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AP Top U.S. News at 1:29 p.m. EST

Officials in Oakland, California, say the death toll from a fire that ripped through a converted warehouse has risen to 24. Alameda County Sheriff's Sgt
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) -- Officials say the death toll has risen to 24 in a fire that ripped through a late-night dance party in a converted warehouse in Oakland, California, and they expect that number to climb as the search continues....

The warehouse gutted by a blaze that killed at least nine people was home to musicians, painters, woodworkers, dancers and other artists who came together to make art and hold dance performances and parties
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) -- The warehouse gutted by a blaze that killed at least nine people was home to musicians, painters, woodworkers, dancers and other artists who came together to make art and hold dance performances and parties. It was also a source of many complaints from neighbors....

Military veterans have started to gather near the main Dakota Access pipeline protest camp, where they'll join the several hundred people who are against the four-state, $3.8 billion project that's largely complete
CANNON BALL, N.D. (AP) -- Military veterans started to gather Sunday near the main Dakota Access pipeline protest camp, where they'll join the several hundred people who are against the four-state, $3.8 billion project that's largely complete....

Donald Trump's election and Republicans' firm grip on Congress have raised the National Rifle Association's hopes of seeing a sweeping expansion of gun rights
IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) -- Firearms enthusiasts who embraced Donald Trump's campaign and his full-throated support of the Second Amendment are expecting a sweeping expansion of gun rights under his administration and a Congress firmly in Republican hands....

Experts say that escaping a fire-filled forest, as thousands did Nov. 28 in the Great Smoky Mountains, can be more traumatic than disasters such as hurricanes, floods or earthquakes
ATLANTA (AP) -- When U.S. Forest Ranger Jody Bandy confronted the man in the Pisgah National Forest, he said he'd been at the nearby wildfire and "couldn't take it anymore."...

Pacific fishers have declined on the West Coast over the decades, but the forest-dwelling, weasel-like mammals are slowly making a comeback in Washington state
MOUNT RAINIER NATIONAL PARK, Wash. (AP) -- The elusive weasel-like mammal poked its head out of the wooden crate, glanced around and quickly darted into the thick forest of Mount Rainier National Park - returning to a landscape where it had been missing for seven decades....

In the heart of Miami's Little Havana, Cuban exiles say Sunday's funeral of Fidel Castro is granting neither simple closure nor optimism for immediate change
MIAMI (AP) -- In the heart of Miami's Little Havana, Cuban exile Armando Garcia said Sunday's funeral of Fidel Castro granted neither simple closure nor optimism for immediate change, but was a glimmer of hope for democracy in Cuba....

A federal appeals court in San Francisco will hear arguments Monday over who owns a priceless painting looted by the Nazis
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- In the epic, 16-year battle over a priceless painting looted by the Nazis, there is one point on which all sides agree: When Lilly Cassirer and her husband fled Germany ahead of the Holocaust, they surrendered their Camille Pissarro masterpiece in exchange for their lives....

A former CIA employee serving a 3 1/2 year-prison term on charges that he leaked government secrets to a reporter is taking his case to a federal appeals court
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) -- Once an employee of the powerful CIA, Jeffrey Sterling now sits behind bars at a federal prison in Colorado. He bides his time by reading and writing and working at the facility's recreational center....

About 180 Saint Nick lookalikes have hopped on skis and snowboards in Maine for the annual Santa Sunday fundraiser
NEWRY, Maine (AP) -- Whether he's called Santa Claus, Father Christmas or Pere Noel, he had a slew of jolly, red-suited lookalikes hit the ski slopes on Sunday in Maine....

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US Video
Interactives
A year after the Gulf oil spill, problems remain
Local governments spent BP money with abandon
Civil War celebrations stir controversy
States' attempts to resist health care reform
A look at extremist attacks on the U.S. government
Gun law changes across the U.S.
A look inside the Statue of Liberty
A look around the Statue of Liberty
A look at Guantanamo's history
Up to the Minute
In the heart of Miami's Little Havana, Cuban exiles say Sunday's funeral of Fidel Castro is granting neither simple closure nor optimism for immediate change

About 180 Saint Nick lookalikes have hopped on skis and snowboards in Maine for the annual Santa Sunday fundraiser

Plans to restore the NASA mission control room that served as the nerve center when man first reached the moon have been discussed for more than 20 years, but its restoration and preservation remain in limbo

Fire investigators are trying to determine what caused the huge blaze that ripped through a Boston-area neighborhood, displacing about 60-to-80 people but "miraculously" resulting in no serious injuries or deaths

Organizers of the Mummers Parade are hopeful cultural education efforts will mean a more respectful and inclusive tone throughout their traditional Philadelphia New Year's celebration

Military veterans have started to gather near the main Dakota Access pipeline protest camp, where they'll join the several hundred people who are against the four-state, $3.8 billion project that's largely complete

Experts say that escaping a fire-filled forest, as thousands did Nov. 28 in the Great Smoky Mountains, can be more traumatic than disasters such as hurricanes, floods or earthquakes

Hundreds of people who have been spent time in a crowded New Jersey jail have inundated federal court officials with lawsuits after being led to believe a large settlement was waiting for them

Emergency officials have released the names of five more victims in the wildfires that ravaged the city of Gatlinburg

A Navy veteran and Harvard graduate student says he came to the Dakota Access pipeline protest camp because he thought they could use his help


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