Vanessa Romo

The U.S. State Department is warning Americans not to travel to five Mexican states, issuing a "do not travel" advisory.

"Violent crime, such as homicide, kidnapping, carjacking, and robbery, is widespread," the State Department said in the notice Thursday.

Updated at 8:11 p.m. ET

Officials have released the identities of 17 people killed in Tuesday's Santa Barbara, Calif., mudslides, as workers continue search and rescue efforts for victims caught in the deluge that swamped houses, crumpled cars and sent boulders careening through streets.

It's summer in Australia and extreme heat is causing bats' brains to fry.

Hundreds of fur-covered flying fox bats, which lack sufficient canopy cover and shade in Australia's suburbs, died outside Sydney over the weekend as temperatures soared to 117 degrees F, the hottest it's been since 1939.

The New Jersey Department of Corrections has lifted a ban on a book that links racial discrimination and mass incarceration after the ACLU called the prohibition unconstitutional and demanded the department reverse its position.

Inmates at the New Jersey State Prison in Trenton and Southern State Correctional Facility in Delmont were barred from reading Michelle Alexander's 2010 book, The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness. The ACLU New Jersey chapter made the discovery as a result of a public records request.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents need to have "reasonable suspicion" to carry out "advanced" searches on electronic devices, including smartphones and tablets, that belong to individuals entering or exiting the country, the agency announced Friday.

The updated rules allow agents to continue to inspect information that's stored on a device, not in the cloud. But from now on, they can't copy that information or connect to an external device to analyze the contents, unless they have reasonable suspicion of criminal behavior.

Last year was one of the worst for the retail industry, with record setting bankruptcies and store closings — 8,000 across multiple national chains. And so far, things are not looking up in 2018.

On Thursday, Sears Holdings Corp., the parent company of Sears and Kmart, announced it is closing 64 Kmart stores and 39 Sears locations, as it grapples with weaker in-store sales.

Planning a wedding in fairy tales is bibbidi-bobbidi-boo easy but in today's England, where Prince Harry plans to marry American former-actress-because-she's soon-to-become-a-duchess, Meghan Markle, the to-do list is a lot more complicated. And for some officials, it should include moving the homeless out of sight and getting rid of street beggars.

Updated at 5:15 p.m. ET

Trying to change Obama-era rules, the Trump administration is one step closer to making it more difficult for students to have loan debt wiped clean in cases involving fraud by universities.

Updated at 2:50 a.m. ET Wednesday

A tour bus destined for Mayan ruins in eastern Mexico flipped over on a two-lane highway early Tuesday, leaving a dozen people dead and many more injured.

Among those hurt were seven Americans and two Swedish tourists, according to a spokesman for the Quintana Roo state Civil Defense agency, which also said it was looking into the cause of the crash.

Protesters were removed from the gallery of the House chamber today as Republicans prepared to vote on their $1.5 trillion tax cut package. The disruption was the latest in a series of demonstrations and attempts to get lawmakers' attention and prevent the passage of the bill.

Minutes later, House Republicans voted to pass the bill 227-203, leaving the next step to the Senate before sending the bill to the president.

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