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  • Lotteries
  • Few employers drop benefits, surveys say
    WASHINGTON – The Affordable Care Act so far has not prompted the nation’s employers to drop health benefits for some or all of their workers as critics of the law had predicted, according to two major surveys released
  • Taliban assault in Kabul fails
    Four Taliban militants who attacked a compound housing foreign workers in the Afghan capital were killed Wednesday night in a failed assault there, police said, the latest violence targeting foreigners in the country.
Associated Press
Firefighters battle a four-alarm fire at a three-story apartment complex on Detroit’s west side Wednesday morning.

Lawyer: General to plead guilty

– A U.S. Army general accused of sexually assaulting a junior officer will admit guilt on three lesser charges but maintains his innocence on more serious charges stemming from her claim that he forced her to perform oral sex, his lawyer said Wednesday night.

Brig. Gen. Jeffrey A. Sinclair is set to enter the plea this morning before opening statements for his court-martial at Fort Bragg. The primary accuser in the case is a female captain who claims Sinclair twice forced her to perform oral sex and threatened to kill her family if she told anyone about their three-year affair.

Coal producer paying record fine

One of the nation’s largest coal producers will pay a $27.5 million fine and spend $200 million to reduce illegal toxic discharges into hundreds of waterways in five Appalachian states, according to a proposed settlement Wednesday.

The agreement calls for Alpha Natural Resources Inc. to pay the largest fine ever for violations of water pollution permits, with many of the violations reported by the company to state environmental officials.

Fire ravages Detroit apartments

A fire ripped through a Detroit apartment building Wednesday, forcing some adults and children to leap to safety from second- and third-story windows as the flames intensified.

Crews used heavy equipment to begin pulling down what was left of the Jason Manor Apartments walls by late afternoon.

Arson investigators and cadaver dogs were expected sift through the charred wood and brick rubble in search of victims. No deaths had been reported, but the dogs were on standby because some residents had not been located.

Of the building’s 42 units, 39 were occupied.

Biden backs testing rape kits

Vice President Joe Biden on Wednesday promoted President Barack Obama’s request for $35 million to help test more rape kits, saying it will help fight crime.

The money is included in the $3.9 trillion spending plan for the 2015 budget year that Obama unveiled this week. It would be used to provide grants of unspecified amounts to states and local governments, spending that would require approval from Congress.

Biden, who as a U.S. senator sponsored the Violence Against Women Act, said on a conference call with Attorney General Eric Holder that the testing of thousands of rape kits that are sitting around police storage rooms and other areas is not prioritized because officials do not realize what valuable information they contain.

Man sues casino over drunk losses

A businessman who lost $500,000 on table games at a Las Vegas casino on Super Bowl weekend is arguing that he shouldn’t have to pay because he was blackout drunk.

Southern California gambler Mark Johnston, 52, is suing the Downtown Grand for loaning him money and serving him drinks when he was visibly intoxicated.

Nevada law bars casinos from allowing obviously drunk patrons to gamble and from serving them complimentary drinks.

WHO: Sugar intake should be 5 percent

Try sugar-coating this: The World Health Organization says your daily sugar intake should be just 5 percent of your total calories – half of what the agency previously recommended, according to new draft guidelines published Wednesday.

After a review of about 9,000 studies, WHO’s expert panel says dropping sugar intake to that level will combat obesity and cavities. That includes sugars added to foods and those present in honey, syrups and fruit juices, but not those occurring naturally in fruits.