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The average American reads at an 8th-grade level, but the patient information that doctors and hospitals provide often presumes that people have much more advanced reading skills.

So some researchers decided to see what happens when 9-year-olds write the patient guides.

Britain's senior-most military officer is warning that an improving Russian navy poses risks to undersea communications and Internet cables, saying any disruption could do "catastrophic" damage to the economy.

Air Chief Marshal Sir Stuart Peach said Britain and NATO need to prioritize protecting communications cables running along the seabed between countries and continents to prevent them being severed.

Behold, the cocktail avocado. No, that's not a weird cucumber. It's the latest in avocado innovation, on offer at British retail chain Marks & Spencer.

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U.S. retailers are looking forward to a strong holiday season this year after new numbers show higher than expected sales for November.

The Commerce Department said Thursday that retail and food sales were up 5.8 percent last month over November 2016, according to advance estimates. And, sales were up a seasonally adjusted 0.8 percent from October of this year.

A risky move by one of the defense teams has led to unusual drama in the seemingly-endless pre-trial proceedings of the 9/11 war crimes case.

Defense attorney Walter Ruiz decided to roll the dice and challenge the prosecution to prove that his client, alleged 9/11 money man Mustafa al Hawsawi, should be tried as a war criminal.

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It's no secret that we've had a rough fall and winter with natural disasters. Even as we write this, fires burn in Southern California, adding to the previous wildfires in the northern part of the state that burned over 245,000 acres in October.

Hurricanes Irma and Harvey devastated communities across Florida and Texas, while touching communities in Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, the Carolinas and Louisiana.

'The Atlantic': What Putin Really Wants

20 hours ago

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On Friday, nine federal judges in Chicago will continue a rare joint hearing to decide whether discrimination is the reason why U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives agents stage phony drug stash house stings in mostly black neighborhoods in Chicago.

The judges decided to get together instead of hearing 12 cases they were overseeing separately.

One attorney says while he's never seen anything like the judges' panel before, the phony drug stash house sting operation aimed at suspects is not new.

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The Army's Green Berets have gained a reputation over the decades for their toughness and fighting skills. They served with local forces in Vietnam, and in recent years, they've deployed repeatedly to Iraq and Afghanistan. The list of their deployments continues to grow: Niger. Somalia. Yemen. Syria. Philippines.

Now a fight appears to be growing inside the Green Beret community.

After the storm blew out her windows, Maria Enid Rodriguez lost water, Internet, power and her entire home office. Her company offered her a one-way ticket to be with family in New Britain, Conn. Rodriguez refused. She said that it was a round trip ticket or nothing. She wanted to come back.

"I went to New Britain for 10 days," she said, through her tears. "Not for me. For them. For my daughters. They have to see me, that I was okay."

President Trump, minutes before heading to speak at the FBI's National Academy, lashed out at the bureau, saying, "It's a shame what's happened with the FBI" and claiming there are "a lot of very angry people that are seeing it."

In a far-reaching report on child sex abuse in Australia, a government commission is recommending that the country's Catholic Church lift its celibacy requirement for diocesan clergy and be required to report evidence of abuse revealed in confession.

Those are among the 400 recommendations contained in the 17-volume final report of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sex Abuse, which is wrapping up a five-year investigation – the longest in Australia's history.

The man who police say intentionally rammed his car into a crowd of counterprotesters at a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Va., this summer, now faces a first-degree murder charge. A judge upgraded the second-degree murder charge against James Fields Jr. at a preliminary hearing on Thursday.

The 20-year-old Ohio man has been in jail since his arrest on Aug. 12, when police say he accelerated into a group of people, killing Heather Heyer and injuring some three dozen others.

Updated Dec. 15

Immigrants detained at four large centers used by Immigration and Customs Enforcement are subject to inhumane treatment, given insufficient hygiene supplies and medical care, and provided potentially unsafe food, according to a federal report.

In the video posted to Twitter, Ayrton Little dons Harvard red, the viewer watching him as he peers at his own screen, waiting to see whether he got into his dream school. Everyone seems to sweat. Little's schoolmates crowd around him in anticipation. A big moment to be sure, especially for a 16-year-old. Then a gasp and the room erupts in cheers, screams and embraces.

He did it.

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Now we are going to remember the filmmaker who first showed us what it is like to set off in search of the perfect wave.

(SOUNDBITE OF DOCUMENTARY, "THE ENDLESS SUMMER")

Outside Puerto Rico's capital, a three-story-high mountain of debris and waste sits smack in the middle of what was a suburban soccer field before Hurricane Maria devastated the island.

Blue bleachers peek out from the edge of the trash pile, as a line of trucks rolls in to dump even more tree branches and moldy furniture. Workmen wearing yellow hard hats operate diggers to add the new waste to the growing pile in the center of the field.

Updated at 10:55 p.m. ET

California fire officials say the massive Thomas Fire has claimed the life of a firefighter.

The body of Cory Iverson, a 32-year-old father from Escondido, Calif., was driven out of the fire zone in a procession as firefighters lined the road saluting in respect.

A judge in New York City sentenced the nephews of Venezuela's first lady to 18 years in prison on Thursday, following their convictions on drug trafficking charges.

A school bus taking around 20 students home Thursday afternoon collided with a train in the south of France, resulting in "numerous victims," according to the local government.

Prime Minister Edouard Phillipe told Le Monde that four people died in the crash and 20 were injured, 11 critically.

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Americans are big tippers.

Every year, we leave more than $30 billion in tips, mostly in restaurants but also casinos, nail salons and other service businesses.

Traditionally, the owners of those businesses have not had much control over how tips are distributed. But a proposed rule from the Trump administration could change that.

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