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Typhoon rains hit China; plane crashes in Taiwan

Typhoon weakens as it reaches heavily populated southeast China; Taiwan plane crashes in rain
The Associated Press

BEIJING, China - The second typhoon to hit China in a week quickly weakened to a tropical storm as it reached the country's heavily populated southeastern provinces on Wednesday after passing across Taiwan overnight.

Kerry cites progress in Gaza cease-fire talks

Bloodshed continues, but Kerry cites progress in cease-fire negotiations between Israel, Hamas
The Associated Press

JERUSALEM - Offering the first glimmer of hope for a Gaza cease-fire, the United States on Wednesday said negotiations to broker a truce between Israel and Hamas militants are making some progress even if an end to more than two weeks of bloodshed is nowhere near.

"We certainly have made steps forward," U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said in Jerusalem, where he met for the second time this week with United Nations chief Ban Ki-moon. "There's still work to be done," Kerry said.

Americans aplenty as UK's Booker Prize goes global

Joshua Ferris, Siri Hustvedt among contenders as Booker Prize admits US authors for first time
Jill Lawless, The Associated Press

LONDON - The Americans have arrived in force for Britain's Booker literary prize.

Five U.S.-based writers are on the 13-book long-list for the prestigious fiction award, announced Wednesday.

This is the first year writers of all nationalities have been eligible for the Booker, previously open only to authors from Britain, Ireland and the Commonwealth of former British colonies.

Michael Jackson's hometown to name school for him

Michael Jackson's Indiana hometown working on plans to name school for late pop star
The Associated Press

GARY, Ind. - Plans are in the works to name a school in Michael Jackson's Indiana hometown for the late pop star.

The Gary Community School Board on Tuesday approved a memorandum of understanding with Jackson's mother, Katherine Jackson. The agreement that Katherine Jackson signed last month says the district wants to inspire children to excel in the arts and education.

District superintendent Cheryl Pruitt tells the Post-Tribune (http://bit.ly/1luhGfp ) she's working with the Jackson family on which school to rename.

Flight bans show skittishness over trouble spots

Airlines cancel flights to Israel after rocket falls near Tel Aviv airport
The Associated Press

When U.S. and European airlines quickly cancelled flights to Israel on Tuesday, they showed both a skittishness and a new sense of urgency in dealing with global trouble spots following last week's downing of a passenger plane over Ukraine.

Shipwrecked Concordia making final voyage off isle

Bells, sirens sound as shipwrecked Concordia liner leaves Italian isle, towed on final voyage
Paolo Santalucia, The Associated Press

GIGLIO ISLAND, Italy - The Costa Concordia cruise liner began its final voyage Wednesday, slowly being towed away from the tiny Italian island where it capsized more than two years ago, killing 32 people.

Boat sirens wailed and bells tolled on the island just before two tugboats pulled the Concordia away from Giglio's port, where the luxury liner ended up on its side in pristine Mediterranean waters, after being gashed by a reef it struck when its captain steered too close to the island.

Coroner: Heroin overdose killed Peaches Geldof

Coroner: Peaches Geldof died from heroin overdose after trying to come off the drug
Jill Lawless, The Associated Press

LONDON - Model and TV personality Peaches Geldof died from a heroin overdose after relapsing from a battle to give up the drug, a British coroner ruled Wednesday.

Coroner Roger Hatch said 25-year-old Geldof took a fatal dose of high-purity heroin shortly before she was found dead at her home south of London on April 7.

Crews make gains on massive Washington wildfire

Crews make gains on destructive Washington state wildfire; flash floods now a concern
The Associated Press

OLYMPIA, Wash. - Wetter, cooler weather has helped firefighters make progress in their efforts to get the largest wildfire in Washington state's history under control.

With more rain in the forecast, they just hope too much moisture doesn't lead to flash floods after so much ground vegetation has been burned away.

Holmes in court for hearing on expert testimony

Theater shooting defendant returning to court for more hearings on which experts can testify
The Associated Press

CENTENNIAL, Colo. - The man charged with the Colorado theatre massacre is returning to court for the second day of hearings about what kinds of experts can testify at his trial.

The hearing resumes Wednesday on a defence motion to bar testimony from firearms experts.

On Tuesday, the judge heard testimony on whether experts on gunshot residue and metals should take the stand at the trial. The judge hasn't said when he'll rule.

China detains employees of suspect meat seller

China detains employees of suspect meat seller, official says misconduct a company effort
Joe McDonald, The Associated Press

BEIJING, China - Five employees of a company accused of selling expired beef and chicken to McDonald's, KFC and other restaurants in China were detained by police Wednesday after an official said illegal activity was an organized effort by the supplier.

China's food safety agency said on its website that its investigators found unspecified illegal activity by Husi Food Co. but gave no confirmation expired meat had been found or other details.

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