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FDA to begin regulating electronic cigarettes

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The fast-growing "vaping" industry faces a hazy future as the U.S. government said Thursday that it's taking the "milestone" step of regulating electronic cigarettes and other tobacco products as if they were traditional cigarettes.

The Food and Drug Administration finalized rules extending its oversight of the multibillion-dollar e-cigarette ...Read more

Nation and world news briefs

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Flight diverted to Fort Lauderdale airport after severe turbulence

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- A flight destined for Pittsburgh was diverted to Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport after some passengers and crew members were injured when the plane hit severe turbulence on Thursday.

Allegiant Air's flight 7001 took off just before 12:30...Read more

Experts say Baltimore officer likely planning for bench trial in Freddie Gray case

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BALTIMORE -- All signs indicate that the next Baltimore police officer to go on trial in the arrest and death of Freddie Gray is planning to have his fate decided by a judge instead of a jury, legal experts say.

Police officers often opt to have a judge hear their case when the allegations turn on whether their actions were reasonable, experts ...Read more

White House honors companies pledging to hire, train veterans

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WASHINGTON -- First lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden announced Thursday that more than 50 companies have pledged to hire and train veterans and military spouses in conjunction with their Joining Forces initiative to help support veterans and their families.

"You know our veterans and military spouses are some of the most dedicated, ...Read more

Hearing scheduled for Sandusky lawyers to prove several allegations

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STATE COLLEGE, Pa. -- Another hearing will happen for Jerry Sandusky this month.

The retired Penn State defensive coordinator was convicted of 45 counts of child sex abuse charges in 2012. Sandusky is pursuing a Post Conviction Relief Act petition in Centre County court.

On Monday, his attorneys argued in front of McKean County Senior Judge ...Read more

Top aide to Hillary Clinton questioned by FBI in email investigation

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WASHINGTON -- Huma Abedin, a close aide to Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton, was questioned last month by FBI agents investigating whether classified material was mishandled on the private email server used by the former secretary of state and her aides, according to a person familiar with the investigation.

Abedin was ...Read more

Mitt Romney joins list of Republicans who plan to sit out RNC convention

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Mitt Romney, the 2012 Republican presidential nominee, plans to sit out the party's nominating convention this summer -- and he's not alone.

With Donald Trump now the presumptive GOP presidential nominee, a chorus of prominent Republicans--past presidents and nominees alike -- are shunning endorsements and offering similar sentiments about ...Read more

San Bernardino County plans to create a memorial to the terror attack victims

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LOS ANGELES -- A group created by San Bernardino County is planning a memorial to the victims of the Dec. 2 terror attack that left 14 people dead.

A committee of victims' relatives, county workers who witnessed the shooting and others has been meeting regularly to determine a location for the memorial and what form it will take, the committee ...Read more

Flight diverted to Fort Lauderdale airport after severe turbulence

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FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- A flight destined for Pittsburgh was diverted to Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport after some passengers and crew members were injured when the plane hit severe turbulence on Thursday.

Allegiant Air's flight 7001 took off just before 12:30 p.m. from Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, and landed in Fort ...Read more

Guilty verdicts in LA's Grim Sleeper serial killer case

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LOS ANGELES -- Nearly 30 years after the first victim's body was found sprawled in a South Los Angeles alley, the man authorities dubbed the Grim Sleeper serial killer was found guilty Thursday of a series of slayings that spanned more than two decades.

The verdict means that Lonnie David Franklin Jr., a former Los Angeles police garage ...Read more

At least 28 killed in airstrikes on refugee camp in Syria, monitoring group says

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CAIRO -- At least 28 people were killed and more than 50 others injured Thursday in airstrikes on a refugee camp in a rebel-held area in northern Syria, a monitoring group said.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the airstrikes targeted a camp in the town of Sarmada in Idlib province near Syria's border with Turkey.

The dead included...Read more

Political news briefs

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Trump risks core campaign message with fundraising flip-flop

WASHINGTON -- Throughout the Republican presidential primary, Donald Trump laid waste to a crowded field of rising stars and sitting governors by portraying himself as the only candidate who could shake up Washington, because he was the only one not taking large campaign donations.

"...Read more

Ryan 'not ready' to support Trump

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WASHINGTON -- House Speaker Paul D. Ryan said on CNN Thursday that he cannot support or endorse presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump at this time.

"I'm just not ready to do that at this point," Ryan said on CNN's "The Lead with Jake Tapper." "I think he needs to do more to unify this party."

For months, Ryan has insisted ...Read more

N. Carolina won't meet Monday deadline on House Bill 2, state official says

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RALEIGH, N.C. -- North Carolina House Speaker Tim Moore said Thursday that legislators won't meet the U.S. Department of Justice's Monday deadline to repeal or stop enforcing the state's House Bill 2.

The department sent state leaders a letter Wednesday saying that the law violates the U.S. Civil Rights Act and Title IX -- a finding that could ...Read more

Inside N. Korea's Children's Palace, a reporter finds children turning into robotic grown-ups

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PYONGYANG, North Korea -- It was Thursday afternoon, and Kim Myong Hyok had a solemn role to perform, perhaps the biggest he'd ever been given in all of his 14 years.

Dipping his calligraphy brush into a well of black ink, he carefully began to write out Korean characters on a sheet of white rice paper. Inches away, a group of foreign reporters...Read more

Panama law firm used charities' names as cloaks for clients

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WASHINGTON -- The Panamanian law firm at the center of a global investigation advised some clients that they could cloak their money in foundations that named as beneficiaries prominent international charities such as the Red Cross, UNICEF and the World Wildlife Fund.

There's no sign that any money from those offshore dealings went to the ...Read more

Pro-Trump PAC leader guilty in 2012 endorsement scandal

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WASHINGTON -- Three former 2012 presidential campaign aides to former Texas Republican Rep. Ron Paul were found guilty on Thursday of public corruption.

One of the aides charged, Jesse Benton, was tapped this year to be a chief strategist of a super PAC supporting Republican presidential candidate Donald J. Trump.

The charges stem from $73,000...Read more

A North Korean farm may not be what it appears

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PYONGYANG, North Korea -- It looked like a farm: Cabbages were growing in neat rows in the dirt. Cucumber vines stretched to the ceiling in a spotless greenhouse, with an orange tractor parked out front. And it smelled, faintly, like a farm.

But in North Korea, master of the Potemkin everything, what looks like a duck and quacks like a duck can...Read more

Cerebral palsy campaign ad: empowering or exploitive?

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WASHINGTON -- Disability activists are split over New Hampshire Gov. Maggie Hassan's first statewide ad, which features her disabled son.

Hassan, who is locked in a contentious Senate race with Republican Sen. Kelly Ayotte, describes how her son's diagnosis with cerebral palsy was one of the main reasons she entered public service.

"Twenty or ...Read more

State's attorney withdraws from case of Chicago cop who fatally shot teen

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CHICAGO -- In a surprise move, Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez's office said Thursday it was withdrawing from prosecuting Chicago police Officer Jason Van Dyke on charges of killing Laquan McDonald, clearing the way for a special prosecutor to be appointed.

Prosecutors said that Alvarez saw no valid conflict of interest on the part ...Read more