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Analysis: Tough road ahead for Ryan in 2018

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WASHINGTON -- Speaker Paul D. Ryan insists he's not going anywhere anytime soon, but he has a tough road ahead in 2018 that could test his patience with his conference, their Senate counterparts, the president and Washington.

The Wisconsin Republican is known for keeping his cool under pressure. Thus far in his still young speakership, he's ...Read more

Soto takes heat for telling Puerto Rican evacuees to say they're staying

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A Florida Democrat caught heat over the weekend for telling a group of newly arrived hurricane evacuees from Puerto Rico to say they intend to stay in the state so that they can access health care benefits.

If the evacuees do not check that box on a federal form for Medicare and Medicaid, they will be ineligible to be recipients of those ...Read more

Suspect in shooting of 4 South Carolina officers captured; crime helicopter hit

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YORK, S.C. -- Four York County law enforcement officers were shot and injured in an overnight domestic violence call and manhunt outside York, S.C., and the suspect also fired on and hit a helicopter, police said.

The helicopter, from the State Law Enforcement Division, took gunfire while in the air, searching for the suspect who attacked ...Read more

Mexican journalist is stabbed 21 times in front of his family

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MEXICO CITY -- Carlos Dominguez was waiting at a traffic light in the northern Mexico border city of Nuevo Leon with his son, his daughter-in-law and his grandchildren when men armed with knives flung open the car door.

Dominguez, a 77-year-old opinion columnist who had worked as a journalist for nearly four decades, was stabbed 21 times, ...Read more

Lightning in US is killing fewer people than ever

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Like most nonfatal lightning strikes, the one outside the Aventura Mall in Florida was not a direct hit. The bolt of electricity struck the victim's umbrella, entered through his hand and left through his foot.

"The gentleman holding the umbrella sustained significant electrical injuries, but his outcome was very good," said Dr. Randy Katz, ...Read more

Temporary trailers for LA's homeless planned for downtown city lot

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LOS ANGELES -- Los Angeles officials are planning to house dozens of homeless people in trailers on a city-owned downtown lot as a possible model for citywide temporary shelters.

A proposal being submitted to the City Council on Tuesday calls for installing five trailers on a parking lot at Arcadia and Alameda streets by the beginning of summer...Read more

Marry a laptop? Polygamy? Gay marriage sees a new wave of attacks

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AUSTIN, Texas -- Vocal opponents of gay rights are pressing a Dallas federal judge to end same-sex marriage, arguing that to do otherwise would open the door to allowing Texans to marry multiple partners and inanimate objects.

The lawsuit, rejected as frivolous by gay-marriage advocates and Texas officials, is among at least 15 similar ...Read more

California hospitals face 'war zone' of flu patients, and are setting up tents to treat them

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LOS ANGELES -- Ana Oktay rushed to the hospital in late December struggling to breathe, with a 102-degree fever and a cough that wouldn't let up.

She expected doctors to tell her she had pneumonia or bronchitis.

"They were just like: 'It's just influenza A. It's just what's going around,' " said Oktay, 49.

An influenza A strain known as H3N2 ...Read more

100,000 Cuban homes slammed by Hurricane Irma await repairs months later

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Electrical power was quickly restored after Hurricane Irma's scrape along Cuba's northern coast, much of the flood damage in Havana was cleaned up within weeks, and tourism facilities opened in time for the winter season.

But the island still bears deep scars from Irma's passage.

Four months after the first Category 5 hurricane to hit Cuba ...Read more

Hundreds gather at Orange County synagogue to mourn slain college student

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IRVINE, Calif. -- Blaze Bernstein was on winter break and visiting his parents in the Orange County community of Lake Forest when they proudly explained that his namesake was Blaise Pascal, the 17th-century child prodigy who went on to become a mathematician, inventor and master of prose.

The 19-year-old pre-med student at the University of ...Read more

Even without nudging blood pressure up, high-salt diet hobbles the brain

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A high-salt diet may spell trouble for the brain -- and for mental performance -- even if it doesn't push blood pressure into dangerous territory, new research has found.

A new study has shown that in mice fed a very high-salt diet, blood flow to the brain declined, the integrity of blood vessels in the brain suffered, and performance on tests ...Read more

Missouri governor, hobbled by scandal, puts off tax tour

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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- A statewide tour to promote a proposal to change the Missouri tax system has fallen victim to the scandal enveloping Gov. Eric Greitens.

But Greitens' spokesman Parker Briden said Monday that Greitens still plans to release details of his tax plan this week.

Greitens last Wednesday admitted to an extramarital affair. The...Read more

At least 27 killed, 80 injured in Baghdad twin suicide blasts

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BAGHDAD -- Twin blasts hit central Baghdad early Monday, killing 27 and injuring more than 80 others, the Baghdad Health Department said.

The blasts struck Sahet al-Tayaran (Aviation Square) in the center of the Iraqi capital, with Iraqi Interior Ministry spokesman Saad Maan saying the attack was carried out by two suicide attackers.

There has...Read more

Nation and world news briefs

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Most serious charge in female genital mutilation case is dismissed

DETROIT -- The most serious charge against two metro Detroit doctors accused in the genital cutting of numerous minor girls as part of a religious tradition has been dismissed.

U.S. District Judge Bernard Friedman ruled Sunday night that a charge of conspiracy to transport a ...Read more

Lawsuit: Surgeon at VA hospital left scalpel in patient for 4 years

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HARTFORD, Conn. -- An Army veteran says an MRI revealed that a surgeon had left a scalpel in his abdomen four years earlier.

Glenford Turner, 61, of Bridgeport, went to the West Haven VA with abdominal pain last April when the surprising discovery was made, according to his lawyer. Turner required surgery to remove the scalpel, and last week ...Read more

Palestinian leaders urge Abbas to withdraw recognition of Israel

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RAMALLAH, West Bank -- Palestinian leaders on Monday called on President Mahmoud Abbas to withdraw recognition of Israel and break off security cooperation, in a move that follows the Trump administration naming Jerusalem as the Israeli capital.

The Palestine Liberation Organization's Central Council declared it should no longer be bound by the...Read more

Parents arrested after children found shackled and malnourished in California home

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LOS ANGELES -- A Perris couple were arrested on suspicion of torture and child abuse after police found several of their children chained to beds in putrid surroundings, authorities said Monday.

The discovery came Sunday after one of the children, a 17-year-old girl, escaped from the house and dialed 911 on a cellphone she found in the home, ...Read more

Mnuchin's list of Putin 'oligarchs' jolts Russia's elite class

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WASHINGTON -- The U.S. Treasury Department is finishing its first official list of "oligarchs" close to President Vladimir Putin's government, setting off a flurry of moves by wealthy Russians to shield their fortunes and reputations.

Some people who think they're likely to land on the list have stress-tested the potential impact on their ...Read more

Officials: Possible measles exposure reported at O'Hare International Airport

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CHICAGO -- Anyone who visited O'Hare International Airport on Wednesday morning or afternoon and who has not had a measles vaccination may need to be tested after a passenger with a confirmed case of the highly contagious disease landed and boarded another flight, Illinois health officials said.

A passenger with a confirmed case of measles ...Read more

Rogue police officer known as Venezuelan 'Rambo' is cornered by government

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CARACAS, Venezuela -- Venezuelan authorities said Monday they had surrounded and captured members of a rebel group whose leader hijacked a helicopter in June and dropped grenades on the Supreme Court and Interior Ministry. His fate was unclear.

According to an Interior Ministry press release, police surrounded a house in the impoverished El ...Read more