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Republican leaders plan to bring the American Health Care Act to the floor of the House for a vote next Thursday, and President Trump is now publicly applying his deal-making skills to ensure passage.

"I just want to let the world know, I am 100 percent in favor," Trump told reporters brought to the Oval Office to see the tail end of his meeting with about a dozen members of the Republican Study Committee. That group of House members includes some who'd been lukewarm about the bill going into the meeting.

At a ceremony in New York on Thursday, one of America's most celebrated writers had a new reason to celebrate. Louise Erdrich won the 2017 National Book Critics Circle Award for fiction for her novel LaRose, the story of an accidental shooting — and the fraught tale of family and reparation that follows.

This Friday is Match Day, an annual rite of passage for seniors in medical school, when they find out at noon if they've "matched" with a residency in the specialty and location of their choice.

But many of those being matched will be happy to go pretty much anywhere. They are international medical graduates — either U.S citizens who've attended school out of the country (think the Caribbean or Mexico) or doctors who are citizens of other countries and want to train here.

Derek Walcott's work explored the beauty of his Caribbean homeland and its brutal colonial history. The prolific, Nobel Prize-winning poet and playwright died Friday at his home in St. Lucia. He was 87.

Walcott wrote dozens of books of poetry and plays, among them his epic poem Omeros and his Obie-winning drama, Dream on Monkey Mountain.

The 1,500-mile Appalachian Mountain range stretches so far that those on the northern and southern sides can't agree on what to call it: Appa-LAY-chia or Appa-LATCH-ia. The outside perspective on the people who live there might be even more mangled. Stories about Appalachia tend to center around subjects like poverty, the opioid epidemic and coal, but since 1966 a series called Foxfire has been sharing food, culture and life as it's actually lived in the mountain region.

Common Blood Tests Can Help Predict Chronic Disease Risk

Mar 17, 2017

A score based on common blood tests may someday help people gauge their risk of developing a chronic disease like diabetes or dementia within three years of taking the test.

Updated at 4:50 p.m. ET

At a wide-ranging and occasionally tense news conference after their first in-person meeting Friday, President Trump and German Chancellor Angela Merkel discussed trade and border policy — and had one notable exchange when Trump was asked about his unproven claims that former President Obama tapped the phones at Trump Tower last year.

President Trump's budget blueprint calls for eliminating dozens of government programs and zeroing out funding for 19 independent agencies. And that may only be a preview of things to come as the Trump administration seeks to reorganize the executive branch.

Another cardiology meeting, another big prevention trial – and questions abound. People at risk for cardiovascular disease will be wondering about the implications for them. So are the doctors. New trials take some time to digest – and yet our news cycle wants quick, succinct answers. Sometimes it is not an easy call.

Updated at 5:10 p.m. ET

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson says the U.S. doesn't want to take military action against North Korea, but "all of the options are on the table" if a serious threat arises. Tillerson made his frank remarks in a visit to South Korea on Friday, a day after saying diplomatic efforts "have failed" to persuade North Korea to abandon its nuclear program.

Tillerson's Asia tour began in Japan and will end in China. The top American diplomat is traveling without a press contingent.

Updated at 1:55 p.m. ET

The House has approved legislation that would make it harder to keep veterans who are "mentally incapacitated, deemed mentally incompetent" or prone to blackouts from buying guns. Critics of the bill say it could raise the suicide rate among veterans — a rate that has risen in the past decade.

At least a dozen Democrats joined Republicans to support the bill, which was approved by a 240-175 vote.

Speak of the Emerald Isle, and you picture verdant rolling hillsides. But there's another green bounty — not just on Ireland's soil, but off its coast. We're talking about seaweed. And if some Irish have their way, it'll be making its way back onto plates.

We hear a lot about U.S. companies laying off workers and shipping jobs overseas.

So, amid the global pressures to downsize, how do you hang onto your workforce?

We went looking for answers in Chelsea, Mich., home to a family owned manufacturer that's managed to thrive over four generations, since the company's founding in 1907.

The Chelsea Milling Co. is better known as the manufacturer of Jiffy baking mixes. You know the ones. They come in those signature little blue and white boxes: mixes for muffins, cakes, pie crusts, biscuits, brownies and more.

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President Trump has developed a consistent tactic when he's criticized: say that someone else is worse.

To Harrison Browne, hockey has always been a pivotal part of life. He's been in the rink for the past 15 years and currently plays for the Buffalo Beauts, a professional hockey team in the National Women's Hockey League.

At most Supreme Court confirmation hearings, questions focus on hot-button social issues — abortion, affirmative action, same-sex marriage — and the hearings next week on Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch will be no exception.

But senators are also likely to spend a lot of time examining the nominee's views on federal regulations — of the environment, health and safety laws for workers, and laws on consumer rights and business.

In question is a doctrine that Gorsuch has criticized but that also once helped his mother.

The Chevron doctrine

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Authorities in Mexico say they have found more than 250 bodies in what may be the largest mass grave site in the country. It's located in a dusty abandoned lot just outside the port city of Veracruz.

Authorities were led to the graves by a group of mothers who've spent months digging there in search of their loved ones.

Of the 252 bodies found in the mass grave, only two have been identified: Pedro Huesca, a young state investigator, and his personal secretary.

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In some parts of the country, cold weather is threatening crops. Meanwhile, California has been so unseasonably wet that its deserts are experiencing what's called a "super bloom." After years of drought, the normally arid desert is lush.

"It just looks like a sea of flowers," says Janet Gordon, a geologist from Los Angeles.

"You got purple, red, yellows and blues," adds Joe Sheidness, visiting from San Diego.

Advocates for the poor say the budget plan the Trump administration rolled out on Thursday would be a kick in the shins for low-income Americans.

Sheryl Braxton, who relies on public housing, explained at a hearing in New York City this week that her community needs reinvestment, not less funding.

Texas Braces For Medicaid Cuts Under GOP Health Plan

Mar 17, 2017

Many in Texas are keeping a close eye on the Republican bid to replace the Affordable Care Act. One of the big changes is how it would affect low-income people, seniors, and people with disabilities who get help from Medicaid. And people on both sides of the political spectrum say the Lone Star State is not going to fare well.

As the GOP bill, the American Health Care Act, works its way through Congress, Anne Dunkelberg with the left-leaning Center for Public Policy Priorities in Austin says she's a little stumped.

Lots went on, per usual. Let's get to it.

A new documentary challenges the narrative we've heard for the past two years about the late Michael Brown. Stranger Fruit, which debuted at the SXSW Film Festival earlier this week, re-examines the hours leading up to Brown's death at the hand of officer Darren Wilson. And gives rise to questions for many. Not, apparently, the St. Louis police, who didn't release the footage earlier because they deemed it irrelevant to the investigation.

In 2016, a mass bleaching event caused unprecedented destruction to the Great Barrier Reef and other coral reefs around the world.

Now, a new study in Nature has concluded that securing a future for coral reefs "ultimately requires urgent and rapid action to reduce global warming."

It finds that local measures, such as protecting reefs and water quality, ultimately yield little protection against bleaching caused by higher water temperatures.

For the first time in New Zealand's history, the country's lawmakers have granted a river the legal rights of a human. The parliamentary vote Wednesday, which caps more than 140 years of legal struggles, ensures the roughly 90-mile Whanganui River will be represented by two guardians in legal matters that concern the waterway.

With the Senate Judiciary Committee set to open hearings on the nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch to the U.S. Supreme Court, the game of confirmation cat and mouse is about to begin. Senators will try to get a fix on Gorsuch's legal views — and the nominee will try to say as little as possible.

Supreme Court scholars and practitioners on the right and left may disagree about whether they want to see Gorsuch confirmed, but in general there is little doubt about the nominee's conservatism. Indeed, his conservative pedigree is the reason he was picked.

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