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Half of 2020 map makers will be decided this cycle

Current News / News & Features /

WASHINGTON -- Over half of the state elected officials deciding new district lines in 2020 will be elected this year, a new study by the National Conference of State Legislatures found.

Three-fifths of governors and one-third of all state senators elected during the 2018 midterms will still be in office during the next redistricting cycle, the ...Read more

Russian GRU officer tied to 2014 downing of passenger plane in Ukraine

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WASHINGTON -- A mysterious man wanted in connection with the deadly downing of Malaysia Air Flight 17 over eastern Ukraine in 2014 appears to be a high-level Russian military intelligence officer, an investigation by a team of reporting outlets has found.

The reporting team, made up of McClatchy and investigative web sites Bellingcat in Great ...Read more

Gorsuch takes inside-player role in second term on Supreme Court

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WASHINGTON -- Chief Justice John Roberts did something unusual when he decided who would write a major U.S. Supreme Court opinion curbing class action lawsuits by workers: He turned to the newest justice, Neil Gorsuch.

Seven months later, Gorsuch produced a 5-4 opinion that let employers enforce agreements requiring workers to take disputes to ...Read more

Could negative campaigning in California primaries dampen Democratic energy?

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IRVINE, Calif. -- When some volunteers and organizers arrived at the University Synagogue Tuesday night they found some orange and red pieces of paper on the chairs in the auditorium.

"NEGATIVE CAMPAIGN ALERT" read the paper in bold black letters. "The Dave Min campaign is running attack against multiple other Democrats! IS THIS WHAT ORANGE ...Read more

US Commerce Secretary Ross to return to China for trade talks

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BEIJING -- U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross will head a trade delegation on a trip to China on June 2-4, Chinese state media reported Friday.

Ross confirmed the visit in a phone call Friday with Chinese Vice Premier Liu He, Xinhua news agency said.

This will be the latest in a series of trips by Chinese and U.S. officials meant to resolve ...Read more

Can seaweed make cow farts less potent? These scientists hope to find out

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SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Early indications of a University of California, Davis study show that feeding dairy cows seaweed may reduce methane emissions caused by their defecation, belching and flatulence, the university announced Thursday.

UC Davis animal science department chair Ermias Kebreab and animal nutrition graduate student Breanne Roque ...Read more

Missouri student put school for sale on Craigslist; he's banned from graduation

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KANSAS CITY, Mo.--It was supposed to just be a senior prank. But Truman High School officials weren't laughing when they banned the student from his graduation.

As a joke, Kylan Scheele, 18, listed Truman High for sale on Craigslist at the bargain basement price of $12,275.

"I wanted to list it really low because people search low to high and ...Read more

Hurricanes of the future may look a lot like Harvey: stronger, slower, much wetter

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MIAMI -- The rain started even before Hurricane Harvey made its way across the Gulf of Mexico and settled atop Texas. It kept coming, overflowing curbs, climbing up staircases, trapping people on roofs and makeshift rafts and drowning dozens.

The record-breaking 60 inches of rain from Harvey last year forced forecasters to add new colors to ...Read more

California Supreme Court says social media firms must turn over some user communications to criminal defendants

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Facebook and other social media companies should turn over users' public communications to criminal defendants in response to subpoenas, the California Supreme Court decided unanimously Thursday.

The ruling, a victory for the criminal defense bar, overturned an appeals court decision that said the defense lawyers could not force media companies...Read more

Dog dies after botched neutering by two fake vets in Florida, police say

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MIAMI -- It was supposed to be a simple procedure.

Royalty, a 12-year-old American Bulldog, was set to get neutered. His owner, Omarnestor Delrio, made an appointment and was ready to pay.

The problem: Police say the veterinary clinic wasn't actually a clinic, and the vet was a fraud.

Now, Jose Alvarez-Marrero, 58, and his girlfriend Sophia ...Read more

Pressure grows on Board of Trustees amid USC gynecologist scandal

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LOS ANGELES -- The University of Southern California's large and powerful Board of Trustees is coming under growing pressure to provide a stronger hand as the university faces a crisis over misconduct allegations against the campus' longtime gynecologist that has prompted calls for President C.L. Max Nikias to step down.

Allegations that Dr. ...Read more

Nation and world news briefs

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Moderate Republicans pushing for immigration vote give leaders a deadline

WASHINGTON -- Moderate Republicans are giving their colleagues until June 7 to find a legislative fix for the legal status of people brought to the country illegally as children, or they will try to use a special process to force a vote over the GOP leaders' objections, ...Read more

Border Patrol union calls Trump's National Guard deployment 'colossal waste'

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MCALLEN, Texas -- A month after President Donald Trump called for sending National Guard troops to the U.S.-Mexico border, the head of the national Border Patrol union called the deployment "a colossal waste of resources."

"We have seen no benefit," said Brandon Judd, president of the union that represents 15,000 agents, the National Border ...Read more

US drive to stabilize Afghanistan mostly failed, watchdog says

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WASHINGTON -- Stabilization efforts that have been at the heart of military and foreign policy in Afghanistan since the U.S. invaded in 2001 have largely failed, according to a report by a government watchdog.

Projects were poorly planned or mismanaged, fostering widespread distrust by Afghan civilians, the report issued Thursday by the Special...Read more

White House gift shop puts North Korea summit coin on clearance

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When plans for the North Korea summit were still on, the White House Gift Shop made sure to include a commemorative North Korean summit coin on the shelves.

But the moment President Donald Trump canceled that summit, the gift shop was eager to put them on clearance, reported the Daily Beast.

The item -- listed as the "Deal of the Day" -- seems...Read more

Asteroid that wiped out the dinosaurs also shaped the evolution of birds

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Scientists studying plant life around the extinction event that killed the dinosaurs have made a surprising discovery: Out of all the birds living at the time, only the ground-dwelling species survived.

The finding, described in the journal Current Biology, reveals how the avian winners and losers in the wake of the Cretaceous-Paleogene ...Read more

Billionaire Koch brothers attack both sides in Texas Senate race

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WASHINGTON -- Groups affiliated with the billionaire Koch brothers --better known for their history of bankrolling Republican candidates -- are taking the unusual step of knocking both of Texas's Senate hopefuls in ads launched this week.

The LIBRE Initiative, a Koch-backed group aimed at engaging Latino voters, launched mail ads Thursday ...Read more

4 students charged after swastikas, racial graffiti found at Maryland high school

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BALTIMORE -- Four Glenelg High School students have been charged with hate crimes after swastikas and racial epithets, including one that police said targeted the central Howard County school's African-American principal, were found painted on campus sidewalks, outside walls and parking lot at dawn.

Howard County Police said they used video ...Read more

Quest for affordable housing drives people away from the coasts, new figures show

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WASHINGTON -- The high cost of housing seemed to sap Americans' taste for coastal cities last year as cities in Texas and Arizona gained more population than New York City or Los Angeles for the first time in a decade, according to census population estimates released Thursday.

"What started as a promising decade for big cities is starting to ...Read more

A relaxed Brownback settles into new DC job, far from Kansas political fray

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WASHINGTON -- When Sam Brownback left the Kansas governor's mansion in January, he left behind dismal approval ratings, the ire of his fellow Republicans and a hefty order for more school funding from the Kansas Supreme Court.

Fast forward five months, and a visibly relaxed Brownback was back in his element: making jokey sports analogies, ...Read more