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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

Wistful Obama calls for 'better politics' of civility in return to Springfield, Ill.

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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. -- In a memory-filled return to the place that launched his political career, President Barack Obama told Illinois lawmakers Wednesday that they and the nation should insist on a "better politics" based on civility and compromise as a cure to the "poisonous political climate" that pushes citizens away.

Speaking for an hour at ...Read more

As race turns to South Carolina, Graham settles into role of Bush campaign sidekick

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WASHINGTON -- This should have been Lindsey Graham's moment -- a South Carolina Republican senator running for president on the eve of the Palmetto State's crucial Feb. 20 GOP primary. Leading up to 2016 the issues in the spotlight even broke his way, with the looming threat of the Islamic State and other foreign-policy matters commanding ...Read more

Can US businesses help India's chaotic cities become 'smart'?

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MUMBAI, India -- Among his many ambitious ideas, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi wants to modernize his country's pell-mell cities and improve its sometimes frosty ties with the United States.

Modi's plan to build 100 "smart cities" nationwide brings the initiatives together, with the goal of using technology from the U.S. and around the ...Read more

Syria talks at make-or-break point as humanitarian disaster widens

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WASHINGTON -- U.S. officials see Thursday's attempt to renew negotiations on Syria as a make-or-break moment that could lead to a cease-fire or to a disastrously downward spiral in an already brutal war.

World powers will convene in Munich, including allies of the Syrian regime of President Bashar Assad, principally Russia, and those who ...Read more

Carly Fiorina ends presidential campaign with message to young girls

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After poor showings in Iowa and New Hampshire, Carly Fiorina announced Wednesday she is ending her presidential bid.

"I've said throughout this campaign that I will not sit down and be quiet. I'm not going to start now," she said in a statement. "While I suspend my candidacy today, I will continue to travel this country and fight for those ...Read more

Pennsylvania state Senate rejects removal of attorney general

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HARRISBURG, Pa. -- Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane escaped potential removal from office Wednesday after the Republican majority in the state Senate failed to pick up the few Democratic votes they needed to oust her.

In urging her removal, Republicans -- and one Democrat -- said that the state Supreme Court's suspension of her law ...Read more