LAWRENCE, Mass. (AP) A series of gas explosions an official described as "Armageddon" killed a teenager, injured at least 10 other people and ignited fires in at least 39 homes in three communities north of Boston on Thursday, forcing entire neighborhoods to evacuate as crews scrambled to fight the flames and shut off the gas. Authorities said Leonel Rondon, 18, of Lawrence, died after a chimney toppled by an exploding house crashed into his car. He was rushed to a Boston hospital but pronounced dead there in the evening. Massachusetts State Police urged all residents with homes serviced by Columbia Gas in Lawrence, Andover and North Andover to evacuate, snarling traffic and causing widespread confusion as residents and local officials struggled to understand what was happening.ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) Gov. Andrew Cuomo easily beat back a primary challenge from activist and actress Cynthia Nixon on Thursday, thwarting her attempt to become the latest insurgent liberal to knock off an establishment Democrat. Cuomo, who always led in the polls and outspent his rival more than 8 to 1, seldom mentioned Nixon by name during an often-nasty campaign, instead touting his experience, achievements in two terms as governor and his work to push back against President Donald Trump. "It's New York's obligation to stand up and lead and lead against a lot of these changes in Washington that are totally opposite of who we are as New Yorkers and what we believe," he said at his Westchester County polling place Thursday morning.WASHINGTON (AP) As Hurricane Florence bore down on the U.S. on Thursday, President Donald Trump angrily churned up the devastating storm of a year earlier, disputing the official death count from Hurricane Maria and falsely accusing Democrats of inflating the Puerto Rican toll to make him "look as bad as possible." Public health experts have estimated that nearly 3,000 perished because of the effects of Maria. But Trump, whose efforts to help the island territory recover have been persistently criticized, was having none of that. He said just six to 18 people had been reported dead when he visited two weeks after the storm and suggested that many had been added later "if a person died for any reason, like old age."SALT LAKE CITY (AP) Elizabeth Smart said Thursday the news that one of her kidnappers will be released from prison next week was "a big shock," and she hopes there is a way the woman can be committed to a treatment facility since there is no legal recourse to keep her behind bars. Wanda Barzee is expected to be freed next week after 15 years in custody, following a surprise announcement that Utah authorities had miscalculated the amount of time the 72-year-old woman should serve. Standing on the steps of the Utah state capitol, Smart, now 30, recalled some of the horrors she experienced when she was snatched from her home in 2002.WASHINGTON (AP) Cuba said Thursday the United States is continuing to withhold important information that could help in the investigation into mysterious incidents that have injured some two dozen Havana-based American diplomats, including some with brain damage, since late 2016. After meeting with U.S. officials at the State Department, members of a team Cuba assembled to look into the incidents said their requests for patient records and other information had again been rebuffed and rejected anew after Washington's assertions that the injuries were caused by targeted attacks. "The Cuban side is completely unable to support the hypothesis of health attacks and brain damage as reported by the State Department," said Dr.SEOUL, South Korea (AP) Get ready for Trump-Kim Part Two. In recent weeks it's become clear that Donald Trump wants to meet with Kim Jong Un again, and the North Korean leader has told the White House he'd like more face-to-face talks with the American president. Could that meeting happen, as some in Seoul have pushed for, on the sidelines of a U.N. gathering of world leaders in New York later this month? Getting Kim, the brutal, authoritarian leader of the most sanctioned country on the planet, to the home of the Yankees might seem a fantastic fever-dream. But it's useful to remember that no analysts predicted that Trump's surprise June summit with Kim in Singapore would be possible until suddenly it was.WASHINGTON (AP) Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the top Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, said Thursday she has notified federal investigators about information she received and won't disclose publicly concerning Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. The California Democrat said in a statement that she "received information from an individual concerning the nomination." She said the person "strongly requested confidentiality, declined to come forward or press the matter further, and I have honored that decision." The FBI confirmed that it received the information Wednesday evening and included it in Kavanaugh's background file, which is maintained as part of his nomination.CINCINNATI (AP) Andy Dalton threw four touchdown passes in the first half three to A.J. Green against a defense that has bedeviled him throughout his career, and the Cincinnati Bengals held on for a 34-23 victory over the Baltimore Ravens on Thursday night. Dalton knocked the Ravens (1-1) out of playoff contention last season. On Thursday, he sliced-and-diced a defense that has more often gotten the upper hand in their AFC North rivalry, leading Cincinnati (2-0) to an early 21-point lead. Dalton finished 24 of 42 for 265 yards, throwing four touchdown passes for only the fifth time in his career.
AP Top News at 11:57 p.m. EDT
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