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Lee Wesley Gibson, believed to be oldest surviving Pullman porter, dies at 106

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LOS ANGELES -- Lee Wesley Gibson, believed to have been the oldest living Pullman porter, died as he lived -- calm, quiet and in control -- sitting in a chair at home Saturday with family members at his side.

Gibson was 106 years old.

"He had just celebrated his birthday five weeks earlier and he thanked everyone," said family friend Rosalind ...Read more

New state minimum wage hikes come with 'off ramps'

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WASHINGTON -- Driven by a recovering economy and concerns about income inequality, many states and localities this year significantly raised their minimum wages, but most enacted gradual, multiyear hikes and some loaded the raises with caveats and conditions.

In taking action, states and localities leapfrogged the federal minimum wage, which ...Read more

Old motels get new life helping homeless heal

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Just up the freeway from Disneyland, in the Orange County city of Buena Park, Calif., Paul Leon stood outside the beat-up remnant of a seedy motel. Above him, a faded pink sign advertised the Coral Motel, whose rooms back in its prime cost 35 bucks a night.

"This particular motel was going to be taken back by the city of Buena Park, because of ...Read more

Why they didn't show up to sit-in

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WASHINGTON--Organizers said they started last week's extraordinary sit-in on the House floor without knowing how many other House Democrats would join them to demand votes on legislation to tighten background checks and prevent suspected terrorists from buying weapons. By the time the protest ended, nearly 26 hours later, 176 members of the ...Read more

It's not paranoia: Hackers can use your webcam to spy on you

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WASHINGTON -- Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook does it. So does FBI Director James Comey. Should you?

What they do is cover up their laptop webcams -- sometimes with just a piece of opaque tape -- blocking scuzzball computer hackers from activating the built-in cameras and spying on them. Perhaps in their bedrooms.

The hackers do it using a type of...Read more

Will Louisiana's Medicaid expansion be a harbinger for Georgia?

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Louisiana and Georgia have many political similarities. Both states face significant health challenges affecting their populations. And until recently, both states had identical approaches to Medicaid expansion.

Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal, a Republican, has rejected expansion since he took office in 2011, and GOP lawmakers have repeatedly backed ...Read more

Paul Ryan says he's on the same page with Donald Trump on trade

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MILWAUKEE--House Speaker Paul Ryan says he's on the same page as presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump when it comes to trade deals.

But he declined to comment on Trump's recent comments comparing one proposed trade agreement to rape.

"Look, he wants to get good trade agreements," Ryan said Wednesday in an interview with The...Read more

Florida verdict in Victor Jara case resurrects ghosts of Pinochet era in Chile

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SANTIAGO, Chile--The decision by a Florida jury to hold a former Chilean military official liable for the killing of folk singer Victor Jara in 1973 has boosted the hopes of human rights groups here that he might finally be extradited to face criminal charges at home.

Pedro Pablo Barrientos, 67, a former army lieutenant, was found liable in an...Read more

Istanbul attack hits hard for some Atlantans

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ATLANTA -- Amid the panic and confusion erupting in the Istanbul airport was Thomas Kemper, huddled in a kitchen storeroom, fearing the terrorists were heading his way.

The Atlanta traveler had run frantically through a cacophony of blasts and screaming and shattering glass. The scrambling masses seemed to have lost control as people ran ...Read more

Obama administration has forgiven $171 million owed by former Corinthian students

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LOS ANGELES -- The U.S. Department of Education has agreed to forgive $171 million of debt owed by former students of the bankrupt for-profit school Corinthian Colleges Inc., most of them in California.

The government said Wednesday that it has granted relief to 11,173 students who attended one of the defunct Santa Ana, Calif., company's ...Read more

US to reveal drones' civilian toll

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WASHINGTON -- Not long after a U.S. drone strike killed his brother-in-law and a nephew in a village in central Yemen, Faisal bin Ali Jaber received a phone call from a Yemeni government official.

The man invited the engineer to Sanaa, the capital, to discuss why a drone had targeted and killed five men meeting under a palm tree in Khashamir ...Read more

California ballot measure threatens bullet train, Delta tunnels

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SAN JOSE, Calif. -- Two of Gov. Jerry Brown's favorite projects -- building a high-speed rail system and a pair of massive tunnels under the Delta -- face a serious threat if California voters pass a measure heading for the November ballot.

The "No Blank Checks Initiative," bankrolled with $4.5 million from Stockton farmer and businessman Dean ...Read more

Trump campaign broke law by soliciting foreign donations, complaint alleges

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WASHINGTON -- Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has his own email scandal.

In a complaint filed Wednesday with the Federal Election Commission, a pair of non-partisan campaign finance watchdogs alleged that the Trump campaign solicited campaign contributions from foreign government officials. Not only is it illegal for a ...Read more

Death toll rises to 4 in California wildfires as bodies found in rural area

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LOS ANGELES--A series of deadly brush fires that hit Southern California this month claimed two more victims as authorities Wednesday confirmed the discovery of two bodies in a rural area scorched by the Border fire in San Diego County.

That brings the number to four people killed by the fires, which together burned more than 50,000 acres and ...Read more

Islamic terrorists still have 'a lot of momentum,' CIA chief says

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WASHINGTON -- U.S.-led military efforts to contain violent Islamic State radicals in the Middle East have not yet succeeded, and the group's engine of worldwide terrorism "still has a lot of momentum," CIA Director John Brennan said Wednesday.

"We cannot rest at all. We have to increase our efforts," Brennan said.

Brennan said suicide bombings...Read more

Nation and world news briefs

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$24 million cash stuffed in buckets recovered at suspected pot dealer's home

MIAMI -- Miami-Dade police detectives raiding the home of a suspected marijuana trafficker unearthed at least $24 million in cash -- all in bundles of $100 bills in heat-sealed bags stuffed in dozens of orange 5-gallon Home Depot-brand buckets.

Authorities are still ...Read more

Republicans to education secretary: Give states more control

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WASHINGTON -- Senate Republicans on Wednesday strongly criticized Education Secretary John King, saying he'd failed to follow the intent of the act that replaced No Child Left Behind, which was designed to give states more control over measuring school performance.

"The words we used were carefully and deliberately chosen," said Sen. Lamar ...Read more

Judge tosses case against street artist Shepard Fairey; Detroit to appeal

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DETROIT -- A Wayne County Circuit judge has dismissed a felony case against famed street artist Shepard Fairey, who was commissioned in May 2015 to do artwork in the city but was accused of leaving some unauthorized work on buildings that led to criminal charges.

The city of Detroit plans to appeal.

An employee in the office of Judge Cynthia ...Read more

Gun shop to raffle off AR-15 rifle to benefit Orlando shooting victims

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CHICAGO -- A suburban Chicago gun shop is conducting a raffle to benefit victims of the Orlando, Fla., shooting massacre -- and the prize is an AR-15 rifle.

The semi-automatic weapon that Second Amendment Sports in McHenry plans to give away is similar to the gun used in the Orlando attack that killed 49 people and wounded dozens more in a gay ...Read more

Appeals court orders new trial for Baltimore man acquitted of killing N. Carolina teen

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BALTIMORE -- Maryland's second-highest court Wednesday reinstated charges and ordered a new trial for the Baltimore man convicted and then acquitted at a second trial of killing North Carolina teenager Phylicia Barnes in 2010.

A three-judge panel on the Court of Special Appeals said Circuit Court Judge John Addison Howard made a procedural ...Read more