(Reuters) - Three Missouri women were arrested on Thursday and charged with kidnapping after they allegedly arranged for a man to kidnap their six-year-old relative because he was "too nice" and he needed a shock lesson in the dangers of the world. The man involved, 23-year-old Nathan Firoved of Troy, a rural town outside St Louis, has also been arrested and charged with felony kidnapping and other crimes, the Lincoln County Sheriff's Office said in a statement. According to the Sheriff's department, the boy's aunt, 38-year-old Denise Kroutil, mother, Elizabeth Hupp, 25, and grandmother, Rose Brewer, 58, wanted to teach the boy a life lesson and asked Firoved to help them.
By Eric M. Johnson and Shelby Sebens SEATTLE/PORTLAND, Ore (Reuters) - Several U.S. states are considering laws to make it harder for parents to legally opt out of vaccinating their children, as health officials fight a measles outbreak that has sickened some 120 people in more than a dozen mostly West Coast states. Lawmakers in California, Oregon, and Washington state, which have all had recent measles cases, want to remove exemptions based on personal beliefs, while farther afield, Ohio recently extended a law that covers those entering childcare.
By Sebastien Malo TARRYTOWN, N.Y. (Reuters) - The New York commuter train that plowed into a car stopped on a crossing this week was traveling just below the speed limit and no problem was found with the signals or traffic barriers at the site of the deadly crash, a federal investigator said on Thursday. The fiery crash that followed killed the SUV driver and five train passengers in the deadliest rail accident in the New York area in more than three decades. The driver of the vehicle behind the Mercedes told NTSB investigators on Thursday that traffic was "edging along" at the railway crossing in Valhalla, an affluent town north of New York City, Robert Sumwalt, an NTSB member, said at a news conference. The Mercedes came to a stop on the crossing, Sumwalt said.
Electronics retailer RadioShack Corp filed for U.S. bankruptcy protection on Thursday and said it had a deal in place to sell as many as 2,400 stores to Sprint and an affiliate of hedge fund Standard General, its lender and largest shareholder. RadioShack, which posted losses in 11 consecutive quarters after failing to transform itself into a destination for mobile phone buyers, said in a statement that the Standard General affiliate, called General Wireless, and Sprint will acquire between 1,500 and 2,400 of its more than 4,000 stores, creating a co-branded retail presence in up to 1,750 of them. Sprint would effectively operate a store within a RadioShack store, selling "mobile devices across Sprint`s brand portfolio as well as RadioShack products, services and accessories," Sprint said in a statement. RadioShack also reached a deal with liquidation firm Hilco to shutter underperforming stores.
By Jonathan Allen NEW YORK (Reuters) - Lawyers for civil liberty groups, the news media, public defenders and New York's elected public advocate urged a judge on Thursday to release the transcripts of secret grand jury proceedings into the killing of an unarmed black man last July by a white police officer who put him in a chokehold. The lawyers told state Supreme Court Judge William Garnett that making the transcripts public would shed light on why the grand jury declined to indict Officer Daniel Pantaleo in the death of Eric Garner.
A Pentagon study from 2008 claimed that Russian President Vladimir Putin has Asperger's syndrome, giving him a need to exert "extreme control" when faced with crises, according to the report released Thursday. Experts studying his movements and facial expressions in video footage theorized Putin's neurological development was disrupted in infancy, giving him a sense of physical imbalance and a discomfort with social interaction, according to the report by the Pentagon's internal think tank, the Office of Net Assessment. "This profound behavioral challenge has been identified by leading neuroscientists as Asperger's Syndrome, an autistic disorder which affects all of his decisions," wrote the study's author, Brenda Connors, a senior fellow at the US Naval War College.
By Sebastien Malo TARRYTOWN, N.Y. (Reuters) - Data to be released on Thursday from a train that slammed into a vehicle at a suburban New York crossing this week could shed more light on what caused the deadly crash, which has shaken commuters on one of the busiest rail networks in the United States. Federal investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board said the main question was why the SUV was stopped at the crossing in Valhalla, an affluent town north of New York City. I thought about it," said Alan Trager, 65, chief executive officer of a non-profit agency, as he rode the same train line out of Grand Central Terminal to White Plains on Thursday. So far, the probe has found that Tuesday's 5:44 p.m. train from New York City to its suburbs struck a Mercedes SUV driven by Ellen Brody, a 49-year-old mother of three, pushing it about 1,000 feet (300 meters) down the line.
U.S. House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner on Thursday accused the State Department of stonewalling its review of the long-pending Keystone XL pipeline, saying Secretary of State John Kerry must address the issue to make the department's actions more transparent. "The Democrats are dragging their feet," Boehner, the top House Republican, told reporters, referring to the TransCanada Corp's project to bring 830,000 barrels per day of mostly Canadian oil sands petroleum to refineries and ports on the Gulf Coast. "Now the State Department is stonewalling and is refusing to answer basic questions about its review. The State Department, which is assessing the project because it crosses the national border, received comments from eight federal agencies this week on whether the pipeline is in the country's interest.
By Bill Cotterell TAMPA, Fla. (Reuters) - Republican Governor Rick Scott, off to a rocky start in his second term in office, faced an extraordinary meeting on Thursday with Florida's Cabinet in which he admitted botching the ouster of the state’s top police administrator. Since his narrow victory over former Governor Charlie Crist in November, Scott has run into a series of controversies. In the past month, Scott was rebuked by the state Republican Party, which rejected his choice to lead the party and instead elected state Representative Blaise Ingoglia in an unheard-of snub for a newly re-elected governor. Last week, former state prisons director Michael Crews, who had been ousted by Scott, accused the governor of neglecting staff shortages and crumbling facilities in the Department of Corrections.
By Jeff Mason WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Barack Obama and the Dalai Lama exchanged greetings but did not meet directly at a religious event in Washington closely watched by Beijing, which has warned against any meetings with Tibet's exiled spiritual leader. Both figures were at an annual prayer breakfast in Washington where Obama was scheduled to speak about the importance of religious freedom. The Dalai Lama also attended, seated at a table in the front row across from the president. Obama nodded and smiled at the Dalai Lama, waving after clasping his hands together in a bow-like gesture toward the Buddhist monk as the event began.
By Alwyn Scott NEW YORK (Reuters) - New rules on privately owned drones can't come fast enough for most Americans. Some 73 percent of respondents to a Reuters/Ipsos online poll released on Thursday said they want regulations for the lightweight, remote-control planes that reportedly have been involved in an increasing number of close calls with aircraft and crowds. People are also uneasy about potential invasions of privacy by drones carrying cameras or other devices. Forty-two percent went as far as to oppose private ownership of drones, suggesting they prefer restricting them to officials or experts trained in safe operation.