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One dead, six injured in San Francisco fire

Wed, 01/28/2015 - 23:14
One person died and six people were injured after a fire scorched a San Francisco building on Wednesday night, officials said. Firefighters responded to the flames ripping through the Mission District building around 6:45 p.m. local time and immediately evacuated residents, San Francisco Police spokeswoman Grace Gatpandan said in a statement. Roughly 50 people moved to an evacuation center set up by the American Red Cross at a building on the nearby City College of San Francisco campus, Red Cross spokesman Woody Baker-Cohn said. "It's devastating," 12-year resident Ricardo Cedeno told the San Francisco Chronicle.

IS purportedly sets new deadline for hostage swap

Wed, 01/28/2015 - 22:51

A voice claiming to be a Japanese hostage relays the group's latest threat.

Montana bride has no grounds to appeal murder conviction: prosecutors

Wed, 01/28/2015 - 20:12
Federal prosecutors on Wednesday said a Montana bride who admitted pushing her new husband off a cliff at Glacier National Park has no grounds to appeal her murder conviction after lying to officials and using trickery in a bid to conceal her crime. Jordan Graham pleaded guilty in December 2013 to second-degree murder in the July 7 death of Cody Johnson, 25, her husband of eight days in a case that garnered international headlines. The former nanny was sentenced last March to 30 years in prison by a U.S. judge after he rejected her request to withdraw the guilty plea that came as part of a deal with prosecutors that saw them dismiss a first-degree murder charge. Graham last October appealed her conviction, arguing prosecutors engaged in misconduct by publicly labeling her a sociopath, distorted facts and acted in a vindictive manner toward her.

Top Nevada lawyer joins suit against Obama's immigration relief plan

Wed, 01/28/2015 - 18:50
Nevada's newly minted Republican attorney general has joined a multi-state lawsuit seeking to block President Barack Obama's order easing the threat of deportation for millions of undocumented immigrants, without the support of the state's moderate governor. Attorney General Adam Laxalt, sworn in Jan. 5 after a campaign that focused at times on challenging federal overreach, said that Obama's November order undermines the rule of law and the U.S. Constitution.

Islamic State group issues new threat to kill Jordanian pilot

Wed, 01/28/2015 - 18:04

Islamic State militants say they will execute a Jordanian pilot "immediately" if Amman does not hand over a female suicide bomber by sunset Thursday, as Japan waits in anguish for news of a journalist the extremists are also holding. In a new audio recording, a voice identifying itself as Japanese freelancer Kenji Goto says his captors will kill Maaz al-Kassasbeh if an Iraqi woman on death row in Jordan is not handed over by the end of the day. "If Sajida al-Rishawi is not ready for exchange for my life at the Turkish border by Thursday sunset, 29th of January, Mosul time, the Jordanian pilot Maaz al-Kassasbeh will be killed immediately," Goto said, in an unverified audio message distributed by IS-linked Twitter accounts. Amman had offered to free the Iraqi woman, who was convicted for her part in 2005 triple-hotel bombings in the Jordanian capital that killed 60 people, if the IS group released their airman.

Homeless vets to get housing at L.A. VA site under settlement

Wed, 01/28/2015 - 17:38
By Michael Fleeman LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Homeless veterans will get housing and services at a large Department of Veterans Affairs health campus in Los Angeles under a deal to settle a lawsuit accusing the agency of misusing the land, officials said on Wednesday. The 387-acre site located between the affluent Westwood and Brentwood neighborhoods was deeded to the United States in 1888 to give a home to disabled veterans. The campus houses the nation's largest veterans health center, but the Department of Veterans Affairs long ago eliminated permanent housing for veterans there and it leased out portions of the property. Under the agreement, the agency has agreed to work with the American Civil Liberties Union and the plaintiffs the group represents to help the estimated 4,200 homeless veterans in Los Angeles County.

Saudi airman gets 35 years to life for raping boy in Las Vegas

Wed, 01/28/2015 - 17:27
(Reuters) - A Saudi Air Force sergeant convicted in the rape of a 13-year-old boy at a Las Vegas casino hotel was sentenced on Wednesday to 35 years to life in prison for the crime, a court spokeswoman said. Mazen Alotaibi, 25, was found guilty in Las Vegas in 2013 of kidnapping, burglary, coercion, lewdness on a child and sexual assault on a minor over a 2012 New Year's Eve attack. Prosecutors say Alotaibi, who was visiting Las Vegas while temporarily stationed at Lackland Air Force Base in Texas, lured a then-13-year-old boy to a room at the Circus Circus hotel and sexually assaulted him. Under the sentence imposed in a Las Vegas court, Alotaibi is not eligible for parole for a state-mandated 35 years, according to court spokeswoman Mary Ann Price.

Military says Washington state marijuana shops 'off-limits' to troops

Wed, 01/28/2015 - 14:35
By Victoria Cavaliere SEATTLE (Reuters) - A U.S. military base south of Seattle has sent letters warning retail marijuana shops that military personnel are banned from entering their businesses and buying cannabis products, a spokesman said on Wednesday. The letters were sent last week by the Armed Forces Disciplinary Control Board at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, in the Tacoma area. "The use, possession, manufacture, or distribution of marijuana remains illegal for all service members, at all times and locations," said Lewis-McChord spokesman Joe Kubistek. Washington state voters joined Colorado in 2012 in approving the use of marijuana for recreational purposes in state-regulated systems that have ushered in retail shops carrying a range of marijuana products for adults.

Unlikely bedfellows unite on criminal justice reform

Wed, 01/28/2015 - 14:07

Only one issue in Washington right now could bring together the Koch brothers’ top lawyer, an environmental activist, the former head of the NRA and Sen. Al Franken. Criminal justice reform.

State Dept. officials ready to meet House Benghazi panel

Wed, 01/28/2015 - 13:41

Officials are prepared to meet immediately with a special House committee investigating the deadly 2012 attacks.

Magnitude 5.7 quake hits off northern California coast

Wed, 01/28/2015 - 13:36
A magnitude 5.7 earthquake struck just offshore of northern California on Wednesday, rattling a wide coastal area below the Oregon border, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) said, but local officials said no major damage or injuries were reported. The tremor, initially reported as a weaker magnitude 5.1, was relatively shallow, occurring at 10.7 miles (17.2 km) below the seabed, the USGS said. It was centered 40 miles (65 km) southwest of Eureka, a town that lies about 25 miles (40 km) south of the Oregon border. The National Tsunami Warning Center said the quake had not triggered a tsunami.

One in five U.S. children now rely on food stamps: Census data

Wed, 01/28/2015 - 10:29
By Elvina Nawaguna WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The number of children in the United States relying on food stamps for a meal spiked to 16 million last year, according federal data, signaling a lopsided economic recovery in which lower income families are still lagging behind. The roughly one in five children who received food stamps in 2014 surpassed pre-recession levels, when one in eight or 9 million children were on food stamps, according to the U.S. Census survey of American families released on Wednesday Republicans in Congress have sought to cut back on the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program or food stamp program as part of a larger plan to balance the budget. Other findings of the survey show a rapidly changing America in which more children are being raised in single-parent homes and more young people are delaying marriage. Of the 73.7 million children under 18 in the United States, 27 percent were living in single parent homes last year, tripling the 9 percent in 1960.

Russia says Kiev's actions will escalate Ukraine fighting

Wed, 01/28/2015 - 09:39

By Thomas Grove MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia said on Wednesday military action by the Ukrainian government would prompt an "inevitable further escalation of the conflict" with pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine and undermine any peacemaking. Russia has stepped up criticism of Kiev since violence has intensified in the conflict, where a ceasefire collapsed after rebels drove Ukrainian government forces out of Donetsk airport. The separatists say they want to drive back government forces and their artillery out of range of the cities they hold and improve their grip on strongholds. "The latest military actions provoked by Kiev will lead to the inevitable further escalation of the conflict (and) undermine efforts taken by the international community to end the bloodshed," Russia's Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

Arkansas panel rejects removing Lee from King holiday

Wed, 01/28/2015 - 08:51

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — A bid to end Arkansas' practice of commemorating Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee and civil rights icon Martin Luther King Jr. on the same day has failed before a state House panel.

After sparring with 2 Chainz, Nancy Grace debates pot with Dr. Drew

Wed, 01/28/2015 - 08:24
On the heels of her endlessly entertaining debate with rapper 2 Chainz over the legalization of marijuana, Nancy Grace picked up the anti-pot argument on Tuesday with fellow HLN host Dr. Drew.

North Dakota: oil producers aim to cut radioactive waste bills

Wed, 01/28/2015 - 07:29

By Ernest Scheyder WILLISTON, N.D. (Reuters) - North Dakota's oil industry is pushing to change the state's radioactive waste disposal laws as part of a broad effort to conserve cash as oil prices tumble. The waste, which becomes slightly radioactive as part of the hydraulic fracturing process that churns up isotopes locked underground, must be trucked out of state. The most common form of radioactive waste is a filter sock, a mesh tube resembling a sandbag through which fracking water is pumped before it's injected back into the earth.

Nissan recalls 768,000 crossovers and SUVs for separate problems

Wed, 01/28/2015 - 05:59

Nissan Motor Co is recalling about 768,000 vehicles, including its popular Rogue crossover and Pathfinder SUV, for separate problems, the company and U.S. regulators said on Wednesday. Some 552,135 Rogues from model years 2008 and 2013 will be recalled because moisture could seep through the driver side floor and cause an electrical short to wiring that could lead to a fire, Nissan and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) said. No crashes or injuries have been reported due to the wiring issue, a Nissan spokesman said on Wednesday morning. Also, 215,789 Pathfinder SUVs from the 2013 and 2014 model years and 2013 Infiniti JX35 vehicles will be recalled for problems related to a secondary hood latch, Nissan and NHTSA said.

Hillary Clinton agrees to testify on Benghazi

Wed, 01/28/2015 - 05:37

The former secretary of state will appear before a House select committee.

Dozen killed in suicide attack against Mali rebels

Wed, 01/28/2015 - 05:11

An attack overnight in northern Mali by a pro-government armed group including suicide bombers killed a dozen people, security sources said Wednesday. "GATIA fighters, accompanied by suicide bombers, attacked a rebel Tuareg and anti-government Arab position in the night from Tuesday to Wednesday near the town of Tabankort. A security source in MINUSMA -- the United Nations peacekeeping mission in Mali -- confirmed the deaths, adding that two fighters blew themselves up while a third was killed before he was able to detonate his explosives. GATIA is the commonly-used name for the pro-government Imghad and Allies Tuareg Self-Defence Group.

Hezbollah carried out deadly attack on Israeli convoy

Wed, 01/28/2015 - 04:14

Lebanese Hezbollah militants killed and wounded a number of Israeli soldiers in a "big operation" on Wednesday targeting an Israeli military convoy in a frontier area, a Lebanese political source said. The attack in the Israeli-occupied Shebaa Farms area was in response to an Israeli rocket attack in Syria, the source, who is familiar with details of the operation, said.