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The Latest on a Marine helicopter accident that killed 1

CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. (AP) — The latest on a Marine helicopter crash that happened earlier this week in North Carolina:

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9:30 a.m.

The Marines say that a member of the Corps killed during a helicopter ropes training exercise was a staff sergeant with an anti-terrorism fleet security team based in the Norfolk, Virginia area.

Col. Jeffrey Kenney said that Marines from Virginia and North Carolina were performing the training on Wednesday at Camp Lejeune when the accident occurred.

He said Staff Sgt. Jonathan Lewis, 31, was a native of Warrenton, Virginia. He said Lewis was inside the helicopter when he was killed.

Kenney says the training allows them to use repelling and fast ropes techniques to get into difficult terrain where aircraft may not be able to land.

The Marines say two injured service members remain hospitalized Friday, while nine have been treated and released.


Court calls man’s prison term of up to 216 years ‘excessive’

HOLLIDAYSBURG, Pa. (AP) — A Pennsylvania appeals court has overturned a drug dealer’s prison sentence of up to 216 years, calling it “excessive.”

A Blair County senior judge had imposed the 104 1/2- to 216-year sentence four years ago on 43-year-old Gene “Shorty” Carter, of Philadelphia. Carter had been convicted of running a major heroin ring while serving time in a halfway house for a drug conviction.

The judge imposed mandatory sentences for 16 separate crimes Carter committed, then ran them consecutively.

Although the Pennsylvania Superior Court upheld those convictions, the Altoona Mirror (http://bit.ly/1KvkP0b) reports Friday that the court ordered Carter must be resentenced.

The court cited a 2013 U.S. Supreme Court decision that determined juries, not judges, must decide whether mandatory sentences are warranted. It also called Carter’s sentence “manifestly unreasonable and excessive.”

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Information from: Altoona Mirror, http://www.altoonamirror.com


Diesel fuel spilled into stream on Hilton Head Island

HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. (AP) — Environmental officials are investigating a diesel fuel spill at a marina on Hilton Head Island.

The Island Packet of Hilton Head reported (http://bit.ly/1N7tDbz) that about 50 gallons of diesel fuel leaked into Broad Creek.

The Department of Health and Environmental Control said the spill occurred Aug. 29 and was stopped that day. DHEC spokeswoman Cassandra Harris said a sheen appeared on the water Wednesday.

Harris said the investigation is continuing. No fines or violation notices have been issued at this point.

Harris said there has been no threat to the environment or human health.

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Information from: The Island Packet, http://www.islandpacket.com


Diesel fuel spilled into Beaufort County stream

HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. (AP) — Environmental officials are investigating a diesel fuel spill at a marina on Hilton Head Island.

The Island Packet of Hilton Head reported (http://bit.ly/1N7tDbz) that about 50 gallons of diesel fuel leaked into Broad Creek.

The Department of Health and Environmental Control said the spill occurred Aug. 29 and was stopped that day. DHEC spokeswoman Cassandra Harris said a sheen appeared on the water Wednesday.

Harris said the investigation is continuing. No fines or violation notices have been issued at this point.

Harris said there has been no threat to the environment or human health.

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Information from: The Island Packet, http://www.islandpacket.com


Mauldin MS Locked Down After Gun Flashed At Bus Stop

MAULDIN – Mauldin Middle School was on modified lockdown Friday morning after a parent reportedly flashed a gun from a car near a bus stop. That order has been lifted.

The Greenville County School District reports the incident happened near the bus stop in Shemwood Apartments. Mauldin Police are investigating.

Mauldin Middle School went into a modified lockdown as a precaution. That means all exterior doors are locked and visitors must enter through the school office which is standard procedure. In addition, students remained in the building.

The school reported to the media at 9:41 a.m. that the lockdown was over. Additional Mauldin Police officers and school district administrators are at the school.


US employers added 173K jobs in Aug.; rate falls to 5.1 pct.

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. unemployment rate fell to a seven-year low in August as employers added a modest 173,000 jobs, a key piece of evidence for the Federal Reserve in deciding whether to raise interest rates from record lows later this month.

The Labor Department said Friday that the jobless rate fell to 5.1 percent — a level consistent with a normal economy and the lowest since April 2008 — from 5.3 percent in July.

Though hiring in August was the slowest in five months, the government revised up job growth for June and July by a combined 44,000. From June through August, the economy added a robust 221,000 jobs a month, up from an average of 189,000 from March through May. Three years of solid hiring have put nearly 8 million more Americans to work.

Friday’s report appeared neither so strong nor so weak as to tilt the Fed decisively toward either a rate hike or against one. But as the final report on the job market before the Fed meets Sept. 16-17, it’s one of the most significant pieces of evidence it will consider.

Investors had a muted early reaction to the jobs numbers. Stock index futures were already sharply lower before the report came out and stayed there afterward. The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note edged down to 2.14 percent from 2.16 percent late Thursday.

Many economists think the Fed will decide in two weeks to raise its benchmark rate for the first time in nine years. At the same time, stock market turbulence, a persistently low inflation rate and a sharp slowdown in China have complicated the decision.

Chris Williamson, chief economist at the financial information firm Markit, said Friday’s report provided “frustratingly little new insight into whether the Fed will start to raise rates.”

“A bumper payrolls number would have sealed the case for higher interest rates in many people minds, while a low number would have dealt a blow to any chances of tightening of policy at the next meeting,” Williamson said.

Once the Fed begins raising borrowing rates, higher rates are likely to eventually ripple through the economy. Americans could face higher costs for mortgages and other loans, though the increases could be modest and gradual.

A key question is how a faltering China, slow growth in Europe and a strong dollar will affect the overall U.S. economy. The answer probably won’t be clear for months.

Friday’s jobs data was gathered before the U.S. stock market plunged in late August, after signs emerged that China’s troubles were worsening.

“This report settles little, we think, leaving the next two weeks essentially as unsettled as they were prior to the report’s release,” said Dan Greenhaus, chief market strategist at institutional brokerage BTIG LLC.

A stumbling global economy and stronger dollar, which makes U.S. exports costlier overseas, could slice a percentage point off U.S. growth through the second half of next year, according to economists at Goldman Sachs.

More so than other months, August’s jobs totals typically undershoot the revisions that the government provides later. The government struggles to seasonally adjust the data for the millions of summer jobs that are eliminated throughout the month. August job gains have been revised higher by 79,000 over the past five years, Goldman Sachs estimates.

The report contained hints that international pressures that infected stock and commodity markets may have begun to weigh on employers. More than half of the jobs added last month came from sectors insulated from the global economy: Government, education and health services.

Their share of job creation nearly doubled from 27.1 percent in July, reflecting not just the start of the school year but also weaknesses in other sectors of the economy where foreign customers and capital matter more.

Public education accounted for more than 18 percent of the jobs added in August. Local school districts and state colleges added 31,900 workers.

Service sector companies, such as restaurants, retailers, banks and construction companies are expanding at the fastest pace in nearly a decade, according to a survey by the Institute for Supply Management.

But manufacturing firms have been stumbling amid the global headwinds. Manufacturers cut 17,000 jobs in August, the most since July 2013. Construction companies added just 3,000, even though home building and other construction have picked up.

Overall, the number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits remains very low by historical standards — evidence that companies are still confident enough about customer demand to maintain their staff levels.

There are other signs that the U.S. job market remains solid. Americans overall have a brighter outlook: According to the Conference Board’s consumer confidence survey, nearly 22 percent of Americans said jobs were plentiful in August. That matched the proportion who said jobs were hard to get — the first time since early 2008 that the two figures have been equal.

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AP Economics Writers Josh Boak and Paul Wiseman contributed to this report.


More heartbreak for Ebola survivor after baby boy dies

FREETOWN, Sierra Leone (AP) — It was the new beginning that Sierra Leone’s first Ebola survivor, Victoria Yillia, had yearned for after losing 21 of her relatives to the disease: a newborn who would allow her and her husband to start a new family.

But only weeks after the baby they named Barnabas was born, he died of an infection that overwhelmed his tiny body. In the Ebola-ravaged community of Kenema, the baby who already had become a symbol of rebirth and renewal was buried on Thursday, a day after he died.

“Tears will never stop coming out of my eyes until the day I die, because that baby was everything in my life and a symbol for all my lost family members,” 21-year-old Yillia said in a telephone interview hours after her son’s funeral.

The baby’s name was freighted with meaning: Barnabas, from the Bible, often translates as the “son of encouragement.”

He was born on Aug. 9, and was discharged from Kenema’s hospital without any apparent health problems despite his mother’s near brush with death in the hospital’s Ebola ward one year earlier.

However, he recently developed a fever. Victoria and her husband Anthony rushed him back to the hospital on Monday. He died on Wednesday.

Elizabeth B.M. Kamara, the head nurse matron at the Kenema hospital, said the cause of the baby’s death was an infection and was not believed to be related to Ebola.

Babies in Sierra Leone already faced some of the grimmest odds in the world even before the Ebola epidemic. Infant mortality is so high that tradition calls for children to be named only after they survive for a week.

“A single case of Ebola catches the headlines, but nationwide one in 11 children in Sierra Leone are dying before their first birthday, and that needs a stronger response,” said Geoff Wiffin, head of UNICEF Sierra Leone.

The Yillias have been re-submerged in a pain so searing they can hardly speak.

“After all that has happened to me in the past one year, some hope was restored back to me after I gave birth, and now that hope is gone,” Victoria said. “I am dying slowly month after month, from one problem to the other.”

Her husband says they will be looking to their faith for strength in the days to come.

“We feel so disappointed with what has happened to us as couple, but we just have to put our faith in God and in what our Bible tells us,” he said. “Victoria and I had really put all our attention and care in this, our first baby boy, as our hope and savior to our family.”

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Larson reported from Dakar, Senegal. Associated Press writer Alie Turay contributed to this report.


UN official: Peacekeepers committing crimes must be punished

BANGUI, Central African Republic (AP) — International peacekeepers who commit crimes must be punished, the U.N. human rights chief said on Friday following the revelation of yet another sexual abuse allegation in Central African Republic.

U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein spoke of the scandal at the end of his visit to this country where thousands have died in sectarian fighting since late 2013.

The latest allegation involves a soldier from the French forces who are not part of the U.N. mission. Several U.N. peacekeepers, who began arriving a year ago, also stand accused of sexual abuses in more than a dozen cases around Central African Republic.

“There is no excuse, no mitigating circumstances, nothing at all to justify the acts themselves or the failure to apply punishments that fit the crime,” Zeid said at a news conference in the capital, Bangui.

Under an agreement with the U.N., countries have the sole responsibility to prosecute their troops taking part in peacekeeping missions, but if they take no action to investigate, the U.N. can step in. Even then, the U.N. only has the power to repatriate troops and suspend payments to countries for troops who are accused.

“Over the years many proposals have been made to improve the way we deal with this issue that so often bedevils peace-keeping operations, not least ways to deter and prevent these appalling acts against defenseless people we are supposed to be protecting,” Zeid said. “We preach the importance of combatting impunity yet – in the case of our own soldiers — we more often than not totally fail to do so. “


Dr. Beach gives extra credit for no smoking beaches in 2016

MIAMI (AP) — After 25 years of ranking beaches, the professor known as “Dr. Beach” is starting his list of best beaches over from scratch in 2016. And he’ll be giving extra credit to beaches that ban smoking.

Professor Stephen Leatherman of Florida International University began his best beaches list in 1991. Once a beach achieved the No. 1 ranking, it was retired from consideration on future lists.

But now he says he’ll start fresh next year so that even beaches that he previously rated as tops have a shot at the No. 1 slot again.

Leatherman rates beaches using 50 criteria including water temperature, air temperature, number of sunny days, rip currents, water color, algae, views, access, seaweed and noise. But beginning in 2016, he says he’ll give extra points to beaches that ban smoking.

“The No. 1 form of litter on beaches is cigarette butts, and it is disgusting,” Leatherman said in an email. “There is a national movement to prevent smoking, especially on public lands, and beaches should be a priority.”

Dr. Beach’s pick for best beach of 2015 was Hawaii’s Waimanalo Beach on Oahu.


Image of Asia: A refugee in New Delhi

In this photo by Tsering Topgyal, a Rohingya refugee sews inside her slum on the outskirts of New Delhi. According to the U.N. refugee agency, around 9,000 Rohingya refugees are registered in the capital and thousands more who are not registered live elsewhere in India. In New Delhi, most of them lead impoverished lives in tented settlements dotted around the city. The Rohingya are a Muslim minority numbering around 1.3 million in predominantly Buddhist Myanmar, which denies them citizenship and restricts their movement, and many thousands have tried to flee.


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