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Nazi camp survivors recall Auschwitz

Sat, 01/24/2015 - 04:41

By Barbara Goldberg NEW YORK (Reuters) - In a little leather book, the kind some men use to list lovers, Holocaust survivor Hy Abrams keeps the names that still haunt him: Auschwitz, Plaszow, Mauthausen, Melk and Ebensee. It has been 70 years since the Soviet army liberated the Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland, where Abrams was taken at age 20 by German Nazi soldiers and separated from his mother, father, brother and three sisters. Abrams, at 90, is among the oldest of a dwindling population of Holocaust survivors who gather each week at a Brooklyn synagogue to share stories, and perhaps lunch and a dance or two. With an average age of 79, they are poor and in need of special help as the result of stress and malnutrition, said the UJA-Federation of New York, which supports the Brooklyn gatherings organized by Selfhelp Community Services.

President Lincoln memorabilia up for auction in Texas

Sat, 01/24/2015 - 04:11

By Marice Richter DALLAS (Reuters) - A collection of Abraham Lincoln memorabilia, including a lock of the 16th U.S president's hair, will be up for auction in Dallas on Saturday, months before the United States marks 150 years since the end of the Civil War and Lincoln's assassination. The collection of more than 300 items, with a combined estimated value of about $400,000, belonged to a Fort Worth history buff and is considered to be one of the best private Lincoln collections known to exist, according to Heritage Auction officials. The late Fort Worth art gallery owner Donald Dow built the collection over five decades, beginning in 1963 with the purchase of a box of books, according to his son Greg Dow, who is selling the collection. "He started collecting because of his interest in the Civil War and military history," Greg Dow said.

Obama to cut short India trip to visit Saudi Arabia

Sat, 01/24/2015 - 01:25

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama will cut short his three-day trip to India to travel to Saudi Arabia to pay respects following the death of King Abdullah, U.S. and Indian officials said Saturday, hours before the U.S. president was to depart for New Delhi.

GOP's Christie brings New Jersey candor to Iowa evangelicals

Fri, 01/23/2015 - 23:07

Republican audiences have cheered him in the past, but this will be a tougher test.

Baseball legend Ernie Banks dies at 83

Fri, 01/23/2015 - 22:52

Auschwitz: enduring testament to Nazi horrors

Fri, 01/23/2015 - 21:31

The Auschwitz concentration camp, one of the most haunting symbols of the horrors of Nazism, is today a firm fixture on the tourist trail. Thousands of people, including many school children, visit each year to learn about the gas chambers that were part of the Nazi's "final solution". This despite the fact that from the summer of 1942 "information about the massacres of the Jews in territory occupied by the German army was complete," said French historian Georges Bensoussan. Governments at the time have been accused of turning a blind eye to the Nazi death camps.

Eyeing 2016 presidential bid, Jeb Bush signals focus on middle class

Fri, 01/23/2015 - 16:44

The former Florida governor calls for overhaul of immigration and education systems.

Denver woman who tried to help IS sentenced

Fri, 01/23/2015 - 16:40

Shannon Conley repeatedly told FBI agents she wanted to go to Syria to fight alongside the extremist group.

Exclusive: USDA Secretary orders update of animal welfare research strategy

Fri, 01/23/2015 - 15:54

By P.J. Huffstutter CHICAGO (Reuters) - U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has directed agency staff to create and deliver an updated Animal Welfare Strategy plan within 60 days, according to an internal email reviewed by Reuters. The emailed memo from Chavonda Jacobs-Young, head of the agency's Agricultural Research Service, was sent to all Animal Research Service employees on Friday afternoon in response to recent media reports over controversial animal welfare conditions at its U.S. Meat Animal Research Center in Nebraska. The new strategy will include updated training for government employees and others who work with animals in the service's research labs, according to the email. In addition, an independent panel will be convened to review the group's animal handling protocols, policies and research practices.

Army: Fort Hood lacked system to ID threat of 2014 rampage

Fri, 01/23/2015 - 14:06

FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — The Army's tools for identifying troubled soldiers would not have flagged the man who shot to death three people and wounded 16 others before killing himself at Fort Hood last year, despite previous signs of instability, a U.S. Army report said Friday.

Supreme Court to review Okla. execution procedure

Fri, 01/23/2015 - 13:25

By Lawrence Hurley WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Supreme Court on Friday agreed to review Oklahoma’s method of execution by lethal injection, taking up a case brought by three death row inmates who accuse the state of violating the U.S. Constitution's ban on cruel and unusual punishment. The high court just last week allowed the execution of a convicted killer to go ahead in Oklahoma over the objection of its four liberal members. The three-drug process used by Oklahoma prison officials for carrying out the death penalty has been widely debated since the April 2014 botched execution of inmate Clayton Lockett, a convicted murder. The inmates challenging the state’s procedures argue that the sedative used by Oklahoma, midazolam, cannot achieve the level of unconsciousness required for surgery and was therefore unsuitable for executions.

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.