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Protesters topple Confederate soldier statue in North Carolina

Protesters topple Confederate soldier statue in North CarolinaAbout 300 demonstrators gathered at the base of Silent Sam, a memorial to the Confederate soldiers killed during the Civil War, at about 7 p.m. (2300 GMT) to hold a protest and march. About two hours later, the statue, which had been standing on the Chapel Hill campus since 1913, was on the ground, local media reported. Protesters pulled the statue with rope and threw dirt on it, local media reported.


Study cites longer dry spells as fueling U.S. wildfires

Study cites longer dry spells as fueling U.S. wildfiresLess rain and longer droughts are the major cause behind larger and more intense wildfires in the U.S. West, not higher temperatures and early snowmelt as previously thought, according to research released on Monday. The findings by the U.S. Forest Service and University of Montana could help scientists better predict the severity of fire seasons, said the study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. California is marking one of the most destructive fire seasons on record.


Colorado man charged in murder of family claims wife strangled kids

Colorado man charged in murder of family claims wife strangled kidsChris Watts, who had been involved in an extramarital affair with a co-worker, said during a police interrogation that his wife, Shannan, strangled their daughters Bella and Celeste after he announced that he wanted a separation, according to an arrest affidavit filed in the sensational case. "While in the bedroom, via a baby monitor located on Shannan's night stand, he observed Bella 'sprawled' out on her bed, blue, and Shannan actively strangling Celeste," Frederick Police Officer Matthew James wrote in the affidavit. "Chris said he went into a rage and ultimately strangled Shannan to death," James wrote.


Father sues St. Louis police in 2015 shooting death of his son

Father sues St. Louis police in 2015 shooting death of his sonDennis Ball-Bey filed the action against the city of St. Louis, its former police chief and two officers involved in the shooting death of Mansur Ball-Bey. The lawsuit, filed in federal court in St. Louis on Friday, seeks unspecified damages, court records showed. The lawsuit alleged that the officers, both of them white, overreacted while chasing Mansur Ball-Bey, 18, on Aug. 19, 2015, when the teen was shot and killed.


Georgia candidates decry plan to close voting sites in mostly black county

Georgia candidates decry plan to close voting sites in mostly black countyThe two-member local elections board is expected to vote on Friday on a proposal to shutter seven of nine polling sites in rural Randolph County, located in southwest Georgia, where roughly 60 percent of the 7,800 residents are black. Both Stacey Abrams, the Democratic nominee who is seeking to become the first female African-American governor in U.S. history, and Republican candidate Brian Kemp, who is white and serves as Georgia's secretary of state, urged county officials to drop the plan. "Although state law gives localities broad authority in setting precinct boundaries and polling locations, we strongly urged local officials to abandon this effort and focus on preparing for a secure, accessible, and fair election for voters this November," Kemp said in a statement.


South Carolina woman walking dog killed by alligator

South Carolina woman walking dog killed by alligatorA witness called police to report an alligator was attacking a woman at a lagoon on Hilton Head Island, a popular tourist destination, the Beaufort County Sheriff's Office said in a statement. Police recovered her body and identified the victim as Cassandra Cline of Hilton Head Island. The alligator believed to be responsible for the attack was captured and killed, said Robert McCullough, a captain for the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources.


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