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Analysis: What does it say that Tuesday night's big surprise was Trump sounding presidential?

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WASHINGTON -- He didn't attack the fake news. He didn't brag about his overwhelming Electoral College win. He didn't even mock the poor television ratings of Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Instead, President Donald Trump delivered a speech to Congress that was chock full of policy priorities as he outlined a vision for the country for the next four ...Read more

Supreme Court balks at reining in 'racial gerrymandering' that protects black lawmakers

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WASHINGTON -- The Supreme Court has refused a plea from Democratic Party lawyers, at least for now, to rein in alleged "racial gerrymandering" by Republican-led states in the South that protects black lawmakers at the expense of other Democrats.

Instead, the justices decided Wednesday against ruling on a Virginia case over racial gerrymandering...Read more

China, upset over a planned missile-defense system, is taking aim at South Korea's pop stars and TV shows

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BEIJING -- One day the system could destroy North Korean missiles in mid-flight, a remarkable feat of military might and technical prowess.

But so far, its main victims have been South Korean pop stars, cosmetics companies, and TV shows.

Washington and Seoul plan to deploy the U.S.-developed Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) anti-...Read more

Scientists find what could be the oldest fossils on Earth

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Scientists have found what they claim are the oldest-known fossils on Earth, embedded in Canadian rocks that are at least 3.7 billion years old.

If they are right, the discovery suggests that life on Earth began within 200 to 500 million years of the birth of the planet 4.5 billion years ago.

"These findings show that life managed to emerge ...Read more

Graham to Trump: Send the Senate an immigration bill

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WASHINGTON -- If President Donald Trump wants to tackle immigration, he should "send a bill over" to the Senate. That's the view of Sen. Lindsey Graham, the Republican from South Carolina who was a member of the "gang of eight" that drafted the 2013 immigration overhaul that passed the Senate before stalling in the House.

"I think it would be ...Read more

Senate confirms Zinke, putting outdoor enthusiast atop Interior

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WASHINGTON -- The Senate confirmed Ryan Zinke to lead the Interior Department, putting a self-described "Teddy Roosevelt Republican" in charge of making decisions about where -- and whether -- to allow drilling and mining on U.S. public lands.

Roughly 20 percent of the nation's land is now under Zinke's watch, after the Senate's 68-31 vote to ...Read more

Trump debuted a new tone Tuesday night, but Mexicans aren't buying it

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MEXICO CITY -- President Donald Trump dumped the gloomy message of his inauguration speech in favor of a more optimistic tone in his address to Congress Tuesday night.

South of the border, many were watching closely.

Mexico, after all, has much at stake as Trump considers major changes on trade and immigration. Just look at the Mexican peso, ...Read more

Democrats delight in Delaware special election

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WASHINGTON -- From the women's marches to town hall protests, Democrats are starting to feel emboldened about their prospects in the midterms. A recent special election for the state Senate in Delaware only added to Democratic optimism, but the realities surrounding the race are more sobering.

Democrat Stephanie Hansen, a former New Castle ...Read more

Q&A with Rep. Josh Gottheimer

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WASHINGTON -- Freshman Democratic Rep. Josh Gottheimer of New Jersey, 41, talks about working as a White House speechwriter, connecting with his children long-distance, and being a Bruce Springsteen fan.

Q: What was it like being a speechwriter for Bill Clinton?

A: It was an enormous honor. It was a great front seat on the political and ...Read more

It's only a drill: Guantanamo rehearses Caribbean migrant crisis

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MIAMI -- Hundreds of U.S. forces are rehearsing a migrant crisis this week at the U.S. Navy base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, a massive multimillion dollar drill that envisions the United States capturing huge numbers of people in the Caribbean bound for the United States -- and how the military, State Department and Homeland Security would ...Read more

Trump's golf courses would benefit from his water-rule rollback

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WASHINGTON -- President Donald Trump's order on Tuesday to rescind and rewrite federal water regulations not only coincides with his conservative agenda but also could cut his costs as an owner of a dozen U.S. golf courses, again raising concerns about conflict of interest in the White House.

The directive to reconsider the 2015 "Waters of the ...Read more

New Ways and Means ranking Democrat looks for bipartisanship in tax overhaul

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WASHINGTON -- Rep. Richard E. Neal of Massachusetts aims to counter conservative priorities of President Donald Trump, while seeking a few shared trophies as the new top Democrat on the Ways and Means Committee.

An institutionalist who's finally ascended to his party's ranking seat on a committee after 28 years in the House, Neal turned 68 ...Read more

Chicago records no snow on ground in January, February for 1st time in 146 years

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CHICAGO -- For the first time in 146 years, the National Weather Service documented no snow on the ground in Chicago in January and February -- a record that put a spring in the step of some but weighed down others worried about climate change.

Because the snow measurement is taken at 6 a.m. at O'Hare International Airport, small amounts of ...Read more

Bipartisan group pushes opioid help amid Obamacare debate

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WASHINGTON -- A bipartisan group of House lawmakers is fighting to keep attention focused on last session's top health issue -- abuse of prescription opioids, heroin and other drugs -- although the 2010 health care law now dominates the health policy discourse.

The group hopes to pressure Congress to provide financial support to states for ...Read more

Get ready, President Trump — It's all complicated

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WASHINGTON -- President Donald Trump laid out a grand vision to Congress Tuesday night of the plans he has to Make America Great Again -- health care reform, tax reform, immigration reform, the Wall, a massive expansion of the military, reduction of the debt. More for less. Everything better. Everything safer. Everything great. Again.

But ...Read more

Rural Zimbabwe empties as Mugabe's land reform policy unravels

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Forests engulf fields that used to produce some of the world's best tobacco around the northern Zimbabwean town of Banket, while barns that once stored the leaf stand empty, their corrugated iron roofs ripped off and sold for scrap. Most of the farm workers have left.

"We are 15 here now, from roughly 50," said 25-year-old Bruce Mahenya, who ...Read more

Pot sales pay for schools and road repairs, but Trump might take that away

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WASHINGTON -- President Donald Trump's plan to crack down on recreational marijuana could blow a hole in the budgets of states that have come to rely on new tax revenue from pot sales to pay for everything from road repairs to schools.

The Democratic governors of Washington state and Colorado, the first states that voted to legalize the drug ...Read more

Novel explores the woman in Wyeth's 'Christina's World'

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"A Piece of the World: A Novel," by Christina Baker Kline, HarperLuxe (400 pages, $27.99)

Andrew Wyeth carried his paints and brushes during regular visits with Christina Olson at her family's farm in Cushing, Maine. The American painter from Chadds Ford, Pa., often set up his easel on the third floor of the Olsons' farmhouse or outdoors in a ...Read more

Indiana's claims about its Medicaid experiment don't all check out

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Indiana expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act in 2015, adding conditions designed to appeal to the state's conservative leadership. The federal government approved the experiment, called the Healthy Indiana Plan, or HIP 2.0, which is now up for a three-year renewal.

But a close reading of the state's renewal application shows that ...Read more

University of California: New revelations show widespread sexual misconduct across the state

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The University of California disciplined more than 100 employees for sexual misconduct, about a quarter of them faculty members, at campuses across the state in the nearly three years before a scandal blew up at UC Berkeley, according to documents released Tuesday after a public records request from the Bay Area News Group.

The cases covered a ...Read more