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Four perish in plane at Kansas airport

WICHITA, Kan. — A small plane lost engine power after takeoff and crashed into a flight-training building at a Kansas airport Thursday, killing four people, injuring five others and igniting a fire that sent up towering plumes of black smoke that could be seen for miles.

Apple CEO publicly acknowledges that he’s gay

NEW YORK — Apple CEO Tim Cook’s declaration that he’s “proud to be gay” wasn’t exactly news in Silicon Valley, where his sexual orientation was no secret. But advocates say that given Apple’s immense reach and visibility, his coming-out could help change attitudes in workplaces across America.

Maine in standoff with nurse over Ebola safeguards

FORT KENT, Maine — Insisting she is perfectly healthy, nurse Kaci Hickox again defied the state’s Ebola quarantine Thursday by taking a bike ride with her boyfriend, and Maine health authorities struggled to reach a compromise that would limit her contact with others.

Solid US growth reflects help from Fed

WASHINGTON — The U.S. economy powered its way to a solid annual growth rate of 3.5 percent from July through September, outpacing most of the developed world and appearing on track to extend its momentum through this year and beyond.

Pentagon orders 21-day Ebola quarantine for troops

WASHINGTON — Ordering firm restrictions for U.S. troops returning from West Africa, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said Wednesday that the military men and women helping fight Ebola must undergo 21-day quarantines — longer than required for many civilian health care workers.

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High court balks at last-minute voting changes

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court has allowed Texas to use its strict voter ID law in the November election even after a federal judge said the law was the equivalent of a poll tax and threatened to deprive many blacks and Latinos of the right to vote this year.

Election looks less predictable

WASHINGTON — Republicans are bullish that they will win control of the Senate, make small gains in the House and retain many governor’s offices this year. But just over two weeks from Election Day, fears about Ebola and Islamic State militants, along with sudden, surprising scrambles in key states, have added new volatility to the 2014 campaign.

WHO faulted for Ebola failures

LONDON — The World Health Organization bungled efforts to halt the spread of Ebola in West Africa, an internal report revealed Friday, as President Barack Obama named a trusted political adviser to take control of America’s frenzied response to the epidemic.