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Comcast officially drops TWC bid; Charter seen as likely suitor

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WASHINGTON--Pay-television leader Comcast Corp. withdrew its $45-billion bid for Time Warner Cable Inc. in the face of a long fight with federal regulators, sending the smaller cable firm on its own in a churning marketplace without the heft it had sought in a merger.

The decision, announced Friday, came after federal regulators earlier this ...Read more

US takes helm of Arctic Council, aims to focus on climate change

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Secretary of State John F. Kerry took the helm of the Arctic Council on Friday on behalf of the United States, vowing to protect the delicate northern environment newly exposed by melting polar ice to the developed world's quest for energy and a swifter trade route from Europe to Asia.

Kerry promised to make the battle against climate change ...Read more

Judge gives lawyers more time to make cases in hearing on Ferguson special prosecutor

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CLAYTON, Mo. -- After hearing arguments Friday on a request to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate last fall's Ferguson grand jury proceedings, a judge in court here decided to give lawyers for activists and St. Louis County time to refine their positions.

Circuit Judge Joseph L. Walsh III tentatively set another hearing for May 29.

On...Read more

Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio uncharacteristically contrite in contempt hearing

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PHOENIX -- For decades, he's been the tough-talking lawman of Maricopa County.

Brash and defiant, his tactics controversial, Sheriff Joe Arpaio has bowed to no one -- including President Barack Obama -- becoming a one-man crusade against illegal immigration, always doing things his way. Other than the voters who repeatedly returned him to ...Read more

Making the president funny at White House correspondents dinner is serious work

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WASHINGTON -- Speaking recently at the exclusive Gridiron Club dinner that doubles as a bipartisan comedy roast, President Obama delivered a jab at a Republican and seemed particularly happy with it, then waited for the laughter to die down before quipping: "This lame-duck stuff is fun."

But seated a few feet away in the audience, Obama's ...Read more

US may revamp overseas hostage-rescue program

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WASHINGTON -- The White House is considering revamping its overseas hostage-rescue program after CIA drone strikes that mistakenly killed an American and an Italian held captive by terrorists in Pakistan, the latest incident to reveal gaps in U.S. counterterrorism efforts.

A key proposal would create an interagency task force to better ...Read more

NASA gathers scientists to help find life beyond Earth

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The search for life beyond our solar system is about to get a boost of brain power.

This week NASA convened the first meeting of a team of scientists who will work collectively to determine the best way to look for signs of life around other stars.

The new group is known as the Nexus for Exoplanet System Science (NExSS), and its official goal ...Read more

Ex-congressman's former chief of staff accused of setting up ringer candidate

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MIAMI--Federal prosecutors on Friday accused former Democratic Rep. Joe Garcia's ex-chief of staff of secretly financing a ringer tea-party candidate in 2010 to draw votes away from a Republican rival -- an illegal scheme that inspired a more serious copycat case two years later.

Jeffrey Garcia was charged with conspiracy to give a campaign ...Read more

Armenians recall tales of the past on centennial of genocide

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GLENDALE, Calif. -- Dapper men flock here by the dozens almost every day.

They arrive in sweater vests and fedoras, to play pool, backgammon and chess -- until their wives call them home for lunch or dinner.

It would seem to be a sweet life they live in Glendale, home to the largest population of Armenians outside of Armenia.

Until the days ...Read more

Drew Peterson police pension hearing begins

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CHICAGO--Bolingbrook officials held a hearing Friday to determine whether former Sgt. Drew Peterson should lose his annual $79,000 police pension after being convicted of murdering his wife, but they haven't come to any conclusions yet.

To revoke his pension, the Bolingbrook Police Pension Board must find that Peterson used his law enforcement ...Read more

Ceremonies in Armenia, Turkey recall 100 years of pain

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ISTANBUL -- In a message to Armenians on the centennial of the mass deportations and massacres during World War I, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Friday that Turkey recognizes "the sorrowful events" of a century ago.

In a message read by a senior cleric at a packed requiem Mass at Istanbul's Holy Mother of God Church, Erdogan said,...Read more

Death of kidnapped US aid worker reminder of CIA's difficult Pakistan presence

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ISLAMABAD -- Al-Qaida's 2011 kidnapping in Pakistan of U.S. civilian aid contractor Warren Weinstein, which ended in January when Weinstein was inadvertently killed by a U.S. drone strike, was the byproduct of a three-year turf war between the CIA and Pakistani security services over the American agency's use of U.S.-funded humanitarian ...Read more

Saudi bombing in Yemen still claiming civilian casualties, UN says

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GENEVA -- Despite Saudi Arabia's claims to have halted its air offensive over Yemen, Saudi bombing runs have killed dozens of civilians in recent days, United Nations officials said Friday.

"We have recorded a number of airstrikes that have hit military and civilian positions in Sanaa, Ibb, Hajja and Taiz," Rupert Coleville, spokesman for the U...Read more

Oklahoma deputy who mistook gun for Taser not properly trained, report says

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Two high-ranking members of the Tulsa County Sheriff's Department created a culture of intimidation that allowed the wealthy reserve deputy involved in a controversial police shooting earlier this month to advance through the ranks without proper training, according to an internal report made public Friday.

The nearly 300-page document, ...Read more

Policies often don't exist for academic travel such as trip that killed Ga. nursing students

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ATLANTA -- The Georgia Southern University nursing students involved in this week's horrific traffic accident were pursuing their future craft in the best possible way, with real-world experience outside the classroom, in a hospital similar to where they would likely spend much of their careers.

The crash cut short those plans.

The tragedy ...Read more

Nation and world news briefs

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WASHINGTON -- Agents from Homeland Security Investigations raided the Northwest Washington home of a Senate staffer Thursday morning, in a drug bust prompted by Customs and Border Protection officers in Ohio, who intercepted a 1.1-kilogram package of gamma-Butyrolactone, or GBL, bound for D.C.

Fred W. Pagan, who has worked for Sen. Thad ...Read more

5 things you need to know about ice cream and listeria

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WASHINGTON -- With another recall of ice cream announced Friday over fears of listeria contamination -- the third in four months -- consumers are wondering whether it's safe to indulge in their favorite summer treat.

Here are five things you need to know about ice cream and listeria:

--What brands have been recalled so far?

There have been ...Read more

Cochran staffer confesses to sex-for-drugs scheme, feds say

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WASHINGTON -- Agents from Homeland Security Investigations raided the Northwest Washington home of a Senate staffer Thursday morning, in a drug bust prompted by Customs and Border Protection officers in Ohio, who intercepted a 1.1-kilogram package of gamma-Butyrolactone, or GBL, bound for D.C.

Fred W. Pagan, who has worked for Sen. Thad Cochran...Read more

Attorney General Eric Holder says farewell at Justice Department

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WASHINGTON -- Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr., in a farewell speech on his last day at the Justice Department, said that the department's political independence had been restored and that the argument over trying terrorists in civilian courts had been won.

Noting that he had worked at the Justice Department "on and off" since 1976, Holder ...Read more

Supreme Court hears arguments on same-sex marriage next week

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WASHINGTON -- Gregory Bourke met his husband-to-be at the University of Kentucky in 1982.

Now, several social revolutions later, the 57-year-old Louisville, Ky., resident and father of two rides atop a cresting wave that's reached the Supreme Court. Soon, justices will decide whether the Constitution compels Kentucky and other states to wed ...Read more

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