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Oregon Wildfire Causes Evacuations, Closes Roads in Prime Eclipse Zone

Residents of more than 400 homes in a prime eclipse-viewing location in Oregon were ordered to evacuate Friday because of a rapidly growing wildfire that had already closed access to a portion of a wilderness area and a regional highway.   The late afternoon order threatened to create more tie-ups on rural and narrow roads already expected to be burdened with up to 200,000 visitors coming to the area from around the world to watch Monday’s total solar eclipse. About 1 million people are expected in Oregon, where the moon’s…

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Navy Captain Pleads Guilty in ‘Fat Leonard’ Case

 A U.S. Navy captain has admitted to accepting bribes in the form of lavish hotel rooms and prostitutes from a Malaysian businessman nicknamed “Fat Leonard,” joining nearly two dozen current and former Navy officials who have been charged in what is being called the maritime branch’s biggest corruption case. Capt. Jesus Vasquez Cantu, of Silverdale, Washington, entered his guilty plea Friday in federal court in San Diego. Cantu says Leonard Glenn Francis paid for prostitutes, hotels and drinks at karaoke bars in exchange for proprietary Navy information that benefited Francis’…

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Charlottesville Mayor Wants Swift Removal of Lee Statue

The mayor of Charlottesville on Friday called for an emergency meeting of state lawmakers to confirm the city’s right to remove a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee, saying recent clashes over race and the Confederacy had turned “equestrian statues into lightning rods.” Mayor Mike Signer’s statement came nearly a week after white supremacists descended on the city and violently clashed with counterprotesters. One woman was killed Saturday when a car plowed into a crowd of people there to condemn what was thought to be the largest gathering of…

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Officials: State Department Suffers Worldwide Email Outage

U.S. officials say the State Department has suffered a worldwide email outage affecting its entire unclassified system. The officials said the outage began early Friday morning and that technicians were working to restore email as soon as possible. The officials said the outage was not caused by “any external action or interference.” The department was forced to shut down its unclassified email systems in 2014 in what officials said at the time was routine maintenance. But it later emerged that the system had been compromised by hackers believed to be…

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Trump Approves Plan to Create Independent Cyber Command

President Donald Trump has approved a long-delayed Pentagon plan to create an independent and more aggressive cyber command in order to beef up cyberwar operations against the Islamic State group and other foes. The White House announcement Friday means U.S. Cyber Command may eventually be split off from the intelligence-focused National Security Agency. For now, Trump has agreed to raise the stature of Cyber Command within the military and give it more autonomy. He did not say who would serve as commander of the organization. “This new Unified Combatant Command…

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Tillerson Condemns Hate Speech, Says Bigotry is Un-American

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is condemning hate speech and bigotry as un-American and antithetical to the values the U.S. was founded on and promotes abroad. In his most extensive comments on race and diversity since last weekend’s violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, Tillerson on Friday called racism “evil.” He said freedom of speech is sacrosanct but that those who promote hate poison the public discourse and damage the country they claim to love. Speaking to interns and young minority staffers at the State Department, Tillerson pledged to diversify the overwhelmingly…

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US Helping Clear ‘Historic’ Amount of Explosives in Mosul

The wires protruding from the small, misshapen stuffed animal revealed the deadly booby trap tucked inside. For the people of Mosul, the sophisticated bomb was a reminder of how difficult it will be to return to homes littered with explosives hidden by Islamic State militants and dotted with the remnants of undetonated bombs dropped by the U.S.-led coalition that still could blow up. Washington at least is trying to ease a bit of the massive cleanup burden. On Thursday, the top U.S. commander in Iraq said for the first time…

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Amid US Racial Divisions, Auschwitz Memorial Issues Warning

The memorial site of Auschwitz-Birkenau is weighing in on the anti-Semitic and racially charged violence that has erupted in the United States, noting that hatred comes from people who promote it. The state museum, which preserves the site of the former Nazi German death camp, wrote Thursday on Twitter: “One of the hardest lessons for us today. Perpetrators were people. They accepted an ideology that rationalized and promoted hatred & evil.” With the words is a photo of Auschwitz officers and guards smiling and having fun. The message was posted…

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Business Owners Without Legal Status in US Face Tense Days

Maribel Resendiz and her husband came to the U.S. from Mexico, sold cool drinks to workers in the tomato fields of South Florida and eventually opened a bustling shop in a strip mall offering fruit smoothies and tacos. Now she is preparing for the possibility she’ll have to leave it all behind. Resendiz, who is not a legal U.S. resident, recently turned over control of the business in Florida City to her daughter, a citizen. The once-proud shop owner is so afraid of deportation these days that on a recent…

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Battling Demons in Community Looking to Trump for Change

In Grays Harbor County, a rural community on the coast of Washington state, the rate at which people die from despair — from drugs, alcohol and suicide — is nearly twice the national average. The county embraced Donald Trump’s call to America’s forgotten corners, and flipped Republican in a presidential election for the first time in 90 years.   Many of those caught in the cycle of addiction did not vote; they are either felons or too consumed by the turmoil of trying to claw their way out to be…

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