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NEW YORK (AP) - An explosion has leveled two New York City apartment buildings, killing two people and injuring 17 others.
 
The New York Police Department says two females died in the East Harlem blast. No other information is available.
 
A utility company says a resident in a nearby building reported smelling gas shortly before the explosion Wednesday morning.
 
Con Edison spokesman Bob McGee says a resident from a building adjacent to the two that collapsed reported that he smelled gas inside his apartment, but thought the odor could be coming from outside.
 
He would not speculate on whether a gas leak caused the explosion.
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BALLWIN, Mo. (AP) - A St. Louis County woman facing criminal charges for injuring her sons by lighting fireworks inside an SUV has been found dead.
 
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that 44-year-old Kara Koriath was found Tuesday morning with a single, fatal, gunshot wound. Investigators found after-death instructions inside Koriath's home, along with a will, suicide letters and a recently-purchased life insurance policy.
 
Police say Koriath intentionally lit strategically-placed fireworks while driving along Interstate 270 in November, causing the SUV to catch fire and crash. Her sons, ages 13 and 16, suffered burns and smoke inhalation.
 
Authorities suspect her motive was to seek revenge on her married lover, who was expected to be driving along the same route. She was free on $200,000 bond.
Wednesday, 12 March 2014 11:15
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 SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - As St. Louis celebrates its 250th birthday, some Illinois historic sites are being recognized for their significance to the city.
   
Three historic sites and one monument from Illinois are on a list of 250 places compiled by stl250. The group's list includes sites, tourist attractions and businesses they say have made St. Louis what it is today.
 
Cahokia Mounds, Cahokia Courthouse, and Lewis and Clark state historic sites all made the cut from Illinois. The Elijah Lovejoy Memorial in Alton, Ill. also made the list.
 
 Amy Martin is the director of the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency. She says the Illinois sites represent important eras in St. Louis history, from Native American achievements to battles against slavery.
 
The list also includes places such as the Gateway Arch and Fox Theatre.
   
 
Wednesday, 12 March 2014 10:50
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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Missouri's House has endorsed a proposed amendment to the state Constitution that would enshrine a fundamental right for parents to raise their children as they see fit.
 
The House gave the measure initial approval Tuesday. It states that parents have a right to make decisions involving the "discipline, education, religious instruction, health, medical care, place of habitation, and general well-being" of children.
 
Sponsoring Republican Rep. Todd Richardson, of Poplar Bluff, says parents should have constitutional protections when it comes to raising children.
   
The proposal needs one more House vote before moving to the Senate. If it passes there, the proposed constitutional amendment would go on the November statewide ballot.
 
 
Wednesday, 12 March 2014 10:48
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