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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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Scientists build man-made ‘living materials’ inside bacterial cells

LOS ANGELES — Our bones are remarkable feats of engineering: strong and yet light, shot through with holes and yet able to bear incredible loads. This super-strong natural material is built as cells incorporate hard minerals like calcium into living tissue. Now, scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology are borrowing this idea from nature: They’ve created living cells that incorporate inorganic matter like gold and quantum dots.

Taliban gunmen kill 9 at Kabul luxury hotel

KABUL, Afghanistan — A Taliban assault on a luxury hotel killed nine people, including four foreigners, Afghan officials said Friday, revising upward the number reported killed, as questions swirled around a security lapse at what was believed to be one of the capital’s safest locations.

Russian troops storm Ukraine air force base; at least 1 injured

MOSCOW — Shots were fired and at least one person was injured Saturday afternoon as Russian troops stormed a Ukrainian air force base near the Crimean port city of Sevastopol. At least six Russian armored vehicles reportedly took part in the attack, the initial minutes of which could be viewed live via webcam.