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Alex Fuller/San Diego Union-Tribune/TNS

Health care for millions of Californians is on the line in the election

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WASHINGTON — California has done more over the last decade than almost any other state to expand health insurance, bolster services for its most vulnerable residents and improve the quality of its clinics and hospitals.

Sick patients are getting more help managing diabetes, heart disease and other chronic illnesses. Women are giving birth ...Read more

ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images North America/TNS

As wildfires explode in the West, Forest Service can't afford prevention efforts

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WASHINGTON — Residents of the densely wooded hillsides near Bend, Oregon, are serious about fire.

They gather up fallen branches, prune trees and clear their gutters of pine needles. Their leaders in Deschutes County have banned wood-shake roofs and are considering adopting tougher building codes to make homes more fire-resistant. Every ...Read more

Nelvin C. Cepeda/San Diego Union-Tribune/TNS

Election holds future of young, undocumented immigrants in the balance

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SAN DIEGO — Among the many policies that will be on the ballot Nov. 3 is what will happen to the lives of thousands of undocumented immigrants who came to the United States as children.

The Trump administration has tried to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, known as DACA, which began under the Obama administration. For ...Read more

Greg Gilbert/Seattle Times/TNS

COVID-19 has shelter providers scrambling to protect homeless people against the coming winter weather

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SEATTLE — On any given day before the COVID-19 pandemic, Mary's Place in Seattle had more families calling to ask for shelter than it had beds available.

That changed after the outbreak hit and state and local eviction moratoriums went into place to help people struggling financially. This summer, Mary's Place had space for any homeless ...Read more

ANDREAS SOLARO/Getty Images North America/TNS

Pope endorses same-sex civil unions in new documentary

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ROME — Pope Francis broke new ground in the Roman Catholic Church acceptance of same-sex civil unions by endorsing some relationships between gay people during an interview for a documentary that premiered Wednesday.

Francis, who has long taken a more socially progressive view than his predecessors, said gay people should not be deprived of ...Read more

Alex Wong/New York Daily News/TNS

Rudy Giuliani claims 'Borat' fabrication ahead of film's release

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Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani acknowledged his apparent cameo in the upcoming "Borat" film from British comedian Sacha Baron Cohen but said the actions captured on camera were taken out of context.

"The Borat video is a complete fabrication," Giuliani said in a tweet, adding that his behavior was never "inappropriate" during and ...Read more

Amy Beth Bennett/Sun Sentinel/TNS

Florida to investigate all COVID-19 deaths after questions about 'integrity' of data

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FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — Florida, which has reported the deaths of more than 16,400 people from COVID-19, now says the public may not be able to trust any of those numbers.

The state Department of Health on Wednesday ordered an investigation of all pandemic fatalities, one week after House Speaker Jose Oliva slammed the death data from medical...Read more

Nation and world news briefs

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Trump envoy Grenell tried to secretly negotiate Maduro's exit in Venezuela

WASHINGTON — An influential Trump administration official secretly met with a representative of Nicolas Maduro's regime in Mexico City in September to try to negotiate the Venezuelan leader's peaceful exit from power.

Richard Grenell, the former Acting U.S. director ...Read more

Mark Wilson/Getty Images North America/TNS

Iran and Russia have attempted to influence US election, officials say

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WASHINGTON — The leaders of U.S. intelligence agencies and the FBI warned Wednesday night that Iran and Russia have obtained voter registration information and are using it to send disinformation to voters ahead of Election Day.

The warning was issued during a brief and hastily announced news conference, and high-ranking officials did not ...Read more

Mark Wilson/Getty Images North America/TNS

Federal law enforcement says Iran may be behind 'spoofed' emails sent to Florida voters

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — The U.S. government on Wednesday night concluded that Iran and Russia have taken "specific actions to influence public opinion" in the 2020 election, including Iran sending "spoofed" emails that appear to be the ones sent to hundreds of Florida voters earlier this week.

"We have confirmed that some voter registration ...Read more

Antonio Perez/Chicago Tribune/TNS

As Illinois reports 69 COVID-19-related deaths, the highest daily toll since June, state issues plan for vaccine distribution

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CHICAGO — Illinois on Wednesday recorded its highest daily coronavirus-related death toll since June as state officials released an early version of its plan for how a vaccine will be distributed once one is approved and available.

The plan "is designed to provide an equitable distribution across the state with priority access going to our ...Read more

Susan Walsh/Pool/Getty Images North America/TNS

Democrats plan to boycott Barrett committee vote, but GOP won't let that slow her Senate confirmation

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WASHINGTON — Senate Democrats plan to boycott Thursday's vote in the Judiciary Committee on Judge Amy Coney Barrett's nomination to the Supreme Court, according to a source familiar with the plans. It will serve as a sign of protest, but will not ultimately slow down Barrett's confirmation.

Republicans are still expected to have the votes to ...Read more

Gary Coronado/Los Angeles Times/TNS

Judge rejects California attorney general's effort to investigate GOP ballot boxes

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SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A Sacramento judge refused Wednesday to order the California Republican Party to disclose information about its ballot drop box program to state officials, rejecting an argument by Attorney General Xavier Becerra that the investigation was essential to ensuring ballots are being properly handled.

The decision by Judge ...Read more

Logan Cyrus/Getty Images North America/TNS

Appeals court OKs North Carolina's extension to accept mail-in ballots

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RALEIGH, N.C. — Mailed-in ballots postmarked by 5 p.m. Nov. 3 — Election Day — should be accepted by the North Carolina Board of Elections until Nov. 12, according to a U.S. court of appeals ruling late Tuesday night.

The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals made the decision in a 12-3 vote just two weeks before Election Day.

"All ballots ...Read more

Joseph Eid/AFP/Getty Images North America/TNS

Syrians still not sharing information on fate of journalist Austin Tice, Pompeo says

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WASHINGTON — The Syrian government has chosen not to share any information it has about Austin Tice, an American journalist captured there in 2012, despite repeated overtures by the Trump administration, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Wednesday.

Pompeo at a press briefing confirmed that the administration remained in touch with Syrian ...Read more


Hurricane Epsilon now a Category 2 as it heads toward Bermuda

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MIAMI — Hurricane Epsilon has strengthened into a powerful Category 2 hurricane with 110 mph winds, according to an update from the National Hurricane Center.

Forecasters said the storm saw some rapid intensification overnight that continued through Wednesday.

"It is possible that Epsilon could strengthen a little more and become a major ...Read more

Williams Tom/Pool/Abaca Press/TNS

Supreme Court vote tears at Judiciary Committee relationships

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WASHINGTON — The Senate's escalating partisan tug-of-war over judicial confirmations has frayed relationships in the chamber for decades, but Thursday's committee vote on Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett threatens to sever the rope.

The vote is expected to unfold as it did for previous judicial nominees in the President Donald Trump ...Read more


An international flying squirrel trafficking ring has been busted in Florida

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FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — A group of poachers set 10,000 traps and captured about 3,600 wild flying squirrels in Florida before putting them on an exotic pet pipeline that sent the animals to Asia.

That's according to Florida wildlife officials who announced Monday that seven people have been arrested after a 19-month investigation.

The total ...Read more

Ventura County Fire Dept./TNS/TNS

NTSB: Conception boat fire victims were awake, might have been saved with warning

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LOS ANGELES — More than a year after the worst maritime disaster in modern California history, federal regulators this week offered grim new findings about the last moments of those who died aboard the Conception dive boat when it caught fire off the Santa Barbara coast.

National Transportation Safety Board Chairman Robert Sumwalt said ...Read more

Jose M. Osorio/Chicago Tribune/TNS

Officials find Trump Tower dangler after he jumped out of ambulance transporting him, Chicago police say

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CHICAGO - The man who dangled from Trump Tower for more than 13 hours from Sunday into Monday then jumped out of a private ambulance taking him to another hospital was later found after a missing person's report was made, according to Chicago police.

The man, 31, was being taken from Northwestern Memorial Hospital about 5:30 p.m. Tuesday just ...Read more