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Xi to put his stamp on Chinese history at Party Congress opening

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HONG KONG -- President Xi Jinping kicks off China's most important political event on Wednesday, a twice-a-decade meeting of party leaders that may signal if Xi will appoint a successor to rule after 2022.

Xi will start the weeklong event with what's known as the work report, seen as the ruling Communist Party's most significant policy document...Read more

Former Trump spokesman Spicer questioned in Mueller Russia probe

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WASHINGTON -- President Donald Trump's former press secretary, Sean Spicer, was interviewed Monday by special counsel Robert Mueller's team, said two people familiar with the matter.

Mueller is investigating Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and whether there was any collusion between Trump's campaign and Vladimir Putin's ...Read more

Resolution thanking St. Louis police officers fails in aldermanic committee

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ST. LOUIS -- A resolution thanking St. Louis police officers won't move forward to the full Board of Aldermen after a heated discussion in committee on Tuesday.

Multiple aldermen expressed frustration that the city in recent weeks had been mired in debates over "tit-for-tat" resolutions, which are not laws. Resolutions are typically used to ...Read more

Experimental HIV therapy may block virus longer with fewer drugs, study says

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MIAMI -- A new therapy for HIV that does not require a lifelong regimen of daily drug cocktails may be on the horizon if early indications from studies on mice prove effective in people, scientists at the Scripps Research Institute in Florida announced Tuesday in the journal Cell Reports.

Combining a new drug compound with existing ...Read more

McCaskill says 'honest, sloppy' mistake led her claim on drug legislation

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WASHINGTON -- Sen. Claire McCaskill said an "embarrassing, honest, mistake," led her office to say on Monday that she did not oppose a bill that hamstrung the Drug Enforcement Administration's ability to go after potentially illegal distributors of opioids because she was receiving treatment for breast cancer.

The bill passed Congress and was ...Read more

Nation and world news briefs

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Georgia man drowned at SeaWorld Aquatica water park

ORLANDO, Fla. -- The water was only about 3 feet deep where Michael Stone, wearing a life vest, drowned in a water park ride at Aquatica this summer after apparently passing out face down, Orange County Sheriff's Office reports show.

Stone was found unresponsive in Roa's Rapids -- a river-...Read more

South Carolina Gov. McMaster pledges to sign bill that could ban abortion

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COLUMBIA, S.C. -- An anti-abortion group says South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster has signed on to its pledge that "personhood" begins at conception.

Personhood South Carolina announced Tuesday that McMaster has agreed to sign a bill that would give the unborn the full legal protections of a person, a move that would effectively overrule the ...Read more

White House is said to be open to keeping part of state tax break

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WASHINGTON -- The Trump administration is open to limiting the deduction for state and local taxes instead of ending it altogether, if there's enough fiscal space in the Republican tax plan, according to a White House official.

The tax framework released by the White House and GOP leaders last month suggested a full repeal of the so-called SALT...Read more

9 states sue Trump seeking illegal immigration crackdown data

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NEW YORK -- The Trump administration is refusing to turn over internal records about its crackdown on undocumented immigrants, nine U.S. states and the District of Columbia claim in a federal lawsuit.

The agencies that track down and deport people failed to respond to a June 29 Freedom of Information Act request for records about immigrants who...Read more

GOP's top Senate recruit in Missouri won't commit to voting for McConnell as leader

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WASHINGTON -- Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley, Republicans' top recruit to challenge Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill, won't commit to voting for Mitch McConnell as Senate Republican leader if elected in 2018.

Hawley's campaign spokesman, Scott Paradise, was asked directly whether his boss would support McConnell. Paradise deflected the ...Read more

Missouri appeals court tosses $72 million Johnson & Johnson talcum powder verdict

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ST. LOUIS -- The Missouri Eastern District appeals court on Tuesday threw out a $72 million jury verdict for a woman who claimed her longtime use of baby powder and other Johnson & Johnson products contributed to ovarian cancer that killed her.

The ruling could kill three other recent St. Louis jury verdicts of more than $200 million combined ...Read more

Trump is said to plan Fed chair pick before Nov. 3 Asia trip

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WASHINGTON -- President Donald Trump plans to choose his nominee to chair the Federal Reserve before he leaves Nov. 3 for an 11-day trip to Asia and Hawaii, a person familiar with the process said.

Trump is working with a shortlist of five names to lead the central bank: former Fed Governor Kevin Warsh, Stanford University economist John Taylor...Read more

Trump takes credit for Islamic State defeat years in the making

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WASHINGTON -- U.S. President Donald Trump took credit for making changes to the military that allowed U.S.-backed forces to retake the Syrian city of Raqqa -- the last major urban stronghold of the Islamic State.

"It had to do with the people I put in and it had to do with rules of engagement," Trump said in an interview Tuesday on Washington-...Read more

Q&A on Syria's Raqqa, the fallen capital of the Islamic State's 'caliphate'

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Before it fell under the sway of Islamic State in January 2014, the Syrian crossroads city of Raqqa, on the northern banks of the Euphrates River in historic Mesopotamia, had lived out a richly layered past under a succession of empires.

Down through the centuries, it was an Ottoman trading post, a desert garrison and a cotton-rich commercial ...Read more

Iraqi forces widen push to recapture territory from Kurds

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IRBIL, Iraq -- Iraqi forces pressed their campaign to retake oil-rich territory from Kurdish fighters, widening a conflict that has roiled markets and could stoke tensions outside the country's borders.

Militiamen in the Popular Mobilization Forces operating alongside federal government troops captured the town of Sinjar without resistance, ...Read more

NAFTA talks bog down over US demands as latest round concludes

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WASHINGTON -- After seven consecutive days of talks fraught with emotion, officials representing the U.S., Canada and Mexico were at seeming loggerheads over several American proposals that observers fear could derail the negotiations and ultimately cause an unraveling of the 23-year-old North American Free Trade Agreement.

President Donald ...Read more

Casino company seems to be in touch with missing security guard Jesus Campos

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The company that owns the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino implied Tuesday that it was in touch with wounded security guard Jesus Campos, who seemingly vanished last week as questions mounted over the Las Vegas casino's response to the Oct. 1 mass shooting.

MGM Resorts International issued a statement on Campos' behalf Tuesday after the Los ...Read more

Firefighters continue to gain ground on deadly Northern California blazes

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As more people returned to their homes in Northern California on Tuesday and officials continued the search for dozens of missing people, fire crews gained additional ground on the deadly blazes that have scorched more than 210,000 acres and killed at least 41.

The four largest fires were all more than 50 percent contained as of Tuesday morning...Read more

Volcanic eruptions in Alaska could have impacted lives of ancient Egyptians

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Did violent volcanoes in Russia, Greenland and Alaska affect the lives of ancient Egyptians?

It may sound improbable, but according to a new study, the answer is yes.

In a paper published Tuesday in Nature Communications, a team of researchers shows that explosive volcanic eruptions in high northern latitudes of the globe can impact the Nile ...Read more

Hawaii judge blocks Trump's new travel ban

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A federal judge in Hawaii on Tuesday issued an order blocking major parts of President Donald Trump's newest travel ban, suggesting it violated immigration law.

The decision from U.S. District Judge Derrick Watson in Honolulu stops the administration's travel restrictions nationwide before they were scheduled to take full effect Wednesday.

The...Read more

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