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Pence pitching health care bill in Kentucky...Guatemala fire death toll rises to 38...NY may scrap literacy test for teachers

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — The chief salesman for President Donald Trump's push to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act is in Kentucky, home of a Republican senator who is critical of the emerging GOP bill. Vice President Mike Pence is making a pitch for the bill that could be voted on by the House in less than two weeks. Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul has dismissed the initial draft of the bill as "Obamacare Lite." Kentucky's Republican governor, Matt Bevin, has said he's not impressed with the plan, either.

GUATEMALA CITY (AP) — Hospital officials in Guatemala a 38th girl has died of injuries suffered in a fire at a youth shelter, where mattresses were set ablaze during a protest by residents. Nineteen adolescents perished at the scene of the Wednesday inferno and another 19 died later in hospitals. Various groups have said they plan to gather today to protest the deaths.

BEIRUT (AP) — Twin blasts near holy shrines frequented by Shiites in Damascus have killed at least 40 people. Officials say most of the dead are Iraqis. There's been no claim of responsibility. Islamic State militants have carried out similar attacks before against Shiite shrines in the Syrian capital and elsewhere.

NEW YORK (AP) — Nissan is recalling more than 54,000 cars because of curtain and seat-mounted air bags that may unexpectedly deploy when the door is slammed. Nissan North America says the recall affects the 2012 Nissan Versa vehicles. It says the problem may be caused by the degradation of the side impact sensor connector pins. The unexpected deployment of the air bags can increase the risk of injury.

NEW YORK (AP) — New York state is expected to scrap a literacy test for people trying to become teachers, in part because too many candidates fail it. Sixty-four percent of whites who took the test passed on the first try, while just 46 percent of Hispanics and 41 percent of blacks did. Backers of the test say eliminating it could put weak teachers in classrooms. Critics say the test is a poor predictor of who will succeed as a teacher.

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