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Mexican marijuana traffickers are poisoning California forests with a banned pesticide, officials say

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FRESNO, Calif. -- California law enforcement has learned that Mexican drug traffickers are using a dangerous pesticide banned in the United States to grow marijuana in remote areas of California's Sierra Nevada mountains, and are going after their operations.

The pesticide, carbofuran, is toxic to wildlife and humans and can cause permanent ...Read more

Trump again says Jewish voters who support Democrats are 'disloyal'

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WASHINGTON -- President Donald Trump repeated his claim Wednesday that American Jews who vote for Democrats are "disloyal," refusing to back away from divisive language that has been widely criticized as anti-Semitic and anti-democratic, and called himself "the chosen one" who is confronting China on trade.

"If you vote for a Democrat, you're ...Read more

Baltimore teen sentenced to life in prison for murdering Officer Amy Caprio

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BALTIMORE -- The West Baltimore 17-year-old convicted of murdering Officer Amy Caprio last year was sentenced to life in prison Wednesday in Baltimore County Circuit Court in Towson.

Last May, Dawnta Harris was convicted of felony murder for killing Caprio. An eight-day trial revealed that in May 2018 Harris and three other teens drove out to ...Read more

Mom suspected in deaths of 2 daughters had left suicide note in house, police say

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LOS ANGELES -- A mother found unresponsive in an Ontario home where the bodies of her two daughters were discovered Tuesday has been named as a suspect in their deaths, police said Wednesday.

Investigators launched a homicide investigation after a teenage girl and her infant sister were found dead in their home. Officers responded to the home ...Read more

After Nazi salute video, more racist videos emerge, roiling Orange County school

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LOS ANGELES -- School officials in Orange County are reopening an investigation into a group of high school students caught on video with their arms raised in a Sieg Heil salute while singing a Nazi marching song as additional racist images continue to surface.

The initial video, which surfaced Monday and was taken during an off-campus event ...Read more

After Trump backtracks, Parkland shooting survivors issue sweeping gun control plan

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WASHINGTON -- The Parkland student activists behind "March for Our Lives" issued a call to candidates in the 2020 presidential field on Wednesday: prove they would address gun violence by endorsing their newly unveiled gun control plan.

The March for Our Lives movement, formed by survivors of the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School...Read more

As big cuts in foreign aid loom, State Department again endures resignations and turmoil

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WASHINGTON -- Saying he could no longer be "complicit" in the Trump administration, Chuck Park, an eight-year State Department veteran most recently posted to a U.S. consulate in Mexico, last week became the latest American diplomat to publicly and pointedly call it quits.

"Over three tours abroad, I worked to spread what I believed were ...Read more

Trump says he still wants gun background checks after meeting with NRA

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WASHINGTON – In wide-ranging remarks to reporters as he left the White House for an event in Louisville, Ky., on Wednesday, President Donald Trump said he is working with Republican and Democratic lawmakers to enhance background checks for gun purchases, denying reports that he had abandoned the idea after meeting with the National Rifle ...Read more

A Walmart shopper rode his courtesy scooter out the door. He kept going, cops say

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MIAMI -- Most Walmart shoppers return their electric courtesy scooter provided by the store after they are done making their purchases.

Not Florida man John Davis, cops say.

According to a Pinellas County sheriff's arrest report, at around 10:30 p.m. Saturday, the 58-year-old Palmetto resident rode his scooter out of a St. Petersburg-area ...Read more

A tropical disturbance is moving toward Florida, and forecasters are watching

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MIAMI -- The National Hurricane Center is watching an area of disturbed weather that is hovering in the Atlantic over the central and northwestern Bahamas.

As of Wednesday morning, the system is primarily a batch of disorganized showers and thunderstorms.

According to the center, this disturbance could develop slowly over the next several days...Read more

New Trump administration rule would let feds detain immigrant children indefinitely

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MIAMI -- The U.S. government unveiled a new rule Wednesday that allows the administration to detain children until they can be deported, stripping away current legal protections for youths and possibly leading to indefinite detention.

The rule would end the so-called Flores agreement, a 22-year-old federal court agreement that says officials ...Read more

$960 billion deficit expected this year, more than $1 trillion next

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WASHINGTON -- The Congressional Budget Office has upped its estimate of current and future deficits largely as a result of the two-year budget deal enacted last month, which the agency projects will add $1.7 trillion in red ink over 10 years.

That forecast assumes that the increased spending in fiscal 2020 and 2021 thanks to the higher caps ...Read more

Bernie Sanders labor plan would let federal workers strike

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WASHINGTON -- Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., unveiled a new labor plan Wednesday that includes a proposal to let federal employees go on strike.

"Under current law, federal employees are not guaranteed the same labor rights as workers in the private sector. While they have the ability to unionize, they are prohibited from going on strike," a plan ...Read more

Philadelphia's Ex-Commissioner Richard Ross: 'I have never sought retribution'

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PHILADELPHIA -- Former Philadelphia Police Commissioner Richard Ross said Wednesday that he has "never sought retribution on a person, personally or professionally," a day after he resigned amid claims in a lawsuit by a police corporal that Ross had ignored her sexual harassment complaint against another officer, in part because the woman had ...Read more

Trump wants to lift restrictions on how long it can hold migrant families

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WASHINGTON -- The Trump administration is moving to end a court settlement that limits its ability to hold migrants who cross the border into the United States, the Department of Homeland Security announced Wednesday, potentially allowing for indefinite detention of children with their parents.

President Donald Trump and his administration for ...Read more

Suppressed federal report shows how Trump water plan would endanger California salmon

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LOS ANGELES -- Federal officials suppressed a lengthy environmental document that details how one of California's unique salmon runs would be imperiled by Trump administration plans to deliver more water to Central Valley farms.

The July 1 assessment, obtained by the Los Angeles Times, outlines how proposed changes in government water ...Read more

Russia's last nuclear mishap shows cover-ups are becoming harder

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VIENNA -- The shroud of mystery surrounding Russia's latest deadly nuclear accident will become increasingly difficult to maintain once the data starts to roll in.

That's the lesson of a team of scientists who showed last month -- days before the Aug. 8 explosion that killed five Russians -- that "a sizeable, yet undeclared nuclear accident" ...Read more

1 year after fall of Silent Sam, activists celebrate but say fight isn't over

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CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- On the first day of classes at UNC-Chapel Hill, exactly a year after protesters tore down the Silent Sam Confederate statue, hundreds of students, faculty and community activists commemorated a new year by celebrating the fall of the statue.

The event was marked with speeches about the rights of indigenous people and ...Read more

Danish PM says invitation to Trump still stands after snub

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COPENHAGEN -- Denmark's Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said an invitation to Donald Trump to make a state visit to her country still stands after the U.S. president canceled when his attempt to buy Greenland was rebuffed.

Trump's decision to stay away from Denmark, after receiving an invitation from Queen Margrethe II, is "of course a pity ...Read more

Earthquake early-warning sensors being expanded to high-risk areas in California and Nevada

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LOS ANGELES -- An infusion of federal funding will help expand or strengthen the U.S. Geological Survey's earthquake early-warning system around Lake Tahoe, Death Valley, Mammoth and Bishop.

The University of Nevada, Reno, which runs the seismic network in eastern California, will use $1 million from the USGS to upgrade obsolete seismic sensors...Read more