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Trump-Rouhani summit hopes wither as US weighs attack response

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NEW YORK -- Donald Trump wanted to meet Iranian President Hassan Rouhani badly enough to break with his national security adviser, entertain a French initiative that would undercut U.S. oil sanctions on Tehran and defy the wishes of a stalwart ally, Israel.

But in the span of 10 days that saw John Bolton's ouster and a brazen drone and cruise ...Read more

US intelligence official to brief lawmakers over whistleblower complaint

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WASHINGTON -- U.S. intelligence officials have agreed to meet with the House Intelligence Committee, apparently ending a standoff over a still-mysterious whistleblower's report.

The agreement was announced Wednesday evening, hours before The Washington Post reported, citing unnamed sources, that the complaint involved communications between ...Read more

Senate budget bill omits $50 million for gun violence study favored by Democrats

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WASHINGTON -- Senate Republicans are pursuing a federal health budget that omits funding for gun violence research, a proposal that Sen. Roy Blunt warns is too "controversial."

The House passed a budget in July that would steer $25 million each to the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to "better ...Read more

Trump's big idea to fix homelessness is to do what California is already doing — sort of

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LOS ANGELES--President Donald Trump's big idea for fixing California's homelessness crisis should look familiar to many prominent Democrats: Eliminate layers of regulation to make it easier and cheaper to build more housing.

On the eve of a two-day swing through the state this week, Trump's Council of Economic Advisers released a report blaming...Read more

Officers sue over firing for alleged cover-up of police shooting of Laquan McDonald

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CHICAGO -- Four Chicago cops fired in July over allegations they helped cover up the fatal police shooting of Laquan McDonald have filed separate lawsuits challenging the decision.

The lawsuits by one sergeant and three patrol officers allege that the Police Board decision to fire them was unlawful. Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson, who ...Read more

Nation and world news briefs

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Woman admits running business that brought Chinese women to US to give birth

LOS ANGELES -- A woman has admitted to running a "birth tourism" business in which she helped pregnant Chinese women come to the United States to give birth, the U.S. district attorney's office announced this week.

Dongyuan Li, a 41-year-old Chinese woman living in ...Read more

Montenegrin crewmate indicted in connection with 20-ton, $1.1 billion cocaine bust at Philly port

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PHILADELPHIA -- A nautical engineering trainee on Wednesday became the first crew member indicted in connection with the 20-ton, $1.1 billion cocaine seizure this summer at the Port of Philadelphia.

A federal grand jury has charged Nenad Ilic, 39, of Montenegro, with conspiring to violate maritime drug-smuggling laws -- a count that carries a ...Read more

Black market wildlife trade leads to South Carolina — again

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COLUMBIA, S.C. -- South Carolina authorities have seized more than 200 turtles from a home in Chester County as part of an investigation of black market wildlife trafficking.

The South Carolina Department of Natural Resources says the reptiles, mostly box turtles like those native to South Carolina, were being kept by the government until the ...Read more

Short-term spending agreement reached to avert Oct. 1 shutdown

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WASHINGTON -- Congressional Democrats and Republicans reached a deal Wednesday on a stopgap spending bill to avert a U.S. government shutdown on Oct. 1, even as the threat of a closure later in the year continues to build.

The short-term measure would keep the government open through Nov. 21 while lawmakers work out details for $1.3 trillion in...Read more

Robert O'Brien is an unlikely pick for Trump's national security adviser

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WASHINGTON -- The night of the 2016 presidential election, Robert C. O'Brien, a fixture of Republican presidential campaigns for more than a dozen years, was in London, glued to television screens with American visitors and Brits alike.

"I'm not sure anybody out there predicted a Trump win," he said several days later. "I certainly didn't."

O'...Read more

Judge orders estranged husband of missing Conn. mom to appear in court Monday

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HARTFORD, Conn. -- A Connecticut judge has ordered Fotis Dulos to appear in court Monday to address a report by the probation department about repeated issues with his GPS monitoring system, his attorney confirmed Wednesday.

"We've been notified that Mr. Dulos must appear in court Monday due to concerns about the battery charging of his GPS ...Read more

AG Barr takes temperature of Senate GOP on gun background checks

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WASHINGTON -- Attorney General William Barr continued to take the temperature of Republican senators on expanding background checks Wednesday after a working document started circulating publicly.

"As the president has made clear he's interested in exploring meaningful solutions that will actually protect people, make people safer," the ...Read more

Woman admits running business that brought Chinese women to US to give birth

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LOS ANGELES -- A woman has admitted to running a "birth tourism" business in which she helped pregnant Chinese women come to the United States to give birth, the U.S. district attorney's office announced this week.

Dongyuan Li, a 41-year-old Chinese woman living in Irvine, pleaded guilty Tuesday to one count of conspiracy to commit immigration ...Read more

New York accuser of Jeffrey Epstein, who says she was recruited for sex at 14, sues estate

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MIAMI -- A woman has filed a federal lawsuit against the estate of sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein, claiming that she was recruited in New York and sexually abused for three years, starting when she was 14.

The suit, filed Wednesday in the Southern District of New York, names Epstein's executors, Darren K. Indyke and Richard D. Kahn, as ...Read more

Kennedy plans to launch challenge to Markey for Massachusetts Senate seat

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WASHINGTON -- Massachusetts Rep. Joseph P. Kennedy III will challenge Sen. Edward J. Markey in a primary, The Boston Globe reported Wednesday evening. Kennedy plans to announce his Senate bid on Saturday, the Globe reported.

Kennedy's decision comes after weeks of speculation that the grandson of Robert F. Kennedy would challenge fellow ...Read more

Having zero kids at Homestead detention facility has cost $33 million so far

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MIAMI -- The government has spent more than $33 million in 46 days to keep the Homestead detention center up and running even though no children are housed there, according to federal officials.

On Wednesday, Jonathan Hayes, the acting director of the Office of Refugee Resettlement -- the agency in charge of housing unaccompanied migrant ...Read more

Trump's border wall reportedly threatens 22 archaeological sites in Arizona

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WASHINGTON -- The construction of President Donald Trump's border wall along the U.S.-Mexico border could damage -- or even destroy -- up to 22 archaeological sites at the Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument in Arizona, according to a report from the National Park Service that was obtained by the Washington Post.

The 123-page internal report ...Read more

Feds seek expanded habitat protection as salmon, orcas battle climate change, habitat degradation

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SEATTLE -- Most of the outer coast of Washington, Oregon and California would become protected habitat for southern resident orcas under a federal proposal released Wednesday.

The new designation, if approved would greatly expand the area considered "critical" for the survival of the endangered orcas that frequent Puget Sound. Since 2006, the ...Read more

Lewandowski leaves doubt about whether Democrats can revive Trump investigations

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WASHINGTON -- Corey Lewandowski's mocking and defiant performance during more than five hours before the House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday raised new questions about whether Democrats can revive investigations they say could lead to the impeachment of President Donald Trump.

The Democrats returned from their summer break determined to ...Read more

Runaway emu back at home after stroll along California freeway

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FRESNO, Calif. -- A renegade emu captured Friday by California Highway Patrol officers north of Madera had apparently made a brief getaway from its owner, not far from where it was found.

Kirsten Gross, director of Madera County Animal Services, said the owner claimed the emu and took it home over the weekend.

Animal control officials took ...Read more