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Obama says he’ll act without Congress to ‘fix’ immigration

WASHINGTON, D.C. — President Barack Obama said Monday he’s convinced that House Republicans will not take action to reform the U.S. immigration system this year and that he plans to use his executive authority to “fix as much of our immigration system as I can on my own, without Congress.”

Researchers grapple for Alzheimer’s cure as it threatens to overwhelm health care system

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Gasps were audible as the images flashed before a gathering of scientists at a recent UC Davis Alzheimer’s Disease Center pathology conference. On the screen before them were photos of a brain severely wasted with age, with what looked like silver rivers of atrophy cutting deeply through the tissue. Even for the experts, it can be shocking to see the damage that Alzheimer’s disease inflicts on the aging brain.

Lost sense of smell often invisible, untreatable problem

CHICAGO — Mimi Koberlein woke up one morning unable to smell the bacon her husband was frying for breakfast. Confused, she ran to the shower, grabbed her shampoo and inhaled deeply. Nothing. Two years later, Koberlein, 47, still can’t smell lemons, freshly cut grass, her three boys or any other fragrances of life. Diagnosed with anosmia, or smell loss, she has tried decongestants, nasal irrigation, oral steroids and acupuncture. But nothing has worked.

Fight could be looming over secrecy of oil shipments

WASHINGTON, D.C. — A requirement from the U.S. Department of Transportation last month to limit the release of information about Bakken crude oil shipments by rail has set up a conflict between railroads, states and the federal government that could wind up in court.

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US students score slightly above average in problem solving

SAN JOSE, Calif. — In a testament to America’s best schools, U.S. students scored slightly above average in 2012 international tests in problem solving — and performed significantly better than expected, when taking into account their math, reading and science skills.

US scrambles to save imperiled Middle East peace talks

JERUSALEM — U.S. officials on Wednesday clung to the idea of revived Middle East peace talks even after tit-for-tat provocations by the Palestinians and Israelis in recent days signaled that Secretary of State John Kerry’s signature diplomatic effort was in danger of collapse.

Is whistleblower advocate for nation’s spies under attack?

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Pentagon’s inspector general is trying to suspend and possibly revoke the top secret access of the Defense Department’s former director of whistleblowing, triggering concerns in Congress that he’s being retaliated against for doing his job.