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Nation and World

WASHINGTON – A giant panda gave birth to a cub at the Smithsonian National Zoo early Friday evening, the zoo announced in a Twitter message.Mei Xiang had been on watch when her water broke Friday afternoon, and officials said labor could go into the night. But just a short time later, the birth was announced.“WE HAVE A CUB!!” the zoo said on Twitter. “Born at 5:32 p.m. thi…

WASHINGTON – Of the pressing policy questions facing the White House this week – Syria, the National Security Agency, Egypt – it was another that administration officials feared would create the biggest buzz.“Given the reported medical benefits of marijuana, does the president believe the government should reconsider?” a CNN correspondent asked about the federally banned s…

WASHINGTON – The soldiers had passed the Washington Monument and were coming up on the midpoint of their morning jog, the U.S. Capitol. They didn’t see the Metrobus hit the man, but they heard the thud, which jolted them from the quiet rhythm of their run.Army Sgts. John Russell and Brian Williams rushed to a man lying on the National Mall this week and let their training …

Nation and World

WASHINGTON – Many parents are familiar with the trick of sneaking vegetables and other healthful stuff into their kids’ food. Turns out White House chefs were doing something similar for notorious junk-food lover Bill Clinton when they were whipping up his grub.According to Marti Mongiello, former executive chef at Camp David, he would “healthify” their traditionally butte…

BEIRUT – The Syrian opposition on Wednesday accused the government of launching a chemical weapons attack in the Damascus suburbs that killed scores of civilians as they slept and left makeshift hospitals packed with hundreds of victims convulsing and gasping for breath.Photographs and videos posted online showed the bodies of men, women and children, many appearing to be …

Nation and World

DETROIT – Thousands of stray dogs roam the streets and vacant homes of bankrupt Detroit, menacing humans who remain and overwhelming the city’s ability to find them homes – or peaceful deaths.As poverty roils the Motor City, many dogs have been left to fend for themselves, abandoned by owners who are financially stressed or unaware of proper care. Strays have killed pets, …

MILWAUKEE – For most teens starting college this fall, a chat has seldom involved talking, GM means food that’s Genetically Modified and a tablet is no longer something you take in the morning.Each August since 1998, Beloit College has rolled out its internationally known Mindset List, which reflects the world view of entering first-year students and was originally aimed a…

WASHINGTON – The U.S. military is encircling China with a chain of air bases and military ports. The latest link: a small airstrip on the tiny Pacific island of Saipan. The U.S. Air Force is planning to lease 33 acres on the island for the next 50 years to build a “divert airfield” on an old World War II air base there. But the residents don’t want it. And the Chinese are …

Nation and World

BENI MAZAR, Egypt – The fire burned all night long. It was only after desperate town residents borrowed the keys to a fire truck that they were able to quell the blaze. By then, the evangelical church was all but destroyed.It was one of more than 60 churches that have been attacked, vandalized and, in many cases, set aflame across Egypt in a surge of violence against Chris…

FORWARD OPERATING BASE ARIAN, Afghanistan – The soldiers of the Army’s 10th Mountain Division were among the first Americans to arrive in Afghanistan in 2001.Now they will be some of the last to leave.Based at Fort Drum in northern New York, they have served as many as seven combat tours each, with the accompanying traumas – pulling a friend’s body from a charred vehicle, …

SAN FRANCISCO – On Ask.fm, millions of American teens talk about their hookups, struggles to get good grades and wild weekend parties, with no parents or adults to peer over their shoulders.Some also use the social network to anonymously torment other teens.With its popularity soaring in middle schools and high schools across the United States, Ask.fm is coming under attac…

Nation and World

Oct. 11, 1925 – Aug. 20, 2013Elmore Leonard, a masterly crime novelist whose razor-sharp dialogue and indelibly realized lowlifes earned him an unusual mix of mass-market appeal and highbrow acclaim, died Tuesday at his home in Bloomfield Township, Mich. He was 87.The cause was complications from a stroke, said his researcher, Gregg Sutter.A diligent, unpretentious writer …

BEIJING – The operator of the tsunami-damaged nuclear plant at Fukushima, Japan, said Tuesday that 300 tons of highly radioactive water has leaked from one of its storage tanks, the worst of a number of similar leaks since the catastrophic 2011 earthquake and tsunami.Tokyo Electric Power Co. said that the leak, discovered Monday morning at the Fukushima Daichi nuclear powe…

Business

NEW YORK – Eastman Kodak Co., which dominated the photography industry before being hobbled by digital competition, won court approval of a plan to exit bankruptcy as a commercial printing company that sells nothing to consumers.The plan, which cuts about $4.1 billion of debt, was approved Tuesday by U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Allan L. Gropper in Manhattan. It affirms Kodak’s m…

Lifestyles

Aretha’s ‘miraculous’ recoveryAretha Franklin won’t say what caused her latest health problems but says she’s had a “miraculous” recovery and is looking forward to performing soon.“My treatments are going very well. My last CAT scan, my doctor at the CAT scan and everyone who sees this says that this is miraculous, absolutely miraculous,” Franklin said Tuesday.“I was talki…