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Tropical Storm Cindy Comes Ashore in Southwest Louisiana

Gulf Coast states were in for a third day of rough weather as Tropical Storm Cindy sloshed ashore early Thursday in southwestern Louisiana. Already blamed for one death in Alabama, Cindy was expected to keep churning seas and spin off bands of severe weather from eastern Texas to northwestern Florida.   The storm’s maximum sustained winds had decreased to near 40 mph (64 kph) Thursday morning with additional weakening expected, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said.   A boy on an Alabama beach was struck and killed Wednesday by a…

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Another Leadership Test for Pelosi, Who’s Weathered Many

Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi is telling Democrats that next year could be the year they take back control of the House. The response from some: It better be. In the wake of a dispiriting loss for Democrats in a Georgia special House race, Pelosi is confronting renewed questions about her leadership, especially because she was the focus of a torrent of negative advertising in the Georgia election casting her as a San Francisco liberal and linking her to the Democratic candidate. The apparent effectiveness of that messaging suggested to some…

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New Census Data Show US Becoming More Diverse

All races and ethnic groups grew in the U.S. over the last year, but the Asian and Hispanic populations continued to be the fastest-growing, according to the annual count released Thursday by the Census Bureau.  The census reports that across all races and ethnic groups, the non-Hispanic white population grew the slowest.  “The non-Hispanic white alone group grew less than one-hundredth of one percent and only gained about 5,000 people,” Lauren Medina, a census demographer, said in a news release.  The census’ National, State and County Population Estimates by Age,…

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Former Detainees Say Immigration Jails Profit off Their Labor

Every day, immigrants are told to clean their living areas in a privately run Colorado detention center or risk being put in solitary confinement. Some also volunteer to do jobs as varied as landscaping, more cleaning and cutting other inmates’ hair, but the pay is always the same: $1 a day.    A group of former detainees says the system borders on modern-day slavery. They are challenging it in federal court and have won the right to sue the Denver-area detention center’s operator on behalf of an estimated 60,000 people…

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Tropical Storm Brings Rough Weather, 1 Death to Gulf Coast

Gulf Coast states were in for a third day of rough weather Thursday with Tropical Storm Cindy, blamed for one death in Alabama, expected to keep churning seas and spin off bands of severe weather from east Texas to northwestern Florida.   The storm was headed for landfall early Thursday.   A boy on an Alabama beach was struck and killed Wednesday by a log washed ashore by the storm. Baldwin County Sheriff’s Capt. Stephen Arthur said witnesses reported the 10-year-old boy from Missouri was standing outside a condominium in…

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Pentagon: Islamic State Problem ‘Not Getting Better’ in Afghanistan

The United States military has spilled its blood, spent immense amounts of cash and even dropped a munition called the “Mother of All Bombs” in an effort to root out Islamic State’s affiliate in Afghanistan. But despite these efforts, the Islamic State-Khorasan problem in Afghanistan is “not getting better,” Chief Pentagon spokeswoman Dana White told VOA Wednesday in her first sit-down, on-camera interview since joining the Pentagon team. “It’s not getting better in Afghanistan in terms of ISIS. We have a problem, and we have to defeat them and we…

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US Interrogates Detainees in Yemen Prisons Rife With Torture

Hundreds of men swept up in the hunt for al-Qaida militants have disappeared into a secret network of prisons in southern Yemen where abuse is routine and torture extreme – including the “grill,” in which the victim is tied to a spit like a roast and spun in a circle of fire, an Associated Press investigation has found. Senior American defense officials acknowledged Wednesday that U.S. forces have been involved in interrogations of detainees in Yemen but denied any participation in or knowledge of human rights abuses.  Interrogating detainees who…

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Santa Barbara Hit by Big Quake? False Alarm!

The U.S. Geological Survey sent out an alert Wednesday for a large 6.8-magnitude earthquake off the coast of Santa Barbara, California, but it all turned out to be a false alarm. Scientists at the University of California Santa Barbara were adjusting records of an earthquake that struck just off the U.S. West Coast in 1925, and when they shifted the precise epicenter of that century-old quake by 10 kilometers, a live alarm inadvertently went out on the USGS email server and was flashed to newsrooms and scientists worldwide. The alarm…

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Iraqi Migrant Trains at US Border Patrol Academy

At a training facility in the middle of a desert in New Mexico, aspiring border patrol agent Stevany Shakare sprinted laps in 103-degree Fahrenheit weather as her instructors shouted at her to run faster. Shakare, a 23-year-old from Iraq, is one of three women in a class of 20 at the U.S. Border Patrol Academy in Artesia, New Mexico. They are powering through an intensive 112-day training program, in which agents must master firearms, high-speed, off-road vehicle chases, immigration law, conversational Spanish and grueling physical tests. They are preparing to…

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Jackie Kennedy Watch, Painting Sell for Triple Estimated Price in New York

A Cartier wristwatch given to Jackie Kennedy and a painting she made in 1963 as a thank-you gift to reciprocate sold for $379,500 on Wednesday, more than three times pre-sale estimates, Christie’s auction house said. Christie’s said the price was reached after three minutes of “spirited bidding” in its New York saleroom, online and by phone. It did not identify the buyer. The auction house had estimated the watch and the painting, sold as one lot, would fetch up to $120,000, calling them “two of the most important historic artifacts…

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