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Here's the latest news, sports, business and entertainment news for Feb. 17, 2020

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Posted at 2:49 AM, Feb 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-17 06:09:11-05

Trading quarantines, Americans from cruise land in US

TRAVIS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. (AP) — Two charter flights carrying passengers from a cruise ship that was quarantined in Japan amid a virus crisis have landed in the United States. The first plane carrying American passengers landed at a Northern California air force base just before midnight Sunday. A second flight touched down at a San Antonio air force base around 2 1/2 hours later, early Monday. Passengers will be quarantined for two weeks to make sure they don't have the new virus that's been spreading in Asia. Japan's defense minister tweeted earlier that Japanese troops helped transport 340 U.S. passengers from the port to Tokyo's airport. About 380 Americans were on the cruise ship. 

Japan confirms 99 more cases of new virus on cruise ship

TOKYO (AP) — Japanese officials have confirmed 99 more people infected by the new virus aboard the quarantined cruise ship Diamond Princess, bringing the total to 454,. The ministry has been carrying out tests on passengers and crew on the ship, docked in Yokohama, a port city near Tokyo. The 14-day quarantine for those on the ship was due to end Wednesday. Outside China, the ship has had the largest number of cases of the COVID-19 illness caused by the virus that emerged in China late last year.  

GM plans to pull out of Australia, New Zealand and Thailand

DETROIT (AP) — General Motors says it's pulling out of Australia, New Zealand and Thailand as part of a strategy to exit markets that don't produce adequate returns on investments, dismaying officials concerned over job losses. Australia's minister for Industry, Science and Technology said Monday that it was “disappointing” that the company only advised the government about the decision just before it's announcement Sunday that it would wind down sales, engineering and design operations for its historic Holden brand in Australia and New Zealand in 2021. GM also plans to sell its Rayong factory in Thailand to China's Great Wall Motors and withdraw the Chevrolet brand from Thailand by the end of this year. CEO Mary Barra says the company wants to focus on markets where it can drive strong returns. 

Syria military hails advance against rebels in 'record time'

DAMASCUS, Syria (AP) — Syria's military says its troops have regained control of territories in northwestern Syria “in record time,” vowing to continue to chase armed groups "wherever they are." The announcement on Monday came hours after troops consolidated the government's hold over the key Aleppo province, capturing over 30 villages and hamlets in the western countryside in one day and securing the provincial capital that had for years remained within range of opposition fire. The offensive, in full force since December, has displaced over 800,000 people within the shrinking rebel enclave, in one of the worst humanitarian crises since the war began nine years ago. 

Gunmen kill 24 in attack near church in Burkina Faso

OUAGADOUGOU, Burkina Faso (AP) — An official in Burkina Faso says gunmen killed 24 men and kidnapped three others on Sunday. The official says the roughly 20 attackers separated men from women close to a Protestant church. Those killed include the church's pastor. At least 10 other people were injured. Attacks have targeted religious leaders in the area in the past. Extremist violence has dramatically escalated in once-peaceful Burkina Faso. Human Rights Watch says analysts are concerned that attacks against civilians, including against Christians, are increasing “at an alarming rate" in the West African nation.

India's top court grants equal rights to women in army

NEW DELHI (AP) — India’s top court has ordered the government to grant permanent commission and command positions to female officers in the army on par with men, asserting that the government's arguments against the policy were based on gender stereotypes. The court’s decision would mean that women can extend their short service roles in noncombat support units such as education, law and logistics until they want to retire and rise to the rank of Colonel, based on merit. Currently, female officers can serve for only 10 to 14 years in the army. The Supreme Court’s decision, however, does not mean that female officers will serve in combat branches of the army such as the infantry, artillery or armored corps.

1 dead, 3 hurt after motorcycle gang shootout at Texas bar

MIDLAND, Texas (AP) — One person has been killed and three others injured following a shootout between rival motorcycle gangs at a bar in Midland Texas. The Midland Police Department says officers were called to Your Place bar at 8:26 p.m. Sunday and discovered four people had been shot, one fatally. The three injured victims were taken to the hospital, where one was in critical condition. Police believe multiple suspected gang members were involved. The suspects were last seen heading westbound toward Odessa.

Police fatally shoot man connected to carjackings, stabbing

NEWBURY, Mass. (AP) — Police officers have fatally shot a man connected to carjackings in Massachusetts and New Hampshire. Authorities in Massachusetts say the 31-year-old man shot Sunday night was believed to have been the suspect in carjackings in Lowell, Massachusetts, and Nashua, New Hampshire, earlier in the day. In Lowell, a woman's Subaru and purse was stolen after she was told to get out of the car. In Nashua, a BMW was stolen at knifepoint from a dealership and an employee was stabbed, suffering minor injuries. Authorities say police shot the man at a gas station after he rammed police cruisers that had boxed him in. No officers were injured. The man's name hasn't been released.

211M gallons of sewage spilled into Florida city waterways

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — Fort Lauderdale officials say 211.6 million gallons of sewage has spilled into Fort Lauderdale waterways in the past few months. The Sun-Sentinel reports that’s enough to fill 320 Olympic-sized pools. The city’s aging sewer pipes broke six times in December and spewed 126.9 million gallons of sewage — ranking as one of South Florida’s biggest spills ever. The spills fouled the Tarpon River, the Himmarshee Canal and streets in three neighborhoods. Officials also told the state Department of Environmental Protection that 79.3 million gallons spilled into nearby George English Lake over a 10-day period that began on Jan. 30 and ended on Feb. 8.

All-Star weekend, as expected, was about honoring Kobe

CHICAGO (AP) — As expected, this All-Star weekend has been largely about paying tribute to the life of Kobe Bryant. The first All-Star MVP award named for him was being handed out Sunday night. And when the NBA legends gathered for their annual game-day brunch Sunday, remembering the lives of Bryant and Commissioner Emeritus David Stern was very high on the agenda. Before the game began Sunday night, Jennifer Hudson, wearing the Lakers' deep purple, performed a pregame tribute to Bryant and sang “For All We Know." Common, in his pregame tribute to Chicago, also paid homage to Bryant, saying that “even in the darkest times, you'll feel Kobe's light."