CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — With rampant diabetes and obesity, Mississippi and West Virginia have struggled with health crises. Yet when it comes to getting children vaccinated, these states don't mess around.
Kansas Governor Sam Brownback, a conservative Republican re-elected in November, on Tuesday rescinded an executive order issued by a Democratic predecessor that offered protections for gay and bisexual state workers. Brownback said he was rescinding a 2007 order signed by former Governor Kathleen Sebelius that established a "protected class of rights" for state employees specifically for sexual orientation and gender identity. In its place, Brownback said he was issuing an executive order that would boost state employment-related aid for veterans and disabled people, while reaffirming the state's "commitment" to employment practices that do not discriminate based on "race, color, gender, religion, national origin, ancestry or age." Thomas Witt, executive director of Equality Kansas, said Brownback's order was an outrage and erases job protections for gay, lesbian and transgender employees who had trusted they would be safe from harassment and discrimination.
By Joseph Ax NEW YORK (Reuters) - Top Palestinian official Hanan Ashrawi took the witness stand in New York on Tuesday as the Palestinian Authority and the Palestinian Liberation Organization fight a lawsuit that would force them to pay up to $3 billion to victims of attacks in Israel. Victims and their families have sued the authority and the PLO over six shootings and bombings in the Jerusalem area from 2002 to 2004 that killed 33 and wounded more than 450, claiming the defendants provided support to the militants who carried out the attacks. Ashrawi, a member of the PLO’s executive committee, said she and other leaders, including the late Yasser Arafat, worked with U.S. and Israeli officials to combat terrorism during those years. “It didn’t serve the cause of the Palestinian Authority or the PLO, nor the cause of freedom,” she said of the attacks.
High contamination levels persist along a North Dakota creek more than a month after a massive wastewater spill was found in the state's oil patch, but levels have dropped considerably in larger rivers downstream, according to documents released by the state Tuesday.
A U.S. judge in Alabama said on Tuesday she will hear arguments later this week on whether to force a local judge to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, a day after officials in most of the state refused to do so in defiance of the U.S. Supreme Court. Lawyers for same-sex couples unable to obtain marriage licenses in Mobile County filed separate legal challenges against the county's probate court judge late on Monday, part of a series of events echoing the civil rights struggle of the 1950s and 1960s. Mobile County was the most populous of the 42 of Alabama's 67 counties that continued to refuse to provide marriage licenses to gay couples on Tuesday, advocates said, down from 52 counties a day earlier.
BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — The J.E. Corette coal-fired power plant in Billings will shut down in August, its owner said Tuesday, making it the latest casualty in a wave of closures across the country that have left the coal industry reeling.
(Reuters) - Puerto Rico announced on Tuesday night a long awaited overhaul of its tax system as it struggles to revive a moribund economy and stabilize the finances of the indebted U.S. commonwealth. Governor Alejandro Garcia Padilla promised "a new tax system" in Puerto Rico, a Caribbean island of 3.6 million that is struggling with debt of over $70 billion. Puerto Rico has long had an issue with poor collection rates and Tuesday's reforms are aimed at reversing that. "The tax system that we have penalizes work and productivity while rewarding evasion," the governor said.
CLEVELAND (AP) — The mother of a 2-month-old who police suspect was beaten to death over the weekend by a friend's 11-year-old daughter said Tuesday it was the girl who asked that the baby stay overnight with her and her mother.