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House soundly rejects conservative bid to eviscerate Congressional Budget Office

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WASHINGTON -- Conservative House Republicans, enraged by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office's findings that Obamacare's repeal would leave millions without health care coverage, failed Wednesday in a bid to cut the agency's budget and staff, a move that would have dramatically weakened its effectiveness.

The House rejected, 309-116, an...Read more

Congress to send Russia, Iran, North Korea sanctions bill to Trump

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WASHINGTON -- A bill to provide for new sanctions against three adversaries of the United States will be making its way to President Donald Trump's desk before the August recess, after all.

House and Senate negotiators reached an agreement late Wednesday to get the sanctions legislation against Iran, Russia and North Korea through the Senate ...Read more

NAACP remains as relevant as ever, new interim leader says

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BALTIMORE -- As some question the relevance of the NAACP in the age of Black Lives Matter, the civil rights organization's interim leader closed its national convention Wednesday by saying that its activist spirit remains as important today as it ever was.

Derrick Johnson, the NAACP's interim president and CEO, called on the hundreds of members...Read more

Jury awards producer Quincy Jones $9.4 million in dispute with Michael Jackson estate

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LOS ANGELES -- When Quincy Jones met 19-year-old Michael Jackson during filming of "The Wiz," it begat one of the most fruitful partnerships in pop music, spawning three acclaimed records -- "Off the Wall," "Thriller" and "Bad" -- that have collectively sold more than 100 million copies worldwide.

And now, eight years after Jackson's death, ...Read more

Trump taps Brownback for ambassadorship focused on religious freedom

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback has been tapped for an ambassadorship by President Donald Trump a little more than a month after the Kansas governor saw his signature tax policy dismantled by the state's Legislature.

Trump announced Brownback's appointment as ambassador-at-large for international religious freedom Wednesday ...Read more

Florida man gives new meaning to robber barren

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FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- A naked man running around downtown Fort Lauderdale on Tuesday afternoon was enough on its own to turn heads.

But there was more. According to the FBI, he had robbed a bank and was throwing stolen money to people, and you had even more of a spectacle.

Alexander Hayden Sperber, 25, of Fort Lauderdale parked his red Ford...Read more

USC says it 'could have done better' in dean case

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LOS ANGELES -- University of Southern California President C.L. Max Nikias acknowledged Wednesday that the university "could have done better" in its handling of a former medical school dean who a Los Angeles Times investigation found took drugs and associated with criminals and drug abusers.

Nikias didn't detail how the university could have ...Read more

Bannon is said to call for 44 percent tax on incomes above $5 million

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WASHINGTON -- White House chief strategist Steve Bannon supports paying for middle-class tax cuts with a new top rate of 44 percent for Americans who make more than $5 million a year, according to a person familiar with his thinking.

It's unclear whether President Donald Trump would support the move, which would bring the top rate, currently 39...Read more

Rare warning to Trump from Hill GOP leader

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WASHINGTON -- The Senate majority's No. 2 leader has given President Donald Trump one of the strongest pushbacks from any Republican in Congress this year: Firing Attorney General Jeff Sessions could bring to a halt GOP cooperation with the administration's legislative agenda.

"Well, it's the president prerogative, but he is then going to ...Read more

With Trump controversy behind them, Boy Scouts hit the trails at National Jamboree

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GLEN JEAN, W.Va. -- The Boy Scouts of America faced a wave of backlash earlier this week after President Donald J. Trump delivered a speech at the 2017 National Jamboree that some deemed too political and unreflective of core Scout values.

Shortly after the speech Monday night, the organization released a statement emphasizing that it is "...Read more

Trump administration intensifies demands for Iran to release US prisoners

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Since his brother and father were arrested and imprisoned while visiting Iran nearly two years ago, Babak Namazi has been trying to persuade the U.S. government to step up its fight for their freedom.

Both inmates -- 45-year-old Siamak Namazi and 81-year-old Baquer Namazi -- are Iranian American dual nationals who were convicted of espionage in...Read more

Chief: Minneapolis police officers must turn on body cameras for any call

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MINNEAPOLIS -- Minneapolis police must activate their body cameras when responding to any call, traffic stop or self-initiated activity, Acting Police Chief Medaria Arradondo said Wednesday, in a key change to city policy in the wake of Justine Damond's shooting death.

"What good is a camera if it is not being used when it may be needed the ...Read more

Witness: Durst and his first wife had marital problems before she vanished

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LOS ANGELES -- One of Robert Durst's oldest friends resumed testifying against him Wednesday, saying she knew he and his wife, Kathleen, had marital problems in the years leading up to her 1982 disappearance.

Emily Altman gave the testimony in a Los Angeles courtroom, where the New York real estate magnate appeared for a hearing ahead of his ...Read more

Nation and world news briefs

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Trump administration hits Venezuela with more sanctions, targeting civilian and military officials

WASHINGTON -- The Trump administration hit Venezuela with a new round of economic sanctions Wednesday in a bid to discourage President Nicolas Maduro from rewriting his nation's constitution, which U.S. officials said could doom Venezuela's ...Read more

Missouri governor signs new abortion law

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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- Missouri's new governor checked another box on his political resume Wednesday, signing legislation to tighten regulations on abortion clinics.

Republican Eric Greitens, a newcomer to elected office, ended the second special session he called in his first six months as governor by approving a law that abortion opponents ...Read more

Lawmakers halt bill to let VA doctors prescribe pot for pain

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Republican lawmakers have blocked a vote on a bill that would have allowed Veterans Affairs doctors to recommend medical marijuana as a pain treatment in states where the drug is legal.

The House Rules Committee stopped a proposed "Veterans Equal Access" amendment from moving to debate on the House floor by keeping the measure out of the House'...Read more

Wasserman Schultz hit with criticism over aide arrested while trying to leave US

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FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla.--Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz is once again at the vortex of controversy, this time over a suddenly fired staffer who was arrested while at an airport preparing to leave the country.

The latest imbroglio is unfolding exactly a year after the biggest crisis of Wasserman Schultz's political career, the disclosure ...Read more

California has too much pot, and growers won't be able to export the surplus

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SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- A leader of California's marijuana industry warned Wednesday that the state's cannabis growers produce eight times the pot that is consumed in the state so some will face "painful" pressure to reduce crops under new state regulations that will ban exports after Jan. 1.

Some marijuana growers will stay in the black market ...Read more

Trump pick for Fed's Wall Street watchdog plans to ease rules

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WASHINGTON -- President Donald Trump's pick to be the Federal Reserve's top Wall Street watchdog said it's time to reconsider the restrictions imposed on banks in recent years, even as he credited regulations with helping stabilize the financial system after the 2008 crisis.

"As with any complex undertaking, after the first wave of reform, and ...Read more

Pentagon caught off guard by Trump's ban on transgender troops

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WASHINGTON -- The Pentagon was blindsided by President Donald Trump's announcement on Wednesday that his administration would block transgender people from the U.S. military, and the Defense Department has no idea yet how it will affect troops already serving.

The president's declaration on Twitter, saying transgender people would not be ...Read more


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