Illinois legislative leaders on Wednesday reached a long-elusive deal to reform the state's woefully underfunded public pensions, but the plan must still win support of lawmakers and could face legal challenges if approved. Powerful House Speaker Michael Madigan told reporters the plan would save the state more than $160 billion over 30 years. The plan raises the retirement age and reduces automatic increases in pension payments, according to a legislative source with detailed knowledge of the plan. It also gives state employees alternative options for retirement income, while also creating ways to block any future efforts at under-funding pensions by going to court to stop them.
CHICAGO (AP) — In a short ceremony inside their Chicago apartment, two beaming brides made Illinois history Wednesday as they became the first gay couple to wed under the state's new law legalizing same-sex marriage.
A leader of the Navajo Code Talkers who appeared at a Washington Redskins home football game said Wednesday the team name is a symbol of loyalty and courage — not a slur as asserted by critics who want it changed.
By Brad Poole TUCSON, Arizona (Reuters) - Three sisters who escaped after being held captive in Arizona for up to two years by their mother and stepfather were confined in filthy conditions in a house with elaborate security and crudely sound-proofed rooms, police said. Tucson Police Chief Roberto Villasenor said at a news conference on Wednesday that the house in which the malnourished girls were held in filthy conditions had been elaborately alarmed and outfitted with round-the-clock video security.
By Mary Wisniewski CHICAGO (Reuters) - A Chicago woman who is dying of cancer wed her partner on Wednesday in the first legal gay marriage to be celebrated in Illinois, six months before the state's law recognizing gay unions takes effect. The cancer patient, Vernita Gray, 64, and Patricia Ewert, 65, were wed in a private ceremony in their Chicago home two days after they were granted an emergency marriage license in federal court, according to Lambda Legal, a legal group that advocates for gay rights. Illinois' gay marriage law, signed by Gov. Pat Quinn last week, does not take effect until June 1, 2014.
A wintry blast of heavy rain, wind and snow across the eastern United States disrupted Thanksgiving travel plans on Wednesday for some of the millions of Americans hitting the roads and taking to the skies on the busiest holiday travel day of the year. While the travel delays were not as bad as many had feared, meteorologists warned that falling temperatures could create icy road conditions for those who put off travel until Wednesday night. The wintry weather caused around 265 flight cancellations and prompted delays at major airports along the East Coast, including Boston's Logan Airport and New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport and LaGuardia Airport, according to the FlightAware.com tracking site. Tim O'Heir, an audio professional working on a Broadway show in New York, said his flight home to Dallas from LaGuardia Airport was delayed by two hours.
By Warren Strobel and Mark Hosenball WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The White House is nearing a decision on splitting up the eavesdropping National Security Agency and U.S. Cyber Command, which conducts cyber warfare, a proposed reform prompted in part by revelations of NSA's widespread snooping, individuals briefed on the matter said on Wednesday. As part of the emerging plan, the NSA likely would get a civilian director for the first time in its 61-year history, the individuals said. Both agencies are now headed by the same person, Army General Keith Alexander, who is retiring in March as NSA's longest-serving director. Cyber Command defends Pentagon and other U.S. computer networks, infiltrates adversary networks and conducts offensive cyberwarfare.
NEW YORK (AP) — Long sharing the common goal of protecting the legacy of the Rev. Martin Luther King, the bond between the family of the slain civil rights leader and one of his former top aides, Andrew Young, has become threatened.
IRWINDALE, Calif. (AP) — A judge has ordered a plant that produces the popular Sriracha chili sauce to stop emitting annoying odors in a ruling that left some nearby residents worried about a possible loss of jobs at the factory.