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West African leaders give Gambia's Jammeh last chance to step down

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DAKAR, Senegal -- West African leaders Friday said they will travel once again to Gambia in a last-minute effort to convince election loser Yahya Jammeh to cede power.

The presidents of Liberia and Guinea were expected to arrive in the capital Banjul to give Jammeh, who ruled the small West African nation for 22 years with an iron fist, a last ...Read more

Airport shooter had Florida driver's license; how did he get it?

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FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- When Esteban Santiago applied for permission to carry a gun in Puerto Rico, he provided identification in his name: a Florida driver's license, according to court records obtained by the Fort Lauderdale Sun Sentinel.

There is no indication in official records that Santiago has ever lived in Florida or was entitled to a ...Read more

Judge blocks Texas from ousting Planned Parenthood from Medicaid, for now

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AUSTIN, Texas -- A federal judge issued a temporary order Thursday blocking Texas officials from ousting Planned Parenthood as a Medicaid health care provider, as planned, on Saturday.

U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks didn't rule on the merits of the case, which focused on whether a 2015 undercover video offered sufficient evidence of medical and...Read more

Senate Democrats plan to put the brakes on Trump's Cabinet process

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WASHINGTON -- On his first day in office, Donald Trump will get a taste of what it's like to work with Congress.

He probably won't like it.

Senate Democrats plan to slow the confirmation of all but a handful of Trump's Cabinet nominees, their leader told reporters on the eve of the presidential inauguration -- a move that shows that even with ...Read more

Oakland animal rights activists get prison for 'terrorizing' fur industry

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SAN DIEGO -- Two Oakland animal rights activists have been sentenced to federal prison for "terrorizing the fur industry" during a cross-country trip in 2013, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.

Nicole Juanita Kissane, 30, was sentenced in U.S. District Court in San Diego on Wednesday to 21 months in prison and ordered to pay $423,477 to ...Read more

Fast start promised as Trump takes office Friday

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WASHINGTON -- The Donald Trump era begins Friday when he's sworn in as the nation's 45th president, and he's pledged to get off to a fast start as he tries to live up to campaign promises and reverse his predecessor's achievements.

Trump is expected to sign a raft of executive orders over the next few days that could alter visa programs and ...Read more

Should black leaders meet with Trump?

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ATLANTA -- As the clock ticks down on the final hours of the historic Obama presidency, civil rights advocates are facing the prospect of a new leader they worry is deeply out of touch with their community and openly hostile to their agenda.

Trump's Twitter assault last weekend on U.S. Rep. John Lewis is just the latest salvo in a string of ...Read more

Nation and world news briefs

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New Jersey man arrested for allegedly threatening Obama on Facebook

PHILADELPHIA -- A man who believed that President Barack Obama had slept with his fiancee and then announced it in a nationally televised speech was charged Thursday with threatening the president's life.

Federal prosecutors say William Peterman Jr., 33, of Medford Lakes, N.J....Read more

Trump tweets his way to Inauguration Day

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Donald Trump will hold the fate of the nation's economy, health care system and millions of immigrants in his hands when he's sworn in as president on Friday.

But it's the future of his tweeting that still captivates many Americans.

Trump shows no signs of easing up on his no-holds-barred, middle-of-the-night tweets to counterpunch his critics...Read more

World worries about what President Trump will do

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WASHINGTON -- At foreign embassies across Washington, envoys say they are bracing for the unknown when President-elect Donald Trump is sworn into office Friday and starts issuing orders.

In capitals around the globe, leaders and foreign policy experts worry that Trump's calls for radical change and brash style could produce instability or worse...Read more

Will Trump era deliver change or revolution?

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WASHINGTON -- Those who love and fear President-elect Donald Trump agree on one thing: He is bent on upending nearly every aspect of the presidency.

But as he takes the oath of office and enters the White House on Friday, Trump's mythology will begin to meet reality. And the debate has already begun over which elements of Trumpism will be truly...Read more

Women around country head to D.C., some to protest for very first time

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GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- At the age of 74, Sue Fernandez has lived through the civil rights movement, the Vietnam War and the invasion of Iraq without joining a single protest. She was busy raising three sons and working full time as a pharmaceutical researcher. She took some pride in staying out of politics.

That was before the 2016 presidential ...Read more

Man convicted of killing homeless man is entitled to new trial, Fla. Supreme Court rules

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FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- Thomas Daugherty, who was convicted of beating a homeless man to death in Fort Lauderdale with a baseball bat 11 years ago, is entitled to a new trial because of a fundamental flaw in the jury instructions at his 2008 trial, the Florida Supreme Court ruled Thursday.

Daugherty, now 28, was originally sentenced to life in...Read more

California drought continues to shrink, federal government says

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SAN JOSE, Calif. -- With major reservoirs nearly full, the Sierra Nevada snowpack well above average and flood warnings in place for some rivers, federal scientists on Thursday reported a continued weakening of California's drought.

Overall, 44 percent of the state remains in severe drought or worse, down from 49 percent a week ago, according ...Read more

A nation cheers, and fears, as Trump's moment looms

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WASHINGTON -- It's often been said that Americans are the most optimistic people on Earth.

Perhaps at no time does this become more evident than in the quadrennial inaugural ceremony that will take place on Capitol Hill at noon Friday, when Donald Trump will be sworn in as America's 45th president.

Inauguration Day is a turning point in ...Read more

Drug lord 'El Chapo' extradited to the US

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MEXICO CITY -- Mexican drug lord and prison escape artist Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman has been extradited to the United States to stand trial in Brooklyn on drug trafficking and murder conspiracy charges, the U.S. Department of Justice said in a statement.

"He is in the air," a U.S. official said, confirming an account by the Mexican government ...Read more

International observers recommend US change its 'unique' Electoral College system

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WASHINGTON -- On the eve of Donald Trump's inauguration, a group of international election experts who observed the Nov. 8 election have suggested overhauling the United States' "particularly unique" Electoral College system, which gave Trump the presidency.

The changes, the group from the Organization of American States said, should be made to...Read more

Treasury nominee Mnuchin hammered by Democrats on OneWest foreclosures

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WASHINGTON -- Steven Mnuchin, the Wall Street executive tapped by President-elect Donald Trump to be the next treasury secretary, faced some of the most blistering personal attacks of any Cabinet pick so far as Democrats accused him of foreclosing on the homes of thousands of struggling Americans while head of a Southern California bank, even as...Read more

'Dance Moms' star seeks probation for financial crimes; feds want prison

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PITTSBURGH -- "Dance Moms" TV star Abigale Miller, convicted of hiding assets from bankruptcy court and sneaking cash into the U.S. to conceal it, says she shouldn't go to federal prison.

She's asking U.S. District Judge Joy Flowers Conti for probation.

But the government says she's shown no respect for the law -- at one point she sent an ...Read more

City devastated by OxyContin use sues Purdue Pharma, claims drugmaker put profits over citizens

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A Washington city devastated by black-market OxyContin filed a first-of-its-kind lawsuit against the painkillers' manufacturer Thursday, alleging the company turned a blind eye to criminal trafficking of its pills to "reap large and obscene profits" and demanding it foot the bill for widespread opioid addiction in the community.

The suit by ...Read more