AP Top Political News At 8:20 p.m. EDT

Very bad week: Airline disasters come in a cluster
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Nearly 300 passengers perish when their plane is shot out of the sky. Airlines suspend flights to Israel's largest airport after rocket attacks. An airliner crashes during a storm, and yet another disappears. Aviation has suffered one of its worst weeks in memory, a cluster of disasters spanning three continents....

US weighs refugee status for youth from Honduras
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Obama administration is weighing giving refugee status to young people from Honduras as part of a plan to slow the influx of unaccompanied minors arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border, White House officials said Thursday....

War College to investigate plagiarism allegations
HELENA, Mont. (AP) -- Sen. John Walsh remained steadfast Thursday amid an investigation into whether he plagiarized a research project required for a master's degree, winning fresh backing from fellow Democrats in Montana and the governor who appointed him to the Senate earlier this year....

Social Security's $300M IT project doesn't work
WASHINGTON (AP) -- After spending nearly $300 million on a new computer system to handle disability claims, the Social Security Administration still can't get it to work. And officials can't say when it will....

Obama: FAA took 'prudent action' on Israel flights
WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Barack Obama says the Federal Aviation Administration took "prudent action" in temporarily banning U.S. flights in and out of Israel....

Obama: Plane stiffens Europe's spine on sanctions
WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Barack Obama says the downing of a passenger jet in Ukraine "may stiffen the spine of our European partners" as they consider additional sanctions against Russia....

Cruz demands answers on FAA flight ban to Israel
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Sen. Ted Cruz vowed Thursday to continue blocking confirmation of a series of ambassadorial and other diplomatic nominees despite the Federal Aviation Administration lifting a ban on U.S. airline flights to Israel. The State Department criticized the Republican lawmaker....

Republicans jump to Astorino's defense
NEWARK, N.J. (AP) -- Several Republican governors eyeing runs for the White House in 2016 are rallying behind the New York gubernatorial candidate spurned by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie in an early sign of pre-primary jockeying....

Senate hopefuls risk 'oppo-research' revelations
WASHINGTON (AP) -- It's one thing to be Montana's lieutenant governor. It's another to be a U.S. Senate candidate in one of the states that will determine which party controls that 100-member chamber....

House, Senate chairs offer competing bills on VA
WASHINGTON (AP) -- With Congress scheduled to recess in a week, the chairmen of the House and Senate Veterans Affairs committees offered competing proposals Thursday to fix a veterans' health care program scandalized by long patient wait times and falsified records covering up the delays....

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Cruz demands answers on FAA flight ban to Israel

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US weighs refugee status for youth from Honduras

Obama: Plane stiffens Europe's spine on sanctions

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