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Holdouts at Oregon refuge say they will surrender

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PORTLAND, Ore. -- The FBI said Wednesday it had moved in to closely surround the four armed occupiers who remain at a remote wildlife refuge in eastern Oregon, pushing the 40-day occupation to what appeared to be a tense final stage that was being broadcast live on the Internet by supporters of the holdouts.

"They're 50 feet from me," Sean ...Read more

Obama lands in California to rake in cash for Democrats

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MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. -- President Barack Obama landed at Moffett Field Wednesday night to attend two San Francisco Bay Area Democratic fundraisers on Thursday.

Several minutes after Air Force One touched down at 7:10 p.m., Obama quickly ran down the stairs and was greeted by San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo, Mountain View Mayor Pat Showalter, Maj. ...Read more

Hundreds rally in support of California Coastal Commission director

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MORRO BAY, Calif. -- What began weeks ago as a closed-door effort by the California Coastal Commission to fire Executive Director Charles Lester erupted Wednesday into a spirited public hearing about the direction of the powerful land-use agency.

"This hearing is not about Charles' performance, it's about yours," Stefanie Sekich-Quinn, a ...Read more

Dozens of civilians killed in Syria's Aleppo offensive

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BEIRUT -- Dozens of civilians were among more than 500 people killed since the Syrian Army, backed by Russian airstrikes, started a massive offensive in northern Aleppo province more than a week ago, a monitoring group said Wednesday.

Humanitarian groups meanwhile warned that health care in the beleaguered rebel enclave north of Syria's second ...Read more

'Hearts are broken' after Compton girl's slaying

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LOS ANGELES--The gunfire that tore through a converted garage echoed across a Compton neighborhood.

Then a woman screamed: "They shot my baby."

The father begged for help for the daughter who lay limp in his arms. Sheriff's deputies rushed the girl with the head wound to the hospital, where doctors announced the cruel finale.

A day later the ...Read more

With money tight, chancellor says UC Berkeley must 'reinvent' its future

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A budget deficit at the University of California, Berkeley has hit critical mass and could force a fundamental transformation of the institution, the university's chancellor announced Wednesday.

In a message to Berkeley students, faculty and staff, Chancellor Nicholas B. Dirks said a "new normal" of dwindling taxpayer support would continue to ...Read more

Justice Department sues Ferguson, demands end to biased policing practices

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The city of Ferguson, Mo., must now defend itself against a lawsuit from the U.S. Department of Justice after months of negotiations failed to bring a compromise on a package of reforms designed to revamp the city's controversial policing practices.

U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced the action against Ferguson on Wednesday, a day ...Read more

Regrets? Obama's had a few

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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. -- Returning to the message of hope that propelled him from the Illinois state capital to the White House, President Barack Obama on Wednesday invoked Abraham Lincoln's warning that a house divided could not stand and called for structural changes to improve the country's political discourse.

In an address to the same Illinois...Read more

Nation and world news briefs

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Department of Justice sues Ferguson over police practices

ST. LOUIS -- The Department of Justice filed a 56-page lawsuit against the city of Ferguson on Wednesday afternoon, citing "a pattern or practice of conduct that deprives persons of rights, privileges or immunities secured or protected by the Constitution or laws of the United States."...Read more

Amid testimonials, Biden tamps down 'moonshot' expectations for cancer cure

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DURHAM, N.C. -- Phyllis Coley spoke softly as she talked about a good friend who died of cancer in January. But her voice grew louder and more forceful when she acknowledged worries that Washington politics could derail Vice President Joseph R. Biden's quest for a cure.

Coley believes the "moonshot" program Biden is leading has a chance to be ...Read more

Congressional Black Caucus PAC to endorse Clinton

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WASHINGTON -- The Congressional Black Caucus PAC has voted to endorse Hillary Clinton for president and will make an official endorsement Thursday, CBC Chairman G.K. Butterfield, D-N.C., said Wednesday.

Addressing reporters in the Speaker's Lobby, Butterfield said at least a dozen CBC members with be campaigning on the ground in South Carolina ...Read more

Primaries turn to the South with momentum or anxiety

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NASHUA, N.H. -- Donald Trump, Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush and John Kasich wasted no time in bolting New Hampshire for South Carolina on Wednesday. The other candidates for president won't be far behind.

It's a new day in the race for the White House, with candidates in both parties facing fresh challenges as well as familiar questions.

The ...Read more

Fla. lawmaker looks to ease Social Security penalty for stay-at-home moms

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WASHINGTON -- While Democratic presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders advocate equal pay for women, a second-term member of the House of Representatives from South Florida is focused on helping them get higher Social Security benefits when they retire.

Legislation introduced Wednesday by Rep. Patrick Murphy, a Democrat, ...Read more

Sen. Dianne Feinstein tries yet again with California water bill

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WASHINGTON -- Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein on Wednesday relaunched a big California water bill, in what might be cast as the triumph of hope over experience.

Unveiling her third proposal in the past two years for ways to divide California's water supply among many competing interests, Feinstein packaged her latest 184-page measure as a ...Read more

4 things to watch for in the Democrats' debate

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WASHINGTON -- Get ready for Round 2.

Thursday's presidential debate will mark only the second time that Democratic presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders have engaged in a one-on-one faceoff. The first time, a week ago, was a combative debate that left both sides reeling from attacks.

With the Iowa and New Hampshire ...Read more

In Maryland, 2 sheriff's deputies killed in shooting

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BALTIMORE -- Two Harford County, Md., sheriff's deputies have died after a shooting both inside and near a restaurant in Abingdon late Wednesday morning, the head of the department said.

Sheriff Jeffrey Gahler didn't immediately identify the officers, and asked for "respect and patience during this difficult time for our agency."

He said the ...Read more

Department of Justice sues Ferguson over police practices

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ST. LOUIS -- The Department of Justice filed a 56-page lawsuit against the city of Ferguson on Wednesday afternoon, citing "a pattern or practice of conduct that deprives persons of rights, privileges or immunities secured or protected by the Constitution or laws of the United States."

The lawsuit came one day after the Ferguson City Council ...Read more

Suicide bombers target refugee camp in Nigeria, killing at least 60

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LAGOS, Nigeria -- At least 60 people were killed when two suicide bombers detonated explosives in a camp for internally displaced people in northeastern Nigeria, relief workers said Wednesday.

The attacks were carried out by two teenage girls in Dikwa, about 55 miles northeast of Maiduguri in Borno state, as hundreds of people stood in line to ...Read more

Black votes matter now in Democratic presidential race

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MANCHESTER, N.H.--Hillary Clinton's allies in the black community moved aggressively Wednesday to shore up her support with minority voters following her crushing defeat in New Hampshire, as Sen. Bernie Sanders worked to win over the black and Latino voters who will now be crucial to the outcome of their contest.

Sanders lost little time moving...Read more

Zika virus found in fetal brain

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The Zika virus, thought to be responsible for a surge in birth defects in Brazil, has been found inside the abnormally small brain of an aborted fetus at roughly 29 weeks of gestation, a team of researchers reported Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine.

An autopsy of the aborted fetus revealed a brain that had virtually none of the ...Read more