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Jury selection starts in corruption trial of Pennsylvania congressman

Current News / News & Features /

PHILADELPHIA –– More than 250 prospective jurors were called Monday as lawyers in U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah's federal corruption trial began picking the panel that will start weighing his fate later this month.

The start of jury selection, which will resume Tuesday, came six days after the 11-term congressman, who sought re-election, lost the ...Read more

To feel better, eat less (yes, even if you're not overweight)

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For the dwindling few of us who don't actually need to lose weight, the idea of slashing food intake in a bid to extend our healthy lifespan isn't universally appealing. Hedonists the world over, in fact, have denounced the calorie-restriction-for-life-extension idea as a cruel hoax: the bony, cold and irritable cranks willing to deny themselves...Read more

Opioid epidemic fueling hospitalizations, hospital costs

Current News / News & Features /

Every day, headlines detail the casualties of the nation's surge in heroin and prescription painkiller abuse: the funerals, the broken families and the patients cycling in and out of treatment. Now, a new study sheds light on another repercussion -- how this public health problem is adding to the nation's ballooning health care costs and who's ...Read more

Nation and world news briefs

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Detroit teacher sick-out closes more than 90 schools

DETROIT -- A mass of teacher sick-outs shut down 94 schools in Detroit Public Schools on Monday, as teachers protested the news Saturday that the district won't be able to pay them past June 30.

The district enrolls about 46,000 students in 97 schools.

The Detroit Federation of Teachers on ...Read more

Medicare pays bonuses to 231 hospitals with lower quality because of cheaper costs

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The federal government paid bonuses to 231 hospitals with subpar quality because their patients tend to be less expensive for Medicare, new research shows.

The bonuses are small, generally a fraction of a percent of their Medicare payments. Nonetheless, rewarding hospitals of mediocre quality was hardly the stated goal when the Affordable Care ...Read more

Climate change shrinking South Florida reefs sooner than expected

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MIAMI -- South Florida's shrinking reefs may be vanishing faster than expected.

In a new study published Monday in the journal Global Biogeochemical Cycles, researchers found that climate-related coral erosion projected to start between 2050 and 2060 has already started near Miami. The situation is better moving south and away from Miami's ...Read more

National Wrestling Hall of Fame strips Dennis Hastert of past honors

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CHICAGO -- The National Wrestling Hall of Fame has stripped all honors from former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert, who was sentenced to 15 months in federal prison last week by a judge who branded him "a serial child molester."

The decision to revoke awards given to Hastert, a former college wrestler and high school wrestling coach, came ...Read more

Panama prepares to transfer some 3,000 US-bound Cuban migrants to Mexico

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Panama's Foreign Ministry has started a census count of the more than 670 Cuban migrants currently housed in the Los Planes shelter in northern Chiriqui province, in anticipation for their expected transfer to Mexico in coming days.

Another 3,000 Cubans, most of whom are stranded on the border with Costa Rica, also will be allowed into the Los ...Read more

Clinton promises help for coal miners in Eastern Kentucky

Current News / News & Features /

ASHLAND, Ky. -- Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton promised help Monday for an area of Kentucky hit hard by job losses in the coal and steel industries.

On the first day of a two-day visit to Appalachia dubbed her "Breaking Down Barriers" tour, Clinton touted her $30 billion plan to help coal workers and pledged to curb the ...Read more

Kerry 'hopeful, but not there yet' on new Syrian truce

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GENEVA -- There has been progress on a plan to restore Syria's fraying cease-fire, but last details still need to be worked out among global powers, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said Monday in Geneva.

"We are hopeful, but we are not yet there yet," he told reporters after meeting Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir and U.N. Syria peace ...Read more

Missing Flint water plant engineering report surfaces

Current News / News & Features /

LANSING, Mich. -- A report from an engineering firm on how to prepare the Flint Water Treatment Plant to treat Flint River water -- a document that both the firm and the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality previously said they could not find after searching their records and might not exist -- has surfaced in the latest batch of DEQ ...Read more

Plot to blow up Florida synagogue ends with man's arrest

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MIAMI -- A Hollywood, Fla., man accused of trying to blow up an Aventura synagogue stood in Miami federal court on Monday and gave the judge two names -- one real, the other an alias.

"My name is James Medina, also known as 'James Muhammad,'" Medina told Magistrate Judge William Turnoff.

James G. Medina, 40, was arrested by federal agents on a...Read more

Eradication of 'sudden oak death' disease no longer possible in California

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Over the last two decades, California and the federal government have faced harsh criticism for failing to take stronger actions to stop a highly contagious disease that has killed millions of trees along coastal regions from Big Sur to portions of Oregon.

Now, a new computer modeling study suggests that the "sudden oak death" epidemic, which ...Read more

Gov. Christie says he's OK with Bridgegate defense reviewing his phone

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TRENTON, N.J. -- An attorney for a former Port Authority official charged in the George Washington Bridge case last week said he had issued a subpoena for New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's phone, among other things.

On Monday, Christie characterized the development as a fight between prosecutors and the defendants -- Bridget Anne Kelly, the ...Read more

Hillary Clinton visits coal country

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ASHLAND, Ky. -- The steel mill here shut down recently, costing 600 jobs, as China dumps cheaper steel on the market. The coal mines have been slowing down production for years as renewable energy gains traction. And Democrats who used to win elections in this patch of Appalachia are losing to Republicans.

So when Hillary Clinton arrived here ...Read more

Indiana's GOP primary may be the last call for Ted Cruz

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INDIANAPOLIS -- The city has just had two fierce battlegrounds: NBC's "American Ninja Warrior" was competing downtown. So were Donald Trump and Ted Cruz.

The political endurance test is likely to end more quickly than the fitness one. Maybe Tuesday, when Indiana Republicans are poised to all but end Cruz's White House bid and send Trump on an ...Read more

Cruz mounts go-for-broke campaign in California

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LOS ANGELES -- Texas Sen. Ted Cruz is mounting an organizational blitz to win over California's most committed Republican activists, part of a do-or-die effort to deny Donald Trump a win in the state with the largest number of delegates and force a contested convention.

Cruz's campaign is counting on victories in Indiana, which votes Tuesday, ...Read more

Political news briefs

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Cruz puts faith in ground game to stop Trump in Indiana

If Ted Cruz is to slow Donald Trump's march to the Republican presidential nomination by closing a gap in polls and defeating the billionaire in Indiana's primary on Tuesday, he'll need conservatives such as Catherine Lanctot of Indianapolis.

Lanctot, 59, has been making phone calls to ...Read more

States struggle to provide housing for migrant farmworkers

Current News / News & Features /

WASHINGTON -- Every spring, a couple million migrant farmworkers, mostly immigrants, many undocumented, jump from farm to farm, state to state, to harvest the nation's crops.

Given the transient nature of their work, most are dependent on scarce, often dilapidated, temporary housing. Some workers live in employer-owned housing that is licensed ...Read more

Supreme Court justice blasts California's death penalty as flawed

Current News / News & Features /

WASHINGTON -- A Supreme Court justice on Monday blasted California's slow-moving death penalty process, but that was not enough to save convicted murderer Richard Delmer Boyer.

In a passionately worded solo dissent, liberal Justice Stephen Breyer said California's systemic capital punishment problems were sufficiently serious to consider Boyer'...Read more