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Updated: 2 hours 54 min ago

Uptick in NYC chokehold complaints illuminates need for better-defined rule

Thu, 02/12/2015 - 16:37

Police watchdogs in New York City saw a significant increase in verified complaints of police officers using a banned chokehold maneuver in 2014.

Report: Rise in ‘lone wolf’ domestic terrorists remains ‘substantial threat’

Thu, 02/12/2015 - 15:29

A watchdog group implores the federal government not to overlook terror threats at home.

Thousands join funeral for slain Muslims in North Carolina

Thu, 02/12/2015 - 14:33

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The fathers of three young Muslims allegedly slain by a neighbor who was angry over parking spots stood before their caskets Thursday and urged a crowd of thousands to protect others by demanding justice.

Oklahoma bill would protect clergy who won't perform gay marriages

Thu, 02/12/2015 - 14:07
(Reuters) - Oklahoma state representatives voted overwhelmingly on Thursday to advance a bill that would provide immunity from lawsuits to clergy who refuse to conduct marriages for same-sex couples. The bill, approved by 88-7 in the state House of Representatives, would protect clergy members from any civil claim or cause of action if they refuse to preside over or recognize a marriage of same-sex couples because of their conscience or religious beliefs. The measure next goes to the state Senate for consideration. The bill's sponsor, Republican Representative David Brumbaugh, said many pastors asked for the legislation after a federal judge overturned Oklahoma's ban on gay marriage in January 2014.

Mourners remember slain North Carolina Muslims; fresh calls for hate probe

Thu, 02/12/2015 - 13:27

By Colleen Jenkins WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (Reuters) - Thousands of mourners attended the funeral prayers on Thursday for three young Muslims killed in North Carolina, and the father of two of the victims urged U.S. authorities to probe whether religious hatred was a motive for the murders. Newlywed Deah Barakat, 23, a University of North Carolina dental student, his wife Yusor Abu-Salha, 21, and her sister, Razan Abu-Salha, 19, a student at North Carolina State University, were gunned down on Tuesday in a condominium about two miles (three km) from the UNC campus in Chapel Hill. Police charged the couple's neighbor, Craig Stephen Hicks, 46, with murder. The case has garnered international attention and Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan criticized President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and Secretary of State John Kerry on Thursday for not speaking about the incident.

Federal judge in Alabama orders county to wed gay couples

Thu, 02/12/2015 - 12:56

A federal judge has ordered Mobile County to start issuing gay marriage licenses.

Los Angeles officer shoots boy, 15, after seeing replica gun

Thu, 02/12/2015 - 11:05
By Michael Fleeman LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Los Angeles police were investigating on Thursday the shooting of a 15-year-old boy who was shot and wounded by a police officer who saw a person next to the teenager pointing what turned out to be a replica gun, police said. The Los Angeles police department said officers from a gang homicide unit had been conducting a follow-up investigation on Tuesday when they encountered several people, including one carrying what appeared to be a gun. "Officers saw that individual pointing the firearm at another individual," a police statement said. The individual ignored the officer's commands and an officer-involved shooting occurred." The 15-year-old, who was not identified, was shot once in the upper back, while the person who had been holding the replica was not injured.

Senate approves Carter as new defense secretary

Thu, 02/12/2015 - 10:26

Ashton Carter is now confirmed to lead the Pentagon.

UN warns Yemen 'collapsing' as Qaeda seizes army camp

Thu, 02/12/2015 - 10:23

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon warned Thursday that Yemen was falling apart and called for action to avert chaos, as Al-Qaeda fighters overran an army camp and seized heavy weaponry. The UN chief was reporting to the 15-member council after talks with Gulf officials that he said concentrated on "preventing civil war in Yemen". "Let me be clear: Yemen is collapsing before our eyes. Long on the front line of the war against Al-Qaeda, Yemen has descended into chaos since Shiite militiamen, known as Huthis, seized Sanaa in September and ousted the government last week.

Family, friends say 3 slain in NC left a legacy of giving

Thu, 02/12/2015 - 09:24

The funeral for the three Muslim family members killed in Chapel Hill is held today.

Maryland, sheriff settle deputy's sex harassment suit

Thu, 02/12/2015 - 08:44
A former Maryland sheriff's deputy who alleged sexual harassment at work will get $250,000 under a settlement with the U.S. Justice Department, the state and the sheriff's office, the department said on Thursday. The Queen Anne's County sheriff's deputy, Kristy Murphy-Taylor, alleged in a federal lawsuit that she had undergone unwanted groping by supervisors, including the brother of Sheriff Gary Hofmann, and had been fired when she complained about it. As part of the settlement, Maryland and the sheriff's office on the state's Eastern Shore agreed to revise sexual harassment policies and how complaints about harassment and retaliation are handled, the statement said. The Maryland State Police will oversee sexual harassment complaints involving the sheriff's office.

Body of 'American Sniper' Kyle surrounded by weapons, Ranger testifies

Thu, 02/12/2015 - 08:37

By Jon Herskovitz STEPHENVILLE, Texas (Reuters) - The former Navy SEAL whose best-selling autobiography was turned into the hit movie "American Sniper" was found dead at a rural Texas shooting range, the only loaded weapon within reach a 1911-style semiautomatic pistol, a Texas Ranger told a court on Thursday. Former U.S. Marine Eddie Ray Routh, 27, is on trial for murdering Chris Kyle and friend and neighbor, Chad Littlefield, in February 2013 at a shooting range about 70 miles (110 km) southwest of Fort Worth. Kyle and Littlefield had been shot multiple times, with two guns. "The only weapons on the scene that were loaded were two 1911-style handguns," Texas Ranger Michael Adcock told the court in rural Erath County.

Democrats pick city for 2016 convention

Thu, 02/12/2015 - 07:13

Those hoping for a convention in Brooklyn are out of luck.

U.S. appeals court to hear arguments on moving Boston bombing trial

Thu, 02/12/2015 - 07:08

By Scott Malone BOSTON (Reuters) - A U.S. appeals court on Thursday said it would hear arguments on whether to move the trial of the Boston Marathon bombing suspect out of the city that was the site of the largest mass-casualty attack on U.S. soil since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. The appeals court's decision to hear arguments on Feb. 19 comes after a district court judge three times rejected pleas by defendant Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's attorneys to move the trial. Defense attorneys contend too many people in the Boston area had a direct connection to the event to empanel an impartial jury. Three people were killed and 264 injured when two homemade bombs went off at the race's crowded finish line on April 15, 2013.

New York City sets record with no murders in 10 days in a row

Thu, 02/12/2015 - 05:39

By Barbara Goldberg NEW YORK (Reuters) - New York City, once notorious for high crime, broke a record on Thursday with no murders reported for 10 straight days, police said. The historic calm achieved at 12:01 a.m. Thursday comes on the heels of a notable year - murders in New York City in 2014 fell to an all-time low of 328, the fewest since the New York Police Department started keeping reliable records in 1963. "Everybody is behaving," said Sergeant Daniel Doody of the New York City Police Department. This year's notable zero comes in the wake of Mayor Bill de Blasio's struggle to mend a serious rift between City Hall and the country's biggest police force.

Defiance over gay marriage ruling in Alabama headed to court

Thu, 02/12/2015 - 03:05

(Reuters) - A federal judge in Alabama will hear arguments on Thursday on whether to force a local judge to issue marriage licenses to gay couples, a case with implications for dozens of counties in the state that have not granted the licenses in defiance of the U.S. Supreme Court. The hearing, set to take place at 1 p.m. local time in Mobile, will pit gay rights advocates against Mobile County Probate Judge Don Davis, whose county is the most populous of more than 40 of 67 in the state that have refused to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Mobile County's marriage license operations have been shuttered since Monday, when a ruling by U.S. District Court Judge Callie Granade striking down the state's ban on gay marriage took effect.

Court sentences Korean Air nut rage exec to 1 year in prison

Thu, 02/12/2015 - 02:33

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — The inflight tantrum dubbed "nut rage" culminated Thursday in a one year prison sentence for Korean Air heiress Cho Hyun-ah, a humiliating rebuke that only partially quelled public outrage at the excesses of South Korea's business elite.

Matt Bai: The always amusing Brian Williams

Thu, 02/12/2015 - 02:04

What resonates in the case of Brian Williams, who was suspended by NBC for six months, is the collision of celebrity, politics and media that first occurred with Gary Hart in 1987. Nearly three decades later, TV news and entertainment are almost impossible to separate, and probably no one has embodied that cultural shift more comfortably than Williams.

Putin announces Ukraine cease-fire deal

Thu, 02/12/2015 - 01:38

The Russian leader says the warring parties have agreed on a truce to begin on Sunday.

Montana homeowner convicted of killing German teen to be sentenced

Thu, 02/12/2015 - 00:15
By Lori Grannis MISSOULA, Mont. (Reuters) - A Montana homeowner convicted of deliberate homicide last year for fatally shooting an unarmed teenage German exchange student who entered the garage attached to his home is set to be sentenced on Thursday. Homeowner Markus Kaarma was convicted of killing 17-year-old Diren Dede of Hamburg in December, in a trial that tested the limits of Montana's "castle doctrine" self-defense law, which allows deadly force against a home invasion if a person reasonably believes it is necessary to prevent an assault.