Nation/World | page 38


MONDAY, JAN. 4, 2016


Bahraini women gesture toward riot police, who were chasing protesters against Saudi Arabia’s execution of Shiite cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr in Jidhafs, Bahrain,  Monday.

U.S. initiatives at risk as Mideast tensions rise

WASHINGTON – The Obama administration’s key Middle East initiatives – ending Syria’s civil war, combating Islamic State and implementing the Iranian nuclear deal – could be undermined by the explosion of tensions between the region’s two powerhouses, Saudi Arabia and Iran. A historically fraught rivalry between Sunni Muslim-dominated Saudi Arabia and Shiite Muslim Iran, previously fought mostly through proxies, now is more direct than ever and threatens to engulf the region in a new spiral of bitter confrontations, analysts said.

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In brief: Country singer Craig Strickland’s body found in Oklahoma

The body of rising country singer Craig Strickland, who disappeared in late December after embarking on a duck hunting trip, has been found. Strickland’s wife, Helen, acknowledged the news via Twitter on Monday morning. “#CraigStrickland was found today. He is safe with his Father in Heaven. Thank you Lord for leading us to him today. I will praise you, Amen,” she wrote. Shortly thereafter, his band’s Twitter account retweeted the news.

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Glendora, Calif., resident Frank Salazar stockpiles sandbags Monday to protect his home from flooding.

California braces for series of El Nino storms

SAN FRANCISCO – After all the talk, El Nino storms have finally lined up over the Pacific and started soaking drought-parched California with rain expected to last for most of the next two weeks, forecasters said Monday. As much as 15 inches of rain could fall in the next 16 days in Northern California, with about 2 feet of snow expected in the highest points of the Sierra Nevada, said Johnny Powell, a forecaster with the National Weather Service.

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U.S. agents round up Central Americans slated for deportation

SAN ANTONIO – Immigration agents over the weekend conducted the first raids targeting the deportation of families who flocked across the United States’ southern border over the past two years, a senior government official said Monday. Jeh Johnson, the head of the Department of Homeland Security, said in a statement that the 121 people rounded up during raids in Georgia, Texas and North Carolina were primarily members of Central American families that crossed into the U.S. via Mexico since May 2014. Most were placed in family detention centers in Texas to await deportation.

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Former President Bill Clinton speaks during a campaign stop for his wife,  presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, Monday in Nashua, N.H.

Bill Clinton kicks off tour for wife’s presidential campaign

NASHUA, N.H. – Former President Bill Clinton made his debut solo appearance on behalf of his wife’s 2016 presidential campaign in New Hampshire Monday – a lot grayer, a bit trimmer and far more subdued than nearly a quarter-century ago, when he rescued his flagging 1992 campaign in this key early voting state. While Bill Clinton was keen to keep the focus on Hillary Clinton’s key campaign platforms, the passing time hasn’t shielded him from the ghosts that haunted his own presidency. Republican front-runner Donald Trump has gone on the offensive in recent days with attacks over his impeachment and decades-old sex scandal.

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Obama moves to require background checks for more gun sales

WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama moved Monday to expand background checks to cover more guns sold at gun shows, online and anywhere else, aiming to curb a scourge of gun violence despite unyielding opposition to new gun laws in Congress. Obama’s plan to broaden background checks forms the centerpiece of a broader package of measures the president plans to take on his own on gun control in his final year in office. Although Obama can’t unilaterally change gun laws, the president is hoping that beefing up enforcement of existing laws can prevent at least some gun deaths in a country rife with them.

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SUNDAY, JAN. 3, 2016

Opposition general secretary Jesus Torrealba, left, congratulates  Henry Ramos Allup after he was elected  Sunday.

World in brief: Opposition leader elected president of Venezuela national assembly

CARACAS, Venezuela – An outspoken opposition leader known for embracing confrontation was chosen Sunday to head Venezuela’s new congress when it opens in two days as a counterweight to the socialist administration. The newly elected opposition majority voted to make Henry Ramos Allup the president of the National Assembly when it is seated Tuesday. The new session will be the first time foes of the administration have had control of any government institution in more than a decade.

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Saudis cut ties with Iran following cleric’s execution

TEHRAN, Iran – Saudi Arabia announced Sunday it was severing diplomatic relations with Shiite powerhouse Iran amid escalating tensions over the Sunni kingdom’s execution of a prominent Shiite cleric. The move came hours after protesters stormed and set fire to the Saudi Embassy in Tehran and followed harsh criticism by Iran’s top leader of the Saudis’ execution of Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr.

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In brief: Cuomo orders New York communities to bring homeless inside

NEW YORK – Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Sunday signed an order requiring communities statewide to take homeless people from the streets to shelters when temperatures reach freezing. The order came as temperatures in parts of New York state were dipping below 32 degrees. It calls for police departments and social services agencies to move people into shelters, including those reluctant to go.

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People work on the outer wall of a house that collapsed Monday in an earthquake in Imphal, capital of the northeastern Indian state of Manipur. (Yurreipem Arthur / Associated Press)

6.7-magnitude quake kills four in India

GAUHATI, India – A 6.7-magnitude earthquake hit India’s remote northeast region before dawn on Monday, killing at least four people, injuring 100 others and causing damage to several buildings. The death and injuries were caused by falling debris in and around Imphal, the capital of Manipur state, police said.

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‘Star Wars’ closing in on ‘Avatar’ for all-time best at box office

LOS ANGELES – “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” marched confidently into the new year, raking in an additional $88.3 million over the New Year’s weekend and topping the box office for a third week, according to studio estimates Sunday. In addition to setting a new high mark in New Year’s box office history, the record-busting film blew past the domestic grosses of both “Jurassic World” ($652.3 million) and “Titanic” ($658.7 million) to become the second-highest earner of all time with $740.3 million in just 19 days of release.

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In this photograph released by the National Transportation Safety Board, the damaged stern of the sunken freighter El Faro is seen on the seafloor, 15,000 feet deep near the Bahamas. The freighter sunk on Oct. 1, after losing engine power and getting caught in a Category 4 hurricane. All 33 crew members aboard were lost at sea.

NTSB releases photos showing sunken freighter on sea floor

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Federal accident investigators are considering launching another search of the wreckage of a freighter that sank in October in an attempt to locate the ship’s “black box.” Tom Roth-Roffy, the lead investigator for the National Transportation Safety Board, told the Associated Press that a weekslong search found one of the El Faro’s missing decks but not the mast where the ship’s voyage data recorder was attached. The agency on Sunday released the first images of the ship in its final resting place.

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Hong Kong unsettled by case of 5 missing booksellers

HONG KONG – Hong Kong pro-democracy lawmakers said Sunday that they will press the government for answers after a fifth employee of a publishing company specializing in books critical of mainland China’s leadership went missing. Lawmaker Albert Ho said the city was “shocked and appalled” by the disappearance of Lee Bo. Like the four others who have disappeared in recent months, Lee is associated with publisher Mighty Current.

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Israel charges 2 Jewish extremists in deadly arson that fueled violence

JERUSALEM – Israel on Sunday charged two Jewish extremists in an arson attack that killed a Palestinian toddler and his parents last July – culminating a drawn-out investigation into a case that has helped fuel months of Israeli-Palestinian violence. The indictments came as Israel said it had broken up a ring of Jewish extremists wanted in a series of attacks on Palestinian and Christian targets. While Israel’s prime minister trumpeted the arrests as a victory for law and order, the charges drew criticism from Palestinians, who said they were too little and too late, and from the suspects’ relatives, who claimed their loved ones had been tortured by Israeli interrogators.

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Blogs

Dennis Held on the hold Spokane has on residents

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Zags rout Portland 92-66

Gonzaga hammered Portland 92-66 on Thursday as three Zags with Portland ties -- Kyle Wiltjer, Domantas Sabonis and Silas Melson -- combined for 51 points and 20 rebounds. My unedited ...


The works of Catholics nuns in Spokane

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Wild Card/Thursday — 2.11.16

During the last two days, I've made trips after work to my bank and Costco. At the bank, I'm greeted by tellers as I walk in who later ask, "How's ...






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