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Officials order mandatory evacautions as firefighters battle blazes in California

CALIFORNIA
ARKANSAS
State’s highest court refuses to stay ruling

The Arkansas Supreme Court refused Wednesday to put on hold a ruling that overturned the state’s constitutional ban on gay marriage, but the short-lived ability for same-sex couples to wed in the state still came to a halt amid confusion about what comes next.

Last Friday, Pulaski County Circuit Judge Chris Piazza threw out a 10-year-old ban that voters placed in the state constitution and a separate state law barring same-sex marriages. But he didn’t rule on a third law that regulates the conduct of county clerks, who can be fined if they issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

Clerks in five counties responded to Piazza’s decision by starting to issue marriage licenses to gay couples, and more than 450 gay couples in Arkansas have since received a license to marry. Two counties continued to issue licenses on Wednesday but stopped after the Supreme Court’s ruling. Couples with licenses can still get married.

— Associated Press

Wis. girl dies before marijuana law she inspired comes into effect: Lydia Schaeffer, the 7-year-old girl with a rare genetic disorder whose plight inspired lawmakers to legalize a marijuana extract to treat her condition despite their opposition to medical marijuana, has died. Lydia’s mother, Sally Schaeffer, had been lobbying the state legislature to legalize the drug, an experimental extract from cannabis plants known as Charlotte’s Web, for use on children with seizure disorders. The lawmakers moved to pass the law in record time and Gov. Scott Walker (R) signed the bill in April. But Lydia, who died in her sleep on Mother’s Day, never got a chance to try the treatment because the law’s implementation was still being worked out.

Calif. homeowners flee as wildfire approaches: Thousands of people fled their homes ahead of an aggressive wildfire that destroyed several houses in the city of Carlsbad as a heat wave gripped Southern California. The blaze was one of several wildfires that firefighters in San Diego County were battling. Another wildfire further north forced the evacuation of residents in military housing at Camp Pendleton.

Boy survives 11-story fall: A young boy who survived an 11-story fall from a Minneapolis high-rise has been dubbed “the miracle baby” and was recovering in a hospital Wednesday. Fifteen-month-old Musa Dayib suffered a broken spine and ribs, a concussion and a punctured lung. His relatives believe he slipped through the railing of his family’s apartment balcony Sunday. A hospital official said he landed on a small patch of mulch.

— From news services

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The South Carolina GOP primary and the Nevada Democratic caucuses are next on Feb. 20. Get caught up on the race.
Past South Carolina GOP primary winners
South Carolina polling averages
Donald Trump leads in the first state in the South to vote, where he faces rivals Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio.
South Carolina polling averages
The S.C. Democratic primary is Feb. 27. Clinton has a significant lead in the state, whose primary falls one week after the party's Nevada caucuses.
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Quoted
We'll have half a million voters in South Carolina. I can shake a lot of hands, but I can't shake that many.
Sen. Marco Rubio, speaking to a group of reporters about his strategy to regain support after a poor performance in the last debate
Fact Checker
Sanders’s claim that Clinton objected to meeting with ‘our enemies’
Sanders said that Clinton was critical of Obama in 2008 for suggesting meeting with Iran. In fact, Clinton and Obama differed over whether to set preconditions, not about meeting with enemies. Once in office, Obama followed the course suggested by Clinton, abandoning an earlier position as unrealistic.
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The complicated upcoming voting schedule
Feb. 20

Democrats caucus in Nevada; Republicans hold a primary in South Carolina.

Feb. 23

Republicans caucus in Nevada.

Feb. 27

Democrats hold a primary in South Carolina.

Upcoming debates
Feb 13: GOP debate

on CBS News, in South Carolina

Feb. 25: GOP debate

on CNN, in Houston, Texas

March 3: GOP debate

on Fox News, in Detroit, Mich.

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