Nation/World | page 38

TUESDAY, DEC. 29, 2015

In this Dec. 15, 2015,  photo, George Pataki makes a point during the CNN Republican presidential debate at the Venetian Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas.

George Pataki quits presidential race

NEW YORK – George Pataki, the three-term governor who led New York through the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, on Tuesday quit the race for the Republican presidential nomination. “While tonight is the end of my journey for the White House as I suspend my campaign for president, I’m confident we can elect the right person – someone who can bring us together,” the 70-year-old former governor said in his campaign valedictory.

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‘Affluenza’ teen, mother planned flight to Mexico, officials say

FORT WORTH, Texas – A teen fugitive who’s known for using an “affluenza” defense and his mother attempted to disguise themselves and disappear among the American tourists thronging a Mexican resort city for the holidays, but are now in custody and will be returned to the U.S., authorities said Tuesday. Tarrant County Sheriff Dee Anderson said 18-year-old Ethan Couch – who was on juvenile probation after killing four people in a drunken driving wreck – and his mother had prepared to be gone a while, even dyeing Couch’s blond hair black, before being detained Monday in the Pacific Coast city of Puerto Vallarta.

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Chicago officer pleads not guilty to murder

CHICAGO – A white Chicago police officer charged with murder in the 2014 fatal shooting of black teenager Laquan McDonald pleaded not guilty Tuesday. Jason Van Dyke is “hanging in there” and wants to tell his side of what happened so he’s not seen “as this cold-blooded killer,” defense attorney Dan Herbert said after the court hearing. Herbert added that they haven’t ruled out asking for a change of venue. The case is in Cook County Criminal Court in Chicago where demonstrators have staged marches protesting the shooting and how it’s been handled.

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California drought endangering millions of trees, study says

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – As many as 58 million large California trees are facing severe danger because of the drought, according to a new scientific study. The study, released this week by the Carnegie Institution for Science in Washington, D.C., was based on high-tech imagery gathered by an airplane flying over California earlier this year. It revealed that as many as 888 million large trees experienced “measurable losses of canopy water” since the drought began four years ago. Of those, as many as 58 million trees lost enough water to be considered “extremely threatening to long-term forest health.”

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Times Square on New Year’s to be ‘safest place in the world’

NEW YORK – With the nation still jittery over shooting massacres in California and Paris, New York City officials sought to assure revelers Tuesday that the New Year’s Eve celebration in Times Square will be the safest place in the world – heavily secured by thousands of New York Police Department officers, including a new specialized counterterrorism unit. “Leave the worrying to the NYPD,” said James O’Neill, chief of the department. “People should feel safest this New Year’s Eve because we’re there.”

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Supreme Court set to decide politically charged cases in 2016

WASHINGTON – As the nation heads into a presidential election year, the Supreme Court is set to decide a half-dozen politically charged cases in 2016 on such topics as abortion, affirmative action, contraceptives and immigration. In several cases, conservatives are hoping the high court will shift current law to the right or block President Barack Obama’s policies, while liberals are defending the status quo.

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Donald Trump says criticism of Bill Clinton is fair

WASHINGTON – Donald Trump is reviving memories of Bill Clinton’s affair with a White House intern and his turbulent interactions with black voters during South Carolina’s 2008 primary as the ex-president campaigns for his wife in New Hampshire. Trump’s latest broadsides on the Clintons – a potential preview of a nasty, personal general election – appear beneficial to both as they seek to energize voters leading into the first primary contests. But, some observers warn, they could pose a long-term risk for Trump in his effort to succeed President Barack Obama.

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MONDAY, DEC. 28, 2015

Health law reporting extension issued for employers

WASHINGTON – The Treasury Department on Monday gave employers an extension of critical reporting requirements, as it seeks to manage some of the most complicated parts of the federal health care law. Employers had previously faced deadlines in February and March to report 2015 health insurance information to their employees, and also to the IRS.

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Iraqi security forces enter the government complex in central Ramadi, 70 mileswest of Baghdad, Monday. (Osama Sami / Associated Press)

Iraq makes advances against Islamic State

The Iraqi military said Monday that its forces have recaptured the main government complex in Ramadi from Islamic State fighters who have occupied the city since May, providing a strategic victory and a morale boost to the country’s struggling security forces. Anti-terrorism troops hoisted the national flag atop the key complex in the long-contested Sunni Muslim city west of Baghdad, Brig. Gen. Yahya Rasool, Iraqi joint operations spokesman, said in a televised statement.

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Officer won’t face charges in black Ohio boy’s death

CLEVELAND – A grand jury on Monday declined to indict a white rookie police officer in the killing of Tamir Rice, a 12-year-old black boy who was shot while playing with what turned out to be a pellet gun. In explaining the decision, Cuyahoga County prosecutor Tim McGinty said it was “indisputable” that the boy was drawing the pistol from his waistband when he was gunned down. McGinty said Tamir was trying to either hand the weapon over to police or show them it wasn’t real, but the officer and his partner had no way of knowing that.

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Worker salaries are poised to climb in 2016

WASHINGTON – American workers are poised in 2016 to finally get what they’ve been missing for years: higher salaries. Even as the recovery from the Great Recession brought booming corporate profits, most workers’ salaries have barely kept up with inflation. But now, as the nation edges ever closer to full employment and with layoffs near historical lows, there are growing indications that ordinary workers are finally starting to reap some of the gains of the 6 1/2-year-old recovery.

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Pot bank begs for access to nation’s banking system

DENVER – The booming marijuana industry went to a federal judge Monday seeking an answer to the problem that has vexed business owners trying to emerge from the black market: Now that pot is legal and taxed in some states, why can’t they put the proceeds in a bank? A Colorado credit union designed to serve the pot industry – Fourth Corner Credit Union – was challenging a decision by the U.S. Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City to keep the pot bank from accessing the nation’s financial system. The Fed’s rejection earlier this year means that the pot bank can’t take deposits or issue credit – leaving many marijuana businesses operating on a cash-only basis.

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Officials: Bipedal bear spotted, appears to be healthy

WEST MILFORD, N.J. – New Jersey wildlife officials say there’s been a sighting of a bear that walks upright on its two hind legs and has become a social media darling. Fans of the bipedal bear nicknamed Pedals had grown concerned when the animal had not been seen for several weeks.

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Wildlife experts from the Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito attempt to corral an elephant seal that repeatedly tried to cross a highway, slowing traffic in Sonoma, Calif., on Monday.

Nation in brief: Elephant seal repeatedly tries to cross California highway

SAN FRANCISCO – Wildlife experts and law enforcement officials on Monday worked to keep a determined elephant seal off a Northern California highway that it has repeatedly tried to cross, snarling traffic in the area. California Highway Patrol spokesman Officer Andrew Barclay said callers first reported the 500-pound mammal was trying to climb the divider wall of Highway 37 near Sears Point in Sonoma.

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Motorhead frontman, hard-rock hero ‘Lemmy’ Kilmister dies

LOS ANGELES – Ian “Lemmy” Kilmister, the Motorhead frontman whose outsized persona made him a hero for generations of hard-rockers and metalheads, has died. Kilmister, 70, died on Monday in Los Angeles after a brief battle with aggressive cancer, according to his agent, Andrew Goodfriend.

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Wild Card/Monday — 2.8.16

During the weekend, I took time to watch a debate on each side of the political divide -- one a re-run of the Democratic debate earlier last week. The Democratic ...

Labrador at forefront of gay marriage clash

When the U.S. Supreme Court last summer gave same-sex couples the right to marry, Republican Rep. Raul Labrador of Idaho said Congress should move quickly to protect the religious liberty ...

Closeout sale blues

There has been a strange vibe at Macy's in recent days. We all know how Spokane residents love a bargain. And there have been bargains, to be sure. It's a ...



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