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National News

Crafty cockatoos master dumpster diving and teach each other

WASHINGTON (AP) — A few years ago, a Sydney scientist noticed a sulfur-crested cockatoo opening his trash bin. Not every resident would be thrilled, but ornithologist Richard Major was impressed by the ingenuity. It's quite a feat for a bird to grasp a bin lid with its beak, pry it open, ...

Democrats back Biden US lands pick assailed by Republicans

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — A bitterly divided U.S. Senate panel deadlocked Thursday on President Joe Biden's pick to oversee vast government-owned lands in the West, as Democrats united behind a nominee whose credibility was assailed by Republicans over her links to a 1989 environmental sabotage ...

AP-NORC poll: Parties split on some infrastructure proposals

WASHINGTON (AP) — The overwhelming majority of Americans -- about 8 in 10 -- favor plans to increase funding for roads, bridges and ports and for pipes that supply drinking water. But that's about as far as Democrats and Republicans intersect on infrastructure, according to a new poll from ...

Mississippi argues Supreme Court should overturn Roe v. Wade

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — The U.S. Supreme Court should overturn its landmark 1973 ruling that legalized abortion nationwide and let states decide whether to regulate abortion before a fetus can survive outside the womb, the office of Mississippi's Republican attorney general argued in papers ...

Small businesses lifted by return of summer tourists

Small businesses in the U.S. that depend on tourism and vacationers say business is bouncing back, as Americans rebook postponed trips and spend freely on food, entertainment and souvenirs. U.S. states and cities have loosened many of their restrictions on crowd size and mask-wearing, a ...

Hugs as California public school returns to class in person

CHULA VISTA, Calif. (AP) — There was pumping music, dancing teachers and lots of hugs as one of the first public schools in California opened fully to in-person learning Wednesday, marking a major milestone in the fight to return to normalcy in the nation's most populated state, though the ...

Experts: Spend opioid settlement funds on fighting opioids

As a $26 billion settlement over the toll of opioids looms, some public health experts are citing the 1998 agreement with tobacco companies as a cautionary tale of runaway government spending and missed opportunities for saving more lives. Mere fractions of the $200 billion-plus tobacco ...

Federal judges block transgender restrictions in 2 states

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Federal judges on Wednesday temporarily blocked an Arkansas law banning gender confirming treatments for transgender youth and a West Virginia ban on trans athletes in women's sports, two major victories for LGBTQ advocates against a wave of restrictions approved by ...

Judge: $150M initially for victims in Florida condo collapse

As the remaining rubble from the collapse of a 12-story oceanfront condominium was cleared away Wednesday, a Florida judge said victims and families who suffered losses will get a minimum of $150 million in compensation initially. That sum includes about $50 million in insurance on the ...

US life expectancy in 2020 saw biggest drop since WWII

NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. life expectancy fell by a year and a half in 2020, the largest one-year decline since World War II, public health officials said Wednesday. The decrease for both Black Americans and Hispanic Americans was even worse: three years. The drop spelled out by the Centers for ...

A small victory: Used-car prices slip from dizzy heights

DEARBORN, Mich. (AP) — For months, anyone who wandered onto a dealer lot to look for a used car could be forgiven for doing a double take — and then wandering right off the lot. Prices had rocketed more than 40% from their levels just before the viral pandemic struck, to an average of ...

Bette Midler, Berry Gordy among new Kennedy Center honorees

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Kennedy Center Honors will return in December with a class that includes Motown Records creator Berry Gordy, "Saturday Night Live" mastermind Lorne Michaels and actress-singer Bette Midler. Organizers expect to operate at full capacity, after last year's ceremony was ...

50-year war on drugs imprisoned millions of Black Americans

Landscaping was hardly his lifelong dream. As a teenager, Alton Lucas believed basketball or music would pluck him out of North Carolina and take him around the world. In the late 1980s, he was the right-hand man to his musical best friend, Youtha Anthony Fowler, who many hip hop and R&B ...

Rare ‘breakthrough’ COVID cases are causing alarm, confusion

Reports of athletes, lawmakers and others getting the coronavirus despite vaccination may sound alarming but top health experts point to overwhelming evidence that the shots are doing exactly what they are supposed to: dramatically reducing severe illness and death. The best indicator: U.S. ...

US virus cases nearly triple in 2 weeks amid misinformation

MISSION, Kan. (AP) — COVID-19 cases nearly tripled in the U.S. over two weeks amid an onslaught of vaccine misinformation that is straining hospitals, exhausting doctors and pushing clergy into the fray. "Our staff, they are frustrated," said Chad Neilsen, director of infection prevention at ...

Biden says getting vaccinated ‘gigantically important’

CINCINNATI, Ohio (AP) — President Joe Biden expressed pointed frustration Wednesday over the slowing COVID-19 vaccination rate in the U.S. and pleaded that it's "gigantically important" for Americans to step up and get inoculated against the virus as it surges once again. Biden, speaking at ...

Judge exonerates man who served 20 years in Georgia slayings

BRUNSWICK, Ga. (AP) — A judge on Monday dismissed all charges against a man convicted of the 1985 slayings of a couple at a south Georgia church, exonerating him after he spent two decades behind bars, the man's attorneys said. Glynn County Superior Court Judge Stephen Scarlett granted a ...

Garland bars prosecutors from seizing reporters’ records

WASHINGTON (AP) — Attorney General Merrick Garland on Monday formally prohibited federal prosecutors from seizing the records of journalists in leak investigations, with limited exceptions, reversing years of department policy. The new policy largely codifies the commitment Garland made in ...

Indoor mask wearing recommended for some to combat variant

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — Kentucky's governor on Monday urged frontline workers dealing with the public to wear masks, even if fully vaccinated against COVID-19, due to risks from the more infectious delta variant blamed for sparking an increase in coronavirus cases. With large swaths of ...

Tax returns show Caitlyn Jenner’s income has fallen sharply

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Caitlyn Jenner's earnings have fallen precipitously in the last several years from a high of $2.5 million in 2016 when she had her own reality TV show to $550,000, tax filings show. Jenner is among those running in California's upcoming recall election of Gov. Gavin ...