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Protesters taken into custody at DNC commend the process

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PHILADELPHIA -- At least 69 demonstrators in Philadelphia this week have had their hands zip-tied behind their backs by police before being whisked away to an elementary school where they were issued citations for disorderly conduct and released.

So, were they arrested?

Legally, no, police say. Demonstrators weren't charged with anything, ...Read more

Civil rights figures are big part of Wednesday's Democratic National Convention

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The Democratic National Convention gave a stage to prominent civil rights activists and black Americans on Wednesday night in remarks focused on diversity, the Flint, Mich., water crisis and gun violence.

Although Black Lives Matter figures -- such as the Mothers of the Movement, who spoke Tuesday in emotional speeches about their children, ...Read more

SeaWorld San Diego drops lawsuit over breeding ban

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SeaWorld San Diego has dropped a lawsuit against the California Coastal Commission that challenged the agency's right to impose a ban on the breeding of killer whales at the theme park.

SeaWorld, facing pressure from animal-rights groups and others, announced in March that it would no longer breed its captive orcas.

"Fantastic news," Coastal ...Read more

Democrats save 'the most exclusive' parties for the very rich

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PHILADELPHIA -- Inside the convention hall and on the steamy streets of Philadelphia, an incensed progressive insurgency is protesting the political power of corporations and billionaires -- but the message doesn't appear to be getting through at the city's A-list eateries and nightclubs.

High-rolling donors, lobbyists and lawmakers have all ...Read more

Critic's notebook: DNC set reflects desire to accommodate dissent, send message of party unity

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There were moments during the opening hours of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, as the boos rained down, when it seemed as if the party's progressive and moderate wings were being held together with paper clips and bailing wire.

The mood was less volatile during the roll call vote that officially gave Hillary Clinton the ...Read more

Why is Jupiter extra-hot over the Great Red Spot? Scientists puzzle over superstorm

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Scientists scanning Jupiter's atmosphere have found a mysterious spike in temperature high above the Great Red Spot -- that massive, swirling storm that has graced the planet's face for centuries.

The discovery, described in the journal Nature, may hint at a deeper connection between the dynamics of the gas giant's upper and lower atmosphere, ...Read more

Reid lacerates McConnell as 'craven' for countenancing Trump

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PHILADELPHIA -- Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid used his valedictory moments before the Democratic convention to unspool some of the most withering rhetoric so far this week -- reserving his most vituperative putdowns Wednesday night not for Donald Trump but for congressional Republicans.

His sharpest words by far were directed directly at ...Read more

Democrats see America's problem with violence but through a different lens than GOP

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PHILADELPHIA -- Republicans aren't the only ones using their convention to tell a tale of a dangerous and violent America.

Democrats called the GOP gathering a dark vision -- full of fear-mongering in the words of one Democratic fund-raising pitch. But the Democrats also used their convention this week to showcase victims of violence and their ...Read more

Nation and world news briefs

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Senator: FBI investigations into Omar Mateen need review

ORLANDO, Fla. -- The chairman of a Senate homeland security committee on Tuesday called for an independent review of the FBI's investigations into the Pulse nightclub shooter and an assessment of the terrorism watch list criteria.

Federal authorities had no way to know that 29-year-old ...Read more

Here are some of mind games that convention designers play

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PHILADELPHIA -- Democrats are messing with your mind at this convention. Republicans last week did, too.

Democrats are making sure that their star speakers stand in front of soothing colors. They speak on a set that's wide open and welcoming. Behind them are slogans that the party wants you to associate with Hillary Clinton.

It's all part of ...Read more

Obama's Pacific trade deal becomes a surprising political casualty of 2016 campaign

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WASHINGTON -- The sweeping Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact was once seen as a rare bipartisan initiative that a Republican-led Congress and President Barack Obama might actually be able to push through in an unruly election year.

But that was before the rollicking 2016 presidential campaign turned globalization into a potent symbol of job ...Read more

Trials cost $7.4 million for officers charged and acquitted in Freddie Gray's death, city says

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BALTIMORE -- Baltimore is on the hook for an estimated $7.47 million for the trials of police officers charged and acquitted in the death of Freddie Gray, city officials said.

Of the $7.47 million estimated costs, about $7 million was accrued by police, and nearly $450,000 by the state's attorney's office, said Anthony McCarthy, spokesman for ...Read more

'Patience running out' amid Venezuelan recall delays

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Venezuela's socialist administration is flirting with confrontation and violence if it continues to drag its feet on a presidential recall, opposition leaders said Wednesday.

The warning came as thousands of foes of President Nicolas Maduro marched on the headquarters of the National Electoral Council, or CNE, demanding that a date be set for ...Read more

For women, Clinton's nomination was 240 years in the making

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PHILADELPHIA -- Toni Walker never thought the United States would elect a woman president. Never.

Now, as Hillary Clinton will officially accept the Democratic presidential nomination Thursday, Walker is among those in the convention ecstatic to see the first woman ever to get this far and to send her into the fall campaign, perhaps to the ...Read more

Conn. Supreme Court rules against workers hurt in Kleen Energy plant explosion

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HARTFORD, Conn. -- The Connecticut Supreme Court, in a 6-1 decision Wednesday, upheld a Superior Court judge's dismissal of a lawsuit filed against O&G Industries by workers seriously injured in the 2010 Kleen Energy explosion that killed six people.

Two men who were working within 100 yards of the explosion on Feb. 7, 2010, during a pipe ...Read more

SpaceX will spend $300 million on Red Dragon Mars mission, NASA says

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LOS ANGELES -- SpaceX is likely spending about $300 million on its unmanned Red Dragon Mars mission, according to NASA estimates.

The topic came up at a NASA Advisory Council committee meeting Tuesday, when agency official Jim Reuter said SpaceX's spending on the mission was about 10 times that of NASA's, according to Space News.

NASA said it ...Read more

Boy convicted of killing abusive neo-Nazi dad while he slept has new hope

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WASHINGTON -- A California boy convicted of killing his abusive neo-Nazi father has allies in high places as he seeks a Supreme Court review of his case.

In a challenge to state Attorney General Kamala Harris, human rights activists and child abuse experts are rallying around the boy still known in court documents only as Joseph H. Everyone ...Read more

Rudy Giuliani parses Trump's Russia remarks

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PHILADELPHIA -- Hours after Donald Trump said he hoped Russia had hacked into Hillary Clinton's private server and obtained some of her email correspondence as secretary of state, GOP surrogates sought to reshape Trump's message.

"I'm sure what he means is they should be released to the FBI," former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani said at a news ...Read more

Political news briefs

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Donald Trump invites Russia to hack into Hillary Clinton's emails

WASHINGTON -- Donald Trump dared a foreign government to commit espionage on the U.S. to hurt his rival on Wednesday, smashing yet another taboo in American political discourse and behavior.

"Russia, if you're listening, I hope you'll be able to find the 30,000 emails that are ...Read more

Obama to offer commander-in-chief test in his final DNC speech as president

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PHILADELPHIA -- President Barack Obama's pitch Wednesday for Hillary Clinton in front of a prime-time Democratic National Convention audience will home in on her temperament to do the job, drawing a contrast from what Obama sees as Donald Trump's lack of fitness to serve as commander in chief.

The night will also serve as the nation's ...Read more