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Xi unanimously elected for second term as China's president

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BEIJING -- Xi Jinping was unanimously elected to his second term as China's president by the country's rubber-stamp parliament on Saturday.

All 2,970 delegates in Bejijing voted to elect Xi. There were no abstentions and no votes against him, the parliament said. The unanimous vote is a rarity even for the rubber-stamp parliament, as there are ...Read more

Trump seeks more than $20 million in damages from Stormy Daniels

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LOS ANGELES -- President Donald Trump is seeking more than $20 million in damages from the porn actress who is trying to void the confidentiality deal that requires her to keep quiet about her alleged affair with him, according to court papers filed Friday by his attorneys.

Stormy Daniels has breached her confidentiality agreement at least 20 ...Read more

Stoneman Douglas officials worried about Nikolas Cruz and guns 18 months before shooting

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FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- Eighteen months before Nikolas Cruz shot up Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, staff members were so worried about his fascination with guns that they banned him from practicing shooting skills with the JROTC, according to mental health records obtained by the South Florida Sun Sentinel.

A safety plan created by the ...Read more

FBI's Andrew McCabe, a favorite target of Trump, is fired just before his retirement

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WASHINGTON -- Andrew McCabe, a former top FBI official who became a target of President Donald Trump's angry tweets, has been fired less than two days ahead of his planned retirement Sunday after Justice Department officials concluded he had made misleading statements during an internal investigation.

McCabe was sacked Friday night by Attorney ...Read more

Saudi crown prince is said to plan meetings in US with Apple, Google

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DUBAI, United Arab Emirates -- Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman plans to meet top global executives, including the heads of Apple Inc. and Google, during his first trip to the U.S. since becoming heir to the throne of the world's largest oil exporter, according to a person briefed on the trip's details.

Prince Mohammed, known ...Read more

Zinke denounced for remark during discussion of Japanese-American internment

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Asian-American lawmakers and organizations denounced as insensitive and culturally tone-deaf a comment by Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke during a discussion about the forced internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II.

When asked about the importance of preserving internment camp sites, Zinke responded by saying, "konnichiwa," Japanese ...Read more

Criminal charges a long shot in Florida bridge collapse. But lawsuits a sure thing

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MIAMI -- The collapse of the pedestrian bridge at Florida International University will spawn years of lawsuits in civil court as families try to hold companies and government agencies accountable for the devastation.

But whether anyone goes to jail remains a long shot.

Miami-Dade police and prosecutors have started an investigation into the ...Read more

Fewer foreign doctors are coming to study in the United States, report shows

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Fearing he would die if he stayed, Mohamed fled the civil war in his home country of Syria, heading to Saudi Arabia where he spent six years working as a physician. While there, Mohamed worked toward his goal of coming to the United States to train.

He aced the U.S. exams required of all physicians and scored an interview with a New York ...Read more

Trump to target Venezuelan 'bitcoin' as US tightens pressure on Maduro government

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WASHINGTON -- President Donald Trump will take further aim at the Venezuelan government and restrict U.S. financial transactions involving Venezuela's new digital currency, according to two U.S. sources familiar with administration plans.

The new sanctions, which will be imposed as early as Monday after Trump signs the executive order, are ...Read more

Slovak premier's resignation fails to quell protests over graft

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VIENNA -- Tens of thousands of Slovaks took the streets for a third week to demand early elections, saying this week's resignation by Robert Fico as prime minister was insufficient to guarantee a crackdown on corruption.

Crowds thronged a main square in capital, Bratislava, on Friday evening, protesting against what they said was only a ...Read more

Nation and world news briefs

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Republicans catch break as Trump supporter quits Nevada Senate race

President Donald Trump moved Friday to protect the GOP's majority in the U.S. Senate by persuading a Republican challenger to drop out of the primary race against Nevada Sen. Dean Heller.

Shortly after Trump tweeted that Danny Tarkanian, a staunch supporter of the president, ...Read more

Bridge designer left state voice mail about cracks days before FIU bridge collapsed

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MIAMI -- Two days before a pedestrian bridge collapsed at Florida International University, killing at least six, an engineer with the company that designed the structure called the state to report cracks in the concrete span.

While it's unclear if those cracks were a contributing factor to the catastrophic collapse Thursday, they were observed...Read more

For investigators, a race to decode hidden message in Austin bombings

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AUSTIN, Texas -- If the package bombs that have killed two Austin residents and seriously injured a third in recent weeks turn out to be the work of a single person, he or she will join a tiny but grim fraternity -- serial killers whose weapon of choice was an incendiary device.

The group is so small that police and psychologist's efforts to ...Read more

Collapsed Florida bridge was built using a technique that was intended to save lives

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In 2010, a group of bridge engineering experts met at Florida International University in Miami to push an idea: Infrastructure around America was crumbling, and the nation needed new bridges. A lot of them.

But bridges often took a long time to build, leading to clogged traffic, irritated commuters and more workers working in dangerous areas ...Read more

National Academies examines safety and quality of abortion care in US

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Legal abortions in the United States are so safe and effective that the vast majority of them can be performed in office-based settings, according to a new consensus report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine. But not all women have timely access to them, due largely to restrictive state policies.

The roughly 200-...Read more

White House, Sen. Cotton blast Rand Paul for opposing CIA pick

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WASHINGTON -- Sen. Rand Paul's opposition to President Donald Trump's pick to head the Central Intelligence Agency drew fire Friday from both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue -- first by a key Senate Republican colleague, then by the White House.

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders accused Paul of conveying "incorrect information" about CIA ...Read more

Police seize first firearms under Florida's new gun-control laws

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FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla.--A Broward County judge on Friday issued what is thought to be Florida's first order temporarily removing guns from a person under Florida's new gun-control laws.

Four firearms and 267 rounds of ammunition were ordered removed from a 56-year-old Lighthouse Point man who experts determined was a potential risk to himself or...Read more

Kelly tells White House staffers their jobs are safe amid turmoil

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WASHINGTON -- White House chief of staff John Kelly told members of President Donald Trump's senior staff Friday that their West Wing jobs are safe -- a simple but necessary message after a week of heightened tumult in the administration.

The assurance from the chief of staff was intended to silence whispers about a looming purge of Trump's top...Read more

VA chief, once a Trump favorite, fights for his job over ethical lapses

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WASHINGTON -- David Shulkin is struggling to hold on to his job as secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs as he grapples with allegations of ethical missteps and mismanagement, as well as political rivals inside and outside the Trump administration.

White House officials say President Donald Trump has made no decision to replace ...Read more

Teacher who accidentally fired gun at school apologizes, thanks community for support

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The high school teacher in Monterey County, Calif., who accidentally fired a gun during a lecture on "public safety awareness" has publicly apologized for the classroom incident that injured three students.

Dennis Alexander, who also serves as mayor pro-tem of Seaside, made an impromptu speech Thursday at a regularly scheduled City Council ...Read more