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McCain blisters Trump for congratulatory call to Putin

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WASHINGTON -- Sen. John McCain blasted President Donald Trump for his call earlier Tuesday congratulating President Vladimir Putin on his re-election, saying Trump had "insulted every Russian citizen who was denied the right to vote in a free and fair election."

McCain, the Republican senator who is undergoing treatment for brain cancer yet ...Read more

Oceans on ancient Mars may have got an assist from volcanoes

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The oceans that once covered Mars may have formed somewhere around 3.7 billion years ago, even earlier than previously thought, according to scientists at the University of California, Berkeley.

The findings, published in the journal Nature, highlight a potential link between the birth of Martian oceans and the rise and fall of its volcanic ...Read more

Democratic, Republican voter bases are more different than ever, study finds

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WASHINGTON -- Drop into a political gathering almost anywhere in America, and you can usually name the party just by looking: Democrats increasingly reflect the racially mixed demographics of the nation's cities; Republicans remain overwhelmingly white, older and more rural.

That hasn't always been true -- a generation ago, the voters ...Read more

Tensions grow as another package bomb believed bound for Austin explodes at FedEx facility

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AUSTIN, Texas -- Tensions increased in central Texas overnight after the latest in a series of explosions that are being investigated as the work of a serial bomber.

A package believed to be bound for Austin exploded at a FedEx facility near San Antonio early Tuesday, authorities said, the fifth in a series of explosions this month surrounding ...Read more

Trump loses bid to kill lawsuit of woman who says he sexually assaulted her

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LOS ANGELES -- A New York judge ruled Tuesday that an Orange County woman who accused President Donald Trump of sexually assaulting her at the Beverly Hills Hotel in 2007 can move forward with her defamation suit against him.

Justice Jennifer G. Schecter of New York state court in Manhattan rejected a request by Trump's lawyers that she dismiss...Read more

Trump congratulates Putin, says they'll meet soon

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WASHINGTON -- President Donald Trump said Tuesday that he would meet with his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, soon to discuss "the arms race, which is getting out of control."

The president made the comment to reporters at the White House as he confirmed that he'd congratulated Putin that morning in a phone call for the Russian's "...Read more

Ex-Playboy Playmate sues to speak publicly about alleged tryst with Trump

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LOS ANGELES -- A former Playboy model who says she had an affair with President Donald Trump has filed a lawsuit to break a confidentiality agreement that bars her from speaking publicly about the alleged tryst.

Karen McDougal, Playboy's 1998 Playmate of the Year, sued the parent company of the National Enquirer to extract herself from the ...Read more

Stuart Rothenberg: Insiders see Democratic House gains of 30-45 seats

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WASHINGTON -- Seven and a half months before the midterm elections, the combination of attitudinal and behavioral evidence leads to a single conclusion: The Democrats are very likely to win control of the House in November.

Just as important, Republican and Democratic campaign strategists also agree that an electoral wave has already formed. ...Read more

The last male northern white rhino has died, spelling probable extinction for the species

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JOHANNESBURG -- Sudan, the last male northern white rhinoceros, died in Kenya, officials announced Tuesday, spelling almost certain extinction for one of Africa's iconic species.

Sudan's death leaves only two female rhinos of the species, Fatu and Najin, neither capable of natural reproduction, at the Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya, where Sudan...Read more

NC student 'fascinated' by school shootings had blueprints, evacuation plans

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Police found blueprints of campus buildings and evacuation plans this month in the off-campus apartment of a University of North Carolina at Charlotte student who wrote about why he wanted to commit a school shooting, according to search warrants obtained by the Observer.

The student discussed an "explicit detailed plan ... ...Read more

Pit bull goes on rampage in Charlotte elementary school, bites 7 children

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Seven children were bitten Monday afternoon after a stray male pit bull got into a southeast Charlotte elementary school and began chasing students as they fled for cover.

All seven suffered minor injuries, and a Medic ambulance was not called, officials said.

However, a search is underway for the owner of the dog, to learn ...Read more

FedEx store linked to latest package bomb in Texas, police say

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AUSTIN, Texas -- Police in the southwest Austin suburb of Sunset Valley think that a package that exploded early Tuesday at a FedEx sorting facility in Schertz, Texas, may have been shipped from their local FedEx Office store.

The Brodie Lane store in a popular Sunset Valley shopping center has been roped off by authorities, including about 15 ...Read more

California disclosure law for faith-based pregnancy centers faces skeptical questions in Supreme Court

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WASHINGTON -- A California disclosure law that requires faith-based pregnancy centers to inform clients about abortion as an option faced sharp, skeptical questions in the Supreme Court on Tuesday.

Justice Anthony M. Kennedy and the court's conservatives said the law appeared to violate the First Amendment.

It is "mandating speech," Kennedy ...Read more

Alderman: 'Drunk suburban kids' used downtown Chicago as a St. Patrick's Day 'toilet bowl'

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CHICAGO -- Chicago Ald. Brendan Reilly would doubtless hate the comparison, but one thing he has in common with President Donald Trump is a readiness to lob bombs on Twitter.

While most of his City Council colleagues play it safe (and dull) on social media, the 42nd Ward alderman lets it all hang out, often going after the president himself.

...Read more

Father pushes teen son out of way as gunfire erupts in Chicago: 'He thought his daddy tripped'

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CHICAGO -- Darnell Simmons was walking out of a West Side store with his teenage son and another boy when the gunfire started.

Simmons pushed his son out of the way and then fell to the ground, the teen later told Simmons' cousin, Dedrick Wilborn. "He said he thought his daddy tripped."

But Simmons had been hit in the chest and shoulder. He ...Read more

US to give $2.5M to assist with Venezuelan refugees stranded across border

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WASHINGTON -- The Trump administration will provide $2.5 million in humanitarian aid for Venezuelan refugees who have fled into Colombian border towns fleeing poverty and oppression.

The extra money, provided through the U.S. Agency for International Development, will provide emergency food and health assistance as the Colombian government ...Read more

Gun owner who lives near Parkland school hands over his rifles to police

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PARKLAND, Fla. -- Three days after 17 students and educators were shot and killed by a gunman with a semiautomatic rifle at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Steve Hemmert concluded he no longer wanted his two assault-style rifles in his home.

"How can I advocate that no one should have them when I had them myself?" he asked.

...Read more

Authorities considered committing future school killer Nikolas Cruz. Here's why they didn't

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MIAMI -- It was the day before Nikolas Cruz's 18th birthday, and, far from celebrating, administrators at his Parkland high school were fretting about what adulthood would portend for their very troubled student.

Cruz's mother, Lynda Cruz, was going to help him get a government ID. That, in turn, would allow him to buy guns.

Cruz had told a ...Read more

Paul Ryan yields to Trump on high-profile issues

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WASHINGTON -- Speaker Paul D. Ryan laughed Tuesday when a reporter asked him if he thinks President Donald Trump should stop attacking Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III.

"The special counsel should be free to follow through with his investigation to its completion without interference, absolutely," Ryan said. "I am confident that he'll be ...Read more

Students react after Nikolas Cruz's brother arrested, accused of trespassing at Marjory Stoneman Douglas

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PARKLAND, Fla. -- Some students say they think it's frightening that Zachary Cruz, the brother of the shooter at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, allegedly trespassed on the school campus more than a month after massacre.

Zachary, 18, told deputies he visited the school Monday "to reflect on the school shooting and to soak it in," ...Read more