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After 3 years, orphaned manatee leaves rehabilitation center for open waters

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MIAMI -- Last time Junebug the manatee saw open waters, she was a couple of months old, recently orphaned, and her species was endangered.

But on Thursday, after nearly three years in rehabilitation and a reclassification of the species, the West Indian sea cow boarded a truck in Miami bound for Tampa to join a group of about 600 others in ...Read more

Trump to mark one-year anniversary with gala benefit at Mar-a-Lago

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WASHINGTON -- President Donald Trump will mark the first anniversary of his inauguration with a celebration at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, with tickets starting at $100,000 a pair.

That amount, according to the invitation, will pay for dinner and a photograph with the president. For $250,000, a couple can also take part in a roundtable.

...Read more

Judge tentatively allows testimony at trial on Laquan McDonald's 'violent nature'

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CHICAGO -- A Cook County judge on Thursday allowed as many as nine people to potentially testify about Laquan McDonald's "violent and aggressive nature" at the first-degree murder trial of Chicago Police Officer Jason Van Dyke.

Under Illinois law, a defendant making a claim of self-defense can try to include evidence of the victim's violent ...Read more

Cremated remains of Las Vegas mass shooter to be kept in safe deposit box, brother says

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LAS VEGAS -- Without fanfare, the cremated remains of Las Vegas mass shooter Stephen Paddock were released to his brother, who said he intends to store them in a bank deposit box "to make sure there's no hoopla around Steve's remains."

Clark County Coroner John Fudenberg issued a statement Thursday saying that, "due to security concerns, we ...Read more

Congress votes to extend warrantless-spying program through 2023

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WASHINGTON -- The Senate voted Thursday to reauthorize the government's warrantless-spying program through 2023, overcoming bipartisan opposition over concern for Americans' privacy rights.

The bill, passed 65-34, will extend the National Security Agency's authority to intercept calls and emails from suspected foreign terrorists under Section ...Read more

Self-described Trump Russia associate back in spotlight

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WASHINGTON -- The mysterious Russian businessman who went by the name Sergei Millian claimed last year to have long helped Donald Trump pursue Russian investors, a claim the president's team flatly denied.

The claim is again under scrutiny with the sudden release late Thursday of closed-door congressional testimony.

A Washington intelligence ...Read more

Ex-cop says fatal Fla. shooting of stranded motorist was 'classic case of self-defense'

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FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- The former police officer who shot and killed stranded motorist Corey Jones says it was "a classic case of self-defense" and he shouldn't be prosecuted any longer.

Lawyers for Nouman Raja on Thursday filed a claim under Florida's controversial "stand your ground" law, arguing the charges from the shooting Oct. 18, 2015,...Read more

Supreme Court gives North Carolina Republicans a delay in partisan gerrymander case

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WASHINGTON -- The Supreme Court came to the aid of North Carolina's Republican leaders Thursday, putting on hold a lower court's ruling that declared the state's election map an unconstitutional "partisan gerrymander" and required the GOP-controlled Legislature to redraw congressional districts in time for this year's election.

The justices ...Read more

Nation and world news briefs

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US is said to withhold added $45 million in Palestinian aid

WASHINGTON -- The U.S. State Department is reneging on a pledge to contribute $45 million in food aid, health services and other relief it promised to deliver to Palestinian refugees by early January, adding to cutbacks announced earlier this week, according to people familiar with the...Read more

Approval of US leadership under Trump tumbles globally in poll

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LONDON -- An annual Gallup poll of international support for U.S. leadership, conducted after President Donald Trump's election and published Thursday, shows a sharp fall in approval since 2016.

Gallup found that U.S. approval ratings fell by 10 percentage points or more in 65 of the 134 countries surveyed in March to November last year. ...Read more

Ed Moses, 'Cool School' painter who helped forge LA's art scene, dies at 91

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LOS ANGELES -- When he was 90 years old, preparing for a 2016 exhibition of new work, Ed Moses zipped across the courtyard of his Los Angeles art studio in a paint-spattered wheelchair and stained Birkenstocks. The artist, who was still working every day, jerked his chair to a stop at a row of enormous canvases, the fresh paint drying in the sun...Read more

US said to be losing patience as key NAFTA issues remain unresolved

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WASHINGTON -- The U.S. is losing patience with the slow pace of NAFTA talks and wants concrete proposals from Canada and Mexico on contentious issues such as content requirements for cars when negotiations resume next week, according to two people familiar with the matter.

The U.S. is serious about its threat to withdraw from the North American...Read more

US is said to withhold added $45 million in Palestinian aid

Current News / News & Features /

WASHINGTON -- The U.S. State Department is reneging on a pledge to contribute $45 million in food aid, health services and other relief it promised to deliver to Palestinian refugees by early January, adding to cutbacks announced earlier this week, according to people familiar with the matter.

In a letter dated Dec. 17, State Department ...Read more

Trump administration cites questionable data on immigration and violence against women

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WASHINGTON -- President Donald Trump has long said that illegal immigration makes the United States less safe. And the Justice Department and the Department of Homeland Security said they published figures on "terrorism-related offenses" by immigrants Tuesday to "enhance the security of the American people."

But many of the statistics already ...Read more

TransCanada says it has secured enough customers to proceed with Keystone XL pipeline

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SALT LAKE CITY -- The Canadian pipeline company that set out a decade ago to build the $8-billion Keystone XL oil pipeline across the Great Plains said Thursday it had secured enough shipping orders to proceed with construction.

A statement released by TransCanada stopped short of making a commitment to construct the 1,189-mile pipeline from ...Read more

Flu may be spread just by breathing, new study says

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Until now, most people thought you could catch the flu after being exposed to droplets from an infected person's coughs or sneezes, or by touching contaminated surfaces.

But a new study released Thursday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences reveals that we may pass the flu to others just by breathing.

The study -- which ...Read more

Trump tweets that Mexico is the most dangerous country in the world, and Mexico calls out his falsehood

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MEXICO CITY -- President Donald Trump falsely claimed in a tweet Thursday morning that Mexico is "now rated the number one most dangerous country in the world."

A border wall between the United States and Mexico is needed, Trump said, "for the safety and security of our country."

A few hours later, the Mexican government fought back to ...Read more

Cosby prosecutors ask to call 19 more accusers at retrial

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PHILADELPHIA -- Montgomery County, Pa., prosecutors want to call 19 more accusers to testify against Bill Cosby at his upcoming sex assault retrial, potentially expanding the scope and length of the proceeding.

The women would be called to help bolster the claims of the central witness, Andrea Constand, who Cosby is charged with drugging and ...Read more

Trump's first year: The president is driving young Republicans away from the party

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WASHINGTON -- When President Donald Trump refused to explicitly blame white supremacists for violence in Charlottesville, Va., Republican Emmanuel Wilder couldn't help but take it personally.

"I try not to let my feelings get ahead of the facts, but in this circumstance, it hurts," the 30-year-old Wilder, a North Carolina-based African-American...Read more

New blood test can detect early signs of 8 kinds of cancer

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Scientists have developed a noninvasive blood test that can detect signs of eight types of cancer long before any symptoms of the disease arise.

The test, which can also help doctors determine where in a person's body the cancer is located, is called CancerSEEK. Its genesis is described in a paper published Thursday in the journal Science.

The...Read more