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Confederate flag to be removed from South Carolina capitol

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The House of Representatives in South Carolina has voted to take down the Confederate flag from capitol grounds after a long and fractious debate.

The state House approval, by 93-27, follows a similar move in the Senate. After a final procedural vote, the bill will go to the governor for signature.

Republican Governor Nikki Haley supports the removal of the flag.

The backlash against the emblem grew when a gunman killed nine black people at a Charleston church last month.

Dylann Roof, the 21-year-old charged with the killings, was pictured holding the flag.

The flag - used by the South in the American Civil War (1860-65) - is seen by some as an icon of slavery and racism while others say it symbolises US heritage and history.

The banner could now be removed within days. Governor Haley is expected to sign the bill on Thursday.


Donald Trump: Mexican migrants bring 'tremendous infectious disease' to US

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Donald Trump launched another attack on Mexico on Monday – this time accusing Mexicans of being responsible for “tremendous infectious disease ... pouring across the border”.
The would-be president and billionaire businessman, who has already branded Mexican immigrants to the US as criminals, drug dealers and rapists, accused the Mexican government of “forcing their most unwanted people into the United States” which has become a “dumping ground for Mexico”.


Amnesiac woman found in California makes appeal for ID

A woman who was found in the US state of California suffering from amnesia has launched an online appeal to try to find her identity.
The woman, who goes by the name Sam and is believed to be Australian, was found by firefighters in southern California earlier this year.
According to a Facebook page set up by Sam, doctors told her that a large tumour may have erased her memories.
Interpol has added her to their international missing person database.
The global policing body said the woman was in her 50s, and spoke English and French.


Misty Copeland is first black dancer to lead US ballet group

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The American Ballet Theatre has named Misty Copeland its principal dancer - the first time a black ballerina has held the prestigious role.
Ms Copeland, 32, made her debut this month, starring in Swan Lake in New York, one of the most coveted roles in ballet.
In recent years, Ms Copeland has found fame outside of the ballet world.
She has appeared in commercials and TV shows and wrote a best-selling memoir.
"We haven't had a ballet dancer who has broken through to popular culture like this since Mikhail Baryshnikov," said Wendy Perron, an author and former editor of Dance Magazine.
The moment of her promotion was captured on video and shared on Instagram.
"Misty, take a bow," said Kevin McKenzie, the company's artistic director, as Ms Copeland fought back tears.


Confederate flag protests spread across US

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Pressure is mounting to withdraw the Confederate battle flag across the US, after South Carolina lawmakers called for its removal from the state house.
Protesters rallied in Columbia on Tuesday to demand the flag's removal from South Carolina's state capitol.
Efforts are under way in four other states - Texas, Mississippi, Virginia and Tennessee - to remove state-sponsored Confederate tributes.
And some major retailers like Amazon and Walmart are also removing it.
The murder of nine parishioners at a historical black church in Charleston, South Carolina, last week renewed debate about the place of the flag in US culture.
The suspect, Dylann Roof, has appeared in many photos holding the flag.
The Confederate battle flag became a potent symbol for the southern states fighting the Civil War as they sought to break away from the union.


South Carolina urges removal of Confederate flag

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The governor of South Carolina has called for the removal of a Confederate flag from the state capitol's grounds.
The flag, emblematic of the south during the US civil war, was embraced by the man accused of killing nine people in a black church last week.
To prolonged applause, Governor Nikki Haley called for the "removal of a symbol that divides us", and urged the state legislature to act.
The Sons of Confederate Veterans says it will fight attempts to remove it.
The group says it symbolises their heritage and history, not hate, and offered condolences to the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, where the attack took place.
At a news conference, South Carolina Governor Haley acknowledged that point of view but said to many others it was a "deeply offensive symbol of brutal oppression".
Hours later, Walmart announced it would no longer stock any products that display the Confederation flag.


Charleston church shooting: Suspected gunman arrested

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A 21-year-old man suspected of killing nine people at a historic African-American church in Charleston, South Carolina, has been arrested.
Police said Dylann Roof, of Lexington, South Carolina, was detained during a traffic stop in Shelby, North Carolina.
The gunman is reported to have sat in on a bible study meeting for a full hour before opening fire on the group.
Six women and three men, including the church pastor, were killed. A hate crimes investigation has been launched.
US President Barack Obama said he and his wife had known several members of the Emanuel AME Church, including the pastor, Clementa Pinckney.
He called the church a "sacred place" in the history of Charleston and spoke of his confidence that the congregation and the community would "rise again".
He also raised the issue of gun ownership, saying "communities like this have had to endure tragedies like this too many times".


South Carolina church shooting: Nine die in Charleston 'hate crime'

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Nine people have been shot dead at a historic African-American church in Charleston, South Carolina, and a hunt is under way for a white gunman.
Police described the attack at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church as a "hate crime".
They issued surveillance images of the suspect and said he had sat in the church for an hour before opening fire.
The church's pastor, state Senator Clementa Pinckney, is reported to be among the dead.
A prayer meeting was going on at the time of the shooting at about 21:00 local time on Wednesday (01:00 GMT Thursday) at the church in Calhoun Street.
Police described the suspect as white, aged 21-25, clean shaven with a slender build and wearing a grey sweatshirt, blue jeans and Timberland boots.
They released images from surveillance cameras showing him at the church, and also of a black four-door saloon car he was seen driving away in.


Rachel Dolezal 'sued university for racism'

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Rachel Dolezal, the US race activist accused of "pretending to be black", once sued her university for racism, according to US media reports.
However, she sued the historically black Howard University, for favouring African American students over herself as a white student.
On Monday, Ms Dolezal resigned from the anti-racism organisation NAACP, after her parents said she was in fact white.
She has previously claimed to be the victim of hate crimes for being black.


US shark attacks: Teenagers injured off North Carolina coast

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wo teenagers have been badly injured in separate shark attacks at a popular seaside resort in the United States.
A 14-year-old girl was mauled while swimming off Oak Island in North Carolina on Sunday, while a 16-year-old boy was attacked on the same stretch of beach less than two hours later.
Mayor Betty Wallace told Reuters that the children had both lost limbs as a results of their injuries.
A helicopter was launched to search for the shark.
Ms Wallace said the girl was attacked shortly after 16:00 local time (20:00 GMT). A man swimming nearby heard her screams and came to her aid.
She was flown to hospital in Wilmington by helicopter but lost part of her arm and may lose a leg, Ms Wallace added.
Eyewitness Steve Bouser was on the beach at the time of the attack and described the scene as "quite nightmarish".
"I saw someone carry this girl and people were swarming around and trying to help," he told the Associated Press.


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