Elderly couple die in luxury Manhattan high-rise blaze

Elderly couple die in luxury Manhattan high-rise blaze

An elderly Manhattan couple died in a blaze that engulfed their luxury high-rise apartment before dawn Saturday and sent flames roaring out the windows. Investigators are looking into the possibility that cigarette smoking in bed may have caused the fire at the famed River House co-op on East 52nd Street. Fire officials say 85-year-old Mary Merow was pronounced dead at the scene. Her 89-year-old husband, John Merow, was rushed to Weill Cornell Medical Center but…

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Julian Castro, former Obama official, launches 2020 presidential bid

Julian Castro, former Obama official, launches 2020 presidential bid

Julian Castro, former mayor of San Antonio and housing chief during the Obama administration, formally announced on Saturday that he is seeking the Democratic nomination for the 2020 presidential election. “Today we’re falling backwards instead of moving forward. And the opportunities that made America, America are reaching fewer and fewer people,” he said, flanked by his wife Erica and children Carina and Cristian in San Antonio’s Plaza Guadalupe, among a crowd of a couple hundred…

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Gun seized from 6-year-old kindergartner walking into school

Gun seized from 6-year-old kindergartner walking into school

Police say a handgun was confiscated from an Ohio kindergartner walking into school after someone reported that the 6-year-old boy appeared to have a heavy object in his pants. Columbus police didn’t disclose whether the gun was loaded Friday when it was safely taken from a student at Columbus Africentric Early College. A photo shared by police showed bullets with the seized firearm. Police say the boy won’t be charged because he’s so young. They’re…

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Illinois refuses permit for concert to be hosted by R. Kelly

Illinois refuses permit for concert to be hosted by R. Kelly

Illinois officials say a concert in Springfield that was to be hosted by R. Kelly cannot take place in the wake of new sexual misconduct allegations against the R&B star. Illinois Department of Agriculture spokeswoman Denise Albert told the Chicago Tribune that the application for the Spring Break Jam in April was denied Thursday because of security concerns following protests outside Kelly’s Chicago studio this week. Kelly has been under fire since the recent airing…

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Shutdown puts strain on hundreds of Native American tribes

Shutdown puts strain on hundreds of Native American tribes

Fallout from the federal government shutdown is hurting Native Americans as dwindling funds hamper access to health care and other services. The pain is especially deep in tribal communities with high rates of poverty and unemployment, where one person often supports an extended family. The effects were being felt far and wide. In New Mexico, a lone police officer patrolled a Native American reservation larger in size than Houston on a shift that normally has…

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College athlete charged in assault of teammate at practice

College athlete charged in assault of teammate at practice

A college basketball player accused of repeatedly punching a teammate at practice, knocking out some teeth and leaving him unconscious, has been charged with misdemeanor assault in Ohio. The Akron Beacon Journal reports University of Akron redshirt sophomore center Khadim Gueye pleaded not guilty after being arrested this week for the allegedly unprovoked Dec. 16 attack witnessed by coaches and teammates. Gueye and his attorney wouldn’t comment at his arraignment Friday. Athletics director Larry Williams…

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Paul Whelan made for a convenient target for Russian intelligence: Ex-officials

Paul Whelan made for a convenient target for Russian intelligence: Ex-officials

In the days following American Paul Whelan’s arrest in Moscow on espionage charges, suggestive details began to emerge about his past. A tainted military background. A career in corporate security. Curious communications on a Russian social media platform. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Friday that “unfortunately” he could not comment on the allegations against Whelan. But ex-U.S. officials and intelligence experts maintain that Whelan’s profile has so far come to look less like a…

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Republicans grapple with executive power as Trump weighs national emergency

Republicans grapple with executive power as Trump weighs national emergency

Frustrated with congressional gridlock, the president announced the most sweeping executive action on immigration in decades, moving to protect millions of undocumented immigrants from deportation as the leader of the opposing party in Congress accused him of acting like an emperor. That battle between President Barack Obama and congressional Republicans that began in 2014 touched off years of legal battles — including a Supreme Court decision in 2016 blocking Obama’s plan — a struggle overshadowing…

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Winter storm delivering snow to Midwest with East Coast up next

Winter storm delivering snow to Midwest with East Coast up next

A major winter storm has developed in the central U.S. and is set to makes its way east Saturday, targeting more of the Midwest, the Ohio River Valley — and eventually the East Coast. The storm has already claimed at least three lives as a result of car accidents in Missouri, according to the state’s highway patrol. Also in Missouri, an American Airlines regional jet partially slid off the tarmac while taxiing off the runway…

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2 firefighters killed in Paris bakery blast; dozens injured

2 firefighters killed in Paris bakery blast; dozens injured

French authorities said two firefighters were killed and 47 people injured in a powerful explosion and fire apparently caused by a gas leak at a Paris bakery Saturday that blasted out windows and overturned cars. Firefighters pulled injured victims from windows and evacuated residents as smoke billowed over Rue de Trevise in the 9th arrondissement of north-central Paris. The Paris prosecutor’s office said that two firefighters have been killed in the bakery blast, correcting the…

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