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Biden accuses Russia of seeking to undercut U.S. allies

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WASHINGTON --Vice President Joe Biden on Wednesday accused Russia of trying to undermine its European neighbors, funding anti-establishment groups and exploiting corruption to extend its influence.

Fourteen months after Russia annexed Crimea and instigated a broader separatist movement in Ukraine, the U.S.-European alliance is being put to its ...Read more

White House finalizes clean water rule, setting up clash with Congress

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WASHINGTON -- The White House on Wednesday finalized a rule intended to strengthen and clarify the Clean Water Act, setting up a clash with Republicans in Congress and the agriculture industry.

The rule is designed to help federal officials clarify and simplify which bodies of water fall under the control of the Clean Water Act, the pivotal ...Read more

Irish gay marriage vote 'a defeat for humanity,' Vatican says

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VATICAN CITY -- Last week's referendum legalizing gay marriage in Ireland "is not only a defeat for Christian principles, but also a bit of a defeat for humanity," according to a top Vatican official.

Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin -- who is the Vatican's second-in-command after Pope Francis -- made the comments late on Tuesday at ...Read more

More rain falling in parts of Texas; death toll rises to 17

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HOUSTON -- Parts of Texas already deluged by torrential rains awoke to more rainfall Wednesday, snarling traffic and prompting flood warnings in Dallas and Houston as the death toll in the state and Oklahoma rose to 17.

Five deaths have been reported in Houston alone, which saw nearly a foot of rain fall overnight Tuesday, stranding hundreds of...Read more

Tony Blair reportedly to step down as U.N. Middle East envoy

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Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair announced in a letter to the United Nations chief on Wednesday that he will step down as the world body's special Middle East envoy at the end of June, British media reported, citing unnamed diplomatic sources.

Blair, the Labor Party politician who headed Britain's government for a decade, was appointed ...Read more

In Yemen, at least 75 people killed in Saudi-led aerial onslaught

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SANAA, Yemen -- Thunderous airstrikes hit Yemen's capital, a Red Sea naval port and a border province Wednesday, killing at least 75 people and injuring more than 100 others, officials and residents said. It was believed to be the largest single-day death toll of the 2-month-old Saudi-led aerial offensive.

Terrified civilians cowered at home or...Read more

Q&A: Exit from euro is a no-brainer, Greek politician says

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ATHENS -- The debate over whether Greece should exit from the euro, the common European currency, appears to be coming to a head. Next week, the country faces a deadline to repay the International Monetary Fund. If Greece can't reach a deal with European institutions to restructure or extend a portion of its massive debt, the country could be ...Read more

Penn State suspends Kappa Delta Rho for three years

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STATE COLLEGE, Pa. -- The Penn State fraternity under investigation by State College police over reports that the fraternity posted photos of nude, unconscious women to its Facebook page will not be recognized on the University Park campus for three years.

The decision to revoke recognition of Kappa Delta Rho by university officials is a ...Read more

Bridge collapse near International Falls closes crucial rail corridor

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MINNEAPOLIS -- A crucial timber rail bridge burned and collapsed early Wednesday morning in Koochiching County, tipping two rail cars onto the banks of the Rat Root River and blocking a Canadian National rail artery that connects the Pacific Coast with Chicago.

"It burned down to the water," said Jim Biersach, owner of Border Boatworks in ...Read more

Newer types of birth control pills confirmed to raise blood clot risk

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Women who take newer types of birth control pills face a higher risk of developing blood clots than women who take older types, researchers said Tuesday, providing what some called "clarifying" evidence that more modern contraceptives designed as safer options may in fact pose more risk than earlier formulations.

Poring over two medical records...Read more

Texas House passes measure to allow concealed handguns on college campuses

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AUSTIN, Texas -- Texas moved closer to allowing concealed handguns in classrooms and other areas on public and private college campuses late Tuesday night, as House members gave tentative approval just minutes before the midnight deadline.

An hourslong debate over Senate Bill 11, known as "campus carry," abruptly wrapped up as the deadline to ...Read more

NOAA predicts slow hurricane season

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FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- Joining other weather teams, government forecasters on Wednesday called for a slower-than-normal hurricane season, adding fuel to the debate over whether the 20-year era of tropical intensity is finally drawing to an end.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicts six to 12 named storms, including ...Read more

Republican 'hawks' cited by Rand Paul for rise of Islamic State

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WASHINGTON -- The rise of Islamic State extremists in the Middle East can be traced to Republicans who backed arming fighters in the region, presidential candidate Rand Paul said in an interview broadcast Wednesday.

"ISIS exists and grew stronger because of the hawks in our party who gave arms indiscriminately, and most of those arms were ...Read more

Death toll from heatwave in south India hits 1,150

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NEW DELHI -- More than 1,150 people are dead from a heatwave sweeping across south India with more fatalities being reported due to the heat, officials said Wednesday.

Andhra Pradesh state was the worst hit, where 884 people had died of heatstroke since May 18.

Of the total fatalities in Andhra Pradesh, 668 deaths were reported between ...Read more

Security Blimps over Capitol: Just hot air?

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WASHINGTON -- Coming soon to a Capitol skyline near you: giant blimps at 10,000 feet?

The woman at the helm of the House Administration Committee thinks the Capitol needs eyes in the sky, after authorities failed to detect Florida mailman Douglas Hughes' April 15 gyrocopter flight.

Chairwoman Candice S. Miller, R-Mich., visited U.S. Customs ...Read more

For Scott Walker, one more budget fight looms on path to White House

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MADISON, Wis. -- He rocketed to national fame -- and the top tier of Republican presidential hopefuls -- on his reputation as a gutsy leader who stood up to the unions, cut spending and cut taxes, all while balancing the budget.

I saved Wisconsin, Scott Walker says to cheers. And I can save Washington.

Except the two-term governor may have ...Read more

After Nepal quake, teams search for bodies — and closure for families

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KATHMANDU, Nepal -- It had been a week and a half since the massive earthquake that killed more than 8, 300 people. The Nepali government had told international search teams to stand down. There had been no miraculous rescues in recent days.

But there were still bodies to recover, especially in the capital's Gongabu neighborhood, where whole ...Read more

Elder abuse a 'huge, expensive and lethal' problem for states

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WASHINGTON -- We know that victims of elder abuse tend to be socially isolated, physically weakened and struggling to maintain their independence. They are reliant on family, friends or caregivers who violate their trust.

What we don't know, because elder abuse is underreported, is how big the problem really is.

There are no official national ...Read more

Bases offer families home away from home, minus civilians

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CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. -- The days when "If the Marine Corps wanted you to have a family, it would have issued you one" are clearly over.

The 43,300 military personnel and family members who live on the Marines' major West Coast base enjoy the amenities of a prosperous midsize town -- five schools, nine health clinics, a golf course, swimming ...Read more

Stuart Rothenberg: How to fix an unfair presidential debate system

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WASHINGTON -- Fox News and CNN, which will broadcast the first two GOP presidential debates, have decided on a system for excluding candidates that could result in Donald Trump participating in those debates but current or former senators and governors being excluded.

Nice going, guys.

I certainly agree having a debate with 16 candidates is ...Read more