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Democratic senator: U.S. shifts on Cuba 'clearly intended' to bypass law

Yahoo! National News - Thu, 12/18/2014 - 04:29
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Democratic U.S. Senator Robert Menendez said on Wednesday that President Barack Obama's shifts on Cuba policy were intended to circumvent U.S. law. "Today’s regulatory changes ... are clearly intended to circumvent the intent and spirit of U.S. law and the U.S. Congress," Menendez said in a statement issued after Obama announced that the United States will restore diplomatic relations with Cuba. Menendez, who is Cuban-American and represents New Jersey, will be the top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in the new Congress that will be seated in January. ...

Final goodbye: Roll call of some who died in 2014

Yahoo! National News - Thu, 12/18/2014 - 04:25

FILE- In this Aug. 11, 2014, file photo, flowers are placed in memory of actor/comedian Robin Williams' Walk of Fame star in the Hollywood district of Los Angeles. Williams, the Academy Award winner and comic supernova whose explosions of pop culture riffs and impressions dazzled audiences for decades and made him a gleamy-eyed laureate for the Information Age, died Aug. 11, 2014, in an apparent suicide at his San Francisco Bay area home. He was 63. (AP Photo/Kevork Djansezian, File)They each turned a moment of violence into a call to action. For James Brady, that moment was when he was shot and wounded by a would-be presidential assassin. For Chung Eun-yong, it was the killings of his two children during a Korean War massacre.

U.S. top court bars Arizona from denying driver's licenses to immigrants

Yahoo! National News - Thu, 12/18/2014 - 04:18

Protesters demonstrate against the arrival of undocumented immigrants in Oracle, ArizonaBy Lawrence Hurley WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday blocked the state of Arizona from enforcing a policy that denies driver's licenses to young immigrants granted legal status by President Barack Obama in 2012. The court denied the request by Arizona Governor Jan Brewer to place a hold on a ruling from the San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which said the policy had no legal basis. The state must now let roughly 20,000 eligible immigrants apply for driver's licenses. "This is the best day ever," said Phoenix-based activist Dulce Matuz. ...

Third suspect arrested in Portland school shooting

Yahoo! National News - Thu, 12/18/2014 - 04:17
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Portland police say a third suspect has been arrested in their investigation of a shooting outside an alternative Portland High School that injured four young people.

Sprint accused of billing for unwanted services

Yahoo! National News - Thu, 12/18/2014 - 04:13
WASHINGTON (AP) — Federal regulators are accusing Sprint Corp. of illegally billing its wireless customers hundreds of millions of dollars in charges for text message alerts and other services that they didn't order.

Colorado funds medical marijuana research, a first

Yahoo! National News - Thu, 12/18/2014 - 04:13

FILE - In this Feb. 7, 2014 file photo, Matt Figi hugs and tickles his once severely-ill seven year old daughter Charlotte, as they walk together inside a greenhouse for a special strain of medical marijuana known as Charlotte's Web, which was named after the girl early in her treatment for crippling severe epilepsy, in the mountains west of Colorado Springs, Colo. Colorado is poised to award more than $8 million for medical marijuana research, a step toward addressing complaints that little is known about pot's medical potential. Among the research projects poised for approval on Wednesday, Dec. 17, 2014, are one for pediatric epilepsy patients, and another for children with brain tumors. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley, File)DENVER (AP) — Colorado awarded more than $8 million for medical marijuana research Wednesday, a step toward addressing complaints that little is known about pot's medical potential.

Texas TV station says meteorologist shot, suspect at large

Yahoo! National News - Thu, 12/18/2014 - 04:09
AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) - A meteorologist at Waco, Texas, broadcaster KCEN-TV was shot multiple times during a confrontation in the station's parking lot on Wednesday, and the suspect is still at large, the station said. Morning show meteorologist Patrick Crawford exchanged words with the suspect, who then pulled out a handgun and fired several times, it said. Crawford is undergoing surgery at a local hospital. He managed to drive away and flag down a construction worker, who called for kelp, KCEN said. The station was briefly placed on lockdown as a result of the incident. ...

Pentagon upbeat Lockheed will deliver 36 F-35s in 2014 as planned

Yahoo! National News - Thu, 12/18/2014 - 04:08
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Lockheed Martin Corp is on track to deliver all 36 F-35 fighter jets planned in 2014, the Pentagon's F-35 program manager told reporters on Wednesday. Air Force Lieutenant General Chris Bogdan said the final two aircraft to be delivered to the U.S. government were in flight testing, but he expected that process to be completed by the end of the year. The deliveries would pave the way for Lockheed to receive most of the incentive fees associated with the delivery schedule, Bogdan said. He did not provide any details. (Reporting by Andrea Shalal; Editing by Chris Reese)

South Carolina judge tosses conviction of black teen executed in 1944

Yahoo! National News - Thu, 12/18/2014 - 04:07

George Stinney Jr appears in an undated police booking photo provided by the South Carolina Department of Archives and HistoryBy Harriet McLeod CHARLESTON, S.C. (Reuters) - A South Carolina judge on Wednesday took the unusual step of vacating the 1944 conviction of a black 14-year-old boy, the youngest person executed in the United States in the past century, saying he did not receive a fair trial in the murders of two white girls. George Stinney Jr. was convicted by an all-white jury after a one-day trial and a 10-minute jury deliberation during a time when racial segregation prevailed in much of the United States. ...

Thief steals $14K in jewelry from vehicle in Queen Village

Yahoo! National News - Thu, 12/18/2014 - 04:07

Thief steals $14K in jewelry from vehicle in Queen VillagePhiladelphia police are looking for a thief who was caught on camera stealing over $14,000 worth of jewelry from a parked vehicle in the city's Queen Village neighborhood.

McCain, Graham denounce Obama's shift in U.S. Cuba

Yahoo! National News - Thu, 12/18/2014 - 04:03
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham, two of the leading Republican voices on U.S. foreign policy, on Wednesday denounced President Barack Obama's plans to ease U.S. restrictions on Cuba. The policy shift reflected "America and the values it stands for in retreat and decline," they said in a statement, one of several issued by Republicans seeking to line up against the change in policy. "It is about the appeasement of autocratic dictators, thugs, and adversaries, diminishing America’s influence in the world," said McCain and Graham. ...

The D'oh of Homer: Professors employ TV's Simpsons

Yahoo! National News - Thu, 12/18/2014 - 03:58

FILE - This undated image from files, provided by Fox Broadcasting from "The Simpsons," shows the popular cartoon family posing in front of their home, from left, Lisa , Marge , Maggie, Homer and Bart Simpson. University students have been studying Homer's "The Odyssey" for centuries. More recently, Homer Simpson's "Odyssey," and a quarter-century of episodes from the animated sitcom have been undergoing similar scrutiny at several college campuses around the country. (AP Photo/Fox Broacasting Co., File) 1998 FOX BROADCASTINGHEMPSTEAD, N.Y. (AP) — Bart and Lisa Simpson have been in elementary school for 25 years. But that hasn't stopped them from showing up on college campuses.

Chicago area landlord gets life in prison for deadly arson fire

Yahoo! National News - Thu, 12/18/2014 - 03:57
By Mary Wisniewski CHICAGO (Reuters) - A suburban Chicago landlord has been sentenced to life in prison for setting a fire that killed seven people, including four children, in a scheme to cash in on property insurance, prosecutors said on Wednesday. Lawrence Myers, 64, of Cicero, west of Chicago, had been convicted by a jury in November on seven counts of murder for his role in the 2010 blaze. Myers, who was sentenced on Tuesday, got help in setting the fire from his building manager, Marion Comier, 51, prosecutors said. ...

Washington governor proposes cap on carbon pollution

Yahoo! National News - Thu, 12/18/2014 - 03:53
SEATTLE (AP) — Washington Gov. Jay Inslee has proposed a cap-and-trade program that would require industrial polluters to pay for every ton of carbon they release.

Venezuela President Maduro hails Obama's 'courageous' Cuba gesture

Yahoo! National News - Thu, 12/18/2014 - 03:33
PARANA, Argentina (Reuters) - Venezuela's president, Nicolas Maduro, on Wednesday called a prisoner swap between the United States and Cuba a "courageous" gesture by U.S. President Barack Obama and hailed it a victory for the Caribbean island. "You have to recognize the gesture of Barack Obama, a gesture that is courageous and necessary," Maduro told leaders of the South American trade block Mercosur at a summit in the Argentine city of Parana. (Reporting by Hugh Bronstein; Editing by Richard Lough and Meredith Mazzilli)

White House does not rule out Cuba visit by Obama

Yahoo! National News - Thu, 12/18/2014 - 03:33
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Barack Obama does not have concrete plans to visit Cuba after restoring diplomatic relations with Havana, but a White House spokesman said on Wednesday he would not rule out a presidential visit. "If there is an opportunity for the president to visit, I'm sure he wouldn't turn it down," White House spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters. Earnest acknowledged that a future U.S. president could reverse Obama's new policies on Cuba, but said the White House hoped that Congress would take steps to completely lift the U.S. embargo before Obama leaves office. ...

Freed American aid worker says U.S., Cuba have to move past 'mutually belligerent' policies

Yahoo! National News - Thu, 12/18/2014 - 03:33
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Freed U.S. aid worker Alan Gross said on Wednesday Cuba and the United States had to move beyond "mutually belligerent" policies. Gross, speaking to the media after his release from Cuba, thanked U.S. President Barack Obama for all he had done to secure his release and said he did not blame the Cuban people for his ordeal. "Two wrongs never make a right. I truly hope that we can all get beyond these mutually belligerent policies and I was very happy to hear what the president had to say today," he said. (Reporting by Krista Hughes; Editing by Doina Chiacu)

Republican Senator Flake: most U.S. lawmakers back Cuba policy change

Yahoo! National News - Thu, 12/18/2014 - 03:33
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Republican U.S. Senator Jeff Flake, who flew back from Cuba with released American aid worker Alan Gross, said on Wednesday he believed most of his fellow lawmakers favored a change in U.S. Cuba policy. "My sense is that most of my colleagues feel we are long past due, and so I think the politics are good," Flake, an Arizona Republican, told a news conference. He said it would be a mistake to not open a U.S. embassy in Cuba or approve an ambassador to the island nation. Flake was at odds with his Senate Republican colleague Marco Rubio, who lambasted U.S. ...

Canada PM: hosting U.S.-Cuba talks provided necessary discretion

Yahoo! National News - Thu, 12/18/2014 - 03:33
OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canada's decision to host secret talks between the United States and Cuba on normalizing relations allowed the two nations the discretion they needed, Prime Minister Stephen Harper said on Wednesday. In a brief statement, Harper congratulated the two on their successful dialogue and said Canada - which has full diplomatic relations with Havana - supported a future for Cuba that fully embraced "the values of freedom, democracy, human rights and the rule of law." (Reporting by David Ljunggren; Editing by Amran Abocar)

Pope congratulates Cuba, U.S. on new ties, promises more support

Yahoo! National News - Thu, 12/18/2014 - 03:33
VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - Pope Francis on Wednesday congratulated the United States and Cuba on their decision to establish diplomatic relations, and the Vatican said it was ready to support the strengthening of bilateral relations. In a statement, the Vatican also confirmed that its diplomats facilitated talks between the two countries, "resulting in solutions acceptable to both parties. ...