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Conservative justices press Obama administration on mercury pollution rule

Wed, 03/25/2015 - 09:16

By Lawrence Hurley WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Supreme Court's conservative majority on Wednesday signaled hostility toward the Obama administration’s refusal to consider costs before regulating emissions of mercury and other hazardous pollutants mainly from coal-fired power plants. Conservative Justice Anthony Kennedy, based on questions he asked during a 90-minute oral argument, could be a possible swing vote on the nine-justice court, with its four liberals appearing to back the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's rationale for the regulation. The case marks the latest legal test to President Barack Obama's environmental agenda to reach the high court. Under the section of the Clean Air Act in question, the agency can regulate power plants for mercury and other toxic pollutants if it deems it "appropriate and necessary." The provision does not explicitly state whether the EPA was required to include costs in making its decision, and the administration decided it did not have to.

Greeks gone wild: Can schools solve the fraternity problem?

Wed, 03/25/2015 - 05:53

After at least seven fraternities have been suspended for offensive, dangerous and in some cases potentially criminal behavior this month, some schools are asking what they can do to get a handle on Greek life.

Suspect dead after shooting that killed California police officer

Wed, 03/25/2015 - 05:53
A suspected shooter in the San Francisco Bay Area city of San Jose was found dead from a gunshot wound following an exchange of gunfire with police on Tuesday night that killed one officer, local authorities said. The suspect, identified as Scott Dunham and said to be in his 50s, was dead on the balcony of his apartment when police found him early Wednesday morning, the San Jose Police Department said on Twitter. Veteran officer Michael Johnson was killed in the gunfire exchange, officials said. A standoff ensued, with San Jose Police Chief Larry Esquivel telling a late-night news conference that Dunham was likely still in his home.

Live: Jurors see dorm room evidence at Tsarnaev trial

Wed, 03/25/2015 - 04:23

This is day 13 of testimony in admitted Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s federal death penalty trial in Boston. Prosecutors are expected to continue with additional testimony about evidence found in Tsarnaev’s dorm room at the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth.

Mark Holden wants you to love the Koch brothers

Wed, 03/25/2015 - 03:25

Holden’s become the face of the Kochs’ push to reform the criminal justice system, an effort that’s made allies out of former enemies and softened the billionaire brothers’ image.

Search resumes in deadly Alps plane crash

Wed, 03/25/2015 - 03:14

Investigators want to know what caused the jet to go down, killing all 150 people on board.

Boston bombing jury to hear about search of suspect's dorm room

Wed, 03/25/2015 - 03:03

By Elizabeth Barber BOSTON (Reuters) - The jury hearing the Boston Marathon bombing trial on Wednesday will hear more evidence about what FBI agents found when they searched Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's college dorm room days after the deadly attack. Tsarnaev, 21, is accused of killing three people and injuring 264 with a pair of homemade pressure-cooker bombs at the race's crowded finish line on April 15, 2013, and with fatally shooting a police officer three days later as he and 26-year-old brother Tamerlan tried to flee. Tamerlan died hours after the shooting, following a gunfight with police in Watertown, Massachusetts. His lawyers opened the trial early this month by bluntly admitting the defendant committed all the crimes of which he is accused, but contending Tamerlan was the driving force behind the attack with Dzhokhar going along out of a sense of subservience.

Amanda Knox to learn fate in Italy murder conviction

Wed, 03/25/2015 - 02:56

Italy's top court was set to rule Wednesday on Amanda Knox's murder conviction, opening the door either to a messy extradition battle or a chance for the American to finally clear her name. The court will examine the verdict that found American Knox and her former lover Raffaele Sollecito guilty of killing British student Meredith Kercher in a case that has captivated the world with its sub-texts of drugs, alleged sexual debauchery and police bungling. Sollecito arrived at the Rome court house in the pouring rain, ushering his girlfriend Greta Menegaldo before him through the crush of international media gathered at the entrance. In December 2009, Knox and Italian Sollecito were sentenced to 26 and 25 years in prison for their part in the killing.

Ex-U.S. Representative Jesse Jackson Jr. to be released from prison: USA Today

Wed, 03/25/2015 - 01:00

(Reuters) - Former U.S. Representative Jesse Jackson Jr. is set to be released from prison on Thursday to a halfway house in Washington, D.C., after spending roughly half of his 30-month sentence behind bars, USA Today reported. Former U.S. Representative Patrick Kennedy told the newspaper he spoke with Jackson at an Alabama prison on Monday. Jackson, the son of civil rights leader the Reverend Jesse Jackson Sr., had pleaded guilty to misusing about $750,000 in campaign funds on luxuries such as fur capes, celebrity memorabilia, mounted elk heads and a Rolex watch. The judge ordered Sandi Jackson to report to prison 30 days after Jesse Jackson Jr. was released to reduce the impact on their two children.

No Netanyahu veto on Iran deal, top senator says

Wed, 03/25/2015 - 00:25

Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker, R-Tenn., on Tuesday flatly denied that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s influence in Congress means that he could kill a nuclear agreement with Iran.

California police officer shot dead responding to suicide call

Tue, 03/24/2015 - 23:39
A police officer was shot and killed in the San Francisco Bay Area city of San Jose on Tuesday night while responding to a call about a suicidal man armed with a gun, officials said. Officers were fired upon as they approached a residence around 6:48 p.m. local time, San Jose Police Department spokesman Albert Morales said in a statement. San Jose Police Chief Larry Esquivel told a late-night news conference that the gunman, identified as Scott Dunham, was likely still in the house. The San Jose Mercury News reported that numerous outside agencies, including nearby police departments, county sheriffs, and the California Highway Patrol, also responded and that armored vehicles and a helicopter were brought in.

Wisconsin officer, bank robbery suspect killed in shootout

Tue, 03/24/2015 - 20:26

(Reuters) - A Wisconsin State Patrol officer and a bank robbery suspect were killed in a shootout on Tuesday evening, officials said. The trooper began following a car matching the description of the suspect's vehicle around 5:30 p.m. local time in the city of Fond du Lac before the gun battle, Fond du Lac Police Chief William Lamb told reporters at a brief news conference. Lamb said no other suspects were being sought and that the Wisconsin Department of Justice was leading the investigation. David Matthews, the administrator of the justice department's criminal investigation division, said it was too early to provide additional information about the shooting.

Plane crash kills 150 people in French Alps; Europe in shock

Tue, 03/24/2015 - 14:51

The victims included two babies, two opera singers, and 16 German high school students.

No Netanyahu veto on Iran deal, top senator says

Tue, 03/24/2015 - 13:48

Bob Corker also plays down a report that Israel spied on the talks with Tehran.

Ex-NFL star Sharper pleads guilty to attempted sex assault in Nevada

Tue, 03/24/2015 - 11:50

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Former NFL star Darren Sharper pleaded guilty on Tuesday to attempted sexual assault of two women in Nevada in a deal that calls for a three- to eight-year prison sentence, to run concurrently with a nine-year Arizona prison term he received on Monday, prosecutors said. Sharper, 39, entered his plea by video conference from Los Angeles, where he pleaded guilty to yet a third sex crimes case on Monday and faces another overlapping prison term of about nine years. (Reporting by Steve Gorman; Editing by Cynthia Johnston)

White House: U.S. to slow troop withdrawal from Afghanistan

Tue, 03/24/2015 - 11:12

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama announced Tuesday that the U.S. will slow its military withdrawal from Afghanistan, maintaining 9,800 troops in the country through the end of 2015 instead of cutting the number by about half as originally planned.

20-foot deep sinkhole in New Jersey forces home evacuations

Tue, 03/24/2015 - 08:43
(Reuters) - A 20-foot deep sinkhole forced the evacuation on Tuesday of four New Jersey homes after crumbling part of a roadway and swallowing up a car, police said. An underground water main break likely caused the hole to form suddenly in a residential area of South Amboy, New Jersey, a city about 20 miles south of Newark, the South Amboy Police Department said in a statement.

West Virginia police hunt escaped murder suspect

Tue, 03/24/2015 - 06:12
(Reuters) - A murder suspect escaped from a West Virginia state mental hospital, police said. The suspect, Rocco Jesse Zuccaro, 30, of Burgettstown, Pennsylvania, fled the William R. Sharpe Jr. Hospital in Weston on Monday afternoon, West Virginia State Police said in a statement late on Monday. He is charged with a murder in Brooke County, West Virginia, in February 2013. West Virginia's MetroNews website said Zuccaro was found incompetent to stand trial last month and ordered into a mental institution.

School bus carrying students crashes into Philadelphia area home

Tue, 03/24/2015 - 06:11
(Reuters) - A school bus carrying nine elementary school students careened off the road and crashed into a occupied home in suburban Philadelphia home on Monday, and no injuries were reported, police said. Neither the students, the driver nor a resident who was on the home's second floor at the time of the 7:45 a.m. crash were injured, Whitpain Township Police said in a press release. A photograph of the scene showed a yellow school bus piercing the first-floor window of a white plaster home in Blue Bell, Pennsylvania, 20 miles northwest of Philadelphia. "All nine students and the driver were able to exit the bus through the rear emergency door and all were uninjured," police said in the release.

Live updates: Airbus A320 crashes in French Alps; 150 feared dead

Tue, 03/24/2015 - 05:04

Crews have located debris in the area where a Germanwings flight traveling to Dusseldorf went down.