Stories for January 2015


Saturday, January 31

Bill Tries to Clarify Who Can Vote in Party Primary Runoffs

Mississippi lawmakers are trying to clarify who can vote in party primary runoffs.

Friday, January 30

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For Nunnelee, No More Medical Treatment Possible for Cancer

Doctors have found a new tumor in U.S. Rep. Alan Nunnelee and told him no further medical treatment is possible, a spokesman for the Mississippi congressman said Friday.

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Ben Allen: Downtown Faces Setbacks, Hope

Briefing a small community gathering about downtown Jackson, including the Capitol Street two-way project, Ben Allen talked about regret.

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Vouchers May be Ticket Out of Public Schools for Kids with Disabilities—But is that a Good Thing?

Some students with disabilities may get a chance to leave the public school system here—but advocates and parents aren't sure it will improve their education.

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Joining in the Passing Parade

As with many musical ensembles, Passing Parade has morphed several times over the years.

NATO to Deploy Small Units in 6 Eastern European Nations

NATO will deploy small units in six Eastern European nations to help coordinate a spearhead force set up in response to Russia's actions in Ukraine, the alliance's secretary-general said Friday.

Chad Air Force Bombs Boko Haram Out of Nigerian Border Town

Chad sent a warplane dropping bombs and ground troops to drive Islamic extremists from a Nigerian border town, leaving it strewn with the bodies of the Islamic extremists, witnesses said Friday.

Former GOP Nominee Romney Will Not Run for President in '16

After a three-week flirtation with another run for president, Mitt Romney said definitively on Friday that he will not seek the White House in 2016.

Obama Proposes 'Precision Medicine' to End One-Size-Fits-All

President Barack Obama is calling for an investment to move away from one-size-fits-all-medicine, toward an approach that tailors treatment to your genes.

Chinese MH370 Relatives Reject Word that Passengers are Dead

About 100 Chinese families of passengers on the missing Malaysian airliner demanded Friday that Malaysian officials retract their statement that all aboard died, saying that without hard evidence they don't want to start compensation claims.

Senators Propose Common Core Panel as House Bans PARCC Test

Legislators are wading deeper into determining what Mississippi students will learn and how they will be tested.

Thursday, January 29

Lawmakers Move to Drop Common Core Standards

Lawmakers made moves Thursday to change Mississippi’s academic standards and method of statewide testing.

EU to Extend Existing Russia Sanctions Over Ukraine

The European Union extended by six months an existing set of sanctions against Russian and pro-Russia separatist officials because of the continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and was planning further action, officials said Thursday.

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Andrea Patterson

Andrea Patterson, marketing director of the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame and Museum, knew she wanted to work in sports after she graduated from the University of Mississippi with a bachelor's degree in marketing in 2012. Fortunately, she also knew just where to start.

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McDaniel's New PAC: The Next Generation

With hopes of bringing together multiple factions throughout the state in the wake of a divisive Senate race, state Sen. Chris McDaniel, R-Ellisville, recently announced his new political action committee, the United Conservatives Fund.

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Wistful, Humorous Romney Looks Back as He Ponders '16

Greeted as a celebrity in the heart of the Republican Deep South, GOP's 2012 nominee Mitt Romney—who still says he's mulling another bid in 2016—talked to Mississippi State University students like a commencement speaker.

North Korea May be Restarting Nuke Plant: US Institute

North Korea may be attempting to restart its main nuclear bomb fuel reactor after a five-month shutdown, a U.S. research institute said Thursday.

Jordan Demands IS Deliver Proof Captured Pilot Still Alive

Jordan on Thursday demanded proof from Islamic State militants that a Jordanian pilot they are holding is still alive, despite purported threats by the group to kill the airman at sunset unless an al-Qaida prisoner is freed from death row in Jordan.

EU Plans to Step Up Fight on Online Jihadi Propaganda

The EU on Thursday called for more help from Internet companies to fight online terrorist propaganda in the face of the terror attacks in France.

Wednesday, January 28

Govt Tells Agents to ID Which Immigrants Not to Deport

The Obama administration has ordered immigration agents to ask immigrants they encounter living in the country illegally whether they might qualify under President Barack Obama's plans to avoid deporting them, according to internal training materials obtained by The Associated Press.

Mobile Provider TracFone to Pay $40M in Federal Settlement

The nation's largest prepaid mobile provider, TracFone Wireless, will pay $40 million to settle government claims that it misled millions of smartphone customers with promises of unlimited data service.

California Declares Electronic Cigarettes a Health Threat

California health officials on Wednesday declared electronic cigarettes a health threat that should be strictly regulated like tobacco products, joining other states and health advocates across the U.S. in seeking tighter controls as "vaping" grows in popularity.

Jordan Offers Swap to Islamic State Group to Save Pilot

Jordan offered a precedent-setting prisoner swap to the Islamic State group Wednesday in a desperate attempt to save a Jordanian air force pilot the militants purportedly threatened to kill, along with a Japanese hostage.

Can Laws Boost Breastfeeding Rates?

The law can be an important tool in increasing low breastfeeding rates. Mississippi has some protections already in place for breastfeeding mothers.

A History of Breastfeeding

In 2013, Mississippi ranked dead last in babies who were ever breast-fed, with just 50.5 percent, the Centers for Disease Control reports.

Mississippi’s Breastfeeding Warriors: Pumps, Practical Advice and Tips at the Ready

While no single organization is devoted to promoting breastfeeding in Mississippi, several people have devoted themselves to the cause.

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Why Few Mississippi Mothers Nurse Their Babies

As she stared through the nursery window at her four-day-old twins, 22-year-old Francesca Maxwell ticked off her reasons for wanting to breast-feed: Her obstetrician advised it. Her mother thought it a good idea. Even the babies’ father was all for it. Plus, she had recently read a brochure about the benefits of breast-feeding and one fact had stuck with her. “I was like, wow, they do have smarter babies with breast milk,” says Maxwell, who goes by Frankie. “That caught my attention—about the smarter babies.”

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Super Mississippi Ties

Mississippi will enjoy plenty of representation in Super Bowl XLIX this Sunday. Several players on the roster played high school or college football in our state.

The Slate

For those who might wonder, there were no deflated balls or obscene gestures in the making of this week's Slate. Now for Super Bowl Sunday, there could be one or both.

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Be a Guest at Your Brunch

Let's face it, waking up and having to entertain after a long night of festivities can be draining. To simplify brunch, I came up with five suggestions that always help me make an amazing and memorable time for my guests.

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A Union Presence

Even the unofficial presence of a union and its supporters help workers long before an election is held and can force a company to act right.

Dads Are Great, But Don’t Ignore Moms

Most problematic—and indeed dangerous—is the underlying implication that the mere presence of adult testosterone is some kind of magic wand that can solve all problems.

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On Life and Crime in South Jackson

I don't like the term "black-on-black crime." Crime is crime, and it happens in all communities, some more than others. The difference is in how we organize as a community to deal with it.

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The Art of Happiness

Whenever the Mississippi Museum of Art is open during January and February, you might find as many as 25 people of all ages playing with photo prints, scissors, glue, stamps and stencils in one of the facility's classrooms.

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The Molly Ringwalds: All ‘80s, All the Time

It's strange to call a cover band "original," but the Molly Ringwalds' creative collision of 1980s music and culture—along with the band members' wild personas and stage presence—make for a rare throwback experience.

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Target: Abortion Rights, Public Ed, LGBT Custody

Women's rights and public education topped the Mississippi legislative agenda as it rolled past the Jan. 19 deadline for filing bills and into the fourth week of the session, while a move by a Democratic lawmaker to limit LGBT custody of children roiled many members of his own party.

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Ain’t Grand Juries Grand? Not Always.

Every person who is acquitted by a jury was indicted by a grand jury. Let that sink in, Dennis Sweet III, a prominent Jackson attorney, told an audience recently when talking about the effectiveness of the grand-jury process in Mississippi.

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Straight, LGBT Teens Fight to Support Each Other

Presley McCord, who is a board member of the Gay-Straight Alliance at Brandon High School, said she hopes the group helps to make a difference and improve the high school experience for LGBT students.

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Battlefield Park Fights for Its Reputation

Willa Womack, the Battlefield Park president, told the Jackson Free Press that she believes it's unfair that their neighborhood is painted negatively when violence occurs anywhere in west Jackson, particularly given that Battlefield Field park residents are particularly active in crime prevention.

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Every Single Life Matters

We're living through one of those difficult times in Jackson when fear and distrust of "the other" reach a fevered pitch due to a high-profile crime.

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Tray Hairston

Attorney Tray Hairston, 35, bubbles with enthusiasm and positivity about Jackson and its residents.

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Next Steps for Ward 3, Stokes and Hinds Board

As far as Jackson elections go, it's unusual for one candidate to walk away with a landslide victory in an eight-way race.

Tuesday, January 27

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Special Ed Bills Duke It Out

Two bills aimed at improving the educational experience for students with special needs—from opposite ends of the political spectrum—are making the rounds this Legislative session.

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Najee Dorsey

Artist Najee Dorsey uses collage to tell his story of growing up in the South and especially in Arkansas' Mississippi County.

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Filter Coffee House, Greater Jackson Chamber Partnership and Metro Jackson College Fair

Raymond native Julie Durr gets to fulfill a life-long dream as the owner of Filter Coffee House (128 Port Gibson St., Raymond, 601-857-8102), which opened Dec. 19.

Gunmen Storm Libyan Hotel; 4 Foreigners, 5 Guards Dead

Gunmen stormed a luxury hotel in the Libyan capital of Tripoli on Tuesday, killing four foreigners and five guards, and triggering an hours-long standoff that ended when two assailants set off a grenade that killed them, officials said.

Mormon Leaders Call for Measures Protecting Gay Rights

Mormon church leaders are making a national appeal for a "balanced approach" in the clash between gay rights and religious freedom.

On Auschwitz Anniversary, Leader Warns Jews Again Targets

A Jewish leader stood before 300 survivors of the Nazis' most notorious death camp on Tuesday and asked world leaders to prevent another Auschwitz, warning of a rise of anti-Semitism that has made many Jews fearful of walking the streets, and is causing many to flee Europe.

Obama Floats Offering First-Ever Drilling Lease in Atlantic

The Obama administration floated a plan Tuesday that for the first time would open up a broad swath of the Atlantic Coast to drilling, even as it moved to restrict drilling indefinitely in environmentally-sensitive areas off Alaska.

Monday, January 26

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Rep. Bob Evans

A bill from Democratic lawmaker State Rep. Bob Evans from Monticello is raising eyebrows because it contains what appears to be discriminatory language regarding parental custody rights and sexual orientation.

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Big Ideas from Ward 3 Hopefuls

Eight people are vying for the vacant seat of Ward 3 representative on the Jackson City Council. The election takes place tomorrow, Jan. 27.

Ukraine: Phone Calls Prove Rebels Attacked City, Killed 30

Ukraine's president said Sunday that intercepted radio and telephone conversations prove that Russia-backed separatists were responsible for firing the rockets that pounded the southeastern city of Mariupol and killed at least 30 people.

WHO Adopts Reforms to Repair Reputation After Bungling Ebola

The World Health Organization has proposed reforms that could overhaul its structure after botching the response to the biggest-ever Ebola outbreak, a sluggish performance that experts say cost thousands of lives.

Boko Haram Attacks Northeastern Nigerian city, Scores Killed

In fierce fighting Sunday that killed more than 200 combatants, Nigerian troops clashed with Islamic extremists who attacked Maiduguri, the biggest city in northeastern Nigeria, from three fronts.

Japan Seeks Jordan's Help on Gaining Hostage's Release

Japan sought help from Jordan and other countries Monday in its race to save a hostage held by the extremist Islamic State group, with no signs of progress on securing his release.

Russia Defiant After More Threats from West Over Ukraine

Russian officials struck a defiant note Monday after Western leaders threatened to further punish Moscow for escalated fighting in eastern Ukraine over the weekend.

Islamic State Group Nearly Pushed Out of Syria's Kobani

Kurdish fighters backed by intense U.S.-led airstrikes pushed the Islamic State group almost entirely out of the Syrian town of Kobani on Monday, marking a major loss for extremists whose hopes for easy victory dissolved into a bloody, costly siege that seems close to ending in defeat.

Church of England Consecrates First Female Bishop

Male domination in the leadership of the Church of England ended Monday, as the 500-year-old institution consecrated its first female bishop.

Commander in Joseph Kony's Feared Militia Appears in Court

A commander in warlord Joseph Kony's feared militia made his first appearance before an International Criminal Court judge Monday, calling himself a former soldier who was abducted and "taken to the bush" when he was just 14.

Small Drone Crashes at White House Complex, Origin Unclear

The U.S. Secret Service says a small drone crashed overnight at the White House complex while the president was in India.

Friday, January 23

'Dirty Rotten Scoundrels' Bill Passes House, Affirms Existing Education Law

The House Speaker's education bill would stop the “dirty rotten scoundrels in Washington from imposing their communist agenda on our school curricula?” Rep. David Baria asked.

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McDaniel Titillates with PAC Formation

Although it doesn't exactly come as a shock that state Sen. Chris McDaniel has formed a new political-action committee, McDaniel is leaving everyone in suspense about what his next moves are.

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Michael Beattie

When the Jackson Choral Society began seeking an interim director last year, it couldn't have found a more experienced leader than Michael Beattie.

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Miss. Senate to Mull Eliminating Vehicle Inspection Sticker

Mississippi lawmakers are driving forward with a plan to wipe out vehicle inspection stickers.

Measles Outbreak Casts Spotlight on Anti-Vaccine Movement

A major measles outbreak traced to Disneyland has brought criticism down on the small but vocal movement among parents to opt out of vaccinations for their children.

At Odds on Human Rights, US and Cuba Move Toward Embassies

Still at odds over human rights, the United States and Cuba closed two days of historic talks in Havana with some progress toward restoring diplomatic ties after a half-century of estrangement.

Miss. House Passes Pair of Low-Impact Common Core Bills

The Mississippi House is moving forward with a pair of bills that may immunize its members against controversy over Common Core State Standards, but appear likely to have little effect over what's taught in classrooms.

Thursday, January 22

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What Gov. Bryant Left Out of His SOTS

In his fourth State of the State address, Gov. Phil Bryant reiterated much of the agenda he already laid out in his budget recommendation, but the subjects the first-term governor failed to discuss in detail provide a window into Bryant's strategy for winning a second term in November.

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Preston Smith

Defensive lineman Preston Smith, who might have made the biggest leap this season, was a major reason the Bulldogs rose to the top ranking in the nation.

Campaign Finance protest, Hidden Camera Disrupt High Court

For the second time in 11 months, opponents of Supreme Court rulings lifting limits on money in political campaigns briefly disrupted proceedings in the courtroom and embarrassed the court by managing to get a camera past court security.

Shy of Votes, House GOP Drops Planned Vote on Abortion Bill

With thousands of anti-abortion protesters in town, Republicans are ready to push legislation through the House designed to please them. But it's not the bill an embarrassed GOP was hoping for.

House Heads to Vote on Border Security Bill

The House is moving toward a vote on a bill aimed at securing the U.S. border with Mexico, as majority Republicans seek to demonstrate that they can chart their own course on immigration — not just oppose President Barack Obama.

UN Holds First-Ever Meeting on Anti-Semitism on Thursday

The U.N. General Assembly is holding its first-ever meeting devoted to anti-Semitism on Thursday in response to a global increase in violence against Jews—a meeting scheduled even before the recent attack on a kosher supermarket in Paris.

US, Cuba Address Obstacles to Resuming Diplomatic Ties

The United States and Cuba are trying to eliminate obstacles to normalized ties as the highest-level U.S. delegation to the communist island in more than three decades holds a second day of talks with Cuban officials.

Video of New Jersey Man Shot by Police Raises Questions

A police video of officers confronting and then fatally shooting a black man in southern New Jersey has raised questions and stirred anger over another death at the hands of police.

Wednesday, January 21

FBI Finishes Ferguson Probe, Justice Not Yet Decided on Civil Rights Charges

The Justice Department has not yet announced whether it will file a federal civil rights charge against former Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson. But officials and experts have said such a prosecution would be highly unlikely, in part because of the extraordinarily high legal standard federal prosecutors would need to meet.

While States Introduce More Abortion Legislation, GOP Scraps National Bill When GOP Women Revolt

Buoyed by conservative gains in the November election, foes of abortion are mobilizing on behalf of bills in several state legislatures that would further curtail women's access to the procedure.

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Gov. Phil Bryant's 2015 State of the State Speech

This is the prepared text of Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant's 2015 State of the State speech, which he gave Wednesday at the state Capitol:

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Divorcing the State's Same-Sex Marriage Ban

Same-sex marriage cases have been in abundance as of late. But today, the justices at the Mississippi Supreme Court heard oral arguments for a different kind of LGBT equality issue: same-sex divorce.

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Best of Jackson 2015 Winners Announced

The nominations are in, the votes have been cast and the winners selected. New in 2015, we're offering the results "Academy Award" style—everyone is a finalist (determined by write-in nominations), and there's one winner (voted on by readers via the final ballot) in each category.

The Slate

Great news for Mississippi State fans this week: Quarterback Dak Prescott has decided to return next season. Good choice for his NFL development.

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Home Cookin’ with Jon Wiener

Meeting with Jon Wiener, the host of "Home Cookin'" on ESPN Radio (105.9 FM The Zone), you quickly realize two things. He is excited and passionate about Mississippi sports and about his show as it enters its second year on the air.

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Best of Jackson 2015: Urban Living

If you want one of the largest selections of antiques in the area—and also quite a few contemporary items—look no further than The Flea Market in Flowood.

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Best of Jackson 2015: People

With a mouth-watering martini list, it's no surprise that Jacksonians have voted Brad Regan the city's best bartender for several years running.

Best of Jackson 2015: Food & Drink

Babalu Tacos & Tapas is famous for making its guacamole tableside, slicing fresh avocados and mixing it, all while making light conversation and adding life to your meal.

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Best of Jackson 2015: Music & Nightlife

From a University of Southern Mississippi basketball star to a master of blues guitar, Jarekus Singleton always seems to end up center stage.

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Best of Jackson 2015: Community & Culture

The Mississippi Museum of Art has long represented our state's artistic history with a collection that features works from many renowned Mississippi artists, such as Birney Imes and quilt artist Gwendolyn A. Magee, and newcomers like Ginger Williams-Cook.

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The Best Jackson Has to Offer

Jackson has no shortage of cool people, places and things to do. The stiff competition during Best of Jackson makes that clear. The creativity, enthusiasm and hospitality of our city and her people continue to make it an inspired place to live.

Keep Lifting Up the Dialogue in Jackson

In the last week or so, Jackson Free Press editors have been participating in encouraging conversations on social media and the Nextdoor neighborhood sites, and in the office, about preventing crime in the city.

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Awesome Quote of the Week: 'Opportunity'

Surprise, sur-freaking-prise that Jeff Good, one of the city's most unwavering cheerleaders and all-around nicest dudes, would have the line that best captures the spirit of the Best of Jackson.

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Albert Wilson

Why does Ward 3 need you on the Jackson City Council right now?

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Hustlin’ to be the Best

Brother Hustle: "Welcome to the first meeting of the 2015 Compensatory Investment Request Support Group."

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Pam Greer

Why does Ward 3 need you on the Jackson City Council right now?

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Why Newsrooms Need Leaders

It's a news manager's job to challenge journalists—that includes the reporters they supervise as well as their fellow managers—to step out of their comfort zones and get to the 5 Ws and the H (who, what when, where, why and how) of and within every story as evenly and with as much context as possible.

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Larry Anderson

Why does Ward 3 need you on the Jackson City Council right now?

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An SOS to Black Youth

With the children's choir behind him on the first Sunday in December, the Rev. Reginald Buckley faced his congregation at Cade Chapel Missionary Baptist Church to get real about the "blessing and burden" of raising black boys.

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Hinds Wastewater Plan Worries Jackson

Some members of the Jackson City Council are nervous about a proposal to establish a regional wastewater authority they fear could hurt the city's own sewage system, one of the biggest money makers for Jackson.

France to Get Better Guns, More Intel Agents to Fight Terror

France announced sweeping new measures to counter homegrown terrorism Wednesday, including giving security forces better weapons and protection, going on an intelligence agent hiring spree and creating a better database of anyone suspected of extremist links.

Boko Haram Leader Claims Massacre in Baga, Threatens More

Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau has claimed responsibility for the mass killings in the northeast Nigerian town of Baga and threatened more violence.

Havana Talks Start After Promises by Obama, Cuban Caution

The highest-level U.S. delegation to Cuba in decades kicked off two days of negotiations Wednesday after grand promises by President Barack Obama about change on the island and a somber warning from Cuba to abandon hopes of reforming the communist government.

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Acknowledging Our ‘Best’ Once Again

You hold in your hands (or you're viewing online) the culmination of many months' worth of planning and effort—the 2015 Best of Jackson issue.

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Behind the Wall

The Mississippi Legislature voted last week to place an alternative to a citizen-driven initiative on the ballot this fall for the first time in Mississippi history under the state's initiative-process law.

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Charlotte Seals

Although she began as a pre-med major, Charlotte Seals found out when she graduated with a major in science education that her commitment to "never be an educator" might not prove to be binding.

Tuesday, January 20

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Jarvis Williams

Why does Ward 3 need you on the Jackson City Council right now?

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David L. Archie

Why does Ward 3 need you on the Jackson City Council right now?

AP Analysis: Obama Barreling Into His Final Two Years with SOTU Speech

WASHINGTON (AP) — It's not just the State of the Union speech that President Barack Obama is turning on its head. It's the whole notion of a lame-duck president.

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Brandon Gay-Straight Protest Planned Today

Despite fervent backlash from detractors, a demonstration against what LGBT activists call discrimination against a group of students who wanted to create a Gay-Straight Alliance at the school will continue as planned.

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James Meredith

It shouldn't be surprising that James Meredith, whose life and activism is the subject of a whole corner at the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis, has a plan to fix problems in his home state.

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HIV Services, Convention Center Award and the State Economy

The publishers and editors of ConventionSouth, a national multimedia resource for planning events in the South, recently presented the Jackson Convention Complex with a 2014 Readers' Choice Award.

Theater Shooting Defendant in Court as Jury Selection Nears

Theater shooting defendant James Holmes sat quietly and rocked slightly back and forth in his chair on Tuesday just hours before the start of the arduous process of choosing a jury to decide whether he was sane when he opened fire in a packed Colorado movie theater.

Opening Round Iran Sanctions Fight Kicks Off in Senate

Congress and President Barack Obama are on a fast track toward confrontation over sanctions on Iran.

New Privacy Concerns Over Government's Health Care Website

A little-known side to the government's health insurance website is prompting renewed concerns about privacy, just as the White House is calling for stronger cybersecurity protections for consumers.

A Look at the Hostages Believed Held by Islamic State Group

A list of foreign hostages believed held by the Islamic State group and some of those who have been released, reportedly in exchange for ransom money:

Islamic State Group Threatens to Kill 2 Japanese Hostages

The Islamic State group threatened to kill two Japanese hostages unless they receive $200 million in 72 hours, directly demanding the ransom Tuesday from Japan's premier during his visit to the Middle East.

Supreme Court Won't Hear Dispute Over Debit Card Fees

The Supreme Court has rejected a challenge from retailers who claim the Federal Reserve allows banks to charge businesses too much for handling debit card transactions.

5 Chechens Arrested in France, Including 1 with Explosives

Five Russians have been arrested in southern France, including one with a cache of explosives, a local mayor said Tuesday as four other men appeared at a court in Paris, the first to face charges in the Paris terror attacks.

Sentencing Set for 10 in Racial Beatings that Killed Man

Sentencing dates have been set for all 10 people who pleaded guilty to charges from the hate crimes investigation stemming from the death of James Craig Anderson.

Monday, January 19

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Tate Reeves Proposes Changes to Tax Code, MAEP, Hospitals

Talk around the Capitol suggests that because it is an election year, nothing substantial will get done. But it's clear that the state leadership has a different idea.

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Tougaloo, Millsaps Spend MLK Day With Fun and Community

The MLK Day Play-n-Serve, sponsored by Tougaloo and Millsaps colleges, is a reminder of how our nation has changed.

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Bayard Rustin

If Martin Luther King Jr. was the face and the voice of the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and '60s, Bayard Rustin was the movement's conscience because he was Dr. King's conscience.

Islamic State Group Releases 200 Captive Yazidis in Iraq

The Islamic State group released about 200 Yazidis held for five months in Iraq, mostly elderly, infirm captives who likely slowed the extremists down, Kurdish military officials said Sunday.

Secret Service: Shots Fired Outside Bidens' Delaware Home

Multiple gunshots were fired from a vehicle near the Delaware home of Vice President Joe Biden on Saturday night, the U.S. Secret Service said Sunday. The vice president and his wife were not at home at the time of the shooting, authorities said.

Ukraine Leader Vows to Retake Separatist-Held East

Ukraine's president vowed Sunday to reassert government control over eastern regions as the army unleashed a counter-offensive against Russian-backed separatist fighters vying for command over the airport in the city of Donetsk.

Obama's Tax Proposals Get Cool Reception from GOP Lawmakers

Republican lawmakers are already signaling they will do what they can to block President Barack Obama's pitch for tax increases on the wealthiest Americans.

EU Appeals Hamas Court Ruling Taking Group Off Terror List

The European Union launched an appeal against last month's EU court ruling that ordered the Palestinian group Hamas removed from its terror list for technical reasons, the bloc's foreign policy chief said Monday.

Friday, January 16

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Building Marred with Anti-Gay 'Marrage' Threat

On the same day the U.S. Supreme Court decided to eventually rule on marriage-equality cases, Jackson's LGBT community is on edge after a message of hate is scrawled on an abandoned building.

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In Belhaven, Outrage and Solutions; In South Jackson, Silence

In response to Jackson's first high-profile homicide in Belhaven, neighbors in the historic community turned out in force to a community meeting Thursday night to talk about action.

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Miss. Board of Education Pulling Out of 'Common Core' Testing Group

The state Board of Education voted Friday to withdraw from the Partnership for the Assessment of Readiness for Colleges and Careers on Jan. 25.

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Martin Luther King Jr.

Martin Luther King Jr. was one of the most well-known civil rights activists from the 1950s to his death in 1968.

Kerry Offers 'Big Hug' to Paris After Attacks

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry paid respect in both English and French on Friday to the victims of last week's terrorist attacks in Paris in a show of American solidarity with the French people.

Justices Must Act Fast if Gay Marriage to be Settled in June

Time is running short for the Supreme Court to get same-sex marriage on its calendar if the justices want to tackle the issue before their current term ends in late June.

European Police Arrest 2 Dozen in Anti-Terrorism Sweeps

French, German and Belgian police arrested more than two dozen suspects in anti-terrorism raids Friday, as European authorities rushed to thwart more attacks by people with links to Islamic extremists in the Mideast.

AFP Photographer Shot at Pakistan Anti-Charlie Hebdo Protest

A rally by Pakistani students against a French satirical weekly's latest publication of a Prophet Muhammad cartoon turned violent on Friday, with police firing warning shots and water cannons to disperse the demonstration. A photographer with the Agence France-Presse was shot and wounded in the melee.

Miss. Plans $1.47 Million in Reading Grants for 34 Schools

With thousands of Mississippi third-graders at risk of flunking this year because they can't read at a basic level, State Board of Education members are likely to vote Friday to award $1.47 million in grants to help 34 public schools meet the reading requirements.

Thursday, January 15

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Mississippi Women Make $11,500 Less Per Year Than Men

Giving merit to their call for equal-pay legislation, the Mississippi Commission on the Status of Women introduced its 2014 report that shows women in the state make an average of $11,500 less per year than men.

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Urban Expression

In a world where people are so different and diverse, dance is one thing that can bring us all together. From Jan. 15 to 17, people have a new way to appreciate dance in the form of the Mississippi Urban Dance Festival.

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Sean Brewer

Sean Brewer, a Division III football player from a small college in Mississippi, busted through and gets to join with some of the biggest and most well-known names in college football in the hall of fame.

Kerry: US, Britain May Set Up Scheme to Deal with Boko Haram

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry says he and his British counterpart are discussing a special initiative to deal with the Boko Haram (BOH'-koh hah-RAHM') extremist group in Nigeria and its neighbors.

FBI: Ohio Man Planned to Bomb US Capitol, Kill Officials

A 20-year-old Ohio man's Twitter posts sympathizing with Islamic terrorists led to an undercover FBI operation and the man's arrest on charges that he plotted to blow up the U.S. Capitol and kill government officials.

France Sees 19,000 Cyberattacks Since Terror Rampage

Hackers have targeted about 19,000 French websites since a rampage by Islamic extremists left 20 dead last week, a top French cyberdefense official said Thursday as the president tried to calm the nation's inflamed religious tensions.

Oklahoma to Resume Executions After 9-Month Delay

After a nearly nine-month delay prompted by a botched lethal injection last spring, Oklahoma plans to execute a death row inmate Thursday with the same three-drug method Florida intends to use about an hour earlier.

US Loosens Embargo on Cuba, Making Trade and Travel Easier

The Obama administration is putting a large dent in the U.S. embargo against Cuba as of Friday, significantly loosening restrictions on American trade and investment.

Pope on Charlie Hebdo: There Are Limits to Free Expression

Pope Francis said Thursday there are limits to freedom of speech, especially when it insults or ridicules someone's faith.

2 Friends Climb into History by Their Bloodied Fingertips

Tommy Caldwell, 36, and Kevin Jorgeson, 30, become the first to free-climb the 3,000-foot rock formation known as El Capitan, a feat many had considered impossible.

Wednesday, January 14

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Dems: Education 'Booby Trap' on November Ballot

House Concurrent Resolution 9, which passed the House 64-57 Tuesday, passed the Senate 30-20 Wednesday—virtually a straight party-line vote in both chambers.

Alternative to School Funding Measure Going on Miss. Ballot

The Mississippi ballot this November will list two education funding measures.

France Cracks Down on Hate Speech, Sends Carrier to Mideast

France ordered prosecutors around the country to crack down on hate speech, anti-Semitism and those glorifying terrorism and announced Wednesday it was sending an aircraft carrier to the Middle East to work more closely with the U.S.-led coalition fighting Islamic State militants.

Police Killings Prompt Array of Bills in State Legislatures

With legislatures convening across the country, lawmakers are moving quickly to respond to one of the biggest stories of the past year, the police killings of unarmed residents in Missouri, New York and elsewhere.

We Burn 2.7 Million Gallons a Minute, So Why's Oil So Cheap?

The price of a barrel of oil has fallen by more than half over the past six months because the globe, experts say, is awash in oil. So, where did all this oil come from?

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Vic Schaefer’s Fourteen

"We haven't done anything, yet." Those five words are probably not how most people would describe the Mississippi State University women's basketball team, a group of women who are off to an 18-1 start (3-1 SEC)—the best in school history. However, head coach Vic Schaefer is not most people.

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Peyton Manning’s Decision

Memorable athletes have fought back age and pain like they're pushing the sun back into the sky for one last game or several legendary performances.

The Slate

As linked as they are, it seems insane that Tom Brady is playing in the AFC Championship Game this week, and Peyton Manning might be done. Or at least he looked done when he played against the Colts.

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2014: Music in Review

2014 was a great year for music lovers, with plenty of great new albums and reissues to breathe new life into old favorites. Here are some of my favorite musical moments of 2014.

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A ‘Taste’ of Our Own

Tom Ramsey, the owner of Jackson's La Finestra restaurant, recently appeared on ABC's "The Taste," which is in its third season.

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Winterizing Your Skin

We all strive to protect our skin from sun damage in the summer, but colder weather brings about different problems for the skin. The biggest one is dryness.

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To Your (Musical) Health

So it's about time for those New Year's resolutions to kick in, and I'm sure many of you are going to the gym more often now. Here's a playlist to help you out.

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Have Legislators Thwarted Chance to Bring Funds to Cash-Strapped Mississippi Schools?

Students in this rural district ride to school on aging buses, then sit in 20-year-old portable classrooms or decrepit buildings reading outdated textbooks. The district of 1,009 students has only two teaching assistants to help in classrooms, and Superintendent Billy Joe Ferguson makes an annual salary of $18,000.

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Cosmetics: Does Beauty Benefit?

With the world becoming increasingly knowledgeable about harmful chemicals in beauty products, the demand for holistic practices is rising.

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Beating Weight Loss With the Blues

Everyone wants to lose weight, but few are willing to put in the work like Kiwana Thomas Gayden, who lost and kept off 40 pounds since 2013.

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We Must Finish King’s Work

Unfortunately, many have reduced Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to a mere dreamer and tried to remove the work he was doing at the end of his life from all mainstream discussions about his life.

City Needs A Stronger Customer-Relations Framework

After eight months in office, Mayor Tony Yarber points to his office's listening tours, which travel around the city and give citizens an opportunity to air their grievances, as one of the top accomplishments of his first term as mayor.

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Stinker Quote of the Week: 'Change'

The way Snowden and the Republican leadership are trying to ram the alternative amendment through, it's clear that they're opposed to adequate school funding, no matter what the constitution says or the people want.

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Another Do-Nothing Legislature?

For the past four years, I have read almost every bill presented to the House and Senate, and most of them are complete and utter nonsense.

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My New Year's Resolution Is ...

Making decisions on what to eat includes asking yourself a simple question with every food selection: Is it healthy? Most patients agree that they easily recognize unhealthy options.

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The Magic of ‘Peter Pan’

Even with its G-rated '50s songs and eternally optimistic story line, people of all ages get caught up in "Peter Pan"—even the cynics.

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Enabling Employers to Help Disabled People

A Mississippi advocacy group wants some state agencies to give closer consideration to people with disabilities when it comes to hiring decisions.

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Born To Fight

What would have been a calm first week of the legislative session turned into an explosive debate on the floor of the Mississippi House of Representatives the morning of Tuesday, Jan. 13.

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More to Lose If I Don’t

On the no-frills DASH diet, I have given up nothing that matters to me; cutting back sodium has been the hardest, because it's in so much more than just the saltshaker.

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Running the Marriage-Equality Gauntlet

The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals' hearing on same-sex marriage included three cases from three different states—Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas.

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City’s Biz Customer Service Under Fire

Tom Ramsey points to the slow pace of the Capitol Street two-waying project and what seems like the omnipresence of city meter readers during the lunch hour on Congress Street as additional headaches aggravating downtown businesses.

Tuesday, January 13

City Cold to Regional Wastewater Idea, Plans Review

Mayor Tony Yarber and members of the Jackson City Council expressed "great pause" about a proposal to create a regional wastewater authority.

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Kristi Henderson

Mississippi leads the nation in telehealth, thanks in no small part to the work of University of Mississippi Medical Center Chief Telehealth and Innovation Officer Kristi Henderson and the hospital's Center for Telehealth.

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Legislature Explodes in Fight Over Public Education

The first big legislative fight of the year exploded in the Mississippi House of Representatives this morning as Democrats attacked a Republican alternative to a statewide ballot initiative that, if it passes in November, would require adequate state public-education funding.

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West Millsaps Job Fair, JXN Tech on Tap, Wild Learning, Business of the Quarter

The Jackson Zoo recently received a $5,000 contribution from the Entergy Charitable Foundation that will underwrite the cost of admission and transportation to the zoo for students in the zoo's Wild Learning Program.

MetLife to Challenge 'Too-Big-to-Fail' Tag

MetLife is challenging its U.S. designation as a company that is "too big to fail," a tag given to corporations that the government believes could pose a risk to the economy in the event of a collapse.

Obama Sits Down with Leaders of New GOP-Run Congress

The guest list hasn't changed, but President Barack Obama faces a different type of crowd when he meets with congressional leaders on Tuesday.

Israel Buries 4 Jewish Victims of Paris Attack

Thousands of mourners joined Israeli leaders and the families of the four Jewish victims of a Paris terror attack on a kosher supermarket for an emotional funeral procession on Tuesday, reflecting the deep sense of connection and concern in Israel over the safety of fellow Jews in Europe.

Police Official: Arms for Paris Attacks Came from Abroad

The weapons used by a terror cell to kill 17 people around Paris came from outside the country and authorities are urgently tracing the source of the financing, a French police official said Tuesday.

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Tom Miles and Michael Evans

Mississippi is the birthplace of William Faulkner, Richard Wright and recent U.S. poet laureate Natasha Trethewey. However, some lawmakers say they want to look beyond the secular literary world and designate the Bible as the state book.

Monday, January 12

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Supreme Court Gives Ex-Death Row Inmate Parole Chance

The Mississippi Supreme Court, in a decision Dec. 8, changed Frederick Bell's sentence for his 1993 conviction for capital murder to life in prison.

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Supreme Court Battle Brewing Over Medicaid Fees

The Supreme Court on Jan. 20 will hear a case from Idaho seeking to overturn a 2011 lower court order to increase payments to providers serving Medicaid enrollees with development disabilities.

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Ju Ju Swag Shawty

Every rapper wants fans to know how skilled he is, but few can back it up as confidently as Ju Ju Swag Shawty of Vicksburg.

US: Cuba Completes Release of 53 Political Prisoners

Cuba has completed the release of 53 political prisoners that was part of last month's historic deal between the United States and Cuba, the Obama administration said Monday. The move would clear a major hurdle for the normalization of ties between the two countries after more than five decades of estrangement.

Video of Paris Gunman Raises Questions of Affiliations

Two days after his death, a video emerged Sunday of one of the Paris gunmen pledging allegiance to the Islamic State group, while his two fellow militants have claimed to be from al-Qaida — a fiercely rival extremist organization.

Fear, Far Right Among Roots of Germany's Anti-Islam Rallies

Anti-immigrant protests have been growing by the week in Germany, drawing international attention and fears that xenophobia is on the rise again in the country whose Nazi past has long made such sentiments taboo.

France Hunts for Attack Accomplices, Deploys 10,000 Troops

France ordered 10,000 troops into the streets Monday to protect sensitive sites after three days of bloodshed as it hunted for the accomplices to the Islamic militants who left 17 people dead as they terrorized the nation.

Kerry Will Go to Paris to Show Solidarity with French People

Secretary of State John Kerry said Monday he will travel to Paris this week to show solidarity with the French people, following sharp criticism of the Obama administration for not sending a senior official to Sunday's rally for unity in Paris that was attended by some 40 world leaders and more than a million people.

Divers Find Black Boxes in AirAsia Crash, Retrieve 1 of Them

Divers retrieved one black box Monday and located the other from the AirAsia plane that crashed more than two weeks ago, key developments that should help investigators unravel what caused the aircraft to plummet into the Java Sea.

Saturday, January 10

2 Miss. History Museums Close to Private Fundraising Goal

Two Mississippi history museums being built in downtown Jackson are moving closer to their private fundraising goal.

Friday, January 9

Obama Proposes Publicly Funded Community Colleges for All

President Barack Obama on Friday proposed to bring the cost of two years of community college "down to zero" for all Americans, an ambitious nationwide plan based on a popular Tennessee program signed into law by that state's Republican governor.

Al-Qaida Member in Yemen Says Group Directed Paris Attack

Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula directed the attack against the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in Paris "as revenge for the honor" of Islam's Prophet Muhammad, a member of the group told The Associated Press on Friday.

Miss. Same-Sex Marriage Fate Now With 5th Circuit

Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas are three very different places, arguments for throwing out each state's same-sex marriage bans—the subject of cases heard in a federal appeals court in New Orleans this morning—don't differ too much.

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Analysis: 5th Circuit Could Surprise on Marriage Equality

Supporters of ending Mississippi's constitutional ban on same-sex marriage are understandably nervous about the future.

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Reginald Buckley

After watching and reading news coverage about the recent killings of young black men by white police officers in Ferguson and New York City and the attacks against police officers in retaliation, Reginald Buckley, executive pastor of Cade Chapel, felt it was his duty to act.

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Cochran, Wicker Take Top Senate Posts

Mississippi Republican U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran is chairman of the Senate Committee on Appropriations, and Sen. Roger Wicker has been named chairman of the Senate seapower subcommittee.

Paris Gunman: Hostages Die if Police Storm Terror Brothers

A gunman holding at least five hostages in a Paris kosher market has threatened to kill them if French authorities launch an assault on two cornered al-Qaida-linked brothers suspected in a newspaper massacre, a police official said Friday.

Massive Manhunt for 2 Suspects in Paris Attack

Police SWAT teams backed by helicopters tracked two heavily armed brothers with al-Qaida sympathies suspected in the newsroom massacre of a satirical French weekly that spoofed Islam, homing in Thursday on a region north of Paris as the nation mourned the dozen slain.

Nebraska High Court Tosses Suit Over Keystone Pipeline Route

Nebraska's highest court tossed a lawsuit Friday challenging a proposed route for the Keystone XL oil pipeline in a decision that could remove a major roadblock for the $7 billion cross-continental project, which Republicans have vowed to make a key part of their 2015 agenda in Congress.

Miss. School Rating at Bottom, but Preschools Get Good Mark

Mississippi again ranks last in the nation in school performance according to an influential evaluation released Thursday, but the state ranks near the top in a new measure of how many students are participating in preschool programs.

Thursday, January 8

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Elvis Presley

In 1953, Elvis Presley walked into Sun Records in Memphis and recorded the song "My Happiness." He was only 18.

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2 Men Plead Guilty in 2011 Racial Beatings in Mississippi

A multiyear federal investigation of the racially-motivated murder of 47-year-old auto plant worker James Craig Anderson ended Wednesday after a ninth and tenth person pleaded guilty to felony charges.

Wednesday, January 7

Black Caucus Calls on Full Funding for Miss. Schools' Budget

The Legislative Black Caucus' request that House and Senate leaders fully fund Mississippi's school budget formula appears likely to be fulfilled, based on early recommendations for state spending in this election year.

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Mississippi's Budget: Under '50 Feet of Crap'

There are rich states, and there are poor states. Then there’s 50 feet of crap. Then there’s Mississippi.

12 Dead in Terrorist Attack on Paris Weekly; Gunmen at Large

Masked gunmen stormed the Paris offices of a weekly newspaper that caricatured the Prophet Muhammad, methodically killing 12 people Wednesday, including the editor, before escaping in a car. It was France's deadliest postwar terrorist attack.

Bill Cosby Returns to Stage for 1st Time Since November

A scandal-plagued Bill Cosby returns to the stage Wednesday night for the first time since November, with some ticket-holders vowing not to show up and others saying they will heckle the comedian.

FBI Director Confident North Korea was Behind Cyberattack

There is strong evidence that North Korea was behind the cyberattack on Sony and that the leadership there will orchestrate further strikes against American targets, top U.S. officials said Wednesday.

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College Football Bowl Thoughts

Everyone has likely heard about the dust-up between Ole Miss athletic director Ross Bjork and cartoonist Marshall Ramsey. Bjork got upset over Ramsey's New Year's Eve tweet: "Wonder if Bo will be asked to drop the ball tonight."

The Slate

It is always sad to see the football season coming to an end. There is one more meaningful college game left, but there is still a handful of meaningful NFL games to watch.

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Mo’ Better Jazz and Blues

Jai Johanny Johanson, better known by his stage name, Jaimoe, has been playing drums and percussion since he was 16.

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Bold Requests from the ‘Bold New City’

Mayor Tony Yarber has talked to top Republican leaders, who he says seem most amenable to helping with Jackson’s public-safety needs.

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Legislators on a Tight Rope, Walking a Fine Line

Officials and advocates don't expect this legislative session to be much different than any other. It's a state-wide election year, which is the perfect time for emphasizing wedge issues and lollygagging on real state concerns like education and Medicaid.

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New Ideas

There is no doubt that I love Jackson. But I also love to travel, both because there's so much out there to see in the world, and because having new experiences and getting new ideas is fun.

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Meant to Be

It happened simply: I saw Neil Maneck for the first time in a Barnes & Noble coffee shop. "Oh he's cute," I said to my friend Catherine Gray, who had befriended him in high school. "Is he single?"

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Analysis: Election-Year Politicking Starts

Like a comet that is visible to Earth denizens only once in a while, the quadrennial event of the election-year legislative session has commenced.

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Runnin’ the Blues Through the Veins of Jackson

It was only six years ago, in 2008, when John Sewell began working with others to put together a marathon that would celebrate the unique blues culture in Mississippi. This weekend, on Jan. 10, the event returns as one of the city's signature annual events.

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Familiar Faces Join Ward 3 Fray

For the first time in a quarter century, Jackson's Ward 3 city council is not occupied by an individual whose surname is Stokes. In fact, the near-west-side ward seat, a longtime stronghold of the black community, is not currently occupied at all.

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Mississippi Knocks Federal Clean Air Regs

The Mississippi agency responsible for protecting the state's natural resources is pushing back against a proposed federal clean-power plan designed to reduce climate changing carbon pollution and improve citizens' health.

French Authorities Seek Three Gunmen In Deadly Attack on Satirical Newspaper

PARIS (AP) — Masked gunmen shouting "Allahu akbar!" stormed the Paris offices of a satirical newspaper Wednesday, killing 12 people, including the paper's editor, before escaping in a getaway car. It was France's deadliest terror attack in living memory.

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Sen. Hillman Frazier

Today, Sen. Hillman Frazier's office on the first floor of the Capitol is a shrine to his more than three decades in public service.

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Boosting Downtown’s Curb Appeal

In downtown Jackson, utility crews whacked off the tops of Bradford pear trees to prevent them from growing into power lines. Iron grates on Congress Street choke the growth of some trees, as the foliage has been left to grow where it pleases.

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Comedy, Race and ‘Oh, Everything!’ Else

Poking fun at racial prejudice isn't the most obvious career choice, but comic W. Kamau Bell continues to do just that in his new tour, "Oh, Everything!", which makes a stop in Jackson on Thursday, Jan. 8, at Duling Hall.

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Jesus, the Migrant

In her new book "Jesus Was A Migrant," writer Deirdre Cornell says migration is central to "biblical spirituality" and the chosen people themselves were "displaced, uprooted, homeless" migrants.

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Are Mississippi Officials Deadbeats?

The situation in Mississippi may be dire, but it's not hopeless. There are opportunities to drastically—not incrementally—improve things in Mississippi, but our leadership seems fixated on solutions looking for problems.

Lawmakers: Don’t Waste Time on Gay-Marriage Ban

Though it's not clear what the Legislature can do to ensure that same-sex marriage will remain banned in the state, lawmakers will probably try to this session—if for no other reason than to get political points from anti-LGBT voters.

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Stinker Quote of the Week: 'Winning'

The logical assumption is that Gov. Bryant hasn't spent a lot of time around people in poverty considering that he and his fellow Republicans can only seem to come up with solutions to caricatures of poverty rather than the real roots of the problems.

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Don’t Waste Your Mind

Boneqweesha Jones: "I recall a time when I brought in the new year uninspired, hopeless and alone watching a New Year program. New Year's Day was just another day for me. At 12:05 a.m., a one-minute public-service announcement from the United Ghetto Science Community Post-Secondary Training College Fund changed my perspective."

Tuesday, January 6

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Same-Sex Marriage Arguments Before 5th Circuit Friday

The future of same-sex marriage in Mississippi hinges upon arguments that begin Friday, Jan. 9.

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Craft Beer Store Opens, Ace Closes, UMMC Acquires Courthouse

Montgomery Ace Hardware, in Maywood Mart Shopping Center, will close its doors Jan. 17.

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Sen. Roger Wicker

Mississippi Sen. Roger Wicker will serve as presiding office of the U.S. Senate during the first day of the 114th Congress, which convenes Tuesday.

Funeral for Ex-NY Gov. Mario Cuomo, Democratic Champion

The standard bearers of the Democratic Party are joining family and friends for a final goodbye to one of their champions, former three-term New York Gov. Mario Cuomo, who left a progressive legacy of speaking out for the voiceless and powerless.

Obama Seeks Help of Mexico's Pena Nieto on Cuba, Immigration

President Barack Obama is hosting Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto at the White House Tuesday, looking to his southern neighbor for help implementing the president's changing policies on immigration and Cuba.

Gay Marriage Ban Ends as Couples Wed Throughout Florida

Florida's ban on same-sex marriage ended statewide at the stroke of midnight Monday, and court clerks in some counties wasted no time, issuing marriage licenses and performing weddings for same-sex couples in the early morning hours.

New Congress Getting Sworn in with GOP in Charge

Republicans are assuming full control of Congress for the first time in eight years in a day of pomp, circumstance and raw politics beneath the Capitol Dome.

Hearing Set for Men to Change Pleas in Miss. Racial Beatings

A change-of-plea hearing is scheduled for two men charged in a series of 2011 racial beatings that culminated in the death of a Jackson man.

Monday, January 5

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Legislature: The War is Just Beginning

The Mississippi Legislature is back in session tomorrow, which means another three months of state representatives at battle on issues, some of questionable significance.

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City Escapes $600K Judgment

A federal judge has dismissed a $600,000 judgment against the City of Jackson that dates back to a 2012 lawsuit.

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Christina Doss

After participating in a Habitat for Humanity build in Dallas, Nissan employee Christina Doss plans to use her acquired skills and experience to help enrich her own community in the Jackson metro area.

More Women, Minorities in New Congress

The 114th Congress that convenes Tuesday will count more minorities and women than ever, although lawmakers remain overwhelmingly white and male in the Republican-controlled House and Senate.

Indonesia Cracks Down on Aviation Sector After AirAsia Crash

Highlighting the depth of Indonesia's air safety problems, the transportation ministry announced harsh measures Monday against everyone who allowed AirAsia Flight 8501 to take off without proper permits—including the suspension of the airport's operator and officials in the control tower.

Islamic Leader Urges Muslims to Visit Jerusalem Holy Site

The head of the world's largest Islamic organization on Monday paid a rare visit to Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa Mosque, urging Muslims to follow suit and come to the city in a bid to strengthen Palestinian claims to the holy site.

Jury Selection Gets Underway in Marathon Bombing Trial

Potential jurors stared intently at Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev as jury selection in his federal death penalty trial began Monday under tight security.

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10 Local Stories of the Week

There's never a slow news week in Jackson, Miss., and last week was no exception. Here are the local stories JFP reporters brought you in case you missed them.

Saturday, January 3

Mississippi Capitol Still Undergoing Restoration

Restoration work continues at the Mississippi Capitol as legislators prepare to start their session next week.

Friday, January 2

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Dr. Mario Azevedo

The College of Liberal Arts at Jackson State University recently named Dr. Mario Azevedo, a professor and interim chair of the Department of History and Philosophy, to serve as dean.

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Mississippi Groups Attack Carbon Dioxide Limits

Mississippi regulators and utilities are savaging the federal government's proposal to force Mississippi power plants to cut carbon dioxide emissions.

LGBT-Owned Businesses Get Diversity Boost

Federal agencies, organizations such as the National Football League and more than one-third of Fortune 500 companies are now trying to expand their vendor pools by explicitly encouraging bids from gay, lesbian and transgender contractors.

Families of Shanghai Victims Grieve, Seek Answers

Thirty-six people were killed in a stampede during New Year's celebrations in one of the deadliest accidents in the Chinese city of Shanghai. Some 49 others were injured.

Immigrants to Seek California Driver Licenses

California on Friday will start taking driver's license applications from the nation's largest population of immigrants in the country illegally.

Mario Cuomo, a Giant in NY, Liberal Politics, Dies

Mario Cuomo died at his home in Manhattan on Thursday of natural causes due to heart failure, just hours after his son Andrew began his second term as New York's chief executive. He was 82.

Thursday, January 1

Ole Miss Crushed By TCU in Peach Bowl

TCU looked like a championship contender to Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze.

Miss. State Loses Orange Bowl to Ga. Tech

The Bulldogs totaled 605 yards, including 453 passing by Dak Prescott, but lost Wednesday night to Georgia Tech 49-34.