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Daily Briefing

Top U.S., World headlines from the Associated Press

Wednesday, August 27, 2014
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Pilot’s fate unknown in fighter jet crash

First responders help coordinate efforts from the mobile command center in Deerfield, Va.

First responders help coordinate efforts from the mobile command center in Deerfield, Va.

DEERFIELD, Va. (AP) — An experienced pilot was missing Wednesday after the flier’s F-15 fighter jet crashed in the mountains of western Virginia, shaking residents but causing no injuries on the ground, military and law enforcement officials said.

The pilot of the single-seat jet was headed to New Orleans for radar installation as part of routine maintenance and reported an inflight emergency, then lost radio contact, authorities said. The pilot and jet are with the 104th Fighter Wing of the Massachusetts Air National Guard, officials there said.


Boston suspect’s sister charged in NY bomb threat

Ailiana Tsarnaeva, sister of Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.

Ailiana Tsarnaeva, sister of Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.

NEW YORK (AP) — Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s sister was arrested Wednesday on suspicion she threatened to bomb a woman who previously had a romantic relationship with her boyfriend.

Ailina Tsarnaeva, who lives in North Bergen, New Jersey, made the threat against an upper Manhattan woman via telephone on Monday, police said. She turned herself in at a Manhattan police precinct, and police charged her with aggravated harassment.


US official warns Ebola outbreak will get worse

Doctors Without Borders trains personnel on precautions to take when entering a zone that contains the Ebola virus.

Doctors Without Borders trains personnel on precautions to take when entering a zone that contains the Ebola virus.

FREETOWN, Sierra Leone (AP) — A third top doctor has died from Ebola in Sierra Leone, a government official said Wednesday, as a leading American health official warned that the outbreak sweeping West Africa would get worse.

The disease has already killed more than 1,400 people in Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone, and Doctors Without Borders warned that the tremendous influx of patients in Liberia, in particular, is overwhelming their treatment centers there.


Mother of US reporter in Syria begs for his life

Shirley Sotloff appeals to the captors of her son, freelance journalist Steven Sotloff.

Shirley Sotloff appeals to the captors of her son, freelance journalist Steven Sotloff.

BEIRUT (AP) — The mother of a hostage American journalist pleaded for his release Wednesday in a video directed at the Islamic State group, while new images emerged of mass killings, including masked militants shooting kneeling men after the capture of a strategic air base in Syria.

Shirley Sotloff’s plea came as a U.N. commission accused the group, which dominates a broad swath of territory spanning the Syria-Iraq border, of committing crimes against humanity and President Barack Obama weighs options for targeting the extremists’ stronghold in Syria.


Battle for Ukraine’s southeast coast heats up

Smoke rises after shelling in the town of Novoazovsk, eastern Ukraine.

Smoke rises after shelling in the town of Novoazovsk, eastern Ukraine.

NOVOAZOVSK, Ukraine (AP) — Pushing west in a new offensive along Ukraine’s strategic coastline, heavily armed Russian-backed separatist forces captured new territory Wednesday far from their previous battles with government troops.

The bold offensive along a new southeastern front raised the prospect that the separatists are seeking to create a land link between Russia and Crimea, which also would give them control over the entire Azov Sea.


Shooting by 9-year-old girl stirs debate over guns

Last Stop outdoor shooting range in White Hills, Ariz.

Last Stop shooting range, White Hills, Ariz.

PHOENIX (AP) — The accidental shooting death of a firing-range instructor by a 9-year-old girl with an Uzi has set off a powerful debate over youngsters and guns, with many people wondering what sort of parents would let a child handle a submachine gun.

Instructor Charles Vacca, 39, was standing next to the girl Monday at the Last Stop range in White Hills, Arizona, about 60 miles south of Las Vegas, when she squeezed the trigger. The recoil wrenched the Uzi upward, and Vacca was shot in the head.


U.S. to consider spousal abuse in immigration claims

WASHINGTON (AP) — A government immigration board has determined for the first time that domestic violence victims may be able to qualify for asylum in the United States. The ruling comes in the case of a Guatemalan woman who crossed into the U.S. illegally in 2005 after fleeing her husband.

She said she called local police in Guatemala to report the abuse but was repeatedly told that the authorities would not interfere in her marriage. She argued that the abuse and the lack of police response should make her eligible for asylum.


Cold cash just keeps washing in from ALS challenge

ICE BUCKET CHALLENGE

In the couple of hours it took an official from the ALS Association to return a reporter’s call for comment, the group’s ubiquitous “ice bucket challenge” had brought in a few million more dollars.

Approaching $100 million, the viral fundraising campaign for the ailment better known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease has put the ALS group into the top ranks for medical charity donations. Since the end of July, the money has been sloshing in at a rate of about $9 million a week. Last year, from July 29 to Aug. 26, the group raised just $2.6 million.


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