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Nation/World

Southern California wildfires claim first fatality

Schenecker
Copeland

– Firefighters aided by calmer winds made progress Thursday against a series of wildfires burning across San Diego County, and firefighters found a badly burned body in a transient camp in a north San Diego suburb – apparently the first fatality of the fires.

While some of the nine fires were extinguished and thousands of people were able to return to their homes, the San Marcos blaze roared back in the afternoon and prompted more than 13,000 new evacuation notices, Sheriff Bill Gore said, serving as a “reminder to everybody just how volatile this can be.”

Nation

Tampa mother guilty of murder

Florida jurors on Thursday rejected the insanity plea of a former military linguist and longtime Army officer's wife, convicting the 53-year-old of first-degree murder for shooting and killing her 13-year-old son and 16-year-old daughter more than three years ago while her husband was deployed.

Julie Schenecker was sentenced soon after to two life terms, fingerprinted and led away to prison.

Schenecker wrote about the shootings in her journals, saying that she shot both teens in “their mouthy mouths.”

LA streets coated in oil as pipeline fails

A geyser of oil sprayed onto buildings and puddled in knee-high pools of crude in Los Angeles streets after a valve on a high-pressure pipeline failed early Thursday.

About 10,000 gallons of oil spewed 20 feet high over about half a mile of the industrial area of Atwater Village about 12:15 a.m., Fire Capt. Jaime Moore said.

Four commercial businesses near the border of Glendale were affected, as well as a strip club that was evacuated after oil came through air vents. The parking lot was closed, and patrons and employees were forced to leave behind their crude-coated cars.

US admits lapse on Nigerian militants

The State Department acknowledged Thursday it could have acted sooner to designate Nigeria's Boko Haram a foreign terrorist organization, even though the Nigerian government and many Africa experts opposed the move when it was first considered two years ago.

The acknowledgment – accompanied by a caveat that it is impossible to say whether an earlier designation would have had a significant impact on the group – came amid Republican criticism of former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton's decision not to take the step in 2012.

Town official stands by his Obama slur

An 82-year-old police commissioner in a predominantly white New Hampshire town says he won't apologize for calling President Barack Obama the N-word, and he sat with arms crossed while angry residents at a meeting called for his resignation Thursday.

“I believe I did use the ‘N' word in reference to the current occupant of the Whitehouse,” Wolfeboro Police Commissioner Robert Copeland said in the email to his fellow police commissioners. “For this, I do not apologize – he meets and exceeds my criteria for such.”

World

Car bomb kills 43 on Syrian border

A massive car bomb ripped through a crowded garage Thursday near a rebel-held border crossing between Syria and Turkey, killing at least 43 people in an area that has seen fierce fighting between rival rebel groups, an anti-government activist group said.

Car bombings have become common in Syria as the influence of Islamic extremist groups has risen, dampening the support of the U.S. and its European allies for the opposition seeking to oust President Bashar Assad.

Steelworkers join police in Ukraine

Steelworkers employed by Ukraine's biggest tycoon have joined police on patrol in some disputed eastern Ukrainian cities, and the company said Thursday that its officials had struck a deal with police and pro-Russian separatists in one of the cities for the insurgents to leave occupied government buildings.

The workers are from plants of Metinvest, part of the business empire of Rinat Akhmetov, believed to be Ukraine's richest man.

World Cup protests erupt across Brazil

Protesters and police clashed in Sao Paulo on Thursday, as demonstrations against the World Cup and rallies calling for improved public services erupted in several Brazilian cities.

Officers in Brazil's largest city fired tear gas and rubber bullets at protesters who set piles of trash alight to barricade a central avenue. Demonstrators blasted the billions spent to host next month's soccer tournament and said they wanted to draw attention to what they called a lack of investment to improve poor public services.

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