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How a pit stop ended lives of thousands of snow geese

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Several thousand snow geese may have died after landing in a former open-pit copper mine in Montana that is now filled with highly acidic water.

A Nov. 28 snowstorm forced the migrating geese to take refuge in the Berkeley Pit, a 900-foot-deep pit lake of heavy metals and other dangerous chemicals that is now a federal cleanup site in Butte, ...Read more

75 years after the Pearl Harbor attack, ceremonies and a push to capture survivors' stories

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HONOLULU -- His teenage hand could grip a baseball and fire it from the hole in shortstop. Later, in his 50s, it would clutch a pen while grading college papers. But on this morning, looking down at the old scars, he remembered how his right hand helped pull dead bodies from the oily, fiery seawater at Pearl Harbor.

It was where Earl Smith's ...Read more

Judge denies Jill Stein's request for audit of Philly voting machines

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PHILADELPHIA -- A Philadelphia judge has denied Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein's request for a forensic audit of voting machines used in the city.

Common Pleas Court Judge Abbe Fletman, in a written opinion issued Wednesday, said Stein "is mistaken" in her claim that the state Election Code gives her a right to the audit she ...Read more

Pitt develops potential antidote to carbon-monoxide poisoning

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PITTSBURGH -- Carbon-monoxide poisoning kills about 430 people nationwide each year and that doesn't even include CO fatalities from fires or suicides.

The gas, commonly described as the "invisible killer," has no odor, color nor taste. It also has no antidote, with 100 percent oxygen therapy inside a hyperbaric tube or chamber representing the...Read more

Trump promises relief for 'Dreamers,' but immigrant advocates are taking no chances

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WASHINGTON -- President-elect Donald Trump has made many promises on immigration, including a new one Wednesday to "work something out" for the so-called Dreamers -- young immigrants brought to the country illegally as children.

"We're going to work something out that's going to make people happy and proud," Trump said in a Time magazine ...Read more

Scientists develop antibody treatments that can prevent metastases in mice

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Researchers in Spain have taken a key step in unraveling one of nature's most malignant mysteries: How do cancerous tumor cells that establish a beachhead in one organ strike out in search of new territory to colonize?

And more important, how might they be stopped?

Some answers to those questions came Wednesday in a study published in the ...Read more

Ilhan Omar, first elected Somali-American lawmaker, says D.C. cabbie called her ISIS

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MINNEAPOLIS -- Ilhan Omar, soon to become the nation's first Somali-American lawmaker, said Wednesday she was the target of Islamophobic and sexist taunts from a Washington, D.C., cabdriver while in his vehicle on Tuesday.

The state representative-elect from Minneapolis, in the nation's capital Tuesday for policy training at the White House, ...Read more

Shooting survivor relives terrible night as first witness in Dylann Roof's trial

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CHARLESTON, S.C. -- The vivid testimony of Felicia Sanders, one of three survivors of the 2015 Charleston church massacre, was perhaps the most gut-wrenching of all on the opening day of Dylann Roof's federal death penalty trial.

As a gunman continued to execute members of her Bible study group at Emanuel AME church, Sanders lay on the blood-...Read more

Building inspectors had not been inside Oakland warehouse in 30 years, officials say

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OAKLAND, Calif. -- Oakland officials said Thursday that no building code enforcement inspector has been inside the warehouse where 36 people died in at least 30 years.

The interim director of the city's planning and building department said the agency only goes into buildings when the owner seeks a permit or if officials receive a complaint.

...Read more

Dylann Roof doesn't look at relatives in court; woman believed to be his mother collapses

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CHARLESTON, S.C. -- Dylann Roof's support system in court Wednesday was significantly smaller than those who survived the attack he is accused of perpetrating.

Only a few Roof supporters showed up on the opening day of his federal death penalty trial. Franklin Bennett Roof, Roof's father, was there, along with a woman believed to be his ex-wife...Read more

Israeli bill to recognize settlement outposts passes first vote

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TEL AVIV, Israel -- Israel's parliament voted to give official recognition to unauthorized settlement outposts across the West Bank in legislation that provoked Palestinian outrage and was condemned as a land grab by the United Nations.

The bill, introduced by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud party, passed 57-51 in Israel's Knesset and...Read more

California National Guard commander takes heat from Congress over bonus scandal

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WASHINGTON -- Members of Congress assailed the California National Guard commander Wednesday for ordering thousands of soldiers and veterans to repay enlistment bonuses, saying the demands caused military families unnecessary financial distress, harmed recruiting and broke faith with soldiers.

With Maj. Gen. David Baldwin at the witness table, ...Read more

Pushing Somali president vote to 2017 risks more strife, UN says

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NAIROBI, Kenya -- Somalia must hold its presidential vote before the end of December, the United Nations said, warning that prolonging the already delayed election process could stoke insecurity in the war-ravaged Horn of Africa country.

Electoral timelines should be "compressed" and legislators who've been elected must convene and choose a new...Read more

Fatal shooting of Georgia officer continues a deadly trend for police

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ATLANTA -- A Georgia police officer was killed Wednesday and another is fighting for his life after responding to a domestic violence call, continuing a nationwide trend that has made this year among the deadliest on record for law enforcement.

Nicholas Ryan Smarr, 25, of the Americus Police Department and Jody Smith of Georgia Southwestern ...Read more

Nation and world news briefs

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Biden has 'no intention' of running for president in 2020

WASHINGTON -- Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. said Wednesday he does not intend to run for president 2020, two days after declining to rule it out.

"I have no intention of running," Biden told reporters outside the Senate floor Wednesday evening.

Biden had presided over a tribute to...Read more

Trump names climate change skeptic and oil industry ally to lead the EPA

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WASHINGTON -- Donald Trump picked Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt to run the Environmental Protection Agency, signaling the president-elect will deliver on his vow to disassemble President Barack Obama's landmark effort to fight climate change.

Pruitt, 48, a staunch ally of the fossil fuel industry, has taken a lead nationally in ...Read more

Federal judge halts Michigan election recount

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DETROIT -- After a lawyer urged him not to stick taxpayers with a $5 million recount tab, a federal judge on Wednesday dissolved his earlier decision and halted the hand recount of 4.8 million ballots that were cast for president in Michigan.

The controversial issue, however, is far from over as an appeal will follow.

U.S. District Judge Mark ...Read more

Renzi quits as prime minister, leaving Italy in political quagmire

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ROME -- Italy was plunged into fresh political turmoil Wednesday, as Prime Minister Matteo Renzi resigned after complying with a request to oversee the parliamentary passage of key financial legislation.

Renzi decided to quit after losing a referendum on constitutional reforms on Sunday, but, in order to minimize destabilizing effects for the ...Read more

Cuban entrepreneurs to Trump: Don't abandon us

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WASHINGTON -- More than 100 newly independent Cuban business owners sent President-elect Donald Trump a letter Wednesday pleading with him not to rupture diplomatic ties and to protect the economic gains they've reaped.

Senior members of Congress hosted four visiting entrepreneurs from Havana in the first salvo of what promises to be an ...Read more

Judge rejects Brad Pitt's request to have documents sealed in custody fight

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LOS ANGELES -- Brad Pitt can't keep his custody battle with Angelina Jolie Pitt private -- at least not for the time being.

L.A. County Superior Court Judge Richard J. Burdge Jr. on Wednesday declined to hear the actor's emergency request to have details of his and Jolie's custody arrangements sealed, The Associated Press reported Wednesday. ...Read more