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A woman lies in the grass at Columbia University in New YorkBy Elvina Nawaguna WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The White House on Friday released a draft of its plan to rate U.S. colleges and tie federal aid to performance as a way to coax institutions to pull up their socks. The U.S. Education Department will rate institutions on their performance, intake of low-income students, completion rates, affordability, employment prospects and student loan repayment rates. ...

Police carry equipment near a road block outside a house where eight children have been found dead in the Cairns suburb of Manoora, Australia, Friday Dec. 19, 2014. Police said when they got to the house, they found the bodies of the children inside the home. The victims range in age from 18 months to 15 years.(AP Photo/Graeme Bint)SYDNEY (AP) — Eight dead children and a woman suffering from stab wounds were found inside a home in a northern Australian city on Friday, police said.

Members of the Cuban Revolutionary Army hold Cuban national flags during a march "For the Five and Against the Terrorism" in HavanaBy Daniel Trotta HAVANA (Reuters) - For decades, it was Cuba's first response to criticism. Poor economic performance? An obvious effect of a U.S. trade embargo that amounted to a blockade of the island nation by a bullying superpower. Arrests of dissidents? A legitimate act of self-defense against mercenaries working for the world's richest nation, which backed the failed Bay of Pigs invasion and plots to assassinate revolutionary leader Fidel Castro. ...

Flames engulf a seven-story downtown apartment complex under construction in Los AngelesBy Dan Whitcomb LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A construction fire that gutted an entire city block of downtown Los Angeles and caused up to $30 million in damages was an act of arson, authorities said on Thursday. Los Angeles Fire Department officials have previously said the blaze, one of the largest structure fires in the city's recent history, was likely arson but no suspects have been arrested or charged. The conflagration erupted at about 1:30 a.m. on Dec. 8 and quickly destroyed a seven-story luxury apartment complex under construction near the junction of two freeways. ...

Transportation app Uber driver Shuki Zanna waits for rides in his limousine in Beverly HillsBy Sarah McBride SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Uber argued Thursday that it should not have to turn over ride data in a California regulatory standoff that shows how the transportation service is falling afoul of officials who could threaten its expansion. The issue, which is being heard in a California administrative court and whose outcome will not be known until next year, pits Uber against the California Public Utilities Commission. ...

By Daniel Wallis (Reuters) - A Washington-based journalist has sued St. Louis County and one of its police lieutenants, saying his rights were violated when he was arrested while covering protests over the killing of an unarmed black teenager by a white police officer in Ferguson, court papers showed. Gerald Yingst, a reporter and producer with News2Share, also accuses police of defaming him by announcing his arrest on Twitter and saying he had refused a commander's order to clear the street, damaging his professional reputation. A St. ...

New death sentences, executions continued to drop in 2014, report saysThe Death Penalty Information Center says the number of executions in 2014 was the lowest it’s been in 20 years.

Tsarnaev appears in court for 1st time since 2013The scene that unfolded in a federal courtroom in Boston on Thursday was Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s first public appearance in 17 months. The surviving suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings, said just five words in the final hearing before his trial begins in January on charges that he, along with his older brother, set off two deadly bombs near the marathon finish line in April 2013.

Secret Service report: White House needs a taller fence and more, better-trained agentsAfter a prostitution scandal and consternation over how a fence-jumper at the White House got deep into the presidential mansion before he was stopped, the Secret Service needs to make sweeping changes like building a taller fence, hiring many more agents and stepping up their training, an independent commission says.

In this courtroom sketch, Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is depicted sitting in federal court in Boston Thursday, Dec. 18, 2014, for a final hearing before his trial begins in January. Tsarnaev is charged with the April 2013 attack that killed three people and injured more than 260. He could face the death penalty if convicted. (AP Photo/Jane Flavell Collins)BOSTON (AP) — Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev returned to court Thursday for the first time since he was arraigned in July 2013, and he received a shout of encouragement from the mother-in-law of a man who was shot and killed while being questioned by law enforcement after the bombings.

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Des Moines, IA

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Fri, 12/19/2014 - 00:54

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