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Washington state authorities identify 2 coronavirus cases

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SEATTLE -- Washington state identified two new coronavirus cases, including a school-aged adolescent who has no known travel history or encountered anyone who had visited affected areas, health officials said.

The two tested positive in local tests and are awaiting confirmation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The other ...Read more

UC Santa Cruz fires 54 graduate student workers striking for higher pay

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University of California, Santa Cruz fired 54 graduate student workers who were on strike demanding higher pay to afford the area's high cost of living.

As part of a "wildcat strike," about 200 teaching assistants decided in December to withhold fall quarter grades after months of back and forth with campus administrators. They demanded an ...Read more

What killed hundreds of mighty gray whales? Beloved Puget Sound visitors may hold clues

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SEATTLE -- Gray whales are lumbering back into Puget Sound, and scientists have plans in store for some of them.

The mighty grays undertake one of the longest migrations of any mammal, traveling from Arctic feeding grounds to calving areas in Mexico, then back north again come spring.

A small group of about a dozen whales pause along the way, ...Read more

Black Democrats in South Carolina want to see a plan to beat Trump

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CONWAY, S.C. -- Sometimes, in a dramatic flourish, a politician will urge voters to cast their ballot as though their very life depended on it.

For Alester Pryor, that's no exaggeration.

"I want to make America great again, but it can't be great as long as he's in the White House," said the 72-year-old retiree, who readily praises Jesus but ...Read more

Oregon Says first Coronavirus case result of community spread

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LOS ANGELES -- Oregon reported its first case of coronavirus and the patient was probably infected through community spread, the state's health official said.

The patient, from Washington County, has no known recent travel history to a country with a large virus outbreak. It was likely infected in a similar way to a case in California, Patrick ...Read more

California Marine becomes first woman to lead Howitzer team

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CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. -- A Marine stationed at Camp Pendleton became the first woman to graduate from the Corps' Howitzer Section Chief Course this month, taking on a combat artillery leadership role once reserved for men.

The M777 Howitzer is a cannon that can hit targets from almost 20 miles away. It requires a crew of at least six Marines ...Read more

Turkey warns Syria could 'learn the hard way' after Idlib conflict

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ISTANBUL -- Turkey's ambassador to the United Nations on Friday said Ankara would not hesitate to retaliate if threatened by Syria, after deadly attacks in Idlib province severely escalated tensions between Turkey and Russian-backed Syrian forces.

"If they want to learn the hard way, they will," Ambassador Feridun Hadi Sinirlioglu said during a...Read more

Trump revs up his supporters in South Carolina on the eve of the Democratic primary

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NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. -- During a raucous rally here Friday on the eve of the state's Democratic primary, President Donald Trump brushed off the nation's rising concerns about the coronavirus, declaring that "confidence is surging" in the economy, despite the stock market having just suffered its worst week of losses since 2008.

He accused ...Read more

'None of them really stands out': On eve of S.C. primary, voters still grappling with their decision

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CHARLESTON, S.C. -- Dawn Vollink says she's finally ready to settle on Sen. Elizabeth Warren.

Well, maybe.

The 70-year-old Democrat who once contemplated voting for former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg (before he showed "attitude" in recent debates) and Sen. Amy Klobuchar (before she slumped in Nevada) in the 2020 Democratic ...Read more

Nation and world news briefs

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Customs and Border Protection officer strangled wife, shot kids and then self, autopsies find

ORLANDO, Fla. -- The Customs and Border Protection officer who was found dead with his family at their home near Bithlo, Fla., last week had strangled his wife to death and shot both his children, before killing himself, the Orange County Sheriff's ...Read more

Afghanistan truce successful so far, US ready to sign peace deal with Taliban

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DOHA, Qatar -- As they moved closer to signing a landmark agreement aimed at ending the United States' longest war and withdrawing its troops, U.S., Taliban and Afghan officials scrambled Friday to ensure that pending details didn't undermine the deal before it ever took effect.

The agreement that seeks to freeze nearly two decades of fighting ...Read more

A paranoid militia infiltrating Texas police is bent on rebellion, 'ready to rise up'

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FORT WORTH, Texas -- A revolution-minded, conspiracy-bent militia group named the Oath Keepers is recruiting law officers in Hood County to take up arms in what the founder predicts will be a "bloody civil war" against the U.S. government.

A national director of the Las Vegas-based Oath Keepers, John D. Shirley, moved to rural Hood County in ...Read more

Minnesota archbishop to Catholic priests: Abstain from voting on Super Tuesday

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MINNEAPOLIS -- St. Paul and Minneapolis Archbishop Bernard Hebda is asking priests in Minnesota to forgo voting in the presidential primary election on Tuesday over concerns about the privacy of voter party preferences.

Hebda wrote about his concerns in a letter to priests this week ahead of Super Tuesday on March 3, the first presidential ...Read more

Appeals court rejects Democrats' lawsuit over Don McGahn testimony

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WASHINGTON -- President Donald Trump defeated congressional Democrats' effort to force former White House counsel Don McGahn to testify in their impeachment proceedings.

In a 2-1 decision, the federal appeals court in Washington Friday rejected the lawmakers' suit to enforce a subpoena issued days after special counsel Robert Mueller's report ...Read more

The 2020 race could become the coronavirus election. Is America ready?

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It's hard to run an election during a pandemic, let alone stay healthy.

In 1918, as Spanish influenza wreaked havoc in one of the greatest health disasters in U.S. history, politicians were sidelined as bans on public gatherings made it impossible to hold campaign rallies.

There was no vaccine for that virus, which killed hundreds of thousands...Read more

War claims a revolutionary radio station's home in Syria

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AMMAN, Jordan -- The news broadcast finished and Salah Abed began to dismantle the equipment: There would be no other broadcast that evening -- and maybe never again -- from the Radio Fresh station in the Syrian town of Kafranbel.

The town had been an icon of uprising and the radio station was its voice to the world. Activists relied on the ...Read more

Charged with corruption, an ex-governor from Mexico is barred from entering US

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MEXICO CITY -- The U.S. State Department announced Friday that a former governor of Nayarit state in western Mexico was involved in "significant corruption," an official designation that bars him and family members from entering the United States.

Roberto Sandoval Castaneda, who served as governor from 2011 to 2017, faces various corruption ...Read more

In red California, Democrats struggle to win young voters amid a 'sea of gray hairs'

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ROCKLIN, Calif. -- There wasn't a lot of youth to be found at an event called "Turning Out the Youth Vote" this month at Sierra College. Senior citizens outnumbered students 3-to-1.

One gray-haired woman said she had tried, and failed, to post something about the event on, "believe it or not, Instagram." The decidedly blue-leaning room roared ...Read more

Government, hospital on defensive over diagnosis of latest California COVID-19 patient

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SAN JOSE, Calif. -- The federal government is disputing University of California assertions that there was a delay in testing a critically ill Solano County woman for the coronavirus, saying it responded as soon as requested.

The timing is important, because the delay exposed health workers and people in the community to unnecessary risk. An ...Read more

The astronomical difference a Leap Day makes: We'll have the earliest spring since 1896

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The birds have been chirpier than normal for a February, the snow drops and daffodils are showing no fear, and when was the last time you saw salt brine on a road near you?

People in the U.S. have a 100% chance of having their earliest spring in 124 years, arriving officially this year on at 11:50 p.m. EDT on March 19.

Not only do we get a Feb...Read more