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Woman's getaway car scheme was 'Plan B' in NY prison escape: sheriff

Tue, 06/16/2015 - 07:03

A female prison worker's agreement to drive a getaway car for two escaped inmates was "Plan B" and the convicted killers had another plot that allowed them to flee, Clinton County Sheriff David Favro said. Richard Matt, 48, and David Sweat, 35, both convicted of murder, remained at large for an 11th day on Tuesday after busting out of Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora, New York, about 20 miles (32 km) south of the Canadian border. Authorities said Joyce Mitchell, an industrial training supervisor in the prison tailor shop who has been criminally charged in the escape, had agreed to drive the getaway car but got cold feet and never showed up.

NAACP official who resigned says she identifies as black

Tue, 06/16/2015 - 06:12

Washington state civil rights advocate Rachel Dolezal, who has been accused of falsely claiming she is African-American, said on Tuesday she identifies as black and has been doing so since she was 5 years of age. Dolezal, in an interview on NBC's "Today" television show, said a major shift in her identity came when she was doing human rights work in Idaho and newspaper stories described her as transracial, biracial and black. "I never corrected that," she said, "... because it's more complex than being true or false in that particular instance." Dolezal, 37, who grew up with adopted black siblings, resigned on Monday as president of the Spokane chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, a leading U.S. civil rights organization, amid reports that her parents are white.

Rachel Dolezal: ‘I identify as black’

Tue, 06/16/2015 - 04:15

The former NAACP leader who resigned as president of the organization’s Spokane, Wash., chapter after being accused of lying about her race says she identifies as an African-American.

Five killed in California balcony collapse, Irish citizens among them

Tue, 06/16/2015 - 03:44
Five people including a number of young Irish citizens were killed and eight injured when an apartment balcony collapsed early on Tuesday in the Californian city of Berkeley, police and Ireland's foreign affairs minister said. The survivors' injuries were "very serious and potentially life-threatening," Berkeley Police Department spokeswoman Jennifer Coats said. Irish Foreign Minister Charlie Flanagan confirmed that an unknown number of young Irish citizens were among the dead and injured.

Tropical Storm Bill bears down on Texas coast

Tue, 06/16/2015 - 01:11

Tropical Storm Bill hurtled toward the Texas coast from the Gulf of Mexico early on Tuesday with heavy rains and strong winds, the National Weather Service said, weeks after floods killed about 30 people in the state. Flash flood watches were in effect for central Texas and the Houston area, regions where floods last month swallowed thousands of vehicles and damaged homes. The storm was projected to hit the coast at Matagorda Bay and churn through central Texas toward Austin.

Al-Qaida says U.S. strike killed leader of Yemen branch

Mon, 06/15/2015 - 23:33

The group confirms the death of its No. 2 figure and head of its powerful Yemeni affiliate.

Most Americans want Congress to ensure Obamacare subsidies: poll

Mon, 06/15/2015 - 23:04

A majority of Americans say Congress should make sure Obamacare subsidies to buy health insurance are available nationwide if the Supreme Court rules that the payments in at least 34 states are illegal, according to a poll released on Tuesday. The Kaiser Family Foundation poll surveyed 1,200 people from June 2 to June 9 in both English and Spanish. The Supreme Court is expected to rule this month whether subsidies provided to states that rely on the federal government's insurance exchange are legal based on the requirements of President Barack Obama's healthcare law.

Alaska wildfires destroy dozens of homes, menace highway

Mon, 06/15/2015 - 21:55

By Steve Quinn JUNEAU, Alaska (Reuters) - Two fast-spreading Alaska wildfires have forced a series of evacuations, destroyed up to 45 homes and forced authorities to restrict traffic on a major highway connecting two of the state's largest cities, state officials said on Monday. As many as 200 firefighters have been battling a 6,500-acre fire about 40 miles (64 km) north of Anchorage since Sunday afternoon. About 137 miles (220km) south of Anchorage, crews are fighting a much smaller, but equally dangerous blaze that threatens nearly 200 homes.

Jeb Bush jumps in GOP race, both guns blazing

Mon, 06/15/2015 - 18:52

Appearing before a raucous rally in front of thousands of supporters here Monday afternoon, former Florida governor Jeb Bush showed he is a force to be reckoned with in the presidential election as he officially launched his campaign.

Man held for trial in sledgehammer killings of California family

Mon, 06/15/2015 - 16:30

A California judge ruled on Monday that prosecutors had presented sufficient evidence for an ex-convict to face trial in the 2010 sledgehammer killings of a family of four whose remains were found more than two years later buried in the desert. The decision capped a daylong preliminary hearing in the case against Charles "Chase" Merritt, 58, described by authorities as a former business associate of the slain father, Joseph McStay. San Bernardino County Superior Court Judge Michael Smith said that evidence outlined by investigators in the proceedings, including cell phone records and DNA analysis, had established probable cause for prosecutors to proceed to trial.

Jeb Bush faces challenges in ‘16 bid

Mon, 06/15/2015 - 15:50

Bush launched a GOP presidential bid months in the making Monday with a vow to get Washington “out of the business of causing problems."

Million-dollar identity theft insurance for government workers

Mon, 06/15/2015 - 15:50

The public may never know the full national security repercussions of a pair of catastrophic hacking attacks on the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) that were disclosed earlier this month.

Washington state NAACP leader embroiled in race controversy resigns

Mon, 06/15/2015 - 15:23
Rachel Dolezal, a civil rights advocate who has been accused of falsely claiming she is black, announced her resignation on Monday as leader of a local branch of the NAACP in Washington state. Dolezal, 37, who served as president of the Spokane chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the country's oldest and largest civil rights organization, said the controversy over her race had shifted dialogue away from key social and political issues. "It is with complete allegiance to the cause of racial and social justice and the NAACP that I step aside from the presidency and pass the baton to my vice president, Naima Quarles-Burnley," Dolezal said in a statement on the NAACP Spokane chapter's Facebook page.

Beachgoers lose limbs in shallow-water shark attacks

Mon, 06/15/2015 - 15:19

OAK ISLAND, N.C. (AP) — Beachgoers cautiously returned to the ocean Monday after two young people lost limbs in separate, life-threatening shark attacks in the same town in North Carolina.

Jeb Bush Announces 2016 Presidential Campaign: 'I Will Run To Win'

Mon, 06/15/2015 - 12:40

Today, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush put an end today to months of speculation and announced his 2016 presidential campaign. "We are 17 months from the time for choosing," Bush told a cheering audience in Miami. He added, "I will campaign as I would serve, going everywhere, speaking to everyone, keeping my word, facing the issues without flinching, and staying true to what I believe," Bush plans to say this afternoon, according to excerpts of his remarks as prepared for delivery.

Two taken to hospital after incident at Arkansas air base

Mon, 06/15/2015 - 08:20
The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette quoted a police source as saying a person was shot while apparently trying to gain access to the base outside of Little Rock. Base officials said "an active threat occurred at the front gate to Little Rock AFB" at about 9:15 a.m. CDT.

Two Catholic U.S. bishops resign in child sex abuse scandal

Mon, 06/15/2015 - 08:11

Pope Francis on Monday accepted the resignation of two U.S. bishops 10 days after a local prosecutor filed criminal charges against their diocese for failing to protect children from a sexually abusive priest. Wehmeyer, who has been dismissed from the priesthood, is serving a five-year prison sentence after pleading guilty in 2012 to criminal sexual conduct with two minors and possessing child pornography. The pontiff accepted the resignations the week after approving an unprecedented Vatican tribunal intended to judge bishops for covering up or failing to report sexual abuse, which has caused worldwide scandal for more than a decade.

NAACP leader Rachel Dolezal resigns amid controversy over ethnicity

Mon, 06/15/2015 - 08:09

The civil rights leader, whose racial identity made headlines last week, made the announcement in an open letter...