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The FBI will now track animal abuse the way it tracks arson or assault.

This could help save more animals — and, perhaps, people: Research has shown that animal abuse is often a precursor to other acts of violence. And tracking acts of violence against animals may help law enforcement intervene before that develops into violence against people.

John Thompson, deputy executive director of the National Sheriffs' Association, has been instrumental in moving this idea forward.

Following the rapid outbreak of a malarial virus called Zika in Latin America and the Caribbean, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has warned pregnant women against traveling to those regions. The tropical illness has been linked to birth defects.

"Out of an abundance of caution, pregnant women advised to consider postponing travel to areas where Zika virus transmission is ongoing," the CDC said Friday.

The Supreme Court has agreed to hear former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell's appeal of his public corruption convictions. McDonnell says he never violated his oath of office and that the convictions were based on an overly broad definition of bribery.

On Friday, Wall Street traders got the same treatment as the main character in The Revenant: A big fearsome bear attacked again and again.

By the close, stock prices were badly mauled. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 2.4 percent of its value, tumbling 391 points to close at 15,988.

The S&P 500 index dropped 2.16 percent to 1,880 and the tech-heavy Nasdaq composite index lost 2.7 percent to 4,488.

Last year, there were emotional protests for and against a law that would allow Texans to walk around with pistols on their belts. It passed, and on Jan. 1, Texas became the 45th state in the union to allow the open carry of handguns.

But in an unforeseen backlash, the new law may actually hurt the cause of handgun carriers.

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Wal-Mart will shut down 269 stores to focus on other aspects of the business, including online sales, the company announced Friday. Among the shuttered stores will be 154 in the U.S.

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Let's take a closer look now at what the candidates said in last night's Republican presidential debate. There were a lot of claims and counterclaims. We're going to break it down.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

A new method of delivering medication for opioid addicts gained approval from a Food and Drug Administration advisory panel this week. It's a matchstick-like insert designed to slip under the skin and release a drug over a period of months. Some physicians say the implant will be a useful addition to the currently short lineup of medication-assisted treatment options.

Take two 18-year-olds with equally stellar academic abilities. One comes from the socioeconomic bottom and one from the top. That lower-income student is one-third as likely to enroll in a selective college.

Addicted to prescription painkillers after a high-school sports injury, Cameron Burke moved on to heroin, which was cheaper and more easily accessible. His parents tried everything, more than once sending him out of state for treatment.

"It was never enough," Jennifer Weiss-Burke of Albuquerque, N.M., told a local TV reporter last year. "Thirty days here, 30 days there, maybe detox for five days. It was never long-term, and that's what he needed. Recovery from heroin addiction requires long-term treatment."

In the mid-1960s, Tom Houck left high school to join the civil rights movement. After meeting Martin Luther King Jr. at an event, Houck decided to volunteer for King's Southern Christian Leadership Conference.

So, Houck made his way to Atlanta.

"I was standing outside waiting for somebody to come pick me up," Houck says, remembering the day he arrived in Atlanta. "All of a sudden, Dr. King drove down the street. He said, 'Tom, you're here.' "

The Anne Arundel (Md.) County State's Attorney is investigating former Gov. Martin O'Malley, the AP reported Thursday, for furniture purchases he made as he left office in January 2015. (The Baltimore Sun was the first to report the investigation.)

With fewer than three weeks until the Iowa caucuses, seven Republican candidates met in North Charleston, S.C., Thursday for the sixth Republican presidential debate.

Fox Business Network hosted the debate, featuring the top seven candidates based on the average of six recent national polls.

Goldman Sachs will pay about $5 billion to resolve state and federal investigations into its handling of mortgage-backed securities in the years leading up to the 2008 financial crisis, the bank said today.

Eating healthfully in America is hard. We have to contend with constant sugary and oily temptations, while pervasive ads coax us to eat these items day in and out.

The public health community generally agrees that regulations and taxes could help remind us of the potential health toll of the unhealthiest items — like beverages high in sugar — and keep us from consuming too much of them.

The secretive sale late last year of the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Nevada's largest news organization, to the family of one of the wealthiest men in the country set off shock waves in that newsroom.

The vast financial and political interests of the billionaire casino magnate and major Republican donor Sheldon Adelson raise nettlesome questions about how the paper can cover him.

Update at at 6:30 p.m. ET on Friday: Sen. Ted Cruz gave the Federal Election Commission an accounting of his campaign loans Thursday evening. The Cruz for Senate treasurer acknowledged in a letter that Cruz's loans to the campaign were underwritten by a margin loan from Goldman Sachs, where his wife is a managing director, and a line of credit from Citibank.

Asian-Americans are a bit of a voting paradox. They're the fastest growing minority group in the country, but they're also the least likely to vote.

Take the 2012 election — Asian-Americans voted Democrat in higher numbers than ever before (73 percent cast a ballot for Barack Obama). But they had the lowest voter turnout of any racial group (47 percent).

To try and narrow that discrepancy, a group of Asian-Americans have created the AAPI (Asian American and Pacific Islander) Victory Fund.

In his State of the Union address this week, President Obama talked about the progress he's made on big issues, including education. And he laid out a new goal: expanding computer science in America's schools.

"In the coming years," the president said, "we should build on that progress, by providing pre-K for all, offering every student the hands-on computer science and math classes that make them job-ready on day one."

For three straight days earlier this week, some Detroit public schools were closed because too many teachers called in sick.

These rolling "sickout" protests have picked up steam in recent weeks, and they've drawn fierce criticism — and attention to a school district in freefall.

Detroit resident Crystal Fischer saw it on the news Monday morning: Her 5-year-old son's school was closed because too many teachers had called in sick.

Fischer made do for that day.

Millions of bats are dying due to a deadly disease sweeping across the United States, their tiny bodies strewn across cave floors.

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After numerous drawings without a big winner, there were at least three winning tickets sold for the record Powerball jackpot of $1.6 billion.

We don't know who those lucky people are — but as The Associated Press reports, we do know they bought their tickets in California, Tennessee and Florida. The news service says:

Ring, ring.

Hello?

It's reality calling. People are shallow, and life isn't fair.

In a new paper, a pair of researchers looked at the student records of tens of thousands of students at their university. They compared the students' class grades to ratings of their physical attractiveness, as judged by outside observers from their student ID card photographs.

Many women in the U.S. are waiting longer than ever to have their first child.

Fifteen years ago, the mean age of a woman when she first gave birth was 24.9 years old. In 2014, that age had risen to 26.3.

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