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Neb. state Sen. Ernie Chambers, right, of Omaha, celebrates with Sen. Kathy Campbell, left, of Lincoln, after the one-house Legislature voted 30-19 to override Gov. Pete Ricketts, a Republican who supports the death penalty. The vote makes Nebraska the first traditionally conservative state to eliminate the punishment since North Dakota in 1973. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)

Neb. lawmakers vote to abolish death penalty

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

LINCOLN, Neb. — Nebraska abolished the death penalty on Wednesday over the governor’s objections in a move pushed through the Legislature with unusual backing from conservatives who oppose capital punishment for religious, financial and practical reasons. Senators in the one-house Legislature voted 30-19 to override the veto of Gov. Pete Ricketts, a Republican who supports the death penalty. The vote …

IRS believes identity thieves from Russia

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

WASHINGTON — IRS investigators believe the identity thieves who stole the personal tax information of more than 100,000 taxpayers from an IRS website are part of a sophisticated criminal operation based in Russia, two officials told the Associated Press. The information was stolen as part of an elaborate scheme to claim fraudulent tax …

Santorum makes 2nd bid for White House

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

CABOT, Pa. — Conservative culture warrior Rick Santorum launched a 2016 White House bid on Wednesday, vowing to fight for working-class Americans in a new election season that will test his influence — and focus on social issues — in a changing Republican Party. The former Pennsylvania senator may have exceeded his own …

Officials marvel at survival of Calif. woman missing for two weeks

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

By Tony Perry Los Angeles Times (TNS) SAN DIEGO — A 68-year-old Fullerton woman remains hospitalized as San Diego County law enforcement personnel continue to marvel at how she survived for two weeks in her disabled car on fruit, pie slices and rainwater. Dianna Bedwell was found Sunday …

Tornado, floods take toll in Texas, Mexico

Monday, May 25, 2015

CIUDAD ACUNA, Mexico — A tornado raged through a city on the U.S.-Mexico border Monday, destroying homes, flinging cars like matchsticks and ripping an infant from its mother’s arms. At least 13 people were killed, authorities said. In …

Biden tries to soothe Iraqi allies

Monday, May 25, 2015

WASHINGTON — Vice President Joe Biden reassured Iraq’s government on Monday of U.S. support in the fight against the Islamic State group, telephoning Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi with thanks for “the enormous sacrifice and bravery of Iraqi forces” …

Cleveland, feds settle on policing

Monday, May 25, 2015

WASHINGTON — The city of Cleveland has reached a settlement with the U.S. Justice Department over a pattern of excessive force and civil rights violations by the police department, and the agreement could be announced as soon as Tuesday, a senior federal law enforcement official said. The official …

Anonymous threats disrupt several commercial flights

Monday, May 25, 2015

NEW YORK — Anonymous telephone threats against commercial airliners on Monday, possibly from the same source, caused a scare involving at least six international flights at airports in New York, New Jersey and Massachusetts. Authorities said the threats did not appear to be credible. They described searches done …

Ex-Israeli PM gets 8 months

Monday, May 25, 2015

JERUSALEM — Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert was sentenced Monday to eight months in prison for unlawfully accepting money from a U.S. supporter, capping the dramatic downfall of a man who only years earlier led the country …

Malaysia unearths graves at human traffickers’ camps

Monday, May 25, 2015

WANG KELIAN, Malaysia — Malaysian authorities said Monday a cluster of abandoned jungle camps used by human traffickers contained 139 suspected graves as well as barbed-wire pens likely used to cage migrants, shedding more light on a regional …

Obama salutes fallen at Arlington

Monday, May 25, 2015

ARLINGTON, Va. — President Barack Obama on Monday saluted Americans who died in battle, saying the country must “never stop trying to fully repay them” for their sacrifices. He noted it was the first Memorial Day in 14 …

Flash floods destroy homes in Texas, Okla.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

SAN MARCOS, Texas — Record rainfall wreaked havoc across a swath of Texas and the Midwest on Sunday, causing flash floods in normally dry riverbeds, spawning tornadoes and forcing at least 2,000 people to flee. Tornadoes struck, severely …

Defense chief: Iraqis lacking ‘will to fight’

Sunday, May 24, 2015

WASHINGTON — The Islamic State group’s takeover of the provincial capital Ramadi is stark evidence that Iraqi forces lack the “will to fight,” Defense Secretary Ash Carter said in a TV interview that aired Sunday. The harsh assessment …