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For Trump aides caught in Russia probe, legal bills and paranoia

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NEW YORK -- Four months as a communications adviser to Donald Trump's campaign have turned Michael Caputo's life upside down.

Since congressional investigators decided they wanted to interview Caputo as part of an investigation into Russia's interference in the 2016 election, he's drained his children's college fund to pay more than $30,000 in ...Read more

Combating child abuse: States take action

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WASHINGTON -- Spurred by high-profile cases of endangered children and chronically overworked caseworkers, many states have taken steps this year to shield children from abuse and neglect, including adding caseworkers, tightening reporting requirements and expanding the definition of "abuse."

Some states and cities are pouring more money into ...Read more

Fatal police shootings up in St. Louis this year

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ST. LOUIS -- Amid a sixth day of protest after a police officer was found not guilty of murder in a 2011 fatal shooting, family and friends of another man killed by police gathered outside St. Louis City Hall on Wednesday.

On what would have been Isaiah "Vinny" Hammett's 22nd birthday, they served birthday cake and tried to draw attention to ...Read more

Baptism becomes mass funeral as church comes down in Mexico

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ATZALA, Mexico -- It was supposed to be a joyous occasion, the baptism of a baby girl in this sweltering sugar-cane hub south of Mexico City.

But the celebration at Santiago the Apostle Catholic Church turned abruptly tragic Tuesday when a massive earthquake rocked violently through the main square.

The colonial-style church shuddered, and ...Read more

Texas judge nominee equated transgender children, Satan

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AUSTIN, Texas -- Jeff Mateer, President Donald Trump's nominee for federal judge and a top official in the Texas attorney general's office, has come under fire after CNN reported Wednesday that he called transgender children evidence of Satan's plan and argued that gay marriage would lead to bestiality and multiple-partner weddings.

The quotes ...Read more

Mexico City residents whose buildings survived the 1985 quake were wrong about long-term safety

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MEXICO CITY -- Even in one of the most earthquake-prone cities in the world, Peniley Ramirez never felt in danger inside her apartment. The seven-story building in the Roma neighborhood had survived the devastating Mexico City quake of 1985, which killed thousands.

"People said it was perfect during '85, there was no damage at all, so we always...Read more

Nation and world news briefs

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Obama says Republican health care plan would inflict 'real human suffering'

WASHINGTON -- The latest Republican effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act would inflict "real human suffering" on millions of Americans, former President Barack Obama said Wednesday, speaking out in public defense of his signature health care reform effort.

The law ...Read more

Did White House cross the line with attacks on Comey?

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WASHINGTON -- Several lawmakers and former federal prosecutors say recent White House attacks on the credibility of fired FBI Director James Comey raise serious questions about whether it is attempting to discredit him as a possible grand jury witness in the investigation into Russian influence in the 2016 campaign.

At the very least, they said...Read more

Federal judge dismisses lawsuit by Minn. wedding videographers who sued to refuse same-sex customers

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MINNEAPOLIS -- A St. Cloud couple will not be able to refuse wedding videography services for same-sex couples after a federal judge on Wednesday dismissed their lawsuit challenging Minnesota's human rights laws.

In a 63-page ruling Wednesday, Chief U.S. District Judge John Tunheim wrote that a provision of the Minnesota Human Rights Act ...Read more

Former Brat Pack star Anthony Michael Hall pleads no contest to assaulting neighbor

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LOS ANGELES -- "The Breakfast Club" actor Anthony Michael Hall, facing a felony battery charge for breaking a neighbor's wrist in a struggle, opted Wednesday to plead no contest to a misdemeanor assault and was sentenced to three years of probation.

Hall must also serve 40 hours of community service in connection with the conviction for assault...Read more

Judge lowers bail for Suge Knight's fiancee on charges she sold murder trial evidence to TMZ

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LOS ANGELES -- A Los Angeles County judge decided to sharply reduce the $2 million bail keeping Marion "Suge" Knight's fiancee jailed on charges that she violated a court order by selling a key video in Knight's murder trial to the gossip website TMZ.

Toi-Lin Kelly, 36, was arrested this month after a grand jury indicted her on charges of ...Read more

St. Louis police to get body cameras

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ST. LOUIS -- All St. Louis police officers could be wearing body cameras within 90 days after a contentious and chaotic vote of the St. Louis Board of Estimate and Apportionment Wednesday.

Normally staid affairs, the meeting featured crowd members and board members shouting each other down amid the crowd's demands for immediate action.

...Read more

Trump team drafting plan to deport more young people — Central American teens

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WASHINGTON -- The Trump administration is weighing a new policy that would fast-track the deportation of thousands of Central American teenagers who arrived at the southern border, unaccompanied by adults.

According to two sources with knowledge of the developing policy proposal, the Justice Department under Attorney General Jeff Sessions wants...Read more

Trump campaign bodyguard linked to ex-con who is key in Russia probes

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WASHINGTON -- Another connection has emerged between Donald Trump and Felix Sater, the Russian emigre and ex-con who has become a key figure in widening investigations into ties between Trump associates and Russian figures.

Trump plays down his relationship with Sater, despite growing evidence of links between the two, including recently ...Read more

Fla. nursing home victims' body heat was too high for them to be saved, officials say

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FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- Three elderly victims stuck in a nursing home for days without air conditioning after Hurricane Irma had body temperatures ranging from 107 to 109.9 degrees, making them "far too late to be saved," state health care regulators revealed Wednesday.

Normal body temperature is 98.6.

The Florida Agency for Health Care ...Read more

Trump offered condolences, assistance to Mexico after earthquake

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NEW YORK -- President Donald Trump extended his condolences to Mexico's president and offered assistance on Wednesday, a day after an earthquake devastated central Mexico, including the capital of Mexico City, and killed more than 200 people.

Trump and President Enrique Pena Nieto had a "lengthy" telephone call in the morning, according to the ...Read more

Is that computer security company loyal to you, or collaborating with the government?

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WASHINGTON -- The Trump administration's ban on the use of a Russian cybersecurity firm's software is heightening suspicion worldwide that private internet firms might be in league with their home governments, an industry leader said Wednesday.

The Trump administration last week told U.S. government agencies to remove Kaspersky Lab products ...Read more

Facebook moves to block offensive terms from targeted advertising campaigns

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Advertisers on Facebook no longer can use offensive search terms such as "Jew hater" and "how to burn Jews" to target specific audiences, the company said Wednesday.

The new policy comes a week after ProPublica published a story demonstrating how advertisers could reach thousands of Facebook users by entering hateful search terms on the social ...Read more

Federal Reserve will start reducing stockpile of bonds it bought to stimulate the economy

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WASHINGTON -- The Federal Reserve announced Wednesday that it would start slowly reducing the trillions of dollars in bonds it bought to try to stimulate the economy, another milestone in the central bank's efforts to return to a normal monetary policy after the Great Recession.

The long-awaited reduction in the Fed's $4.5 trillion balance ...Read more

Pa. man who abused 6 underage 'wives' sentenced to up to 87 years in jail

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PHILADELPHIA -- Lee Kaplan, convicted of sexually assaulting six underage sisters over a period of years as he lured an entire family into a cultlike pseudo-religion, was sentenced Wednesday to 30 to 87 years in prison.

As the defendant listened and occasionally rolled his neck, Bucks County Judge Jeffrey L. Finley told Kaplan he had warped the...Read more