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NEW YORK — President Donald Trump offered a simple defense Thursday to accusations he broke campaign finance law by directing attorney Michael Cohen to orchestrate hush-money payments to conceal Trump’s alleged affairs: He was following terrible advice from a bad lawyer.

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BAMAKO, Mali — Suspected jihadists on motorcycles have killed at least 42 people during a series of attacks on Tuareg nomadic camps in Mali, local leaders said Thursday.

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NEW YORK — A wave of bomb threats emailed Thursday to hundreds of schools, businesses and government buildings across the U.S. triggered searches, evacuations and fear — but there were no signs of explosives, and authorities said the scare appeared to be a crude extortion attempt.

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TORONTO (AP) — First U.S. President Donald Trump attacked Canada on trade. Then Saudi Arabia punished it for speaking up for human rights. Now China has the country in its cross-hairs, detaining two Canadians in apparent retaliation for the arrest of a top Chinese tech executive on behalf of…

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LANCASTER — An­tel­ope Valley Union High School District three new board members — Amanda Parrell, Victoria Ruffin, and John Rush — took the oath of office Wednesday evening before a standing-room-only boardroom.

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PALMDALE — The City Council on Tues­day unanimously ap­point­ed Palmdale Water Dis­trict Director Kathy Mac Laren to be the city’s second al­ter­nate rep­re­sen­tative to the Antelope Valley Transit Authority board.

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LANCASTER — Santa Claus ar­rived in the Antelope Valley a little ear­lier than usual this year, bringing thous­ands of unwrapped toys, cloth­ing and gift items to several local or­gan­izations who provide services to kids in need.

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NEW YORK — Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump’s one-time fixer, was sentenced Wednesday to three years in prison for crimes that included arranging the payment of hush money to conceal his boss’ alleged sexual affairs, telling a judge that he agreed time and again to cover up Trump’s “dir…

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LANCASTER — Amargosa Creek Middle School Principal Richelle Pulos hung around the school’s quad area during lunch Wednesday afternoon as part of a fundraiser for the school’s Parent Teacher Organization.

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MIAMI (AP) — American diplomats affected by mysterious health incidents in Cuba showed damage in the inner ear shortly after they complained of weird noises and sensations, according to their earliest medical exams, publicized Wednesday.

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SAN ANTONIO (AP) — Former Obama housing chief Julian Castro says he’s taking a step toward a possible White House campaign in 2020 by forming a presidential exploratory committee. The Texas Democrat tells The Associated Press that he will announce a decision Jan. 12.

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RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — A man opened fire in a cathedral in southern Brazil after Mass on Tuesday, killing four people and wounding four more before taking a bullet in the ribs in a firefight with police and then shooting himself in the head, authorities said.

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A 16-year-old pleaded guilty Wednesday to two charges of murder for fatally shooting his father in their home and a 6-year-old boy at the South Carolina elementary school he once attended.

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KATOWICE, Poland — The United Nations secretary-general called on countries to make compromises in tackling global warming, amid concern that the U.N. conference on the issue could end without a substantial agreement.

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STRASBOURG, France — Hundreds of security forces combed eastern France for a 29-year-old man with a long criminal record who shouted “God is great!” in Arabic and sprayed gunfire during a deadly rampage in Strasbourg’s famous Christmas market, officials said.

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WASHINGTON — Cabinet chiefs and GOP lawmakers celebrated alongside farm and business leaders Tuesday as the Trump administration made good on one of its biggest promised environmental rollbacks, proposing to lift federal protections for thousands of waterways and wetlands nationwide.

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NEW YORK (AP) — The nation’s top border security official told skeptical senators Tuesday that the use of tear gas on a group of migrants that included children was justified to manage a chaotic clash where a crowd was hurling rocks at agents and trying to illegally cross into the U.S.

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PARIS — A shooting in the French city of Strasbourg killed four people and wounded 11 others near a world-famous Christmas market Tuesday, sparking a broad lockdown and a search for the suspected gunman, who remained at large.

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LANCASTER — Antelope Valley Schools Transportation Agency looks to get its first electric buses.

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LANCASTER — The City Council will consider a proposal tonight to spend up to $100,000 to hire a consulting firm to develop options for a proposed Hy­brid Law Enforcement Model to work in con­junc­tion with the Los An­gel­es County Sheriff’s De­part­ment.

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BAGHDAD — Iraq began removing cement walls from areas surrounding the capital’s most fortified enclave Monday, opening parts of the so-called Green Zone to traffic in a symbolic move coinciding with nationwide celebrations marking the anniversary of the country’s costly victory over the Isla…

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WACO, Texas — A Texas judge on Monday accepted a plea bargain allowing a former Baylor University fraternity president accused of rape to avoid serving jail time, marking at least the third time the judge has approved probation or little jail time for men accused of sexually assaulting Baylo…

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LANCASTER — University of Antelope Valley students, faculty and staff came together on Saturday afternoon to give back to the Antelope Valley community with the Marco and Sandra Johnson Foundation’s 12th annual Caring for the Community event.

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ACTON — The city of Santa Clarita is in the middle of its transportation de­vel­opment plan and is seek­ing public input to iden­tify transportation needs at specific locations.

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PALMDALE — The City Council tonight will consider whether the city may want to take part in a community choice ag­gre­gation program which may give it the ability to provide electricity to residents at lower rates by negotiating power purchases directly with energy producers, instead of Sout…

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SAN DIEGO — The number of people ex­press­ing fear of returning to their home countries when stopped at the U.S. bor­der with Mexico has spiked, according to figures re­leased Monday by U.S. Cus­toms and Border Pro­tection.

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SAN DIEGO — U.S. Border Patrol agents ar­rested 32 people at a dem­onstration Monday that was organized by a Quaker group on the bor­­der with Mex­ico, auth­orities said. Dem­on­strators were call­ing for an end to de­tain­ing and de­port­ing immigrants and show­ing support for mi­grants in …

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MOJAVE — The Mojave Air and Space Port received a clean audit of its 2017-2018 financial state­ments, showing no recommendations for chan­ges or improvements to its record keeping.

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WASHINGTON — Top House Democrats on Sunday raised the prospect of impeachment or almost-certain prison time for President Donald Trump if it’s proved that he directed illegal hush-money payments to women, adding to the legal pressure on the president over the Russia investigation and other s…

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TOPEKA, Kan. — Kansas’ new Democratic governor promised not to raise taxes to meet her goals of boosting spending on public schools and social services. Republicans who control the Legislature argue that a tax increase is coming even if state politicians do nothing.

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HELSINKI (AP) — A Swedish think tank said Monday that Russia has emerged as the world’s second-largest arms producer after the United States. Russia surpassed Britain, which had held that spot since 2002 and remains Western Europe’s No. 1 arms maker.

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LAS VEGAS — With drought entering a second decade and reservoirs continuing to shrink, seven Southwestern U.S. states that depend on the overtaxed Colorado River for crop irrigation and drinking water had been expected to ink a crucial share-the-pain contingency plan by the end of 2018.

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LANCASTER — The Antelope Valley Transit Authority launched a new website this week, an update of www.AVTA.com, with a bright new look and a focus on making it easier for passengers to get the information they need.

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PALMDALE — “Pre­cious memories reveal the beauty of love as lives are shared together.”

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LANCASTER — Area res­idents are invited to pro­vide their input as to where new voting centers should be placed in the An­tel­ope Valley to make voting more convenient and accessible beginning in 2020.

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CORONA (AP) — Dozens of people bearing flow­ers or stuffed animals at­tend­ed a funeral for a newborn girl found dead last summer along a South­ern California high­way.

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PALMDALE — The Antelope Valley Watermaster, the body tasked with overseeing the 2015 court settlement that set limits on groundwater pumping for users across the Valley, will look to reduce administrative costs in the coming year by shifting some of the work to staff from the con­tract­ed wa…

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The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors will conduct a public hear­ing for the proposed Cen­ten­nial master-planned com­munity on the 150-year-old Tejon Ranch at Tuesday’s meeting.

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Around this time of year, many taxpayers begin the annual ritual of pondering The Big Question: Do I take the standard deduction or spend time hunting for receipts and filling out extra forms to itemize? The decision largely boils down to whether itemizing will reduce your taxable income mor…

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PALMDALE — Christ­mas carols, candy canes and classic cars weren’t the only things that made this year’s Palmdale Cham­ber of Commerce Wil­liam J. “Pete” Knight Christmas Parade super.