By David Schwartz PHOENIX (Reuters) - Jurors deciding whether convicted killer Jodi Arias should be executed in Arizona were told by a judge on Tuesday to try harder to reach a verdict after apparently deadlocking in the closely watched retrial, court officials said. Judge Sherry Stephens issued the eight women and four men with a "modified impasse instruction" as the jury deliberated for a fourth day on the fate of the former waitress from Salinas, California, who murdered her ex-boyfriend in 2008. The jurors had earlier told the Maricopa County Superior Court they had several questions that had come up in their discussions, the court officials said. Arias, 34, was found guilty of killing Travis Alexander, 30, at his Phoenix-area home following a 2013 trial that captured widespread attention with its lurid details and sexually explicit testimony.
By David Alexander WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Defense Secretary Ash Carter warned lawmakers on Tuesday that continuing cuts to U.S. defense spending were causing "corrosive damage to our national security" and he urged them to back the president's request for a big boost in military funding in 2016. Testifying for the first time as secretary before the Senate Armed Services Committee, Carter said military modernization by rivals such as Russia and China threatened to erode the Pentagon's technological advantage over other forces. He said President Barack Obama's request for a $534 billion Pentagon base budget plus $51 billion for overseas military operations would help the department repair equipment, restore training levels and invest in new weapons for the future, factors put on hold because of budget cuts and ongoing wars.
By Julia Edwards WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Justice Department has concluded that the Ferguson, Missouri, police department routinely engages in racially biased practices, a law enforcement official familiar with the department's findings said on Tuesday. The investigation into the police department began in August after the shooting of unarmed African-American teen Michael Brown by a white police officer in Ferguson sparked national protests. Analysis of more than 35,000 pages of police records found racist comments from officers as well as statistics that showed African-Americans make up 93 percent of arrests while accounting for only 67 percent of the population in Ferguson, the official said.
WASHINGTON (AP) — A Justice Department investigation found sweeping patterns of racial bias within the Ferguson, Missouri, police department — with officers routinely discriminating against blacks by using excessive force, issuing petty citations and making baseless traffic stops, according to law enforcement officials familiar with the report.
The UN Security Council on Tuesday unanimously adopted a resolution to slap sanctions on South Sudan's warring factions, ratcheting up pressure as a deadline loomed to reach a peace deal. Drafted by the United States, the resolution sets up a sanctions committee which would submit to the council the names of those responsible for blocking peace efforts, and who should be punished with a global travel ban and assets freeze. Regional mediators have given South Sudan's President Salva Kiir and rebel chief Riek Machar until Thursday to reach a final deal to end 14 months of war that have killed tens of thousands of people.
A Ukrainian airforce pilot who has been on hunger strike in a Russian jail for 81 days might be transferred to a civilian hospital if her health deteriorates, the prison service said Tuesday. The statement by Russia's prison service raised the possibility of Nadia Savchenko, who is also a member of the Ukraine parliament, being transferred from the hospital of a Moscow prison where she has been held for nearly nine months. Speaking later in the day, one of her lawyers said she may stop the hunger strike if her health sharply worsens. She denies the charges, saying she was kidnapped and brought to Russia.
A Russian lawyer for Edward Snowden said on Tuesday the fugitive former U.S. spy agency contractor who leaked details of the government's mass surveillance programs was working with American and German lawyers to return home. Anatoly Kucherena, who has links to the Kremlin, was speaking at a news conference to present a book he has written about his client. Russia has repeatedly refused to extradite him.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner told Republican members the House would vote Tuesday on the Senate's plan to fund the Department of Homeland Security, which could end the impasse over the agency, according to a person who was at the meeting. The department got a short-term extension last week but runs out of funding authority again on Friday. House Republicans wanted to use the spending legislation to block President Barack Obama's recent immigration actions, but House Democrats prefer a so-called 'clean' extension bill passed by the Senate. ...
By Lawrence Hurley WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Supreme Court will weigh a second major case targeting President Barack Obama's healthcare law on Wednesday when it considers a conservative challenge to tax subsidies critical to the measure's implementation. If a majority of the nine justices rules against the administration, up to 7.5 million people in at least 34 states would lose subsidies that help low- and moderate-income people afford private health insurance, unless Congress or the affected states act immediately. Such a ruling could also have a broader impact by deterring younger, healthier people from buying health insurance, which would lead to premiums rising for older, less healthy people who need healthcare most, said Rand Corporation economist Christine Eibner. The Democratic-backed law, narrowly passed by Congress over unified Republican opposition, aimed to help millions of Americans who lacked any health insurance afford coverage.
Former Maryland Governor and possible Democratic presidential candidate Martin O'Malley said on Tuesday he will not seek the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by retiring Senator Barbara Mikulski. O'Malley, who left office in January and has said he is considering a run for the White House, told reporters in an email he hoped other candidates would step up to represent the mid-Atlantic state, but "I will not be one of them." The move allows O'Malley, 52, to keep the door open for a potential presidential campaign. Despite winning two terms as governor in the heavily Democratic State, his future is somewhat complicated by his successor's surprise loss to a Republican in the November election. O'Malley is popular among Democrats and spent much of the last year actively campaigning for fellow liberals across the country, especially in New Hampshire and Iowa, the first two states with presidential nominating contests.
By Scott Malone BOSTON (Reuters) - The long-running process of choosing a jury to hear the trial of accused Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is due to wrap up on Tuesday with the judge and lawyers for both sides selecting the panel of 12 jurors and six alternates. Tsarnaev could be sentenced to death if he is convicted, a fact that made jury selection in the federal trial challenging in Massachusetts, where state laws do not allow for capital punishment and the practice is unpopular.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is seizing the bully pulpit of the U.S. House to deliver his stern message about the danger Iran poses to his nation's survival and voice reservations about any nuclear deal President Barack Obama and international negotiators might sign with Israel's archenemy.