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Trump to visit FBI Academy after saying agency 'in Tatters'

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WASHINGTON -- President Donald Trump plans to visit the FBI Academy in Quantico in Virginia on Friday, the White House said in a statement, an appearance that comes less than two weeks after he said the agency's reputation was "in Tatters."

Trump has frequently criticized the Federal Bureau of Investigation, which, under the direction of ...Read more

Mexico blackouts, injuries and deaths at resorts spark State Department probe

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The U.S. Office of Inspector General has opened an inquiry into how the State Department has been handling injuries and deaths related to potentially tainted alcohol in Mexico.

In a letter to Republican U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., Inspector General Steve Linick said his office will examine the policies and procedures the department has been ...Read more

Inmates make up 1 in 5 on Thomas fire lines

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SANTA BARBARA, Calif. -- For well over a week, hundreds of inmates have chain-sawed through relentless thickets of chaparral, cutting lines through the backcountry to thwart the fire's sudden rushes at homes.

On Thursday, they were deep in the Los Padres National Forest, covered in wood grit, soot and sweat, as the Thomas fire continued to grow...Read more

Standoff with suspect is over after 2 officers are shot in St. Louis County; vests stopped bullets

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BELLEFONTAINE NEIGHBORS, Mo.-- Two police officers were shot in the chest -- but saved by their bulletproof vests -- by a gunman who then barricaded himself in a home in north St. Louis County Thursday morning.

The standoff ended about 3 p.m. with the suspect taken into custody inside the home, St. Louis County police said. He had been shot in ...Read more

Nation and world news briefs

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White House gives Roy Moore an unsubtle shove: Time to concede

WASHINGTON -- The White House sent a clear signal Thursday to the defeated Republican candidate for Senate in Alabama: It's time to concede.

Roy Moore refused to concede the race Tuesday night when Doug Jones, the Democrat, was declared the winner. Election night results show Jones...Read more

Proposed purchase of Fox's film and TV assets shows Disney's power play

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LOS ANGELES -- Disney CEO Bob Iger's audacious bid to buy much of the media empire Rupert Murdoch built represents a big bet that the Burbank company can beat Silicon Valley in the war for the future of entertainment.

The Walt Disney Co. on Thursday agreed to pay $52.4 billion to buy film and TV assets owned by 21st Century Fox, the largest ...Read more

Three more women accuse California assemblyman of sexual misconduct

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SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- A Los Angeles woman has filed a police report alleging that Democratic Assemblyman Matt Dababneh had sex with her without consent four years ago, adding new allegations of sexual misconduct to those that led the politician to announce his resignation last week. He says her claims are false.

Nancy Miret, 26, told the Los ...Read more

Sen. Marco Rubio becomes latest obstacle to GOP tax bill, complicating next week's vote

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WASHINGTON -- Sen. Marco Rubio on Thursday became the latest holdout on the Republican tax plan, depriving leaders of crucial backing as they struggle to build support for the bill before next week's expected vote.

The Florida Republican, who warned leaders he would vote no unless changes were made to the current version, is pushing for greater...Read more

Trump boasts of 'screeching' halt to growth of US regulations

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WASHINGTON -- President Donald Trump trumpeted his effort to slash government rules as "the most far reaching regulatory reform in history."

"The never-ending growth of red tape in America has come to a sudden, screeching and beautiful halt," Trump said Thursday as his administration released its Unified Agenda, a twice-a-year report on the ...Read more

A Salvadoran woman says her baby was stillborn; officials called it a homicide and sent her to prison

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MEXICO CITY -- Teodora del Carmen Vasquez was nine months' pregnant and at work in a school cafeteria in El Salvador when she felt shooting pains in her abdomen.

She dialed an emergency number for help, but none arrived. A few hours later, bleeding profusely and sitting alone in a bathroom stall, she delivered a baby. Vasquez said that she was ...Read more

Defense attorneys say city, owner to blame in Ghost Ship tragedy

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OAKLAND, Calif. -- In an emotional moment in an Oakland courtroom on Thursday, prosecutor David Lim read out the names of the 36 victims of last year's Ghost Ship fire as family and friends put their arms around each other and wiped away tears.

Two former residents of the warehouse, Derick Almena and Max Harris, face 36 counts each of ...Read more

EU extends economic sanctions against Russia by 6 months

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BRUSSELS -- EU leaders on Thursday extended economic sanctions against Russia for six months over the country's role in the Ukraine conflict.

"EU united on roll-over of economic sanctions on Russia," European Council President Donald Tusk posted on Twitter.

The sanctions were first adopted in July 2014 after Russia's annexation of Ukraine's ...Read more

Syrian government is blocking peace talks, UN mediator says

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GENEVA -- The latest round of U.N.-brokered Syrian peace talks has failed to produce any progress, with U.N. Mediator Staffan de Mistura blaming Syrian government delegates for rejecting any dialogue with the opposition.

"I did not see the government really looking to find a way to have a dialogue and negotiate during this round," he told ...Read more

Compassion fatigue? Donations after Vegas massacre lag behind other victim funds

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LAS VEGAS -- She's jumpy, sitting outside the Starbucks on a bright morning in an upscale Las Vegas neighborhood. People walk by, and she watches most of them closely. A helicopter flying toward the Las Vegas Strip causes her to jerk her head upward. She stops talking.

"Helicopters are a trigger," Christine Caria said.

The 49-year-old Las ...Read more

Top gun rights priority prospects dim, even in GOP-controlled Washington

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WASHINGTON -- Gun rights activists spent record amounts last year to elect Republicans -- but aren't likely to get their biggest wish, nationwide concealed carry legislation, approved before the 2018 elections.

Activists are blaming the Republicans they help put in power -- as well as Democrats -- for the lack of action on the gun lobby's No. 1...Read more

FCC guts rules on open internet, but battle may just be beginning

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WASHINGTON -- Opponents began to plot Thursday how to overturn a Federal Communications Commission repeal of rules on keeping the internet neutral and open.

Civil liberties groups studied the legal grounds for a federal lawsuit. Democratic politicians said they would seek a legislative remedy. And analysts on all sides weighed the political ...Read more

LA County animal control confirms investigation into death of 29 horses in Creek fire

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LOS ANGELES -- Animal care officials confirmed Thursday that they are investigating the death of 29 horses at a Sylmar ranch during the fast-moving Creek fire last week.

The Los Angeles County Department of Animal Care and Control issued a lengthy statement last week in which they shared their officers' efforts to save horses at Rancho Padilla....Read more

US and Mexico agree to agree — and skirt controversy

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WASHINGTON -- Call it not talking about the Wall in the Room.

Senior U.S. and Mexican government officials on Thursday pledged to continue working together to fight international drug-trafficking organizations and other cross-border criminal enterprises.

They would not, however, be drawn into discussing ways that President Donald Trump's vows ...Read more

Head of congressional ethics office reportedly being sued

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WASHINGTON -- The staff director and chief counsel for the Office of Congressional Ethics is being sued for verbally abusing and physically assaulting women.

Omar Ashmawy's case goes back to his involvement in a late-night brawl in 2015 in Milford, Pa., according to Foreign Policy.

The suit includes a range of allegations related to his ...Read more

Kihuen's future in question after second accuser comes forward

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WASHINGTON -- Democratic Rep. Ruben Kihuen's future remains in question amid calls to resign and a second accuser alleging he sexually harassed her while he was in the Nevada state Senate.

The Nevada Independent reported Wednesday night that a lobbyist claimed Kihuen sent her hundreds of text messages, some of them suggestive, and touched her ...Read more