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GOP grappling with gay marriage

It took just a few words for the Supreme Court to deal with the question of whether gay marriage is legal. For Republicans thinking about running for the White House in 2016, it won’t be that easy.

Veterans agency fires 4 senior executives

WASHINGTON — WThe Veterans Affairs Department said it is firing four senior executives as officials move to crack down on wrongdoing following a nationwide scandal over long wait times for veterans seeking medical care, and falsified records covering up the delays.

Wal-Mart cuts health benefits for some part-timers

NEW YORK — Wal-Mart Stores Inc. plans to eliminate health insurance coverage for some of its part-time U.S. employees in a move aimed at controlling rising health care costs of the nation’s largest private employer.
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Spanish nurse gets Ebola, raises concern

In a case underscoring the perils of caring for Ebola patients, a nurse in Spain has come down with the disease — the first time someone has caught the disease outside West Africa during the current epidemic.

Unproven Ebola cures proliferate

Amid alarm over the Ebola virus, a flurry of pitches has sprung up for products that claim to prevent and treat the deadly infection. Online-and increasingly on social media sites-these products are being hawked by paid consultants, supplement gurus and “wellness advocates,” whose claims range from silly to pseudo-scientific.

Officials ask about 80 to watch for Ebola symptoms

DALLAS — Health officials in Texas have reached out to about 80 people who may have had direct or indirect contact with the man infected with Ebola or someone close to him, a Dallas County Health and Human Services spokeswoman said today.

Pierson’s undoing was quick as support vanished

WASHINGTON — One lesson from Julia Pierson’s short tenure as director of the agency that protects the first family: The Secret Service can’t keep secrets from the president.

Airstrikes launched amid intelligence gaps

WASHINGTON — The Pentagon is grappling with significant intelligence gaps as it bombs Iraq and Syria, and it is operating under less restrictive targeting rules than those President Barack Obama imposed on the CIA drone campaign in Pakistan and Yemen, according to current and former U.S. officials.

Officials track contacts of Ebola patient in Texas

DALLAS — A nine-member team of federal health officials is tracking anyone who had close contact with a man being treated for Ebola in a Dallas hospital, the director of the nation’s top disease-fighting agency said today.

Secret Service head takes heat for White House breach

WASHINGTON — Facing blistering criticism from Congress, Secret Service Director Julia Pierson acknowledged on Tuesday that her agency failed in executing its plan to protect the White House when a man with a knife entered the mansion and ran through half the ground floor before being subdued.

Drought has 14 communities on the brink of waterlessness

MADERA COUNTY, Calif. — Under the blistering Central Valley sun, Filiberta Sanchez and her toddler granddaughter strolled down a Parkwood sidewalk lined with yellow weeds, dying grass and trees more fit for kindling than shade.

California becomes first state to ban plastic bags

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Gov. Jerry Brown today signed legislation imposing the nation’s first statewide ban on single-use plastic bags, driven to action by a buildup of litter and damage to aquatic ecosystems.

Attorney General Holder resigns

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Eric Holder, America’s first black attorney general and a champion of civil rights in enforcing the nation’s laws, announced his resignation Thursday after leading the Justice Department since the first days of President Barack Obama’s term. He is the fourth-longest-serving attorney general in U.S. history.

Fire at air traffic center halts Chicago flights

CHICAGO — All flights in and out of Chicago’s two airports were halted today after a fire at a suburban air traffic control facility sent delays and cancellations rippling through the nation’s air travel network.
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Most new immigrants fail to report to agents

WASHINGTON, D.C. — For nearly three months this summer, the Obama administration carefully avoided answering questions about what happened to tens of thousands of immigrant families caught illegally crossing the Mexican border and released into the United States with instructions to report back to immigration authorities.
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Suspect arrested, no signs of missing woman

GALVESTON, Texas — A man charged with abducting a missing University of Virginia sophomore has been captured in Texas and is awaiting extradition — but there is still no sign of the student.

White House: Holder resigning as attorney general

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Eric Holder, who served as the public face of the Obama administration’s legal fight against terrorism and pushed to make the criminal justice system more even-handed, is resigning after six years on the job. He is the nation’s first black attorney general.