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Flavor bans multiply, but menthol continues to divide

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As states and communities rush to ban the sale of flavored tobacco products linked to vaping, Carol McGruder races from town to town, urging officials to include what she calls "the mother lode of all flavors": menthol.

McGruder, co-chair of the African American Tobacco Control Leadership Council, has tried for years to warn lawmakers that ...Read more

When a state attorney general takes on a national fight, what's he gunning for?

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WASHINGTON -- When a bipartisan bunch of state attorneys general announced this summer they had cut a deal with phone companies to crack down on infuriating robocalls, Democratic Attorney General Josh Stein of North Carolina led the news conference in Washington.

When four AGs -- two Democrats and two Republicans -- pursued a settlement ...Read more

Fort Meade military families sue, alleging hazardous housing conditions

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FORT MEADE, Md. -- Ten active-duty military families living on base at Fort George G. Meade have sued the private companies managing base housing for what the families allege to be hazardous housing conditions exhibited through widespread mold, the law firm representing the residents announced Tuesday.

Filed a day after Veterans Day, the class-...Read more

San Diego State freshman's death in fraternity-related incident is ruled accidental

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SAN DIEGO -- The 19-year-old San Diego State University freshman who died after an event at one of the school's fraternities was gravely injured when he fell from his bunk bed, the county medical examiner's office said Tuesday.

The death has prompted swift action from the university, which, on Tuesday, announced the creation of two task forces ...Read more

Congress plans to punt government shutdown deadline to Dec. 20

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WASHINGTON -- Congress plans to extend government funding through Dec. 20, averting the risk of a shutdown next week but setting up a potential spending fight amid likely impeachment votes before the end of the year, according to lawmakers and aides.

Democratic House Appropriations Chairwoman Nita Lowey and Republican Senate Appropriations ...Read more

US judge blocks 'suspicionless' searches of phones at borders

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NEW YORK -- A federal judge rejected a Trump administration policy allowing agents at U.S. border crossings and airports to arbitrarily search the phones and laptops of international travelers.

The agents must demonstrate individualized suspicion that a traveler's devices contain digital contraband before conducting searches that would tap ...Read more

Hundreds of uncounted votes discovered in Pa. in local township election

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ALLENTOWN, Pa. -- Northampton County election officials on Tuesday uncovered more than 200 votes that had not been part of the initial tally, affecting the result of the Lower Saucon Township Council race and adding to the problems the county had in tabulating votes on election night.

The mistake was found during a routine canvass of votes ...Read more

Rev. Jesse Jackson calls for change at Buffalo Wild Wings after racist incident in Chicago-area restaurant

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CHICAGO -- Civil rights activist the Rev. Jesse Jackson and families affected by a racist customer at a Naperville Buffalo Wild Wings on Tuesday called on the business and its parent company to work toward greater diversity within its executive ranks and to increase the number of franchises owned by people of color.

Jackson said he and the ...Read more

Airline passenger arrested in Haiti after arriving from Miami with guns, ammunition

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Police in Haiti said Tuesday that they have arrested a passenger who arrived in the country aboard an American Airlines flight with weapons.

"What is important is that he is under the control of the authorities," said Haiti National Police spokesman Michel-Ange Louis-Jeune.

Louis-Jeune said the man arrived with three gun cases. "They opened ...Read more

Prosecutors decline to drop murder charges, setting up possible retrial for man who's already completed his sentence

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CHICAGO -- Long after Demetrius Johnson completed his sentence for a 1991 killing, his attorneys sought in September to have that conviction thrown out, alleging he was framed by a notorious ex-Chicago police detective while citing newly uncovered documentary evidence as proof.

Cook County prosecutors on Tuesday said they agreed -- but only to ...Read more

Verma attacks critics of Medicaid work requirement, pushes for tighter eligibility

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WASHINGTON -- Seema Verma, the Trump administration's top Medicaid official, Tuesday sharply attacked critics of her plan to force some Medicaid enrollees to work, a policy that led to thousands of people losing coverage in Arkansas.

"We cannot allow those who prefer the status quo to weaponize the legal system against state innovation," the ...Read more

Analysis: Job No. 1 for Democrats is to keep impeachment hearing from spinning out of control

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WASHINGTON -- Democrats' top priority as they open the first public hearing of the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump is to keep it serious and straightforward, but also engaging.

They need to avoid the yawns that followed testimony of former special counsel Robert S. Mueller III in July, the circus that surrounded the testimony of...Read more

Trump hovers over Roger Stone trial in testimony on Clinton leaks

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WASHINGTON -- Thrilled by the release of stolen Democratic emails in mid-2016, Donald Trump's campaign chairman at the time said he would brief Trump if WikiLeaks planned to publish more dirt, a top aide said at the criminal trial of Republican political operative Roger Stone.

The chairman, Paul Manafort, "indicated he was going to be updating ...Read more

Nation and world news briefs

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Trump's impeachment messenger meets with Republicans on eve of public hearing

WASHINGTON -- On the eve of a public hearing in the House impeachment inquiry, at least one member of President Donald Trump's new two-person messaging team has met with senior House Republican communicators on Capitol Hill.

The team of Pam Bondi and Tony Sayegh, ...Read more

Trump's impeachment messenger meets with Republicans on eve of public hearing

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WASHINGTON -- On the eve of a public hearing in the House impeachment inquiry, at least one member of President Donald Trump's new two-person messaging team has met with senior House Republican communicators on Capitol Hill.

The team of Pam Bondi and Tony Sayegh, political allies of the president hired last week to coordinate Republican ...Read more

A North Carolina principal took coaches' bribes to hide kids from ICE. Now she's going to prison

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- For five years, a veteran Charlotte educator rigged the enrollment and immigration records of dozens of international students in return for bribes from basketball coaches and recruiters, court documents show.

On Tuesday, none of those co-conspirators appeared beside Evelyn Mack. The founder, owner and schoolmaster at Evelyn ...Read more

Three who eulogized Rep. Elijah Cummings at funeral now running against each other for his seat

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BALTIMORE -- Less than a month ago, Rep. Elijah Cummings' wife, friend and staffer took the stage during his funeral at New Psalmist Baptist Church to eulogize the venerated congressman they each loved and respected.

Former NAACP President Kweisi Mfume said his friend "defied the limits of others' expectations." Harry Spikes said his boss ...Read more

Texas authorities won't ask Trump campaign to pay security costs for visit

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FORT WORTH, Texas -- President Donald Trump's recent North Texas visit required hundreds of law enforcers to team with Secret Service to control crowds, redirect traffic, provide security and more.

But unlike in some other communities where officials billed the president's campaign for security costs, police and sheriff officials in Johnson ...Read more

Justices allow Sandy Hook families to pursue lawsuit against gunmaker Remington

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WASHINGTON -- The U.S. Supreme Court's rejection Tuesday of an appeal from Remington Arms to overturn a groundbreaking ruling that could pierce the federal law preventing most lawsuits against gun manufacturers paves the way for a survivor and relatives of the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting to pursue their lawsuit in state ...Read more

Trump's deal allowing 3D-printed guns online deemed illegal

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The Trump administration broke a federal law when it reached a settlement allowing a gun-technology company to post online the digital blueprints for making weapons with a 3D printer, a judge ruled.

The State Department didn't give the public a proper explanation in 2018 when it reversed an Obama-era position to block publication by Defense ...Read more