The fifth-grade teacher of Colorado theater gunman James Holmes on Monday described his former pupil as a popular, bright student in testimony which defense lawyers hope will spare the convicted mass murderer from execution. Last week, a jury of nine women and three men found Holmes guilty of fatally shooting 12 moviegoers and wounding 70 others during a midnight screening of the Batman film "The Dark Knight Rises" at a Denver-area multiplex in July 2012. Paul Karrer, a teacher at the central California elementary school that Holmes attended during the 1998-99 school year, was testifying on the third anniversary of the massacre ahead of a sentencing hearing where the same jurors will decide if the 27-year-old should be executed or serve a life sentence.
Washington state activist Rachel Dolezal, 37, resigned in June as president of the Spokane chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, a leading civil rights organization, amid reports she was falsely claiming to be black. Dolezal came under intense scrutiny when a white couple who identified themselves as her estranged biological parents told U.S. media she has Caucasian roots. "It's taken my entire life to negotiate how to identify, and I've done a lot of research and a lot of studying," Dolezal told Vanity Fair in an interview published on Sunday.
By Mark Hosenball WASHINGTON (Reuters) - General jihadist propaganda on the Internet may have inspired Mohammod Youssuf Abdulazeez, the man accused of killing five servicemen in Tennessee on Thursday before being shot dead himself, a source close to the investigation said on Monday. The source, who asked for anonymity when discussing sensitive information, told Reuters that authorities had not established a direct link between Abdulazeez and specific groups such as Islamic State. Abdulazeez had drug abuse problems and was worried about debt according to his family and a diary he left behind, ABC News reported on Monday, citing a family representative.
The Cuban flag was raised over Havana’s embassy in Washington on Monday for the first time in 54 years as the United States and Cuba formally restored relations, opening a new chapter of engagement between the former Cold War foes. Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez presided over the reinauguration of the embassy, a milestone in the diplomatic thaw that began with a breakthrough announcement by U.S. President Barack Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro on Dec. 17. The U.S. Embassy in Havana was also officially reopened for business.
(Reuters) - U.S. Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush said on Monday he would overhaul Washington's culture with a federal balanced budget amendment, a freeze on government hiring and a longer ban on former members of Congress becoming lobbyists. "We need a president willing to challenge the whole culture in our nation's capital – and I mean to do it," Bush, the former Florida governor, said in remarks posted on his campaign website on Monday. (Reporting by Emily Stephenson and Luciana Lopez; Editing by Susan Heavey)
Presidential contender Hillary Clinton's proposed plan to overhaul capital gains taxes aims to foster long-term growth by taxing some short-term investments at higher rates, an aide for her campaign said on Monday. Under her proposal, first reported by the Wall Street Journal, the maximum capital gains tax rate on investments held at least a year, currently 23.8 percent, would rise to at least the 28 percent proposed by President Barack Obama, the aide said. The campaign has not ruled out raising it as high as the regular income tax rate, which can be as high as 39.6 percent for top earners, the Journal reported.
Senator John McCain urged Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump on Monday to apologize to U.S. military families for saying prisoners of war are not heroes in his first direct response to remarks by Trump. Trump drew a barrage of criticism over the weekend after telling a Republican forum he did not think McCain, a Navy fighter pilot imprisoned for more than five years in Hanoi after being shot down, was a hero because he was captured. "He’s not a war hero," Trump said Saturday at a gathering of religious conservatives in Ames, Iowa.
Most Americans would support imposing a term limit on the nine U.S. Supreme Court justices, who now serve for life, a Reuters/Ipsos opinion poll has found in the aftermath of major rulings by the court on Obamacare and gay marriage. Congress shows no signs of taking up the idea, though Republican presidential contender Ted Cruz has suggested the possibility of justices being voted out of office.
It takes a mere 10 minutes by boat to navigate to New York City's Hart Island, one of the United States' largest paupers' cemetery. Grable, 64, was one of a few dozen mourners who for the first time walked across the barren island on Sunday. For years, city rules confined mourners to a small memorial gazebo, furnished with a few benches and tucked away on an island's corner.