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Updated: 27 min 59 sec ago

South Carolina court to clear 'Friendship Nine' of civil rights crimes

Wed, 01/28/2015 - 03:09
Black civil rights protesters who helped reinvigorate the 1960s U.S. sit-in movement against segregated lunch counters will appear in a South Carolina court on Wednesday to be celebrated instead of criminalized for standing up to racial injustice. A judge is expected to vacate the 54-year-old trespassing convictions of the "Friendship Nine," a group of mostly students at the now-closed Friendship College who agreed to risk arrest by sitting at the McCrory's five-and-dime store lunch counter in Rock Hill on Jan. 31, 1961. Hauled to jail and quickly found guilty, they became the first U.S. civil rights protesters to opt to serve jail time for sitting at an all-white lunch counter, helping launch the "jail, no bail" strategy that became a model for other activists. "It breathed new life into the sit-in movement," said Adolphus Belk Jr., director of the African-American studies program at Winthrop University in Rock Hill.

Bucking Obama, senior Democrat seeks limits on war against IS

Wed, 01/28/2015 - 02:03

Rep. Adam Schiff's resolution forbids using ground forces in combat against IS militants.


Blizzard-stricken East digs out amid forecast 2nd-guessing

Tue, 01/27/2015 - 22:33

BOSTON (AP) — New Englanders savaged by a blizzard packing knee-high snowfall and hurricane-force winds began digging out as New Yorkers and others spared its full fury questioned whether forecasts were overblown.


Hostage mom's plea to Japan's leader: Please save Kenji

Tue, 01/27/2015 - 22:24

The mother of a hostage held by IS extremists pleads for his life as a deadline nears.


Obama's pick for attorney general faces heated confirmation debate

Tue, 01/27/2015 - 21:09

By Aruna Viswanatha and Julia Edwards WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Barack Obama's pick for his next attorney general faces a Senate confirmation hearing on Wednesday that will likely highlight tensions between the Obama administration and the new Republican Congress. Loretta Lynch, nominated to the post in November, has stirred little controversy in her 16 years with the U.S. Attorney's office in Brooklyn and is expected to win confirmation.


Man in Minnesota city hall shooting had history of threats

Tue, 01/27/2015 - 19:11
A man who shot two Minneapolis police officers after a swearing-in ceremony had accused police of excessive force five years ago and had a long history of interactions with officials, court papers show. Police officers Joshua Eernisse and Beau Schoenhard, who were shot on Monday night at city hall in New Hope, were released from hospital on Tuesday, the Hennepin County Sheriff's Office said in a statement. The Hennepin County Medical Examiner on Tuesday identified the shooter as Raymond Kmetz, 68. Kmetz was shot multiple times by other New Hope officers and pronounced dead at the scene.

Utah parents who fatally drugged children feared apocalypse: police

Tue, 01/27/2015 - 18:26
(Reuters) - The parents of a Utah family found dead in a locked bedroom at their home last year often discussed religiously-held notions of the apocalypse and orchestrated a multi-drug familicide using methadone and over-the-counter cold medication, police said on Tuesday. The bodies of Benjamin and Kristi Strack and three of their children aged 11 to 14 were discovered by the Stracks' lone surviving child and his grandmother on Sept. 27 in Springville, about 45 miles south of Salt Lake City. "It was a fairly common theme for the parents to talk about, the apocalypse, the end of days, final judgment," said Springville Police Department detective Greg Turnbow, the lead officer on the case. The children ages 11 and 12 were ruled homicides, and the 14-year-old son had a note in which he was aware of his "possible impending doom," Turnbow said.

New York Assembly speaker to be replaced next week: NYT

Tue, 01/27/2015 - 17:37

(Reuters) - New York Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver will be replaced next week by a state lawmaker as he fights federal corruption charges, the New York Times newspaper reported on Tuesday, citing Democratic lawmakers. Rochester-area Assemblyman Joseph Morelle, the majority leader and a top pick to succeed Silver on a permanent basis, is to take over as interim speaker on Monday, the newspaper said. I believe very deeply in the institution," Silver told reporters as he exited the capitol in Albany late on Tuesday, a spokesman said. The replacement was announced after a meeting of Democrats in Albany, the Times said.


Blizzard hits Boston and New England, spares New York despite forecasts

Tue, 01/27/2015 - 16:13

By Ellen Wulfhorst and Scott Malone BOSTON/NEW YORK (Reuters) - A powerful blizzard struck Boston and surrounding New England on Tuesday, leaving some 4.5 million people grappling with as much as three feet of snow and coastal flooding but sparing New York City residents who had braced for a significant blast. Snow was forecast to keep falling into early Wednesday in eastern New England, possibly setting a record snowfall in Boston. At Logan International Airport, 23.3 inches (59.2 cm) of snow was on the ground early evening, swept higher in parts by strong winds. "There are drifts now of four, five and six feet in some places," Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker said.


Spy agency employee was flying drone that crashed at White House

Tue, 01/27/2015 - 16:06

An employee of a U.S. spy agency has confessed to operating a small drone that crashed on the grounds of the White House, the agency said on Tuesday, the latest in a series of incidents that raised questions about the president's security. A spokesman for the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency (NGA) said that an off-duty employee had told the U.S. Secret Service, which guards the presidential mansion, that he had been flying the four-propellor drone when it crashed on Monday. The NGA is a Defense Department agency whose principal job is to analyze photographs taken by spy planes and satellites. The spokesman said that the Secret Service was investigating and at this point the man was not facing disciplinary action.


Suspect charged with murder of missing Georgia couple

Tue, 01/27/2015 - 15:52

McRAE, Ga. (AP) — Elrey "Bud" Runion posted an ad on Craigslist seeking to buy a piece of his youth, a replica of the 1966 Ford Mustang convertible he bought after returning from the Vietnam War decades ago.


Obama dropping plan to tax college savings

Tue, 01/27/2015 - 14:27

President Barack Obama has dropped a controversial proposal to tax "529" college savings plans, a White House official said on Tuesday, calling it a "distraction" from administration efforts to provide middle-class tax relief. The proposal had aroused opposition from Republicans and Democrats in Congress. A source familiar with the situation said House of Representatives Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi had pressed senior administration officials to drop the proposal as she flew with Obama on Air Force One from India to Saudi Arabia. "Given it has become such a distraction, we’re not going to ask Congress to pass the 529 provision so that they can instead focus on delivering a larger package of education tax relief that has bipartisan support," the White House official said.


NYC economy lost $200M from fizzled storm, transit shutdown

Tue, 01/27/2015 - 12:58

NEW YORK (AP) — New York City lost about $200 million in economic activity in the fizzled snow storm and decision to shut down the transit system, but it wasn't a crippling loss, according to a preliminary estimate from Moody's Analytics.


Yahoo rallies as plan to spin off remaining Alibaba stake revealed

Tue, 01/27/2015 - 12:13

Yahoo promised to find a way to reduce the taxes it owes when it sells shares of Alibaba and now it has a plan to do so.


Wisconsin Gov. Walker forms group to boost possible 2016 bid

Tue, 01/27/2015 - 10:48

The GOP governor of Wisconsin has taken the first formal step toward running for president.


Government says 9.5 million people enroll for 2015 insurance, beating goal

Tue, 01/27/2015 - 10:28

(Reuters) - More than 9.5 million people have signed up for 2015 individual health insurance on the new exchanges created under the national healthcare reform law, the U.S. government said on Tuesday, beating its enrollment target weeks before the deadline. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services said that it had signed up or automatically enrolled more than 7.1 million people on its HealthCare.gov website through Jan. 16.


Uber says ride services reduce drunk driving

Tue, 01/27/2015 - 10:21

Uber, a ride service facing legal challenges around the world, on Tuesday released a survey showing that people are less likely to drive home after drinking alcohol after such businesses started operating in their cities. The results of the survey, done with advocacy group Mothers Against Drunk Driving, were based on a December poll of 807 adults in the largest U.S. cities where Uber operates. Uber customers who request rides over the upcoming Super Bowl weekend, a time that traditionally sees a spike in drunk driving, can opt to donate $1 to Mothers Against Drunk Driving by typing in the code THINKANDRIDE, it said. Other factors, such as intensified campaigns against drunk driving, may have contributed to the numbers, Uber executive Jonathan Hall said in a phone interview.


How cold-state pols prove their mettle in winter-wimpy Washington

Tue, 01/27/2015 - 10:12

In Washington, snow days are not for everyone — and they’re certainly not for people who work for cold-weather state politicians. Because if your boss is from the Northeast or the upper Plains or Alaska, you’re getting to work no matter what, even if it’s on sled or snowshoe.


Islamic State: Japanese hostage & Jordanian pilot have less than 24 hours

Tue, 01/27/2015 - 07:49

An online message also demands the release of Sajida al-Rishawi.


Bowe Bergdahl to face desertion charges: NBC

Tue, 01/27/2015 - 07:00

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl, who disappeared from his base in Afghanistan in 2009 but was released last year in a prisoner swap with the Taliban, will be charged with desertion, according to NBC. The television network, citing senior defense officials, said the charges could come within a week. (Reporting by Susan Heavey; Editing by Bill Trott)


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