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GOP senator wants to compel reports on Iran-North Korea ties

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WASHINGTON -- A Republican senator wants to compel the Obama administration to tell Congress what it knows about ties between North Korea and Iran.

"It's undeniable that Iran and North Korea have been cooperating on nuclear weapon and ballistic missile development for years now. Iranians have reportedly been present for at least three of North ...Read more

Obama's budget sees next president inheriting healthy economy

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WASHINGTON -- The economic assumptions underlying President Barack Obama's proposed budget for the fiscal year starting Oct. 1 are fairly optimistic for the near term, although weaker than projections made in the mid-session review in July.

The White House is counting on growth in the world's largest economy to pick up this year and next, while...Read more

Billions at stake as EU regulators consider new data transfer pact with US

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WASHINGTON -- The European Union and United States reached a political agreement last week on allowing EU citizens' personal information to be sent across the Atlantic, but lingering uncertainty about whether the pact will be approved by EU regulators has businesses -- and U.S. lawmakers -- on edge.

The Commerce Department has said ...Read more

Fighting mosquitoes with mosquitoes

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JOHANNESBURG -- As mosquitoes buzzed about on her veranda one recent evening, Maureen Coetzee didn't reach for bug spray or a swatter. She dashed inside, grabbed a device resembling a drinking straw and sucked four mosquitoes into a specimen jar.

She quickly identified them as Aedes aegypti, the villain in the Zika crisis a continent away.

The...Read more

Some states let people with health, privacy fears reject 'smart meters'

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Shortly after Joe Davidson moved into his Cincinnati apartment, he noticed that his joints were achy and he wasn't sleeping well.

Davidson is among a small but outspoken group of people who say the radio frequencies coming from "smart meters" installed in their homes are making them sick. The wireless devices -- designed to measure gas and ...Read more

Rand Paul's 'long haul' cut short

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WASHINGTON -- For Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, maybe the necessities of a modern presidential campaign were just a bit too much.

A former strategist for the Republican said that while Paul's drive to become president was never in question, the first-term senator's national ambition "clashed against his personality -- his prickliness, not wanting to...Read more

US hasn't had a bilingual president since FDR

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WASHINGTON -- The United States has not elected a president fluent in a language other than English in 72 years.

And in a field of 11 remaining presidential candidates, only two could change that: Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio.

The last president who spoke a foreign language fluently was Franklin D. Roosevelt, elected to his fourth term in 1944, ...Read more

Big turnout expected at showdown over California Coastal Commission chief's future

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For more than four decades, the California Coastal Commission has policed land use and preserved public access along more than 1,100 miles of shoreline -- some of the most valuable and scenic real estate in the nation.

Now an internal battle over whether to fire its executive director has set off an intense public fight over the direction of ...Read more

Cursive is a dying art, and a state lawmaker gets nowhere with attempt to revive it

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OLYMPIA, Wash. -- Upon hearing from a teacher that her son's handwriting needed some work, Suzi Allan sought help. She asked when his class would learn cursive writing. But like many schools, her son's doesn't teach it.

Allan was offered an online packet, if she wanted to teach her son at home.

No doubt about it, cursive is dying. Around the ...Read more

Some dialysis patients without options after Medicare cut ambulance service

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Charles Prozzillo's life changed for the worse when Medicare stopped paying for his ambulance rides to dialysis a year ago.

The 72-year-old Pennsylvania man, who had been a hairdresser with his own salon and volunteer firefighter in his younger days, was being treated for late stage of kidney failure. Three times a week for five years he went ...Read more

Bernie Sanders as GOP tool: Their plan to use him against Democrats

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WASHINGTON -- Sen. Bernie Sanders' surprisingly strong candidacy for president has laid bare a sharp division within the Democratic coalition, pitting its activist base against the moderate-minded establishment.

It's a split Republicans -- especially the ones focused on winning down-ballot races this fall -- are now racing to exploit.

The GOP ...Read more

Salinas tries to reboot as agricultural technology center of California

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SALINAS, Calif. -- Dario Molina's alternative life scrolls by on both sides of Highway 101 north: acre upon acre of lettuce, spinach, heartbreak.

Not me, he thinks. Not anymore.

"Sometimes I reminisce," Molina says. "Damn, I remember working in that field. I remember that heat ... that song. Now I'm just thinking, I just want to get over this....Read more

Trump's abrasive demeanor raises questions about what's 'presidential'

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LONDONDERRY, N.H. -- Donald Trump may be the favorite to win here Tuesday, but for a certain subset of Republican voters, the notion of a Trump nomination remains almost unthinkable.

"It's a scary thought, actually," Lisa Robillard said at a Marco Rubio rally here. "He doesn't conduct himself in a professional, polished, presidential way. He's ...Read more

John Kasich, Bernie Sanders win Dixville Notch

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Ohio Gov. John Kasich and Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont prevailed in an early test of the New Hampshire primary, with a quaint town's nine voters casting the state's first-in-the-nation ballots at midnight Monday.

On the Republican side, Kasich outpaced Donald Trump 3-2 in Dixville Notch. The four Democratic voters unanimously chose Sanders ...Read more

Calendar says winter, but it's hot and dry: Has El Nino abandoned LA?

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LOS ANGELES -- By this point in the winter, Southern California was supposed to be dealing with rains and flooding, not brush fires and beach weather.

Yet temperatures have soared this week, breaking records in downtown Los Angeles and other locations across California, with even hotter conditions expected Tuesday.

For all the talk of monster ...Read more

As the debate over Ferguson consent decree winds down, a decision looms

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FERGUSON, Mo. -- The price of a proposal from the U.S. Department of Justice to reform this city's police department and court -- estimated as high as $3.7 million in the first year -- has rattled many in recent days.

The figure has fueled speculation that city leaders inflated the cost to position themselves to reject the agreement at meeting ...Read more

Officials plan water flow effort at refuge at center of occupation

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PORTLAND, Ore. -- U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service employees, absent from the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge during the past five weeks of a headquarters occupation, are planning a new effort to manage the water flows that sustain birds and irrigate fields grazed by cattle there.

The refuge south of Burns uses a network of dams and diversions ...Read more

'The whole country's going to hell,' Trump tells New Hampshire on eve of primary

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LONDONDERRY, N.H. -- Donald Trump told New Hampshire voters Monday that "the whole country's going to hell" as he sought to tap their anger at illegal immigration, a tough economic environment and the threat of terrorist attacks.

In three town hall meetings on the eve of the New Hampshire primary, Trump stuck closely to the campaign themes that...Read more

Another Cruz mailer in the cross-hairs

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WASHINGTON -- Ted Cruz's mailers are getting a lot more attention -- not the kind he necessarily wants.

Progress Texas, a liberal group, filed a complaint Monday with the Texas Attorney General's Consumer Protection Division over what it said was a deceptive Cruz mailer and the Texas Democratic Party weighed in saying the presidential campaign ...Read more

New Hampshire voters could reshape the presidential race in Tuesday's primary

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MANCHESTER, N.H. -- New Hampshire voters could dramatically reshape the race for president on Tuesday, boosting insurgent candidates who have connected with a discontented electorate or providing a second wind to establishment figures struggling to build support.

New York businessman Donald Trump, whose scorched-earth speeches have captivated ...Read more