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NH Police search for witnesses after a road rage incident involving a gun

HUDSON — Hudson police officers received a report of road rage on Lowell Road near the Sagamore Bridge Thursday afternoon.

According to police reports, a 2006 green Volkswagen Passat and a grey 2000 Chevy Pickup were the two involved in the incident.

Allegedly, a firearm was flashed during the road rage.

Hudson Police Department asked for any witnesses to the incident since it occurred during a busy afternoon commute. 

Anyone with information regarding the road rage is asked to call Officer Matthew Flynn at (603) 886-6011.


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Police: NH woman driving impaired when car hit rock wall, rolled over

WESTMORELAND — New Hampshire State Troopers and Keene firefighters responded to a single-car rollover crash on Hurricane Road in Westmoreland early Thursday morning.

The driver was identified as Brianna Worcester, 22, of Keene, who was operating a 2006 Hyundai Accent. 

Police said the car was going north on Hurricane Road when it veered off the road, hitting a rock wall and tree before rolling onto its roof.

When emergency responders first found Worcester, she appeared impaired but was transported to Cheshire Medical Center for any injuries, police said.

After an investigation, police determined Worcester was driving while impaired and arrested her for DWI.

Worcester was released on bail after being checked out medically. She will appear in Keene district court Aug. 2 for the DWI charge.

 

 


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For 1st time, over half of people with HIV taking AIDS drugs

LONDON (AP) — For the first time in the global AIDS epidemic that has spanned four decades and killed 35 million people, more than half of all those infected with HIV are on drugs to treat the virus, the United Nations said in a report released Thursday.

AIDS deaths are also now close to half of what they were in 2005, according to the U.N. AIDS agency, although those figures are based on estimates and not actual counts from countries.

Experts applauded the progress, but questioned if the billions spent in the past two decades should have brought more impressive results. The U.N. report was released in Paris where an AIDS meeting begins this weekend.

"When you think about the money that's been spent on AIDS, it could have been better," said Sophie Harman, a senior lecturer in global health politics at Queen Mary University in London.

She said more resources might have gone to strengthening health systems in poor countries.

"The real test will come in five to 10 years once the funding goes down," Harman said, warning that some countries might not be able to sustain the U.N.-funded AIDS programs on their own.

The Trump administration has proposed a 31 percent cut in contributions to the U.N. starting in October.

According to the report , about 19.5 million people with HIV were taking AIDS drugs in 2016, compared to 17.1 million the previous year.

UNAIDS also said there were about 36.7 million people with HIV in 2016, up slightly from 36.1 million the year before.

In the report's introduction, Michel Sidibe, UNAIDS' executive director, said more and more countries are starting treatment as early as possible, in line with scientific findings that the approach keeps people healthy and helps prevent new infections. Studies show that people whose virus is under control are far less likely to pass it on to an uninfected sex partner.

"Our quest to end AIDS has only just begun," he wrote.

The report notes that about three-quarters of pregnant women with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, now have access to medicines to prevent them from passing it to their babies. It also said five hard-hit African countries now provide lifelong AIDS drugs to 95 percent of pregnant and breast-feeding women with the virus.

"For more than 35 years, the world has grappled with an AIDS epidemic that has claimed an estimated 35 million lives," the report said. "Today, the United Nations General Assembly has a shared vision to consign AIDS to the history books."

The death toll from AIDS has dropped dramatically in recent years as the wide availability of affordable, life-saving drugs has made the illness a manageable disease. But Harman said that "Ending AIDS" — the report's title — was unrealistic.

"I can see why they do it, because it's bold and no one would ever disagree with the idea of ending AIDS, but I think we should be pragmatic," she said. "I don't think we will ever eliminate AIDS, so it's possible this will give people the wrong idea."


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Gun incident at NH Dunkin' Donuts ends with man's arrest on multiple charges

PORTSMOUTH — A man has been charged with having a gun illegally after a caller told police he had been acting suspicious inside a Dunkin' Donuts.

Police received a call just after 6:30 a.m. Thursday about a man inside the coffee shop at 531 Islington St. The caller described the man, later identified as Travis Cross, 34, of no fixed address, as being "out of it" and having a firearm that had been placed on a chair.

Police said officers arrived on scene within minutes and found a loaded semi-automatic handgun in Cross's waistband that had been the same weapon on the chair earlier.

Police arrested Cross for disorderly conduct and then found that he had been convicted of multiple felony level offenses and additionally charged him with felon in possession of a deadly weapon.

Shortly after taking Cross into custody, police received five reports of vehicles in the area that had been broken into and with items missing. One of those reports included a missing firearm, which officers identified as the gun found on Cross, police said. Police then charged him with receiving stolen property.

Several hours after Cross's arrest, police received a report from a resident of Barberry Lane that they heard several gunshots during the early morning hours. The incident is being investigated to determine if it is connected to the other events.

Cross was held on $25,000 cash bail. He is scheduled to be arraigned in Portsmouth district court Friday. Cross could face additional charges.

Anyone with information that may be relevant to the investigation, can call Portsmouth police at 603-427-1500.


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Hints that lifestyle changes might guard against dementia

WASHINGTON (AP) — Seek a good education. Control blood pressure and diabetes. Get off the couch. There are some hints, but no proof yet, that these and other lifestyle changes just might help stave off dementia.

A provocative report in the British journal Lancet Thursday raised the prospect that a third of dementia cases around the world could be delayed or even prevented by avoiding key risks starting in childhood that can make the brain more vulnerable to memory loss in old age.

A recent U.S. report was much more cautious, saying there are encouraging clues that a few lifestyle changes can bolster brain health and that more research is critical.

Still, it's never too early to try, said Lancet lead author Gill Livingston, a psychiatry professor at University College London.

"Although dementia is diagnosed in later life, the brain changes usually begin to develop years before," she noted.

Early next year, a $20 million U.S. study will begin rigorously testing if some simple day-to-day activities truly help older adults stay sharp.

"We are in a frustrating position science-wise in terms of what are our options?" said cognitive neuroscientist Laura Baker of Wake Forest School of Medicine in North Carolina, who will lead the new study to find out.

In the meantime, Alzheimer's specialists say there's little down side to following some common-sense recommendations.

Consider physical activity, crucial for heart health. "If in fact it should also improve the prospects for cognitive function and dementia, all the better," said Dr. Richard Hodes, director of the U.S. National Institute on Aging and an avid exerciser.

"Increased health of the body supports increased health of the brain," Baker added.

Here's the latest from this week's Alzheimer's Association International Conference on possible ways to guard your brain:

KEY RISKS

A Lancet-appointed panel created a model of dementia risks throughout life that estimates about 35 percent of all dementia cases are attributable to nine risk factors — risks that people potentially could change.

Their resulting recommendations: Ensure good childhood education; avoid high blood pressure, obesity and smoking; manage diabetes, depression and age-related hearing loss; be physically active; stay socially engaged in old age.

The theory: These factors together play a role in whether your brain is resilient enough to withstand years of silent damage that eventually leads to Alzheimer's.

DOES CHANGING THESE OR OTHER LIFESTYLE FACTORS REALLY HELP?

Last month, the U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine reported there's little rigorous proof. That report found some evidence that controlling blood pressure, exercise and some forms of brain training — keeping intellectually stimulated — might work and couldn't hurt.

Why? What's good for the heart is generally good for the brain. In fact, high blood pressure that can trigger heart attacks and strokes also increases risk for what's called "vascular dementia."

And exercising your gray matter may bulk up the brain, whether it's from childhood education or learning a new language as an adult. The more you learn, the more connections your brain forms, what scientists call cognitive reserve. Some U.S. studies have suggested that generations better educated than their grandparents have somewhat less risk of dementia.

Other factors have less scientific support. Studies show people with hearing loss are more likely to experience memory problems, and have speculated that it's because hearing loss leads to depression and social isolation — or that the brain works harder to deal with garbled sound, at the expense of other thinking skills. But so far there aren't studies proving hearing aids reverse that risk.

In fact, the strongest evidence that lifestyle changes help comes from Finland, where a large, randomized study found older adults at high risk of dementia scored better on brain tests after two years of exercise, diet, cognitive stimulation and social activities.

HUNTING PROOF

Would those strategies help Americans, who tend to be sicker, fatter and more sedentary than Scandinavians? The Alzheimer's Association is funding a study to find out, with enrollment of 2,500 cognitively healthy but high-risk older adults to begin next year.

Want to try on your own? They'll test:

—Walking — supervised, so no cheating. Wake Forest's Baker puts seniors on treadmills at the local YMCA to avoid bumpy sidewalks. She advises exercise newbies to start slow — about 10 minutes a day for a few days — and work up to longer walks, and go with a buddy so it's harder to back out.

—A diet that includes more leafy greens, vegetables, whole grains, fish and poultry than the typical American menu.

—Certain brain games and what Baker called an "intellectual stimulation barrage," outings and other steps that keep people social, not sitting home on a computer, while they exercise their brains.

—Improving control of medical conditions like high blood pressure and diabetes that are toxic to the brain.


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Gov. Sununu to cut 1,600 NH regulations identified as duplicative, burdensome, unnecessary

WINCHESTER, N.H. (AP) — Republican Gov. Chris Sununu headed to a hair salon do to some cutting, but not hair.

Sununu traveled to Cuts on Main salon in Winchester on Thursday to announce that the state will be cutting more than 1,600 regulations agencies heads have identified as duplicative, burdensome or otherwise unnecessary.

Sunnu also issued an executive order laying out a process for further review of regulations. He says too many small businesses have to fight with state government.

“Today's actions are part of my ongoing ‘Cutting Regs and Red Tape’ agenda,” Sununu said. “This is about moving to a culture where our employees, and boards and commissions feel empowered to have a mindset of ‘yes first.’ When it comes to working with state government, far too many small business owners have to fight to get to ‘yes,’ and that’s not right. We need to encourage and support common sense customer service.”


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Former NHGOP vice chair says NH post office should give Trump, Pence same respect as Obama

The former Vice Chairman of the New Hampshire Republican Party said he is upset that the Portsmouth Post Office did not replace photos of President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden with official pictures of the current administration.

Matt Mayberry works for Carlisle Capital, the parent company of NH1 News, in Portsmouth and conducts business at the post office on a regular basis.

Since the inauguration, he has been checking to see if photos of President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence are yet on display.

However, Mayberry realized they likely will never appear after post office officials put up other artwork in the spot reserved for presidential photos.

Mayberry said that Trump and Pence should get the same courtesy as past presidents.

"I am sure there are some people who won't like it. Some people may want to vandalize it, which they shouldn't, but the president is the president of the United States, and the policy has been set for the last 16 years of having the president and vice president on the wall of the Portsmouth Post Office, and that should continue. Or, take down the frames to never be put up again, regardless of who is president next time."

Steve Doherty, who is a spokesperson for the United States Postal Service, says it is against their policies to display photos of any elected officials. Doherty said that if the presidential photos were on display in Portsmouth, officials made the right decision to remove them.


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PHOTO GALLERY: Lifeguards at Hampton Beach busy as air, ocean temperatures rise

HAMPTON — After 48 rescues on Wednesday, lifeguards at Hampton Beach are being extra vigilant this week because of rip currents.

Beach Patrol Deputy Chief Pat Murphy said they were busy during the day Thursday as well.

"It's one of the most powerful things on Earth," Murphy said. "So even if you're an experienced swimmer, you still want to listen to what the lifeguards are saying, what the professionals are saying."

Murphy said families should check in with lifeguards to find out the conditions before getting into the water. Parents should also advise their children on what to do if they get caught in a rip current.

Murphy said they have had an increase in water rescues since July 15 because the water is getting warmer and people are willing to swim at the beach.

READ: The ocean is finally warming up, after weeks of temps in the 50s

 

Murphy said the best bet is to respect the power of the ocean while having fun.


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Excuse me, could I please merge into your lane? Survey ranks areas for most polite drivers

If you're looking to avoid aggressive drivers that fail to use their blinkers and want to steal your parking spots, then the Granite State is the place for you.

A new survey ranks New Hampshire drivers as some of the most polite in the U.S.

As part of a campaign to promote better driving habits, Kars4Kids asked drivers questions like "would you speed up to stop someone from passing you?" and "would you steal someone's parking spot?"

The responses ranked the likeliness on a 1-4 schedule, with 4 being the most polite. When it came to those two questions, New Hampshire drivers took the No. 1 spot.

Overall, New Hampshire ranked 10th. Vermont is the only other New England state to rank higher at No. 9.

Massachusetts, which frequently ranks poor when it comes to driving surveys, landed near the middle of the pack at No. 21. Idaho ranked No. 1 and New York came in last.

READ: Blinkers optional? Allstate says this New England city has the worst drivers

 

Kars4Kids used Ask Your Target Market to conduct online surveys of 50 licensed drivers ages 18 and older in each state from March through April. The margin of error is 12 percent.

The survey also found that female drivers are more polite than males, the west is the most polite region and drivers ages 51-64 are the most police age ground.

The full survey can be found here.

 


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NH1 First Alert Weather: Friday, July 21

Friday is going to be another hot day, making it a heat wave for many southern New Hampshire towns. It won't be quite as humid, with dew points dropping to around 60 degrees during the heat of the day. The warmest high temperatures will be in southeast New Hampshire, where lower 90s are expected.

Warm and quiet weather is expected to continue Saturday. We'll have sunshine with highs in the 80s to near 90 degrees. 

Sunday may turn cloudy and showery. Computer models are offering different solutions at this time, so the forecast is still uncertain. It's possible Sunday turns cooler with showers, especially during the afternoon. 

Unsettled weather is likely to continue with clouds, showers and below normal temperatures Monday and Tuesday. Drier and warmer weather should return by the middle of next week.

Here is your hour-by-hour forecast:


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Linkin Park frontman Chester Bennington dies of apparent suicide

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Linkin Park lead singer Chester Bennington, who sold millions of albums with a unique mix of hard rock, hip-hop and rap, was found dead in his home near Los Angeles on Thursday, the Los Angeles County coroner says. He was 41.

Coroner spokesman Brian Elias said authorities are investigating Bennington's death as an apparent suicide but no additional details are available.

The Grammy Award-winning group sold 10 million copies of their 2000 debut, "Hybrid Theory," and then another 4 million with 2003's multiplatinum "Meteora." Both albums explored feelings of frustration and fury.

The band also sold millions with its remix album, "Reanimation," and its mash-up record with Jay-Z, "Collision Course." They won Grammys for best hard rock performance in 2001 for "Crawling" and best rap/sung collaboration for "Numb/Encore" in 2005. Linkin Park was on tour and had a show at New York's Citi Field scheduled for next week with Blink 182.

Bennington, who sported piercings and tattoos, struggled with drug and alcohol addictions at various times during his life. He was married and is survived by six children.

Linkin Park released their most recent album, "One More Light," in May. It was a CD that divided critics and fans alike for its embrace of pop. Although the band had always experimented with different sounds, some claimed the band had sold out, which Bennington denied. It became the band's fifth No. 1 album debut on the Billboard 200.

"If you like the music, fantastic. If you don't like it, that's your opinion too. Fantastic. If you're saying we're doing what we're doing for a commercial or monetary reason, trying to make success out of some formula. then stab yourself in the face!" he told NME magazine.

Bennington was close friends with Chris Cornell, who died by hanging earlier this year, and performed Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" at the Soundgarden singer's memorial in late May.

When he got his big break in 1999, Bennington was an assistant at a digital-services firm in Phoenix. A music executive sent him a demo from the band Xero, who needed a lead singer. (He had been recommended by his attorney.) Bennington wrote and recorded new vocals over the band's playing and sent the results back. He soon got the gig and the band then changed its named to Hybrid Theory, then Linkin Park.

Bennington told The Associated Press in 2010 that because of the sound the band is known for, it's virtually impossible to satisfy their many kinds of fans.

"We're making music for us, that we like. We're not making music for other people," he said. "We're not thinking, 'Let's make a pie-graph of all our fans and find out how many people fit in whatever category and then make the perfect album for them.' Like, that would be absolutely ridiculous."


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NH AG rules officer-involved shooting death of Portsmouth man justified

HAMPTON — The New Hampshire Attorney General said Thursday the actions of two officers who shot and killed a Portsmouth man in June have been ruled justified.

READ: NH AG to announce why 2 state troopers shot, killed Portsmouth man

 

Gordon MacDonald said during a press conference held Thursday that Sgt. Keith Walker, a 19-year member of the State Police, and Erik Willett, a five-year member of the State Police, had reason to believe that people were in danger.

The officers fired their weapons at Barry Jones, 36, on June 13 at the N.H. Liquor & Wine Outlet in Hampton after he allegedly stole his neighbor's car, pointed a gun at someone and told the individual to drive with him to Lawrence, Massachusetts, to "get some drugs," MacDonald had said.

This story will be update later Thursday.

 


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OJ Simpson granted parole in Nevada robbery

LOVELOCK, Nev. (AP) — O.J. Simpson was granted parole Thursday after more than eight years in prison for a Las Vegas hotel heist, successfully making his case in a nationally televised hearing that reflected America's enduring fascination with the former football star.

Simpson, 70, could be a free man as early as Oct. 1. By then, he will have served the minimum of his nine-to-33-year armed-robbery sentence for a bungled attempt to snatch sports memorabilia and other mementos he claimed had been stolen from him.

All four parole commissioners who conducted the hearing voted for his release after about a half-hour of deliberations. They cited his lack of a prior conviction, the low risk he might commit another crime, his community support and his release plans, which include moving to Florida.

"Thank you, thank you, thank you," Simpson said quietly as he buried his head on his chest with relief. As he rose from his seat to return to his prison cell, he exhaled deeply.

Then, as he was led down a hall, the former athlete raised his hands over his head in a victory gesture and said, "Oh, God, oh!"

Simpson's sister, Shirley Baker, wept and hugged Simpson's 48-year-old daughter Arnelle, who held a hand over her mouth.

During the more than hour-long hearing, Simpson forcefully insisted — as he has all along — that he was only trying to retrieve items that belonged to him and never meant to hurt anyone. He said he never pointed a gun at anyone nor made any threats during the crime.

"I'm sorry it happened, I'm sorry, Nevada," he told the board. "I thought I was glad to get my stuff back, but it just wasn't worth it. It wasn't worth it, and I'm sorry."

Inmate No. 1027820 made his plea for freedom in a stark hearing room at the Lovelock Correctional Center in rural Nevada as the four parole commissioners in Carson City, a two-hour drive away, questioned him via video.

Gray-haired but looking trimmer than he has in recent years, Simpson walked briskly into the hearing room in jeans, a light-blue prison-issue shirt and sneakers. He chuckled at one point as the parole board chairwoman mistakenly gave his age as 90.

The Hall of Fame athlete's chances of winning release were considered good, given similar cases and Simpson's model behavior behind bars. His defenders have argued, too, that his sentence was out of proportion to the crime and that he was being punished for the two murders he was acquitted of during his 1995 "Trial of the Century" in Los Angeles, the stabbings of ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman.

Before the hearing concluded, one of the two memorabilia dealers Simpson robbed, Bruce Fromong, said the former football great never pointed a gun at him during the confrontation, adding that it was one of Simpson's accomplices. Fromong said Simpson deserved to be released so he can be with his children.

"He is a good man. He made a mistake," Fromong said, adding the two remain friends.

Arnelle Simpson, the eldest of Simpson's children, also testified on his behalf, saying her father is not perfect but realizes what a mistake he made and has spent years paying for it.

"We just want him to come home, we really do," she said.

Simpson said that he has spent his time in prison mentoring fellow inmates, often keeping others out of trouble, and believes he has become a better person during those years.

"I've done my time. I've done it as well and respectfully as I think anybody can," he told the board.

Asked if he was confident he could stay out of trouble if released, Simpson replied that he learned a lot from an alternative-to-violence course he took in prison and that in any case he has always gotten along well with people.

"I had basically spent a conflict-free life," he said — a remark that lit up social media with sarcastic comments given the murder case and a raft of allegations he abused his wife.

Several major TV networks and cable channels — including ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, Fox, MSNBC and ESPN — carried the proceedings live, just as some of them did two decades ago during the Ford Bronco chase that ended in Simpson's arrest, and again when the jury in the murder case came back with its verdict.

Simpson said if released he plans to return to Florida, where he was living before his incarceration.

"I could easily stay in Nevada, but I don't think you guys want me here," he joked at one point.

"No comment, sir," one of the parole board members said.

An electrifying running back dubbed "The Juice," Simpson won the Heisman Trophy as the nation's best college football player in 1968 and went on to become one of the NFL's all-time greats.

The handsome and charismatic athlete was also a "Monday Night Football" commentator, sprinted through airports in Hertz rental-car commercials and built a Hollywood career with roles in the "Naked Gun" comedies and other movies.

All of that came crashing down with his arrest in the 1994 slayings and his trial, a gavel-to-gavel live-TV sensation that transfixed viewers with its testimony about the bloody glove that didn't fit and stirred furious debate over racist police, celebrity justice and cameras in the courtroom.

Last year, the case proved to be compelling TV all over again with the ESPN documentary "O.J.: Made in America" and the award-winning FX miniseries "The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story."

In 1997, Simpson was found liable in civil court for the two killings and ordered to pay $33.5 million to survivors, including his children and the Goldman family.

Then a decade later, he and five accomplices — two with guns — stormed a hotel room and seized photos, plaques and signed balls, some of which never belonged to Simpson, from two sports memorabilia dealers.

Simpson was convicted in 2008, and the long prison sentence brought a measure of satisfaction to some of those who thought he got away with murder.


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Police: Naked, drunk driver speeds through New England construction zone

NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (AP) — Massachusetts State Police have charged a man they say was naked and drunk as he sped through a highway construction site at more than 100 mph.

Alexander Shanwenda was released on personal recognizance after pleading not guilty Wednesday to charges including drunken driving. No defense attorney for the 24-year-old Chicopee man was listed.

Police say a pickup driven by Shanwenda sped through a construction zone on Interstate 91 in Whately on Tuesday.

The truck was pulled over and police say the driver was naked with pants across his lap. Police say the driver was asked to put on pants and perform field sobriety tests, which he failed, and had a blood-alcohol content more than twice the legal limit to drive.

Police say there were empty and full beer bottles in the truck.


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Budget office: GOP health bill adds 22 million uninsured

WASHINGTON (AP) — A revised Republican health care bill would drive up the number of uninsured Americans by 22 million by 2026, the Congressional Budget Office estimated Thursday in a report unlikely to help GOP leaders persuade their party's senators to back the reeling legislation in an upcoming showdown vote.

An earlier projection by Congress' nonpartisan budget analysts on the initial version of the GOP legislation projected the same number of people losing coverage. That figure has already been proven to be enough to make some Republican senators unwilling to support the legislation.

The reworked bill would increase average premiums over the next two years, but reduce them starting in 2020 by 30 percent, the report estimated. But the policies would typically offer less coverage.

And because the GOP measure would also eliminate federal subsidies that let insurers lower out-of-pocket costs for low-earners, the changes "would contribute significantly to a decrease in the number of lower-income people with coverage," the budget office said.

The report was released a day after President Donald Trump spurred GOP senators to resume trying to resuscitate their bill erasing and replacing much of President Barack Obama's health care law.

White House officials and Senate leaders have been suggesting new changes aimed at winning over Republicans, but there's no evidence so far that those efforts have worked. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has said he wants a vote on the legislation next week.

The budget office's new estimate does not include the impact of the most important change McConnell made in the legislation in an attempt to gain votes from conservatives. Language added by Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, would let insurers sell low-premiums policies with minimal coverage, an option he and his supporters say would drive down premiums.

The coverage impact of Cruz's proposal is unclear. Many think it would increase the number of healthy people buying policies, but drive down the number of consumers with serious pre-existing conditions who could afford to purchase coverage.

McConnell's other changes included adding $45 billion to help states combat the abuse of drugs including opioids, extra money to help insurers curb cost increases and retention of tax increases Obama's law aimed at higher-income people.

GOP leaders' effort to win support for their bill may face even longer odds because of Sen. John McCain's jarring diagnosis of brain cancer.

Nursing a slender 52-48 majority, McConnell has been unable to muster the 50 votes he'd need to approve his party's health care overhaul. Vice President Mike Pence would cast the tie-breaking vote.

But with McCain, R-Ariz., receiving treatment back home for an uncertain period of time, McConnell's numerical advantage has dwindled. In McCain's absence, if just two Republicans defect it would sink Trump's and the GOP's banner legislative priority, and more than that have said they are ready to do so.

After a face-to-face lecture from Trump, around two dozen GOP senators staged a nearly three-hour bargaining session Wednesday night to resolve their disputes. When it was over, none offered specific examples of any progress.

Also attending Wednesday's private meeting were health secretary Tom Price and Seema Verma, the Medicaid and Medicare administrator. It was interrupted by prayer after the lawmakers learned that McCain, 80, had a cancerous brain tumor.

Earlier Wednesday at the White House, Trump told them they must not leave town for their August recess without sending him an "Obamacare" repeal bill to sign.

Earlier in the week, the latest Senate GOP health care plan collapsed, leading Trump to call for simply letting Obama's law fail.

McConnell indicated he was prepared to stick a fork in the Republican bill and move on to other issues including overhauling the tax code. But plunging into the issue after a period of lackadaisical involvement, Trump pressured McConnell to delay the key vote until next week, and he invited Republican senators to the White House for lunch.

There, with the cameras rolling in the State Dining Room, Trump spoke at length as he cajoled, scolded and issued veiled threats to his fellow Republicans, all aimed at wringing a health care bill out of a divided caucus that's been unable to produce one so far.

McConnell has failed repeatedly to come up with a bill that can satisfy both conservatives and moderates in his Republican conference. Two different versions of repeal-and-replace legislation fell short of votes before coming to the floor, pushing him to announce Monday night that he would retreat to a repeal-only bill that had passed Congress when Obama was in office.

But that bill, too, died a premature death as three GOP senators announced their opposition on Tuesday, one more than McConnell can lose in the closely divided Senate. Further complicating that approach, the Congressional Budget Office released an analysis Wednesday reaffirming its earlier findings that the repeal-only bill would mean 32 million additional uninsured people over a decade and average premiums doubling.


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Mainer involved in 2 shootings gets 10 years for gun charge

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — A Maine man involved in two shootings in Portland's Old Port has been sentenced to 10 years in federal prison on a gun charge tied to the weapon used in the shootings.

The Portland Press Herald reports that Moses Okot pleaded guilty to being a felon in possession of a gun and agreed to the maximum penalty.

He will serve the sentence, which was imposed Wednesday, after he completes a 5½-year state sentence for violating his probation on a felony murder charge for his role in a 2010 killing.

Okot is currently awaiting trial for shooting one man and stabbing and shooting another near the intersection of Pearl and Milk Streets in the Old Port in November 2015.


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NH man pleads guilty to bank robbery, attempted store heist

CONCORD (AP) — A Manchester man has pleaded guilty to trying to rob a convenience store and then robbing a bank a few days later.

The U.S. attorney's office says in September, 39-year-old Jonathan Faucher brandished a box cutter at a 7-Eleven clerk in Manchester, but fled after the clerk threatened him with a pizza cutter.

A few days later on Oct. 3, he robbed a TD Bank branch in Manchester, handing the teller a note claiming he had a gun and making off with $600. He was arrested a few blocks away.


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NH state trooper reels in massive 650-pound tuna

RYE (AP) — A New Hampshire state trooper reeled in a big fish — a massive 650-pound tuna.

Nick Cyr says he was reading a book on his boat with two lines out Tuesday in Rye when the tuna bit on one of the lines. He tells WBZ-TV he could immediately tell it was a big fish, the biggest he's reeled in in a decade of tuna fishing.

Cyr says the fish spun the boat in circles and dragged it for about two miles. After a 90-minute tug-of-war, Cyr managed to reel in the approximately 9-foot fish.

Cyr plans to head back out fishing this week as there is good weather in the local forecast.


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Children find python while playing in Massachusetts backyard

SALEM, Mass. (AP) — Two girls visiting their grandfather in Massachusetts found an unexpected guest by the pool — a 1 ½-foot ball python.

The Salem News reports the 11-year-old and 10-year-old made the discovery Tuesday night at their grandfather's house in Salem.

The family turned the snake over to police. Animal Control Officer Don Famico believes someone abandoned the snake. He says they haven't received calls from anyone looking for their pet.

Famico says ball pythons are not a threatening species and compared them to owning a cat or a dog. Animal experts say the snake can grow up to five feet long, and it is native to countries in Africa.

Animal experts say the python gets its name from rolling itself into a ball when threatened.


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Maine man accused of killing 2 in shooting rampage pleads guilty

ROCKLAND, Maine (AP) — A Maine man who killed two people and wounded three others in a two-county shooting rampage is due to be sentenced next month on two counts of murder, two charges of attempted murder and other charges.

Anthony Lord, of Houlton, appeared in a Rockland courtroom Wednesday to plead guilty. Assistant Attorney General Leane Zainea says there's no plea agreement in the case.

READ: Uncle: Suspect in shooting of 5 in Maine showed no emotion at arrest

 

Authorities say Lord went on a shooting rampage in July 2015 in northern Maine.

Police say 58-year-old Kevin Tozier and 22-year-old Kyle Hewitt died of gunshot wounds.

Lord also was accused of kidnapping Hewitt's girlfriend, 22-year-old Brittany Irish, and shooting and wounding her 55-year-old mother, Kim Irish, at her home in Benedicta. Two others were wounded.


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