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Carson seeks 13 percent of African-American vote to beat Clinton

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WASHINGTON –– Ben Carson's presidential campaign doesn't think it can win over the majority of African-American voters, but it does think it can lure enough of them to beat Hillary Clinton.

Though Barack Obama won 93 percent of the black vote in 2012, Carson is betting he can lead a significant portion of that demographic back to the party ...Read more

Analysis: Can Jeb Bush become a top Republican contender? Maybe

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WASHINGTON -- Sure, Jeb Bush can become a leading Republican presidential candidate. It's gonna be tough, but hardly impossible.

More and more, voters want someone with government experience and sound political judgment. As election days get closer, they'll seek more depth and nuance about issues. And Bush and his backers also bring a huge pile...Read more

In Supreme Court case, university defends policy giving middle-class minorities an edge

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WASHINGTON -- With the constitutionality of race-based affirmative action hanging by a thread at the Supreme Court, University of Texas officials are struggling to explain a policy that gives an extra edge to Latino and African-American students from middle-class households and top-performing high schools.

It is called "qualitative diversity," ...Read more

Oil train safety concerns cast shadow over cross-border rail deal

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WATERTOWN, Wis. -- Concerns about the safety of crude oil trains loom over a proposed rail takeover that would create the largest rail system in North America.

Last week, Alberta-based Canadian Pacific made public its plan to acquire Virginia-based Norfolk Southern. The $28.4 billion deal would need to be approved by company shareholders and ...Read more

SurveyMonkey fills the gap as traditional political polls flounder

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WASHINGTON –– Just after a memorial service for their young CEO, Dave Goldberg, this year, SurveyMonkey executives had to deal with more shocking news without their chief to guide them. The results of their first big public push into political polling were in -- long awaited by Goldberg -- and they differed wildly from their competitors'.

...Read more

Tribes race time to salvage lumber in reservation after wildfires

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COLVILLE INDIAN RESERVATION, Wash. -- It's a stickpin skyline: fire-blackened trees without leaves, needles or even branches as far as the eye can see.

The quiet is deathly, until an 18-wheel logging truck roars out of the blackened woods. James Griffin hops out of cab of his logging rig. He strides past the towering tires and throws his weight...Read more

New study highlights massive prescription price hikes

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MILWAUKEE -- Derma-Smoothe oil is a topical treatment for eczema that cost $46 in 2009. This year, its retail drugstore price hit $323.

Retin-A Micro, an acne skin treatment, cost $178 in 2009. This year, it was selling for $915.

Prices for dermatology products have increased dramatically in the past six years, according to new research, but ...Read more

Chinese journalist's prison sentence reduced to 5 years from 7

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BEIJING -- A 71-year-old Chinese journalist imprisoned on charges of leaking state secrets had her sentence reduced from seven years to five, a Beijing court announced Thursday, apparently because of deteriorating health.

Gao Yu, who was convicted in April, suffers from a heart ailment and high blood pressure. Human rights activists say that ...Read more

Gold and platinum offer clues about the moon's mysterious tilt

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A total solar eclipse occurs somewhere on Earth about once every year and a half, on average. But imagine if it happened every single month. For this to be the case, the moon would have to orbit Earth in the same plane in which Earth travels around the sun -- that way, the new moon would always come directly between us and the sun.

Instead, the...Read more

4 new Laquan McDonald shooting videos raise more questions

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CHICAGO -- Newly released videos from four additional police vehicles at the scene of the 2014 shooting of Laquan McDonald raise questions about how the city's Police Department documented the killing of an African-American teenager that has led to a Chicago cop being charged with first-degree murder.

The police dashboard camera videos also ...Read more

Questions remain on long inquiry before Laquan McDonald shooting charges

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CHICAGO -- After a Chicago police officer shot 17-year-old Laquan McDonald in October 2014, authorities had prompt access to evidence extending well beyond what is available in many homicide investigations.

Eyewitnesses, including other police officers, saw McDonald shot dead while walking with a knife in the middle of a busy Southwest Side ...Read more

Chinese gay student celebrates her day in court

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BEIJING -- Before she became enmeshed in a potentially groundbreaking lawsuit against the Chinese government, Chen Qiuyan was an ordinary college student struggling to come to terms with her sexuality.

Early this year, the 20-year-old college junior was beginning to realize that she was a lesbian -- her male classmates at Sun Yat-sen University...Read more

Judge grants deadline extension on charges after shooting of 5 at Jamar Clark protest

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MINNEAPOLIS -- The Hennepin County attorney's office received a deadline extension Wednesday to decide if charges will be filed against four men arrested in connection with the shooting of five protesters near the 4th Precinct police station earlier this week.

The shooting happened Monday night on Morgan Avenue North, about a block from the ...Read more

SS United States group raises enough to stay afloat

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PHILADELPHIA -- Less than two months after setting a save-it-or-scrap-it deadline for the SS United States, the conservancy that is trying to restore the iconic ocean liner says it has raised $600,000 -- money that will prevent the rusted vessel from being junked.

For now.

The donations will buy 10 months for the preservationists to reach a ...Read more

Charges dropped against Chicago protest leader accused of striking cop

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CHICAGO -- An aspiring Chicago poet and community activist walked out of a Cook County courthouse Wednesday to hugs and cheers from dozens of supporters after prosecutors in a surprise move dropped charges against him for allegedly punching a police officer during protests over the death of Laquan McDonald.

Prosecutors gave no explanation for ...Read more

Bail set at $3 million for teen accused of shooting Pa. trooper

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PHILADELPHIA -- A teenager charged with attempted murder in Tuesday's wounding of a state trooper was arraigned Wednesday, and his bail was set at $3 million.

Giovanni Cotto, 17 -- also charged with aggravated assault, assaulting a law enforcement officer and related offenses -- is accused of shooting at the trooper during the violent ...Read more

Feds to Georgia: Don't deny Syrian refugees food stamp benefits

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ATLANTA -- The U.S. Department of Agriculture warned Georgia's social services agency Wednesday that the state risked violating federal law by refusing to process food stamp benefit applications for new Syrian refugees in Georgia.

The letter from Jessica Shahin of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program could set up a legal showdown with ...Read more

Obama says he may ignore congressional limits on Guantanamo transfers

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WASHINGTON -- President Barack Obama said on Wednesday that he may ignore fresh congressional restrictions on transferring detainees from the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay, setting up another confrontation with Republicans over the limits of his power.

"The executive branch must have the flexibility, with regard to the detainees who remain at ...Read more

EU air-traveler terror proposal to be widened, lawmaker says

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STRASBOURG, France -- The European Union will probably broaden a plan for airlines to give national governments in Europe information on passengers because of heightened terrorism concerns following this month's attacks in Paris, said a leading EU lawmaker.

Timothy Kirkhope, a U.K. member of the European Parliament, predicted the draft law ...Read more

Western Washington University students say school's response to threats inadequate

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BELLINGHAM, Wash. -- In a packed news conference in downtown Bellingham on Wednesday, students and community activists described Western Washington University's response to racist threats posted on social media as inadequate.

They said the university should have done a better job of safeguarding those who were threatened, including offering ...Read more