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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

Colombia, FARC rebels reach peace deal, ending 50-year conflict

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BOGOTA, Colombia -- After more than 50 years of armed conflict, Colombia and the FARC rebel group Wednesday announced they have reached a final peace accord.

"We have reached a final, integral and definitive agreement" to end the conflict and build a stable, lasting peace, the government of President Juan Manuel Santos and the left-wing ...Read more

Wave churning out tropical storm force winds but still no center

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MIAMI -- Once it gets past the Bahamas, a storm tumbling across the Caribbean toward Florida risks getting worse, fast.

A hurricane hunter plane sent Wednesday found tropical storm force winds streaming from the storm, but no clear center, the National Hurricane Center reported. Until it becomes better organized, forecasters say it's too soon ...Read more

Nation and world news briefs

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Florida law enforcement agency turns over Pulse shooter probe to state attorney

ORLANDO, Fla. -- The Florida Department of Law Enforcement officials finished its investigation in the death of Omar Mateen, who was killed by law enforcement after the deadliest mass shooting in recent U.S. history.

The report has not been made public.

FDLE ...Read more

Clinton's attacks on drug pricing leave health stocks reeling

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WASHINGTON -- Drugmakers are learning to duck for cover when Hillary Clinton puts them in her sights.

The Democratic presidential nominee's influence was on display again Wednesday, when she sent Mylan NV's shares plummeting as much as 6.2 percent within minutes of calling for the company to drop prices of its EpiPen emergency allergy shot. It ...Read more

UN: Syrian government has carried out two chemical weapons attacks

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NEW YORK -- The Syrian government has carried out at least two attacks involving chlorine since 2014, while the Islamic state extremist group has used mustard gas, according to a confidential U.N. report seen by dpa Wednesday.

The findings show that the Syrian government has used chemical weapons despite a 2013 UN Security Council resolution ...Read more

Death toll reaches 159 in powerful earthquake that rattled central Italy

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AMATRICE, Italy -- A sound like the loudest of thunder, the very air seeming to tremble, a reverberation sensed bone-deep: The earthquake's nighttime terror was as great a departure as could be imagined from the gentle summertime rhythms of Italian hill-town life.

The powerful temblor early Wednesday, Italy's deadliest in nearly a decade, ...Read more

Green Beret from Southern California identified as soldier killed by roadside bomb in Afghanistan

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WASHINGTON -- U.S. military officials on Wednesday identified the American serviceman killed in a roadside bomb attack as an Army Green Beret from Orange County, Calif.

Staff Sgt. Matthew V. Thompson, 28, of Irvine, Calif., died Tuesday while advising Afghan forces on patrol in southern Afghanistan. Six Afghan soldiers and an American were also...Read more

Happy birthday, National Park Service. You're overcrowded, underfunded

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WASHINGTON -- National Park Service sites in California, both real and imagined, challenge the agency as it celebrates its 100th anniversary Thursday.

The existing parks must manage more tourists -- and their cars. The 809,029 visitors to Yosemite last month marked nearly a 19 percent jump over July 2015. Sequoia, Kings Canyon and others have ...Read more

Weapons inspectors find evidence Syria retains chemical weapons program

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WASHINGTON -- Inspectors working in Syria have detected the presence of previously undeclared chemical warfare agents, suggesting President Bashar Assad hasn't given up his capabilities to wield such weapons and casting a shadow over an achievement claimed by the Obama administration.

Samples collected by the Organization for the Prohibition of...Read more

White House dismisses Sen. Kirk's comment likening Obama to 'drug dealer in chief'

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WASHINGTON -- White House press secretary Josh Earnest on Wednesday responded to Sen. Mark Kirk's recent remarks about President Barack Obama's Iran deal, dismissing them as "outrageous."

Kirk, a Republican who holds Obama's old Illinois Senate seat, last week likened Obama to the nation's "drug dealer in chief" for the president's $400 million...Read more

Rescuers race to find survivors as Italian quake toll reaches 120

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AMATRICE, Italy -- Rescue workers battled against time to find survivors from an earthquake that struck central Italy before dawn Wednesday, as the death toll reaches 120, according to Prime Minister Matteo Renzi.

During a visit to the affected region Wednesday evening, Renzi said at least 120 had died "and this toll is not final."

"It is a ...Read more