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Updated: 42 min 37 sec ago

Jenny Horne delivers emotional speech stirring Confederate flag vote

Thu, 07/09/2015 - 07:46

The South Carolina House voted in the wee hours of Thursday morning to approve a bill removing the Confederate flag from the Statehouse grounds following a contentious debate that lasted more than 13 hours. But it was a fiery 4-minute speech by Rep. Jenny Horne, a Republican state representative and descendant of Confederate President Jefferson Davis, that is being credited with moving her fellow lawmakers to agree to take it down.

Iran nuclear deal close; impasse over weapons, missiles persists

Thu, 07/09/2015 - 07:18

Iran and six world powers were close to an historic nuclear agreement on Thursday that could resolve a more than 12-year dispute over Tehran's nuclear ambitions.

Same-sex couples to get federal marriage benefits: attorney general

Thu, 07/09/2015 - 06:01

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Federal marriage benefits will be made available to same-sex couples across the United States after last month's Supreme Court ruling, Attorney General Loretta Lynch said on Thursday.

Father of unlicensed teen driver to plead guilty in fatal Pennsylvania crash

Thu, 07/09/2015 - 04:05
A New York man was set to plead guilty to undisclosed criminal charges on Thursday after he let his 15-year-old daughter, an unlicensed driver, drive his SUV, which she crashed in the Pennsylvania Poconos, killing three young friends. Michael Ware, 54, of Scarsdale, New York, withdrew his request for a trial late last month and said he would accept a plea deal offered by Wayne County District Attorney Janine Edwards. Edwards has declined to disclose details of the deal prior to Ware's scheduled appearance on Thursday before Judge Raymond Hamill in Wayne County Court of Common Pleas in Honesdale.

Georgia court to hear Ku Klux Klan suit to join 'adopt-a-highway'

Thu, 07/09/2015 - 03:17
A Georgia appeals court will hear arguments on Thursday in a Ku Klux Klan chapter's lawsuit against the state for refusing the white supremacist group's application to "adopt" a stretch of highway. The KKK chapter, backed by the American Civil Liberties Union, sued Georgia in 2012 after it refused to let it join the state's adopt-a-highway program, which involves volunteers picking up trash and planting trees along designated sections of road. Georgia officials cited public safety concerns when they denied the application, telling the Klan chapter that erecting a sign with its name could lead to social unrest and distract drivers.

Honda recalls another 4.5 million cars over exploding airbags

Wed, 07/08/2015 - 22:48

Japanese automaker Honda on Thursday said it was recalling another 4.5 million vehicles globally, as a scare over a deadly defect in Takata-made airbags widens. The most recent confirmed victim was a woman in Los Angeles who died last year after the defective inflator in a 2001 Honda Civic ruptured, firing metal shards at her. "Like other carmakers, we are investigating vehicles on the market in connection with this issue, and we found that some inflators have uneven gas density, which we worry could do some harm," a Honda spokesman said.

South Carolina House approves bill removing Confederate flag

Wed, 07/08/2015 - 22:24

It's a stunning reversal in a state that was the first to leave the Union in 1860 and raised the flag again at its Statehouse more than 50 years ago to protest the civil rights movement.

Confederate flag debate nears decisive vote in South Carolina legislature

Wed, 07/08/2015 - 19:17

By Harriet McLeod CHARLESTON, S.C. (Reuters) - The campaign to remove the Confederate battle flag from South Carolina's capitol grounds dragged on into the night in a marathon session on Wednesday as the House of Representatives debated the banner symbolizing slavery and racism for many and Southern heritage for others. Tempers began to fray as the debate moved into its 12th hour as Republicans launched dozens of amendments seeking to soften the impact of a proposed law to take down the flag and move it to a museum. The state Senate first took up the bill on Monday less than three weeks after nine black worshippers were gunned down on June 17 during a Bible study at a historically black church in Charleston.

Lawmakers bash U.S. Army plan to cut 57,000 troops and civilians

Wed, 07/08/2015 - 17:19

By David Alexander WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Lawmakers on Wednesday sharply criticized long-announced U.S. Army plans to cut nearly 60,000 soldiers and civilian personnel due to tight budgets, warning it was risky and short-sighted at a time of Middle East conflict and rising tensions with Russia. Senator John McCain, the Republican head of the Armed Services Committee, called the decision to cut 40,000 soldiers and 17,000 civilian personnel "another dangerous consequence of budget-driven strategy" pursued by President Barack Obama. Republican presidential contender Jeb Bush told veterans in Hudson, New Hampshire, that the United States "can't lead without a strong military" and pursuit of the planned cuts would leave the country with "the smallest Army that we've had since the start of World War Two." The cuts would reduce the active-duty Army from about 490,000 soldiers to about 450,000.

What George W. Bush charged to aid wounded vets

Wed, 07/08/2015 - 15:55

The former president earned a hefty sum at a fundraiser, and was provided with a private jet at a cost of $20,000.

Lawmakers bash U.S. Army plan to cut 57,000 troops and civilians

Wed, 07/08/2015 - 15:22

The Obama administration was criticized by lawmakers on Wednesday over U.S. Army plans to cut nearly 60,000 soldiers and civilian personnel, warning the reductions were risky for U.S. forces at a time of conflict in the Middle East and rising tensions with Russia. Senator John McCain, the Republican head of the Armed Services Committee, called the plan to cut 40,000 soldiers and 17,000 civilian personnel "another dangerous consequence of budget-driven strategy" pursued by President Barack Obama. The cuts would reduce the active-duty Army from about 490,000 soldiers to about 450,000, its smallest number since before the United States entered World War Two.

Over 60 percent of Republicans oppose court on gay marriage: Reuters/Ipsos poll

Wed, 07/08/2015 - 13:33

By Alana Wise NEW YORK (Reuters) - Almost two-thirds of Republicans oppose the Supreme Court’s backing of gay marriage, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll, which gives hope for conservative presidential candidates who have come out strongly against marriage equality. Republicans would struggle to make opposition to same-sex marriage a winning issue in next November’s general election because more than half of Americans support it, according to the online survey.

Embattled Baltimore police commissioner fired

Wed, 07/08/2015 - 12:58

By Donna Owens BALTIMORE (Reuters) - Embattled Baltimore Police Commissioner Anthony Batts was fired on Wednesday following criticism of his handling of rioting triggered by the death of a black man from injuries suffered in police custody and a subsequent surge in homicides. Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said in a brief statement that she was replacing Batts as head of the 2,500-officer department. Batts, who came to the Baltimore force from California in September 2012, received sharp criticism for his handling of rioting that followed the funeral of 25-year-old Freddie Gray on April 27.

Technical glitch halts NYSE trading for 3 hours

Wed, 07/08/2015 - 10:57
An internal technical hiccup halted trading on the New York Stock Exchange for more than three-and-a-half hours Wednesday, but in sign of resilience, other U.S. exchanges successfully picked up the slack.

Tough day on markets upended by NYSE outage

Wed, 07/08/2015 - 10:17

NEW YORK (AP) — It was already a tough day in markets when the unexpected hit.

Beyond 'To Kill a Mockingbird': The lost novel of Harper Lee

Wed, 07/08/2015 - 10:13

Katie Couric takes a closer look at what many are calling the biggest book event of the decade, the July 14 publication of Harper Lee’s long lost first novel Go Set a Watchman.

United, NYSE technical troubles not caused by 'nefarious' actor: U.S. Homeland Security chief

Wed, 07/08/2015 - 09:53

U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said technical problems reported on Wednesday by United Airlines and the New York Stock Exchange were apparently not related to "nefarious" activity. "I have spoken to the CEO of United, Jeff Smisek, myself. It appears from what we know at this stage that the malfunctions at United and the stock exchange were not the result of any nefarious actor," Johnson said during a speech at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a Washington think tank.

Veteran journalist uncovers full story of NYPD’s first African-American cop

Wed, 07/08/2015 - 07:59

Samuel J. Battle, the NYPD’s first black cop, paved the way for countless African-Americans but has mostly been absent from history books — until now.

U.S. issues new rule to promote racial integration in housing

Wed, 07/08/2015 - 07:20
The Obama administration on Wednesday issued a new rule requiring cities to look for racial bias in their housing practices as part of a push to make neighborhoods more racially integrated. The rule, announced by the Department of Housing and Urban Development, would further the work of the landmark 1968 Fair Housing Act, which made it illegal to refuse to sell or rent a home to a person based on race, religion, gender or national origin. The Washington Post said cities and towns now would be required to look for patterns of racial bias in local housing, report the results every three to five years and set goals on how to reduce segregation in housing.

United suffers 2nd major grounding in 2 months

Wed, 07/08/2015 - 06:52

Computer problems prompted widespread delays across the country Wednesday.