National briefs: News copter crash kills 2 in Seattle

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SEATTLE -- A news helicopter crashed into a street and burst into flames Tuesday near Seattle's Space Needle, killing two people on board, badly injuring a man in a car and sending plumes of black smoke over the city during the morning commute.

The chopper was taking off from a helipad on KOMO-TV's roof when it went down at a busy downtown intersection and hit three vehicles, starting them on fire and spewing burning fuel down the street.

Mayor Ed Murray said Seattle Center was relatively quiet at the time. Had it been a busier day, "this would have been a much larger tragedy," he said.

Hiring-bias suit settled

NEW YORK -- Black and Latino applicants to the New York City Fire Department who alleged that they lost out on jobs because of racially discriminatory written exams, settled a long-running lawsuit for $98 million in back pay, the U.S. Justice Department said.

The consent decree, which still requires court approval, calls for a court-appointed monitor to oversee recruiting and hiring process.

The department will face specific recruiting goals and must create the positions of diversity advocate in the uniformed force and chief diversity and inclusion officer in the executive ranks.

GOP race in Illinois

CHICAGO -- Venture capitalist Bruce Rauner led the GOP primary field Tuesday night in his bid for governor, a signal many voters had embraced a first-time campaign by the multimillionaire.

Eyeing what Republicans say is their best shot at reclaiming the state's top job in more than a decade, Mr. Rauner sought to advance to a November matchup with Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn.

Running against Mr. Rauner on the GOP ballot were state Sen. Kirk Dillard, state Sen. Bill Brady, who conceded Tuesday night, and state Treasurer Dan Rutherford.

Police bust child porn ring

WASHINGTON -- Fourteen men have been charged with operating a child pornography website with 27,000 members and more than 2,000 videos, federal law enforcement officials announced Tuesday.

The investigation, one of the largest online child exploitation probes, found 251 victims in 39 states and five foreign countries.

In most cases, young boys were targeted online by the men and tricked into creating sexually explicit videos of themselves, according to a statement from the Department of Homeland Security.

Shortage stalls executions

HOUSTON -- An Oklahoma appeals court on Tuesday postponed two executions after state officials revealed they were planning to change lethal injection drugs due to a shortage.

Oklahoma is one of several death penalty states grappling with the legal ramifications of adjusting lethal injection drugs after major drug makers -- many based in Europe -- stopped selling to them. In Oklahoma, the issue delayed the execution of convicted murderers Clayton Lockett and Charles Warner for a month.

Obamas' pastry chef quits

WASHINGTON -- First lady Michelle Obama is soon to lose her executive pastry chef, Bill Yosses. And she is partly to blame.

She has piqued his interest in the relationship between food and health, he said in a recent phone interview, so the man who made the Hawaiian chocolate-malted ganache for the White House state dinner for the president of France is now headed to New York, to teach children and adults about eating better.


-- Compiled from news services

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