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Indiana faces deadline on new education standards

Yahoo! National News - Thu, 04/17/2014 - 06:11

FILE - Glenda Ritz, Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction, shown in this June 10, 2013 file photo, as she talks about interruptions experienced by students taking ISTEP tests. Indiana education leaders are rapidly approaching a deadline to approve new education standards to replace the national Common Core standards, which lawmakers and Gov. Mike Pence agreed to ditch. But infighting between state schools chief Glenda Ritz and the state Board of Education is putting new standards at risk. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy, File)INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — As the first state to drop the national Common Core learning standards, Indiana is rushing to approve new state-crafted benchmarks in time for teachers to use them this fall, and education leaders from across the nation are closely watching.

Holder urges use of overdose-reversal drug

Yahoo! National News - Thu, 04/17/2014 - 06:06

FILE - In this Jan. 19, 2014 file photo, Philip Seymour Hoffman poses for a portrait at The Collective and Gibson Lounge Powered by CEG, during the Sundance Film Festival, in Park City, Utah. A spokesperson for the New York City Medical Examiner announced on Friday, Feb. 28, that Hoffman’s death an accident. The Oscar-winning actor’s body was found on Feb. 2 with a needle still in his arm. Officials say he died from a toxic mix of heroin and other drugs. Attorney General Eric Holder on Wednesday called on first responders to use an overdose-reversal drug to help save lives amid a nationwide resurgence in heroin abuse, a public health scourge claiming the lives of celebrities and young people alike. (AP Photo/Victoria Will/Invision/AP)WASHINGTON (AP) — Attorney General Eric Holder on Wednesday urged first responders to use an overdose-reversal drug to help save lives amid a nationwide resurgence in heroin abuse, a public health scourge claiming the lives of celebrities and young people alike.

Nebraska man could face execution after conviction in 4 killings

Yahoo! National News - Thu, 04/17/2014 - 06:00
By Katie Knapp Schubert OMAHA, Nebraska (Reuters) - A Nebraska man was convicted on Wednesday of killing four people during a 10-day murder spree last summer within days of his release from prison and could face the death penalty in a state that has not carried out an execution since 1997. Nikko Jenkins, 27, was found guilty of first-degree murder, use of a weapon to commit a felony and felon in possession of a weapon in each of the four killings by Douglas County District Court Judge Peter Bataillon, court officials said. Jenkins had pleaded no contest during a court hearing in Omaha to the charges that he killed Jorge Cajiga-Ruiz and Juan Uribe-Pena on August 11, Curtis Bradford on August 19, and Andrea Kruger on August 21. Douglas County Attorney Don Kleine has said he likely would seek the death penalty for Jenkins.

Farmer ships Vidalia onions ahead of start date

Yahoo! National News - Thu, 04/17/2014 - 05:58
SAVANNAH, Ga. (AP) — A major grower of Georgia's famous Vidalia onions said Wednesday he had begun shipping his crop early to supermarkets in defiance of the state agriculture commissioner, who has warned that a new regulation prohibits farmers from sending onions to market before Monday.

John Edwards returns to court practicing law

Yahoo! National News - Thu, 04/17/2014 - 05:52
GREENVILLE, N.C. (AP) — Former U.S. senator and Democratic presidential hopeful John Edwards has returned to the courtroom to help represent a 4-year-old Virginia boy in a medical malpractice case.

Appeals court upholds Snowden email firm contempt

Yahoo! National News - Thu, 04/17/2014 - 05:42
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — A federal appeals court on Wednesday upheld a contempt of court citation against an email service provider used by National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden.

Philadelphia using 'robo-calls' as weapon in war on illegal signs

Yahoo! National News - Thu, 04/17/2014 - 05:33
By Daniel Kelley PHILADELPHIA (Reuters) - Philadelphia is taking on businesses that blanket its neighborhoods with illegal paper and plastic signs by using automated phone calls to disrupt the operations of people who post them along with contact numbers. "It's as plain as that," said Philadelphia Streets Commissioner David Perri. "We hook them up to robo-calls so all their voicemails get filled up." City officials are recording phone numbers on the advertisements, which hype everything from cash for junk cars to fixer upper homes.

Round 2: Court takes up Oklahoma gay-marriage case

Yahoo! National News - Thu, 04/17/2014 - 05:28

Oklahomans for Equality gather at Tulsa International Airport with their signs for a send off celebration in support for the plaintiffs in the Oklahoma Marriage Equality lawsuit as they head to the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver, Wednesday April 16, 2014. (AP Photo/Brandi Simons)OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Lawyers for a couple challenging Oklahoma's ban on gay marriage and the clerk who refused to grant them a license head to a federal appeals court Thursday with the rare opportunity to build on arguments the judges heard in a similar case just a week earlier.

Wisconsin passes law to curb private custody transfers of children

Yahoo! National News - Thu, 04/17/2014 - 05:28
By Megan Twohey NEW YORK (Reuters) - Wisconsin has adopted a law to limit private custody transfers of children, the first law of its kind in the United States, responding to a Reuters investigation that exposed the dangers of the unregulated practice. Reuters reported in September that parents were transferring custody of their unwanted adopted children to strangers met on the Internet, often with no government oversight and sometimes illegally. No state or federal laws specifically prohibit the practice, which is known as "re-homing. ...

Officer: Sharper's DNA found on 1 Arizona victim

Yahoo! National News - Thu, 04/17/2014 - 05:18
PHOENIX (AP) — Former NFL All-Pro safety Darren Sharper's DNA was found in an examination of one of two women who accuse him of drugging and sexually assaulting them at a Tempe apartment, a detective said Wednesday.

US judge overturns 6-week abortion ban

Yahoo! National News - Thu, 04/17/2014 - 05:02

FILE - This Feb. 20, 2013 file photo shows a protesters outside the Red River Valley Women's Clinic, the state's sole abortion provider, in Fargo, N.D. A federal judge overturned a North Dakota law Wednesday, April 16, 2014 that bans abortions when a fetal heartbeat can be detected, as early as six weeks into pregnancy and before many women know they're pregnant. The Bismarck judge said the law is "invalid and unconstitutional" and that it "cannot withstand a constitutional challenge." (AP Photo/Dave Kolpack, File)BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — A federal judge on Wednesday overturned a North Dakota law that bans abortions when a fetal heartbeat can be detected, which can be as early as six weeks into pregnancy and before many women know they're pregnant.

Jury begins deliberating in murder trial of Iraqi-American man

Yahoo! National News - Thu, 04/17/2014 - 04:57

Alhimidi speaks next to his son Mohammed during candlelight vigil to remember his wife Shaima Alawadi outside their home in El CajonBy Marty Graham SAN DIEGO (Reuters) - Jurors began deliberating on Wednesday in the trial of an Iraqi-American man charged with murdering his wife in a case first investigated as a hate crime, following closing arguments in which prosecutors urged the panel to find him guilty. A defense attorney countered during his summation that there was no evidence tying 49-year-old Kassim Alhimidi to the beating death of his wife, Shaima Alawadi, in their home in the San Diego suburb of El Cajon. The seven-man, five-woman San Diego Superior Court jury began deliberating on Wednesday morning after hearing final instructions from the judge. Alawadi was found bloodied and dying on the kitchen floor by her daughter, Fatima Alhimidi, who testified during the two-week trial that the family was in turmoil for months before the attack.

California city ex-manager gets 12 years in prison for corruption

Yahoo! National News - Thu, 04/17/2014 - 04:47

Robert Rizzo, the former manager of scandal-plagued Bell, California, attends his sentencing at Los Angeles Superior CourtBy Alex Dobuzinskis LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The former city administrator of Bell, California, who became a symbol of local government corruption when news surfaced of his annual salary of about $800,000, was sentenced on Wednesday to 12 years in prison, officials said. An apologetic Robert Rizzo, 60, who pleaded guilty last year to 69 state criminal counts - from perjury to misappropriation of public funds - also was ordered to pay $8.8 million in restitution to the city, said Jane Robison, a spokeswoman for the Los Angeles District Attorney's Office. He will serve the sentence concurrent with a 33-month federal sentence imposed earlier in the week for a tax-fraud scheme designed to conceal part of his large, publicly funded income, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Kathleen Kennedy ruled. The revelations of the inflated salaries for Rizzo and other officials in Bell, a working-class suburb of Los Angeles, fueled statewide debate over public pay.

Rhode Island loses bid to have pension reform lawsuit tossed

Yahoo! National News - Thu, 04/17/2014 - 04:33
(Reuters) - A lawsuit by retired Rhode Island public employees over the state's sweeping 2011 pension system overhaul will continue after a judge on Wednesday rejected a move by state officials to have the case thrown out. Superior Court Associate Justice Sarah Taft-Carter found that the retirees' pension benefits, for which they had previously bargained, suggested enough of a contractual relationship with the state for their claims to continue. Rhode Island's 2011 pension overhaul, considered among the most far-reaching in the United States, has been used by other state and local governments as a model to rein in the ballooning cost of retirement benefits for public-sector workers. But pension changes also prompted public employees' unions to sue on the grounds their retirement benefits were contractual relationships that were allegedly violated by reforms.

Nevada probe detects cheating on standardized test

Yahoo! National News - Thu, 04/17/2014 - 04:30
LAS VEGAS (AP) — At least one adult altered the answer sheets on standardized tests at a Las Vegas elementary school, leading to skyrocketing scores from one year to the next, an investigation by the Nevada Department of Education concluded.

NYC police rolling back some counterterror efforts

Yahoo! National News - Thu, 04/17/2014 - 04:24

protesting the NYPD's program of infiltrating and informing on Muslim communitiesNEW YORK (AP) — The move by New York City's new police commissioner to disband a unit that spied on the everyday activities of Muslims could be just the first step in a dismantling of some of the huge post-9/11 intelligence-gathering machinery built by his predecessor.

Denver police eye 911 response time after killing

Yahoo! National News - Thu, 04/17/2014 - 04:23

This undated photo provided by the Denver Police Department shows of Richard Kirk. Kirk is being held for investigation of first-degree murder in the death of his wife in their Denver home. Police officers arrived just after Kristine Kirk was shot in the head Monday, April 14, 2014, about 15 minutes after she called 911. Police are investigating whether marijuana played a role in the killing. (AP Photo/Denver Police)DENVER (AP) — Authorities were investigating Wednesday whether Denver police responded quickly enough to a woman who was fatally shot at least 12 minutes into a 911 call in which she said her husband was hallucinating and asking her to shoot him.

Alabama's Auburn University cancels classes over rampage threat

Yahoo! National News - Thu, 04/17/2014 - 04:23
(Reuters) - Alabama's Auburn University said it found no immediate safety threat after canceling classes on Wednesday because of a message posted in a campus restroom that reportedly warned of a "rampage of biblical proportion." The university suspended normal operations for the day in light of "student and parent anxiety," according to a statement on Auburn's website. In a message sent to students and employees, the university said authorities were investigating a report of a "threatening message." It said university officials became concerned after reports on late Tuesday of a suspicious person on campus and a photo circulated on social media that connected the threat with the anniversary of a massacre at Virginia Tech University. Wednesday marks the seventh anniversary of the April 16, 2007, rampage by a student who gunned down 32 people at Virginia Tech before killing himself in the country's deadliest mass shooting. Auburn officials said authorities did not believe the threat of violence was credible.

Uruguay's leader declares $322,883 in wealth

Yahoo! National News - Thu, 04/17/2014 - 04:23

FILE - In this Oct. 25, 2009, file photo Uruguay's President Jose Mujica stands in a tractor on his flower farm on the outskirts of Montevideo, Uruguay. Mujica has declared $322,883 in wealth in 2014. Uruguay's president has been labeled “the poorest president in the world,” but his sworn declaration in 2014 shows a 74 percent increase since 2012. He says that’s because didn’t put his money, about $104,000, in bank accounts until recently. (AP Photo/Matilde Campodonico, File)MONTEVIDEO, Uruguay (AP) — President Jose Mujica says his wealth adds up to $322,883. Nearly a third of that is cash, kept in three bank accounts that Uruguay's leader didn't previously declare.

Defense says bombing suspect's family key to case

Yahoo! National News - Thu, 04/17/2014 - 04:22

FILE - This combination of file photos shows brothers Tamerlan, left, and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, suspects in the Boston Marathon bombings on April 15, 2013. Tamerlan Tsarnaev died after a gunfight with police several days later, and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, was captured and is held in a federal prison on charges of using a weapon of mass destruction. A year after the bombings, prosecutors said they have a trove of evidence to use against Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, including surveillance video showing him placing one of the bombs just yards from Martin Richard, the 8-year-old boy who died in the blast. (AP Photos/Lowell Sun and FBI, File)BOSTON (AP) — Lawyers for Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev said Wednesday that understanding Tsarnaev's family is key to their case, offering a glimpse of the defense strategy as they prepare to defend him against charges that carry the possibility of the death penalty.