South Carolina

F-16 fighter and small plane collide

An F-16 fighter jet smashed into a small plane, killing two people and raining down debris. Two people were aboard the Cessna, which was destroyed, and both died. The pilot of the F-16 ejected and was taken to Joint Base Charleston's medical clinic for observation.

Pennsylvania

U.S. spending on birth control drops

Out-of-pocket spending on most major birth control methods fell sharply in the months after the Affordable Care Act began requiring insurance plans to cover contraception at no cost to women, a new study found. Spending on the pill, the most popular form of prescription birth control, dropped by about half in the first six months of 2013, compared with the same period in 2012, before the mandate took effect. The study was by economists from the University of Pennsylvania.

Illinois

Budget standoff cancels some paychecks

A Chicago judge barred Illinois from paying public employees except those covered by federal labor laws until a budget impasse between GOP Gov. Bruce Rauner and Democratic legislators is resolved. The governor and unions pledged to appeal as the state wrestles with a $6.2 billion deficit.

California

Right-to-die bill stalls in committee

Legislation that would have allowed terminally ill patients to legally end their lives in California stalled amid fierce opposition from religious groups. The authors of the right-to-die bill did not present the bill to a committee because it did not have enough votes to advance. The panel includes Democratic lawmakers from heavily Catholic districts in the Los Angeles area, where the archdiocese actively opposed the bill.

United Nations

WHO's Ebola response is criticized

More than a year after the Ebola epidemic began, the World Health Organization remains unfit to handle a public health emergency, an independent panel concluded. "WHO does not currently possess the capacity or organizational culture to deliver a full emergency public health response," the panel said in a report. The panel faulted the agency for being sluggish, financially unprepared and overly reliant on "good diplomacy." It noted a lack of "independent and courageous decisionmaking by the director general," Dr. Margaret Chan.

Pakistan

Taliban and Afghan government meet

After years of failed efforts, an Afghan government delegation met with Taliban officials in a significant effort to open formal peace talks. The Islamabad meeting was the most promising contact between the two sides in years, and it followed a series of less formal encounters at international conferences. A peace process that would lead to the Taliban ending their insurgency is seen as a crucial part of the U.S. strategy to stabilize Afghanistan after a costly 14-year war.

News services