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Supreme Court voids abortion clinic protest-free zone

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court unanimously struck down the 35-foot protest-free zone outside abortion clinics in Massachusetts Thursday, declaring it an unconstitutional restraint on the free-speech rights of protesters.

Obama seeks $500M to arm Syrian rebels

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama is seeking to bolster U.S. efforts to train and arm select members of the Syrian opposition, a move that comes amid increased U.S. concern that the conflicts in Syria and Iraq are becoming an intertwined fight against the same Sunni extremist group.

Food companies debate nutrition standards

WASHINGTON — A special interest group representing school nutritionists and backed financially by big food companies — including six from Minnesota — is pushing legislation that would allow school districts to bypass new lunch rules restricting sodium and requiring more fruits, vegetables and whole grains.
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Tea party losses don’t stop cash or curb influence

WASHINGTON — Desperate to knock off GOP incumbents in this year’s Republican primaries, the nation’s tea party groups have spent millions only to fall short in election after election. Yet for all the losses, from Matt Bevin in Kentucky to Chris McDaniel in Mississippi, business for the tea party has never been better.
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Homeland security says ‘no free pass’ for immigrant children

NOGALES, Ariz. — Moments after Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson took his first tour of a southern Arizona detention facility housing about 900 migrant children in makeshift cages Wednesday, he had a message for Central American parents who are on the brink of sending their children illegally and alone into the United States.
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Great white shark population healthy, growing

LOS ANGELES — A new census study shows there are more than 2,400 white sharks off California and suggests that existing protective measures should be maintained because they are increasing the size and health of the population.

Justices: ‘Get a warrant’ to search cellphones

WASHINGTON — In a strong defense of digital age privacy, a unanimous Supreme Court ruled today that police may not generally search the cellphones of people they arrest without first getting search warrants.

Bill Clinton defends wife’s commitment to poor

DENVER — Bill Clinton defended Hillary Rodham Clinton’s commitment to the poor and working Americans on Tuesday, saying his family’s post-presidential wealth had not prevented the former secretary of state from understanding the economic problems of Americans.

Plane crash due to pilot mismanagement

WASHINGTON — Pilot mismanagement and confusion caused Asiana Flight 214 to crash in San Francisco last year, federal accident investigators concluded today.
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U.S. special forces face complex challenge in Iraq

U.S. teams of special forces going into Iraq after a three-year gap will face an aggressive insurgency, a splintering military and a precarious political situation as they help Iraqi security forces improve their ability to battle Sunni militants.
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Anthrax scare is the latest safety lapse at CDC

An incident that potentially exposed dozens of workers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to anthrax is the latest in a series of safety problems at the Atlanta-based facility in recent years.

Advocates counting signatures to split up California into six states

LOS ANGELES — Proponents for a plan to split up California into a half-dozen separate states were working feverishly Monday to verify signatures gathered from across the state over the weekend in support of a petition to get the measure on the ballot, officials said.

Magnitude-7.9 Alaska quake spawns small tsunami

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — A strong earthquake near Alaska’s Aleutian Islands triggered a tsunami warning Monday, but only small waves measuring several inches hit coastal communities.

Congress probes IRS about lost emails

Eight federal employees connected to the tea party investigation experienced hard drive crashes, resulting in an unknown number of lost emails, Internal Revenue Service Commissioner John Koskinen told lawmakers Friday in an unusually tense congressional hearing.

Obama moves to ensure sick leave for gay couples

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Obama administration will work to ensure gay and lesbian Americans are eligible to take leave from their jobs to care for a same-sex spouse, regardless of whether they live in a state that recognizes gay marriage, the White House said today.

Congress: Iraq crisis could be repeated

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The deteriorating situation in Iraq is giving Congress pause about President Barack Obama’s plan to withdraw U.S. forces from Afghanistan by the end of 2016, with fears that hard-fought gains could be wiped out by a resurgent Taliban.

A divided House GOP ready to pick new leaders

WASHINGTON — Rep. Kevin McCarthy seems likely to inherit defeated Rep. Eric Cantor’s No. 2 House Republican leadership job, but GOP restiveness along ideological and regional lines is on full display in a wide-open race for the party’s next-ranking post of majority whip.

X-rays reveal the mysteries of fire-ant rafts

Fire ants may be famous for their vicious sting, but they’re also remarkable builders, able to quickly assemble a working raft out of their own bodies and sail through dangerous flood waters. But their secrets of living masonry have remained shrouded from view.

CIA faces gaps as it hunts for militants

WASHINGTON D.C. — The CIA and other spy agencies are scrambling to close intelligence gaps as they seek ways to support possible military or covert action against the leaders of the al-Qaida-inspired militant group that has seized parts of Iraq and threatens Baghdad’s government.