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Updated: 1 hour 54 min ago

U.S. top court makes it easier for people to sue the government

Wed, 04/22/2015 - 06:40

By Lawrence Hurley WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday made it easier for people to sue the federal government by ruling in favor of plaintiffs in two separate cases including one involving a Hong Kong woman who was strip-searched while in immigration detention in Oregon. President Barack Obama's administration had asked the court to impose a strict deadline for such lawsuits under a law called the Federal Tort Claims Act. The court's four liberals were joined in the majority by conservative Justice Anthony Kennedy, who often casts the deciding vote in close cases. One case involved Kwai Fun Wong, who was strip-searched while held in an Oregon immigration detention center in 1999.

Would-be Reagan assassin faces hearing that could expand freedom

Wed, 04/22/2015 - 05:05

By Ian Simpson WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A U.S. federal judge begins hearings on Wednesday on whether would-be presidential assassin John Hinckley Jr. could get more time outside the mental hospital where he has lived since shooting Ronald Reagan in 1981. Hinckley, 59, has been allowed since December 2013 to leave Washington's St. Elizabeths Hospital for 17 days a month to stay with his mother in Williamsburg, Virginia. Hinckley shot Reagan and three others, including White House press secretary James Brady, in an attempt to impress actress Jodie Foster, with whom he was obsessed. The hearing before U.S. District Judge Paul Friedman will determine whether the terms of Hinckley's confinement should be changed, and could last months before a decision is made.

Paris extremist's misfire thwarts imminent attack on church

Wed, 04/22/2015 - 04:55

PARIS (AP) — An Islamic extremist with an arsenal of loaded guns was only prevented from opening fire on churchgoers because he accidentally shot himself in the leg, French officials said Wednesday.

Thousands of Washington state teachers plan one-day walkout

Wed, 04/22/2015 - 03:07
By Victoria Cavaliere SEATTLE (Reuters) - Several thousand teachers across Washington state are planning a one-day strike on Wednesday to demand higher pay, better benefits and a reduction in class sizes, the state's largest teachers' union said. Nearly 3,000 teachers in nine school districts were planning to participate in the walkout, said Washington Education Association spokesman Rich Wood. The 5,000 members of the Seattle chapter of the union are voting this week on whether to stage their own walkout in May. At issue are cost-of-living raises and funding for benefits being considered by the state Legislature. Teachers also want the state Senate to abandon a plan that would increase class sizes in grades four to 12, the union said.

Jury mulling death sentence for Boston bomber to hear more testimony

Wed, 04/22/2015 - 03:04

The jury that will determine whether to sentence convicted Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev to death or life in prison is due to face another day of emotional testimony on Wednesday. Tsarnaev, a 21-year-old ethnic Chechen, early this month was found guilty of killing three people and injuring 264 in the April 15, 2013, attack, as well as fatally shooting a police officer three days later as he and his brother prepared to flee the city. In the first day of the sentencing phase of Tsarnaev's trial, the jury heard from three people badly injured by the bombs and from the father and brother of Krystle Campbell, a 29-year-old restaurant manager who was one of the three people killed by the blasts. Prosecutors told jurors they would be hearing more about the lives of the other fatal victims, 8-year-old Martin Richard, 23-year-old Chinese graduate student Lingzi Lu and 26-year-old Massachusetts Institute of Technology police officer Sean Collier.

France says 'imminent' church attack foiled in Paris

Wed, 04/22/2015 - 02:41

An IT student allegedly planning a church attack in France has been arrested, the country's interior minister said Wednesday, just over three months after Paris was hit by a jihadist killing spree. In a baffling series of events, the 24-year-old Franco-Algerian -- known to intelligence services for wanting to fight in Syria alongside jihadists -- was detained Sunday in Paris after he himself called police over a bullet injury to his leg. "Several war weapons, hand guns, ammunition, bullet-proof vests and computer and telephone hardware" were subsequently found at his home and in his car, Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve told reporters. His DNA was later found in the car of a young mother from northern France who died in mysterious circumstances over the weekend near Paris.

Tina Brown on Hillary Clinton's 2016 run

Wed, 04/22/2015 - 02:31
The host of the Women in the World Summit talks with Yahoo's Bianna Golodryga about what's different this time around.

A quiet night in Yemen's capital as Saudi halts offensive

Wed, 04/22/2015 - 00:03

SANAA, Yemen (AP) — Yemen's capital, Sanaa, was calm overnight and into Wednesday morning after Saudi Arabia declared an end to its month-long airstrikes targeting Yemen's Iran-backed Shiite rebels and their allies, a campaign that has claimed hundreds of lives and pushed the impoverished Arab country deeper into chaos.

Protests grow over death of man in Baltimore police custody

Tue, 04/21/2015 - 23:59

The Justice Department has opened a civil rights investigation into Freddie Gray's death.

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.