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Boy suspended from school after inhaling helium from balloon to get 'squeaky voice'

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LEXINGTON, Ky. -- A Kentucky mother says she's upset because her 13-year-old son was suspended from middle school for three days because he inhaled helium from two Valentine's Day balloons he bought at school.

Robert Rodriguez, an eighth-grader at Simons Middle School in Flemingsburg, told the Lexington Herald-Leader he inhaled the helium from ...Read more

Trump backs arming educators in meeting with school shooting survivors

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WASHINGTON -- President Donald Trump embraced arming educators to stop mass shootings as students and parents from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., pleaded with him to make America's schools safer.

The suggestion, along with others calling for a ban on assault-type weapons and instituting airport-like security perimeters ...Read more

Hundreds mourn Stoneman Douglas athletic director Chris Hixon at funeral

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HOLLYWOOD, Fla. -- Chris Hixon was remembered as a loving father and husband, a veteran who was twice deployed to the Persian Gulf, an athletic director and wrestling coach who worked tirelessly for his athletes and ultimately, as a hero who died trying to save students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

It was at the Parkland school on ...Read more

Kansas can't cut off Medicaid money to Planned Parenthood, appeals court rules

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Kansas acted improperly when it tried to cut off Medicaid dollars to Planned Parenthood under former Gov. Sam Brownback, a federal appeals court ruled Wednesday.

Brownback, who has now taken a position in President Donald Trump's administration, sought to block Planned Parenthood from receiving Medicaid funding for breast ...Read more

House arrest, probation for fake nurse who worked in St. Louis hospital

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ST. LOUIS -- A woman who used faked experience and credentials to get a job as a nurse at a St. Louis hospital was sentenced Wednesday to five years of probation and eight months of house arrest.

Samantha Rivera, 36, will also have to repay about $21,500 to the staffing agency that placed her in the intensive care unit at St. Alexius Hospital ...Read more

Conspiracy theories about Florida school shooting survivors have gone mainstream

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In a world of senseless chaos and cruelty, there are apparently two ways to comprehend what's driving the student-led gun control activism spreading across the country:

1. After a gunman killed 17 students and faculty at a high school in Parkland, Fla., last week, the students have launched a movement that began in their liberal enclave and ...Read more

GOP Rep. Tenney: Mass murderers often 'end up being Democrats'

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WASHINGTON--Many mass murders are perpetrated by Democrats, New York Republican Rep. Claudia Tenney said Wednesday in a radio discussion on gun control following the recent mass shooting at a Florida high school.

"Obviously, there's a lot of politics in it," the congresswoman told the "Focus on the State Capitol" podcast hosted by Fred Dicker. ...Read more

Instead of nagging your spouse to lose weight, try going on a diet yourself

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Tired of nagging your spouse to lose a few pounds? You might get better results by going on a diet yourself.

Health experts have seen that the weight status of couples tends to move in sync. It is often similar when they get married, and if one partner gains weight over time, the other does as well. In fact, researchers have found that if one ...Read more

New Pa. congressional map could be challenged on civil rights grounds

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PHILADELPHIA -- Common Cause helped bring down Pennsylvania's old congressional district map. Now, in a twist, the good government group may undo the new map that replaced it.

Micah Sims, executive director of Common Cause Pennsylvania, said his organization and the state NAACP are considering filing suit in federal court to challenge the new ...Read more

Venezuelan opposition parties to boycott 'fraudulent' presidential election

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BOGOTA, Colombia -- Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro may be running virtually unopposed in the April 22 presidential race.

On Wednesday, the coalition of opposition parties known as the MUD said it wouldn't be fielding a candidate in the snap elections it considers fraudulent.

In a statement, the group said the April vote was "simply a show...Read more

In wake of Florida school shooting, conservatives stay on message about guns

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WASHINGTON -- As conservatives prepare to gather Thursday for their closely watched national summit, the strategy for talking about guns seems deceptively simple: Don't shy away from discussing the issue. Be compassionate. And don't let anti-gun activists hijack the debate.

"No matter what your viewpoint on the constitutional words of the ...Read more

Athletic director Chris Hixon mourned as a hero in Florida school shooting

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HOLLYWOOD, Fla. -- Chris Hixon was as devoted to his students as he was to his own children up to the last minute of his life, said those who honored the slain Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School athletic director at his funeral Wednesday.

Hixon, 49, was among the first responders when gunfire erupted Feb. 14 in the freshman building, and he ...Read more

Explosion on tourist ferry injures 18 people in Mexico

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MEXICO CITY -- An explosion on a ferry docked in the Mexican tourist resort of Playa del Carmen injured 18 people on Wednesday, municipal authorities said.

Fifteen of the victims were Mexican and three were Canadian nationals. They were taken to hospital, although none of them was reported to be in serious condition.

The explosion occurred in ...Read more

Off-duty Prince George's County, Md., officer killed while helping neighbor

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BALTIMORE -- An off-duty Prince George's County police officer was shot and killed Wednesday morning while helping a woman next door in an incident of domestic violence, the department's police chief said.

Cpl. Mujahid Ramzziddin, a 14-year veteran of the department, was fatally shot by a man with a shotgun who had a history of domestic ...Read more

Mueller files sealed new charges in Manafort, Gates case

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WASHINGTON -- U.S. special counsel Robert Mueller has filed new charges in the case against onetime Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and his former deputy, Rick Gates, according to a sealed court filing.

The filing in Washington federal court doesn't specify the nature of the charges, or whether it expanded the case against both men or ...Read more

Days after Florida massacre, Los Angeles County authorities raced to thwart a school shooting plot in Whittier

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LOS ANGELES -- Just 48 hours after a gunman slaughtered 17 students and teachers in Parkland, Fla., El Camino High School security officer Marino Chavez overheard a troubling threat.

A 17-year-old student with an "extensive" disciplinary history said he planned to "shoot up" the Whittier campus within three weeks, according to Los Angeles ...Read more

Is this nationwide network of students organized enough to take on the gun lobby?

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WASHINGTON -- In an unprecedented manner, high school students have taken the lead in calling for increased gun regulation, including through a lie-in at the White House, a rally in front of a state capitol, classroom walkouts and three upcoming nationwide protests.

Spurred by the most recent mass shooting, last week's massacre at Marjory ...Read more

White House: 'No' chance Ivanka Trump meets with North Korean officials

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WASHINGTON -- Ivanka Trump is not expected to meet with any North Korean officials later this week when she leads the White House's official delegation to the closing ceremony for the Winter Olympic Games.

Asked if the president's daughter and senior adviser could meet with North Korean officials while in Pyeongchang, South Korea, a senior ...Read more

Study: Salt marshes will vanish if seas keep rising and California keeps building

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LOS ANGELES -- On one side, there's the rising ocean. On the other, rising buildings.

Squeezed between the two are California's salt marshes -- a unique ecosystem filled with pickleweed and cordgrass, shorebirds and many endangered species.

Coastal wetlands such as Bolinas Lagoon in Marin County, the marshes along Morro Bay and the ecological ...Read more

Supreme Court limits protections for corporate whistleblowers

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WASHINGTON -- The Supreme Court sharply limited the legal protections for corporate whistleblowers on Wednesday, ruling they are not shielded from being fired under a federal law unless they have reported a potential fraud to the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The justices conceded their ruling might "gut" the whistleblower protections ...Read more