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White House: No red flags in multiple background checks of Ronny Jackson

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WASHINGTON -- The White House on Wednesday continued defending embattled Veterans Affairs Secretary nominee Ronny Jackson, saying multiple background checks have turned up no red flags. And, for the first time, a senior official said an internal review could happen as his nomination appears stalled.

With his Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee ...Read more

French president challenges Trumpism in speech to Congress

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WASHINGTON -- French President Emmanuel Macron told a joint session of Congress on Wednesday that the United States should stay in the Iran nuclear deal and the Paris climate change accord, both international deals that President Donald Trump has denounced as part of his America First foreign policy.

Macron's speech, delivered in the House ...Read more

US falls in global index of press freedom, reporters' group says

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WASHINGTON -- The United States has slipped again among countries in an annual ranking of freedom of the press, according to a study that says a "climate of hatred" is growing worldwide toward the news media.

Citing the Trump administration among other nations' governments, the international advocacy group Reporters Without Borders said on ...Read more

Top federal prosecutor in New York wins term extension from judge

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NEW YORK -- A federal judge extended the term of the prosecutor whose office is investigating President Donald Trump's lawyer.

The Trump administration in January appointed Geoffrey Berman, then a law partner to Trump ally Rudy Giuliani, as the top federal prosecutor in Manhattan on a temporary, 120-day basis rather than nominating a candidate ...Read more

Sessions won't say if he's recused from probe of Trump's lawyer

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WASHINGTON -- Attorney General Jeff Sessions refused Wednesday to say whether he's recused himself from involvement in the Justice Department's investigation into President Donald Trump's personal lawyer, Michael Cohen.

"I should not answer that question; it would be inappropriate to do so," Sessions said at a Senate Appropriations subcommittee...Read more

Texas governor wants former Rep. Blake Farenthold to pay for special election

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WASHINGTON -- Texas Gov. Greg Abbott is asking former Rep. Blake Farenthold to pay for the June 30 special election to fill the seat the congressman vacated when he resigned earlier this month.

Abbott wrote a letter to Farenthold on Wednesday to "demand" that he "cover all costs" for the June 30 special election in Texas' 27th District.

...Read more

Suspect in Golden State Killer case, an ex-police officer, is arrested after decades

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LOS ANGELES -- Authorities have arrested a former police officer who is suspected of being one of California's most prolific serial killers and rapists -- the Golden State Killer.

According to law enforcement sources who were unauthorized to speak publicly about the case, a local and federal task force apprehended the suspect late Tuesday ...Read more

Golden State Killer: A primer on an elusive predator

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Here is a primer on the Golden State Killer from the pages of the Los Angeles Times:

Q: What do we know about the Golden State Killer?

A: The killer is believed to be responsible for 12 slayings, 45 rapes and more than 120 residential burglaries between 1976 and 1986.

The crimes began in Sacramento then moved south through Oakland, and Santa ...Read more

Green thumb with pot earned him $22 million. What he did with the cash got him 5 years

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MIAMI -- Luis Hernandez-Gonzalez ran a Miami indoor gardening supply store favored by marijuana growers from across the nation -- some legal, some not. They bought light bulbs, fans and fertilizers with names such as "Bud Candy" and "Big Bud."

His business was so lucrative that he had to stash $22 million in buckets hidden above a closet in his...Read more

Why do some hurricanes intensify so fast? Miami researchers find a key clue

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MIAMI -- The rapid intensification of hurricanes, a fearful development that forecasters still struggle to predict, may be tied to an inner battle between a storm's thunderstorms and winds.

Forecasters typically look at outside environmental conditions -- ocean temperatures, moisture in the atmosphere and the flow of upper level winds -- to ...Read more

Kentucky jury awards $67.5 million to miners who used defective dust masks

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LEXINGTON, Ky. -- A Knott County jury has awarded $67.5 million in damages to two coal miners who claimed defective dust masks led to their debilitating black-lung disease.

Of the total, $62.5 million was awarded for punitive damages against the mask maker, 3M Company, according to the verdict form. The remaining amount compensates brothers ...Read more

Has the Golden State Killer been arrested? Authorities to announce 'major development' in decades-old case

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LOS ANGELES -- The Sacramento County Sheriff's Department and the FBI will be making an announcement regarding one of the most notorious serial killers in California history on Wednesday, department officials said.

In the 40 years since the Original Night Stalker began his campaign of terror in Sacramento and moved south through Oakland, Santa ...Read more

A pileup of 14 distant galaxies is set to become the most massive structure in the universe

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It's a cosmic pileup in the far reaches of the universe and nothing like it has ever been seen before.

Using the most powerful telescopes on Earth, astronomers have spotted 14 burning-hot galaxies hurtling toward each other on an inevitable galactic collision course at the edge of the observable universe.

Computer models show that when these ...Read more

One officer has died in Dallas Home Depot shooting

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DALLAS -- One police officer has died and another was critically wounded in a shooting Tuesday by a gunman inside a Home Depot store in northeast Dallas, which set off a five-hour manhunt that ended with the chase and arrest of the suspected shooter.

On Wednesday morning, Dallas police identified the officers as Chrystal Almeida and Rogelio ...Read more

Transgender inmate sues to practice witchcraft at notorious all-male NC prison

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- One of North Carolina's most notorious all-male prisons is the focus of a court fight over religious liberty led by a transgender witch.

Jennifer Ann Jasmaine says in her handwritten, federal lawsuit that Lanesboro Correctional Institution is blocking the practice of her spiritual beliefs, which happen to be rooted in ...Read more

Mother files complaint, says while she was at jury duty, staff sent her to men's room to pump breast milk

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CHICAGO -- She was summoned to jury duty at the downtown Daley Center courthouse, but the Chicago attorney and mother to a newborn said she couldn't fulfill her civic duty because there was no private place to pump breast milk.

So Judith Miller filed a discrimination complaint with the Illinois Department of Human Rights, a possible precursor ...Read more

Starving dogs turned to cannibalism. Their owner is jailed — again

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A dog seen trotting down a path with another dog's head in its mouth led Johnson County, Kan., authorities to a horrible site.

Eleven dead and dying animals were found on property owned by Julie Bernet, a Johnson County breeder of expensive German shepherds imported from Europe, and she was charged with multiple counts of ...Read more

New details show how life and death became a matter of chance in Parkland school massacre

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FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- As gunman Nikolas Cruz skulked through Stoneman Douglas High School on Feb. 14, a person's chances of surviving depended largely on where they encountered him.

One student who came across him on the first floor got away as Cruz loaded his weapon, according to a chilling animation released Tuesday. And all students on ...Read more

Jury deliberations begin in Bill Cosby's retrial

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NORRISTOWN, Pa. -- A jury of seven men and five women began deliberating Bill Cosby's fate in his sex assault retrial Wednesday.

"You're going to do justice in the case of Commonwealth v. William H. Cosby," Judge Steven T. O'Neill told the panel after instructing them on the charges against the entertainer.

O'Neill sent the jurors to a ...Read more

After trip to China, Miami-Dade wiped data from phones used by top county officials

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MIAMI -- When senior officials in Miami-Dade's government returned from an extended trade mission to China and Japan last month, the county took the unusual -- and possibly illegal -- step of erasing all the data from temporary phones issued for the trip.

A log by the county's Information Technology Department lists 13 phones assigned to county...Read more