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U.S. Army Corps of Engineers – Alaska District photo/U.S. Army Corps of Engineers – Alaska District photo/TNS

WWII contaminants on an Aleutian island are a step closer to finally being cleaned up

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ANCHORAGE, Alaska — Richard Ragle looked at the island as the boat pulled up. He’d studied historical photographs of Great Sitkin Island for years, but it wasn’t exactly what he expected — some things were bigger and others were smaller than he had imagined.

The island, nestled into the Aleutians, has grasses that grow so tall they’re...Read more

FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images North America/TNS

Failures of California's first plan to stop offshore oil drilling cast shadow over new efforts

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SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Offshore oil derricks dotting the California coastline continue pumping despite a history of catastrophic spills and vows from generations of politicians to send them to the scrapheap. They've even survived a modest attempt by state officials more than a decade ago to offer incentives to oil companies that chose to abandon...Read more

E. Jason Wambsgans/Chicago Tribune/TNS

54 slayings, more than 80 charged: As Chicago's gangs have changed, so have federal RICO prosecutions

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CHICAGO — The victims met their fates over two decades in every corner of the city: informants shot execution-style, rivals gunned down in barbershops and restaurants, a rapper targeted after online taunts, an innocent bystander felled by bullets sprayed at a pickup basketball game.

At least 54 people slain and dozens more wounded in ...Read more

Amy Davis/Baltimore Sun/TNS

Maryland lawmakers to weigh decriminalizing needles and other drug paraphernalia

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BALTIMORE — When state lawmakers return to Annapolis for a special legislative session next month, they’ll face a question that has vexed some of them: Should they decriminalize needles, syringes and other supplies used by people who use drugs?

A majority of lawmakers approved a bill last spring that removes certain supplies from the list ...Read more

Terry Wyatt/Getty Images North America/TNS

Banning hair discrimination emerges as racial justice issue

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When Dina Neal, the first African American woman elected to the Nevada Assembly, came to the state Capitol in 2011, she wore her hair in braids. Her hairstyle was a practical choice.

Carson City was snowy and cold, “and I did not want to wear my wet hair out every day in 25-degree weather,” she said.

In 2013, a white staffer told Neal her ...Read more

JEAN-BAPTISTE LACROIX/AFP/Getty Images North America/TNS

Tami Roman swore off reality TV. Until 'The Real World' let her finish what she started

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LOS ANGELES — Tami Roman swore she was done with reality TV.

In 1993, the 22-year-old aspiring singer was cast in the second season of "The Real World" and was central to its most memorable moments — including an abortion documented by MTV cameras and a physical altercation with her roommate, David Edwards, that led to his departure from ...Read more

ROBYN BECK/Getty Images North America/TNS

Californians legalized pot, but these 10 big cities still don't have retail dispensaries

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Though Californians voted to legalize adult use marijuana in 2016, it remains largely unavailable in some of the biggest cities in the state.

Out of the 482 cities in California, 174 of them allow some form of licensed cannabis business, says Hirsh Jain of Ananda Strategy.

Many of those cities allow only non-retail cannabis operations, such as...Read more

INGRID NELSON/KHN/TNS

California joins states trying to shorten wait times for mental health care

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When Greta Christina fell into a deep depression five years ago, she called up her therapist in San Francisco. She’d had a great connection with the provider when she needed therapy in the past. She was delighted to learn that he was now “in network” with her insurance company, meaning she wouldn’t have to pay out-of-pocket anymore to ...Read more

Spencer Platt/Getty Images North America/TNS

NYC Mayor-elect Adams traveling to Ghana despite omicron COVID variant: 'I'm not afraid of anything'

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NEW YORK — COVID-19 is apparently no match for an ex-cop.

Mayor-elect Eric Adams confirmed Monday that he’s bound for Africa — and declared that his time as a police officer has rendered him unafraid of traveling to the continent despite international concern over a new coronavirus variant first detected there.

“I’m not afraid of ...Read more

Dreamstime/Dreamstime/TNS

An Idaho death row inmate has terminal cancer. He gets a rare clemency hearing Tuesday

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BOISE, Idaho — An Idaho death row inmate nearing his end from cancer will soon learn whether he will be killed by lethal injection, which would mark the state’s first execution in nearly a decade.

Idaho’s pardons and parole board on Tuesday will consider whether to amend the sentence of Gerald Pizzuto, convicted of murdering two people in...Read more

Antonio Perez //Chicago Tribune/TNS

Jussie Smollett trial begins with prosecutor alleging a bogus hate crime, defense claiming case was a 'rush to judgment'

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CHICAGO — After years of controversy and roller-coaster twists and turns, the trial of Jussie Smollett began Monday with prosecutors alleging the actor faked a hate crime that grabbed the nation’s attention and the defense calling that a “fantasy.”

In his opening statement, special prosecutor Dan Webb said that Smollett’s fakery was ...Read more

Carl Court/Getty Images North America/TNS

Majority of vaccine exemption requests denied by Marine Corps as mandate deadline passes

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SAN DIEGO — Thousands of active-duty Marines remain unvaccinated against COVID-19 as of Monday, one day after the service's Nov. 28 deadline, the Corps said in a statement. Most of them will find themselves booted from the military if the service follows-through with its current vaccine policy.

The service did not specify how many Marines ...Read more

Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images North America/TNS

New York braces for the imminent arrival of new COVID-19 variant as health officials recommend wearing masks indoors

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As the great Yogi Berra would say, it’s like déjà vu all over again.

New York finds itself in a wait-and-see scenario, as health officials now face the almost certain possibility that the heavily mutated coronavirus variant called omicron will arrive within days.

From Dr. Anthony Fauci, the chief medical adviser to President Biden, to Dr. ...Read more

Julie K. Brown/Miami Herald/TNS

'Memory, manipulation and money': Trial of Epstein lieutenant Ghislaine Maxwell underway

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NEW YORK — The much-anticipated trial of accused sex trafficker Ghislaine Maxwell began Monday as federal prosecutors in New York laid out their case against the British socialite charged with recruiting girls and young women and trafficking them to have sex with the late financier Jeffrey Epstein.

Epstein and Maxwell were “partners in ...Read more

Dreamstime/TNS

US proceeding with oil reserves release despite price drop

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WASHINGTON — The U.S. will proceed with its plan to release 50 million barrels of oil from its strategic reserves despite a new coronavirus variant triggering a sharp drop in crude prices.

“We are not reconsidering,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki told reporters Monday at a briefing.

The Biden administration announced a release ...Read more

Darren McGee- Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo/New York Daily News/TNS

Testimony from CNN's Chris Cuomo reveals he shared intel from sources with Gov. Cuomo's top aide: NY Attorney General probe

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NEW YORK — Blood, apparently, is thicker than water.

Newly released testimony from CNN anchor Chris Cuomo reveals he shared information from “sources” with a top aide to his brother, former Gov. Andrew Cuomo, as part of their effort to perform damage control in response to sexual harassment allegations.

In sworn testimony, Chris Cuomo ...Read more

MONIRUL BHUIYAN/Getty Images North America/TNS

Botswana court legalizes same-sex relations in rare African move

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Botswana’s highest court ruled to legalize homosexuality, ending a years-long court dispute and making the southern African nation one of the few on the continent to end discrimination against same-sex relationships.

The Court of Appeal on Monday threw out a challenge by the government against a 2019 high court ruling to strike down sections ...Read more

News briefs

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Scott Peterson moved off death row ahead of resentencing

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Scott Peterson on Monday was transferred from death row at San Quentin Prison to the San Mateo County jail in advance of his resentencing hearing next week.

Judge Anne-Christine Massullo signed an order Nov. 23 to have Peterson transferred as soon as possible after...Read more

Irfan Khan/Los Angeles Times/TNS

Facing omicron threat, CDC says all adults should get COVID-19 booster vaccine

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The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Monday strengthened its recommendations on who should get boosters.

In a statement, CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said that all vaccinated adults should get a booster as long as they received their second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna shot at least six months ago or they received their...Read more

Ethan Hyman/The News & Observer/TNS

NC Lt. Gov. confronts Democrat after she says politicians shouldn't attack LGBTQ constituents

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RALEIGH, N.C. — North Carolina Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson, a Republican who has used his pulpit to make numerous anti-LGBTQ comments, confronted a Democratic lawmaker Monday night after she gave a speech responding to Robinson’s remarks.

Robinson “berated” state Sen. Julie Mayfield, a Democrat from Asheville, after her speech and wagged his...Read more