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The nation's news, events, people and culture
Obama suggests he'll need more time on immigration policy

President Obama is suggesting that he will defer his self-imposed deadline for announcing an expected change in immigration policy, as the White House wrestles with the political and legal dilemmas involved in making significant alterations without congressional approval.

Fed up with congressional gridlock, the president has said he'll use his executive power to make changes. One proposal under discussion would delay a decision on the more sweeping and controversial changes under consideration until after the November midterm election, according to a White House official familiar with the discussions.

Under that plan, the president would first announce measures aimed at tightening enforcement of current law, then put off until the end of the year a decision on a more sweeping program that could temporarily shield millions of immigrants from deportation.

The two-step plan would bow to the concerns of Democratic lawmakers running in Republican-leaning states who have expressed opposition...

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Pilot's body recovered after F-15 jet crashes in Virginia

The remains of an Air National Guard pilot whose F-15 jet crashed in the Virginia mountains were found Thursday.

The crash happened about 9:05 a.m. Wednesday when the F-15C went down in a remote area near Deerfield Valley, according to a news release from military officials.

The single-seat aircraft was en route to New Orleans and flying at a high altitude – about 30,000 to 40,000 feet – when communication was lost after the pilot had reported an in-flight emergency.

The crash is under investigation. 

The pilot has not been identified.

Follow @theryanparker for breaking news.

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Missouri residents sue police over use of force in Ferguson protests

Six Missouri residents filed a federal lawsuit Thursday alleging excessive force and false arrests by the Ferguson and St. Louis County police departments during the street protests that followed the shooting death of Michael Brown.

Among the allegations:

--Dewayne Matthews Jr. says he had his hands up when police officers in riot gear pelted him with rubber bullets, slammed his face into the concrete and doused him with a chemical spray.

--Tracey White and her 13-year-old son were waiting to leave a McDonald's, she says, when police stormed the restaurant and arrested them without cause.

--Damon Coleman and Theophilus Green say they were part of a peaceful protest in Ferguson on Aug. 11. Confronted by officers clad in riot gear, the two men shouted "hands up, don't shoot," the refrain that became a battle cry for demonstrators. Police responded with rubber bullets, tear gas, stun grenades, racial slurs and a beatdown.

The six residents accuse the police of humiliating them and...

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Passenger dispute forces Paris-bound flight to land in Boston

An American Airlines flight from Miami to Paris had to be diverted to Boston when two passengers got into an argument and one of them grabbed a member of the crew, authorities said.

When Flight 62 landed at Logan International Airport in Boston on Wednesday night, Edmund Alexandre of Paris was arrested on suspicion of disrupting the flight, said the U.S. attorney's office in Massachusetts.

In a statement, the U.S. attorney's office said Alexandre, 60, began to argue with another passenger about 9:10 p.m., and their dispute escalated. Alexandre then followed a crew member to the back of the plane and grabbed her arm, the statement said.

At that point, an unknown number of federal air marshals identified themselves and placed Alexandre in handcuffs. The offense carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison.

American Airlines refused to comment on whether the passengers' disagreement was over leg room.

This marks the second time in a week that a U.S. flight has been diverted because of...

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Medical transport plane crashes in New Mexico, killing four

Four people were killed Wednesday night when a Phoenix-bound medical transport plane went down in a fiery crash shortly after takeoff in southern New Mexico, police said.

The twin-engine propeller plane was found burning near the Dona Ana County Fairgrounds in Las Cruces around 7 p.m. Wednesday, roughly 50 miles from the U.S.-Mexico border, according to a statement from local police.

The plane had taken off from Las Cruces Airport, less than 10 miles from the crash site, police said. Witnesses told police the aircraft was flying low to the ground before crashing.

The aircraft belonged to Amigos Aviation, based in Hartinger, Texas, and was being contracted by Elite Medical Transport, based in El Paso. 

Elizabeth Cory, a spokeswoman for the Federal Aviation Administration, told the Los Angeles Times the aircraft was a multi-engine Cessna 421. 

The plane's pilot, a paramedic, a nurse and the patient who was being taken to Phoenix were all killed in the crash, police said. 

On Thursday,...

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Obama says he's seeking options to take on Islamic State militants

President Obama said Thursday that he has asked military planners to come up with options for action against Islamic State militants that focus on targets in Iraq but also include the possibility of strikes in Syria.

If the U.S. is going to “degrade” the Al Qaeda splinter group over the long term, Obama said, he needs a strategy that involves allies and partners in the Middle East to deny the group “safe haven” in Syria.

But the president also downplayed the idea that strikes against the terrorist group in Syria might be imminent, saying he didn’t want to “put the cart before the horse.”

“The suggestion seems to have been that we’re about to go full-scale on an elaborate strategy for defeating ISIL,” Obama said, using one of the acronyms for the extremist group. “The suggestion has been that we’ll start moving forward imminently and somehow Congress, still out of town, is going to be left in the dark.

“That’s not what’s going to happen,” Obama told reporters in a question-and-answer...

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After Uzi death, gun ranges debate safest way to teach kids to shoot

The accidental death of an instructor at an Arizona shooting range, killed while teaching a 9-year-old girl to fire a fully automatic Uzi, has touched off a national debate on whether children should be given access to such weapons.

But among those who enjoy and teach the use of firearms, a different question has emerged: What’s the proper way to teach children about guns?

Whether a child should be shooting any sort of gun is a decision for each family to make, said Butch Jensen, an instructor for 10 years at Southeast Regional Park Shooting Range on the outskirts of Tucson. The key, he said, is training. A gun is a tool, and like any tool — be it a circular saw or a kitchen knife — requires proper instruction, he said.

“It was clear that she was a beginner, and you don’t start a beginner in that type of firearm,” said Jensen, who watched a widely circulated video of the fatal lesson. “If you want to learn how to run Indy cars, you don’t start at Indy.”

Charles Vacca, 39, of Lake...

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Oklahoma inmate died from injection in botched execution, not heart attack

An Oklahoma murderer who writhed and gasped for 43 minutes until dying 10 minutes after officials had called off his execution succumbed to the lethal injection drugs, not to a heart attack, according to autopsy results released Thursday.

The difficult death in April of Clayton Lockett, 38 — who was convicted of the 1999 kidnapping and murder of Stephanie Neiman in Perry, Okla. —  prompted a public outcry from execution opponents and resulted in Gov. Mary Fallin ordering a review of execution procedures.

The autopsy was conducted by the Southwestern Institute of Forensic Sciences, which is the crime lab of Dallas County, Texas, two days after the execution. The results and other documents involving the execution were released by the Oklahoma Department of Public Safety, which has been handling the governor's review.

Oklahoma public safety officials said they were in the “final stages” of investigating Lockett’s execution and were completing recommendations to improve the execution...

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Obama blames Russia for separatist violence in Ukraine

President Obama said Thursday that the world now has evidence that Russia has been funding and arming separatists in Ukraine, but stopped short of labeling Russia’s actions an “invasion,” as Ukrainian officials claim.

“The violence is encouraged by Russia,” Obama told reporters Thursday. “New images of Russian forces inside Ukraine make that plain for the world to see.”

The remarks came just hours after Ukrainian officials reported that Russian tanks and military vehicles had fired missiles at a border post in southeastern Ukraine and then crossed into the country as Ukrainian border guards scattered.

The missiles were fired from Russia in the morning, a spokesman for the Ukrainian security council said, and followed in the early afternoon by vehicles entering Ukraine from Veselo-Voznesenka, just across the border from Novoazovsk.

Novoazovsk, which had escaped the kind of conflict raging farther north in Donetsk, came under heavy fire as rebels moved in.

Infuriated by the incursion,...

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Woman dies after falling under bus at Burning Man festival

A woman died at the counterculture Burning Man festival in Nevada early Thursday morning after she fell underneath a bus, according to a statement issued by the festival.

The victim, who was not identified, fell underneath a bus carrying festival participants, according to the statement. 

“This is a terrible accident,” Burning Man co-founder Marian Goodell said in the statement. “Our thoughts and prayers are with her family, friends and campmates. Black Rock Rangers and Emergency Services Department staff are providing support to those affected.”

Festival officials did not release other details and calls to a spokesman for the Pershing County Sheriff's Office seeking additional comment were not immediately returned.

The Burning Man festival, a famously unplanned music event and gathering best known for the image of a smoldering wooden human effigy, moved to the Black Rock Desert outside Reno in 1990. The event began in San Francisco in 1986.

This year's event has already been hampered...

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Power to the workers: How grocery chain employees saved beloved CEO

Artie T. is back.

The beloved chief executive of the New England grocery chain Market Basket, Arthur T. Demoulas, has been reinstated in what experts are calling a testament to the power of passionate employees.

“You have demonstrated to the world that it is a person’s moral obligation and social responsibility to protect a culture which provides an honorable and a dignified place in which to work,” Demoulas said at a rally Thursday where employees whooped and hollered as passing cars honked to show support.

The ouster of Demoulas, or Artie T., as his employees call him, prompted six weeks of protests and boycotts of the chain. It ended Wednesday night with a deal in which Demoulas and his allies will buy the 50.5% stake in the company owned by his rival and cousin, Arthur S. Demoulas.

Arthur T. Demoulas’ management team, which was fired after protesting his forced departure as chief executive, will also be reinstated, the company said in a statement.

“We’re back to work, full steam...

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Market Basket's ousted CEO to buy out rivals and return

A beloved chief executive ousted from a New England supermarket chain will return to the company after a massive outpouring of support that included worker strikes and a shopper boycott.

Arthur T. Demoulas will take control of Market Basket after an agreement was reached at $1.5 billion for the 50.5% of the company owned by rival shareholders, including his cousin, Arthur S. Demoulas, according to a statement from the company.

“Effective immediately, Arthur T. Demoulas is returning to Market Basket with day-to-day operational authority of the company,” the statement said.

The deal was reached Wednesday night. 

Demoulas and his team will run the company on an interim basis while the deal is being completed, according to the statement.

The Market Basket chain, which has 25,000 employees and 71 stores in Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Maine, was founded by Greek immigrant Arthur Demoulas nearly a century ago.

His two grandsons, Arthur S. Demoulas and Arthur T. Demoulas, have warred over...

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