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A 'family hero' of Vietnam War will be remembered at military cemetery

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LOS ANGELES -- Monteen Purdie cut the strings off an apron, then starched and ironed them before delicately placing them inside a card for her son.

Almost half a century later, Linda Smith reminded her mother of the gift she gave to Robert in 1967 as he headed to basic training for the Marines -- as a boy became a man leaving a mother for war. ...Read more

Central Texas inundated by 10 inches of rain; 1 dead in flood

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AUSTIN, Texas –– An unidentified man died Sunday in central Texas flooding after torrential rain swelled the normally scenic Blanco River into a destructive wall of water.

Ken Bell, the emergency management coordinator for San Marcos, said the man was found in San Marcos on Sunday afternoon, Bell said.

Separately, Hays County officials are...Read more

Shell chief insists Seattle is best offseason home for drilling rig

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SEATTLE -- In a brief summer drilling season off Alaska's Arctic shore, Shell Oil Co.'s Ann Pickard is on the hunt for a giant oil field, and she thinks she knows where to find it.

All of the vessels in the Arctic exploration fleet gathering in Puget Sound will be headed to a spot in the Chukchi Sea where Shell first drilled in 1989 and 1990. ...Read more

Coast Guard helps protester to get off Shell ship in Washington state

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SEATTLE –– The Coast Guard Sunday morning helped an activist opposed to Shell Oil's drilling plans remove himself from a Shell ship in Bellingham, Wash., a spokesman said.

Matt Fuller, who had suspended himself from the anchor chain of the Arctic Challenger support vessel Saturday, requested Coast Guard assistance about 4:30 a.m. Sunday, ...Read more

Burundi's crisis deepens as assassinated opposition leader is buried

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JOHANNESBURG -- Just over a week after a failed coup, the crisis in Burundi deteriorated sharply with escalating violence and the weekend assassination of an opposition leader.

Thousands of activists carrying placards Sunday mourned Zedi Feruzi, leader of the small Union for Peace and Development party. He was buried during the day as opponents...Read more

US defense secretary says Iraqis need 'will to fight' to defeat Islamic State

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WASHINGTON -- The Obama administration intensified its defense of the president's strategy against the Islamic State group, with Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter making a vigorous case that the terrorist group can be defeated only if the Iraqis "develop the will to fight."

After Islamic State victories in the Iraqi city of Ramadi and in the ...Read more

Burundi opposition stops talks with government after leader is killed

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BUJUMBURA, Burma -- The opposition in Burundi has suspended its talks with the government after a party leader was shot dead, the main opposition party said Sunday.

"The climate is not conducive for talks," said Bernard Ndayisenga from the National Forces of Liberation (FNL).

Zedi Feruzi, leader of the small opposition party Union for Peace ...Read more

Seeing disasters through consumers' eyes

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PHILADELPHIA –– After a major accident or disaster, rescue operations have always focused on the nuts and bolts -- saving the survivors, searching for those who didn't make it, securing the evidence.

Now an added dimension -- the consumer perspective -- has expanded how disaster planners think. Philadelphia emergency management officials ...Read more

Monk, called 'Buddhist bin Laden' targets Myanmar's persecuted Muslims

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YANGON, Myanmar -- He's been described as the "Buddhist bin Laden," but Ashin Wirathu thinks he has more in common with the world's most famous fictional spy.

"James Bond is a nationalist," the monk said in a recent interview. Flashing a smile, he offered a vague recollection of a movie in which 007, to extract information from a woman, took ...Read more

John Nash, 'A Beautiful Mind' inspiration, and wife die in N.J. taxi crash

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John Forbes Nash Jr., the Nobel Prize-winning mathematician whose struggle with schizophrenia was chronicled in the 2001 movie "A Beautiful Mind," died Saturday in a car accident on the New Jersey turnpike. He was 86.

Nash and his wife, Alicia, 82, were killed when the taxicab they were riding in near Monroe Township struck a guardrail, ...Read more

Grand jury indictments in Freddie Gray case may indicate prosecution weakness

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WASHINGTON -- Subtle changes made in the criminal charges against six Baltimore police officers could reflect weaknesses in the hurriedly filed case arising from the death of Freddie Gray, legal experts say.

A grand jury on Thursday presented its indictment against the officers. Although it largely mirrored the original charges filed by State's...Read more

Marco Rubio's tax proposal challenges Republican Party's economic orthodoxy

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WASHINGTON -- Ever since 1981, when Ronald Reagan sat outside his California ranch and signed a tax-reform law that reversed half a century of mostly climbing rates, the pursuit of ever-lower income tax brackets has been the prime goal of Republican economic policy.

Altering that party orthodoxy has now become a main exhibit for Sen. Marco ...Read more

Latest oil spill echoes 1969, with less of the political fallout

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LOS ANGELES -- Along the coastline north of Santa Barbara last week rose an apparition from 1969, as oil defiled the surface of the Pacific, the beachside rocks, wildlife.

The catastrophe offshore from Santa Barbara 46 years ago was huge -- 3 million gallons of oil, its release unstoppable for weeks. The political impact was also huge, as it ...Read more

Drought cuts power production of California dams

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Shasta Dam, more than 600 feet tall and gatekeeper of the largest man-made lake in California, was designed to perform two crucial functions: store water and generate power.

And for decades, the huge concrete dam has channeled water to cities and farms while generating up enough electricity to power more than 532,000 homes.

But after four ...Read more

After 50 years of hostility, neglected U.S. mission in Havana shows its age

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HAVANA -- The oceanfront building that will become the U.S. Embassy in Cuba has faced a relentless enemy assault for more than 60 years. None of its assailants was human.

Heat, sun, high winds and salty air have taken their toll. Throw in the hostility that has marked U.S.-Cuban relations for most of the past five decades, and even routine ...Read more

Chile's architects push boundaries as their influence builds

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SANTIAGO, Chile -- Ask a design expert for global architectural destinations and chances are she'll tell you to head to Germany, home of Walter Gropius and the Bauhaus architects, or Brazil, land of Oscar Niemeyer's flamboyant Modernism. Southern California would come up for treasures such as the Case Study Houses and Louis Kahn's sculptural ...Read more

Unsafe levels of toxic pollutants in heavily fracked Ohio county

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Emissions from fracking operations may be exposing people to some toxic pollutants at levels higher than the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency considers safe for long-term exposure, according to scientists from Oregon State University and the University of Cincinnati.

The researchers took air samples in Carroll County, Ohio, where there are ...Read more

When tornadoes are near, states flash warnings on digital billboards

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When a tornado was barreling toward Oklahoma City this month, some motorists may not have known of the possible danger. But if they were driving on the highways, they could have been alerted two dozen large, multicolored digital billboards flashing warnings.

Just as they've done with Amber Alerts to notify the public about abducted children, ...Read more

Santa Barbara County oil cleanup continues; pipeline may be dug up soon

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REFUGIO STATE BEACH, Calif.--A section of oil pipeline that ruptured and spilled thousands of gallons of crude along the Santa Barbara County coast could be dug up by the end of the holiday weekend, authorities said, giving them the first opportunity to determine what caused the break.

More than 650 workers and 17 boats worked Saturday to clean...Read more

Burundi opposition politician shot dead

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BUJUMBURA, Burundi -- A Burundian opposition leader has been shot dead while demonstrations continued against President Pierre Nkurunziza's bid to seek a third term in the June elections, Radio France Internationale reported Sunday.

Zedi Feruzi, leader of the small opposition party Union for Peace and Democracy, or UPD, was gunned down as he ...Read more