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  • (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

    Stopgap spending bill to be unveiled as Congress finishes up

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Congress is quickening its pace toward adjourning late this week, marching toward a final vote on legislation boosting medical research and speeding drug approvals and readying a separate stopgap spending bill to prevent the government from shutting down this weekend. The temporary budget bill, scheduled to be unveiled Tuesday, would keep federal agencies functioning into next spring, giving the new Congress and the incoming Trump administration time to approve more than $1 trillion to fund federal agencies […]

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    Mental health care in Alabama prisons goes on trial

    MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) _ A class-action lawsuit that accuses Alabama of failing to provide adequate mental health care to state inmates is heading to trial. The non-jury trial begins Monday before U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson. A group of inmates filed the lawsuit in 2014 against the Alabama Department of Corrections. Attorneys for mentally ill inmates say mental health care is so lacking that it violates the constitutional ban on cruel and unusual punishment. They argue ill inmates are often […]

  • (Photo by Jonathan Alcorn/Getty Images)

    5 more victims’ names released in Gatlinburg wildfires

    GATLINBURG, Tenn. (AP) _ Emergency officials have released the names of five more victims in the wildfires that ravaged the city of Gatlinburg, Tennessee. A news release on the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency’s website says they are among 13 people who died last week. The statement released Saturday night says they include 34-year-old Constance Reed and her daughters, 12-year-old Chloe Reed and 9-year-old Lily Reed. Media outlets report Reed and her daughters were trying to escape the wildfires near their […]

  • Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl

    Bergdahl seeks Presidential pardon from Obama

    WASHINGTON (AP) _ A former prisoner of war accused of endangering his U.S. comrades by walking off his post in Afghanistan is asking President Barack Obama to pardon him before leaving office. White House and Justice Department officials say U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl submitted the clemency request. If granted, it would allow Bergdahl to avert a court-martial trial scheduled for April. He faces charges carrying a maximum penalty of life in prison. Bergdahl walked off his post in Afghanistan […]

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    The Latest: Suspect in fatal shooting of Tacoma officer dead

    SEATTLE (AP) — The Latest on the fatal shooting of a Tacoma, Washington, police officer who was answering a domestic violence call (all times local): 4:30 a.m. Authorities say the suspect in the fatal shooting of a Tacoma, Washington, police officer has been shot and killed by officers after a lengthy barricade situation. Pierce County Sheriff’s Department spokesman Ed Troyer says the suspect was shot at approximately 3:30 a.m. Thursday, ending an 11-hour standoff. The suspect has not been identified. […]

  • gatlinburg-fire-update

    3 more bodies found in Tennessee wildfire ruins; toll at 7

    GATLINBURG, Tenn. (AP) — Three more bodies were found in the ruins of wildfires that torched hundreds of homes and businesses in the Great Smoky Mountains area, raising the death toll to seven, a Tennessee mayor said Wednesday.Search-and-rescue missions continued, and Sevier County Mayor Larry Waters said they had found three people who had been trapped since the fires started spreading wildly in high winds on Monday night. The mayor said the three were OK. “That is some good, positive […]

  • James Halsell Jr. mug

    Former astronaut pleads not guilty in deadly wreck, blames other driver

    TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – A former space shuttle commander has pleaded not guilty in a fatal wreck that killed two girls in Alabama. Court records show 60-year-old James Halsell Jr. entered the written plea last week. The former astronaut is charged with reckless murder in a crash that killed two girls riding in a car near Tuscaloosa, Alabama, in June. Authorities say they suspect alcohol was a factor. But Halsell’s lawyers filed a document in a civil lawsuit blaming the other […]

  • Gatlinburg wildfires / courtesy of Cassie Burgess

    4th person dies in East Tennessee wildfires, TBI establishes hotline for missing person reports

    GATLINBURG, Tenn. – A Tennessee mayor is confirming another fatality in the wildfires that swept through the Great Smoky Mountains, raising the death toll to four. Sevier County Mayor Larry Waters also said Wednesday that nearly four dozen people had been injured in the fires. The wildfires destroyed more than 150 buildings. Heavy rain fell early Wednesday, which is helping put out some of the wildfires, but officials say more than 200 firefighters are still out battling flames and hotspots. Tennessee […]

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    The government’s plan to keep drivers’ eyes on the road

    DETROIT — The government wants smartphone makers to lock out most apps when the phone is being used by someone driving a car. The voluntary guidelines unveiled Wednesday are designed to reduce crashes caused by drivers distracted by phones. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration also wants automakers to make infotainment systems easy to pair with smartphones. Drivers could still make calls but the phones and automaker systems would lock out the ability to enter text. Internet browsing, video not […]

  • (Photo: Great Smoky Mountains National Park/Facebook)

    Fires force evacuations in Gatlinburg, TN; 100 homes affected in blaze

    (CNN) — Fanned by strong winds and the Southeast’s worst drought in nearly a decade, at least 14 fires burned in and around Gatlinburg, Tennessee, forcing evacuations from the popular tourist gateway and nearby communities. “If you’re a person of prayer, we could use your prayers,” said Gatlinburg Fire Chief Greg Miller said Monday evening as crews battled wind gusts of up to 70 mph. Troopers walked into areas of Gatlinburg, Tn that were surrounded by fire to remove those […]

  • Power Ball lottery

    Powerball Jackpot ticket worth $420.9M sold in Tennessee

    NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) _ The Tennessee Lottery says one Powerball ticket sold in the community of Lafayette has matched all six numbers from the latest drawing to win an estimated $420.9 million jackpot. The Lottery says in a news release that the ticket was sold for Saturday’s drawing. The ticketholder didn’t immediately claim the prize Sunday and has 180 days to do so. Powerball officials say it was the only ticket to match all six numbers, which were 17-19-21-37-44 and […]

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    Former Alabama Governor could be out on early release

    MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) _ Former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman could be released from prison as early as February, but is still hoping for a pardon from outgoing President Barack Obama. In a Thanksgiving message to supporters, Siegelman thanked people who supported him during his incarceration. The former governor said his earliest possible release date is Feb. 8. Siegelman said his hope for a presidential pardon will end when Obama leaves office. The 70-year-old ex-governor is serving a 6 year sentence […]