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Police officers leave candles at an impromptu memorial near the site where two New York City police officers were killed in the Brooklyn borough of New York, Sunday, Dec. 21, 2014. Police say Ismaaiyl Brinsley ambushed officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu in their patrol car in broad daylight Saturday, fatally shooting them before killing himself inside a subway station. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

Killer of 2 NY police had long criminal history

Sunday, December 21, 2014

NEW YORK — The gunman who fatally ambushed two police officers in their squad car had a long criminal record, a hatred for police and the government and an apparent history of mental instability that included an attempt to hang himself a year ago, authorities said Sunday. Moments before opening fire, Ismaaiyl Brinsley approached people on the street and asked …

Australian woman charged with killing 8 children

Sunday, December 21, 2014

CAIRNS, Australia — A judge on Monday rejected a plea by lawyers for an Australia woman charged with killing eight children to have the next hearing held in a mental health court. Mersane Warria, charged under her full name of Raina Mersane Ina Thaiday, is facing eight counts of murder in the deaths …

Nigeria’s extremists a threat to region

Sunday, December 21, 2014

MAIDUGURI, Nigeria — Thousands of members of Nigeria’s home-grown Islamic extremist Boko Haram group strike across the border in Cameroon, with coordinated attacks on border towns, a troop convoy and a major barracks. Farther north, Boko Haram employs recruits from Chad to enforce its control in northeastern Nigerian towns and cities. In Niger, …

Robin Williams tops 2014 Google search list

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

SAN FRANCISCO — Robin Williams’ suicide seared into the world’s collective mindset more than anything else this year, based on what people were searching for on Google. The reaction to Williams’ death in August topped Google’s list of …

Study published in Psychological Science suggests that slower decisions produce healthier food choices

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Do you lack self-control when it comes to food? If so, maybe you need to slow down a bit. At least that’s the suggestion of researchers who recently exposed a group of 28 hungry college students to a series of computer images of food and asked them to …

Methane spike on Mars? Curiosity rover reignites mystery

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Methane is making a comeback on Mars. NASA’s Curiosity rover quashed the hopes of scientists and dreamers alike in 2013 when it found scant signs of methane on the Red Planet. On Earth, most of this gas is produced by living things, and a healthy dose of this …

Rain could jeopardize Calif. water conservation

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

SAN FRANCISCO — After California’s driest three years on record, there have been few sounds as disturbing to water conservationists as the whisk-whisk-whisk of automatic lawn sprinklers kicking on directly behind TV reporters covering some of the state’s …

Newtown victims’ families sue gun maker

Monday, December 15, 2014

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — The families of nine people killed in the Newtown school massacre filed a lawsuit against the maker and sellers of the Bushmaster AR-15 rifle used in the shooting, saying the gun should not have …

Police hunt Iraq war vet after 6 shot dead in Pa.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Officials in a Philadelphia suburb have yet to capture an Iraq war veteran they say carried out a shooting rampage early Monday that left six of his estranged family members dead, including his ex-wife and her 14-year-old niece. …

Poll: Majority of Americans say CIA interrogation methods justified

Monday, December 15, 2014

WASHINGTON — Just over half of Americans say they believe the interrogation methods the CIA used against terrorism suspects in the years after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks were justified, polling data released Monday showed. About 30 percent said they believed the tactics were unjustified, and the remaining …

Sydney cafe siege ends; gunman, 2 others dead

Monday, December 15, 2014

SYDNEY — The deadly siege began in the most incongruous of ways, on a sunny Monday morning inside a cheerful cafe in the heart of Australia’s largest city. An Iranian-born gunman burst in, took 17 people hostage, and …

GOP says Cruz gave Democrats special gift

Monday, December 15, 2014

WASHINGTON — Unhappy Republicans say Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas has given President Barack Obama a present this holiday season — a gift certificate good for confirmation of 12 judicial appointments, not long after the voters had delivered the Democrats a lump of coal in midterm elections. Cruz, …

Zoo death cuts northern white rhino numbers to 5

Monday, December 15, 2014

With the death at San Diego Zoo Safari Park of a northern white rhino, the species is five animals away from extinction. The death of Angalifu, a 44-year-old male northern white rhino, leaves an elderly female at the …