Reuters US Domestic News Summary

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Following is a summary of current US domestic news briefs.

administration seeks ban on flavored e-cigarettes to combat youth addiction

The administration announced plans on Wednesday to remove all flavored e-cigarettes from store shelves in a widening crackdown on vaping, as officials warned that sweet flavors had drawn millions of children into nicotine addiction. President Donald and top U.S. officials expressed concern about surging teenage use of e-cigarettes, and the move comes as health officials are investigating a handful of deaths and potentially hundreds of lung illnesses tied to vaping.

Biden, Warren to share stage for first time at Democratic presidential debate

Leading Democratic White House contenders Joe Biden and Elizabeth Warren will share the stage for the first time on Thursday when the top 10 candidates for the party's presidential nomination meet in a debate in Houston. The third debate in the race to find a challenger to Republican President Donald in the November 2020 election will spotlight the party's ideological divisions, with moderate front-runner Biden at center stage flanked by progressives Warren and Bernie Sanders, both U.S. senators.

Fugitive couple who overpowered guards captured in Arizona

A fugitive husband-and-wife team wanted for murder and arson have been captured in Arizona, police said on Thursday, nearly three weeks after they overpowered guards and escaped custody in Utah last month. They were considered armed and dangerous.

White House hopeful Warren would expand Social Security retirement benefits

U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren said on Thursday that if elected to the White House, she would expand Social Security, the retirement program administered by the federal government, by increasing benefits by $200 a month for every current and future beneficiary. The Massachusetts senator, one of 20 Democrats vying to take on Republican President Donald in November 2020, said she would pay for the Social Security expansion by "asking the top 2% of families to contribute their fair share."

U.S. judge approves novel framework for opioid settlement talks

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A federal judge on Wednesday approved the substance of a proposal by lawyers representing cities and counties suing drug companies over the U.S. opioid epidemic that would bring every state and municipality in the country into their settlement talks. U.S. District Judge Dan Polster, in Cleveland, Ohio, federal court, said that the plan, which was opposed by 37 states and the District of Columbia, "does not interfere with the states settling their own cases any way they want."

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Supreme Court backs on asylum crackdown

The U.S. Supreme Court granted a request by President Donald 's administration to fully enforce a new rule that would curtail asylum applications by immigrants at the U.S.-Mexico border, a key element of his hardline immigration policies. The court said the rule, which requires most immigrants who want asylum to first seek safe haven in a third country through which they had traveled on their way to the United States, could go into effect as litigation challenging its legality continues.

California Senate passes bill to tighten 'gig' worker rule

The California State Senate voted on Tuesday to pass a bill that would make it much more difficult for gig economy companies like Uber Technologies Inc and Lyft Inc to classify workers as independent contractors rather than employees. The bill, which was sponsored by California Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez and is backed by Governor Gavin Newsom, passed the chamber with 29 votes in favor and 11 votes against it.

Democrats excluded from debate to fill time with TV, town halls and beer

While top contenders for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination swap zingers during Thursday's debate in Houston, Montana Governor Steve Bullock will be sipping beer and playing bar games with campaign staff at the Tipsy Crow Tavern in Iowa. Fellow candidate Marianne Williamson, an author and self-help guru, plans to watch and critique the debate with supporters at the Writers Guild Theater in Beverly Hills, California. Former U.S. Representative John Delaney will be in New York, making his case on cable TV, spokeswoman Carrie Healey said.

House panel plans to intensify impeachment probe

The Democratic-led U.S. House of Representatives Judiciary Committee is expected to intensify its investigation of Republican President Donald on Thursday, as lawmakers edge closer to deciding whether to recommend his impeachment. The 41-member panel has scheduled an 8 a.m. EDT (1200 GMT) meeting to vote on a resolution allowing it to designate hearings as impeachment proceedings, subject witnesses to more aggressive questioning and quicken the pace of an investigation that is expanding into areas that could prove politically explosive for both and Congress.

Final body found in California boat fire, Coast Guard issues lithium battery warning

Divers on Wednesday recovered the remains of the final victim of a California dive boat fire that killed 34 people, as the U.S. Coast Guard issued a safety bulletin focusing on emergency escape routes, crew training and the charging of lithium-ion batteries. The 75-foot (23-meter) Conception erupted in flames at about 3:15 a.m. on Sept. 2 and sank off Santa Cruz Island. Only five crew members escaped. Recovery of the final body had been delayed by weather conditions that complicated dive operations.

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