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Florida panther population shows sharp rebound

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FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- A new estimate puts the maximum number of Florida panthers prowling the state's forests and swamps at 230, a sharp increase from past years and a hopeful sign for a species once thought virtually certain to go extinct.

Federal and state wildlife agencies announced Wednesday they were revising the maximum estimated ...Read more

Nation and world news briefs

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Texas preschool teacher is fired over anti-Semitic posts

DALLAS -- A Texas preschool teacher has been fired over a series of anti-Semitic posts on social media, including a tweet that said "kill some Jews."

Nancy Salem, who was fired from The Children's Courtyard in Arlington, also retweeted: "How many Jews died in the Holocaust? Not enough!" ...Read more

Trump said to delay revamped immigration order until next week

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WASHINGTON -- President Donald Trump is delaying until next week issuing a new version of his order restricting immigration and banning travel to the U.S. from seven predominantly Muslim countries, according to a White House official.

Trump had said that a revamped executive order, tailored to address legal issues that blocked his original ...Read more

UN seeks momentum, not expecting a breakthrough in new Syria peace talks

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GENEVA -- The relaunch of the Syrian peace process on Thursday can at best create some momentum toward political transition in the war-ravaged country, U.N. mediator Staffan de Mistura said, dampening hopes for major progress in the Geneva talks.

"Am I expecting a breakthrough? No, I am not expecting a breakthrough," de Mistura told reporters ...Read more

Guantanamo Bay 'serves a very, very healthy purpose,' White House says

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MIAMI -- White House spokesman Sean Spicer dodged a question on whether the Trump administration would send U.S. citizens to Guantanamo but says the president "believes that Guantanamo Bay does serve a very, very healthy purpose in our national security."

As a general rule, advocates of housing suspected terrorists at the detention center in ...Read more

Air Force stumped by Trump's claim of $1 billion savings on jet

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WASHINGTON -- The Air Force can't account for $1 billion in savings that President Donald Trump said he's negotiated for the program to develop, purchase and operate two new Boeing Co. jets to serve as Air Force One.

"To my knowledge I have not been told that we have that information," Col. Pat Ryder, an Air Force spokesman, told reporters ...Read more

Scientists study ways to preserve world heritage sites damaged in armed conflicts

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Ancient heritage sites caught in the crossfire of war are, in many ways, little different from civilian populations trapped in the midst of armed conflict: Even when they continue to stand, they are crumbling inside.

A new study set out to re-create the impact of small arms fire on stone columns and structures that have endured thousands of ...Read more

Mexico to Trump: We won't take your unwanted immigrants

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WASHINGTON -- Mexico is not happy -- actually, angry -- about President Donald Trump's expectation that it would hold tens of thousands of apprehended migrants who can't be immediately deported, regardless of where they come from.

Mexican Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray vowed Wednesday that Mexico will not accept the Trump's administration "...Read more

Trump's top deputies hope to shore up ties with a suspicious Mexico

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MEXICO CITY -- Few international relationships have gotten off to a rockier start for the Trump administration than the one with Mexico.

Days after he took office, President Donald Trump argued on Twitter with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto over Trump's demand that Mexico pay billions of dollars to build a massive wall along the border. ...Read more

Trump administration poised to rescind guidelines on protections for transgender students

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WASHINGTON -- The Trump administration was set Wednesday to reverse an Obama-era directive aimed at preventing discrimination against transgender students, casting the decision as one respecting states' rights.

White House press secretary Sean Spicer told reporters to expect new guidance from the departments of Education and Justice late ...Read more

Kenneth Arrow, Nobel Prize winner whose theories changed modern economics, dies at 95

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Kenneth Arrow, the Nobel Prize-winning Stanford economist whose groundbreaking work redefined the world's understanding of the free marketplace, has died at his home in Palo Alto, Calif.

Stanford University, where Arrow spent much of his career, reported that the economist died Tuesday at the age of 95.

Arrow was the youngest person to win the...Read more

Trump expected to revoke Obama transgender bathroom directive

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WASHINGTON -- President Donald Trump's administration is expected to tell public school districts across the nation that they no longer have to allow transgender students to use the bathroom that matches their gender identity.

When the administration would issue its directive was unclear, but word of Trump's decision drew immediate criticism ...Read more

Trump's new transgender policy could radically change HB2 fight

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CHARLOTTE, N.C.--The Trump administration's planned rollback of federal protection for transgender students could cripple the court fight against House Bill 2 and make a political compromise to rescind the controversial North Carolina law even harder to achieve, legal and political experts say.

Up to now, the American Civil Liberties Union and ...Read more

Convicted Afghan 'kill team' leader will get new day in court at Fort Leavenworth

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WASHINGTON -- Five years after his conviction for masterminding the murders of three Afghan civilians in 2010, former Staff Sgt. Calvin Gibbs will get another chance to prove his innocence when he returns to a military courtroom in Fort Leavenworth, Kan., next Tuesday.

The U.S. Army Court of Criminal Appeals ordered a four-day hearing for a ...Read more

Germany deports 18 rejected asylum seekers to Afghanistan

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MUNICH -- A Kabul-bound plane with 18 Afghan migrants on board took off from Munich Airport late Wednesday, its passengers becoming the third group of rejected asylum seekers to be deported by German authorities back to Afghanistan.

The deportations have come under fire in Germany from opposition parties and rights groups who argue that much of...Read more

White House says Melania isn't in business; so why are her companies still active?

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WASHINGTON -- First lady Melania Trump has several companies that are still active enterprises, raising questions about whether they will be used for profit while she is in the White House.

Beyond the 564 companies listed in then-candidate Donald Trump's May 2016 financial disclosure were seven companies associated with his wife.

All but one ...Read more

Mexican migrant dies after deportation in possible border suicide

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MEXICO CITY -- A Mexican man who had just been deported from the United States fell to his death Tuesday from a bridge near the Tijuana-San Diego border crossing.

A Mexican official with knowledge of the case, but who was not authorized to speak to the media, said it was unclear whether the man accidentally fell or intentionally jumped, but ...Read more

Pence condemns anti-Jewish vandalism, defends Trump's response

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FENTON, Mo. -- Vice President Mike Pence on Wednesday strongly condemned vandalism at a St. Louis-area Jewish cemetery as a "vile act," and later donned work gloves and raked up debris at the cemetery.

Pence's speech to workers and invited guests at a Fenton Caterpillar facility, and his subsequent trip to view the damage and aid in the cleanup...Read more

Trump's federal hiring freeze forces 2 Army bases to suspend child care services

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WASHINGTON -- Major U.S. Army bases at Fort Knox, Ky., and Wiesbaden, Germany, are shutting down child care and education services for military families due to President Donald Trump's hiring freeze on federal workers.

Emily Bewley, whose family is stationed at the U.S. Army Garrison in Wiesbaden, was signing out the youngest of her four ...Read more

North Carolina Republican files bill to establish life at conception

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RALEIGH, N.C. -- A North Carolina lawmaker filed a bill in the North Carolina House that would establish life at the moment of conception.

House Bill 163, also known as the "Right to Life at Conception Act," would "implement equal protection for the right to life of each born and pre-born human person" and declare "the right to life is vested ...Read more