Nation/World | page 46

WEDNESDAY, DEC. 16, 2015

Congress reaches sweeping deal on spending, oil export ban and tax breaks

WASHINGTON – In an unusually ambitious swoop, Congress is poised this week to approve a mammoth legislative package that jams a year’s worth of work into one deal. The compromise, headed for votes Thursday and Friday, would repeal a decades-old ban on exporting crude oil, make permanent $650 billion in tax breaks, adopt new cybersecurity rules, tighten visa requirements for some foreign visitors and ultimately expand the federal deficit by tens of billions of dollars a year.

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Mistrial in 1st officer’s trial in Freddie Gray case

BALTIMORE – The first effort to convict an officer in Freddie Gray’s death from a broken neck in a Baltimore Police van ended Wednesday with a hung jury and a mistrial. Officials appealed for calm as small crowds protested along streets lined with police officers. The situation was quiet at North and Pennsylvania, the intersection where the worst rioting happened in April as parts of West Baltimore were set on fire.

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UK Supreme Court rules against Trump over wind farm

LONDON – Britain’s Supreme Court on Wednesday ruled unanimously against tycoon and U.S. presidential contender Donald Trump in his battle to stop an offshore wind farm near his upscale Scottish golf resort. Trump claims the 11-turbine project, approved by the Scottish government in 2013, will spoil the view from his golf course near Aberdeen in eastern Scotland. He has vowed to stop further development of the resort if the wind farm goes ahead.

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Spanish PM punched hard in head at campaign appearance

MADRID – A young man punched Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy hard in the head Wednesday evening after managing to get next to him at a campaign appearance in the northern city where Rajoy grew up. The unidentified attacker was standing next to Rajoy on a street in the city of Pontevedra in the Galicia region while he talked to a crowd, then pulled his arm back and delivered a punishing left hook to Rajoy’s left check.

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Passengers of the first flight of Continental Airlines from Miami, Fla., arrive at the Jose Marti Airport of Havana, Cuba, in 2001. (Jose Goitia / Associated Press)

US, Cuba near deal on restoring commercial flights

HAVANA – The United States and Cuba are close to a deal on restoring regularly scheduled commercial flights, Cuban and American officials said Wednesday on the eve of the anniversary of detente between the Cold War foes. The diplomatic advance would help open the way for U.S. airlines to begin flying to Cuba within months in what would likely be the biggest step toward tighter economic ties since the two countries began normalizing relations last year. Officials on both sides said they had reached an understanding on key points and hoped to reach a formal deal within hours or days.

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TUESDAY, DEC. 15, 2015

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks about her counterterrorism strategy during a speech at the University of Minnesota on Tuesday in Minneapolis.

Clinton: U.S. needs 360-degree anti-terror strategy

MINNEAPOLIS – Offering a prebuttal to Republicans, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton said Tuesday the American people “cannot give into fear” in the aftermath of attacks in Paris and California, laying out a multipronged strategy to protect the homeland and prevent domestic terrorist attacks. Clinton assailed her Republican rivals shortly before the party’s latest presidential debate, telling an audience at the University of Minnesota that another ground war reminiscent of conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan would play into the hands of the Islamic State group and fail to keep the U.S. safe.

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U.N. nuclear agency formally ends Iran probe

VIENNA – The U.N. nuclear agency closed the books Tuesday on its decadelong probe of allegations that Iran worked on atomic arms, and Tehran proclaimed that within weeks, it would finish cutbacks on present nuclear programs that the U.S. fears could be turned into making such weapons. The probe had to be formally ended as part of a July 14 deal between Iran and six nations that involves the removal of economic sanctions on Tehran in exchange for its commitment to crimp its nuclear program. A resolution was approved by consensus of the 35-nation board of the U.N.’s International Atomic Energy Agency.

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Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, shakes hands with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry during their meeting in the Kremlin in Moscow, on Tuesday.

Assad can stay, for now: Kerry accepts Russian stance

MOSCOW – U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Tuesday accepted Russia’s long-standing demand that President Bashar Assad’s future be determined by his own people, as Washington and Moscow edged toward putting aside years of disagreement over how to end Syria’s civil war. “The United States and our partners are not seeking so-called regime change,” Kerry told reporters in the Russian capital after meeting President Vladimir Putin. A major international conference on Syria would take place later this week in New York, Kerry announced.

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George Lucas, left, and J.J. Abrams arrive at the world premiere of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” on Monday in Los Angeles.

‘Star Wars’ premiere crowd cheers for familiar faces

The VIP audience at “The Force Awakens” world premiere began cheering from the moment the movie’s first words appeared on screen, with special enthusiasm for the return of Han Solo and Chewbacca after a 32-year hiatus. The crowd at the TCL Chinese Theatre in Hollywood also greeted franchise newcomers with excitement, including Gwendoline Christie’s Captain Phasma and Daisy Ridley’s Rey, and loudly gasped at the film’s various twists and turns.

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Saudi Arabia forms anti-terrorism alliance

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia – Projecting its ambition for regional leadership, Saudi Arabia said Tuesday it has lined up most of the Arab world, NATO member Turkey, and several African and Asian countries behind a vaguely defined “Islamic military alliance” against terrorists. The move allows the kingdom, which follows a deeply conservative interpretation of Islam, to cast itself as a leader in the fight against extremism.

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Ryan says deal reached on tax, spending bill

WASHINGTON – Congressional leaders and the White House have reached agreement on a massive year-end tax and spending package, House Speaker Paul Ryan told GOP lawmakers late Tuesday, urging support for the legislation that delivers GOP wins but also includes many Democratic priorities. The package would fund the government through the 2016 budget year, raise domestic and defense spending, and increase the deficit by hundreds of billions of dollars by extending numerous popular tax credits without paying for them. It lifts the 40-year-old ban on exporting U.S. crude, a long-sought GOP goal, and delays two taxes meant to pay for President Barack Obama’s health care law, one on high-value health plans and the other on medical devices.

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Storm dumps snow from Rockies to plains

LONGMONT, Colo. – A powerful late-autumn storm dumped up to 24 inches of snow in the Colorado mountains on Tuesday before barreling onto the plains, prompting airlines to cancel 425 flights at the Denver airport and leaving hundreds of miles of highways slippery with snow and ice. The snow tapered off Tuesday afternoon as the storm moved northeast, leaving behind drifts up to 4 feet high.

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Donald Trump, left, jokes with Ted Cruz during the CNN Republican presidential debate at the Venetian Hotel & Casino on Tuesday in Las Vegas. (John Locher / Associated Press)

Security fears steal spotlight at GOP debate

LAS VEGAS – In a presidential race reshaped by national security fears, Sens. Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio clashed over U.S. military intervention, government spying on Americans’ communications and immigration Tuesday night, as front-runner Donald Trump defended his provocative call for banning Muslims from the United States. Struggling former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush found his footing in trying to discredit Trump’s qualifications for the White House, chiding the brash billionaire for trying to “insult your way to the presidency.”

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Los Angeles schools closed due to threat

LOS ANGELES – All schools in the vast Los Angeles Unified School District, the nation’s second largest, have been ordered closed due to an electronic threat Tuesday. During a press conference Tuesday, district police Chief Steven Zipperman said the threat ...

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MONDAY, DEC. 14, 2015

Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl prepares to be interviewed by Army investigators in August 2014.

Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl Bergdahl faces court-martial

WASHINGTON – A top Army commander Monday unexpectedly ordered Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, who was held captive for five years by the Taliban, to face a court-martial on charges of desertion and endangering other troops for walking off his combat outpost in eastern Afghanistan in 2009. Bergdahl’s trial could begin by May, two years after he was handed over to U.S. forces in a swap approved by the White House for five Taliban prisoners from the military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

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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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