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Not considered a serious rebel while alive, Venezuelan emerges as powerful symbol after death

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He had to die to be taken seriously.

Oscar Perez, 36, stepped into the spotlight pulling a couple of daring stunts to try to jump-start an insurrection against the Nicolas Maduro regime. But the former cop, who also was a pilot and aspiring actor, was distrusted -- even openly rejected -- by most in the Venezuelan opposition movement. Until he ...Read more

Satanist argues her religious abortion rights case before the Missouri Supreme Court

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A woman who says Missouri abortion law violates her religious beliefs brought her case before the Missouri Supreme Court on Tuesday.

The woman, identified in court documents as Mary Doe, is an adherent of the Satanic Temple. She names Gov. Eric Greitens as a defendant.

Doe's New Jersey-based attorney, James Mac Naughton, ...Read more

Prosecutors will seek death penalty for Tampa serial murder suspect

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BRADENTON, Fla. -- State Attorney Andrew Warren announced Tuesday prosecutors will seek the death penalty in the Seminole Heights murder cases against Howell Donaldson III.

"This case, in which the defendant murdered four innocent victims in a cold, calculated and premeditated manner, qualifies," Warren said.

Donaldson is facing four counts of...Read more

Upset about his schedule, Taco Bell employee allegedly attacked co-worker with a burrito

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COLUMBIA, S.C. -- A Taco Bell employee angry about working the morning shift is accused of attacking a co-worker with a hot burrito.

The incident took place on Monday at a Spartanburg, S.C., Taco Bell, where a woman said that one of her employees got angry at her and threw at hot burrito before storming out of the restaurant, according to a ...Read more

Cuba is selecting deputies for the National Assembly. Guess who's on the ballot?

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Nominating commissions across Cuba have chosen their candidates for the National Assembly of People's Power, Cuba's parliament, which in turn will select Cuba's next president in April.

Although the election has been viewed as a generational shift with Raul Castro, 86, expected to retire as president of the Council of State and Council of ...Read more

At least 7 taken to hospitals after fatal shooting at Kentucky high school

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LEXINGTON, Ky. -- A shooting at Marshall County High School in Western Kentucky has killed one victim and wounded multiple others, according to Kentucky State Police.

At least seven victims were taken to hospitals.

The shooting was reported in the high school commons, according to a Broadcastify recording of law enforcement scanner traffic ...Read more

Nine-year-old's death by stray bullet: 'It's the worst nightmare'

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Nine-year-old Dominic Young Jr. spent most of Saturday roller skating, bowling and playing video games with his dad and his extended family.

But for reasons that makes no sense to his family, he didn't make it home alive.

Dominic died Saturday night, apparently hit by a stray bullet in Kansas City as his father drove him ...Read more

David Hawkings: When a shutdown amounts to a mulligan

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It may be hard to believe now, especially for those whose lives were upended the past three days, but this could end up being remembered as the "Never mind" shutdown.

Since the federal government was fully back in business Tuesday -- after just one weekday when the lights were only partially and inconsistently turned off -- both parties in ...Read more

California county issued conflicting evacuation warnings before deadly Montecito mudslides

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LOS ANGELES -- In the days before deadly mudslides devastated Montecito, Santa Barbara County officials released conflicting evacuation instructions that left some hard-hit neighborhoods out of the warning zone.

The Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office posted on its website and on Facebook a list of voluntary and mandatory evacuation areas for...Read more

Special counsel interviews Attorney General Jeff Sessions in Russia case

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WASHINGTON -- Attorney General Jeff Sessions was questioned for several hours last week by the special counsel's office investigating Russian interference in the 2016 campaign, a sign that the politically sensitive probe has moved deeper into the White House.

Sessions is the first known member of Trump's Cabinet to be pulled into the probe, ...Read more

Four pit bulls get loose and kill at least 5 Chihuahuas in San Diego, authorities say

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SAN DIEGO -- Four pit bulls escaped their yard in eastern San Diego and killed at least five Chihuahuas in a neighbor's backyard Saturday, authorities said.

The owner of the pit bulls turned them over to San Diego County Animal Services and the four animals were euthanized. One of them had been impounded in 2013 after an attack on a sheriff's ...Read more

Military families bolster the case that obesity is indeed contagious

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Members of the military serve their country in myriad ways. That includes helping researchers figure out whether obesity is a contagious disease.

A new study involving thousands of military families suggests that the answer is yes.

The idea that fatness can spread like chicken pox or the flu may sound downright crazy. But how else do you ...Read more

Davos displays weakness of Western leaders in a polarized world

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LONDON -- It's been a decade since western bankers commanded the deference in Davos they enjoyed before the financial crisis. That blight appears to be spreading to politicians.

The so-called masters of the universe headed to this year's annual gathering of the global elite are looking less than magisterial. From the U.S., to the U.K., to Italy...Read more

California 'church' was really an illegal marijuana dispensary, police allege

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LOS ANGELES -- Laguna Beach, Calif., police this month shut down what they allege was a marijuana dispensary posing as a church, the department said Monday.

Officers seized more than 20 pounds of marijuana and more than $3,000 in cash, according to police Sgt. Jim Cota.

Officers responded to Divine Church of Gardens at 910 Glenneyre St. at ...Read more

Trump takes back seat in shutdown-ending talks

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WASHINGTON -- President Donald Trump on Saturday, amid a government shutdown that tarnished the anniversary of his first year in office, was surrounded by a room of people at the White House, apparently hanging on his every word. But these were his own staffers, not lawmakers working to turn the federal lights back on.

Trump and his top aides, ...Read more

Americans cheer their economy. Their president, not so much

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WASHINGTON -- President Donald Trump is breaking the convention that when Americans feel good about the economy they credit their leader.

Never in recent history have consumers been so buoyant about economic prospects and their financial fortunes while at the same time so down on the president. The gap has emerged in an administration marked by...Read more

Robin Abcarian: Two weeks later, Montecito's devastated neighborhoods are still empty and eerily quiet

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MONTECITO, Calif. -- On Sunday, Montecito's neighborhoods were mostly deserted. I walked along muddy streets, awed by the devastation.

Squishy muck covered lawns and driveways. Backyards were boulder fields. Front doors were flung off their jambs, revealing mud-filled living rooms, storm-tossed couches and other personal effects strewn inside ...Read more

Walking and talking: Fleischmann's insight into budget talks

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WASHINGTON -- With late-night negotiations and long hours, members have little time to stop and smell the lawmaking.

Rep. Chuck Fleischmann has found that walking to and from work -- from his Capitol Hill home to the Rayburn House Office Building -- is a way to stay focused and energized.

"Whether it's cold or hot, wet or dry, I walk to work...Read more

Less smartphone time equals happier teenager, study suggests

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A precipitous drop in the happiness, self-esteem and life satisfaction of American teens came as their ownership of smartphones rocketed from zero to 73 percent and they devoted an increasing share of their time online.

Coincidence? New research suggests it is not.

In a study published Monday in the journal Emotion, psychologists from San ...Read more

Lindsey Graham is ready to be a big immigration player, but so are others

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WASHINGTON -- Sen. Lindsey Graham is emboldened, having helped broker a deal to end the government shutdown. His next task –– an immigration deal that President Donald Trump is willing to sign –– has the potential to be tough, frustrating and elusive.

The South Carolina Republican is one of the key players trying to get Republicans and ...Read more