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Israeli soldier sentenced to 18 months for killing wounded Palestinian assailant

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TEL AVIV, Israel -- Elor Azaria cracked a smile and his family broke out in song Tuesday moments after a military tribunal sentenced the Israeli soldier to 18 months in jail for killing a wounded Palestinian knife assailant last March in a case that has gripped national attention for nearly a year.

The decision comes a month and a half after ...Read more

Bill would prohibit paddling punishment in Kentucky public schools

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LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Corporal punishment, or paddling, which is legal in Kentucky public schools, would be prohibited under a bill introduced in the General Assembly by Rep. Jim Wayne.

School administrators, teachers and other staff, and school districts would be prohibited from using corporal punishment under House Bill 393.

Corporal physical ...Read more

Ecuador presidential runoff looks likely; Correa remains defiant

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BOGOTA, Colombia -- Ecuador's two leading presidential contenders are almost certainly heading toward an April 2 runoff, as ruling party candidate Lenin Moreno seems to have failed to garner the 40 percent of the vote he needed to win outright.

With 96 percent of the vote counted, the National Electoral Council (CNE) suggested Tuesday that ...Read more

Nation and world news briefs

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SC man waives right to hearing on federal gun charge in 'Dylann Roof' attack case

FLORENCE, S.C. -- In a hearing that took little more than a minute, Benjamin Thomas Samuel McDowell -- accused of purchasing a gun from an undercover agent for an attack "in the spirit of Dylann Roof" -- waived his right to a preliminary hearing.

He delayed the ...Read more

Yiannopoulos backlash is the latest fault line in conservatives' civil war

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WASHINGTON -- The victories of Republicans up and down the ticket last November temporarily papered over the major fault lines that divided the GOP base throughout the 2016 election. But those differences are beginning to surface again, and nowhere will such tensions be more evident than at this week's Conservative Political Action Conference, ...Read more

Supreme Court appears split over whether Constitution extends to Mexican teen shot across the border

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WASHINGTON -- Supreme Court justices debated border shootings and drone strikes Tuesday in a case that could preview the legal battle over President Donald Trump's proposed ban on foreign travelers from certain Muslim-majority countries.

But the eight justices sounded evenly split over whether the parents of a Mexican teenager can sue the U.S. ...Read more

National Zoo says farewell to Bao Bao, panda cub headed to China

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WASHINGTON -- Will the National Zoo change without Bao Bao?

"Ask the bamboo," joked Noah Tadele, 9, an aspiring veterinarian who was at the zoo Tuesday to say goodbye to Bao Bao, a panda cub headed home to China after four years as the big celebrity at the National Zoo.

Americans across the country joined Noah in person or online to bid ...Read more

US judge: Texas cannot oust Planned Parenthood from Medicaid

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AUSTIN, Texas -- A federal judge Tuesday indefinitely blocked Texas officials from ousting Planned Parenthood as a Medicaid health care provider, dealing another blow to Republican-led efforts to enforce stricter abortion-related regulations and policy.

U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks of Austin granted a preliminary injunction Tuesday evening.

...Read more

Missouri man charged with plotting terror attack on Kansas City

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A Missouri man is accused of plotting a Presidents Day jihadist terrorist attack on buses, trains and a train station in Kansas City.

Robert Lorenzo Hester Jr., 25, of Columbia, was charged in U.S. District Court of Kansas City with attempting to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization.

The charges were...Read more

No death penalty for 4 ex-students charged in Fla. machete murder

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MIAMI -- Prosecutors won't seek the death penalty for four of the five former students accused in the gruesome machete murder of a teenager in the woods of Homestead.

The state announced Tuesday it would only seek to execute the alleged ringleader, Kaheem Arbelo, who is believed to have delivered the fatal machete blows to 17-year-old Jose ...Read more

Trump finally denounces anti-Semitic attacks, but is it enough?

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WASHINGTON -- Days after he declined to denounce anti-Semitism, President Donald Trump finally condemned the reported increase in anti-Semitism in the United States that has been linked to his political rise.

But it wasn't enough.

Trump was immediately pressed to speak more forcefully about the issue and to take specific steps to tackle hate ...Read more

Wife, stepson of KKK leader plead not guilty to his murder

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ST. LOUIS -- The wife and stepson of the leader of a Ku Klux Klan group who was fatally shot Feb. 9 pleaded not guilty in St. Francois County Circuit Court on Tuesday to murder and other charges.

Both Malissa Ancona, 44, of Leadwood, and Paul Edward Jinkerson Jr., 24, of Belgrade, Mo., face charges of murder, armed criminal action, abandonment ...Read more

NC governor, AG seek to end Supreme Court review of voter ID case

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RALEIGH, N.C. -- North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper and state Attorney General Josh Stein have taken steps to end a request for the U.S. Supreme Court to review a lower court ruling overturning North Carolina's voter ID law.

Stein and Cooper's chief counsel sent a letter on Tuesday discharging private attorneys who had been representing the state ...Read more

McMaster needs Senate confirmation to keep all three stars

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WASHINGTON -- National security advisers don't need the consent of the Senate, but the decision by President Donald Trump to tap Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster for the assignment brings up an unusual question of military rank. Why? Without the Senate confirmation, McMaster would effectively be demoted as result of the new responsibilities, since three-...Read more

North Carolina's ban on secession could be dropped under proposed measure

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RALEIGH, N.C. -- A bill filed Tuesday by a trio of N.C. House Republicans seeks to drop a provision in the North Carolina Constitution that prohibits secession.

Reps. Michael Speciale of New Bern, George Cleveland of Jacksonville and Larry Pittman of Concord are proposing a constitutional amendment that would give voters a chance to repeal ...Read more

Hong Kong Disneyland reports a 2016 loss as visitor slump worsens

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Two weeks after Walt Disney Co. launched a bailout of struggling Euro Disney, another international Disney resort revealed that its financial woes grew last year.

Hong Kong Disneyland reported Monday a second consecutive annual loss on an 11 percent drop in attendance and a 7 percent decline in revenue. The $22 million loss for the fiscal year ...Read more

Federal appeals court upholds Maryland assault rifle ban

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BALTIMORE -- A federal appeals court has upheld the assault rifle ban Maryland lawmakers passed in 2013, concluding that the powerful military-style guns outlawed by the measure are not entitled to protection under the Second Amendment.

The ruling, issued by the entire 4th Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Va., reverses a decision by a ...Read more

Drew Peterson transferred from Illinois to federal prison, sources say

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CHICAGO -- Drew Peterson, the former Bolingbrook police officer convicted of killing his third wife and trying to arrange a hit on the prosecutor who put him behind bars, has been transferred out of custody of the Illinois Department of Corrections and into federal prison, sources said Tuesday.

Peterson was transferred to a federal prison in ...Read more

'Do your job,' Republican-friendly audience demands of McConnell

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LAWRENCEBURG, Ky. -- Mitch McConnell expected the protesters outside the Republican-friendly luncheon in heavily Republican Anderson County. He didn't expect what he found inside the American Legion hall.

The questions from the $10-a-plate crowd, which heard the Senate majority leader offer his usual defense of the Trump administration and the ...Read more

SC man waives right to hearing on federal gun charge in 'Dylann Roof' attack case

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FLORENCE, S.C. -- In a hearing that took little more than a minute, Benjamin Thomas Samuel McDowell -- accused of purchasing a gun from an undercover agent for an attack "in the spirit of Dylann Roof" -- waived his right to a preliminary hearing.

He delayed the matter of his bond.

"He looked real good. He looked real strong," said McDowell's ...Read more