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‘Stand your ground’ laws put to test

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — A Montana man is accused of setting a trap and blindly blasting a shotgun into his garage, killing a 17-year-old German exchange student. A Minnesota man is convicted of lying in wait in his basement for two teenagers and killing them during a break-in. The two recent cases take the “stand your ground” debate to a new level: Do laws that allow private citizens to protect their property also let them set a trap and wait for someone to kill?

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Botched execution draws protests

McALESTER, Okla. — An Oklahoma death row inmate writhed, clenched his teeth and appeared to struggle against the restraints holding him to a gurney before prison officials halted an execution in which the state was using a new drug combination for the first time. The man later died of a heart attack.

Colorado eyes edibles rules as more people eat pot

DENVER (AP) — Colorado’s marijuana experiment is threatened by the popularity of eating it instead of smoking it, leading the pot industry to join health officials and state regulators to try to curb the problem of consumers ingesting too much weed.

Economists back more oil, gas imports

NEW YORK — Whether to allow more exports of U.S. oil and natural gas has become a matter of political debate in Washington. But to economists, the answer is clear: The nation would benefit.

Cellphone searches before high court

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court is considering whether police may search cellphones found on people they arrest without first getting a warrant.

Low mortgage rates a fading perk

WASHINGTON — For three decades, the U.S. middle class enjoyed a rare financial advantage over the wealthy: lower mortgage rates. Now, even that perk is fading away.

ISP wants license plate-profiling case tossed

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — The state of Idaho says its sovereign immunity from lawsuits should protect the Idaho State Police from being sued in a license-plate profiling case.

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Big riders mean big horses on Western trails

BOISE, Idaho— Wranglers in the West who have for decades cashed in on the allure of getting on a horse and setting out on an open trail say they have had to add bigger horses to their stables to help carry larger tourists over the rugged terrain.

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.

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