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Antonin Scalia, Supreme Court justice, dies at 79

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Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, the fiery conservative who used a sharp intellect, barbed wit and a zeal for verbal combat to fight against the tide of modern liberalism, has died. He was 79.

Scalia died while on a hunting trip in Texas, according to a statement issued Saturday by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott.

Scalia was a dominant figure at ...Read more

Newly released Clinton emails include 84 with upgraded classifications

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WASHINGTON –– The State Department released 551 more of Hillary Clinton's emails from her time as President Barack Obama's secretary of state, including about 15 percent that had been given updated security classifications after the fact.

More than 1,000 pages of documents sent from Clinton's private email account and released on Saturday ...Read more

Search at collapsed building ends as Taiwan earthquake death toll hits 116

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TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Rescue efforts at a 17-story building that collapsed in a 6.4-magnitude earthquake in southern Taiwan last week ended Saturday, with the quake's overall death toll reaching at least 116.

At least one person remains missing, authorities said.

Most of the deaths -- 114 -- came when the Weiguan Jinlong building collapsed Feb. 6,...Read more

Russia sees a new cold war as NATO criticizes nuclear threats

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Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said his country is in a new cold war with the U.S. and its allies, while NATO's chief said Russia is using its nuclear arsenal to intimidate Europe.

The clash played out at the Munich Security Conference on Saturday even as Russia, Europe and the U.S. say they're seeking to end Syria's civil war, resolve ...Read more

After the Oregon standoff, wildlife refuge is again for the birds

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The day four final holdouts ended the armed occupation of a remote wildlife refuge in eastern Oregon, a new occupation was just beginning.

According to two decades' worth of federal data, Feb. 11 is, on average, the earliest date that migrating tundra swans begin appearing at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, exiting the Pacific Flyway to ...Read more

Algorithm tries to determine whether couples should stay together or break up

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ST. LOUIS -- When Rashied Amini's girlfriend wanted to break up two years ago, he wondered if he could mathematically prove that they should stay together.

Amini was working as a systems engineer at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory at the time. He knew how to build predictive models about space missions using algorithms.

Maybe he could apply ...Read more

10-term NC Rep. Walter Jones faces formidable primary challenge

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WASHINGTON -- North Carolina's longest-serving sitting congressman, U.S. Rep. Walter Jones, could face his most difficult re-election bid yet if his support continues to slide and an anti-establishment Republican voter mood plays out the way some political observers suspect it might.

Jones, 73, has had comfortable general-election wins since ...Read more

Trump's call to bring back torture alarms professional interrogators

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WASHINGTON -- Hard-nosed interrogators who say they've thwarted terror attacks in the United States by extracting key information from suspects have a message for Donald Trump, the Republican front-runner, who's vowing to bring back waterboarding and even harsher questioning techniques if elected president:

Don't do it.

Trump has become famous...Read more

With Los Angeles-area leak halted, gas company prepares for the legal battles

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LOS ANGELES -- The Los Angeles County district attorney slapped it with criminal charges. Los Angeles city and county officials filed accusations of ill-prepared crews and public injury. The state attorney general added claims of irreparable environmental damage. And the local air pollution agency alleged negligence in constructing the Aliso ...Read more

Even the Senate Banking chairman is slamming banks in campaign ads

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WASHINGTON -- When it comes to attacking Wall Street, no one can match Bernie Sanders's conviction. But the Vermont senator's eagerness to jail, fine, and tax bankers has overshadowed another group of politicians who have unexpectedly turned into vocal critics of the biggest banks: Republicans.

At events leading up to the Feb. 9 New Hampshire ...Read more

Analysis: Obama uses State of the Union to buff up resume for Democratic nominee

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DES MOINES, Iowa -- For one last time, President Barack Obama took to the rostrum of the House chamber, observing an old ritual with a new purpose: shaping history.

Obama's final State of the Union address Tuesday night was no nostalgia trip, though the president and many around him were mindful of its timing, nearly eight years to the day ...Read more

N. Carolina Legislature to begin work on new congressional maps Monday

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RALEIGH, N.C. -- The North Carolina Legislature will hold meetings starting Monday to draft new congressional maps in response to a court order, House Speaker Tim Moore announced Friday afternoon.

Moore and Senate leader Phil Berger said in a news release that they still hope the U.S. Supreme Court will issue a stay that allows them to avoid a ...Read more

Kasich says voters aren't 'angry,' they're 'concerned'

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COLUMBIA, S.C. -- Republican presidential candidate John Kasich championed compassionate conservatism Friday as the direction the nation should take.

"When we have economic growth, we need to reach to people in the shadows," the Ohio governor told about 75 members of the S.C. Chamber of Commerce.

That means helping people, such as the mentally...Read more

Hillary Clinton in South Carolina touts plan for poor, rural communities

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DENMARK, S.C.--Hillary Clinton held a town-hall meeting at an elementary school in rural Bamberg County Friday, addressing a largely black crowd as she pledged to help blighted communities.

In the packed gymnasium of Denmark Olar Elementary School, the Democratic presidential front-runner was surrounded by about 300 people, who asked about her ...Read more

Candidates align fundraising pitches to Flint water crisis

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As Congress heard testimony from the mayor of Flint, Mich., about the water crisis there, some House and Senate candidates sent fundraising pitches mentioning the city's troubles.

In an email to supporters in his Maryland Senate primary race against Rep. Donna Edwards, Democratic Rep. Chris Van Hollen linked to a Web page titled "Stand With ...Read more

US moves to take thriving California foxes off endangered species list

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LOS ANGELES -- Marking the end of a remarkably successful recovery effort, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on Friday proposed taking three subspecies of foxes native to California's Channel Islands off the endangered species list.

The San Miguel, Santa Rosa and Santa Cruz Island foxes were classified as endangered in 2004 after suffering ...Read more

Michigan's top doctor worked part time as Flint crisis erupted

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DETROIT--As Flint's water problems slowly emerged as a public health calamity over the spring, summer and fall of last year, the top medical officer at the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services was continuing her course load as an associate professor and medical residency program director at the University of Michigan, working for the...Read more

Jeb celebrates winning the Bush 'lottery' in South Carolina

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TRENTON, N.J. -- As the Republican primary battleground shifts to South Carolina, Jeb Bush has a new way of dealing with his family history: embracing it.

The former Florida governor has taken the new tack in the Palmetto State, where he's locked in a battle with Sen. Marco Rubio -- a fellow Floridian whom he'd previously mentored.

His dad, ...Read more

Nation and world news briefs

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Jim Gilmore bows out of presidential race

Former Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore, whose bid for the Republican presidential nomination was the longest of long shots, suspended his campaign Friday.

"My goal was to focus on the importance of this election as a real turning point, and to emphasize the dangers of continuing on a road that will further ...Read more

The Oregon occupation is over, but standoffs among nearby residents continue

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In the end, the people in the little town of Burns, Oregon, never rose up in revolution against the federal government. They only rose up against one another, in cafes, on Facebook, in their places of worship.

The nearby Malheur National Wildlife Refuge that was the center of a 41-day armed occupation aimed at challenging the power of the ...Read more