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Gas blast wrecks Mexico children’s hospital

MEXICO CITY — Injured and bleeding, mothers grasping infants in their arms fled from a maternity hospital shattered by a powerful gas explosion Thursday, and rescuers began smashing sledgehammers through fallen concrete hunting for others who might be trapped.

Attorney General nominee defends Obama immigration changes

WASHINGTON — Confronting skeptical Republicans, attorney general nominee Loretta Lynch pledged a new start with Congress and independence from President Barack Obama Wednesday, even as she defended the president’s unilateral protections for millions of immigrants in the country illegally.

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Israel, Lebanon brace for war after Israeli attack

BEIRUT — Lebanon and Israel braced on Monday for possible retaliation by Hezbollah for the deaths of six of the group’s fighters in an alleged Israeli raid in Syria, as Iran confirmed that one of its senior military commanders was also killed in the attack.

Analysis: Do we even need a State of the Union address anymore?

WASHINGTON — Not to start too pessimistically, but let’s be honest with one another. The pomp and scale that surrounds Washington, D.C., is a skeleton of the past. That’s not meant to refer solely to the architecture, the fake-it-‘till-you-make-it pretensions of a young country written in marble. It refers to much of the pageantry that we still embrace, beyond modern utility or necessity. It refers, to be direct, to the State of the Union Address.

‘Selma’ stars, Oprah march in Alabama

SELMA, Ala. — Oprah Winfrey, fellow actors from the movie “Selma” and hundreds of others marched to recall one of the bloodiest chapters of the civil rights movement on Sunday, the eve of the national holiday honoring Martin Luther King Jr.