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Associated Press
In this image from television helicopter video, a home explodes Monday in Brentwood, N.H., after an officer responding to a call was shot dead.

Officer killed, house explodes

– Authorities say a New Hampshire police officer was shot dead after he responded to a domestic disturbance at a home that later exploded and burned. The gunman is presumed dead in the ensuing blaze.

Attorney General Joseph Foster on Monday night identified the officer as Steven Arkell, 48. After the shooting, the house burst into flames. A massive explosion blew the front off the house and within an hour, it was leveled.

Foster says Michael Nolan, 47, the son of the homeowner, is the suspected gunman.


Gay couples get Arkansas licenses

More than 200 gay couples obtained Arkansas marriage licenses Monday after a judge tossed out the state's 10-year-old same-sex marriage ban, but only at a handful of courthouses as an overwhelming majority of county clerks in this part of the Bible Belt said they first wanted the state Supreme Court to weigh in.

Attorney General Dustin McDaniel – who recently announced his personal support for same-sex marriage rights but said he would defend the law – filed paperwork Monday to at least temporarily preserve the ban, which voters approved by a 3-to-1 margin.

Singer’s rival in primary dies in fall

The entrepreneur who was awaiting a recount in a too-close-to-call congressional primary with former “American Idol” singer Clay Aiken died in an accidental fall Monday at his North Carolina home, his family said.

Aiken was leading 71-year-old Keith Crisco by less than 400 votes after the contest last Tuesday. The vote is expected to be certified Thursday. If the final count puts Crisco ahead, local Democrats would select the nominee, state elections board spokesman Josh Lawson said.

DC’s iconic tower reopens after work

A cross section of Americans awakened early and waited in line for hours to be among the first to ride to the top of the Washington Monument, open to the public Monday for the first time in nearly three years after an earthquake left it chipped and cracked.

Engineers have spent nearly 1,000 days making repairs stone by stone to the 130-year-old, 555-foot obelisk. Now new exhibits have been installed, and the National Park Service is offering extended hours to visitors through the summer.

US’ 2nd MERS case revealed in Florida

Health officials have confirmed a second U.S. case of a mysterious virus that has sickened hundreds in the Middle East. The latest case is a resident of Saudi Arabia, visiting Florida, who is now in an Orlando hospital.

He was diagnosed with MERS, or Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, Sunday night. It is a respiratory illness that begins with flu-like fever and cough but can lead to shortness of breath, pneumonia and death.

The U.S. cases so far have not been severe. The first case, a man in Indiana, was released from a hospital late last week. And the second patient is doing well, officials said. The cases are not linked, officials said.

Antarctic melting called unstoppable

The huge West Antarctic ice sheet is starting a glacially slow collapse in an unstoppable way, two new studies show. The worrisome outcomes won't be seen soon; scientists are talking hundreds of years. But over that time, the melt that has started could eventually add 4 to 12 feet to current sea levels.

A NASA study looking at 40 years of ground, airplane and satellite data of what researchers call “the weak underbelly of West Antarctica” shows the melt is happening faster than scientists had predicted, crossing a critical threshold that has begun a domino-like process.

University of Washington glaciologist Ian Joughin, who led the other study, concludes “the early-stage collapse has begun.”

Student shot dead was after alcohol

Authorities say a 17-year-old German foreign exchange student who was shot to death in a Missoula garage was apparently looking for alcoholic beverages when he wandered into a partially open garage and was killed after a homeowner sprayed the garage with shotgun blasts.

Markus Kaarma, who faces one count of deliberate homicide in the student's slaying, said he had been burglarized twice in the three weeks before the shooting. Kaarma allegedly told a hairdresser several days prior that he was waiting up to kill the intruders, whom he referred to as “kids,” according to court documents.

Boehner urges Jeb Bush to run

House Speaker John Boehner said Monday that he's “nudged” former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush to seek the Republican nomination for president in 2016. It was the strongest hint yet from the top Republican in Congress about his preference for the White House.

“Jeb Bush is my friend. I think he'd make a great president,” Boehner told the San Antonio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.


Soccer stampede in Congo kills 15

A stampede at a soccer stadium in Congo's capital killed at least 15 people after angry fans threw rocks from the stands, prompting security officers to fire tear gas that caused crowds to flee in panic, government officials and witnesses said Monday.

The stampede at the Tata Raphael Stadium in Kinshasa happened toward the end of a match Sunday between two popular Congolese teams. At least 21 others were injured, said Gov. Andre Kimbuta, who has set up a commission to investigate.

Charges filed in Quebec derailment

Three employees and the railway company involved in last summer's massive explosion of a runaway oil train that incinerated much of a small town in Quebec, killing 47 people, will face criminal negligence charges, provincial prosecutors said Monday.

Criminal negligence that causes death can result in a jail sentence of up to life imprisonment in Canada.

The charges come about 10 months after more than 60 of the tankers carrying oil from North Dakota came loose in the middle of the night, sped downhill for nearly seven miles and derailed in Lac-Megantic.

The railroad blamed the engineer for failing to set enough brakes, allowing the train to roll toward the lakeside town of 6,000.