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Gov't reverses on health care privacy problem

Fri, 01/23/2015 - 13:07

WASHINGTON (AP) — Bowing to privacy concerns, the Obama administration reversed itself Friday, scaling back the release of consumers' personal information from the government's health insurance website to private companies with a commercial interest in the data.

Moody's slashes Atlantic City rating on bankruptcy potential

Fri, 01/23/2015 - 09:03

(Reuters) - Moody's Investors Service slashed Atlantic City's credit rating six notches deeper into junk territory on Friday, a day after New Jersey Governor Chris Christie appointed an emergency manager with a mandate to consider a debt restructuring. Atlantic City has about $344 million of long-term debt outstanding. Moody's dropped the city's general obligation rating to Caa1, down from Ba1, indicating that the credit rating agency thinks there is a substantial risk of default over the next five years. The order from Christie to consider a restructuring also marks a "rapid, dramatic" change from the usually strong oversight New Jersey provides its local governments, including the requirement that they pay their bond debts, Moody's said.

Winter's first big snow expected in U.S. Northeast this weekend

Fri, 01/23/2015 - 08:59

By Barbara Goldberg NEW YORK (Reuters) - Up to 8 inches of snow is expected to fall over parts of the Northeast this weekend, and a wintry mix could make for a messy Monday morning commute in New York, Boston and other cities, the National Weather Service said on Friday. Rhode Island, parts of Connecticut and central Massachusetts were expected to be hit the hardest from twin snowstorms, beginning Friday evening and followed by a second storm late Sunday. "Bring it on!" said Tom Meyers, spokesman for Wachusett Mountain Ski Area in Princeton, Massachusetts, about 50 miles west of Boston. The weather service said the same system that brought heavy snow to the southern Plains would bring a wintry mix to the mid-Atlantic and New England at the start of the weekend.

Romney senior advisers meet in Boston to discuss 2016

Fri, 01/23/2015 - 08:45

The 2012 GOP presidential nominee is considering a third run for the White House.

Deadline for Islamic State ransom passes

Fri, 01/23/2015 - 07:48

Deadline for Islamic State ransom passes

One suit dropped, one remains in dispute between MLK's children

Fri, 01/23/2015 - 07:23

By David Beasley ATLANTA (Reuters) - One of two lawsuits involving the children of the late civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. has been dropped, possibly signaling a thaw in their tense relations as they continue to fight over the sale of his Bible and Nobel Peace Prize. Bernice King said in a statement late Thursday that her father's estate had voluntarily dropped its August 2013 lawsuit against the non-profit Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change in Atlanta, which she heads. King's sons, Dexter King and Martin Luther King III, acting as majority board members of their father’s estate, had sought to revoke the center’s right to use King's name and image unless Bernice King was removed as CEO. Bernice King said the estate's decision to drop the suit vindicated the King Center's position on its licensing rights and offered a promising sign that the feud pitting the children against one another was on the road toward reconciliation.

At U.S. airports, record number of firearms found in 2014

Fri, 01/23/2015 - 07:14
A record number of firearms was found at U.S. airport security checkpoints in 2014, and more than four out of five guns were loaded, the Transportation Security Administration said on Friday. The number of firearms leapt 22 percent to an all-time high of 2,212 last year, more than triple the number in 2005, the TSA said in its 2014 summary. A loaded .38-caliber revolver was found at New York's La Guardia airport clipped to a 94-year-old man's belt. "The most common excuse that we hear from people is that they forgot they had their firearms with them," said TSA spokeswoman Lisa Farbstein.

Connecticut school massacre suit moved to U.S. federal court

Fri, 01/23/2015 - 05:05

By Richard Weizel MILFORD, Conn. (Reuters) - Gunmaker Remington won a bid to move a lawsuit by families of the victims of the Sandy Hook school massacre from state to federal court, officials said on Thursday. The move could help Remington by taking the suit out of the hands of a state system that might be influenced by local issues, said Timothy Lytton, a professor at Albany Law School. "The defendants must believe they have a better chance of stopping the lawsuit in federal court than in state court," he said, adding that federal courts have a track record of rejecting gun manufacturer liability cases. Ten families of the victims of the shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, filed suit in state court in December against Remington, owner of Bushmaster Firearms International, which manufactured the AR-15 rifle used in the attack.

Marco Rubio preparing for 2016 run

Fri, 01/23/2015 - 04:39

"He has told us to proceed as if he is running for president," a senior Rubio adviser said.

Russians will 'eat less' for Putin

Fri, 01/23/2015 - 04:18

DAVOS, Switzerland (AP) — Russian Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov, speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, on Friday warned the West against trying to topple President Vladimir Putin and said that Russians are ready to sacrifice their wealth in Putin's support.

Middle East roiled by Yemen chaos and Saudi succession

Fri, 01/23/2015 - 00:32

A security expert tells Yahoo News' Michael Isikoff what the turmoil means for the U.S.

A mother pleads as Japan hostage deadline passes

Thu, 01/22/2015 - 22:40

The mother of one of the Japanese men being held by Islamist militants on Friday urged the Tokyo government to pay the jihadists' $200 million ransom and pleaded that her son's life be spared. As the extremists' deadline passed, there was no news from the prime minister's office on the fate of Kenji Goto, a freelance journalist, or Haruna Yukawa, the self-employed contractor who he had gone to rescue from the clutches of extremists. Reporters waiting for any announcement on the two men's fate said Prime Minister Shinzo Abe looked tired and drawn as he rushed from one committment to the next. Hours earlier, Junko Ishido launched an emotional appeal for mercy for Goto, her son.

First significant winter storm to bear down on Northeast

Thu, 01/22/2015 - 22:26

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — A messy mix of rain, snow and sleet is bearing down on the Northeast's major cities in what forecasters are calling the Interstate 95 corridor's first brush with a significant winter storm this season.

U.S., Iraq preparing for big assault

Thu, 01/22/2015 - 17:25

The United States and Iraq have started preparing for an offensive by summer to recapture the Iraqi city of Mosul, which was taken by Islamic State militants last June, the Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday. Preparations include selecting and training military units for the planned assault and cutting supply lines to Islamic State fighters, General Lloyd Austin, head of the U.S. military's Central Command, told the Journal. Mosul is the largest city in a self-declared Islamic State caliphate straddling the border between northern Iraq and eastern Syria. A senior Iraqi official told Reuters in November that Mosul was the focus of government efforts to defeat Islamic State, because of the city's size and symbolic status.

New Jersey police release video of cop shooting man with hands up

Thu, 01/22/2015 - 16:11
A New Jersey police department released a video this week of a man being fatally shot by police as he got out of a car with his hands raised during a traffic stop, heightening calls for an independent investigation into the death. The footage, recorded on a police dashboard camera, showed a traffic stop escalating into the deadly confrontation in less than two minutes after one of the police officers said he saw a gun in the car's glove compartment. The death of Jerame Reid on Dec. 30 in Bridgeton has prompted protests in the city, local media has reported. Some protests have been similar to those over cases last year in Missouri and New York City in which white police officers killed unarmed black men.

Lawyer for former Australian Guantanamo detainee says U.S. agrees he is innocent

Thu, 01/22/2015 - 16:01

By Jane Wardell SYDNEY (Reuters) - The United States has agreed that Australian David Hicks, jailed on terrorism charges for five years at Guantanamo, is innocent, his lawyer said on Friday. Hicks pleaded guilty in 2007 to providing "material support for terrorism" but his legal team claimed that he did so under duress and filed an appeal in late 2013. Lawyer Stephen Kenny said the legal team arguing the appeal has been told the U.S. government did not dispute Hicks' innocence and also admitted that his conviction was not correct. Kenny said he expected to hear within a month whether the Court of Military Commission Review in Washington would quash his conviction.

Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah dies

Thu, 01/22/2015 - 14:53

King Abdullah's expected successor is his 79-year-old half-brother, Prince Salman.

Obama says hopes Supreme Court rules in favor of gay marriage

Thu, 01/22/2015 - 13:58

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Barack Obama said on Thursday he hoped the Supreme Court would issue a ruling that would prevent states from banning gay marriage when it rules on the issue later this year. The court last week agreed to decide whether states can ban gay marriage. Obama has said previously that he is in favor of allowing same-sex couples to wed. "I'm hopeful the Supreme Court comes to the right decision," Obama said during an interview on YouTube. (Reporting by Jeff Mason; Editing by Sandra Maler)

U.S. agency plans to add automatic brakes to auto safety assessment

Thu, 01/22/2015 - 12:27

By Eric Beech WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. auto safety regulator plans to change its vehicle safety ratings program to include automatic emergency braking systems, putting pressure on automakers to add those features to new cars and trucks, Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said on Thursday. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)will add the braking systems to the recommended safety features included in its New Car Assessment Program, which awards up to five stars for vehicles based on safety.

Tsarnaev attorneys renew bid to move Boston Marathon bombing trial

Thu, 01/22/2015 - 11:45

Citing juror bias, attorneys for accused bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev are pushing to move his trial out of Boston.