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5 things to watch as Tillerson, Kelly visit Mexico

Current News / News & Features /

MEXICO CITY -- U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Homeland Security Secretary John F. Kelly are heading to Mexico this week for high-stakes talks with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto and other top officials.

The visit, during which the diplomats are expected to discuss trade, security and other issues, comes at a frosty moment in U....Read more

Congressman, artist sue to rehang Ferguson painting at US Capitol

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WASHINGTON -- The St. Louis artist suing the architect of the U.S. Capitol for removing his painting could make a potentially strong argument that his rights were violated, attorneys said Tuesday.

Rep. Lacy Clay, D-Mo., announced Tuesday on the steps of a Washington federal courthouse that he wants a federal judge's order to rehang the painting...Read more

Kansas governor to veto income tax hike passed by Legislature

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TOPEKA, Kan. -- Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback will veto a bill that sought to raise income taxes and roll back his signature tax policies.

Brownback called the plan a "big, retroactive, income tax increase."

"I won't sign it and I will veto this bill," he said to applause at the annual dinner of the Kansas Chamber of Commerce, one of the groups ...Read more

Numbers up for Florida manatees, both dead and alive

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MIAMI -- The number of Florida manatees, both dead and alive, continues to climb.

This week, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission released preliminary results of an annual count that recorded 6,620 manatees lumbering in the warm waters of Florida's lagoons, springs and canals. The count comes a year after federal wildlife ...Read more

Vandalism at St. Louis-area Jewish cemetery draws widespread condemnation

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UNIVERSITY CITY, Mo. -- The day after dozens of headstones were discovered toppled at a historic Jewish cemetery, local and national leaders on Tuesday expressed their outrage over the desecration and condolences to families affected by the vandalism.

The University City Council released a statement saying members stand with Jewish friends and ...Read more

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