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Islamic State will continue to target the US, top intelligence officials say

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WASHINGTON -- The Islamic State group continues to take advantage of weak and collapsing governments to expand its reach, and remains determined to attack the United States, the top U.S. intelligence official told a Senate panel Wednesday.

Islamic State, which controls large swaths of northern Iraq and eastern Syria, has become the "preeminent ...Read more

Jurors hear taped confession in murder trial of Washington state woman

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SEATTLE -- Michele Anderson admitted to the slayings of six members of her family, calling herself a "monster" in a taped interview given just hours after the bodies were discovered in her parents' rural Carnation, Wash., home in December 2007.

The interview is being played for jurors Tuesday in Anderson's trial for six counts of aggravated ...Read more

Connecticut state trooper killed in Texas hunting accident

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TOLLAND, Conn. -- A Connecticut state trooper has been killed in a hunting accident in Texas.

Trooper Stephen Davis, described as a "highly respected," 27-year veteran of the state police, was shot and killed Saturday evening in Maverick County, Texas, according to the sheriff's office there. A Maine man who was hunting in the area said he shot...Read more

Cybersecurity among top goals of Obama's $4.1 trillion budget blueprint

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WASHINGTON -- President Barack Obama unveiled a budget proposal Tuesday that earmarks $19 billion for a wide range of cybersecurity projects, including $3.1 billion to replace out-of-date federal computer systems that are vulnerable to attack.

The investment, a more than 35 percent increase over last year, underscores a long-delayed shift in U....Read more

Guns, drugs and car crashes: Why Americans die younger

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NEW YORK -- The average American will die as many as two years sooner than if they lived in Western Europe or Japan. This can be attributed, in part, to three of the darker elements of life in the U.S.: gun violence, drug overdoses and death on the road.

More than 100,000 people in the U.S. lose their lives as a result of these causes every ...Read more

American's testimony comes at an awkward time for India-Pakistan relations

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MUMBAI, India -- As rivals India and Pakistan try to get oft-derailed negotiations on track, a familiar obstacle reappeared this week in the electronic form of David Coleman Headley.

The American-born militant of Pakistani origin has dominated the Indian media for two days with court testimony via videoconference from an undisclosed location in...Read more

How Bernie Sanders's supporters would punish Wall Street bankers

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WASHINGTON -- Back during the darkest days of the financial crisis, President Barack Obama summoned the heads of the big Wall Street banks to the White House and told them they had better get their act together. "My administration," Obama said, "is the only thing between you and the pitchforks."

Obama's administration will soon come to an end, ...Read more

Tentative settlement puts 'Happy Birthday' song in public domain

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LOS ANGELES -- Warner Music Group and others who fought to hold the copyright on "Happy Birthday to You" have given up their claims to the popular song, according to the terms of a proposed settlement deal that signals the end of a contentious three-year dispute.

The proposed deal, which was disclosed Monday in court filings, offers up to $14 ...Read more

GOP senator wants to compel reports on Iran-North Korea ties

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WASHINGTON -- A Republican senator wants to compel the Obama administration to tell Congress what it knows about ties between North Korea and Iran.

"It's undeniable that Iran and North Korea have been cooperating on nuclear weapon and ballistic missile development for years now. Iranians have reportedly been present for at least three of North ...Read more

Obama's budget sees next president inheriting healthy economy

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WASHINGTON -- The economic assumptions underlying President Barack Obama's proposed budget for the fiscal year starting Oct. 1 are fairly optimistic for the near term, although weaker than projections made in the mid-session review in July.

The White House is counting on growth in the world's largest economy to pick up this year and next, while...Read more

Billions at stake as EU regulators consider new data transfer pact with US

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WASHINGTON -- The European Union and United States reached a political agreement last week on allowing EU citizens' personal information to be sent across the Atlantic, but lingering uncertainty about whether the pact will be approved by EU regulators has businesses -- and U.S. lawmakers -- on edge.

The Commerce Department has said ...Read more

Fighting mosquitoes with mosquitoes

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JOHANNESBURG -- As mosquitoes buzzed about on her veranda one recent evening, Maureen Coetzee didn't reach for bug spray or a swatter. She dashed inside, grabbed a device resembling a drinking straw and sucked four mosquitoes into a specimen jar.

She quickly identified them as Aedes aegypti, the villain in the Zika crisis a continent away.

The...Read more

Some states let people with health, privacy fears reject 'smart meters'

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Shortly after Joe Davidson moved into his Cincinnati apartment, he noticed that his joints were achy and he wasn't sleeping well.

Davidson is among a small but outspoken group of people who say the radio frequencies coming from "smart meters" installed in their homes are making them sick. The wireless devices -- designed to measure gas and ...Read more

Rand Paul's 'long haul' cut short

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WASHINGTON -- For Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, maybe the necessities of a modern presidential campaign were just a bit too much.

A former strategist for the Republican said that while Paul's drive to become president was never in question, the first-term senator's national ambition "clashed against his personality -- his prickliness, not wanting to...Read more

US hasn't had a bilingual president since FDR

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WASHINGTON -- The United States has not elected a president fluent in a language other than English in 72 years.

And in a field of 11 remaining presidential candidates, only two could change that: Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio.

The last president who spoke a foreign language fluently was Franklin D. Roosevelt, elected to his fourth term in 1944, ...Read more

Big turnout expected at showdown over California Coastal Commission chief's future

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For more than four decades, the California Coastal Commission has policed land use and preserved public access along more than 1,100 miles of shoreline -- some of the most valuable and scenic real estate in the nation.

Now an internal battle over whether to fire its executive director has set off an intense public fight over the direction of ...Read more

Cursive is a dying art, and a state lawmaker gets nowhere with attempt to revive it

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OLYMPIA, Wash. -- Upon hearing from a teacher that her son's handwriting needed some work, Suzi Allan sought help. She asked when his class would learn cursive writing. But like many schools, her son's doesn't teach it.

Allan was offered an online packet, if she wanted to teach her son at home.

No doubt about it, cursive is dying. Around the ...Read more

Some dialysis patients without options after Medicare cut ambulance service

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Charles Prozzillo's life changed for the worse when Medicare stopped paying for his ambulance rides to dialysis a year ago.

The 72-year-old Pennsylvania man, who had been a hairdresser with his own salon and volunteer firefighter in his younger days, was being treated for late stage of kidney failure. Three times a week for five years he went ...Read more

Bernie Sanders as GOP tool: Their plan to use him against Democrats

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WASHINGTON -- Sen. Bernie Sanders' surprisingly strong candidacy for president has laid bare a sharp division within the Democratic coalition, pitting its activist base against the moderate-minded establishment.

It's a split Republicans -- especially the ones focused on winning down-ballot races this fall -- are now racing to exploit.

The GOP ...Read more

Salinas tries to reboot as agricultural technology center of California

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SALINAS, Calif. -- Dario Molina's alternative life scrolls by on both sides of Highway 101 north: acre upon acre of lettuce, spinach, heartbreak.

Not me, he thinks. Not anymore.

"Sometimes I reminisce," Molina says. "Damn, I remember working in that field. I remember that heat ... that song. Now I'm just thinking, I just want to get over this....Read more