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Russian plane crashes...Former Illinois governor seeks presidential pardon ... Man sets fire to house, then stabs himself to death



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SOCHI, Russia (AP) — Russian rescue teams are searching the Black Sea for victims of a plane crash. The flight operated by the Russian military had 92 people aboard when it when down in good weather shortly after takeoff Sunday morning. It was headed to a Russian base in Syria. Investigators say they are looking into every possible cause for the crash, including a terror attack. Ships, helicopters, drones and submersibles are being used to help spot bodies and debris.

CHICAGO (AP) — The Department of Justice confirms former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich (blah-GOY'-uh-vich) has asked President Barack Obama to commute his 14-year prison sentence for corruption. His convictions include counts for seeking to exchange an appointment to Obama's old Senate seat for campaign cash. If Obama does not decide on Blagojevich's request by his last day in office, it carries over to President-elect Donald Trump. Blagojevich once appeared on Trump's "Celebrity Apprentice."

FAIRFIELD, Maine (AP) — Police in Fairfield, Maine, say a man set his estranged wife's house on fire during the middle of the night before fatally stabbing himself in front of responding officers. The man's wife called police and escaped uninjured. When police arrived, they say the man had a propane torch in his hand and ran to the back of the house. Officers used Tasers on him but they were ineffective. He had been charged with criminal mischief and domestic violence assault in October and was under a court order to keep away from his wife.

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Actress Debbie Reynolds says her daughter, Carrie Fisher, is in stable condition days after suffering a medical emergency. Reynolds tweets that the family will share any updates on Fisher and thanks the public for its "prayers & good wishes." The "Star Wars" actress fell ill on a flight from London and was admitted to a Los Angeles hospital upon landing Friday.

HONOLULU (AP) — President Barack Obama is celebrating Christmas with a quiet morning at his vacation home in Hawaii. The president, first lady Michelle Obama and daughters Sasha and Malia are on the island of Oahu. Obama was expected to stay at the rental home in Kailua for much of the day, opening presents with his family and taking part in other family traditions.

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