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EPA chief Pruitt met with lobbyist tied to $50 condo rental

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WASHINGTON -- The lobbyist whose wife rented a bedroom in a Capitol Hill condo to EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt says he met with Pruitt last July with the charitable arm of pork processor Smithfield Foods Inc., despite earlier saying he hadn't lobbied the agency on behalf of clients in the past year.

Revelations that J. Steven Hart was present...Read more

Some California cities rebel against state sanctuary law, but how far can they go?

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SAN JOSE, Calif. -- What started late last month with a city council vote in the Southern California suburb of Los Alamitos has grown into a wave of dissent across Orange County that is sparking a new kind of resistance in the Trump era: Californians in revolt against their own state -- not the Trump administration.

At least 14 Southern ...Read more

Dossier lawsuit: Judge wants Dutch bankers to testify, granting BuzzFeed request

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WASHINGTON -- A federal judge in South Florida has asked the Dutch government for help in putting two bankers under oath in connection with a lawsuit involving the so-called Trump dossier.

In a decision on Friday, which wasn't available in court records until Monday, Judge Ursula Ungaro in Miami granted a request by the news site BuzzFeed and ...Read more

Study: Nearly three-quarters of commonly used medical scopes tainted by bacteria

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In an ominous sign for patient safety, 71 percent of reusable medical scopes deemed ready for use on patients tested positive for bacteria at three major U.S. hospitals, according to a new study.

The paper, published last month in the American Journal of Infection Control, underscores the infection risk posed by a wide range of endoscopes ...Read more

Flight records illuminate mystery of Trump's Moscow nights

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ROME -- President Donald Trump twice gave James Comey an alibi for why a salacious report about the 2013 Miss Universe pageant in Moscow couldn't be true: He never even spent the night in Russia during that trip, Trump told the former FBI director, according to Comey's memos about the conversations.

Yet the broad timeline of Trump's stay, ...Read more

Houthi political leader killed in strike last week, Yemeni group says

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SANAA, Yemen -- The political leader of Yemen's Houthi rebel group, Saleh al-Sammad, died in a strike carried out by the Saudi-led coalition last week, the group said Monday.

Saleh al-Sammad was the head of the Houthi-led Supreme Political Council, the political body in charge of areas under the group's control.

Al-Sammad died on Thursday in ...Read more

Texas attorney general gives governor OK to suspend election law

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AUSTIN, Texas -- To the extent election law prevents or delays the recovery of Texas' coastal areas in the long aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, the Texas governor can suspend that law, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton announced on Monday.

Tying the ravages of Hurricane Harvey with the abrupt resignation of scandal-ridden U.S. Rep. Blake ...Read more

Johns Hopkins performs world's first penile transplant

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BALTIMORE -- The Johns Hopkins reconstructive surgery team performed the world's first transplant of a penis and scrotum on a wounded soldier.

"It is our hope that such a life-changing transplant will allow him to regain urinary and sexual function and lead a normal life," said Dr. Richard Redett, an associate professor of plastic and ...Read more

Confederate group, activists hold competing ceremonies at Chicago cemetery

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CHICAGO -- The differences start in how the burial markers look at Oak Woods Cemetery on the city's South Side.

One, a Confederate Mound, lists the names of thousands of Confederate soldiers who were captured and died at Camp Douglas in Chicago. It's topped with a bronze statute of a Confederate infantry soldier. Farther north, a simple ...Read more

Travel 700 mph in a vacuum tube? Hyperloop promises a 30-minute trip from Chicago to Cleveland, but multiple challenges ahead

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CHICAGO -- Suppose you want to go to Cleveland from Chicago -- how fast can you get there?

A car ride takes around five hours. A plane takes an hour and 20 minutes, not counting waiting time in the airport.

Hyperloop technology, which involves a system composed of a vacuum and magnets to propel vehicle pods through a tube, could theoretically ...Read more

Climate change will make California's drought-flood cycle more volatile, study finds

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Californians should expect more dramatic swings between dry and wet years as the climate warms, according to a new study that found it likely that the state will be hit by devastating, widespread flooding in coming decades.

UC researchers in essence found that California's highly volatile climate will become even more volatile as human-caused ...Read more

Congress sets modest to-do list amid polarized election campaign

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WASHINGTON -- Republicans are showing little appetite for big action in what may be their last months in full control of Congress.

The House took much of last week off and doesn't get back to Washington until Tuesday. The Senate is bogged down in confirmation hearings. And many lawmakers are already focused on their first election campaigns ...Read more

Judge: Bill Cosby's lawyers can't read deposition from Andrea Constand's friend

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NORRISTOWN, Pa. -- Bill Cosby's lawyers cannot read old deposition testimony from Andrea Constand's friend at Cosby's sexual assault trial, a judge ruled Monday.

Members of Cosby's defense team said they had sought to find Sheri Williams to testify at the entertainer's retrial, but they could not locate her. Instead, they asked to use her ...Read more

'Your kids masturbate' and other provocative lines from Fresno State professor who insulted Barbara Bush

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FRESNO, Calif. -- A video circulated by people identifying with the alt-right presents a compilation of often obscenity-laced moments from Fresno State professor Randa Jarrar's interviews and speeches.

The university is investigating the conduct of Jarrar, an award-winning author, who posted to Twitter that Barbara Bush was an "amazing racist" ...Read more

Terrorism suspect gets 20-year sentence over Brussels shootout

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BRUSSELS -- Terrorism suspect Salah Abdeslam has been sentenced to 20 years in prison for attempted murder, after participating in a 2016 police shootout in Brussels.

The 28-year-old Frenchman is thought to be the only survivor of a group of terrorists who orchestrated attacks across the French capital in November 2015, leaving 130 people dead....Read more

Change-of-address scam moved UPS corporate headquarters to tiny Chicago apartment, feds say

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CHICAGO -- The timeworn apartment building in Chicago's Rogers Park neighborhood hardly looks like the corporate headquarters of one of the world's largest shipping companies.

But for a few recent months, that's essentially what it became -- at least as far as the U.S. Postal Service was concerned.

Federal court papers unsealed last week ...Read more

Judge won't be back in court after video shows her yelling at frail woman who died days later

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FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- A Broward judge is under fire after she repeatedly snapped at a frail inmate who later died at her Lauderhill home.

Broward Chief Administrative Judge Jack Tuter said Saturday that he is telling Circuit Court Judge Merrilee Ehrlich not to return to the courthouse because of how she treated Sandra Twiggs, 59, who ...Read more

Senate committee poised to vote against Mike Pompeo as secretary of State

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WASHINGTON -- Barring a last-minute change of votes, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee is expected Monday to reject secretary of State nominee Mike Pompeo in an embarrassing rebuke of President Donald Trump's foreign policy.

It would be the first time in years that a nomination for such a high-level Cabinet position did not receive backing...Read more

Ruling party candidate scrapes narrow win in Paraguay vote

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MONTEVIDEO, Uruguay -- Paraguay's electoral court declared Mario Abdo Benitez, a former senator from the ruling Colorado Party, the winner of Sunday's presidential election.

Abdo Benitez, 46, had 46.5 percent of the vote, with 97.3 percent of voting stations counted at 9:35 p.m., according to preliminary results from the electoral court. Former...Read more

Trump bristles at criticism over planned North Korea summit

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WASHINGTON -- President Donald Trump pushed back Sunday against criticism that his decision to hold face-to-face talks with North Korea's leader amounted to a major concession to Pyongyang, with no gain for Washington in return.

"Wow, we haven't given up anything," the president tweeted from his Florida resort.

In the same tweet, Trump ...Read more