WASHINGTON (AP) — As thousands of abortion foes surged through the city on their annual protest march to the Supreme Court, Republicans muscled legislation through the House on Thursday tightening federal restrictions on abortions. The vote came after internal divisions forced them into an embarrassing fumble of a similar bill.
New York City's Metropolitan Transportation Authority voted on Thursday to increase subway and bus fares on the nation's largest mass transit system in March. The cost of riding a subway or bus will increase to $2.75 from $2.50 and riders will get an 11 percent bonus by putting $5.50 or more on a Metrocard, which is used for access to the system, the MTA said. The increases will help maintain reliability and security for the transit system and its passengers, MTA Chairman Thomas Prendergast said at a news conference. The Riders Alliance, an advocacy group, said Governor Andrew Cuomo and the state legislature must find sources of revenue other than fare hikes to fund the MTA's capital needs.
By Natalia Zinets and Pavel Polityuk KIEV (Reuters) - An artillery shell or mortar struck a public transport stop in the rebel-controlled city of Donetsk in eastern Ukraine on Thursday, killing at least eight civilians in an incident both sides blamed on the other. The missile strike, which wrecked a trolleybus and blew out windows nearby, followed a night of intense fighting at the city's main airport and diplomatic talks in Berlin involving Ukraine and Russia. President Petro Poroshenko, returning early from Switzerland where he told the World Economic Forum that Russia now had 9,000 troops inside Ukraine, said he and defense chiefs would work on a plan to "regroup and stop aggression". Rebel leader Alexander Zakharchenko urged local residents to gather at the scene of the trolleybus attack, promising them the opportunity to confront captured Ukrainian servicemen.
By Nate Raymond NEW YORK (Reuters) - New York Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, one of the state's most powerful Democrats for more than two decades, was charged on Thursday with fraud, conspiracy to commit fraud and other criminal counts after a lengthy corruption investigation, federal authorities said. Silver, a lawyer whose tenure as speaker since 1994 has outlasted governors, mayors and many other politicians, has been under investigation by federal prosecutors in Manhattan and the FBI. Silver, a political power broker who represents Manhattan's Lower East Side, is known as one of Albany's "Three Men in a Room," along with the governor and Senate Majority Leader, who negotiate the state budget and key legislation. The case appeared to accelerate after federal authorities resurrected an investigation into corruption in Albany, the state capital.
New Jersey governor Chris Christie plans on Thursday to introduce former Detroit emergency manager Kevyn Orr as part of an emergency management team for struggling Atlantic City, according to a press invitation to the event. Atlantic City's municipal finances have declined with the fortunes of the local casino industry, which has suffered steep losses from competition in nearby states. The emergency management team includes Orr. A former corporate bankruptcy lawyer at the firm Jones Day, he most recently guided Detroit through the biggest-ever U.S. municipal bankruptcy.
Opening statements in the trial of Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev have been postponed as jury selection has taken longer than expected, meaning lawyers will not begin presenting cases Monday as planned, the court said on Thursday. The delay comes as Tsarnaev's attorneys launched a fresh effort to move the trial outside of Boston, arguing that it will be impossible to find an unbiased panel of jurors in the city where the attack took place. "It is not possible yet to specifically target a new start date," a spokeswoman for the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts said in a statement. Tsarnaev is accused of setting off twin pressure-cooker bombs at the finish line of the Boston Marathon in 2013, killing three people and injuring more than 260 in the worst such incident on U.S. soil since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits fell last week from a seven-month high, pointing to continued improvement in labor market conditions. Initial claims for state unemployment benefits slipped 10,000 to a seasonally adjusted 307,000 for the week ended Jan. 17, the Labor Department said on Thursday. Some, however, wondered if some of the elevation in claims reflected layoffs in the oil industry in the wake of plunging crude prices. "It is unclear at this point whether or not this move up in the trend reflects issues seasonally adjusting the data around the holidays or if it represents a more meaningful deterioration in the labor market," said Daniel Silver, an economist at JP Morgan in New York.
The U.S. Justice Department is about to close the investigation into the shooting death of an unarmed black teenager in Ferguson, Missouri, and clear the white police officer involved of any civil rights charges, The New York Times reported on Wednesday. The newspaper quoted law enforcement officials as saying that federal prosecutors had begun work on a legal memo recommending no civil rights charges against the officer, Darren Wilson, after an FBI investigation found no evidence to support charges against him. The Justice Department declined comment. The agency is still conducting a probe into the Ferguson police force.
By Jon Herskovitz AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) - Texas on Wednesday executed a 41-year-old man convicted of stabbing three people to death with a screwdriver, including his great-uncle and great-aunt, in a San Antonio home robbery in 1993, a prison officials said. Arnold Prieto died at 6:31 p.m. CST at the state's prison death chamber in Huntsville after receiving a lethal injection, the Texas Department of Criminal Justice said. He was the 519th person executed in Texas since the U.S. Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty in 1976, the most of any state. Prieto and two other men went to the home of Rodolfo Rodriguez, 72, and his wife, Virginia, 62, who cooked the visitors breakfast.