SAN CRISTOBAL, Venezuela (AP) — The battle for Venezuela is being fought as vigorously online as in the streets, with Internet service cut off to a strife-torn university city and the government blocking selected websites and a "walkie-talkie" service widely used by protesters.
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Countless pedestrians near Philadelphia's main train station walked by a snow-covered sedan with dark windows and a slew of parking tickets before police this week found the body of a young mother inside.
TOKYO (AP) — PlayStation stands out among the long list of famous Sony brands as one that hasn't faded or succumbed to a nimbler competitor. Months after hitting global markets, the latest version of the video-game console went on sale Saturday in Tokyo, a big shift from times when Sony was ascendant enough to launch flagship products in Japan first.
WASHINGTON (AP) — It looks like the government is more conflicted about cellphones on planes than most travelers. Even as one federal agency considers allowing the calls, another now wants to make sure that doesn't happen.
LOS ANGELES (AP) — A California state senator was charged Friday with accepting $100,000 in bribes, lavish trips and no-show jobs for his children in exchange for pushing legislation to benefit a hospital engaged in billing fraud and participating in a film industry tax scheme that actually was an FBI sting.
By Dan Whitcomb and Dana Feldman LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A California state senator has been indicted on federal charges that he took $100,000 in bribes from a businessman and from undercover FBI agents posing as Hollywood movie executives in exchange for steering legislation in their favor, prosecutors said on Friday. Democrat Ron Calderon, 56, has agreed to turn himself in on Monday to face two dozen counts of bribery, fraud, money laundering and other charges, U.S. Attorney Andre Birotte said at a news conference to announce the charges. "Senator Calderon is accused of accepting tens of thousands of dollars in bribes and using the powers of his elected office to enrich himself and his brother Tom, rather than for the benefit of the public he was sworn to serve," Birotte said. State senate leader Darrell Steinberg called on Calderon, a veteran legislator and member of a political dynasty going back several decades in California, to resign or take a leave of absence.
Detroit's blueprint for dealing with $18 billion in debt and emerging from municipal bankruptcy requires cuts to worker pensions and even deeper cuts for bondholders, setting the stage for a new round of negotiations and court challenges. The potentially precedent-setting plan the city filed in U.S. Bankruptcy Court on Friday would cut retired worker's pensions by up to 30 percent while owners of bonds deemed unsecured would lose up to 80 percent of their investment. The fact that voter-approved general obligation bonds were lumped into the city's $12 billion unsecured debt pile has roiled the U.S. municipal bond market. Retirees and pension funds argued the proposed cuts go too deep, while bond insurers complained that bondholders were being treated unfairly and forced to bear most of the losses.
By Medina Roshan FORT MEADE, Maryland (Reuters) - Defense lawyers for the Saudi man charged with masterminding the 2000 USS Cole bombing that killed 17 American sailors argued on Friday he should not face the death penalty because the murders were not premeditated. The move was among several pre-trial motions heard in the murder case against Abd al-Rahim al Nashiri at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, viewed by closed-circuit television at Fort Meade. The charges Nashiri is faced with - among them murder, terrorism and conspiracy - carry the death penalty. In arguing for dismissal of the death penalty in his case, lawyers for the 49-year-old Saudi national challenged the constitutionality of several facets of the military commissions, among other arguments.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Seeking to correct potential acts of bias spanning three wars, President Barack Obama will award the Medal of Honor to 24 Army veterans following a congressionally mandated review to ensure that eligible recipients were not bypassed due to prejudice.
By David Alexander WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has reviewed the case of a Marine sergeant honored for heroism in Iraq and agreed with two other Pentagon chiefs that the evidence is insufficient to merit the highest military award for valor, the Pentagon said on Friday. Supporters have criticized the department for denying Marine Sergeant Rafael Peralta's nomination for the Medal of Honor for his actions in Fallujah in 2004, when pulled a grenade under his body to shield his comrades from the explosion, even as he was already dying of a fatal head wound. "After extensively familiarizing himself with the history of Sergeant Peralta's nomination, Secretary Hagel determined the totality of the evidence does not meet the 'proof beyond a reasonable doubt' Medal of Honor award standard," the Pentagon said in a statement. While Defense Secretary Robert Gates initially denied the Medal of Honor nomination, he approved Peralta for the Navy Cross, the second-highest military award for valor for members of the Navy and Marine Corps.
A seventh-grade football coach was ordered held without bail on Friday and will plead not guilty to the kidnap and murder of a 10-year-old girl snatched off a Springfield, Missouri, street and later found dead in his basement, his lawyer said. Craig Michael Wood, 45, accused of abducting Hailey Owens from a neighborhood in Springfield, made his first court appearance on Friday over a video monitor from the Greene County Jail. Witnesses said Hailey was walking along a street shortly before 5 p.m. on Tuesday when a man driving a pickup truck pulled alongside her. Witness calls to police about the abduction triggered multiple Amber Alerts in Missouri and neighboring states.
CELAYA, Mexico (AP) — Mexico is on track to become the United States' No. 1 source of imported cars by the end of next year, overtaking Japan and Canada in a manufacturing boom that's turning the auto industry into a bigger source of dollars than money sent home by migrants.