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Obama expands bombing in Syria to support US-backed rebels

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WASHINGTON -- The White House has expanded its bombing campaign in Syria to help defend a small Pentagon-backed force against other armed insurgent groups or government security forces, officials said Monday.

The decision by President Obama increases the risk that the U.S. military ultimately may attack forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar ...Read more

Scientists study the benefits of worms

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Of all the things young children put in their mouths, dirt may provoke the most concern among parents fearful that eating it will give kids worms.

Although there are reasons not to eat soil, worms may not be one of them.

Researchers have long been investigating the link between being too clean and failing immunity. Fecal material from healthy ...Read more

Rocky fire in Northern California swells to 60,000 acres; 12,000 evacuated

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More than 12,000 residents have been evacuated as the destructive Rocky fire exploded to 60,000 acres across three counties and consumed 50 structures, including 24 homes.

The wildfire, 12 percent contained Monday morning, was threatening 6,301 structures in Colusa, Lake and Yolo counties as it continued to advance despite firefighting efforts....Read more

Bat boy, 9, struck by bat at NBC World Series, dies

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Kaiser Carlile, a 9-year-old bat boy for the Liberal Bee Jays who was struck in the head with a follow-through swing near the on-deck circle during Saturday's game, died on Sunday, Liberal general manager Mike Carlile confirmed after Liberal's 8-0 victory late Sunday evening.

Kaiser's family arrived in Wichita, Kansas, and was in attendance for...Read more

Nigerian army rescues 178 abducted by Boko Haram

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LAGOS, Nigeria -- The Nigerian military rescued 178 people abducted by Islamist terrorist group Boko Haram, with many of the victims in poor health, officials said Monday.

The 101 children, 67 women and 10 men were freed during a military operation targeting the arrest of a high-ranking Boko Haram commander near the town of Bama in northeastern...Read more

GOP seeks end to Planned Parenthood money as both sides play to their base

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Republican senators, including several running for their party's nomination for president, will begin to test whether voter attitudes toward Planned Parenthood have changed with a Senate vote Monday on a bill that would cut off federal money to the nation's large provider of family planning services.

Republicans hope that disclosure of graphic ...Read more

Obama's carbon rules pressure other nations ahead of Paris talks

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President Barack Obama will issue a sweeping set of regulations to cut U.S. power-plant emissions, the biggest carbon-pollution control effort by the world's biggest economy that pressures other countries heading into global climate talks in Paris later this year.

Obama's Environmental Protection Agency on Monday will finalize measures that ...Read more

Special Olympics athlete from Albania found in Northern California

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A Special Olympics athlete from Albania, who went missing Saturday night, was found more than 300 miles away in the Bay Area.

Andi Gusmari, 44, walked into the Hayward Police Department's headquarters about 1:30 a.m. Monday and was in good condition, said Los Angeles police officer Rosario Herrera.

Details about how he traveled to hundreds of ...Read more

Joan Archer Aldrin, who dealt with spotlight as astronaut's wife, dies at 84

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In the 1960s, few American women were placed on a higher pedestal than the wives of the nation's astronauts.

They were symbols of feminine poise, perfectly coiffed mainstays of the home front who waved the flag and raised the children while their husbands raced into space. A launch-day photograph of three smiling wives from the Apollo era ...Read more

At a Texas church, volunteers offer more than sanctuary to new immigrants

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McALLEN, Texas -- Residents had begun to worry about the seemingly endless flow of immigrants dropped off near the bus station here.

They came from El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico and other locales, carrying Manila envelopes of immigration documents.

So last year, volunteers started shepherding the migrants down glass-strewn alleys to...Read more

Do you hug a pope? US lawmakers seek etiquette tips for visit

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WASHINGTON -- U.S. lawmakers are used to a slew of rules about how to conduct themselves, and now they're anxiously awaiting edicts of another type: how to behave around the pope.

Pope Francis will visit the nation's Capitol Sept. 24 as part of his three-day stop in Washington, becoming the first pontiff to address the U.S. Senate and House of ...Read more

Black votes also matter, activists tell candidates

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FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- Democrats have never been more confident that their chances of hanging on to the White House hinge on black voters, who helped tip key states toward President Barack Obama -- but they have never been less confident, it seems, about how to talk to them.

The Black Lives Matter campaign is seeing to it that the rules they ...Read more

To save bees, some states take aim at pesticides

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WASHINGTON -- The orange groves in Fort Myers, Fla., have turned to poison for David Mendes' honeybees. The onetime winter havens for bees have been treated with a popular pesticide that he says kills his livelihood.

States and the federal government are searching for ways to protect managed bees like Mendes' and their wild counterparts. The ...Read more

Variety of medical scopes pose the risk of serious infection

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LOS ANGELES -- A doctor reported in December that a medical scope commonly used to examine patients' lungs had infected 14 people with a superbug that kills half its victims.

Yet another type of scope, used to see inside the bladder, sickened three patients with a different bacteria in March, according to a nurse. The device was sent to the ...Read more

Poll before debate: Voters like Bush, Rubio. Don't like Trump

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WASHINGTON -- Republicans like Jeb Bush. And a lot really don't like Donald Trump.

More than half find Trump a distraction from the primary process, not a serious candidate.

With the first Republican presidential debate to be held Thursday, a new McClatchy-Marist poll finds that a majority of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents ...Read more

Hillary Clinton makes a big ad buy targeting voters—and maybe Joe Biden

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WASHINGTON -- As Vice President Joe Biden mulls a primary challenge to her, liberal Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders gains on her, and contenders on the GOP side build their campaigns around attacking her, Hillary Rodham Clinton is about to make a show of force.

Clinton, the former secretary of State and front-runner for the Democratic nomination ...Read more

Obama's new emissions rules likely to help shape White House race

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WASHINGTON -- With Monday's release of landmark rules to combat global warming, President Barack Obama is putting into place what probably will be the last piece of his ambitious second-term agenda -- one that highlights deep divisions in the country and helps shape the race to succeed him.

On immigration, health care, same-sex marriage and now...Read more

Overdoses suspected in deaths of 2 women at California music festival

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LOS ANGELES -- Two young women died of suspected drug overdoses after collapsing at the HARD Summer music festival at the Fairplex in Pomona, authorities said Sunday.

Both women -- one 18 years old, one 19 -- were found unresponsive at the festival Saturday evening, according to the Los Angeles County coroner's office. It was unclear whether ...Read more

Photojournalist, four women found murdered in Mexico City

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MEXICO CITY -- The bodies of a photojournalist and four women were found in an apartment in a middle class neighborhood in Mexico City, the local prosecutor's office said Sunday.

The victims showed signs of torture and were each shot in the head.

The journalist, Ruben Espinosa, 31, was known for his work for the newspaper Proceso, which is ...Read more

Pockets of support emerge for Bernie Sanders, even in Clinton's South Florida turf

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Across South Florida, long a bastion of support for Hillary Clinton, pockets of support are emerging for Bernie Sanders, her chief competitor for the Democratic presidential nomination.

Fans of the U.S. senator from Vermont come largely from the liberal wing of the Democratic Party and independent/no party affiliation voters who say they're ...Read more