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Death toll surpasses 150 as rescuers plough through Beirut debris

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BEIRUT -- The death toll from Tuesday's port explosion in Beirut has risen to 154, a Lebanese Health Ministry official said, as rescue workers struggled to remove large pieces of debris in the search for survivors and victims.

"Due to the massive damage we are seeing, we have doubts there are survivors but we still have hope," one rescue worker...Read more

From veepstakes to Cabinet? Where Biden's running mate contenders might land if he wins

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All but one of the women Joe Biden might pick as his running mate will end up disappointed, but already a new guessing game has started: What other roles could they fill in his administration?

Most of the women are Democratic Party stars with expertise in public policy, making them contenders for jobs in Biden's administration should the former...Read more

Trump, losing his grip on GOP, wields less influence as crises mount

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WASHINGTON -- Less than three months before Election Day, evidence is mounting that President Donald Trump is losing political influence in Washington and facing the early onset of "lame duck" status as Republican leaders in Congress increasingly appear willing to defy or rebuff him.

In recent days, GOP lawmakers who once saluted -- or at least...Read more

After first being spared, rural California now being ravaged by the coronavirus

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SAN FRANCISCO -- It was once said that California's coronavirus pandemic was hitting dense urban areas the hardest.

Now, it's rural, agricultural areas that are among the most severely affected.

"The epidemic is moving from urban Latino populations to rural Latino populations," Dr. George Rutherford, epidemiologist and infectious-diseases ...Read more

US gains nearly 1.8 million jobs in July

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WASHINGTON -- The U.S. labor market continued to regain ground in July, though at a slower pace, indicating the economic rebound is still making headway despite a surge in coronavirus infections.

Payrolls increased by 1.76 million in July, beating estimates for a 1.48 million gain and after a 4.79 million advance in June, according to data ...Read more

US poised to sanction Hong Kong's Carrie Lam on crackdown

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WASHINGTON -- The Trump administration is poised to impose sanctions on Chinese officials and their allies in Hong Kong, including Chief Executive Carrie Lam, as soon as Friday over their role in curtailing political freedoms in the former U.K. colony, according to three people familiar with the matter.

The measures would also target Communist ...Read more

NRA fights to retain political clout while under legal attack

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The scandals engulfing the National Rifle Association threaten to undercut its financial and political power heading into the crucial 2020 U.S. elections.

The organization has long been perceived as a kingmaker, and was in fact the top contributor to Donald Trump's 2016 election campaign.

Now complaints over lavish spending, internal battles, ...Read more

What's next for the Dakota Access Pipeline? Recent court rulings cast doubt on future

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SEATTLE -- The future of the Dakota Access Pipeline, which sparked an opposition movement led by tribes across the nation, including many from Washington, now is in doubt, following a barrage of court rulings and a decision before the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

The 1,172-mile-long pipeline continues to move oil, despite a court ruling last ...Read more

Biden's scorn of Saudis is a warning shot after Trump's embrace

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WASHINGTON -- Saudi Arabia reveled in Donald Trump's decision to make the kingdom his first overseas destination as president. It will have to decide how welcoming to be for Joe Biden if he wins the White House in November.

Trump's May 2017 visit was marked by claims of $100 billion in arms sales, a traditional sword dance and a glowing orb ...Read more

Brothers sentenced to 40 years in prison for 2016 shooting at Seattle homeless encampment

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SEATTLE -- Nearly 41/2 years after six masked males stormed a Seattle homeless encampment to rob a drug dealer, two brothers who were found guilty of fatally shooting two people and critically injuring three others were each sentenced Thursday to 40 years in prison.

James and Jerome Taafulisia were 17 and 16 years old on the night of the Jan. ...Read more

Inside the 'culture of violence' alleged by LAPD SWAT whistleblower

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LOS ANGELES -- After assessing the hilly terrain around a Sunland house where a homeless man had holed up one morning in May 2017, the Los Angeles Police Department's heavily armed SWAT team requested more firepower -- and got it in the form of a helicopter equipped for "aerial shooting," dubbed "Sniper-1."

By the time they'd left the scene ...Read more

Chances waning for unemployment relief for millions as talks sputter

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WASHINGTON -- Prospects for a quick deal to extend supplemental unemployment benefits and other stimulus for an economy still reeling from the coronavirus pandemic have taken a sharp turn for the worse, leaving millions of Americans in the lurch a week after many benefits expired.

The light at the end of the tunnel spotted Wednesday by House ...Read more

Trump signs executive order to ban TikTok

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President Donald Trump made good on his threat to ban TikTok on Thursday, issuing an executive order that will bar the wildly popular video app's parent company, ByteDance, from conducting business transactions with other American companies beginning in 45 days.

A separate order bans business transactions involving WeChat, a popular ...Read more

Trump moves to ban TikTok, WeChat from US, pressuring China

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WASHINGTON -- President Donald Trump signed a pair of executive orders prohibiting U.S. residents from doing any business with TikTok, WeChat or the apps' Chinese owners beginning 45 days from now, citing the national security risk of leaving American's personal data exposed.

The move coincides with Trump's push for the sale of TikTok, the ...Read more

Trump fails to stall rape accuser's lawsuit; deposition looms

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NEW YORK -- President Donald Trump can't stall a defamation lawsuit filed by a New York advice columnist who claims he raped her two decades ago, a judge ruled, allowing the two sides to start digging for evidence.

E. Jean Carroll, who went public with her claims last year and sued Trump after he called her a liar, will now seek to depose the ...Read more

Biden apologizes for comments on racial diversity among Black people

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WASHINGTON -- Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden apologized late Thursday for comments he made earlier in the day that suggested that the African American community was not diverse.

"In no way did I mean to suggest the African American community is a monolith -- not by identity, not on issues, not at all," Biden said in an series of ...Read more

Louisiana Supreme Court won't review life sentence for Black man who tried to steal hedge clippers

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Fair Wayne Bryant is currently serving a life sentence in Louisiana for an attempted burglary conviction stemming from an attempt to steal some hedge clippers. According to six of the seven justices on the Louisiana Supreme Court, Bryant's sentence is a fair one.

The court last week denied a request from Bryant to review his life sentence, ...Read more

Formal complaints lodged against Chicago firefighters accused of removing Black Lives Matter banner

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CHICAGO -- The Chicago Fire Department has formally lodged complaints against several firefighters as it continues an internal investigation into allegations they removed a Black Lives Matter banner in the Kenwood neighborhood.

All firefighters who were on Fire Truck 15 at the time of the alleged incident last Saturday have been served with the...Read more

Tennessee Republicans pick Bill Hagerty for Lamar Alexander's Senate seat

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WASHINGTON -- With President Donald Trump pumping up supporters ahead of Thursday's primary, former U.S. Ambassador to Japan Bill Hagerty fended off a late surge by orthopedic surgeon Manny Sethi to win the Republican nomination to succeed retiring GOP Sen. Lamar Alexander.

Trump, who first endorsed Hagerty last year, reminded voters in a July ...Read more

California tops 10,000 coronavirus deaths

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LOS ANGELES -- The death toll from the coronavirus in California surpassed 10,000 people on Thursday, a mark that underscores how a state that was one hailed as a pandemic success story is now struggling to slow outbreaks.

The surge of the coronavirus in California over the last two months had several causes, including the reopening of the ...Read more