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Dueling death penalty trials for Roof? South Carolina prosecutor wants to go first

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CHARLESTON, S.C.--An apparently unprecedented public protest over who goes first -- state or federal prosecutors -- in Dylann Roof's upcoming death penalty trials broke out in Charleston on Tuesday.

The protest was made by 9th Circuit Solicitor Scarlett Wilson, who filed an emotional plea in state circuit court, arguing that the state -- and ...Read more

Phone call sets off chain of events leading to Oakland police sex scandal

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OAKLAND -- Celeste Guap, drunk and lost while vacationing in Puerto Rico last year, called Oakland Police Officer Brendan O'Brien for help.

The unanswered phone call appears to have set off a chain of events, ending in O'Brien shooting himself to death after Guap threatened to expose their relationship to police officials. The officer's suicide...Read more

Initiative to legalize recreational use of pot in California qualifies for November ballot

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SACRAMENTO, Calif.--An initiative that would legalize the recreational use of marijuana in California officially took its place on the Nov. 8 ballot on Tuesday as its campaign took a commanding lead in fundraising to battle the measure's opponents.

The Secretary of State's Office certified that a random sample showed sufficient signatures among...Read more

Nation and world news briefs

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Partisan squabbling kills efforts to pay for battling Zika virus

WASHINGTON -- A bill that would have allocated $1.1 billion to combat the Zika virus lost a vote in the Senate on Tuesday amid partisan bickering.

The legislation, which also included funding for Veterans Affairs health programs and military construction, failed to reach the 60 ...Read more

Amid Stanford case, California moves to toughen sex assault laws

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SACRAMENTO, Calif.--With the support of liberal Democrats who tend to oppose tougher crime laws, a California Senate panel moved Tuesday to fortify California's sexual assault penalties in response to the nationally watched case of a former Stanford swimmer who received a sentence widely criticized as too lenient.

After being convicted of ...Read more

At least 36 killed in explosions at Istanbul airport, officials say

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ISTANBUL--Multiple explosions and gunfire rocked Turkey's largest airport Tuesday night, killing at least 36 people and injuring more than 140 others, the latest in a string of potent attacks to hit the country.

Istanbul Gov. Vasip Sahin said three suicide bombers carried out the attack, while Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag said at least one ...Read more

FBI investigates threat against Berkeley school after teacher's counterprotest at rally

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BERKELEY, Calif. -- Federal authorities investigated anonymous threats made toward a Berkeley school Monday after one of its teachers protested against a neo-Nazi rally in Sacramento where seven people were stabbed.

The threats came after Yvette Felarca, a social studies teacher at Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School, was identified not only ...Read more

Benghazi panel chair, Gowdy, says probe was about facts, not Clinton

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WASHINGTON -- As far as Trey Gowdy is concerned, the Benghazi Committee was a success.

And for the last time, the South Carolina Republican spent the better part of an hour Tuesday fighting the losing battle of convincing the media and the public that his probe into the 2012 attacks in Benghazi, Libya, that killed four Americans is not about ...Read more

Manson murderer's 'disturbingly distorted' views should prevent her release, DA says

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LOS ANGELES -- The Los Angeles County district attorney has asked Gov. Jerry Brown to deny parole for former Manson "family" member Leslie Van Houten, who was convicted along with other members of the cult in the 1969 killings of Leno and Rosemary LaBianca.

In a letter dated Friday, District Attorney Jackie Lacey told the governor that she "...Read more

Partisan squabbling kills efforts to pay for battling Zika virus

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WASHINGTON -- A bill that would have allocated $1.1 billion to combat the Zika virus lost a vote in the Senate on Tuesday amid partisan bickering.

The legislation, which also included funding for Veterans Affairs health programs and military construction, failed to reach the 60 votes needed, with Democrats and Republicans voting largely along ...Read more

Military wants to buy Guantanamo Bay a second fiber-optic cable

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MIAMI -- In the latest sign that the Pentagon is preparing for Guantanamo prison operations after President Barack Obama leaves office, the U.S. Southern Command is shopping for a second fiber-optic cable for the base -- this one from Puerto Rico. Price tag? Unknown.

A division of the Defense Department invited contractors June 8 to submit ...Read more

In Kern County fire's 2 fatalities, husband, 81, appeared to be shielding wife, 90

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LAKE ISABELLA, Calif. -- Bill Johnson could spot the two-story, red barn-style house from across Lake Isabella. It always told him he was getting close to home.

The distinctive house belonged to Byron McKaig, 81, an Anglican priest, and his 90-year-old wife, Gladys.

On Friday morning, after the Erskine fire tore through the neighborhood, ...Read more

Why the Zika filibuster is a major setback for wounded veterans

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WASHINGTON -- Sen. Patty Murray felt compelled Tuesday to vote against one of her top priorities for veterans -- a plan that she's pursued for four years.

Her decision to join a Democratic filibuster that blocked the Republican Zika-funding bill also ended her plan to pay for in-vitro fertilization services for veterans whose fertility was ...Read more

10 dead in suicide attack on Istanbul's Ataturk airport

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ISTANBUL -- Ten people were killed and 20 injured Wednesday in what appeared to be a suicide bombing at the entrance to the arrivals terminal at Istanbul's Ataturk international airport, Turkish officials said.

Police at the airport, one of the busiest in the region, opened fire on two suspects by the security check area at the terminal. The ...Read more

New records provide details of Orlando nightclub massacre

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MIAMI -- Records released Tuesday in the Orlando nightclub shooting don't offer any blockbuster revelations but flesh out chilling and some troubling details into the worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history. Among them:

--The Pulse nightclub passed a city fire inspection in January, but just weeks before the massacre, an inspection revealed ...Read more

What germs are riding the subway with you? You'll be surprised

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What microbes are lurking in the Boston subway system? A team of scientists armed with sterile cotton swabs and a bit of soap rode the Red, Orange and Green lines of the T to find out.

What they discovered surprised them.

It turns out that the slick metal poles and well-worn hand grips used by hundreds of thousands of riders each day are not ...Read more

Trump pledges to withdraw from Pacific trade deal, punish China

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MONESSEN, Pa. -- Donald Trump, who has ridden a wave of anti-globalism to capture the GOP nomination, made a series of pledges and threats Tuesday aimed at punishing China and divorcing the U.S. from trade deals he blames for the loss of manufacturing jobs.

The speech, delivered from a Teleprompter at the Alumisource factory in Monessen, was ...Read more

Supreme Court justices start summer chill amid political heat

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WASHINGTON -- Supreme Court justices are setting out for their summer vacation certain of some things -- but clueless about when they'll be back at full strength.

The eight justices know they will return in October for challenges involving Texas death row inmates, North Carolina political districts and high-tech giant Microsoft. On Tuesday, ...Read more

Trump vows to bring back prosperity to American workers

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MONESSEN, Pa. -- Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump came to Monessen on Tuesday afternoon, promising not just to make America first, but to make it the last word in prosperity. "America" also appeared in many of the words in between.

American workers, American energy, American prosperity -- all could be re-energized, he ...Read more

Beijing is sinking at an alarming rate, research shows

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The land under Beijing is sinking by as much as 4 inches per year because of the overconsumption of groundwater, according to research published in the journal Remote Sensing this month.

The rate of sinking threatens "the safety of the public and urban infrastructure," the study says. This is because uneven sinking could damage trains, ...Read more