Erin Moran, Joanie Cunningham in “Happy Days,” dies at 56

NEW YORK — Erin Moran, the former child star who played Joanie Cunningham in the sitcoms “Happy Days” and “Joanie Loves Chachi,” has died. Police in Harrison County, Indiana, said that she had been found unresponsive Saturday after authorities received a 911 call. She was 56, and the cause of death has not been determined. Moran had endured numerous struggles in recent years. Moran was already a veteran actress when in 1974 she was cast in “Happy Days” as Joanie, the kid sister to Ron Howard’s Richie Cunningham in the sitcom set in the 1950s. She would later appear with Scott Baio in the “Happy Days” spinoff “Joanie Loves Chachi.”… Read More

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At least 140 dead after Taliban attack on a key Afghan army base, officials say

By Sayed Salahuddin and Pamela Constable, (c) 2017, The Washington Post KABUL, Afghanistan — The nerve center of Afghan and NATO combat activities in northern Afghanistan is a sprawling military base in Balkh province. There, thousands of Afghan National Army troops live and train, regional deployments and attacks are planned, and U.S.-supplied helicopters and fighter planes are launched to support Afghan troops battling the Taliban. On Friday, in a stunning blow to the Western-backed war effort, the base on a sun-baked plain near the city of Mazar-e Sharif became the target of the deadliest single attack by Taliban insurgents since their regime in Kabul was overthrown in 2001. A spokesman… Read More

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Trump awards Purple Heart at Walter Reed military hospital

BETHESDA, Md. — President Donald Trump on Saturday awarded a Purple Heart to an Army sergeant recently wounded in Afghanistan, the first of many Trump likely will award during his service as commander in chief of the U.S. military. “When I heard about this and I wanted to do it myself,” Trump said during a brief ceremony at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, outside Washington. The medal went to Sgt. 1st Class Alvaro Barrientos, who was wounded March 17 in Afghanistan during America’s longest war. The White House did not release Barrientos’ hometown. It was Trump’s first visit as president to the military hospital. His wife,… Read More

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Chronic pain patients say opioid law creates new crisis

AUGUSTA, Maine — Jane Avery says the pain from her psoriatic arthritis is the worst at 2 a.m. when she can’t sleep and already has met her daily limit on painkillers. Her daily dosage of the drugs was cut in half about six months ago. Avery, 81, says she and other chronic pain patients are suffering as Maine rolls out the nation’s strictest law targeting opioid prescriptions. By July, Maine doctors will not be allowed to prescribe more than 100 milligrams of opioid medication per day to most of their patients. State health officials say the law has exceptions that can help the estimated 16,000 Mainers who get high daily… Read More

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Pope comforts sister of French priest slain by extremists

ROME — Pope Francis on Saturday comforted the sister of an elderly French priest who was slain by Islamic militants in a church in Normandy as the pontiff paid tribute with a special prayer service to the courage of 20th- and 21st- century Christian martyrs. Francis gripped the hands of Roselyne Hamel, whose brother, Rev. Jacques Hamel, 85, died when his throat was slit as he celebrated Mass on July 26, 2016. He quietly spoke with her during the evening service in St. Bartholomew Basilica on Tiberina Island in Rome. He had just heard her tell fellow faithful in the church that her brother was killed by “two youths radicalized… Read More

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Ryan: Russian election meddling probe will help US allies

TALLINN, Estonia — One of the reasons the U.S. Congress has launched an investigation into Russia’s alleged meddling in the 2016 U.S. election is to “prevent the same kind of thing happening” to its NATO and other allies, U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan said Saturday. Ryan spoke at a news conference with Estonian Prime Minister Juri Ratas in Tallinn, the Estonian capital, during a visit by a bipartisan congressional delegation to the Baltic NATO member and staunch Washington ally. While the Republican speaker claimed that Russia’s alleged meddling didn’t affect the outcome of the election — won by U.S. President Donald Trump — he said its actions “cannot be tolerated.”… Read More

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Icelandic language at risk; robots, computers can’t grasp it

REYKJAVIK, Iceland — When an Icelander arrives at an office building and sees “Solarfri” posted, they need no further explanation for the empty premises: The word means “when staff get an unexpected afternoon off to enjoy good weather.” The people of this rugged North Atlantic island settled by Norsemen some 1,100 years ago have a unique dialect of Old Norse that has adapted to life at the edge of the Artic. Hundslappadrifa, for example, means “heavy snowfall with large flakes occurring in calm wind.” But the revered Icelandic language, seen by many as a source of identity and pride, is being undermined by the widespread use of English, both for… Read More

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France’s overseas territories kick off key presidential vote

PARIS — Polling stations opened Saturday in France’s far-flung overseas territories — one day earlier than on the mainland — for the country’s unpredictable presidential election as the 11 candidates in the race observed a ban on campaigning. France’s 10 percent unemployment and the country’s lackluster economy top voters’ concerns as first-round ballots are cast this weekend in the most nail-biting French election in generations. Opinion polls showed a tight race among the four top contenders vying to get the May presidential 7 runoff that will decide who becomes the next head of state. But the polls also showed that the future of France was largely in the hands of… Read More

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Afghan officials: 100 casualties in Afghanistan attack

KABUL, Afghanistan — Authorities on Saturday raised the casualty toll to 100 in an attack on a military compound in northern Afghanistan a day earlier by gunmen and suicide bombers wearing army uniforms. Gen. Daulat Waziri, spokesman for the Afghanistan Ministry of Defense, said the attack Friday on a compound of the 209th Corps of the Afghan National Army left dozens of soldiers and other personnel dead or wounded. Reports conflicted on the death toll, but at least two sources within the army corps and a provincial security official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak with the media, confirmed that more than 130… Read More

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Scientists leave labs, take to streets to defend research

WASHINGTON — Scientists worldwide left their labs to take to the streets Saturday along with students and research advocates in pushing back against what they say are mounting attacks on science. The March for Science, coinciding with Earth Day, was set for more than 500 cities, anchored in Washington and to be joined by dozens of nonpartisan scientific professional societies in a turnout intended to combine political and how-to science demonstrations. Marchers in Geneva carried signs that said, “Science — A Candle in the Dark” and “Science is the Answer.” In Berlin, several thousand people participated in a march from the one of the city’s universities to the Brandenburg Gate… Read More

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