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Donald Trump refuses to support Kentucky clerk Kim Davis: ‘We are a nation of laws’

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Leading Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump on Friday broke away from stances held by many of his rivals on issues ranging from the Iran nuclear deal to the gay marriage fight in Kentucky.

Trump’s statements in a lengthy interview on MSNBC came one day after signing the party’s loyalty pledge.

He called the Iran nuclear agreement “a disastrous deal” and “a horrible contract,” but said he would work with it.

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Many of the 16 other Republicans seeking the party’s nomination for the 2016 presidential election have vowed to immediately undo the Obama administration’s agreement if they win office. But Trump, a wealthy businessman, reiterated his view that too much money was at stake and his rivals were wrong to say they would rip it up.

“This is the perfect example of taking over a bad contract,” he said, adding that he would be tough in enforcing it.

Closer to home, Trump also eschewed rivals on the Kentucky battle over gay marriage. Some Republicans loudly backed Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis, who opted for jail time rather than issue any marriage licenses following the U.S. Supreme Court’s June ruling in support of gay marriage.

“We are a nation of laws,” Trump said. “The decision’s been made, and that’s the law of the land.”

Davis could authorize her deputies to sign the paperwork instead, he said. Early on Friday, her office began issuing licenses.

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On Thursday, Trump signed a loyalty pledge from the head of the Republican National Committee and, after weeks of flirting with the idea, vowed to not to launch a third-party candidacy .

“I’m not taking anything for granted,” he told MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” program, acknowledging the wide Republican field. “I understand … it is a marathon.”

On the European refugee crisis, Trump said that while the United States has its own border and immigration issues to grapple with, the situation was horrible. Few Republican presidential candidates have spoken out on the crisis, and even the White House has acknowledged it without announcing any action.

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Asked whether the United States should accept more refugees fleeing violence in the Middle East, Trump said: “Possibly yes” but added that there were limited U.S. options to help.

On that point, he and other Republicans agree.

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“We have our own problems; we have so many problems to solve,” he said. “Our country is broken.”

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Elections 2016

Vietnamese women strive to clear war-era mines

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Inching across a field littered with Vietnam war-era bombs, Ngoc leads an all-women demining team clearing unexploded ordnance that has killed tens of thousands of people -- including her uncle.

"He died in an explosion. I was haunted by memories of him," Le Thi Bich Ngoc tells AFP as she oversees the controlled detonation of a cluster bomb found in a sealed-off site in central Quang Tri province.

More than 6.1 million hectares of land in Vietnam remain blanketed by unexploded munitions -- mainly dropped by US bombers -- decades after the war ended in 1975.

At least 40,000 Vietnamese have since died in related accidents. Victims are often farmers who accidentally trigger explosions, people salvaging scrap metal, or children who mistake bomblets for toys.

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Elections 2016

Chief Justice John Roberts issues New Year’s Eve warning to stand up for democracy

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In a progressive welcoming move, Chief Justice John Roberts issued his New Year's Eve annual report urging his fellow federal judges to stand up for democracy.

"In our age, when social media can instantly spread rumor and false information on a grand scale, the public's need to understand our government, and the protections it provides, is ever more vital," he wrote. "We should celebrate our strong and independent judiciary, a key source of national unity and stability."

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Trump’s next 100 days will dictate whether he can be re-elected or not — here’s why

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According to CNN pollster-in-residence Harry Enten, Donald Trump's next 100 days -- which could include an impeachment trial in the Senate -- will hold the key to whether he will remain president in 2020.

As Eten explains in a column for CNN, "His [Trump's] approval rating has been consistently low during his first term. Yet his supporters could always point out that approval ratings before an election year have not historically been correlated with reelection success. But by mid-March of an election year, approval ratings, though, become more predictive. Presidents with low approval ratings in mid-March of an election year tend to lose, while those with strong approval ratings tend to win in blowouts and those with middling approval ratings usually win by small margins."

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