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CHICAGO (AP) — An Illinois judge seems close to appointing a special prosecutor to look into why state prosecutors abruptly dropped charges against actor Jussie Smollett accusing him of staging a racist, anti-gay attack against himself. More >>

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LOS ANGELES (AP) — Jurors on Thursday found a man prosecutors have dubbed "The Boy Next Door Killer" was sane when he fatally stabbed two women and tried to kill a third inside their Southern California homes. More >>

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RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — A jury will decide whether the former head of a private Christian school that novelist Nicholas Sparks founded in his North Carolina hometown was unjustly fired, then defamed when the author said the educator suffered from mental illness. More >>

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NEW YORK (AP) — Mark Halperin's planned book about the 2020 election has been officially announced amid protests that the "Game Change" co-author hasn't earned a second chance since facing multiple allegations of sexual harassment. More >>

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NEW YORK (AP) — Tommy Orange's novel "There There" and Jeffrey C. Stewart's biography of Harlem Renaissance thinker Alain Locke are among this year's winners of American Book Awards, given for works that highlight the diversity of the country's literature. More >>

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LONDON (AP) — Singer Elton John says he's "deeply distressed" by media accounts that criticized the Duke and Duchess of Sussex for taking a private jet to go on vacation despite the flight's carbon impact of the planet. More >>

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HONG KONG (AP) — At least eight K-pop stars from China and even one from Taiwan and one from Hong Kong are publicly stating their support for Beijing's one-China policy, eliciting a mixture of disappointment and understanding from fans. More >>

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LONDON (AP) — Richard Williams, an Oscar-winning animator whose work on the bouncing cartoon bunny in "Who Framed Roger Rabbit" helped blur the boundaries between the animated world and our own, has died in England. He was 86. More >>

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SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The Los Angeles Opera has declined to release any details of its promised investigation into allegations of sexual harassment against opera legend Placido Domingo, the company's longtime general director, including whether it has already started. More >>

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NEW YORK (AP) — CNN's Clarissa Ward says her story this week about Russian involvement in the Central African Republic came with a price: she was trailed during her reporting and made the subject of a 15-minute propaganda video denigrating her work. More >>