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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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SUPREME COURT NOTEBOOK: Justices as campaign issue

WASHINGTON (AP) — A closely divided Supreme Court. Four justices in their 70s. Presidential candidates with dramatically different views of the ideal high court nominee. And yet, until late in Thursday's debate between Vice President Joe Biden and Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan, hardly a word about the court had passed the candidates' lips. When the presidential candidates debated a week earlier, the Supreme Court was not mentioned even once.

Crews search for 4th victim in Fla. garage rubble

MIAMI (AP) — Workers inched closer Thursday afternoon to pulling a fourth likely casualty from the site of a parking garage collapse as a search for answers continued over what reduced a routine construction project to piles of twisted steel and crumbled concrete. Family members of a still-missing worker huddled near the site, a day after the collapse at Miami Dade College, waiting for a crane to remove large debris and potentially remove a body from an area search dogs had identified. Some still held out hope for a miracle, but authorities said they didn't expect to find anyone else alive.

2 dead, 1 still missing in Fla. garage collapse

MIAMI (AP) — Rescuers pulled a badly injured man from the rubble of a collapsed parking garage and planned to continue searching Thursday for a missing construction worker a day after the five-story structure came down, killing two people. Officials said they expect to find another body in the rubble at Miami Dade College's west campus, although they stopped short of saying it was the missing person.

Workers trapped in Fla. parking garage collapse

MIAMI (AP) — A section of a parking garage under construction at a Miami-Dade College campus collapsed Wednesday and a fire official said some workers were trapped in the rubble. Miami-Dade Fire-Rescue Lt. Arnold Piedrahita told WSVN-TV that some workers could be heard calling for help inside the rubble shortly after the multistory garage caved in. It was not clear how many were trapped.

High court takes up Texas affirmative action plan

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court is taking up a challenge to a University of Texas program that considers race in some college admissions. The case could produce new limits on affirmative action at universities, or roll it back entirely. Abigail Fisher, the white Texan who sued the university, arrived at the high court Wednesday morning to hear the argument.

Study: Free birth control leads to fewer abortions

WASHINGTON (AP) — Free birth control led to dramatically lower rates of abortions and teen births, a large study concludes. The findings were eagerly anticipated and come as a bitterly contested Obama administration policy is poised to offer similar coverage. The project tracked more than 9,000 women in St. Louis, many of them poor or uninsured. They were given their choice of a range of contraceptive methods at no cost — from birth control pills to goof-proof options like the IUD or a matchstick-sized implant.

Research on mice suggests new fertility treatments

NEW YORK (AP) — Scientists have turned mouse skin cells into eggs that produced baby mice — a technique that, if successfully applied to humans, could someday allow women to stop worrying about the ticking of their biological clocks and perhaps even help couples create "designer babies." For technical as well as ethical reasons, nobody expects doctors will be making eggs from women's skin cells any time soon. But some see possibilities and questions about its use.

High court begins new term with human rights case

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court opened its new term Monday with a high-stakes dispute between businesses and human rights groups over accountability for foreign atrocities. The justices appeared ready to impose new limits on lawsuits brought in U.S. courts over human rights violations abroad.

Another big Supreme Court term starts Monday

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court is starting a new term that is shaping up to be as important as the last one, with the prospect of major rulings about affirmative action, gay marriage and voting rights. Three months after the court upheld President Barack Obama's health care overhaul, the same lineup of justices returns to the bench Monday morning.

Students, experts recoil at alcohol enema case

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Before an unruly Tennessee party ended with a student hospitalized for a dangerously high blood alcohol level, most people had probably never heard of alcohol enemas. Thanks to the drunken exploits of a fraternity at the University of Tennessee, the bizarre way of getting drunk is giving parents, administrators and health care workers a new fear.

Another big Supreme Court term kicks off Monday

WASHINGTON (AP) — When last we saw the chief justice of the United States on the bench, John Roberts was joining with the Supreme Court's liberals in an unlikely lineup that upheld President Barack Obama's health care overhaul. Progressives applauded Roberts' statesmanship. Conservatives uttered cries of betrayal.

Colleges try new fixes to recurring remedial rut

WEST PLAINS, Mo. (AP) — After leaving high school as a teen mother, Ashley McCullough is back on track to receive a two-year degree and work as a respiratory therapist. But she first had to conquer a remedial math class and its core lessons on addition, subtraction, multiplication and division — the same basic skills her now 6-year-old daughter will soon start to learn in elementary school. "I didn't have my act together," the 23-year-old said. "I had a baby at 16."

Pa. college revives sororities after 79-year ban

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Nearly 80 years after women at Swarthmore College voted to ban sororities because they were too exclusive, a group of female students will reinstate Greek life this spring after weathering months of polarizing debate on campus. The future sisters of Kappa Alpha Theta pledge that members will be welcoming, diverse and dedicated to civic engagement and community service. The sorority will also provide valuable national networking opportunities, supporters say.

Pa. college revives sororities after 79-year ban

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — After a nearly 80-year absence of sororities at Swarthmore College, female students will soon have the option of going Greek. Kappa Alpha Theta is establishing a chapter this spring despite months of polarizing debate at the liberal arts school near Philadelphia.

Argentine pres. challenges Harvard questions

BOSTON (AP) — In a rare departure from her usual political style, Argentine President Cristina Fernandez responded to questions from an audience at Harvard University Thursday night. But she didn't always answer them. Fernandez spoke before more than 100 students, faculty and guests at the Kennedy School of Government. In Argentina, she has had five news conferences in five years and has only occasionally taken questions.

Student debt stretches to record 1 in 5 households

WASHINGTON (AP) — With college enrollment growing, student debt has stretched to a record number of U.S. households — nearly 1 in 5 — with the biggest burdens falling on the young and poor. The analysis by the Pew Research Center found that 22.4 million households, or 19 percent, had college debt in 2010. That is double the share in 1989, and up from 15 percent in 2007, just prior to the recession — representing the biggest three-year increase in student debt in more than two decades.

UC agrees to pay $1M to settle pepper-spray suit

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The University of California has agreed to pay $1 million to settle a lawsuit filed by demonstrators who were pepper-sprayed during an Occupy protest at UC Davis last fall, according to a preliminary settlement filed Wednesday. The Nov. 18, 2011, incident prompted national outrage, angry campus protests and calls for the resignation of Chancellor Linda Katehi after online videos shot by witnesses went viral.

Chemist’s inflated resume gives lawyers new doubts

BOSTON (AP) — Revelations that a chemist at the center of a scandal at a Massachusetts drug lab might have lied about her educational background have given defense attorneys new grounds to challenge her credibility. Annie Dookhan, whose alleged mishandling of drug samples at the lab has thrown thousands of criminal cases into question, testified under oath that she holds a master's degree in chemistry from the University of Massachusetts and also listed that degree on her resume. But school officials say they have no record of her receiving an advanced degree or taking graduate courses there.

Romney, Obama descend on battleground Ohio

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — President Barack Obama and Republican Mitt Romney are pitching to college students and working-class voters in Ohio less than a week before early voting kicks off in this critical Midwestern state. Fresh off a high-stakes address before world leaders at the United Nations, Obama is set to address rallies Wednesday at two state universities, hoping to generate the kind of enthusiasm among young voters that helped fuel his victory four years ago. Romney plans three stops in major metropolitan areas of the state as part of a bus tour geared toward drawing a contrast with Obama on middle-class economic issues.