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    Texas van crash probe, Western wildfires, The Suicide Squad: 5 things to know Thursday

    Investigation into deadly Texas van crash expected to continue

    At least 10 people were killed and 20 more were injured when an overloaded van crashed Wednesday in Encino, Texas, a town about 100 miles south of Corpus Christi, authorities said. Brooks County Sheriff Urbino Martinez said the van, designed to hold 15 passengers, was top-heavy and tipped over when the driver lost control on a curve. The van held 29 suspected undocumented migrants, he said. Additional details about the crash are expected to come Thursday or in the coming days. The identities of the 30 in the van were being withheld until relatives can be notified, an official with the Texas Department of Public Safety said. No information about the van, including where it was registered or who owned it, was immediately released. A surge in migrants crossing the border illegally has brought about an uptick in the number of crashes involving vehicles jammed with migrants who pay large amounts to be smuggled into the country.

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    Red flag warnings prompt more wildfire fears across the West

    Firefighters battling dozens of blazes across the West braced for more hot, dry weather as dangerous conditions threatened to spark new wildfires in multiple states. The National Weather Service issued red flag warnings for parts of California, Nevada and Oregon until Thursday evening, expecting gusty winds and low humidity that could cause the dry vegetation to burn rapidly. There are 27 active large wildfires in those three states, and across 14 states, 96 large wildfires have burned more than 2,900 square miles, according to the National Interagency Fire Center. In Northern California, the Dixie Fire remains the largest blaze in the state as conditions stoke the flames. The Dixie Fire blazed through Greenville, California, leaving behind only a few structures. The fire primarily burned through most of the downtown area and some surrounding homes in the small mountain community. 

    Spirit Airlines bedlam goes on: Hundreds of Thursday flights already canceled

    Spirit Airlines, which has canceled more than 1,300 flights and stranded passengers since Sunday as it grapples with a series of issues, said Wednesday cancellations should ease in the days to come as it reboots its operation. However, that day doesn’t appear to be Thursday. The carrier has already canceled 349 of its Thursday flights or 45% of its scheduled flights, as of 6 a.m. EDT, according to flight tracker FlightAware. It will be the fifth consecutive day of frustration for passengers on the budget airline and comes as a busy summer travel weekend looms. The carrier canceled more than 400 flights per day, or a whopping 60% percent of its operation, on both Tuesday and Wednesday alone. The airline apologized to passengers and employees in a statement issued Wednesday and continued to attribute the massive woes to “overlapping operational challenges,” including weather, technology system outages and staffing shortages. 

    James Gunn brings ‘The Suicide Squad’ back to the big screen

    The body count is high and chaos reigns in writer/director James Gunn’s absurdly delightful and indubitably not-for-kids “The Suicide Squad,”  writes USA TODAY movie critic Brian Truitt. The film, out in theaters and streaming on HBO Max Thursday evening, is a soft reboot of 2016’s “Suicide Squad.” Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn returns and Idris Elba and John Cena will debut new characters. Viola Davis returns as Amanda Waller, who runs survive-or-else missions out of outlaw-filled Belle Reve prison with members of Task Force X. Their newest assignment: venturing to the fictional South American island of Corto Maltese, where the Squad traverses jungles, fights enemy guerrillas, goes disco dancing at a nightclub, and has to infiltrate an old Nazi stronghold from World War II that’s been housing a monstrous experiment. Before tackling this DC project, Gunn was firmly entrenched in the Marvel Cinematic Universe as he directed the two “Guardians of the Galaxy” movies. 

    Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett to perform together ‘One Last Time’

    Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett will reunite Thursday at New York’s Radio City Music Hall for the second of two farewell concerts celebrating Bennett’s 95th birthday. The longtime friends and collaborators are playing “One Last Time” shows in the leadup to their second joint album, “Love for Sale,” out Oct. 1. Bennett, who turned 95 on Tuesday, was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 2016. But the music legend was as spry and charismatic as ever in a roughly half-hour solo set in Tuesday’s sold-out show. “He’s my friend. He’s my musical companion. He’s the greatest singer in the whole world,” said Lady Gaga during her rendition of “New York, New York.”

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