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Suddenly, White House and NRA open to (a little) gun control

October 6, 2017

WASHINGTON (AP) — The National Rifle Association joined the Trump administration and top congressional Republicans Thursday in a swift and surprising embrace of a restriction on Americans’ guns, though a narrow one: to regulate the “bump stock” devices the Las Vegas shooter apparently used to horrifically lethal effect.

The devices, originally intended to help people with disabilities, fit over the stock and grip of a semi-automatic rifle and allow the weapon to fire continuously, some 400 to 800 rounds in a single minute.…

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US hiring falls 33,000 after hurricanes slam Texas, Florida

October 6, 2017

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. lost 33,000 jobs in September after Hurricanes Harvey and Irma hit Texas, Florida and other Southeastern states. It was the first decline in six years.

The Labor Department says the unemployment rate fell to 4.2 percent from 4.4 percent, the lowest level since February 2001.

Looking past the hurricanes’ impact, the job market and economy generally look healthy.…

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House passes GOP budget in key step for upcoming tax debate

October 5, 2017

WASHINGTON (AP) — The House on Thursday passed a $4.1 trillion budget plan that promises deep cuts to social programs while paving the way for a GOP drive to rewrite the tax code later this year.

The 2018 House GOP budget reprises a controversial plan to turn Medicare into a voucher-like program for future retirees as well as the party’s efforts to repeal the “Obamacare” health law.…

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Texas’ 2011 cuts to schools still being felt, reports finds

October 5, 2017

AUSTIN (AP) — The Legislature’s $5-plus billion in 2011 cuts to public education mean that Texas’ classroom funding still lags behind its pre-Great Recession levels due to booming enrollment growth — with low-income students hit hardest.

That’s the conclusion of a report released Thursday by University of Texas professor Michael Marder and Chandra Villanueva, of the left-leaning Center for Public Policy Priorities.…

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NKorean workers prep seafood going to US stores, restaurants

October 5, 2017

HUNCHUN, China (AP) — The workers wake up each morning on metal bunk beds in fluorescent-lit Chinese dormitories, North Koreans outsourced by their government to process seafood that ends up in American stores and homes.

Privacy is forbidden. They cannot leave their compounds without permission. They must take the few steps to the factories in pairs or groups, with North Korean minders ensuring no one strays.…

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House GOP eyes budget passage that is key to tax debate

October 5, 2017

WASHINGTON (AP) — Republicans are focused on cutting taxes instead of deficits as they look to power a $4.1 billion budget plan through the House on Thursday.

The 2018 House GOP budget promises deep cuts to social programs and Cabinet agency budgets but its chief purpose is to set the stage for action later this year on a comprehensive Republican overhaul of the U.S.…

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Clues few and elusive for motive of Las Vegas gunman

October 5, 2017

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Those seeking to know the motive of Las Vegas gunman Stephen Paddock have had little more to chase than hints and shadows.

Paddock led such a low-key, private life that no one seemed to know him well, and those who did had no sense he was capable of the deadliest mass shooting in modern American history.…

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Almost 400,000 Texans’ insurance at risk after Congress fails to renew CHIP

October 3, 2017

Insurance coverage for more than 390,000 Texas children and pregnant women is in jeopardy after Congress failed to renew authorization for a federal program.

Congressional authorization for the Children’s Health Insurance Program, which provides low-cost health insurance for children from low- and middle-income families, expires Sept. 30.

Without federal funding, Texas has enough money for CHIP to last until February 2018, according to estimates by the Texas Health and Human Services Commission.…

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Harvey knocked out dozens of Texas water, sewer systems

October 3, 2017

DALLAS (AP) — State and federal environmental agencies report Harvey knocked out five drinking-water systems and seven sewage systems in the 58 Texas counties covered by Gov. Greg Abbott’s disaster declaration.

In a joint statement issued Monday, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality also reported that 38 other drinking-water systems are under boil-water notices.…

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Acts of Heroism Emerge in Wake of Las Vegas Shooting

October 3, 2017

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Rob Ledbetter’s battlefield instincts kicked in quickly as bullets rained overhead.

The 42-year-old U.S. Army veteran who served as a sniper in Iraq immediately began tending to the wounded, one of several heroes to emerge from the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history. Amid the massacre in Las Vegas, which left 59 people dead and more than 500 injured, there were acts of compassion and countless heroics that officials say saved scores of lives.…

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