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Syrians still not sharing information on fate of journalist Austin Tice, Pompeo says

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WASHINGTON — The Syrian government has chosen not to share any information it has about Austin Tice, an American journalist captured there in 2012, despite repeated overtures by the Trump administration, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Wednesday.

Pompeo at a press briefing confirmed that the administration remained in touch with Syrian ...Read more


Hurricane Epsilon now a Category 2 as it heads toward Bermuda

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MIAMI — Hurricane Epsilon has strengthened into a powerful Category 2 hurricane with 110 mph winds, according to an update from the National Hurricane Center.

Forecasters said the storm saw some rapid intensification overnight that continued through Wednesday.

"It is possible that Epsilon could strengthen a little more and become a major ...Read more

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Supreme Court vote tears at Judiciary Committee relationships

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WASHINGTON — The Senate's escalating partisan tug-of-war over judicial confirmations has frayed relationships in the chamber for decades, but Thursday's committee vote on Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett threatens to sever the rope.

The vote is expected to unfold as it did for previous judicial nominees in the President Donald Trump ...Read more


An international flying squirrel trafficking ring has been busted in Florida

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FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — A group of poachers set 10,000 traps and captured about 3,600 wild flying squirrels in Florida before putting them on an exotic pet pipeline that sent the animals to Asia.

That's according to Florida wildlife officials who announced Monday that seven people have been arrested after a 19-month investigation.

The total ...Read more

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NTSB: Conception boat fire victims were awake, might have been saved with warning

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LOS ANGELES — More than a year after the worst maritime disaster in modern California history, federal regulators this week offered grim new findings about the last moments of those who died aboard the Conception dive boat when it caught fire off the Santa Barbara coast.

National Transportation Safety Board Chairman Robert Sumwalt said ...Read more

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Officials find Trump Tower dangler after he jumped out of ambulance transporting him, Chicago police say

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CHICAGO - The man who dangled from Trump Tower for more than 13 hours from Sunday into Monday then jumped out of a private ambulance taking him to another hospital was later found after a missing person's report was made, according to Chicago police.

The man, 31, was being taken from Northwestern Memorial Hospital about 5:30 p.m. Tuesday just ...Read more

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As Trump rages over '60 Minutes' debacle, White House seeks to limit the damage

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President Donald Trump's chief of staff wants you to know he didn't "walk out" on Lesley Stahl, after all.

Hours after the president abruptly ended an interview with the legendary "60 Minutes" journalist, Mark Meadows insisted Wednesday that his boss actually finished the sit-down as scheduled.

"He didn't walk out ... he spent over 45 minutes ...Read more

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House Democrats float tax compromises in coronavirus relief talks

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WASHINGTON - House Democrats are offering several concessions to Republicans on pandemic-related tax items, including a temporary fix to the thorny problem of how teleworkers and others who work in multiple states during the pandemic should be taxed.

That pitch is part of a collection of tax proposals in a document obtained by CQ Roll Call that...Read more

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California has escaped the national surge in coronavirus cases. But new dangers lie ahead

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SAN FRANCISCO - California has largely avoided a new wave of coronavirus cases that has sparked alarm elsewhere in the country, but the state faces new dangers in the coming weeks as key businesses reopen and the holidays arrive.

In what health experts describe as a significant achievement, California over the last two months has managed to ...Read more

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Can ordinary COVID-19 patients get the Trump treatment?

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When Terry Mutter woke up with a headache and sore muscles on a recent Wednesday, the competitive weightlifter chalked it up to a hard workout.

By that evening, though, he had a fever of 101 degrees and was clearly ill. "I felt like I had been hit by a truck," recalled Mutter, who lives near Seattle.

The next day he was diagnosed with COVID-19...Read more

Liz O. Baylen/Los Angeles Times/TNS

Purdue Pharma to pay $8 billion to settle US opioid probe

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Purdue Pharma LP has agreed to an $8 billion settlement with the U.S. Justice Department to resolve federal probes of how it marketed OxyContin, the addictive painkiller blamed for helping to spark the opioid epidemic, according to a person familiar with the matter.

The Justice Department is expected to hold a morning press conference to ...Read more

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Doctors fight 'infodemic' with Americans seeing virus as a hoax

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There's a no shortage of what President Donald Trump might call fake news about the coronavirus floating around social media, with plenty of it coming from his own Twitter account. That's a problem for a growing number of U.S. doctors.

When the virus first hit the U.S., Trump said it would disappear "like a miracle." He's since touted unproven ...Read more

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A jailed Philippine activist is forced to attend her infant's funeral in handcuffs and a hazmat suit

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MANILA, Philippines - The infant girl lay in a white coffin adorned with purple and yellow flowers, a ceramic bunny and pink slippers.

Her name was River. She was born into poverty, the daughter of Reina Mae Nasino, a 23-year-old activist in one of Manila's most desperate slums, who was arrested last year as part of the Philippine government's ...Read more

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California's homeless students could fill Dodger Stadium 5 times, study finds

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LOS ANGELES - There were at least 269,000 K-12 students in California experiencing homelessness at the end of the 2018-19 school year - enough children and teens to fill Dodgers Stadium five times over - and that number was likely a gross underestimate, a UCLA report said.

In the face of pandemic-related job losses and economic instability, ...Read more

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Postal Service didn't examine service impacts before making cuts, IG report says

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WASHINGTON - The independent watchdog of the U.S. Postal Service has issued a report criticizing service reductions implemented in June and July under Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, asserting that there was no consideration of the effects the cutbacks would have before they were put in place.

"No analysis of the service impacts of these ...Read more

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Chicago 7 prosecutor: 'They were going to try to destroy our trial. And they did a damn good job'

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CHICAGO - Even five decades later, former federal prosecutor Dick Schultz has a pretty good idea of when the legendary Chicago 7 trial started to go off the rails: during the testimony of the very first witness.

That day in September 1969, U.S. District Judge Julius Hoffman halted the trial after he was informed that a juror had received a ...Read more

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Activists brace for voter intimidation efforts on Election Day

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WASHINGTON - As a young lawyer for the New Jersey Democratic Party, Angelo Genova quickly realized something was amiss on Election Day in 1981.

"Our team was getting calls left and right," he said. "A lot of it was a blur."

In urban Black communities across New Jersey, large signs had appeared warning that polling places were "patrolled by the...Read more

Pope Francis calls for civil union laws for same-sex couples: 'They are children of God and have a right to a family'

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Pope Francis says same-sex unions need to be legally protected in a stunning departure from the Vatican on the issue.

"Homosexuals have a right to be a part of the family. They're children of God and have a right to a family," Francis said in a new documentary that premiered in Rome Wednesday.

"Nobody should be thrown out, or be made miserable...Read more


COVID-19 patients swamp rural hospitals

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The nation's pandemic hot spots have shifted to rural communities, overwhelming small hospitals that are running out of beds or lack the intensive care units for more than one or two seriously ill patients.

And in much of the Midwest and Great Plains, hospital workers are catching the virus at home and in their communities, seriously reducing ...Read more

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Trump California nemesis Nichols on short list to run Biden EPA

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WASHINGTON - If Joe Biden wins the presidency, his EPA chief could be a clean air champion from California who has fought President Donald Trump on automobile pollution or an environmental justice activist from Mississippi.

Biden's campaign has heard recommendations for both California air regulator Mary Nichols and Mississippi's Heather McTeer...Read more