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US government proposes new rules for hog slaughter

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Federal government regulators proposed changes Friday in the way most hogs slaughtered for meat in the United States are processed in a series of new rules that officials say improve industry practices but critics say could imperil food safety. The new rules would allow hog slaughter plants to voluntarily join a new proposed inspection system ... Read More »

Turkey says no turning back from offensive in Syria

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — Turkey’s defense minister said Friday there is no turning back from his country’s decision to launch a ground assault on a Syrian Kurdish-controlled enclave in northwest Syria, saying the offensive had “de facto” started with the sporadic Turkish military shelling of the area. Nurettin Canikli told Turkey’s A Haber television in an interview that the Syrian ... Read More »

Israel to name Jordan envoy after settling spat: report

JERUSALEM (AP) — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says he will soon decide on Israel’s new ambassador to Jordan a day after the two countries agreed to put a monthslong diplomatic spat behind them. Israel media reported Netanyahu as saying Israel had expressed remorse over a shooting at its Amman embassy last summer that killed two Jordanians. Israel’s ambassador returned to ... Read More »

Anti-smoking plan may kill cigarettes–and save Big Tobacco

WASHINGTON (AP) — Imagine if cigarettes were no longer addictive and smoking itself became almost obsolete; only a tiny segment of Americans still lit up. That’s the goal of an unprecedented anti-smoking plan being carefully fashioned by U.S. health officials. But the proposal from the Food and Drug Administration could have another unexpected effect: opening the door for companies to ... Read More »

Baltimore police leader fired after record year in homicides

Kevin Davis, Catherine Pugh

BALTIMORE (AP) — Following a record year in per-capita homicides, Baltimore’s mayor on Friday fired the city’s police commissioner after roughly 2 ½ years at the helm, saying a change in leadership was needed to reduce violent crime more quickly. Mayor Catherine Pugh announced that Deputy Commissioner Darryl DeSousa, who has steadily risen through the ranks during a 30-year career ... Read More »

6.3-magnitude earthquake shakes Mexico’s Gulf of California

MEXICO CITY (AP) — A 6.3-magnitude earthquake struck offshore in Mexico’s Gulf of California on Friday morning, but there were no immediate reports of damage. The U.S. Geological Survey said the quake was centered about 48 miles (78 kilometers) north-northeast of Loreto, in the waters between the states of Baja California Sur and Sonora. The USGS reported that it struck ... Read More »

IOC: More initiatives coming to promote Korean unity

LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) — Olympics organizers on Friday welcomed an agreement between North and South Korea to unite athletes at the upcoming Winter Games in Pyeongchang, and promised that “much more exciting initiatives” promoting Korean unity will emerge this weekend. “Watch this space,” International Olympic Committee presidential spokesman Mark Adams told The Associated Press in an interview, a day before ... Read More »

Russia loses handball medal after 3 players fail drug tests

VIENNA (AP) — Russia has been stripped of a European handball medal after three players were banned for doping. The European Handball Federation says the three all tested positive while playing for Russia at last year’s European women’s under-19 championship in Slovenia, where Russia won silver. The EHF sentenced Antonina Skorobogatchenko, Maria Duvakina and Maria Dudina to 20-month bans after ... Read More »

US weighs designating embassy in Jerusalem as early as 2019

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Trump administration is considering a plan to move the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem as early as next year, rather than waiting for several years. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has said previously that planning is under way for a new facility in Jerusalem that will take at least three years. In the meantime, three ... Read More »