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Updated: 2 hours 36 min ago

Chicago police officer to seek change of venue for murder trial

Fri, 12/18/2015 - 09:25

The defense attorney for Chicago police Officer Jason Van Dyke, indicted on six counts of first-degree murder in the shooting death of a black teenager, told reporters on Friday he would seek a change of venue for the officer's trial. Van Dyke was in court on Friday with his lawyer Dan Herbert for a very brief hearing after a grand jury formally indicted him this week on charges related to the October 2014 shooting of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald. Cook County Circuit Judge James Brown set Van Dyke's arraignment for Dec. 29.

Congress approves sweeping fiscal package

Fri, 12/18/2015 - 08:19

By Richard Cowan and Susan Cornwell WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Senate passed sweeping fiscal legislation on Friday averting a government shutdown, locking in billions of dollars of tax breaks and scrapping a 40-year-old ban on the export of U.S. oil. Brushing aside concerns about opening a hole in the budget deficit, senators voted 65-33 to approve a bill containing about $1.8 trillion worth of federal spending and tax breaks. President Barack Obama has said he would sign the measures into law.

Congress OKs year-end budget deal, sends to Obama

Fri, 12/18/2015 - 08:08

WASHINGTON (AP) — Congress on Friday sent President Barack Obama a bipartisan but deficit draining year-end budget package that boosts federal agency spending and awards tax cuts to both families and a sweeping array of business interests.

After California shootings, Muslim American families struggle with identity

Fri, 12/18/2015 - 05:51

Mirvette Judeh began covering her hijab with a hoodie two weeks ago while in the car with her two young children. "Now I have to have these conversations with my kids," said Judeh, 39, who lives in southern California. As anti-Muslim sentiment swells following the Dec. 2 massacre in San Bernardino, California by a young Muslim couple inspired by Islamic State, many young Muslim families say they fear for their safety and are struggling with their American and Muslim identities.

Virginia county closes schools after controversial Islam homework: CNN

Fri, 12/18/2015 - 04:00
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Schools in Augusta County, Virginia, were shut down as a safety precaution on Friday after a homework assignment on Islam prompted an angry backlash from parents, CNN reported.

Obama to visit San Bernardino as shooting investigation continues

Fri, 12/18/2015 - 02:03

By Julia Edwards WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama will reprise his role of "consoler-in-chief" on Friday evening when he is expected to meet with families of those murdered in the San Bernardino, California, shootings. Fourteen people died on Dec. 2 when radicalized Muslims Syed Rizwan Farook and his wife Tashfeen Malik opened fire on Farook's co-workers at a holiday party. Obama's visit will be "patterned after" a similar trip to Roseburg, Oregon, in October when he met for about an hour with families of victims of a shooting at a community college there, White House spokesman Josh Earnest said on Wednesday.

Pope approves miracle for Mother Teresa's canonization

Fri, 12/18/2015 - 01:34

The move clears the path for the nun to be elevated to sainthood next year.

'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' thrills fans, sets records

Fri, 12/18/2015 - 00:55

LOS ANGELES (AP) — After months of secrecy and anticipation, "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" is thrilling fans and theater owners alike.

World's refugees and displaced exceed record 60 million: U.N.

Thu, 12/17/2015 - 20:11

By Stephanie Nebehay GENEVA (Reuters) - The number of people forcibly displaced worldwide is likely to have "far surpassed" a record 60 million this year, mainly driven by the Syrian war and other protracted conflicts, the United Nations said on Friday. The estimated figure includes 20.2 million refugees fleeing wars and persecution, the most since 1992, the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said in a report.

Adelson family confirms ownership of Las Vegas newspaper

Thu, 12/17/2015 - 16:38

LAS VEGAS (AP) — The family of billionaire casino mogul and GOP kingmaker Sheldon Adelson revealed that it bought the Las Vegas Review-Journal, ending a week of speculation and demands by staff, media watchdogs and politicians to know the identity of the new boss.

California shooters' ex-neighbor charged with supporting terrorists

Thu, 12/17/2015 - 16:36

WASHINGTON/RIVERSIDE, Calif. (Reuters) - A former neighbor accused of supplying assault rifles to the couple who massacred 14 people in San Bernardino, California, appeared in court on Thursday charged with conspiring to provide material support to terrorists. Enrique Marquez, 24, a friend of Syed Rizwan Farook, 28, who launched the Islamic State-inspired rampage on Dec. 2 with his wife, Tashfeen Malik, 29, also told investigators he and Farook plotted earlier mass casualty attacks, prosecutors said. U.S. Attorney Eileen Decker said the two men conspired to commit "vicious" assaults on targets including a California community college and a state highway during rush hour.

Exec who jacked up price of a lifesaving drug is arrested

Thu, 12/17/2015 - 13:15

Martin Shkreli, a 32-year-old former hedge fund manager and relentless self-promoter who has called himself “the world’s most eligible bachelor” on Twitter, was arrested in a gray hoodie and taken into federal court in Brooklyn, where he pleaded not guilty. Prosecutors said that between 2009 and 2014, Shkreli lost some of his hedge fund investors’ money through bad trades, then looted Retrophin, a pharmaceutical company where he was CEO, for $11 million to pay back his disgruntled clients. Shkreli “engaged in multiple schemes to ensnare investors through a web of lies and deceit,” U.S. Attorney Robert Capers said in a statement.

NYC's mayor launches new program to help quell tide of homelessness

Thu, 12/17/2015 - 12:52

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.

Ex-U.S. House Speaker Hastert suffered a stroke: lawyer

Thu, 12/17/2015 - 12:03

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.

Obama says no specific, credible terror threat over holidays

Thu, 12/17/2015 - 10:27

McLEAN, Va. (AP) — President Barack Obama said Thursday that U.S. intelligence and counterterrorism officials have received no specific, credible information suggesting a potential terrorist attack against the United States. He said Americans must be vigilant this holiday season.

Obama: U.S. will prevail over 'despicable' terrorist threats

Thu, 12/17/2015 - 09:27

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama said on Thursday that U.S. intelligence professionals did not have any specific or credible information about a pending attack on the United States, but warned Americans to remain vigilant going into the holiday season.

AP Sources: Buyer of rifles used in massacre to be charged

Thu, 12/17/2015 - 07:46

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A former security guard who bought the assault rifles used by his friend in the San Bernardino, California, massacre was expected to be charged as early as Thursday, according to two law enforcement officials.

Putin says Russia's ready to improve ties with the US

Thu, 12/17/2015 - 07:12

MOSCOW (AP) — Russia and the U.S. agree on a general approach to settling the Syrian crisis, President Vladimir Putin said Thursday, saying that Moscow stands ready to improve ties with Washington.

U.S. to charge man who supplied guns to California shooters: reports

Thu, 12/17/2015 - 03:40
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Federal authorities are set to file criminal charges later on Thursday against the friend who investigators say supplied guns to the two shooters behind the San Bernardino, California, attack earlier this month, according to media reports. CNN and NBC said the charges are expected to be filed later on Thursday against Enrique Marquez, a friend and former neighbor to Syed Rizwan Farook, who carried out the attack with his wife that left 14 dead and 21 injured. (Reporting by Susan Heavey and Megan Cassella)

Cruz and Rubio are vying to lead the anti-immigrant party

Thu, 12/17/2015 - 02:23

The sons of Cuban émigrés jockeyed at the GOP debate over who will close the border faster.