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Study: Outside groups now a third of all campaign spending

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WASHINGTON -- Secret money from outside groups is flooding election campaign coffers at the highest level in 16 years to nearly a third of all political advertising, a study has found.

Super PACs make up the bulk of the ad buys in the 2016 election cycle, accounting for nearly 73 percent of all outside group spending, according to the study by ...Read more

Private immigrant detention firm gives $45K to pro-Trump fundraising group

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WASHINGTON -- The political arm of one of the country's leading operators of federally contracted immigrant detention facilities last month donated $45,000 to a joint fundraising committee supporting Republican presidential nominee Donald J. Trump, according to a recent Federal Election Commission filing.

A political action committee ...Read more

Panama Papers: The big game's in Africa, but safari companies are offshore

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WASHINGTON -- Each year, tourists cross the plains of central Zimbabwe to sleep near the roar of Victoria Falls, track elephants, cheetahs and pangolins, and dine under the stars.

The visitors are accompanied every step of the way by John Stevens, a man who has been called "perhaps the finest guide to come out of Zimbabwe."

And while Stevens' ...Read more

Your coffee habit may be written in your DNA

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Why is it that some people crave several cups of coffee a day while others stop at only one or two?

A growing body of evidence suggests that the amount of coffee we consume is determined by our genetic makeup rather than the amount of sleep we got the night before.

Coffee is one of the most popular beverages worldwide, second only to tea and ...Read more

Biden's 'expectation' is Obama will close Guantanamo

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WASHINGTON -- Vice President Joseph Biden, Jr., said Thursday he still expects the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, will close before the Obama administration leaves office in January.

"That is my hope and expectation," Biden said during a press conference in Sweden.

His comment came several days after Obama's chief spokesman ...Read more

Aftershocks shake central Italy after earthquake that killed 241

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PESCARA DEL TRONTO, Italy -- Strong aftershocks shook earthquake-ravaged villages in the mountains of central Italy on Thursday, with rescue teams dodging falling debris and bleary-eyed survivors still holding out hope that loved ones might be found beneath the rubble.

The provisional death toll seesawed overnight, first reported to be nearing ...Read more

University in Afghan capital closed after attack

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KABUL, Afghanistan -- The American University of Afghanistan has closed after attackers stormed it late Wednesday when a suicide bomber ploughed his explosives-packed vehicle into the wall of the facility, officials said on Thursday.

"The University's Kabul campuses will be closed until further notice," a statement on the university's Facebook ...Read more

Turkey-backed rebels, U.S.-supported Syrian Kurds clash in Syria

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ISTANBUL -- Rebels backed by Turkey and Syrian Kurdish forces who have received support from the United States clashed in northern Syria, activists and Kurdish officials said Thursday.

Kurdish officials described the incidents as skirmishes which took place near Ain al-Bayda, just south of Jarablus, a border town in northern Syria which the ...Read more

Clinton raises California cash from Hollywood, tech luminaries

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WASHINGTON -- Hillary Clinton raised millions of dollars this week from big names in Hollywood and Silicon Valley amid a string of new developments about the Clinton Foundation and as Donald Trump stepped up attacks on her.

Stars including Magic Johnson, Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel, as well as big tech players including Apple chief ...Read more

China's power play in Asia may be emboldened by US politics

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HONG KONG -- U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter warned a few months back that China risked a "great wall of self-isolation" for its actions in the disputed South China Sea. That hasn't deterred Xi Jinping.

Beijing is boosting its military presence in the area unabated, in the face of stepped-up U.S. patrols and a recent arbitration court ruling ...Read more

Prisoner releases turn Guantanamo inmates into $6 Million men

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WASHINGTON -- Remember the 1970s TV series "The Six Million Dollar Man?" The U.S. now has 61 of them, all at the Guantanamo Bay military prison that President Barack Obama wants to close.

As the U.S. draws down the prison population by transferring inmates to friendly nations, the cost of housing terrorism suspects at the detention facility in ...Read more

Key Steven Avery court filing is due soon

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MILWAUKEE -- Steven Avery's new Chicago-area lawyer, who has been declaring for months she will produce evidence to exonerate Avery of the murder of Teresa Halbach, is due to make a court filing any day.

Kathleen Zellner, who has a history of winning exonerations, has been ordered by the Wisconsin Court of Appeals to make a filing by Monday.

...Read more

Colombia, FARC rebels announce accord to end 5-decade war

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BOGOTA, Colombia -- Colombia's government and largest rebel group announced Wednesday they have reached a comprehensive agreement for ending the hemisphere's longest-running conflict.

The peace accord between the government of President Juan Manuel Santos and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Columbia, or FARC, must first be approved by voters ...Read more

UKIP's Farage champions Trump at rally in Mississippi

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Former U.K. Independence Party leader Nigel Farage appeared on stage at a rally with Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump in Jackson, Miss., and said that if he were a U.S. citizen, he "wouldn't vote for Hillary Clinton if you paid me."

Farage on Wednesday night urged Trump's supporters to get out and vote "against the establishment," ...Read more

Zika takes center stage for politicians in Florida

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MIAMI -- One by one, the politicians sat before a flock of TV cameras and went around the table, commending each other for their arduous work to fend off the Zika virus.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott lauded the state's "very good coordination" with the Miami-Dade County health department. Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam praised the "...Read more

Polo magnate's battle over blood samples could have vast implications

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FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- Wellington polo club founder John Goodman's fight over the blood samples in his high-profile DUI manslaughter case could be headed to the Florida Supreme Court.

And the outcome could affect scores of DUI defendants across the state.

In a split 2-1 ruling Wednesday, a three-judge panel at the Fourth District Court of ...Read more

California test scores up, but most students fall short

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LOS ANGELES -- If California's revamped standardized tests are accurately measuring what they set out to measure, one thing is clear: the state has miles to go before all of its students are on an equal footing to face an economy that increasingly demands a college degree and stronger workplace skills.

The good news, if there is good news, is ...Read more

Another reason to diet: Experts find additional evidence of obesity-cancer link

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There may be plenty of room for debate about whether some aspects of everyday life cause cancer -- whether it's drinking too much coffee, eating too much sugar or talking too much on a cellphone.

But the opposite seems to be true regarding the causal link with obesity, according to a scientific review by the International Agency for Research on...Read more

Biden met by snubs as he seeks to mollify Turkey's angry Erdogan

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ANKARA -- From the minute he stepped off the plane on Wednesday, U.S. Vice President Joe Biden's trip to Turkey seemed ill-fated.

Intended to smooth relations frayed by last month's botched coup, Biden's visit instead showcased acrimony with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Turkey sent low-ranking officials -- including Ankara's deputy ...Read more

LA fire marshal removed amid turmoil

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LOS ANGELES -- The Los Angeles Fire Department is replacing the official in charge of enforcing fire safety codes for apartment houses, schools, hospitals and other high-occupancy buildings after months of turmoil over lengthy backlogs in inspections.

Fire Marshal John Vidovich leaves one of the LAFD's top jobs barely two years into his tenure,...Read more