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Runaway Army blimp was missing batteries

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WASHINGTON -- The blimp that broke loose from an Army facility in Maryland last fall, wreaking havoc with its mile-long tether, flew uncontrolled for hours because someone neglected to put batteries in its automatic-deflation device, Pentagon investigators have found.

The pilotless, radar-carrying blimp was part of the troubled JLENS missile-...Read more

California women soon can get birth control without prescriptions

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Under a law expected to go into effect by April, women in California will be able to go buy birth control pills at pharmacies without prescriptions.

Proponents argue that easing women's access to birth control will reduce unintended pregnancies, which make up as many as half of all pregnancies nationwide.

The new law is part of a larger effort...Read more

All candidates say they would help veterans, but who actually has a plan?

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WASHINGTON -- Promising to take care of military veterans is an easy win for presidential candidates.

All of them agree on the need to overhaul the scandal-riddled U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and end delays in accessing the health care that veterans were promised. This is especially a key issue in the South Carolina primary, where ...Read more

California governor makes budget the latest battleground on climate change

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Gov. Jerry Brown is looking to make good on a promise to curb California's petroleum use by shifting away from new legislation and instead tucking his fuel-reduction goal in the state budget.

Oil companies spent millions in 2015 to strip a controversial climate change bill of its provision slashing petroleum use in half by 2030. At the ...Read more

Analysis: Election could ride on empty Supreme Court seat

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Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia's death has turned a second-tier topic into a central facet of the 2016 presidential campaign: Among the new president's first acts likely will be nominating a justice who will determine the balance of power on the court.

Potential court openings haven't dominated debates thus far in the campaign, and voters...Read more

Why there aren't many rooftop solar panels in the South

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WASHINGTON -- The Rev. Nelson Johnson knows regulators don't like the $20,000 solar panel system on the roof of his Faith Community Church in Greensboro, N.C. But the minister says he's willing to go to court to protect it.

"This is something that just makes moral sense, spiritual sense and financial sense," Johnson said. The sun, which God has...Read more

Pot products recalled in Colorado for pesticides, but not in Washington state

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SEATTLE -- Despite fining two marijuana growers and suspending the licenses of two others for using unapproved pesticides, Washington state hasn't recalled any products for pesticides during the 18 months that legal pot sales have been allowed.

The city of Denver, by comparison, recently recalled 19 pot products for pesticides in 19 weeks.

...Read more

Many Americans are rising out of the 'middle class' — but are they better off?

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WASHINGTON -- Since the turn of the century, the middle class has shrunk in every state but Hawaii. But in 42 states, more people have moved up than down, according to a new Stateline analysis.

The upward movement, however, comes with a huge caveat: Families that have risen above the middle class may still be doing worse than they were in 2000 ...Read more

GOP candidates: Wait on new justice

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GREENVILLE, S.C. -- The next president should nominate the successor to U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, the Republican candidates for president said Saturday during the last debate before the South Carolina GOP primary.

Scalia, the longest serving justice at 30 years and the leading conservative voice on the Supreme Court, died in ...Read more

Trump slams George W. Bush in freewheeling GOP debate

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GREENVILLE, S.C. -- Donald Trump, shouting, accusing and interrupting, dominated Saturday's Republican presidential debate as the ringmaster of a free-for-all that careened between battles over immigration, the Iraq war and who was the true conservative.

In the final debate before South Carolina voters go to the polls next Saturday, Trump ...Read more

Donald Trump attacks Jeb Bush in personal terms, as death of Scalia hangs over GOP debate

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WASHINGTON--Donald Trump and Jeb Bush launched into a bitter and at times deeply personal volley of insults Saturday at the Republican presidential debate, a forum where the ideological stakes were raised by the death only hours earlier of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.

As the audience boos grew louder, Trump persisted in an attack on ...Read more

DC Circuit judges top list of potential Supreme Court picks

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WASHINGTON -- At the top of many lists of the potential picks that President Barack Obama could make to fill Justice Antonin Scalia's seat on the Supreme Court is an appeals court judge the Senate unanimously confirmed in May 2013.

The Senate voted 97-0 to confirm Sri Srinivasan to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, sometimes ...Read more

Clinton tries to hold off Sanders in a competitive Nevada

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LAS VEGAS -- By the time Bernie Sanders launched his challenge to Hillary Clinton in May, her campaign team had already been in Nevada for a month, knocking on doors, dialing voters and cajoling endorsements from local leaders.

Nevada was supposed to be Clinton's firewall, a state where she could stop Sanders' progress no matter what happened ...Read more

Abortion, immigration lead the list of cases facing Supreme Court

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WASHINGTON--The sudden death of Justice Antonin Scalia will have an immediate effect on numerous cases now pending before the court, including several that were expected to split along ideological or political lines with 5-4 votes.

Now instead, some of those votes could deadlock 4-4, meaning a lower court's last ruling on the issue will stand. ...Read more

Scalia's death likely to change outcome of key cases

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WASHINGTON -- With the death of conservative Justice Antonin Scalia, a narrowly divided Supreme Court now enters tricky terrain. Tie votes and tougher calculations will become the order of the day.

Scalia appeared ready this term to help a slender conservative majority upend such things as California teacher union fees and a University of Texas...Read more

Republican Senate may stall on Supreme Court until after election

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WASHINGTON -- The death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia sets up an election-year showdown in which the voters -- as much as or more than the president and Senate -- may decide the direction of the court.

President Barack Obama will face enormous pressure first to nominate a liberal, magnified by the surprisingly strong challenge of ...Read more

Francis' trip to Mexico may feel more intimate than his predecessors

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As archbishop of Buenos Aires, the future Pope Francis was a thorn in the side of the Argentine leadership, especially the husband-and-wife presidency of Nestor and Christina Kirchner.

"A major part of their platform was that they were in favor of the poor," said Father Arthur F. Liebscher, chairman of the history department at Santa Clara ...Read more

Republican Senate leader says next president should name Scalia's successor

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WASHINGTON –– The death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia throws the court's future into question and sets up a tense debate among Senate leaders about how to replace him.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said the vacancy on the court should not be filled until there is a new president.

"The American people should have ...Read more

Antonin Scalia, conservative Supreme Court justice, dies at 79

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Antonin Scalia, the sharp-tongued U.S. Supreme Court justice who sought to limit constitutional protections to those envisioned by the nation's founders, has died, according to a statement from the Texas governor's office. He was 79.

The cause of death wasn't immediately known.

Known for his sarcasm and combative style, Scalia was a polarizing...Read more

Scalia's death changes balance of Supreme Court, alters presidential campaign

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WASHINGTON--Justice Antonin Scalia, the Supreme Court's most fiery conservative voice, has died while on a hunting trip in Texas, immediately changing the balance of nation's highest court and thrusting its future directly into the center of the presidential campaign.

Scalia's death at age 79 was reported by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and confirmed...Read more