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Trump pick to lead FTC confirmed by Senate amid Facebook probe

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WASHINGTON -- Washington lawyer Joseph Simons, President Donald Trump's nominee to lead the Federal Trade Commission, was confirmed by the Senate as the agency tackles high-profile consumer-protection cases like the Facebook Inc. data scandal.

The Senate confirmed Simons late Thursday along with four other nominees -- Republicans Noah Phillips ...Read more

Nation and world news briefs

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Trump to make long-delayed visit to Britain in July

WASHINGTON -- President Donald Trump's long-delayed visit to the United Kingdom has been scheduled for July 13, 18 months into his presidency that has been notable for its occasional tensions with America's closest ally.

The two governments Thursday announced the trip for Trump to hold talks ...Read more

Peru's highest court orders release of ex-president Humala

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LIMA, Peru -- Peru's Constitutional Court ordered the release of former President Ollanta Humala and his wife, Nadine Heredia, who were jailed nine months ago pending a trial on money laundering allegations.

The country's highest court ruled in a 4-3 vote to grant the couple's habeas corpus request, paving the way for their immediate release, ...Read more

On Capitol Hill, EPA chief Scott Pruitt takes little responsibility for his troubles

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WASHINGTON -- Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt offered lawmakers little contrition Thursday for questionable spending and management decisions that have plunged his agency into scandal, as he accused critics of fabricating stories about him in an effort to undermine President Donald Trump's agenda.

Pruitt spent a tense day on ...Read more

Trump says Michael Cohen 'represented me' in Stormy Daniels deal

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WASHINGTON -- The legal thicket around a hush-money payment to a porn star was tangled further Thursday after President Donald Trump appeared to confirm that Michael Cohen was representing him when the lawyer paid $130,000 to Stormy Daniels on the eve of the 2016 election.

Trump, who previously said he was unaware of Cohen's payment, vigorously...Read more

Investigator on Greitens' criminal case refuses to answer deposition questions

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ST. LOUIS -- A former FBI agent who investigated an invasion of privacy charge against Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens refused to answer questions in a deposition Thursday, leading defense lawyers to call for witnesses and evidence linked to the investigator to be excluded from the case.

If they are successful, that could include the woman who says...Read more

Golden State Killer detectives used genealogical website to identify suspect

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The break that authorities said led them to the man accused of being the Golden State Killer came when they linked DNA evidence from the killings to genetic information contained on a consumer genealogical website, authorities said Thursday.

Investigators knew the killer only through a string of DNA recorded in several of the dozen murder ...Read more

Deputy union says it has 'no confidence' in Broward Sheriff Scott Israel

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FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla.--A deputies' union on Thursday decided it has "no confidence" in Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel, citing crushed morale amid national criticism of how the agency handled its response to the Parkland school massacre.

The Broward Sheriff's Office Deputies Association revealed 85 percent of the union members who voted -- ...Read more

9 hikers killed in Dead Sea flash floods, Israel medical services say

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TEL AVIV, Israel -- Nine young people died in flash floods that struck while they were hiking in southern Israel, medical services said Thursday.

Israeli police said that a group of 25 hikers had been hit by flash floods in Nahal Tzafit, a riverbed near the Dead Sea, but did not confirm any casualties.

But Zaka, an Israeli emergency rescue ...Read more

Here's why the apparent increase in autism spectrum disorders may be good for US children

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The prevalence of autism spectrum disorder among American children continues to rise, new government data suggest. And that may be a good thing.

Among 11 sites across the U.S. where records of 8-year-olds are scrutinized in detail, 1 in 59 kids was deemed to have ASD in 2014. That's up from 1 in 68 in 2012.

Normally, health officials would ...Read more

Michigan approves marijuana legalization vote for November

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LANSING, Mich. -- Michigan's battle to free the weed officially started Thursday when the State Board of Canvassers ruled that a group pushing a proposal to legalize marijuana for recreational use got enough signatures to qualify for the Nov. 6 ballot.

The 4-0 decision by the board was met with cheers by advocates for the proposal.

"The people...Read more

America was already at war with al-Qaida by 9/11, Guantanamo judge rules

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MIAMI -- The United States was at war with al-Qaida at the time of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, the military judge presiding at the trial of the alleged plotters has ruled. But he sidestepped a crucial question: When precisely did the war begin?

For now, Army Col. James L. Pohl wrote in his 20-page ruling dated Wednesday, it is "unnecessary to ...Read more

Senate confirms Pompeo as Trump's second secretary of state

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WASHINGTON -- Overcoming a bruising confirmation fight, the Senate voted Thursday to confirm CIA Director Mike Pompeo as President Donald Trump's second secretary of state -- but the first who Trump says shares his worldview and opinions on Iran, North Korea and other key concerns.

The vote was 57-42, an unusually low margin of approval for ...Read more

Trump says he doesn't watch TV — except when he does

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WASHINGTON -- President Donald Trump just can't quit TV.

During a half-hour telephone interview on "Fox & Friends" Thursday morning, Trump offered a new spin on his frequent media criticism, assailing "fake news" yet insisting he has found the path to sanity by avoiding that which he has long seemed to adore.

"I don't watch them at all," Trump...Read more

Ryan pushed House chaplain to resign

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WASHINGTON -- Last week Speaker Paul D. Ryan sent out a press release announcing Father Patrick J. Conroy would step down as House Chaplain in May with a statement of kind words for the priest.

Now it's come to light that Ryan pushed Conroy to resign, and some members are questioning why.

In his April 16 statement Ryan called Conroy "a great ...Read more

Menendez 'severely admonished' over gifts from Dr. Melgen

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WASHINGTON -- The Senate Ethics Committee has "severely admonished" Sen. Robert Menendez for improperly accepting gifts from South Florida ophthalmologist Salomon Melgen.

In a letter, the ethics panel directed the New Jersey Democrat to pay for all improper gifts that have not already been reimbursed. The panel of three Democrats and three ...Read more

Trump to make long-delayed visit to Britain in July

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WASHINGTON -- President Donald Trump's long-delayed visit to the United Kingdom has been scheduled for July 13, 18 months into his presidency that has been notable for its occasional tensions with America's closest ally.

The two governments Thursday announced the trip for Trump to hold talks with Prime Minister Theresa May.

"Further details ...Read more

How vulnerable is Republican Sen. Deb Fischer in Nebraska?

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WASHINGTON -- Nebraska has been dubbed a "sleeper" Senate race and rated as competitive by some handicappers. House Democrats just came close to winning a special election in a congressional district President Donald Trump won by 21 points, so how vulnerable is GOP Sen. Deb Fischer?

At a minimum, the senator faces a spirited challenge from ...Read more

'Rapid autopsy' programs seek clues to cancer within hours of death

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After Keith Beck died of bile duct cancer last year, family members said more than 900 people showed up to pay respects to the popular athletic director at the University of Findlay in northwestern Ohio.

Many were former students who recalled acts of kindness during Beck's nearly 30-year career: $20 given to a kid who was broke, textbooks ...Read more

The JFK saga: Even the (supposed) final release of murder-related docs has caveat

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COLLEGE PARK, Md. -- Those who know William Bosanko know better than to ask his opinion about President John F. Kennedy's assassination. Martha Wagner Murphy's husband is under orders not to reveal details of what she does for a living.

The two of them have led the final efforts at the National Archives to make public all government records ...Read more