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Nation and World

WASHINGTON – The U.S.-Russian deal to seize Syria’s chemical weapons is likely to keep Syrian President Bashar Assad in office for at least many months to come in a major setback for Syrian opposition figures who now face the prospect of negotiating with what they fear will be an emboldened regime with its superior military intact.The Obama administration hailed Saturday’s…

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WASHINGTON – President Obama couldn’t get Democrats to go along on Syria. House Speaker John A. Boehner couldn’t get fellow Republicans to go along on a budget bill.The one man who has proven he can cut deals with the White House, Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, is consumed with a tough re-election bid.It’s enough to have Americans asking: Who’s runni…

Nation and World

WASHINGTON – They pulled all-nighters. They worked weekends. The young advertising copywriters at the Draftfcb advertising agency in California had landed a big account, but it wasn’t a car company or fast-food chain. It was the federal government.Smokey Bear, a character in some of the government’s most iconic public service ads, needed a makeover, a reinvention, maybe a …

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WASHINGTON – Two worlds of Hillary Rodham Clinton intersected this past week. Together they underscored not only why the former secretary of state is seen as perhaps the dominant unelected politician in the country today, but also the concerns among some of her Democratic supporters as she considers a return to the political arena in 2016.As President Obama and Clinton’s s…

WASHINGTON – Trader Joe’s Co., the closely held grocery store chain, will end health benefits for part-time workers next year, directing them instead to new insurance marketplaces as companies revamp medical coverage to fit the U.S. Affordable Care Act.Employees with fewer than 30 hours a week will no longer be given health coverage as of Jan. 1, and will receive $500 to h…

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BERLIN – Peer Steinbrueck, the Social Democrat trying to unseat Angela Merkel as German chancellor, drew controversy by striking a vulgar pose in the cover photo of a popular magazine, deriding his critics nine days before voters go the ballot box.The SPD candidate, who trails Merkel by more than 10 points in election polls, is shown on the front page of Sueddeutsche Zeitu…

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MIAMI – All the superlatives apply to the marine salvage operation about to unfold off the Italian island of Giglio: largest, most expensive, most complicated. And first of its kind.In an unprecedented feat of engineering that could make history or fail catastrophically, teams will begin Monday morning to hoist the wrecked Costa Concordia, which has been resting on its sid…

WASHINGTON – Here are the votes of Western New York’s three members of the House of Representatives and the state’s two U.S. senators on recent major legislation in Congress. A “Y” means the member voted for the measure; an “N” means the member voted against the measure; an “A” means the member did not vote. HouseFOREIGN INVESTMENT IN THE U.S.: The House has passed the Glo…

MOSCOW (AP) – A pre-dawn fire swept through a Russian psychiatric hospital Friday, killing 37 people, officials said.The fire in the one-story hospital in the village of Luka, about 280 miles northwest of Moscow, erupted around 3 a.m. and quickly engulfed the structure, the Emergency Situations Ministry said.State Rossiya 24 television reported that a witness said a smokin…

LOS ANGELES – Let’s face it: The Nobel Prizes aren’t for everyone. That’s why there are the Ig Nobel Prizes, which were handed out Thursday night at Harvard’s Sanders Theater.Among this year’s winners were scientists who discovered that alcohol makes people think they’re attractive.These awards are handed out by the folks who publish the Annals of Improbable Research. Thou…

NEW DELHI – Four men were sentenced Friday to death by hanging for the brutal gang-rape and murder of a New Delhi student on a bus last December, a crime that roiled India and drew international attention to the problem of sexual violence in India.Saket District Court Judge Yogesh Khanna said in the short sentencing Friday afternoon that the court “cannot turn a blind eye”…

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GENEVA – U.S.-Russian talks over eliminating Syria’s chemical weapons began here Thursday on a wary and stilted note, as Secretary of State John F. Kerry said U.S. military forces remained poised to attack Syria if a credible agreement is not rapidly reached and implemented.Syrian President Bashar al-Assad added to the tension by saying that he is willing to cede control o…

WASHINGTON – Documented close calls between aircraft in U.S. skies shot upward last year as the government switched on more automatic monitors to track the incidents, a new report says.Cases in which aircraft came closer together than U.S. Federal Aviation Administration rules allow rose to 4,394 in the year ending Sept. 30, 2012, from 1,895 the previous year, according to…

MOSCOW – Russian President Vladimir V. Putin has won a reprieve from U.S. missile attacks for his ally Bashar al-Assad. Now he has to show he can bring Assad to heel.While the United States has guardedly endorsed Putin’s proposal to have Syria cede its entire cache of chemical-weapons, the Russian leader now needs to prove skeptics wrong and persuade Assad to fully comply,…

WASHINGTON – The CIA has begun delivering weapons to rebels in Syria, ending months of delay in lethal aid that had been promised by the Obama administration, according to U.S. officials and Syrian figures. The shipments began streaming into the country over the last two weeks, along with separate deliveries by the State Department of vehicles and other gear – a flow of ma…