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Cruz downplays Trump saying Cruz’s Canadian birth could be liability if he wins Republican presidential nomination

SIOUX CENTER, Iowa Ted Cruz tried to make a joke Tuesday out of Republican presidential rival Donald Trump raising questions about whether the Texas senator’s birth in Canada could be a liability if he becomes the GOP’s nominee.

Authorities in Siberia reward local woman with truck full of coal for slimming down

MOSCOW Shedding the pounds in Siberia can come with a particularly welcome reward — coal.

Yelena Salnikova, a nurse from a small town of Berezovskoye, got a truck full of the stuff from authorities in the coal-rich Russian region of Kemerovo on Wednesday for losing 30 kilos (66 pounds).

Young fire survivor receives cards and gifts by the truckload, plans to share with other kids

ROTTERDAM, N.Y. An 8-year-old girl who lost her father and younger siblings in an arson fire that left her severely scarred is sharing the good cheer that has been bestowed on her, by the tractor-trailer load, since her simple Christmas wish went viral.

Miss Universe host’s mistake initially gives crown to Colombia, not Philippines

LAS VEGAS The Miss Universe contestant from the Philippines is this year’s winner but for one brief moment Sunday evening, it appeared as if it might be a repeat win for Colombia.

Colombia contestant Ariadna Gutierrez Arevalo was already wearing the crown as this year’s Miss Universe winner when host Steve Harvey returned to apologize.

Christian college professor wearing headscarf in solidarity with Muslims placed on leave

CHICAGO A professor at a suburban Chicago Christian college who has been placed on administrative leave after donning a headscarf to demonstrate solidarity with Muslims said Wednesday that her actions are demonstrations of her own faith.

Anonymous donor pays off over $106K in shoppers’ layaways at 2 Wal-Mart stores in Ohio

CLEVELAND A man has paid off more than $106,000 in shoppers’ layaways at two Wal-Mart stores in northeast Ohio.

WEWS-TV in Cleveland says the man told Wal-Mart employees that he liked to do something special on his birthday every year. They say he insisted on remaining anonymous.