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Yahoo News - Latest News & Headlines Courtesy of Yahoo! News
Alabama win thrills Democrats as Republicans scramble for answers
Wednesday, December 13, 2017: 5:41 AM

By Rich McKay and Susan Heavey BIRMINGHAM, Ala./WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Democrats said on Wednesday their U.S. Senate victory in Alabama could lead to a sweeping comeback for the party in 2018 elections while Republicans sought to assess blame for a defeat in one of the nation's most conservative states. Doug Jones, a Democrat and former federal prosecutor, won the special election on Tuesday night after a bitter campaign that drew national attention amid sexual misconduct accusations against conservative Republican candidate Roy Moore. President Donald Trump had endorsed Moore and the loss was a stunning upset for him and fellow Republicans, narrowing their majority in the Senate to 51-49.

After fires, Southern California faces risk of mudslides
Wednesday, December 13, 2017: 5:34 AM

By Ben Gruber and Alex Dobuzinskis CARPINTERIA, Calif./LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Firefighters in Southern California are slowly gaining control of one of the largest wildfires in state history, but residents may not enjoy much relief as experts said the flames are laying the groundwork for the next disaster - mudslides. With one heavy rain, the soil above this waterproof layer can become saturated, start to slide in hilly areas and transform into something catastrophic. "Pretty much anywhere there's a fire on a steep slope, there's cause for concern," Jason Kean, research hydrologist for the U.S. Geological Survey, said in a telephone interview.

Minnesota Lieutenant Governor Tina Smith to replace Franken
Wednesday, December 13, 2017: 5:20 AM

(Reuters) - Minnesota's Democratic Lieutenant Governor Tina Smith was appointed as U.S. senator on Wednesday to replace Al Franken, who resigned after being accused of sexual harassment, the state's governor said at a news conference. Governor Mark Dayton said that Smith will serve a one-year term in the Senate, concluding in January 2019. Smith, 59, will run in a special election for the seat next year.

Obamacare sign-ups rise to 1 million as pace picks up before deadline
Wednesday, December 13, 2017: 5:18 AM

The number of consumers who signed up for 2018 Obamacare health insurance next year surpassed the 1 million mark in the second-to-last week of enrollment on the federally-run website, picking up the pace ahead of the Dec. 15 deadline. Through Dec. 9, 4.68 million consumers signed up for the insurance in the 39 states that use the federally run website, but that may not be enough for 2018 enrollment to grow from 2017. Based on the pace last week, Wall Street analysts predicted that initial enrollment would be less than 10 million, short of the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office forecast for enrollment of 11 million in 2018.

Renewed winds, dry conditions hamper fight to tame California wildfire
Wednesday, December 13, 2017: 5:15 AM

By Ben Gruber CARPINTERIA, Calif. (Reuters) - Firefighters trying to tame a blaze that has destroyed hundreds of homes in Southern California were facing bone-dry conditions and the return of powerful wind gusts on Wednesday. A lull in the winds a day earlier sapped the forward momentum of the Thomas Fire, which has charred more than 368 square miles (953 square km) in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties, an area larger than New York City. "Firefighters will remain engaged in structure defense operations and scout for opportunities to establish direct perimeter control," the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire) said in an advisory.