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Obama again avoids calling 1915 Armenian killings 'genocide'

Tue, 04/21/2015 - 23:20

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama will once again stop short of calling the 1915 massacre of Armenians a genocide, prompting anger and disappointment from those who have been pushing him to fulfill a campaign promise and use the politically fraught term on the 100th anniversary of the killings this week. Officials decided against it after opposition from some at the State Department and the Pentagon.

South Carolina teen 'seduced' by Islamic State sentenced on gun charge: newspaper

Tue, 04/21/2015 - 23:01
(Reuters) - A South Carolina teen, who a prosecutor said was "seduced" by the Islamic State group and planned to shoot U.S. soldiers, was sentenced on Tuesday to five years in juvenile prison on a gun possession charge, the local Herald newspaper reported. The 16-year-old, who was not named due to his age, had conspired with another person to rob a gun shop and shoot soldiers in neighboring North Carolina, 16th Circuit Solicitor Kevin Brackett said in a recording of the Darlington County family court hearing.

One dead, 20 sick with Botulism symptoms after church potluck

Tue, 04/21/2015 - 19:46
(Reuters) - One person has died and at least 20 others were sick with symptoms of foodborne Botulism following a weekend church potluck in Ohio, hospital officials said on Tuesday. The Fairfield Medical Center said in a statement that the patients, five of whom were in a critical condition, had all attended a picnic at Cross Pointe Free Will Baptist Church in Lancaster on Sunday. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had sent anti-toxin to treat the sick, the hospital said, while local health officials investigated the cause of the outbreak. Botulism is a rare but potentially fatal paralytic illness caused by a nerve toxin that is produced by certain bacteria, according to the CDC.

Arkansas capital okays anti-discrimination rule forbidden by state

Tue, 04/21/2015 - 19:00
By Steve Barnes LITTLE ROCK (Reuters) - The governing board of Arkansas’s capital city on Tuesday adopted an ordinance forbidding discrimination against gays and transgender people in municipal hiring, setting the stage for a legal confrontation with the state government which has banned such regulations. The ordinance also requires vendors doing business with the city of Little Rock to adhere to the same employment practices. The Arkansas legislature this year forbade cities and counties from establishing anti-discrimination codes that do not conform to state law, which includes no specific mention of sexual minorities. The legislation was widely viewed as a response to the growing acceptance of gay marriage.

Obama: U.S. warned Iran not to send weapons to Yemen

Tue, 04/21/2015 - 16:27

President Obama said the U.S. sent "very direct messages" to Iran warning it not to send weapons to Yemen that could be used to threaten shipping traffic in the region.

Justice Department probes Baltimore police-custody death

Tue, 04/21/2015 - 13:19

BALTIMORE (AP) — The Justice Department said Tuesday it has opened an investigation into the death of a Freddie Gray, a black man who died of spinal injuries he suffered during an arrest that involved being transported in a police van.

Posh Beverly Hills considers empty pools, $1,000 fines amid drought

Tue, 04/21/2015 - 12:32

By Dan Whitcomb LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Beverly Hills, the southern California city whose name evokes Hollywood-tinged glamour and luxury, is considering banning the refilling of swimming pools and fining residents $1,000 for water violations. Faced with an order from the governor to cut water use dramatically as the state reels from a three-year drought, city council members were expected to meet most of Tuesday afternoon before voting on which restrictions to impose on their well-heeled residents. Beverly Hills is one of the nation's most affluent cities, with palm tree-lined avenues and mansions surrounded by emerald-green lawns, fountains and pools. California's upscale communities have been criticized for using more water than working-class cities and towns as the state grapples with a devastating drought that has already forced tough new conservation measures and badly depleted reservoirs.

Photo of Tsarnaev giving middle finger in cell shown at trial

Tue, 04/21/2015 - 10:58

During a dramatic first day of the penalty phase in the trial of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, federal prosecutors showed the jury an image of the convicted Boston Marathon bomber giving the middle finger to a security camera at the courthouse.

Congress to probe sex parties for possible leaks of U.S. drug agents' secrets

Tue, 04/21/2015 - 09:52

By Mark Hosenball WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Armed with once-confidential documents, a U.S. congressional committee will investigate whether agents of the federal Drug Enforcement Administration divulged secrets at sex parties that drug lords in Colombia may have staged to elicit sensitive information. A spokeswoman for the Republican majority at the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform said the leaks inquiry would also examine the bureaucratic culture and leadership at the DEA and other Justice Department investigative agencies. On Tuesday, the DEA declined to comment about reports by CBS and CNN that Michele Leonhart, who has run the agency since 2007, was expected to resign soon after testifying to the committee last week. The events with prostitutes took place between 2001 and 2005, but U.S. officials said the DEA did not investigate them until years later.

Trafficking deal clears path for attorney general vote

Tue, 04/21/2015 - 09:22

WASHINGTON (AP) — Senate leaders announced a deal Tuesday to move forward on a stalled human trafficking bill, clearing the way for a vote on President Barack Obama's attorney general nominee within days.

Baltimore police name officers suspended over suspect's death

Tue, 04/21/2015 - 09:05

Baltimore police on Tuesday identified six officers suspended over the death of a black man in police custody, a case that has renewed concern about U.S. law enforcement's treatment of minorities. Freddie Gray, 27, was arrested by white officers on April 12 and died on Sunday after slipping into a coma.

The NRA's brazen shell game with donations: A Yahoo News investigation

Tue, 04/21/2015 - 04:28

The organization may be violating several federal election laws, according to experts.

Pope OKs resignation of U.S. bishop for not reporting abuse

Tue, 04/21/2015 - 04:17

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis on Tuesday accepted the resignation of a U.S. bishop who pleaded guilty to failing to report a suspected child abuser, answering calls by victims to take action against bishops who cover up for pedophile priests.

U.S. cracks down on female teachers who sexually abuse students

Tue, 04/21/2015 - 03:37

By Barbara Goldberg NEW YORK (Reuters) - A "Saturday Night Live" skit about a male student having sex with his female high school teacher painted the relationship as every teen boy's dream, but drew a firestorm of criticism on social media. The reaction to the comedy sketch reflected a growing view among law enforcement and victims' advocacy groups that it is no laughing matter when a woman educator preys on her male students. The proportion of women facing charges seems to be higher than in years past, when female teachers often got a pass, said Terry Abbott, a former chief of staff at the U.S. Department of Education, who tracked the cases. This year's numbers are already slightly ahead of last year with 26 cases of female school employees accused of inappropriate relationships with male students in January compared to 19 cases the previous January.

Boston bomber's sentencing trial on death penalty begins Tuesday

Tue, 04/21/2015 - 03:06

Prosecutors and defense attorneys for convicted Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev on Tuesday will begin making their cases on whether or not he should be sentenced to death for the 2013 attack and its aftermath. Tsarnaev, a 21-year-old ethnic Chechen, was found guilty on April 8 of killing three people and injuring 264 at the marathon finish line and fatally shooting a police officer as he and his older brother, Tamerlan, prepared to flee three days later.

U.S. couple found guilty of 'sadistic' Bali suitcase murder

Tue, 04/21/2015 - 01:18

By Trisha Sertori DENPASAR (Reuters) - An Indonesian court found a young U.S. couple guilty on Tuesday of murdering the woman's mother and stuffing her battered body into a suitcase on the resort island of Bali. Heather Mack and Tommy Schaefer, both from the Chicago area, were arrested last August after staff at a luxury hotel discovered the body of Mack's mother, Sheila von Wiese-Mack, in an abandoned suitcase in a taxi. The pair were tried separately in Denpasar District Court and it was not immediately clear if they would appeal.

Court sentences ousted Egypt president to 20 years in prison

Tue, 04/21/2015 - 00:34

CAIRO (AP) — An Egyptian criminal court on Tuesday sentenced ousted Islamist President Mohammed Morsi to 20 years in prison over the killing of protesters in 2012, the first verdict to be issued against the country's first freely elected leader.

Alabama woman joins Islamic State in Syria: media

Tue, 04/21/2015 - 00:06
(Reuters) - A 20-year-old woman from a Birmingham, Alabama suburb has left the United States to join the Islamic State militant group in Syria, local broadcaster WIAT reported on Monday. The report came as U.S. authorities said they have charged six young Somali-American men from Minnesota with planning to join the fighters who have declared an Islamic Caliphate on land they have seized in Syria and neighboring Iraq. Hoda Muthana made contact with militants through social media and had been distancing herself from other Muslims in Hoover for more a year before leaving, said family spokesman Hassan Shibly according to WIAT. Shibly, who is also an attorney and chief executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations Florida, said the woman's family was devastated and has been working with authorities since she left, WIAT reported.

Life or death: Penalty phase of Boston bombing trial to begin

Mon, 04/20/2015 - 21:35

Jurors in the trial of Dzokhar Tsarnaev must now decide what his punishment should be.

Struggling to remember the name of Jeb Bush's super PAC? Here's why

Mon, 04/20/2015 - 21:04

By Emily Flitter NEW YORK (Reuters) - It's hard to remember whether Republican presidential hopeful Jeb Bush's super PAC is called America Rising or Right to Rise. The Bush super PAC is in fact Right to Rise. America Rising is another political action committee, unconnected to Bush, that plans to raise and spend unlimited sums of money, although it does share one goal in common with Right to Rise: to defeat Hillary Clinton's bid for the Democratic nomination in 2016. They also share some thematic similarity with the group supporting another Republican presidential hopeful, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker (Our American Revival), which isn't too different from groups advocating for potential candidates New Jersey Governor Chris Christie (America Leads) and former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee (Pursuing America's Greatness).