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Last two defendants plead guilty in string of Mississippi hate crimes

Wed, 01/07/2015 - 16:54
By Therese Apel JACKSON, Miss. (Reuters) - Two white Mississippi men pleaded guilty in federal court on Wednesday to their roles in a string of racially motivated attacks on blacks in 2011 that included the killing of a man run over by a truck. The defendants were the last of 10 to be convicted in connection with the attacks, which included the killing of James Craig Anderson, 47, and sparked outrage in a state that has struggled to overcome a long history of racism. "The hate crimes to which these defendants have pleaded guilty were as shocking as they were reprehensible," U.S. ...

FBI director gives new clues tying North Korea to Sony hack

Wed, 01/07/2015 - 16:12

NEW YORK (AP) — The FBI director revealed new details Wednesday about the stunning cyberattack against Sony Pictures Entertainment Inc., part of the Obama administration's effort to challenge persistent skepticism about whether North Korea's government was responsible for the brazen hacking.

'Baby, It's Cold Outside': large part of U.S. in deep freeze

Wed, 01/07/2015 - 15:56

By Mary Wisniewski CHICAGO (Reuters) - Schools in large cities across the Midwest and into the Northeast announced they will close on Thursday to protect children from bitterly cold temperatures as wind chill warnings were issued for most of the eastern half of the United States. The National Weather Service (NWS) warned of an Arctic air blast from Canada continuing to provide subzero temperatures for the U.S. Midwest, Southeast, Mid-Atlantic and Northeast on Wednesday evening and into Thursday. ...

Cosby's Canadian shows go ahead in midst of new sex claims

Wed, 01/07/2015 - 15:30

By Andrea Hopkins and Eric Kelsey TORONTO/LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Bill Cosby, the subject of more than a dozen sex abuse allegations over the past three months, will go ahead with three Canadian shows this week, coming as more women leveled accusations against the comedian. Protesters geared up to heckle Cosby and some fans tried to offload their tickets for the three performances in Ontario beginning on Wednesday. Cosby, best-known as Dr. ...

Obama touts auto bailout success, Michigan worries about trade

Wed, 01/07/2015 - 13:45

By Jeff Mason WAYNE, Mich. (Reuters) - President Barack Obama, on a trip to unveil elements of his State of the Union address, took a victory lap in Michigan on Wednesday to tout his support of the auto industry, but concerns about trade policies hung in the background of his tour. "America's resurgence is real," Obama said at a Ford Motor Co plant near Detroit after walking around the factory and sitting in a Mustang. Obama noted that his government-backed bailout of the auto industry was not popular, even in Michigan, but had been a success. ...

United Airlines attendants claim fired over their security concerns

Wed, 01/07/2015 - 12:32
By Andrew Chung (Reuters) - A group of 13 flight attendants say they were illegally fired by United Airlines after refusing to fly on a Hong Kong-bound plane last July that had a "threatening" message scrawled under its tail engine, according to a complaint filed with the U.S. Department of Labor. In the complaint, filed Tuesday, they said the words "Bye Bye" and two faces, one smiling and the other "devilish," were found finger-drawn in oil grime under the auxiliary engine of the Boeing 747-400 plane at San Francisco International Airport. ...

House GOP tries to regroup after divisive speaker vote

Wed, 01/07/2015 - 12:23
WASHINGTON (AP) — House Republicans began the new Congress with old divisions on display Wednesday, bitter fallout from a failed rebellion against Speaker John Boehner.

FBI says Sony hackers 'got sloppy,' posted from North Korea addresses

Wed, 01/07/2015 - 11:23

By Emily Flitter and Mark Hosenball NEW YORK/WASHINGTON (Reuters) - FBI Director James Comey said on Wednesday that hackers behind the cyberattack on Sony Pictures Entertainment provided key clues to their identity by sometimes posting material from IP addresses used exclusively by the North Korean government. The hackers, who called themselves "Guardians of Peace," sometimes "got sloppy" and failed to use proxy servers that would hide their identity, Comey said at the International Conference on Cyber Security in New York. ...

Young mother let terrorists into Charlie Hebdo building after threat against daughter

Wed, 01/07/2015 - 10:13

A young mother says she let gunmen into the Paris office building housing the satirical publication Charlie Hebdo because they threatened her and her daughter with violence.

U.S. appeals court hears arguments on restrictive Texas abortion law

Wed, 01/07/2015 - 09:57
By Jonathan Kaminsky NEW ORLEANS (Reuters) - Federal appeals court judges, hearing arguments on a restrictive Texas abortion law that critics say would shutter more than half the state's remaining abortion clinics, on Wednesday asked pointed questions of attorneys for both sides. In a closely watched case, the three-judge panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans is weighing a requirement struck down by a lower court that the state's abortion clinics must have certain hospital-like settings for surgeries. ...

Cartoonists pay tribute to Charlie Hebdo attack victims

Wed, 01/07/2015 - 09:36

Cartoonists from around the world create powerful images to honor those killed in Wednesday’s attack on the Paris headquarters of Charlie Hebdo, a French satirical newspaper known for its inflammatory caricatures.

White House threatens veto on Republican bill to weaken Obamacare

Wed, 01/07/2015 - 09:12

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The White House said on Wednesday that President Barack Obama would veto a Republican-backed bill that would reduce the number of people who qualify for employer-based health insurance under his signature Affordable Care Act. The bill, introduced on Tuesday in the U.S. House of Representatives, aims to require companies to offer healthcare coverage to employees who work 40 hours per week, instead of the 30-hour threshold under the reforms known as Obamacare. ...

Attorney Dershowitz files sworn statement denying sex claims

Wed, 01/07/2015 - 09:11
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Prominent U.S. criminal defense lawyer Alan Dershowitz has filed a sworn statement denying he had sex with an underage girl on financier Jeffrey Epstein's private plane and island. Dershowitz filed the statement in Florida federal court on Monday night, along with a motion to join in a lawsuit brought against the U.S. government by Dershowitz's accuser and other women who say Epstein sexually abused them. The women say the government's 2008 plea deal with Epstein, which allowed him to serve jail time on state charges but avoid federal prosecution, violated their rights. ...

Live: 12 killed in shooting at satirical newspaper office in Paris

Wed, 01/07/2015 - 09:03

Masked gunmen fled after attack on Charlie Hebdo; manhunt under way.

Washington state school district on lockdown over reports of gunman

Wed, 01/07/2015 - 08:48
SEATTLE (Reuters) - A Washington state school district near Seattle placed all of its schools on lockdown on Wednesday after reports of an armed man on the campus of an elementary school, the King County Sheriff's Office said. Police were searching all schools in the Shoreline School District, just north of Seattle, as well as a swath of the city of Shoreline, after witnesses called in reports of a man dressed in a dark hooded sweatshirt and camouflage pants and brandishing a firearm, the sheriff's office said. The man was first seen on the campus of an elementary school around 8 a.m. ...

Obama advisers to recommend veto of House Keystone bill

Wed, 01/07/2015 - 07:47

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama's advisers will recommend he veto a House bill approving construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline if the legislation reaches his desk, the White House said in a statement on Wednesday. Republican senators started the new U.S. Congress on Tuesday with legislation to approve TransCanada Corp's pipeline from Canada to the United States and White House spokesman Josh Earnest said Obama would not sign it. The White House's Office of Management and Budget on Wednesday issued a statement formalizing the veto threat. ...

Elizabeth Warren sounds another note against Obama’s trade deal

Wed, 01/07/2015 - 07:25

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass) on Wednesday signaled a readiness to fight against President Obama’s push for a free trade deal with Asian countries in the new year.

Cold front causes school closings, transit delays in Chicago

Wed, 01/07/2015 - 07:01

By Mary Wisniewski CHICAGO (Reuters) - Hundreds of thousands of children in Chicago, the third-largest U.S. school district, stayed home on Wednesday as weather forecasters warned of dangerously low temperatures in a cold front across the Upper Midwest. The district closed all of its nearly 800 schools for the day as a precautionary measure due to forecasts of temperatures 20 to 30 degrees below average. There were also some delays of buses and elevated trains due to the weather. The National Weather Service issued wind chill alerts for cities including Chicago and Detroit. ...

New York City due to end ban on cellphones in schools: reports

Wed, 01/07/2015 - 06:05
NEW YORK (Reuters) - New York City is expected to announce on Wednesday the end of its ban on students bringing their cellphones into the city's public schools, newspapers reported. Under the new rules, principals in the largest school system in the United States will be allowed to devise their own cellphone policy, or use a default policy of allowing students to bring their phones to school as long as they remain out of sight, the reports said. ...

Obama calls Paris violence 'terrorist attack'

Wed, 01/07/2015 - 06:03

US President Barack Obama condemned an attack in Paris Wednesday on the offices of a satirical newspaper that left 12 dead, calling it a "terrorist attack" and pledging US assistance. Gunmen shouting Islamist slogans stormed the offices of the Charlie Hebdo newspaper in Paris, armed with an AK-47 assault rifle and a grenade launcher. The weekly's editor-in-chief Stephane Charbonnier, and three cartoonists were among those killed in the attack, a judicial source in Paris said. "I strongly condemn the horrific shooting at the offices of Charlie Hebdo magazine in Paris that has reportedly killed 12 people," Obama said.