A majority of New Jersey registered voters view Governor Chris Christie unfavorably, a poll showed on Friday, underscoring the headwinds the outspoken Republican could face in securing his party's nomination for the 2016 presidential election. The poll by Rutgers-Eagleton noted that "for the first time" a majority, 53 percent, were unfavorably inclined toward the governor, according to a statement. It said 37 percent of registered voters in the state felt favorably toward the governor, down 7 percentage points in two months. In a late January poll for Bloomberg Politics and The Des Moines Register conducted by Selzer & Co., 36 percent of a sample of likely Iowa voters viewed Christie favorably.
Former U.S. exchange student Amanda Knox, back in Seattle after being acquitted in the slaying of her British roommate in Italy and then being convicted again in absentia, got engaged last week to a rock musician she has known since middle school, U.S. media reported on Thursday. Two sources close to Knox, who is 27, confirmed the engagement to Reuters but were unable to provide details. According to a Seattle Times newspaper column, Knox is engaged to Colin Sutherland, whom she has known since her school days and moved to Seattle from New York, though no date has been set for the wedding.
By Jonathan Kaminsky MOBILE, Ala. (Reuters) - A federal judge on Thursday ordered an Alabama official to start issuing marriage licenses to gay couples in compliance with an earlier order, but couples in most counties were still unable to obtain licenses. U.S. District Judge Callie Granade's order clarified that Mobile County Probate Court Judge Don Davis was compelled to adhere to her previous ruling striking down the state's gay marriage ban despite a contravening order from Alabama Supreme Court Justice Roy Moore that led many state judges to refrain from issuing licenses to gay couples. Granade's directive marked the latest twist in the controversy over gay marriage in Alabama, where probate judges have faced conflicting orders from federal and state courts.
By Colleen Jenkins WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (Reuters) - Thousands of mourners attended the funeral prayers on Thursday for three young Muslims killed in North Carolina, and the father of two of the victims urged U.S. authorities to probe whether religious hatred was a motive for the murders. Newlywed Deah Barakat, 23, a University of North Carolina dental student, his wife Yusor Abu-Salha, 21, and her sister, Razan Abu-Salha, 19, a student at North Carolina State University, were gunned down on Tuesday in a condominium about two miles (three km) from the UNC campus in Chapel Hill. Police charged the couple's neighbor, Craig Stephen Hicks, 46, with murder. The case has garnered international attention and Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan criticized President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and Secretary of State John Kerry on Thursday for not speaking about the incident.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon warned Thursday that Yemen was falling apart and called for action to avert chaos, as Al-Qaeda fighters overran an army camp and seized heavy weaponry. The UN chief was reporting to the 15-member council after talks with Gulf officials that he said concentrated on "preventing civil war in Yemen". "Let me be clear: Yemen is collapsing before our eyes. Long on the front line of the war against Al-Qaeda, Yemen has descended into chaos since Shiite militiamen, known as Huthis, seized Sanaa in September and ousted the government last week.
By Jon Herskovitz STEPHENVILLE, Texas (Reuters) - The former Navy SEAL whose best-selling autobiography was turned into the hit movie "American Sniper" was found dead at a rural Texas shooting range, the only loaded weapon within reach a 1911-style semiautomatic pistol, a Texas Ranger told a court on Thursday. Former U.S. Marine Eddie Ray Routh, 27, is on trial for murdering Chris Kyle and friend and neighbor, Chad Littlefield, in February 2013 at a shooting range about 70 miles (110 km) southwest of Fort Worth. Kyle and Littlefield had been shot multiple times, with two guns. "The only weapons on the scene that were loaded were two 1911-style handguns," Texas Ranger Michael Adcock told the court in rural Erath County.