickly on Monday night, when winds topping 87 mph whipped up the flames, catching residents and tourists in the Gatlinburg area by surprise. Police banged on front doors and told people to get out immediately. Some trekked 20 minutes to catch lifesaving rides on trolleys usually reserved for tours and wedding parties.
“There was fire everywhere. It was like we were in hell,” said Linda Monholland, who was working at Park View Inn in Gatlinburg when she and five other people fled on foot. “Walking through hell, that’s what it was. I can’t believe it. I never want to see something like that again in my life, ever.”
“Hell opened up,” her co-worker Sissy Stinnett said.
Ohio State attacker stewed over treatment of fellow Muslims
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A Somali-born student who carried out a car-and-knife attack at Ohio State University stewed over the treatment of Muslims while apparently staying under the radar of federal law enforcement, underscoring the difficulty authorities face in identifying and stopping lone wolves bent on violence.
Abdul Razak Ali Artan was not known to FBI counterterrorism authorities before Monday’s rampage, which ended with him shot to death by police and 11 people injured, a law enforcement official told The Associated Press.
That’s in contrast to several other recent attacks, including those in New York City; Orlando, Florida; and Garland, Texas, in which those blamed for the violence had previously come to the attention of federal agents.
Law enforcement officials have not identified a motive for the Ohio State violence but have suggested terrorism as a possibility. FBI agents continued to search Artan’s apartment for clues, but California U.S. Rep. Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, said he had seen no evidence Artan was directed by or was in communication with any overseas terror organization.
The mode of attack — plowing a car into civilians, then slashing victims with a butcher knife — was in keeping with the recommended tactics of jihadist propaganda. And Facebook posts that were apparently written shortly before the attack and came to light afterward show Artan nursed grievances against the U.S.
Raul Castro, regional leaders honor Fidel Castro at rally
HAVANA (AP) — Regional leaders and tens of thousands of Cubans jammed the Plaza of the Revolution on Tuesday night, celebrating Fidel Castro on the spot where he delivered fiery speeches to mammoth crowds in the years after he seized power.
The presidents of Mexico, Ecuador, Bolivia, Venezuela and South Africa, along with leaders of a host of smaller nations, offered speeches paying tribute to Castro, who died Friday night at 90.
South African President Jacob Zuma praised Cuba under Castro for its record on education and health care and its support for African independence struggles.
Castro will be remembered as “a great fighter for the idea that the poor have a right to live with dignity,” Zuma told the crowd.
The rally began with black-and-white revolution-era footage of Castro and other guerrillas on a big screen and the playing of the Cuban national anthem. Castro’s younger brother and successor, President Raul Castro, saluted.
World’s oldest living person celebrates 117th birthday
VERBANIA, Italy (AP) — Italy’s Emma Morano, the world’s oldest living person, marked her 117th birthday Tuesday, blowing out all the candles on her cake.
Beaming at the attention, Morano took in the festivities for her milestone celebration sitting in an armchair in her one-room apartment in the northern mountain town of Verbania, joined by her two elderly nieces, a pair of caregivers and her long-time physician.
She received a greeting from Italy’s president, read by an official, wishing her “serenity and good health,” and appeared for a brief live broadcast on state-run television. She happily accepted some gifts, including her favorite cookies, which she ate with some milk.
Then she blew out the candles on her cake — not one for every year, but three numerals to show her age, 117 — and quipped: “I hope I don’t have to cut it!”
To the assembled well-wishers, Morano said, “I am happy to turn 117,” and drew encouragement from her physician, Dr. Carlo Bava.