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Trump in Mexico: What the heck does he have to lose?

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WASHINGTON -- To paraphrase Donald Trump, what the hell does he have to lose?

His last-minute decision to visit Mexico -- the U.S. neighbor and key trade ally that he's spent a year disparaging -- left political jaws agape. But Trump's turn onstage with President Enrique Pena Nieto could bear benefits for a candidate whose presidential primary ...Read more

White House promises more federal aid for Lake Tahoe region

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STATELINE, Nev. -- The White House on Wednesday announced a series of new funding and environmental programs to address the deteriorating health of Lake Tahoe and the surrounding forests caused in part by the increasing temperatures brought about by climate change.

The announcement came just hours before President Barack Obama was scheduled to ...Read more

Illinois governor rejects National Guard as way to quell Chicago violence

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CHICAGO -- As Chicago capped off its deadliest month in almost 20 years, Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner on Wednesday ruled out the idea of deploying the National Guard to help combat street violence in the city, saying that to do so would be an "emotional" reaction that "wouldn't make sense."

The Republican governor said he had discussed the ...Read more

Nation and world news briefs

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'Affluenza' teen's attorneys ask for his release from jail

FORT WORTH, Texas -- Ethan Couch's lawyers are seeking his release from jail, claiming the judgments imposed by Tarrant County Criminal Court Judge Wayne Salvant are null and void.

In a motion filed Tuesday, Couch's lawyers Scott Brown and Reagan Wynn say the case against the so-called...Read more

FDA orders stronger warnings about risk of using opioid painkillers with certain antidepressants

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The Food and Drug Administration is issuing strong new warnings that the combined use of opioid medications and benzodiazepines, a class of anti-anxiety medications better known by such commercial names as Xanax and Ativan, can dangerously suppress breathing and cause coma or death.

The drug safety agency is recommending that physicians take ...Read more

Transportation secretary rides along on first commercial US flight to Cuba in 50 years

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WASHINGTON -- U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx stepped onto Cuban soil from the first U.S. commercial flight to the island nation in more than half a century Wednesday, a JetBlue Airways flight from Florida, marking a big step in restoring normal relations between the U.S. and Cuba.

Foxx also announced that the Transportation ...Read more

Tropical Storm Hermine likely to make Gulf Coast landfall

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MIAMI -- Say hello to Hermine. After days of threatening to intensify, a tropical depression in the Gulf of Mexico blossomed into a tropical storm Wednesday.

With sustained winds reaching 45 mph and moving about 7 mph Wednesday evening, Hermine will likely near northwest Florida on Thursday, National Hurricane Center forecasters said. Tropical ...Read more

US judge orders rare secret hearing on explosive evidence in Dylann Roof case

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CHARLESTON, S.C. -- Federal Judge Richard Gergel has ordered that a pretrial hearing to be held Thursday on potentially explosive evidence in the upcoming Dylann Roof death penalty trial be closed to the public and media.

"This instance is one of those rare cases where Defendant's Sixth Amendment right to a fair trial outweighs the public's and...Read more

Gov. Jerry Brown, California lawmakers reach deal on spending cap-and-trade revenues

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SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- California legislative leaders and Gov. Jerry Brown have reached a deal on how to spend a significant portion of the money generated by the state's cap-and-trade auctions, breaking through a two-year impasse during which time the funds have sat unspent.

"California's (combating) climate change on all fronts and this plan ...Read more

Could artificial intelligence help humanity? Two California universities think so

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Call it artificial intelligence with a human touch. This week, two California universities separately announced new centers devoted to studying the ways in which AI can help humanity.

USC's Viterbi School of Engineering and its School of Social Work said Wednesday that they had joined forces to launch the Center on Artificial Intelligence for ...Read more

NC man goes free after judge vacates 1995 murder convictions

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DURHAM, N.C. -- Judge Orlando Hudson on Wednesday once again vacated the murder convictions against Darryl Anthony Howard.

Hudson's ruling came after he found that new DNA evidence found in one of the victims belonging to another man raised questions about Howard's guilt. Hudson ordered Howard to be released from prison, and he was freed from ...Read more

Political news briefs

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Trump and Mexico's Pena Nieto meet but don't discuss who would pay for a border wall

MEXICO CITY -- Donald Trump and Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto had a cordial but frank discussion for about an hour Wednesday at the presidential residence in Mexico City, the culmination of Trump's stunning but hastily planned trip to a country he has ...Read more

Supreme Court denies North Carolina appeal to enforce its voter ID rules

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WASHINGTON -- The Supreme Court on Wednesday turned away an emergency appeal from Republican leaders in North Carolina who were hoping to reinstate new voting rules that were struck down in July as racially biased.

The justices said they were deadlocked 4-4 and would not intervene, leaving in place the state's rules for casting ballots and ...Read more

Email Clinton sent after leaving State Department labeled classified

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WASHINGTON -- An email that Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton sent almost four months after she left the State Department was partially redacted before being publicly released, raising questions about whether she conveyed classified information as a private citizen.

The May 2013 email, which the Republican National Committee ...Read more

Experimental drug reduces protein clumps and slows memory loss in early Alzheimer's

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In the search for a treatment capable of changing the course of Alzheimer's disease, new findings are offering a rare glimmer of hope: In a preliminary trial of subjects suffering from memory and thinking problems or diagnosed with early Alzheimer's, a bioengineered medication called aducanumab has demonstrated the ability to clear accumulations...Read more

'Affluenza' teen's attorneys ask for his release from jail

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FORT WORTH, Texas -- Ethan Couch's lawyers are seeking his release from jail, claiming the judgments imposed by Tarrant County Criminal Court Judge Wayne Salvant are null and void.

In a motion filed Tuesday, Couch's lawyers Scott Brown and Reagan Wynn say the case against the so-called affluenza teen is a civil juvenile proceeding rather than a...Read more

Elephant population in Africa plunges due to poaching, census finds

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JOHANNESBURG -- Africa's elephant population is decreasing dramatically due to poaching, plunging by more than 140,000 between 2007 and 2014, according to a study published Wednesday.

The Great Elephant Census carried out by scientists and conservationists, which was published in the journal PeerJ, is the widest such survey so far.

It ...Read more

Trump's Mexico visit stirs outrage: 'We don't want him'

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MEXICO CITY -- With Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump traveling to Mexico City on Wednesday to meet with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto, many Mexicans are reacting with outrage against both politicians. Their message is clear: Trump isn't welcome here.

"We don't like him. We don't want him," former Mexican President Vicente ...Read more

Elizabeth Warren to campaign for Pennsylvania Senate candidate Katie McGinty

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WASHINGTON -- Sen. Elizabeth Warren will campaign for Pennsylvania U.S. Senate candidate Katie McGinty next week, bringing one of Democrats' biggest national names and a favorite of the left to Philadelphia as the race enters its final two months.

Warren, of Massachusetts, will stump with McGinty on Sept. 9 at the University of Pennsylvania's ...Read more

Cook County, Ill., issues 10,000th same-sex marriage license

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CHICAGO -- When they decided to get married, there was no formal proposal.

The day they made the trip to apply for a marriage license was one they both happened to be off work.

But Edgewater residents Anthony Aranda, 50, and Terry Beauchamp, 49, could not escape fanfare Wednesday as they became the 10,000th same-sex couple issued a marriage ...Read more