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Updated: 37 min 11 sec ago

Suprme Court to examine judge's role in Pennsylvania death penalty case

Thu, 10/01/2015 - 07:45
The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday said it would hear an appeal by a Pennsylvania death row inmate who contends that a state judge who upheld his murder conviction should have stepped aside because of his prior role as a prosecutor in the case. Terrance Williams, convicted of the 1984 bludgeoning murder of a man in Philadelphia, says former Pennsylvania Chief Justice Ronald Castille should have recused himself from hearing Williams' appeal as a member of the state Supreme Court because he had served as the local District Attorney at the time of the conviction. Castille, who recently retired from the bench, won election to the state's high court in 1993.

Texas man faces life term for 47-year-old Pennsylvania murder

Thu, 10/01/2015 - 04:33
A Texas man faces a life term at his sentencing in Pennsylvania on Thursday for the 1968 murder of a Bethlehem Steel Corp worker in what prosecutors say is one of the nation's oldest cold cases to result in conviction. Richard Keiper, 69, of Boyd, Texas, will be sentenced in Monroe County Court of Common Pleas in Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania. Authorities say Keiper never denied shooting Alfred Barnes, 40, of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, an assistant to a vice president of Bethlehem Steel, on Oct., 18, 1968 and was an early suspect in the case.

Note to Kevin McCarthy: The speaker of the House can do the job. Or he can keep it.

Thu, 10/01/2015 - 03:36

The speakership is most often now the pinnacle of resistance in government, rather than the instrument of congressional will.

Strengthened Hurricane Joaquin could batter East Coast

Thu, 10/01/2015 - 02:33

The Category 3 hurricane is nearing the Bahamas and could reach the U.S. by the weekend.

Afghan forces retake Kunduz city center from Taliban

Thu, 10/01/2015 - 02:05

By Hamid Shalizi KUNDUZ, Afghanistan (Reuters) - Afghan troops recaptured the center of the strategic northern city of Kunduz on Thursday after fierce clashes with Taliban militants, three days after losing the provincial capital in a humbling defeat for Kabul and its U.S. allies. "There are military helicopters in the sky and government forces everywhere," said Abdul Ahad, a doctor in the city. "Dead Taliban are on the streets, but there are still (militants) in some government buildings fighting Afghan forces."A Taliban spokesman denied the government had retaken all of Kunduz and said insurgent fighters had withdrawn to the edges of the city to avoid being encircled by Afghan and U.S. forces.

Hurricane Joaquin strengthens, eyes East Coast

Thu, 10/01/2015 - 00:35

Joaquin was upgraded to a Category 3 hurricane as it barreled toward the Bahamas.

Afghan troops push into city of Kunduz, Taliban in retreat

Wed, 09/30/2015 - 22:27

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — Afghan government forces pushed overnight into the strategic northern city of Kunduz that was captured by the Taliban earlier this week, forcing the insurgents to retreat in heavy street fighting that was still underway Thursday.

Congress averts government shutdown, Obama signs funding measure

Wed, 09/30/2015 - 16:52

By David Lawder and Richard Cowan WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Ending weeks of infighting, the U.S. Congress on Wednesday voted to avert a government shutdown just hours before a midnight deadline, passing a stop-gap measure to extend funding for federal agencies until Dec. 11. The House of Representatives relied heavily on Democrats to secure passage in a 277-151 vote. A large majority of Republicans voted against the measure, which did not meet conservatives' demands to cut off money to women's healthcare provider Planned Parenthood amid an abortion controversy.

No shutdown: Congress approves bill to keep government open

Wed, 09/30/2015 - 14:33

Just hours before a midnight deadline, a bitterly divided Congress approved a stopgap spending bill.

Oklahoma governor temporarily stays Glossip execution

Wed, 09/30/2015 - 13:17

OKLAHOMA CITY (Reuters) - Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin on Wednesday granted inmate Richard Glossip a 37-day stay of execution to give the state time to address whether its execution protocols comply with procedures approved by the federal court.

John Kerry: Putin’s Syria involvement could be opportunity for U.S.

Wed, 09/30/2015 - 12:34

The U.S. secretary of state doesn’t think Russia’s presence in Syria will box the Washington into a corner.

Most Americans oppose defunding Planned Parenthood

Wed, 09/30/2015 - 12:34

While anti-abortion activists are urging Congress to defund Planned Parenthood, a majority of Americans favor federal funding.

House Republicans to vote Oct. 8 for new leaders

Wed, 09/30/2015 - 08:27

By Susan Cornwell WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives will hold leadership elections on Oct. 8, House Speaker John Boehner said on Wednesday, moving speedily to get a new team in place to deal with a series of fiscal challenges ahead. "After consulting with our conference, a large majority of our members have made clear they want these elections held next week. With their considerations in mind, the House leadership elections will take place on Thursday, Oct. 8," Boehner said in an emailed statement. Boehner announced last Friday that he will step down as Speaker and leave Congress effective Oct. 30, after struggling with repeated rebellions by conservatives during a tumultuous five-year reign as the chamber's top Republican.

Senate passes bill to avert government shutdown, sends to House

Wed, 09/30/2015 - 06:26
The U.S. Senate on Wednesday passed legislation to keep the federal government operating just hours before agency funding runs out with the start of a new fiscal year on Thursday. The measure, passed by a wide margin, next goes to the U.S. House of Representatives, which is expected to take it up promptly so that President Barack Obama can sign it into law before a midnight deadline. Under the bill, a range of government activities would be funded at current levels until Dec. 11, giving congressional negotiators and Obama more time to work out a budget deal at least for the rest of the 2016 fiscal year ending next Sept. 30.

Trial of 2 Uber executives adjourned in France

Wed, 09/30/2015 - 06:20

PARIS (AP) — A French judge is adjourning the trial of two European Uber executives until February, saying more expertise is needed in the case involving databases seized during a police raid on the ride-hailing service's Paris offices.

VW revs up recall plan, hunts for culprits in pollution scam

Wed, 09/30/2015 - 06:07

German auto giant Volkswagen shifted up a gear Wednesday in its plans to recall millions of cars fitted with pollution-cheating software as it boosted efforts to find the masterminds behind the scam. Following the departures of chief executive Martin Winterkorn and sales chief Christian Klingler in VW's deepest-ever crisis that broke 12 days ago, more heads look set to roll after the new CEO Matthias Mueller vowed to be "ruthless" in getting to the bottom of the affair. The steering committee of the carmaker's supervisory board was to meet later on Wednesday to discuss the preliminary findings of the internal investigation into a scam that has rocked the automobile sector and wiped 29 billion euros ($32.5 billion) off VW's market capitalisation.

Russian strikes do not alter coalition anti-IS mission: US

Wed, 09/30/2015 - 06:02

Russia launched its first air strikes in Syria on Wednesday after President Vladimir Putin won parliamentary permission to use force abroad, the United States said. A US official said the strike was near the city of Homs in what is Moscow's first engagement in a distant theatre of war since the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan. Russia's deepening engagement in Syria comes as Putin and US President Barack Obama push rival plans on ways to defeat the Islamic State group in Syria and on the future role of the country's embattled leader Bashar al-Assad.