By Laila Kearney NEW YORK (Reuters) - Mayor Bill de Blasio launched a new program on Thursday to reduce New York's rising population of people living on the streets, following criticism of his handling of the issue and days after the abrupt departure of his top advisor on homelessness. The program will dedicate a team of city workers to make contact with and help the 3,000 to 4,000 people living on the streets and will be the most comprehensive homeless outreach plan deployed in a major U.S. city, de Blasio said in a speech. "No matter how long it takes, we will reach every single person." The NYC Homeless Outreach and Mobile Engagement Street Action Team, or HOME-STAT, which aims to be fully operational by March, is part of a $2.6 billion plan by the mayor to address homelessness.
By Mary Wisniewski CHICAGO (Reuters) - Former U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Dennis Hastert, who pleaded guilty in October in a hush-money case stemming from allegations of sexual misconduct, has suffered a stroke, his lawyer said on Thursday. Attorney Tom Green said that during the first week of November, Hastert, 73, was admitted to the hospital. Hastert suffered a stroke, was treated for sepsis, had two back surgeries and remains hospitalized, Green said in an emailed statement.
U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter used a personal email account for some government business in his first months at the Pentagon, the New York Times reported on Wednesday, citing White House and Defense Department officials and copies of the emails. Carter, who took office in February, continued to use his own email account, contrary to Defense Department rules, for at least two months after it became public in March that Hillary Clinton had used only her personal email account while she was secretary of state, the Times quoted the officials as saying.
By Ian Simpson and Donna Owens BALTIMORE (Reuters) - A mistrial was declared on Wednesday in the case of a Baltimore police officer charged in the death of Freddie Gray, a black man whose killing while in custody sparked riots in April, and the city's mayor urged calm. The judge dismissed the jury in the involuntary manslaughter trial of Officer William Porter - the first of six officers to be tried in Gray's death - after 16 hours of deliberations during which the jurors were unable to reach a verdict on any of the charges against the policeman. Baltimore City Circuit Court Judge Barry Williams said an administrative judge would schedule a new trial, but said there would be no court proceedings in the case on Thursday.
Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik, who opened fire on a San Bernardino holiday party earlier this month, were buried Tuesday in a quiet, graveside funeral guarded by FBI agents. At a Muslim cemetery hours away from San Bernardino, the bodies were cleansed according to Islamic rules, wrapped in white cloth and buried. Muslims are usually buried within 24 hours of dying, but family members and community members had to wait for the bodies to be released by law enforcement officials and then for permission from a cemetery.
A Pennsylvania man and his wife were each sentenced to up to four decades in state prison on Wednesday after pleading guilty in the murder of their disabled nine-year-old son, who was found starved to death in a dark, feces-smeared room last year. Judge John Cherry of Dauphin County Court of Common Pleas said Jarrod Tutko Sr., 39, and Kimberly Tutko, 40, were equally culpable in the death of Jarrod Tutko Jr. and the near-death of his sister Arianna, now 12. Cherry castigated both parents, who were sentenced separately, but he reserved particular scorn for Kimberly Tutko.
By Joseph Ax NEW YORK (Reuters) - There is no evidence a married couple who killed 14 people in California this month were part of a terrorist cell, the head of the FBI said on Wednesday, confirming that investigators believe the pair were inspired but not directed by Islamic State. The Islamist militant group has "revolutionized" terrorism by seeking to inspire such small-scale attacks, FBI Director James Comey said, noting the group uses social media, encrypted communications and slickly produced propaganda to recruit followers around the world.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said on Wednesday that his department has been consulting social media in conferring immigration benefits. "We will be doing more of this," Johnson told reporters at the unveiling of a revamped terrorism alert system. The Department of Homeland Security has been criticized over reports that it did not routinely consult social media during the vetting process for visa applications. One of the San Bernardino shooters, Tashfeen Malik, entered the United States on a K1 "fiancee visa. ...