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Floods continue to threaten IL and MO ... Authorities wait for return of TX teen ... Drought weary CA expects good news today

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ST. LOUIS (AP) — Swollen rivers and streams in Illinois and Missouri have been pushed to virtually unheard-of heights as federal officials keep an eye on the rising Mississippi River. Authorities are warning residents that hundreds of homes in both states are at risk because of a rare winter flood that already has forced the partial closure of interstate highways. At least 18 deaths in Illinois and Missouri are being blamed on the flooding.

GUADALAJARA, Mexico (AP) — Prosecutors in Texas are trying to get the case of 18-year-old Ethan Couch transferred to adult court, as they wait for him and his mother to return from Mexico today. Couch has been on probation after killing four people in a 2013 drunken-driving wreck. He had a December 10 appointment with his probation officer, but he and his mother fled to Mexico in November.

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — Prosecutors in Turkey say police are holding two suspected militants with the Islamic State group who were believed to be planning suicide attacks during New Year celebrations in central Ankara. The state-run Anadolu Agency says the two Turkish nationals were detained in a raid on a house in the city, in which police seized suicide vests armed with bombs.

FRESNO, Calif. (AP) — California water officials are expecting good news when they trek into the Sierra Nevada for the winter's first manual snowpack survey today. Last week an electronic measurement put the water content of the snowpack at 112 percent of normal for this time of year. And more snow has fallen since then, bringing the level on Tuesday to nearly 120 percent in the Central Sierra, which includes Lake Tahoe. Still, state water managers say it's too early to declare an end to four years of punishing drought.

LONDON (AP) — One of Prime Minister David Cameron's top advisers is publicly apologizing for racist comments he made 30 years ago. In 1985, Cabinet Office minister Oliver Letwin sent a memo to then Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, saying that rioting in mostly black inner city communities was due to "bad moral attitudes." He said white communities had lived for decades in similar conditions without rioting. Letwin says his comments, which were just made public, were "badly worded and wrong."

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