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A firefighter's jacket and helmet sit on a marker outside Mount Zion African Methodist Episcopal church, early Wednesday, July 1, 2015, in Greeleyville, S.C. The African-American church, which was burned down by the Ku Klux Klan in 1995, caught fire Tuesday night, June 30, 2015. (Veasey Conway/The Morning News via AP)

Church fires not usually arson; weather found as cause in SC

Thursday, July 2, 2015

GREELEYVILLE, S.C. — As social media buzzed about church fires in the South, investigators announced Thursday that weather caused a destructive blaze at a predominantly black church in South Carolina. The State Law Enforcement Division said in a statement that investigators found no evidence of criminal intent in the fire at Mount Zion African Methodist Episcopal Church in Greeleyville, about …

Greeks unsure what they’re voting for

Thursday, July 2, 2015

ATHENS, Greece — Costas Christoforidis hasn’t decided how to vote in Sunday’s referendum on a bailout deal for Greece’s troubled economy. The problem is, the 37-year-old farmer isn’t sure what he’s voting for. “If it’s saying ‘No’ to austerity, then it’s a ‘No’ from me too. But if we are rejecting Europe, I …

Egyptian warplanes hit back at militants

Thursday, July 2, 2015

CAIRO — Egyptian warplanes launched new airstrikes and troops went house-to-house Thursday in the troubled Sinai Peninsula, a day after Islamic State-linked militants set off the area’s bloodiest fighting in decades in an unprecedented, coordinated attack. The combat, described as “war” by the media and officials, heightened tensions across Egypt as it marks …

Sanders raises $15M to Clinton’s $45M

Thursday, July 2, 2015

WASHINGTON — Sen. Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign said Thursday the Vermont Democrat has raised $15 million since joining the race in late April, a strong total for his challenge against front-runner Hillary Rodham Clinton. About 250,000 donors have …

US report warns of polar bears’ peril

Thursday, July 2, 2015

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — Polar bears are at risk of dying off if humans don’t reverse the trend of global warming, a blunt U.S. government report filed Thursday said. “The single most important step for polar bear conservation is …

Hazardous rail spill forces evacuations in Tenn.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

MARYVILLE, Tenn. — A CSX train car carrying hazardous material derailed and caught fire in the middle of the night in eastern Tennessee, forcing the evacuation of thousands of people and sending dozens to the hospital with respiratory …

Webb enters Democratic field

Thursday, July 2, 2015

WASHINGTON — Former Virginia Sen. Jim Webb became the fifth Democrat to enter the 2016 presidential contest, acknowledging in his announcement Thursday that he would be a long shot against former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. “I understand the odds, particularly in today’s political climate where fair …

Walker set to join GOP campaign

Thursday, July 2, 2015

MADISON, Wis. — Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, a preacher’s son who withstood a recall election spawned by his fight with public employee unions, is joining the crowded Republican presidential race, aides said on Thursday. Having spent the past …

Earth Matters: The puzzle tree: Independence Day musings on sycamores

Thursday, July 2, 2015

I’ll be thinking about the eastern sycamore tree this Independence Day, an American tree on our national holiday. Although all trees might be said to be “created equal” from a moral perspective, each tree species has its own …

Episcopalians vote to allow gay marriage in churches

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

SALT LAKE CITY — Episcopalians voted overwhelmingly Wednesday to allow religious weddings for same-sex couples, solidifying the church’s embrace of gay rights that began more than a decade ago with the pioneering election of the first openly gay …

Scores killed in attack on troops in Sinai

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

EL-ARISH, Egypt — Islamic State-linked militants struck Egyptian army outposts in the Sinai Peninsula on Wednesday in a coordinated wave of suicide bombings and battles that underlined the government’s failure to stem an insurgency despite a two-year crackdown. …

In first step, US, Cuba to reopen embassies

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

WASHINGTON — After more than a half-century of hostility, the United States and Cuba declared Wednesday they will reopen embassies in each other’s capitals this month, marking a historic full restoration of diplomatic relations between the Cold War …

Greece heads for vote as EU rebuffs overture

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

ATHENS, Greece — The Greek government vowed Wednesday to go ahead with plans to have the people decide whether they want more austerity measures in exchange for a rescue deal. Greece offered more concessions to its creditors, but …