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Trump said to put Obama water pollution rule on chopping block

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WASHINGTON -- President Donald Trump will order his administration to rescind and rewrite an Obama-era environmental rule that critics say gave the U.S. government too much power to regulate waterways nationwide, according to a senior White House official.

Trump is set to sign a directive on Tuesday compelling the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers ...Read more

At least four people killed when small plane crashes into Calif. neighborhood

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LOS ANGELES -- At least four people died and as many as five others were missing Monday after a small plane crashed into a residential neighborhood in Riverside.

The plane was carrying a married couple and three teenagers who were returning home to San Jose after a cheerleading competition in Anaheim.

One person who died was believed to be a ...Read more

China's top diplomat meets Trump as North Korea tensions rise

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China's top diplomat Yang Jiechi met U.S. President Donald Trump on Monday in the highest-level contact between the world's two biggest economies since the election as concerns over North Korea's nuclear program overshadow campaign tensions over trade.

Yang relayed greetings from President Xi Jinping in a meeting with Trump, Vice President Mike...Read more

Bathroom choice is a decision for transgender students at Pa. school, judge rules

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PITTSBURGH -- A federal judge Monday said three transgender students at a Pennsylvania high school can use the bathroom of their choice.

U.S. District Judge Mark Hornak granted a preliminary injunction request brought by the students and an advocacy group that sought to halt the enforcement of a new policy at Pine-Richland High School in ...Read more

Ross confirmed as commerce secretary; White House won't release his answers on Russia

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WASHINGTON -- The Senate confirmed Wilbur Ross as commerce secretary Monday night after two Democratic senators criticized the White House for refusing to release Ross' written response to questions about his banking ties to Russia's oligarchs.

Ross is a billionaire who has turned around high-profile companies in the steel, coal, textile and ...Read more

Wilbur Ross, to be key player in NAFTA negotiations, confirmed as Commerce secretary

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WASHINGTON -- Wilbur Ross, the billionaire investor who will play a leading role in President Donald Trump's revamping of the North American Free Trade Agreement, easily won Senate confirmation Monday night to be the administration's Commerce secretary.

Unlike some other Trump nominees who faced intense opposition from Senate Democrats, Ross ...Read more

Trump refocusing on protecting police; some in minority communities worry

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WASHINGTON -- President Donald Trump and his Justice Department have signaled they will change the way they will interact with local law enforcement, raising concern in minority communities that the pendulum will swing toward protecting police in sometimes strained police-community relations.

Trump is expected to talk about the need to get ...Read more

Salvadoran woman at center of Maryland lawsuit granted temporary reprieve from deportation

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A Salvadoran woman at the center of a civil rights lawsuit alleging that sheriff's deputies in Frederick County, Md., unlawfully profiled, detained and arrested her on a federal immigration warrant in 2008 was granted a reprieve Monday to remain in the country at least through this summer, her attorneys said.

Roxana Orellana Santos had a ...Read more

Gaping partisan divide evident as leaders discuss House Trump-Russia investigation

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WASHINGTON -- In case you were worried, the partisan divide in Congress is as gaping as ever.

On Monday, the senior Republican and Democratic members of the House Intelligence Committee held separate news conferences to address what they saw as the principal issues to be addressed during their "bipartisan" investigation of possible collusion ...Read more

Despite Trump's pledge, governors expect little federal spending on infrastructure

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WASHINGTON -- President Donald Trump said again Monday that he was preparing to spend big on infrastructure. But even as he spoke, administration officials and congressional leaders were telling governors to expect little new federal investment in roads, bridges, transit systems, dam repairs and other water works.

Instead, the administration ...Read more

Nation and world news briefs

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Trump says Hollywood's obsession with him led to best picture mix-up at the Oscars

WASHINGTON -- President Donald Trump is often loath to accept responsibility when things go wrong, but in the case of Sunday's Oscars broadcast, he made an exception.

As he explained it Monday, it was Hollywood's obsession with attacking him that contributed to ...Read more

Georgia couple get long sentences in Confederate flag case

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ATLANTA -- Just a month after Dylann Roof shot and killed nine African-American worshippers in a Charleston, S.C., church, Jose Ismael Torres and Kayla Rae Norton gathered with 13 friends to make a statement about the Confederate battle flag.

Roof had championed it and said he wanted to start a race war. Over two days in July 2015, Norton and ...Read more

2 men who tried to sell letters from Trump sign file lawsuit

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ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. -- Two men who tried to sell on eBay a set of "T-R-U-M-P" letters removed from the defunct Trump Taj Mahal Casino are now taking a page from the ex-casino owner turned president of the United States. They're suing.

The men say they purchased the letters from the sign-removal company but were later accused of stealing them, ...Read more

3 probes of Yemen raid underway but perhaps not the one Navy SEAL's father wants

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WASHINGTON -- The Jan. 29 raid that killed the Navy SEAL son of a former South Florida police officer is currently the subject of three Pentagon investigations. But it remains to be seen whether any of those probes will satisfy Bill Owens' demand to know why the raid took place just nine days into the Trump administration.

The Pentagon said on ...Read more

Why Democrats picked Beshear to rebut Trump Tuesday

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WASHINGTON -- Steve Beshear is 72 years old, out of office and on nobody's shortlist of presidential contenders, making him a seemingly odd choice among Democrats to respond to President Donald Trump's address to a joint session of Congress on Tuesday night.

But the former Kentucky governor's allies say no Democrat is better positioned to rebut...Read more

Trump's plan to boost military spending would cut foreign aid

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WASHINGTON -- The Office of Management and Budget on Monday declined to say precisely how President Donald Trump intends to cut every other federal department to find $54 billion to increase military spending.

But one budget category is clearly in his sights, said an OMB official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity: foreign aid.

"This ...Read more

Sessions says he'll recuse himself on Russia Probe if needed

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WASHINGTON -- U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions said for the first time that he'll recuse himself if necessary from investigations into contacts that associates of President Donald Trump may have had with Russian government officials.

"I would recuse myself on anything that I should recuse myself on," Sessions told reporters Monday at the ...Read more

Will Trump lay out details of his agenda in address to Congress?

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WASHINGTON -- Presidents usually arrive at the U.S. Capitol for their first speeches to Congress to sell their highest priority legislative proposals.

Barack Obama stressed igniting an economic recovery. George W. Bush talked about a tax cut. Bill Clinton touted health care.

But don't expect Donald Trump -- a nontraditional president -- to ...Read more

Humans spark 84 percent of American wildfires, study finds

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People have started 84 percent of U.S. wildfires and 97 percent of wildfires in coastal California and the Central Valley, according to a new study led by scientists at the University of Colorado, Boulder.

Human-started fires nationwide accounted for 44 percent of the total area of 89,339,131 acres burned over the last two decades.

These fires...Read more

Drone strike kills al-Qaida deputy leader in Syria, monitor says

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BEIRUT -- Al-Qaida's second-in-command, who goes by the name of Abu al-Khayr al-Masri, has been killed in a drone strike in northwestern Syria, a monitoring group said Monday.

A U.S. drone is believed to have carried out the strike near a military base in al-Mastoume in the countryside of the province of Idlib, Rami Abdel Rahman, head of the ...Read more