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'Stand Your Ground' law helps free Miami teens accused of MLK Day shooting that wounded 8

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MIAMI -- Florida's "Stand Your Ground" law has helped free two teens of allegations that they took part in a gun battle that wounded eight people at a Martin Luther King Jr. Day Parade in Miami.

Prosecutors on Thursday declined to file charges against Gerrel "Woo" Brownlee, 18, and Robert "Bob" Britt, 17, in the Jan. 16 shooting that caused ...Read more

Before leaving office, NC governor protected 908 state jobs from political firings

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RALEIGH, N.C. -- After Roy Cooper's election, the North Carolina Legislature ordered that the new Democratic governor should have hundreds fewer political appointees than his Republican predecessor, Pat McCrory.

It fell to McCrory to decide which political jobs subject to hiring and firing would become civil service jobs whose employees are ...Read more

Ginsburg, mum on Trump, says immigration makes US great

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WASHINGTON -- Ruth Bader Ginsburg didn't mention President Donald Trump or his immigration policies in a public appearance Thursday. She didn't need to.

The liberal U.S. Supreme Court justice, who last year called then-candidate Trump a "faker," hailed the country as one made great by immigration, diversity and free speech, and suggested the U....Read more

Last holdouts are cleared from main Dakota Access pipeline protest camp

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Law enforcement took control of the largest Dakota Access pipeline protest camp Thursday, arresting or moving the few dozen people who had remained in the mud and snow in one of the largest environmental protests in American history.

"At 2:09 p.m., Oceti Sakowin protest camp was completely cleared by law enforcement!" the Morton County Sheriff'...Read more

With officials divided, Trump taking time, care with new travel ban

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WASHINGTON -- The Trump administration is still struggling to revise its executive order limiting travel to the United States for citizens of seven majority-Muslim countries and won't be prepared to unveil its new version until next week.

White House press secretary Sean Spicer acknowledged the delay Thursday, saying the administration is ...Read more

With new anti-ISIS plan due next week, Pentagon considering troops in Syria

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WASHINGTON -- The top U.S. military officer declined repeatedly Thursday to rule out committing U.S. ground troops to battle the Islamic State in in Syria, stressing that the Pentagon will present President Donald Trump with "a full range of options" to combat the terror organization.

Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of ...Read more

Trump administration plans crackdown on recreational marijuana

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WASHINGTON -- President Donald Trump's administration said on Thursday for the first time that it will crack down on marijuana sales in states that have approved recreational pot use.

White House press secretary Sean Spicer said the Department of Justice will pursue enforcement of federal law against recreational use, but not medical use. The ...Read more

Coast Guard announces investigation into disappearance of crab boat

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SEATTLE -- The Coast Guard will conduct a Marine Board of Investigation -- the highest level of agency inquiry -- into the Feb. 11 loss of the crab boat Destination and six crew members.

The investigation announced Thursday will be done in conjunction with the National Transportation Safety Board, according to Lt. Brian Dykens, a Coast Guard ...Read more

Federal lawyer urges colleagues to resist 'indefensible' Trump policies

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WASHINGTON -- In the latest sign of defiance to President Donald Trump among federal environmental employees, a retiring Interior Department lawyer sent an email to hundreds of colleagues this month, urging them to "stand your ground" and resist being pressured into signing off on legally indefensible environmental decisions.

Eric W. Nagle, a ...Read more

In political trouble in Kansas, Brownback heads for friendly national stage

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OXON HILL, Md. -- Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback was in his comfort zone on Thursday, far from Topeka.

He left the turmoil of the Kansas capital -- spurred by a revolt within his own Republican Party -- and instead headed to a posh resort and convention center outside Washington, D.C.

There he was cheered by Republican activists as he strode onto ...Read more

Jaime Harrison drops out of DNC race, endorses former labor secretary

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ATLANTA -- South Carolina Democratic Party Chairman Jaime Harrison said Thursday that he was ending his candidacy to become head of the Democratic National Committee, leaving a race in which he failed to gain serious traction despite his longstanding ties to the party.

"I know what a path to victory looks like," Harrison said in a note to ...Read more

Pricey tickets, lots of police, swank hotel and still McConnell endures protesters

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COVINGTON, Ky. -- Mitch McConnell expected a warm, or at least anger-free, welcome Thursday. Several police officers stood watch throughout the swanky Hotel Covington. His hosts were the Northern Kentucky and Cincinnati chambers of commerce. And it cost $65 to attend.

That didn't deter two protesters.

While the Senate Majority Leader ticked ...Read more

Hugging employees may create hostile work environment, appeals court rules

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SAN FRANCISCO -- Hugging can create a hostile work environment.

In a decision Thursday, a three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals revived a sexual harassment lawsuit against Yolo County Sheriff Edward G. Prieto, who was charged with hugging a female correctional officer more than 100 times over a 12-year period.

Prieto ...Read more

Giffords to GOP: 'Have some courage,' don't dodge town halls

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WASHINGTON -- Former Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords on Thursday urged congressional Republicans to "have some courage" and hold town halls, after Texas Republican Rep. Louie Gohmert referenced her shooting in his explanation for not holding one.

In a letter to his constituents who had requested a town hall meeting with him, Gohmert referred to...Read more

Ban on recreational marijuana to be enforced, White House says

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WASHINGTON -- White House spokesman Sean Spicer said he expects the Justice Department to increase enforcement of laws prohibiting the recreational use of marijuana, a departure from the Obama administration's less aggressive stance as states began legalizing recreational as well as medical use of the drug.

"There are two distinct issues here: ...Read more

Trump's top lieutenants bat down reports of tensions

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OXON HILL, Md. -- White House chief of staff Reince Priebus and White House chief strategist Stephen Bannon appeared onstage together Thursday to jointly insist that everything is running smoothly in the nascent Trump administration -- including their relationship, which has been the subject of much speculation.

Despite several weeks of often-...Read more

Trump said to be weighing U.S. Bancorp's Davis for Fed board seat

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WASHINGTON -- President Donald Trump is considering nominating U.S. Bancorp Chief Executive Officer Richard Davis for the Federal Reserve Board, said people familiar with the matter, as the president prepares to start reshaping the central bank's approach to monetary policy and Wall Street oversight.

Davis, who has announced he plans to retire ...Read more

Homicides in Chicago outpacing last year after deadliest day so far in 2017

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CHICAGO -- Homicides are now outpacing last year in Chicago after the city experienced its deadliest day so far this year, according to data kept by the Chicago Tribune.

Seven people were shot to death on Wednesday, five of them killed over two hours, including a pregnant woman in Chatham on the South Side. That's the most homicides since ...Read more

Homeland Security chief says there won't be mass deportations of people in US illegally

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MEXICO CITY -- Homeland Security Secretary John F. Kelly, on a visit to Mexico, said Thursday that there will be no mass deportations of people living in the U.S. illegally.

Kelly also said U.S. military forces would not be used in deportation efforts and that any deportation cases would go through the U.S. legal system.

"No. Repeat, no use of...Read more

Hospitalized Salvadoran woman awaiting emergency surgery moved to Texas detention center

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NEW YORK -- A critically ill woman from El Salvador who was awaiting emergency surgery for a brain tumor was forcibly moved from a Texas hospital to a detention center by federal agents, raising concerns about President Donald Trump's directive to more aggressively pursue people living in the country illegally.

Sara Beltran-Hernandez, 26, a ...Read more


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