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8 million viewers watched Thursday's Democratic debate

Current News / News & Features /

NEW YORK -- The Democratic primary debate simulcast on PBS and CNN averaged 8.03 million viewers, on par with the audiences for recent showdowns between the party's 2016 White House contenders.

PBS produced the debate, which was anchored by "PBS NewsHour" anchors Gwen Ifill and Judy Woodruff. CNN paid a license fee to simulcast the matchup ...Read more

New app uses your cellphone to detect earthquakes

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When the earth shakes in California, the first place you are likely to hear about it is on social media.

"Earthquake!" "Did you feel that?" "How big?" are common messages on Twitter and Facebook as Californians try to share information on their mobile phones in real time.

Now, University of California, Berkeley, scientists are hoping to ...Read more

'Bay Boys' surfer gang cannot block access to upscale beach, coastal commission says

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LOS ANGELES -- For generations, a small group of locals in wealthy Palos Verdes Estates has maintained a reputation for keeping other surfers off Lunada Bay's well-shaped waves.

The so-called Bay Boys bombard outsiders with dirt clods, slash their car tires and assault them in the water -- sometimes coordinating the attacks with walkie-talkies ...Read more

Russia hit 1,888 targets in Syria in a week; US count? Just 16

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BERLIN -- In the seven days before the announcement early Friday that a cease-fire might go into effect in Syria in another week, Russian forces hit more than 100 times as many targets within the embattled nation as a military coalition that includes the United States.

Exactly how the cease-fire proposed at an international conference in Munich...Read more

Political news briefs

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WASHINGTON -- Hillary Clinton wants you to know she's a more realistic, more savvy version of Bernie Sanders.

She, too, wants to close corporate loopholes, make college and health care more affordable and get tough on Wall Street. Just as Sanders does, except she'd proceed more carefully and practically.

Same with Social Security, and income ...Read more

Alan Grayson says he'll be glad when Harry Reid is gone

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WASHINGTON -- Florida Democratic Rep. Alan Grayson shrugged off the suggestion by the Senate's top Democrat that he should "drop out of the Senate race immediately," on Friday after a news report detailed his work leading a hedge fund while serving in Congress, saying, "Thank goodness that he will be gone from Washington, D.C., when I am sworn ...Read more

Christian conservatives, and Southern politics, fear they're under siege

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ROBERTA, Ga. -- Inside the Sunshine Coin Laundry near the Piggly Wiggly supermarket, Lagretta Ellington removed her family's clothes from one of the large dryers and began to neatly fold them on a nearby table.

The air was moist and smelled of detergent. The floor was concrete. Her views of the presidential race were anything but. She was ...Read more

Family values? Marco Rubio hates hip hop, except when he loves it

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WASHINGTON -- Sen. Marco Rubio channeled Tipper Gore on the campaign trail this week, railing against the harmful influence of contemporary music, movies and other hubs of pop culture.

Rubio's comments came Tuesday in New Hampshire, as Republicans voted in a presidential primary whose results would relegate him to a disappointing fifth-place ...Read more

Obama orders creation of new national monuments in California

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WASHINGTON -- President Barack Obama on Friday set aside 1.8 million acres of Southern California desert for protection, using his sometimes controversial executive power to designate three new national monuments.

In a long-anticipated decision, Obama designated the Mojave Trails, Sand to Snow and Castle Mountains national monuments in San ...Read more

Cruz campaign pulls TV ad featuring porn actress

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WASHINGTON -- The Ted Cruz campaign hurriedly pulled an anti-Marco Rubio TV ad Thursday when media outlets reported that an actress in the spot was a soft-core porn star.

In the 30-second ad, "Conservatives Anonymous," a mock therapy group sits in a circle and discusses how disappointed they are in a candidate who has reversed himself after ...Read more

Michigan governor to testify before Congress on Flint water crisis

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WASHINGTON -- Michigan Republican Gov. Rick Snyder will get the chance to testify before a congressional committee on the Flint water crisis, speaking at an as-yet-unscheduled hearing before the U.S. House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on what happened and improvements he wants to recommend at the local, state and federal levels.

...Read more

Analysis: Clinton adjusts pitch: I can be a Sanders, just better

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WASHINGTON -- Hillary Clinton wants you to know she's a more realistic, more savvy version of Bernie Sanders.

She, too, wants to close corporate loopholes, make college and health care more affordable and get tough on Wall Street. Just as Sanders does, except she'd proceed more carefully and practically.

Same with Social Security, and income ...Read more

Ryan outlines budget options, says members will decide

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WASHINGTON -- House Speaker Paul D. Ryan laid out three budget options for House Republicans on Friday, but told members that the best chance for getting appropriations bills through the Senate would be to stick to the funding levels approved in last year's budget deal.

According to members who attended the closed door meeting, the first option...Read more

Senate confirms ambassadors as Ted Cruz relents

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WASHINGTON -- Just as the Senate was departing for the Presidents Day recess, presidential hopeful Ted Cruz relented on a blockade of political nominees at the State Department.

The list confirmed by voice vote Friday includes Thomas A. Shannon Jr. to be undersecretary for political affairs and Brian Egan to be legal adviser, as well as Azita ...Read more

Your Neanderthal inheritance could affect your mood, your skin and your smoking habits

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It's been 40,000 years since the Neanderthals disappeared, but their lingering genetic legacy may be influencing your health.

If you are of Asian or European descent, about 2 percent of your genome came from your Neanderthal ancestors, scientists say. Now, new evidence suggests this inheritance affects a broad range of health disorders ...Read more

With safe districts gone, two Florida lawmakers taking their time on 2016 decision

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WASHINGTON -- In Florida, where a court imposed a new map in December, two lawmakers who had their safe seats swept out from under them have yet to announce their electoral plans ahead of a May 6 filing deadline.

In contrast, it took only about a month for Virginia Republican Rep. J. Randy Forbes to announce this week that he would switch ...Read more

Senate confirms judge, and the queue is now empty

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WASHINGTON -- The Senate confirmed Leonard Terry Strand to be U.S. district judge for the Northern District of Iowa on Thursday, in what might be the final judicial nominee confirmation for the foreseeable future.

Strand, approved 93-0 and with a lot of enthusiasm from Judiciary Chairman Charles E. Grassley, R-Iowa, was the last part of a deal ...Read more

Rubio's tax proposals seen risking 'unsustainable' deficits

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NEW YORK -- While presidential candidate Marco Rubio's tax proposals would put more money in taxpayer wallets and business coffers, their benefits would be concentrated at the top end of the income scale, and they could produce large, "unsustainable, budget deficits," according to a policy group's analysis.

The Republican contender's proposals,...Read more

South Carolina focus group praises Cruz but sees Trump win

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After the frenetic one-two step of the Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire primary, the Republican presidential contest zooms to South Carolina, a state that typically favors establishment candidates. But this year, voters' attention is tuned to Donald Trump and Ted Cruz, the victors of the early contests -- and candidates who have alarmed the party...Read more

In Christie's home state, budget and bad roads among first jobs

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TRENTON, N.J. -- Fresh off ending his struggling presidential campaign, Gov. Chris Christie returns to a New Jersey short on cash for pensions and transportation and minus the political base that once made him a darling of the Republican Party. He has 23 months to revive the state and his reputation.

As Republican presidential front-runner ...Read more