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Pope: US, Mexico border conditions 'inhumane'

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis has decried the “inhuman” conditions facing migrants crossing the U.S.-Mexico border and has encouraged communities there not to judge people by stereotypes but welcome migrants and work to end discrimination. Francis made the appeal in a letter to a Jesuit priest who helps organize Catholic teens in Nogales, Arizona, to support the Kino Border Initiative, which advocates a more humane solution to migration. The letter was dated Dec. 19 but was made public on Kino's website recently.

Vaccine skeptics find GOP allies

Democrat-controlled states eye mandates

Support of gay marriage comes with caveats

Opinions allows religious objections

Business tops list of donors

Millions sway outcome of state elections

US to destroy weapons cache

PUEBLO, Colo. — The United States is about to begin destroying its largest remaining stockpile of chemical-laden artillery shells, marking a milestone in the global campaign to eradicate a debilitating weapon that still creeps into modern wars.

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Parks’ archive opens at Library of Congress

WASHINGTON — Rosa Parks, who refused to give up her seat on a segregated bus, reflected later on how it felt to be treated less than equal and once feistily wrote of how tired she was of being "pushed around" — parts of her history long hidden away.

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After 150 years, Confederate submarine's hull revealed

NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. — A century and a half after it sank and a decade and a half after it was raised, scientists are finally getting a look at the hull of the Confederate submarine H.L. Hunley. The Hunley was the first sub in history to sink an enemy warship.

How many tests are enough?

WASHINGTON — Do students take too many tests? Given the complaints about a high-stakes testing culture in classrooms, some states are reviewing the quality and quantity of the tests their students take. Congress is getting into the act, too.

County payments fall

GRANTS PASS — The Obama administration is telling governors in 41 states how much money they are losing after Congress ended subsidies paid the past 20 years to counties that contain national forest land.

US Postal Service eyes price hike

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Postal Service on Thursday proposed slight increases for mailing postcards and international letters — but wants to leave first-class “Forever” stamps at their present 49 cents. Under a filing with the Postal Regulatory Commission, letters to international destinations would rise from $1.15 to $1.20. Postcards would rise from 34 cents to 35 cents.

Foreclosures fell in 2014 to levels before housing bust

Decline seen as latest good economic sign

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Astronauts flee US side of space station but no sign of leak

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — In a rare scare, astronauts fled the American side of the International Space Station on Wednesday after an alarm indicated a possible toxic leak. NASA later said there was no leak of ammonia coolant and a computer problem likely set off the false alarm.

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Obama criticizes state laws that hurt broadband competition

CEDAR FALLS, Iowa (AP) — Wading into a states' rights dispute over Internet access, President Barack Obama on Wednesday called for the repeal of laws that prevent local communities from creating their own broadband networks.

DC Council to consider 'Death with Dignity' bill

WASHINGTON (AP) — A D.C. Council member wants the nation's capital to join the three states that allow terminally ill people to end their lives with the help of a physician.

CDC pushes for antiviral flu meds

NEW YORK (AP) — In the midst of a worrisome flu season, health officials are pushing doctors to prescribe antiviral medicines more often.

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