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Insider attack leaves 23 soldiers dead in southeast Afghanistan

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KABUL -- At least 23 Afghan army soldiers were killed by a group of Taliban infiltrators in the southeastern province of Ghazni, local officials said Saturday.

The infiltrators attacked the soldiers on a military base in Qarabagh district of the province, local council members Esmatullah Jamrudwal and Amanullah Kamran said.

Another soldier was...Read more

PG&E's future is in doubt after Newsom rejects bankruptcy plan

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SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Friday rejected Pacific Gas & Electric's proposal to pull itself out of bankruptcy, saying its reorganization plan falls "woefully short" of safety requirements set under state law and demanding the company make major changes if it wants to access billions of dollars in a fund to pay wildfire...Read more

Buttigieg's bundlers include Blackstone vice chair, tech chiefs

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WASHINGTON -- Pete Buttigieg's campaign on Friday released the names of nearly 150 people who raised at least $25,000 for his presidential bid, including Blackstone Group Vice Chairman Tony James and Silicon Valley entrepreneur Swati Mylavarapu.

The disclosure of the names of the so-called bundlers -- supporters who collect campaign ...Read more

Construction of Navy ship 'Harvey Milk' begins in San Diego

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SAN DIEGO -- Construction began Friday on the future Harvey Milk, a fleet oiler named for the slain gay rights leader and the first openly gay man elected in California.

Milk was elected to the San Francisco board of supervisors in 1978 and was assassinated 10 months later by an ex-supervisor. His life was the subject of the 2008 film "Milk."

...Read more

California governor rejects PG&E's restructuring proposal

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California Gov. Gavin Newsom rejected Pacific Gas and Electric's proposed restructuring plan Friday, dealing a major blow to the power giant as it tries to exit the biggest utility bankruptcy in U.S. history.

Newsom said in a letter to PG&E Chief Executive Officer Bill Johnson that the utility giant's restructuring plan falls "woefully short" ...Read more

Mom charged with leaving son at Atlanta hospital draws sympathy

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ATLANTA -- Some two dozen women showed up this week to a first appearance court hearing for a stranger.

The spectators were just some of the supporters calling for mercy for Diana Elliott, who stands accused of abandoning her mute 14-year-old son, who police say has Down syndrome, at Grady Memorial Hospital last week. After her subsequent ...Read more

Divers looking for bodies still missing after New Zealand volcano disaster

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WELLINGTON, New Zealand -- New Zealand's police dive squad and navy divers on Saturday continued to look for the missing bodies of two people who died when a volcano erupted on New Zealand's White Island on Monday.

Eight tourists and guides who were on a sightseeing tour at New Zealand's most active volcano when it erupted were confirmed dead ...Read more

Klobuchar tells union workers in Miami she might skip next debate in LA. Here's why

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Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar is the latest of seven Democratic presidential candidates to announce they will skip the next Democratic debate if it means crossing a picket line to get there.

"I don't believe we should cross that picket line," she said at a Miami campaign event centered on labor rights and union protections.

The other six ...Read more

All the 2020 Democrats are threatening to skip the next debate in LA. Here's why

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WASHINGTON -- All the 2020 candidates who qualified for the next Democratic presidential debate have vowed to bow out of the event because they don't want to cross a picket line to get there.

Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, Pete Buttigieg, Andrew Yang, Amy Klobuchar and Tom Steyer announced on Friday that they would pull out of the...Read more

State Department limited release of Pompeo contacts with Giuliani. A judge wants more

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WASHINGTON -- A federal judge ordered the State Department on Friday to expand its search for records of communication between Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and President Donald Trump's personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, regarding Ukraine policy.

The State Department released a number of records last month documenting contact between the two men....Read more

UN finds 'high number' of rights violations against Chile protesters

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GENEVA -- Chile's security forces have injured, killed, detained, tortured and raped citizens during the recent mass protests, United Nations human rights investigators reported Friday in Geneva.

Police had managed the demonstrations in a repressive manner and failed to distinguish between the majority of peaceful protesters and the violent ...Read more

Nation and world news briefs

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Religious exemptions for childhood vaccinations could end in New Jersey

Controversial legislation that could do away with New Jersey's religious exemption for vaccinating children is scheduled for a state Senate vote Monday.

In a hearing that drew hundreds of parents opposed to the bill as well as public health advocates who support it, the ...Read more

A judge ordered the Hadid mansion in Bel-Air torn down. But now there's a legal logjam

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LOS ANGELES -- A hulking, unfinished mansion perched on a Bel-Air hillside must be torn down to the slab, a Los Angeles Superior Court judge said in a recent ruling, declaring it a "danger to the public."

But a bankruptcy filing has put that order on hold, alarming neighbors who pushed for the teardown of the mammoth building that has spurred ...Read more

Why the next North Korea crisis may bring less fire, less fury

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U.S. President Donald Trump is trading insults with Kim Jong-un, North Korea is launching missiles and no one's talking about disarmament. It's beginning to feel like the days of "fire and fury" are here again.

Or maybe not. While Kim's nuclear arsenal is believed to have only grown more dangerous in the two years since Trump last threatened to...Read more

Governor to Trump on refugees: 'The inn is not full in Minnesota'

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MINNEAPOLIS -- Gov. Tim Walz notified the Trump administration Friday that the state will continue to welcome refugees, pointedly saying that the "inn is not full in Minnesota."

In a letter to U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Walz wrote that he rejects the intent of President Donald Trump's recent executive order requiring state and local ...Read more

2 child services workers out over AJ Freund case

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CHICAGO -- State officials confirmed Friday that two child welfare professionals who were recommended for dismissal for their handling of a hotline investigation into AJ Freund four months before the 5-year-old boy's tragic death are no longer employed with the agency.

Carlos Acosta and his supervisor, Andrew Polovin, are no longer state ...Read more

Medical executives never read ex-Baltimore mayor's 'Healthy Holly' books before paying her

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BALTIMORE -- An audit commissioned by new members of the University of Maryland Medical System's board of directors has determined that top system officials never read former Mayor Catherine Pugh's "Healthy Holly" books for children or checked to see if they were printed before paying her $500,000 in five installments.

"There is no evidence ...Read more

Bernie Sanders retracts endorsement of Californian who defends crude sex ratings of women

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LOS ANGELES -- Bernie Sanders withdrew his endorsement of California congressional candidate Cenk Uygur on Friday after reports about the online talk show host making crude and degrading comments about women and provocative statements about Jews, Muslims and other groups.

The Democratic presidential candidate had said Thursday that Uygur, ...Read more

Supreme Court to decide whether Trump's tax returns must be released to House

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WASHINGTON -- The Supreme Court said Friday it will hear President Donald Trump's appeal and decide whether the Constitution shields his tax returns and business records from being released to House Democrats and New York prosecutors.

The court's action sets the stage for a politically charged decision next year, just as Trump campaigns for ...Read more

US and China agree to partial trade deal, but few details are released

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WASHINGTON -- The United States and China have reached a preliminary trade agreement that includes the cancellation and rollback of some tariffs on Chinese products and a commitment by Beijing to step up purchases of American farm goods.

An agreement on the so-called phase one deal, confirmed by President Donald Trump and senior Chinese ...Read more