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Lawyers for two friends of accused Boston bombers due in court

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BOSTON - Lawyers for two friends of the accused Boston Marathon bombers are due in court on Friday for separate hearings as the city braces for the January start of a trial focused on the attack that killed three people and injured more than 260.

White House releases snapshot of plan to rate U.S. colleges

WASHINGTON - The White House on Friday released a draft of its plan to rate U.S. colleges and tie federal aid to performance as a way to coax institutions to pull up their socks.

Politics, 12:06am EST

In North Dakota, countdown looms for $5.3 billion oil tax break

BISMARCK, N.D. - Tumbling U.S. oil markets hit an important if obscure milestone on Thursday, closing for the first time at a price that could trigger a $5.3 billion, two-year tax break for North Dakota oil drillers as soon as next summer.

U.S. green groups sue EPA over stormwater regulations

WASHINGTON - Two environmental groups have sued the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for what the groups said was failing to comply with a court order requiring the agency to strengthen regulations preventing pollution from storm water runoff.

Politics, Environment 5:46am EST

Families of victims of fatal Texas festival crash sue organizers

- Families of the victims and survivors of a fatal March crash outside the popular South by Southwest festival in Austin sued the organizers on Thursday, according to court documents and local media.

8:44am EST

Louisville lawmakers approve minimum wage hike

LOUISVILLE, Ky - Louisville, Kentucky officials on Thursday approved an increase to the city's minimum wage, boosting it from the federal rate of $7.25 to $9 an hour by 2017, becoming the 12th city to approve a hike this year.

Money, Politics, 12:00am EST

As U.S. eases hostilities, Cuba faces new challenge

HAVANA - For decades, it was Cuba's first response to criticism. | Video

World, Cuba, 18 Dec 2014

Massive Los Angeles construction fire was arson, authorities say

LOS ANGELES - A construction fire that gutted an entire city block of downtown Los Angeles and caused up to $30 million in damages was an act of arson, authorities said on Thursday.

18 Dec 2014

Washington governor pushes capital gains tax in face of budget gap

SEATTLE - Washington state Governor Jay Inslee on Thursday proposed a new tax on capital gains to try to close a projected budget shortfall of more than $2 billion, rolling back on a no-new-taxes campaign pledge.

Politics, Money 18 Dec 2014

Uber's fight of California data-sharing rule highlights its bumpy road

SAN FRANCISCO - Uber argued Thursday that it should not have to turn over ride data in a California regulatory standoff that shows how the transportation service is falling afoul of officials who could threaten its expansion.

Tech 18 Dec 2014

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