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In rare move, feds back away from Stone sentencing proposal

WASHINGTON (AP) — A Justice Department official tells the AP that the agency is backing away from its sentencing recommendation of between seven to nine years in prison for Trump confidant Roger Stone. The official says there had been no contact with the White House over the decision, though President Donald Trump tweeted early Tuesday calling it "a very horrible and unfair situation" after the recommendation was made in a court filing Monday evening. Soon after the reversal, one of the prosecutors in the case, Aaron Zelinsky, filed a notice with the court that he had resigned from his position as a special prosecutor with the U.S. attorney's office in Washington.


Sanders, Buttigieg look for good results in New Hampshire

MANCHESTER, N.H. (AP) — Bernie Sanders is fighting for Democratic front-runner status as New Hampshire primary voters stream to the polls. As Sanders predicts victory, former Midwestern Mayor Pete Buttigieg is hoping to seize the backing of his party's establishment with a strong finish. Joe Biden just wants to avert political disaster as he leaves the state early. Party leaders are hoping the primary brings at least some clarity to a presidential nomination fight that has so far been marred by dysfunction and doubt. By night's end, New Hampshire could begin culling the Democrats' unwieldy 2020 class, which still features nearly a dozen candidates battling for the chance to take on President Donald Trump this fall.


The Latest: Warren campaign memo details rivals' weaknesses

MANCHESTER, N.H. (AP) — Elizabeth Warren’s campaign is arguing that her top rivals have flaws that will be exposed over time in the Democratic presidential primary and that their White House bids aren’t built for the long haul like hers is. A lengthy memo from Warren campaign manager Roger Lau draws the sharpest contrasts yet between the Massachusetts senator and her rivals. It suggests Bernie Sanders has a “ceiling” for support, while former Vice President Joe Biden’s campaign could soon collapse. It argues that former mayor Pete Buttigieg won’t be able to win states that are more diverse and vote later in the year.


How the Iowa caucuses 'broke down in every way possible'

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — Democratic Party leaders and activists are describing widespread missteps in planning and implementation that made the Iowa caucuses a historic disaster. In interviews, they blamed bad decisions by party officials, technology failures and poor communication for the mess that humiliated Democrats, undermined confidence in the results and threatens to end the state's tradition of going first. They said poor planning was to blame for problems with a smartphone app and phone hotline used to report results. And several officials said the Iowa Democratic Party's decision to wait nearly a full day before releasing any results was a key miscalculation.


Hill collapses, roads flooded, dam eroded by Southern rains

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — Heavy rains have collapsed a hillside, flooded roads and endangered dams across the Southeast, and forecasters say more water is on the way. The National Park Service says a 70-foot hillside collapsed near Great Smoky Mountains National park in Tennessee, and roads are flooded in Alabama and Mississippi. Swollen lakes are threatening at least two dams after rainfall totals exceeded 5 inches in places. The National Weather Service says the threat isn't over. Forecasters are predicting the possibility of isolated tornadoes and strong winds on Wednesday night in the Deep South.


Unions ask: Is it time to rethink school shooting drills?

The nation's two largest teachers unions are calling on schools to revise or eliminate active shooter drills. The American Federation of Teachers and National Education Association issued a report Tuesday with the advocacy group Everytown for Gun Safety Support. They assert that simulating a school shooting can harm the mental health of students and educators. They say schools should instead concentrate on training teachers to respond to emergencies. Jean-Paul Guilbault, the chief executive of the Alice Training Institute, which runs active shooter drills, says they are effective when done appropriately.


Virginia lawmakers approve Confederate statue removal bills

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Local Virginia governments may soon have the power to remove Confederate monuments in their public spaces. After a violent 2017 white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Republican lawmakers had rejected renewed calls for the controversial statues to be removed from public places. But the GOP recently lost full control of the General Assembly. That gave Democrats an opportunity to target the statues that critics say distastefully glorify Virginia's history as a slaveholding state. On Tuesday, both the Democrat-led House and Senate approved measures that would give cities and counties the autonomy to "remove, relocate, contextualize, cover or alter” the monuments in their public spaces.


Officials: North Dakota oil output may peak within 5 years

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — State and industry officials say North Dakota’s oil production may peak within five years as companies finish drilling the most prolific portions of the state’s oil patch. Mineral Resources Director Lynn Helms told lawmakers Tuesday that about 20% of drilling activity is now outside of the “core” areas of the state's oil producing region. The state is producing a near-record average of 1.5 million barrels of oil each day. Helms and North Dakota Petroleum Council President Ron Ness estimated production would peak at about 1.8 million barrels daily if prices hold in the next few years.


Global experts study promising drugs, vaccines for new virus

GENEVA (AP) — The World Health Organization has convened outside experts to try to speed the development of tests, treatments and vaccines against the new coronavirus out of China, as doctors on the front lines experiment on patients with various drugs in hopes of saving lives in the meantime. Experts say it could be months or even years before any approved treatments or vaccines are developed, by which time the outbreak might be over. But at least they will have weapons at their disposal if the virus strikes again.


Q&A: How coronavirus is impacting cruises and passengers

The new coronavirus is wreaking havoc on Asia's cruises. Carnival Corp.'s Diamond Princess is quarantined off Japan, where the health ministry has confirmed 135 cases of the virus on the ship. Holland America's Westerdam says no one aboard has the virus, but it has nowhere to dock after being turned away by authorities in Thailand, Japan, Taiwan and the Philippines. Norwegian Cruise Lines has canceled Asian cruises through December. The Cruise Lines International Association says only 10% of the global cruise fleet is deployed to Asia, compared to 32% for the Caribbean. But Asia is also a growing contributor of passengers. The association had expected 4.2 million cruise passengers from Asia this year.

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