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International, National And Regional News

Keith Bedford /The Boston Globe

Former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez blows a kiss to his daughter, who sat with her mother, Shayanna Jenkins Hernandez, Hernandez s longtime fiancee, during jury deliberations in his double-murder trial at Suffolk Superior Court in Boston. Hernandez was acquitted of those crimes on Friday, but hanged himself in his prison early today, where he was serving a life sentence in the 2013 killing of semi-professional football player Odin Lloyd.

International, National And Regional News

Alex Zorn/Glenwood Springs Post Independent

Misty Garcia mans the drive up window at the Tumbleweed Express Drive-Thru Monday in Parachute, Colo. Customers will be able to start pulling their cars into the Tumbleweed Express Drive-Thru starting Thursday. The business is believed to be Colorado s first drive-thru marijuana shop.

Georgia House race down to two candidates, plus Trump, Pelosi

DUNWOODY, Ga. A Georgia congressional election in a historically conservative district is headed to a runoff that raises the stakes in an early measure for President Donald Trump and both major parties ahead of the 2018 midterm elections. Democrat Jon Ossoff, a 30-year-old former congressional staffer, fell a few percentage points shy of an outright victory amid an 18-candidate scramble in Georgia s 6th Congressional District. Republican Karen Handel, a former Georgia secretary of state, finished a distant second, qualifying for the June 20 runoff. The winner will succeed Republican Tom Price, who resigned the seat to join Trump s administration as health secretary. But the matchup in greater Atlanta s northern suburbs is just as much about Ossoff and Handel acting as proxies for the nation s roiled political atmosphere.

Leaders in both major parties agree the race offers a prime test run for 2018 elections, because the affluent, well-educated Georgia district is replete with the kind of voters Democrats must attract to reclaim a House majority and win more gubernatorial and Senate races. For Democrats, Ossoff s near win in such a district a Republican has held the seat since 1979, and Price won 62 percent of the vote in November encourages the opposition movement that has flourished since Trump s election. Yet falling short also highlights the party s lingering power deficit in Washington and around the country.

US VP Pence warns North Korea: The sword stands ready

YOKOSUKA, Japan From the wind-swept deck of a massive aircraft carrier, Vice President Mike Pence today warned North Korea not to test the resolve of the U.S. military, promising it would make an overwhelming and effective response to any use of conventional or nuclear weapons. Pence, dressed in a green military jacket, said aboard the hulking USS Ronald Reagan that President Donald Trump s administration would continue to work diligently with allies like Japan, China and other global powers to apply economic and diplomatic pressure on Pyongyang. But he told the sailors, as all of you know, readiness is the key.

The United States of America will always seek peace but under President Trump, the shield stands guard and the sword stands ready, Pence told 2,500 sailors wearing blue fatigues and Naval baseball caps on a sunny, windy morning aboard the carrier at the U.S. Yokosuka naval base in Tokyo Bay.

Those who would challenge our resolve or readiness should know, we will defeat any attack and meet any use of conventional or nuclear weapons with an overwhelming and effective American response, Pence said.

The vice president said the U.S. would honor its alliance with Pacific Rim nations and protect freedom of navigation in the South China Sea, the sea lanes vital to global shipping where China has been staking claim to disputed territory.

Ex-NFL star Aaron Hernandez hangs himself in his prison cell

BOSTON Former NFL star Aaron Hernandez hanged himself today in the prison cell where he was serving a life sentence for murder, taking his life on the same day his ex-teammates on the New England Patriots were set to visit the White House to mark their Super Bowl victory. His death came less than a week after the 27-year-old athlete was acquitted in a second murder case. Guards found Hernandez just after 3 a.m., Correction Department spokesman Christopher Fallon said. The onetime tight end was taken to a hospital and pronounced dead about an hour later.

Hernandez had been housed in a single cell in a general population unit at the maximum-security state prison in Shirley. He tried to jam the cell door to prevent guards from opening it and hanged himself with a bedsheet tied to a window, Fallon said. Fallon said he was not aware of any suicide note. He said officials had no reason to believe Hernandez might take his life, and if they had had any such worries, he would have been transferred to a mental health unit.

Oregon jobless rate drops below 4 percent

PORTLAND Oregon s unemployment rate has plunged to less than 4 percent. The state Employment Department said Tuesday the March jobless rate was 3.8 percent, the lowest mark since comparable records began in 1976. The unemployment rate at this time last year was 4.9 percent.

The agency says government, manufacturing and professional and business services enjoyed strong job growth last month. Construction has been the fastest-growing sector over the past year, adding more than 8,000 jobs. Another unemployment measure, known as U-6, fell to 8.6 percent in March down from 9.1 percent in February and 10.4 percent a year ago. The figure includes discouraged workers who stopped looking as well as part-time workers who want but can t get full-time jobs.

Business could be first drive-thru pot shop in Colorado

PARACHUTE, Colo. A business believed to be Colorado s first drive-thru marijuana shop is set to open. The Rifle Citizen Telegram reports that customers will be able to pull their cars into the Tumbleweed Express Drive-Thru starting Thursday, the unofficial 4/20 marijuana holiday.

The shop is located in the western Colorado town of Parachute. Robert Goulding, a spokesman for the state Marijuana Enforcement Division, says the agency isn t aware of any other drive-thru pot shops in Colorado. He says the business will have to comply with regulations that apply to every marijuana shop.

That means no one under 21 will be allowed, even in the back seat of a car. Since no pot can be visible outside the shop, vehicles will drive into a bay in the former car wash to get to the sale window.

Police: Fresno gunman targeting whites chose three men at random

FRESNO, Calif. Three men were having a seemingly ordinary day in downtown Fresno, California, before they were singled out at random and killed by a black gunman targeting white victims, police said. The men happened to be on the same block, but had no known connection to each other or to the shooter, Kori Ali Muhammad, who told police he wanted to kill as many white people as he could before he was captured. One victim, a 34-year-old father of two preschoolers, was on the job when he was shot Tuesday in the passenger seat of a Pacific Gas & Electric utility truck. The driver wasn t hit and sped toward the police department, but his partner couldn t be saved.

Another victim, a 37-year-old man, had just picked up a bag of groceries Tuesday at a Catholic Charities building when he was gunned down. Stephen Hughes, 66, said he and his wife rushed home Tuesday after receiving a frantic call from a neighbor to find a body draped in a blanket on the sidewalk leading to his front door.

US students satisfied with life, but some foreigners happier

WASHINGTON The good news: American high school students are generally satisfied with their lives. But many of their peers in other countries are happier. Asked to rank their life satisfaction on a scale from 0 to 10, American 15-year-olds gave an average mark of 7.4, according to a study conducted by the Paris-based Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, which was released today.

American students scored close to the average of 7.3 among OECD s 35 member countries. But students in some member countries are doing markedly better: an average Mexican high schooler rated life satisfaction at 8.2 out of 10. The Netherlands and Iceland had a level of 7.8 and Finland had 7.9. American students also reported higher levels of anxiety over tests, bullying or a feeling of not belonging at schools, compared with many of their peers. What makes students feel good? According to the study, teacher and parental support, spending time with friends and being physically active make it more likely that a student will be satisfied with life. On the other hand, feeling anxiety over grades and spending too much time online are predictors of feeling dissatisfied. In happy schools, teacher support as perceived by students tends to be much greater, said Andreas Schleicher, one of the authors of the report. Does studying hard mean being miserable? Not always. In China, Korea and Japan, for example, students score well on reading and math, but are less satisfied with life, according to the study. And then there s Turkey, Greece or United Arab Emirates, where students scored poorly and aren t too happy.

McDonald s order trips up Facebook slaying suspect

Facebook slaying suspect Steve Stephens was undone by a 20-piece Chicken McNuggets and an order of fries. The man who police say shot a Cleveland retiree at random and posted video of the killing on Facebook pulled up to the drive-thru window of a McDonald s restaurant outside Erie, Pennsylvania, and waited for his order. It was late Tuesday morning, almost lunchtime, and authorities were in the third day of an intensive manhunt for Stephens.

Now, more than 100 miles from the shooting, his time on the run was nearly up. The attendant who took his money recognized the suspect and dialed 911. Stephens pulled up to the next window, where restaurant owner Thomas DuCharme Jr. and a supervisor tried stalling him by telling him his fries were delayed.

How a community changed by refugees came to embrace Trump

LEWISTON, Maine Richard Rodrigue stood in the back of a banquet hall, watching his blond-haired, blue-eyed daughter mingle among her high school classmates. These teenagers speak dozens of languages, and hail from a dozen African nations. They fled brutal civil war, famine, oppressive regimes to find themselves here, at an ordinary high school pre-prom fete in this once-dying New England mill town, revived by an influx of some 7,500 immigrants over the last 16 years. Rodrigue smiled and waved at his daughter, proud she is a part of it: It will help her in life, he said. The world is not all white.

Rodrigue believes the refugees resuscitated his town plugging the population drain that had threatened to cripple it, opening shops and restaurants in boarded-up storefronts. But he also agrees with Donald Trump that there should be no more of them, at least not now. America is struggling, he says, and needs to take care of its own before it takes care of anyone else. His working-class community, built along the banks of the Androscoggin River in the whitest state in America, is a place that some point to as proof that refugee integration can work. And yet for the first time in 30 years, voters in Androscoggin County chose a Republican for president, endorsing Trump s nativist zeal against the very sort of immigrants who share their streets and their schools. Rodrigue knows he was born on the winning end of the American dream. His grandfather fled poverty in Quebec and moved to Maine to toil his whole life in the textile mills. He never learned English, faced hate and discrimination. Two generations later, Rodrigue owns a successful security company, lives in a tidy house in a quiet neighborhood and makes plans to send his daughter to college.

Trump administration says Iran complying with nuclear deal

WASHINGTON The Trump administration has notified Congress that Iran is complying with the terms of the 2015 nuclear deal negotiated by former President Barack Obama, and says the U.S. has extended the sanctions relief given to the Islamic republic in exchange for curbs on its atomic program. However, in a letter sent late Tuesday to House Speaker Paul Ryan, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said the administration has undertaken a full review of the agreement, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.

Iran remains a leading state sponsor of terror, through many platforms and methods, Tillerson wrote. He said the National Security Council-led interagency review of the agreement will evaluate whether it is vital to the national security interests of the United States. The certification of Iran s compliance, which must be sent to Congress every 90 days, is the first issued by the Trump administration. The deadline for this certification was midnight.

As a candidate in the 2016 presidential election, Trump was an outspoken critic of the deal but had offered conflicting opinions on whether he would try to scrap it, modify it or keep it in place with more strenuous enforcement. Tuesday s determination suggested that while Trump agreed with findings by the U.N. s nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency, that Iran is keeping to its end of the bargain, he is looking for another way to ratchet up pressure on Tehran.

AP investigation shows Peru backsliding on illegal logging

HOUSTON Never before had so much lumber been denied entry at a U.S. port on evidence that it was harvested illegally. Houston customs agents, acting on intelligence from their Peruvian counterparts, halted 1,770 metric tons of Amazon rainforest wood enough to cover three football fields. The October 2015 impoundment from a rusty freighter was a rare victory in the battle to preserve tropical forests and a blow against organized criminal logging in Peru, where the World Bank says 80 percent of timber exports are illegal. But the triumph was short-lived. The driving force behind the operation, the chief of Peru s forest inspection service, was soon dismissed on the same day the U.S. ambassador visited him for a pep talk and forced by death threats to flee to the United States.

Government actions further undermined Washington s efforts to get Peru to clean up its notoriously corrupt timber industry, an Associated Press investigation found, as Lima failed to meet environmental enforcement requirements set by a 2006 free trade agreement with the U.S. Now the United States has little to show for more than $90 million in forest-protection aid and other assistance to Peru, which is home to the world s second-largest swath of the Amazon after Brazil and has been losing about 600 square miles of forest each year an area roughly equal to half of Rhode Island.

Phelps on comeback: We ll see if I get that itch again

Michael Phelps hasn t gotten the urge to return to swimming. Not yet anyway.

The winningest athlete in Olympic history is clearly enjoying marriage, fatherhood and a newfound willingness to speak out on contentious issues such as doping .

But, in a tantalizing concession that he hasn t totally closed the door on another comeback, Phelps told The Associated Press that it might be tough to stay away from the pool especially if he attends the upcoming world championships in Budapest.

The true test will be, if I do end up going over to the worlds this summer, do I have that itch again? Phelps said Tuesday during a telephone interview.

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