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Updated: 1 hour 39 min ago

Connecticut's top court bans death penalty in state

Thu, 08/13/2015 - 12:48

The New England state is the latest to back away from the death penalty, following Nebraska earlier this year and Maryland in 2013. The decision followed a 2012 state law that abolished capital punishment for crimes committed after that date but allowed it to be imposed for crimes previously committed. "We are persuaded that, following its prospective abolition, this state's death penalty no longer comports with contemporary standards of decency and no longer serves any legitimate penological purpose," Connecticut Supreme Court justices wrote in Thursday's ruling.

State of emergency in Ferguson, Missouri, extended at least 24 hours

Thu, 08/13/2015 - 12:47

The government of St. Louis County extended for at least 24 hours a state of emergency in Ferguson, Missouri, which has been the scene of protests a year after an unarmed black teenager was killed by a white police officer. County Executive Steve Stenger extended the state of emergency in Ferguson, a suburb of the city of St. Louis, through at least Friday, said his spokeswoman, Allison Blood. In consultation with police, Stenger put the state of emergency in place on Monday for Ferguson and surrounding areas after police officers shot and critically wounded a man in an exchange of gunfire Sunday night, marring what had been a day of peaceful demonstrations.

Kentucky county clerk defies judge over gay marriage

Thu, 08/13/2015 - 09:43
A Kentucky county clerk’s office on Thursday defied a federal judge’s order by continuing to block marriage licenses for same-sex couples, saying the legal case was still pending. Local media also reported that the Rowan County clerk's office turned away two same-sex couples who tried to get marriage licenses. Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis is on vacation, but Nathan Davis, a relative who also works at the clerk’s office, told Reuters the office was not currently taking licenses because of the active litigation.

Death toll rises to 50 in massive blasts at Chinese port

Thu, 08/13/2015 - 08:34

TIANJIN, China (AP) — The death toll from the fiery explosions at a warehouse of hazardous chemicals climbed Thursday to 50, and the Chinese government sent experts to the shattered and smoldering port to assess any environmental dangers from the spectacular blasts.

At least five dead in spate of shootings around Boston

Thu, 08/13/2015 - 07:10
As of Sunday, some 151 shootings had been reported in Boston this year, a 25 percent increase from the same period last year. Two other fatal shootings occurred in the neighboring cities, local police confirmed.

Clerk's office defies order; no same-sex marriage licenses

Thu, 08/13/2015 - 06:00

MOREHEAD, Ky. (AP) — A Kentucky clerk's office turned away two gay couples seeking marriage licenses on Thursday, defying a federal judge's order that dismissed her argument involving religious freedom.

U.S. military's transgender care costs 'negligible,' study says

Thu, 08/13/2015 - 04:38
Transition care for transgender members of the U.S. military would cost around $5.6 million a year, "little more than a rounding error" as a share of total expenditure, according to new research published amid criticism of proposed funding. The sum amounts to just 22 cents per service member per month, said Aaron Belkin, an academic at San Francisco State University, adding that the military's annual healthcare budget is currently $47.8 billion. Last month, defense chief Ash Carter backed the admission to the U.S. military of openly transgender people for the first time, setting up a working group to study the issue "with the presumption that transgender persons can serve openly without adverse impact".

The myth of Trump’s angry legions

Thu, 08/13/2015 - 04:01

Trumpmania may be telling us a lot less about the dominant mood in the electorate at large than we think.

At least 50 dead as huge warehouse blasts hit Chinese port

Thu, 08/13/2015 - 03:39

Huge, fiery blasts at a warehouse for hazardous chemicals killed at least 50 people and turned nearby buildings into skeletal shells in the Chinese port of Tianjin, raising questions Thursday about whether ...

At drab Philadelphia jail, anxious times precede papal visit

Thu, 08/13/2015 - 03:01

When Dino Robinson was sent to Philadelphia's largest jail to await trial, the tattooed, 29-year-old inmate could hardly have imagined he would wind up in the furniture shop upholstering a special chair to be presented to Pope Francis. With six weeks to go before the pope's arrival, it is a busy and anxious time for many of the employees and inmates. Workers are modifying corridors to accommodate Francis and his entourage.

Islamic State claims huge truck bomb attack in Baghdad's Sadr City

Thu, 08/13/2015 - 00:36

By Ahmed Rasheed BAGHDAD (Reuters) - At least 76 people were killed and 212 wounded on Thursday in a blast claimed by Islamic State in Baghdad's Sadr City, police and medical sources said, one of the biggest attacks on the capital since Haider al-Abadi became prime minister a year ago. "Many people were killed and body parts were thrown on top of nearby buildings." A statement circulated online by supporters of Islamic State said the blast had targeted what it called a stronghold of the "charlatan army" and Shi'ite Muslim militias. The market in the Shi'ite neighborhood is one of the biggest in Baghdad selling wholesale food items.

At least 44 dead in warehouse blasts in China port city

Wed, 08/12/2015 - 22:54

Hundreds more are injured as huge explosions send massive fireballs into the sky.

Los Angeles to pay $15 million to teen with pellet gun paralyzed by police

Wed, 08/12/2015 - 20:48
The city of Los Angeles on Wednesday agreed to pay $15 million dollars to the family of a teenager paralyzed in 2010 when he was shot by a police officer who mistook a pellet gun the youth was holding for a real firearm. Rohayent Gomez Eriza was 13 when he was struck by a single bullet while playing near his home with two friends, according to court documents. The bullet stuck Gomez Eriza's spinal cord, rendering him paralyzed from the chest down and unable to care for himself or work, according to court documents.

Why is Bernie Sanders drawing huge crowds?

Wed, 08/12/2015 - 18:59

The enthusiastic audiences at his campaign stops are dwarfing the turnouts for Hillary Clinton.

One-on-one with U.S. ambassador to Chile

Wed, 08/12/2015 - 18:59

U.S. Ambassador to Chile Mike Hammer is a widely respected career diplomat who has worked for presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton.

Former President Carter says he has cancer

Wed, 08/12/2015 - 18:00

"I will be rearranging my schedule as necessary so I can undergo treatment by physicians at Emory Healthcare," Carter, 90, said in a statement. The Carter family has a history of pancreatic cancer, including his parents, two sisters and younger brother Billy Carter who all died from the disease. Carter told the New York Times in 2007 that he and other relatives had given blood for genetic studies seeking to help doctors diagnose the disease.

Uber driver accused of sexual assault on South Carolina passenger

Wed, 08/12/2015 - 15:42

A driver for the popular taxi-hailing service Uber faces sexual assault charges after a passenger reported that he attacked her instead of driving her home from a bar, authorities said on Wednesday. Patrick Aiello, 39, a sixth-grade social studies teacher in North Charleston, South Carolina, was booked into jail on Monday on felony charges of kidnapping and criminal sexual conduct, according to Charleston County Jail records. The 23-year-old woman told police that she and a male friend had requested an Uber driver for a ride home from a beachfront bar in Isle of Palms, South Carolina, near Charleston, late Sunday evening, according to an arrest affidavit.

Former President Carter says he has cancer

Wed, 08/12/2015 - 15:21

"I will be rearranging my schedule as necessary so I can undergo treatment by physicians at Emory Healthcare," Carter, 90, said in a statement. The Carter family has a history of pancreatic cancer, including his parents, two sisters and younger brother Billy Carter.

Jimmy Carter says he has cancer, revealed by recent surgery

Wed, 08/12/2015 - 12:46

The former U.S. president announced he has been diagnosed with cancer in a brief statement issued Wednesday.

Pennsylvania beauty queen accused of faking cancer for donations

Wed, 08/12/2015 - 11:53

A Pennsylvania beauty queen accused of collecting charity funds by pretending to have cancer was in custody on Wednesday after being stripped of her sash and crown, court records show. Miss Pennsylvania U.S. International 2015, Brandi Weaver-Gates, 23, was arrested on Tuesday and charged with one felony count of theft by deception and another of receiving stolen property. An anonymous letter tipped off police to the actions by Weaver-Gates, the complaint said.