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MICKY BEDELL Tasha Blanchard of South Hadley laughs during a cosplay "Jeopardy!" game at In-CON-Ceivable 2015 on Saturday at the Clarion Hotel in Northampton. Blanchard cosplayed as Midnight Ahri from League of Legends, a multiplayer online battle arena game.

Local fantasy, science fiction convention welcomes all

Saturday, August 29, 2015

NORTHAMPTON — Characters from anime, manga and comic books leapt out of fiction and into reality over the weekend to take over the Clarion Hotel during the In-CON-Ceivable fantasy and science fiction convention. Dozens of people dressed in elaborate costumes roamed the halls of the hotel on Friday, Saturday and Sunday to enjoy panels, games, vendor booths and contests. The …

Europe’s migrant crisis brings new death by land and sea

Saturday, August 29, 2015

VIENNA — Death and desperation mounted in Europe’s migrant crisis Friday as Austrian police said 71 people appeared to have suffocated in the back of an abandoned truck, while an estimated 200 people were feared drowned off Libya when two overloaded boats capsized. More than 300,000 people have sought to cross the Mediterranean …

Gunman in TV killings remembered as ‘professional victim’

Saturday, August 29, 2015

ROANOKE, Va. — Vester Flanagan constantly saw himself as the target in his conflicts with WDBJ-TV colleagues, leading his former boss to describe him as a “professional victim.” When the station tried to persuade Flanagan to get along better with his co-workers, he accused them of discrimination. “He was victimized by everything and …

Fire crews battle smoky conditions

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

SPOKANE, Wash. — Smoke from big wildfires burning east of the Cascade Range hurt air quality Wednesday and hampered efforts by crews battling the flames in Washington state. Smoky conditions grounded helicopters and airplanes that had been fighting …

Civil rights activist Amelia Boynton Robinson dies at 104

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Amelia Boynton Robinson, a civil rights activist who nearly died while helping lead the “Bloody Sunday” civil rights march in 1965, championed voting rights for blacks and was the first black woman to run for …

One of twin newborn pandas in DC dies

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

WASHINGTON — One of two pandas whose weekend births captured world attention died Wednesday, a reminder that the bears who grow into giant puffy icons enter the world as fragile creatures, hairless and weighing about as much as a bar of soap. The birth of the twins at …

Man arrested after firing fake gun outside Tombstone saloon

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

TOMBSTONE, Ariz. — A man who shot several rounds from a prop gun outside a saloon in the historic Arizona town of Tombstone faces disorderly conduct and other charges. Tombstone Marshal John Houston says the man was in the Dragoon Saloon early Tuesday when he got into a …

Prosecutor: Train suspect planned attack

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

PARIS — Minutes before he slung an assault rifle across his chest and walked through a high-speed train, the Moroccan suspect in the foiled attack watched a jihadi video on his cellphone, the French prosecutor said in formally …

Islamic State releases images showing destroyed Syrian temple

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

BEIRUT — The Islamic State group released propaganda images Tuesday that purport to show militants laying explosives in and then blowing up the 2,000-year-old temple of Baalshamin in Syria’s ancient caravan city of Palmyra. The images, posted on …

Hezbollah throws weight behind Lebanon’s protests

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

BEIRUT — The powerful Lebanese Shiite group Hezbollah threw its weight Tuesday behind mass protests calling for the government’s resignation, deepening a crisis that started over piles of uncollected garbage in the streets of the capital but has …

US users sue cheating website

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

LOS ANGELES — Eight people across the U.S. who registered to use Ashley Madison are suing the website for cheaters after hackers released personal and detailed information of millions of users, including financial data and sexual proclivities. The …

Couples say ‘I do’ to words of court ruling

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

WASHINGTON — Emily Smith and Jillian Levine had already chosen a venue, booked a band and written the first draft of the ceremony for their wedding when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that gay couples nationwide have a …

Four who foiled attack get France’s top honor

Monday, August 24, 2015

PARIS — The president of France pinned his country’s highest award, the Legion d’Honneur, on three Americans and a Briton on Monday, saying they “gave a lesson in courage” by subduing a heavily armed attacker on a high-speed …