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Nevada rancher defends remarks

LAS VEGAS — A Nevada rancher who became a conservative folk hero for standing up to the government in a fight over grazing rights lost some of his staunch defenders after wondering aloud whether blacks might have had it better under slavery.

US weighs clemency for longtime inmates

WASHINGTON — The Justice Department is encouraging nonviolent federal inmates who have behaved in prison, have no significant criminal history and have already served more than 10 years behind bars to apply for clemency, officials announced Wednesday.

E-cig industry awaits federal regulation

RICHMOND, Va. — Smokers are increasingly turning to battery-powered electronic cigarettes to get their nicotine fix. They’re about to find out what federal regulators have to say about the popular devices.

Scouts ban church that let gay man lead troop

SEATTLE — The Boy Scouts of America has revoked its charter agreement with a Seattle church that refused to remove a gay troop leader after the organization withdrew his membership. A Boy Scouts attorney told Rainier Beach United Methodist Church last week that it no longer could host troops under the Boy Scouts name.

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Oregon mine illustrates problems with national law

RIDDLE — U.S. Rep. Peter DeFazio on Thursday toured an abandoned copper mine in southwestern Oregon that is on the Superfund list of major pollution sites as he prepares to file legislation to overhaul the nation’s primary mining law.

Famous LA mountain lion exposed to rodent poison

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A mountain lion that appeared strong and healthy as it ruled a wilderness park in the middle of Los Angeles has been exposed to rat poison and is suffering from mange.

Police taught to spot psychiatric crisis

NORRISTOWN, Pa. — When a 6-foot-5, 270-pound man with a history of violence broke out of a mental health ward near Philadelphia and tried to withdraw money from a bank, a confrontation with police seemed likely.

Army pal receives 39-year-old letter

MONROE, Mich. (AP) — An Army veteran in Washington state finally has received a letter from Monroe that first was dropped in the mail 39 years ago.

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CA bus crash kills 10

ORLAND, Calif. (AP) — A college visit by more than 40 high school students turned tragic when a FedEx tractor-trailer veered across a grassy highway median and slammed into their bus in a fiery wreck that left 10 people dead, authorities said.

Online tax fraud growing

TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) — Laura Hankins knew something was wrong when she filed her daughter’s tax return and it was rejected hours later: An identity thief already had sent in a return using the 19-year-old’s personal information.

Man charged in 9 deaths says he killed 40

FRESNO, Calif. — Authorities say that a man charged with carrying out nine contract killings in Central California has confessed that he actually killed 40 people over several decades.

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Rough seas prolong family rescue

Ailing infant, parents had struggled with disabled boat

Senate panel orders ‘Cuban Twitter’ review

Committee seeks all transmission to Cuba

Cadets take on NSA

Cyberspace exercises take on modern problems at the U.S. Military Academy

BLM budget focuses on wild horses, sage grouse

RENO, Nev. (AP) — Wild-horse fertility control and sage-grouse habitat conservation are among top priorities in the proposed $1.1 billion budget for the federal Bureau of Land Management.

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