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On-air shooter threatened to make 'headlines,' showed anger
ROANOKE, Va. (AP) - On the day he was fired from a Virginia TV station, Vester Flanagan pressed a wooden cross into his boss' hand as two police officers walked him to the door. "You'll need this," he said. More than two years later, Flanagan - fulfilling a threat to put his conflict with co-workers into "the headlines" - gunned down two station employees during a live morning broadcast, one of them a cameraman who had filmed his firing.


Puerto Rico braces for TS Erika after 4 dead in Dominica
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) - Tropical Storm Erika lashed Puerto Rico early Friday with heavy rains and wind after killing four people and causing devastating floods in the eastern Caribbean island of Dominica, where several people remained missing. The storm was expected to dump up to 12 inches (31 centimeters) of rain across portions of the drought-stricken northern Caribbean as it carved a path toward the U.S. Forecasters said Erika might fall apart over Hispaniola or Puerto Rico or possibly strengthen into a hurricane as it nears South Florida early next week.


N. Korea leader dismisses top officials after standoff eases
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) - North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has dismissed top officials in the wake of a recent standoff with South Korea, state media reported Friday, a move that suggests the young leader holds them responsible for allowing the confrontation to nearly spin out of control. The rival Koreas earlier this week threatened strikes against each other before agreeing on measures to reduce animosity. The standoff began after land mines that Seoul says the North planted maimed two South Korean soldiers. Seoul responded by resuming propaganda broadcasts critical of Kim's authoritarian rule for the first time in 11 years. Pyongyang then threatened to destroy the South Korean loudspeakers, and Seoul says the rivals exchanged artillery fire at the border.


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Rousseff faces 'political suicide bomber,' removal threat
RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) - If the worst economic crisis in a decade, a massive corruption scandal centered on her ruling party and approval ratings in the single digits weren't rough enough for Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, she's now faced with a "political suicide bomber." That would be Eduardo Cunha, the powerful speaker of Brazil's lower house of Congress. Rousseff's sworn enemy, he has been charged by her attorney general with taking millions in bribes in connection with a sprawling corruption scandal at state-run oil company Petrobras.


Clinton quietly trying to discourage Biden from a 2016 bid
WASHINGTON (AP) - In ways both subtle and blunt, Hillary Rodham Clinton's campaign is sending a message to Vice President Joe Biden about his potential presidential campaign: This won't be easy. As Biden ponders a challenge to Clinton for the Democratic nomination, she has rolled out a string of high-profile endorsements in the early voting contests of Iowa and South Carolina and scheduled an onslaught of fundraisers across the country - all part of the effort to throw cold water on a possible Biden bid.


Scientists, tribe study shrinking Washington state glacier
MOUNT BAKER, Wash. (AP) - Mauri Pelto digs his crampons into the steep icy slope on Mount Baker in Washington state and watches as streams of water cascades off the thick mass of bare, bluish ice. Every 20 yards, the water carves vertical channels in the face of the glacier as it rushes downstream. What little snow from last winter is already gone, so ice is melting off the glacier at a rate of nearly three inches a day this summer, he said.


India's polluted waters cleanse spirits at Hindu festival
NASIK, India (AP) - It's just water, and far from the cleanest you could find. Raw sewage often flows in the Godavari River, bringing with it high bacteria levels. Residue from sand mining can cloud the water. Farm pesticides leech through the soil. But to the millions of Hindus expected at the Kumbh Mela festival, held this year along the Godavari, touching that water is reverential. It's a way to cleanse themselves of sin, to come close to God, to immerse themselves in a tradition that reaches back into antiquity. They have come to this city from across India and around the world. Entire villages arrive together, and their parties often last through the nights. Thousands of mystics gather.


Virginia shootings make for tough media decisions
NEW YORK (AP) - In an era when anyone can go online and find video of extremist beheadings, police shootings and other carnage, major news organizations applied their own standards to coverage of this week's killing of a TV news crew in Virginia and showed only carefully selected portions of the footage. They were difficult newsroom decisions, informed by competitive pressures, questions of newsworthiness and taste, and an understanding that for all the talk about the great convergence of media, a fundamental difference still exists between TV and the Internet.


Obama to people of New Orleans: You inspire me, and America
NEW ORLEANS (AP) - Visiting residents on tidy porch stoops and sampling the fried chicken at a corner restaurant, President Barack Obama held out the people of New Orleans on Thursday as an extraordinary example of renewal and resilience 10 years after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina. "There's something in you guys that is just irrepressible," Obama told hundreds of residents assembled at a bustling new community center in an area of the Lower 9th Ward that was once under 17 feet of water. "The people of New Orleans didn't just inspire me, you inspired all of America."


Trump proposals risk deepening GOP rift on immigration
WASHINGTON (AP) - Donald Trump has exposed anew the deep rift inside the Republican Party on immigration, a break between its past and the country's future the party itself has said it must bridge if the GOP ever hopes to win back the White House. As they headed into the 2016 election, Republicans thought they had a strategy for moving past their immigration woes. Outlined in a so-called "autopsy" of 2012 nominee Mitt Romney's loss to President Barack Obama, it called for passing "comprehensive immigration reform" - shorthand for resolving the status of the estimated 11 million people living in the country illegally.

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