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Now that a peace deal with the FARC is sealed, can Colombia convince voters to approve it?

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BOGOTA -- With a peace deal in hand to end the longest-running conflict in the Western hemisphere, Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos must now turn to a new task: convincing voters to approve it on Oct. 2.

Recent polls show Colombians are sharply divided over the peace deal with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, and ...Read more

Jury convicts son of Russian lawmaker in credit-card fraud scheme

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SEATTLE -- A Seattle jury has convicted the son of a prominent Russian lawmaker of hacking into U.S. businesses, including restaurants in Washington, to steal millions of credit-card numbers that were resold on the black market.

Roman Seleznev was convicted Thursday of 38 of 40 criminal counts, including 10 counts of wire fraud, nine counts of ...Read more

Tropical wave threatens flooding in South Florida, forecasters say

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MIAMI -- Regardless of whether a tropical wave threatening South Florida actually musters the strength to become a more fierce storm, forecasters say the region is in for a soggy, wet weekend, with possible flooding. The wave weakened slightly Thursday afternoon as it continued to encounter crippling wind shear. But forecasters say there's still...Read more

Judge: Man accused of trying to set off bomb in Chicago mentally unfit for trial

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CHICAGO -- A federal judge ruled Thursday that a man suspected of trying to detonate a bomb in downtown Chicago is not mentally competent to stand trial at this time.

The suspect, Adel Daoud, will be sent to a mental treatment facility for three months, the judge said, and then re-evaluated to determine whether a trial can proceed.

U.S. ...Read more

Despite pleas and amid 20,000 comments, frogs get designated habitat

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WASHINGTON -- The Fish and Wildlife Service has stuck to its guns and is designating 1.8 million acres of mostly public California land as habitat critical for the preservation of the Yosemite toad and two frog species peculiar to the Sierra Nevada mountains.

Years in the making, the politically sensitive decision, to be made final Friday, ...Read more

Poll: Trump supporters have darker views on immigrants here illegally than other Americans

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WASHINGTON -- Donald Trump's supporters have darker views of immigrants in the country illegally than do most other Americans, according to a new poll Thursday from the Pew Research Center.

Most people in America, an overwhelming 76 percent, believe these immigrants are as hardworking as U.S. citizens, and 67 percent say they are no more likely...Read more

Political news briefs

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Poll: Voters don't trust Clinton, but she holds 10-point lead

WASHINGTON -- A Quinnipiac University poll released Thursday shows the depth of how much of a lesser-than-two-evils election this year's presidential race is.

Nearly two-thirds of those who said they were voting for Republican candidate Donald Trump say they're motivated more by ...Read more

Clinton accuses Trump of white nationalist ties in Nevada address

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Hillary Clinton launched into a new line of attack against Donald Trump on Thursday, accusing him during an address in Reno of helping foment racial hatred and refashioning the Republican Party as a welcome home for white nationalists.

In unrestrained language, Clinton took aim at Trump's affiliations with the so-called alt-right movement, a ...Read more

'Serial' alibi witness hits back at accusations that she is lying

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BALTIMORE -- Asia McClain, who has offered alibi witness testimony in the effort to exonerate "Serial" podcast subject Adnan Syed, has hit back at new claims from two former classmates that she is lying.

In a blog post on her website, McClain called the allegations "awful and untrue."

"I have never wavered in my recollection of the events ...Read more

Maine governor blames state's heroin crisis on black, Hispanic drug dealers from elsewhere

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HARTFORD, Conn. -- Maine Gov. Paul LePage -- who earlier this year blamed his state's heroin problem on drug dealers coming from New York and Connecticut -- doubled down on that accusation at a town hall forum Wednesday.

The Republican governor said in the past six months he's been collecting photos of drug arrests in the state. "I don't ask ...Read more

Senate race reveals deep divide on gun control

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WASHINGTON -- The three candidates for U.S. Senate from North Carolina disagree over how much the federal government should limit gun sales, a division that mirrors the national debate over who should be able to purchase firearms.

The two-term senator, the former state representative and the pizza deliveryman each have different outlooks on how...Read more

Destruction from Italy quake is a grave warning for California's old brick buildings

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LOS ANGELES -- Surveying the devastation of centuries-old villages pummeled by a major earthquake in central Italy this week, it's easy for Californians to think that the more modern buildings here would better survive the shaking.

But seismic experts and structural engineers say there remain many buildings across California that could not ...Read more

Voters don't trust Clinton, but she holds 10-point lead

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WASHINGTON -- A Quinnipiac University poll released Thursday shows the depth of how much of a lesser-than-two-evils election this year's presidential race is.

Nearly two-thirds of those who said they were voting for Republican candidate Donald Trump say they're motivated more by ensuring that Democrat Hillary Clinton doesn't get into the White ...Read more

For mom of baby born with Zika complications, waiting and uncertainty

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MIAMI -- The day after she delivered a baby girl at Jackson Memorial Hospital in June, Maria Ramirez de Mendoza was ready to take her daughter home.

Little Micaela Milagros Mendoza weighed 8 pounds and 1 ounce, with a tuft of brown hair and rosy cheeks -- and no visible sign that the Zika virus her mother had contracted during the third month ...Read more

EpiPen manufacturer says it will lower the cost of product

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WASHINGTON -- The embattled drug company whose price hikes of an anti-allergy product sparked calls for a government investigation and a congressional hearing has announced plans to lower the cost of its EpiPen product to consumers.

The company said Thursday that it will increase the value of a savings coupon offered to purchase its epinephrine...Read more

Gas relief drops, often added to medical scopes, may pose danger

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A surprising ingredient -- infant gas relief drops -- may be contributing to the contamination of medical scopes nationwide and putting more patients at risk of infection, according to a small but provocative study.

Researchers in Minnesota unexpectedly found cloudy, white fluid inside several colonoscopes and gastroscopes after they had been ...Read more

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