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AP Top U.S. News At 4:47 p.m. EST

Top theater chains cancel 'The Interview' showings
NEW YORK (AP) -- The top theater chains in North America have dropped "The Interview" after hackers threatened terrorist attacks at theaters showing the comedy, effectively squashing the film's Dec. 25 release....

Cuban exile community divided over Obama changes
MIAMI (AP) -- Some Cuban exiles in Miami are outraged, but others are elated that President Barack Obama secretly arranged prisoner exchanges with Cuban leader Raul Castro as part of an effort to normalize relations....

New York move to ban fracking heartens critics
ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) -- New York plans to prohibit hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, citing unresolved health issues and dubious economic benefits of the widely used gas-drilling technique and delighting opponents who previously managed to win only local bans....

Colorado funds medical marijuana research, a first
DENVER (AP) -- Colorado awarded more than $8 million for medical marijuana research Wednesday, a step toward addressing complaints that little is known about pot's medical potential....

14 charged in deadly 2012 meningitis outbreak
BOSTON (AP) -- Mold and bacteria were in the air and on workers' gloved fingertips. Pharmacists used expired ingredients, didn't properly sterilize them and failed to test drugs for purity before sending them to hospitals and pain clinics. Employees falsified logs to make it look as if the so-called clean rooms had been disinfected....

Arkansas' model Medicaid experiment in jeopardy
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) -- Arkansas became the first Southern state to expand its Medicaid program in a way that many Republicans found acceptable. The state bought private insurance for low-income people instead of adding them to the rolls of the Medicaid system, which GOP lawmakers considered bloated and inefficient....

Republican wins Arizona House seat after recount
PHOENIX (AP) -- Republicans will have their largest U.S. House majority in 83 years when the new Congress convenes next month after a recount in Arizona gave the final unresolved midterm race to a Republican challenger....

US backs off death penalty in Iowa slayings
IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) -- Federal prosecutors are giving up their long pursuit of the death penalty against a woman convicted of helping kill five people in Iowa in 1993....

Richard C. Hottelet, last of original 'Murrow's Boys,' dies
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) -- Richard C. Hottelet, the last of the original "Murrow's Boys," the pioneering group of wartime journalists hired by CBS radio newsman Edward R. Murrow, has died. He was 97....

Officers cleared in killing of FSU gunman
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) -- Grand jurors called actions of police "heroic" and cleared five officers of all wrongdoing in killing a gunman who shot at students at a Florida State University library....

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