PHILADELPHIA (AP) — The White House has released a four-year energy plan designed to fight climate change, modernize power plants and find new ways to ensure a steady supply of safe energy.
By Kristina Cooke and Dan Levine SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Undocumented immigrants in California who are violent crime victims would have the same chance to apply for a special U.S. visa regardless of where in the state the crime occurred, under a bill that passed a state Senate committee on Tuesday. The federal government grants visas to undocumented immigrants who help law enforcement try to catch criminals. The so-called U-visa allows the recipient to live and work in the United States for four years, but to apply, a victim must first ask local law enforcement to verify their cooperation. A Reuters investigation last year found vast geographic disparities in law enforcement approaches to this visa, with some agencies readily verifying cooperation and others stonewalling.
An Alabama police officer pleaded not guilty on Tuesday to violating an Indian man's civil rights by throwing him to the ground, prosecutors said, during an encounter captured on video that left the victim badly injured. Eric Parker, 26, an officer with the Madison Police Department, was seen on video recorded from inside a patrol car on Feb. 6 throwing Sureshbhai Patel, in his late 50s, to the ground after attempting to question him. Patel speaks no English and moved to northern Alabama from India about two weeks before the incident to help his son's family care for a young child. Parker was indicted last month on one count of denying Patel's civil rights, which carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.
By Natasja Sheriff NEW YORK (Reuters) - Jurors weighing murder and kidnapping charges against a man who confessed to strangling 6-year-old Etan Patz in 1979 asked to rehear testimony on Tuesday from psychiatrists he told about choking the boy. Pedro Hernandez, 54, is on trial in the killing of Patz, whose disappearance from his New York City neighborhood nearly 36 years ago changed the way U.S. authorities respond to reports of missing or abducted children. Jurors deliberating for a fifth day in state Supreme Court in Manhattan asked to rehear testimony from Dr. Michael First, a witness for the defense, which maintains Hernandez is mentally ill and that the confession he gave police in May 2012 was coerced. The panel also asked to rehear the testimony of Dr. Flavia Robotti, a witness for the prosecution, which maintains Hernandez is not mentally ill and that his confession was voluntary.
The authority that oversees Philadelphia Gas Works released a new report Tuesday suggesting ways PGW can upgrade its aging infrastructure - sooner than later.
By Serena Maria Daniels INKSTER, Mich. (Reuters) - A Wayne County judge set a $25,000 cash bond on Tuesday for a suburban Detroit police officer charged with misconduct and assault in the beating of a black motorist in January that was caught on video and later made public. William Melendez, 46, who was fired by the Inkster police force last week, did not speak at the brief arraignment. His attorney, David Lee, asked for a lower bond, saying his client is not currently working. Judge Sabrina Johnson denied the request at the hearing, which was attended by protesters against police brutality and by police supporters of Melendez.
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Smoking in bars and casinos is coming to an end even in this notoriously freewheeling and fun-loving city where drinking on the street and watching a bawdy burlesque are the norm.
By Scott Malone BOSTON (Reuters) - Celeste Corcoran was hurled into the air by a bomb at the Boston Marathon finish line two years ago. Gillian Reny saw blood gushing from her legs and wondered if she would survive. William Campbell waited hours for his daughter to emerge from surgery only to learn she had been killed by the blasts. Prosecutors on Tuesday began their case to sentence convicted bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev to death with an emotional gut-punch to the jury as survivors described the toll of the April 15, 2013, attack that killed three people and injured 264.
Killings of suspects by police officers in the past year have touched off a national debate about police conduct, which has only escalated as additional interactions between police and suspects — lethal or otherwise — are captured on video by law enforcement or civilians. Here are some recent developments.
Police in Colorado have cited a 37-year-old man for carrying his computer into an alley then shooting it eight times with a handgun after what authorities said had been a long battle with the uncooperative machine. Lucas Hinch was cited for discharging a firearm within city limits after officers responded to a "shots fired" call early on Monday evening, the Colorado Springs Police Department said in a statement. "Investigation revealed a resident was fed up with fighting his computer for the last several months," said the statement, entitled "Man Kills His Computer." "He took the computer into the back alley and fired eight shots into the computer with a handgun, effectively disabling it," it added. The Colorado Springs Gazette newspaper cited police as saying Hinch was good-natured about the citation, and that he told officers he had not realized he was breaking the law.
ATLANTA (AP) — A judge plans to resentence three former Atlanta public school educators who got the stiffest sentences after they were convicted in a conspiracy to inflate student scores on standardized tests.
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — The Virginia Court of Appeals has affirmed the parental rights of a man whose son was conceived by using a turkey baster.
McLEAN, Va. (AP) — The Justice Department said Tuesday that it is stepping into a long-running lawsuit against one of the nation's largest nursing-home chains, accusing it of systematic Medicare overbilling and sometimes putting frail, dying patients through arduous rehab schedules just to increase revenue.
(Reuters) - A Kansas man accused of plotting a suicide car bombing at Fort Riley army base in support of Islamic State militants pleaded not guilty on Tuesday to federal charges that could bring a life sentence if he is convicted, according to court records. John Booker, 20, of Topeka, Kansas, was indicted by a federal grand jury last week on charges of attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction, attempting to damage property by means of explosives and attempting to provide material support to the Islamic State. Booker was arrested April 10 as part of a sting operation in which he went to Fort Riley with two undercover FBI agents to detonate what he did not know was an inert bomb, prosecutors have said. He pleaded not guilty during an arraignment in U.S. District court in Kansas City, Kansas, before Chief Magistrate Judge James O'Hara, according to court records.
By Bill Rigby SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - The U.S. Department of Homeland Security is in the final stages of planning to set up a satellite office in California's Silicon Valley, aiming to build relationships with the technology industry and scout for talent there, the department's secretary said on Tuesday. The move would be unprecedented and signals the intent of government to smoothe relationships with tech companies in the wake of damaging revelations over digital surveillance by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden. ...
HONOLULU (AP) — The humpback whale became the unofficial symbol for the conservation movement in the last century.
The Obama administration on Tuesday laid out an agenda under its Quadrennial Energy Review to modernize the country's energy infrastructure and make it more resilient to challenges ranging from extreme weather to the domestic energy boom. Commissioned by President Barack Obama when he announced his Climate Action Plan in June 2013, the QER was more than a year in the making and is the administration's first comprehensive attempt to analyze the country's aging energy systems. The American Society of Civil Engineers gave the country's energy infrastructure a nearly failing D+ grade in its 2013 Infrastructure Report Card. The report released on Tuesday recommends over $15 billion in new spending programs or tax credits to carry out a major overhaul of the country's energy infrastructure.
By Jonathan Stempel NEW YORK (Reuters) - A federal judge on Tuesday ordered New York's Metropolitan Transportation Authority to display on its buses a controversial ad that refers to Muslims killing Jews, rejecting the argument that the ad could incite terrorism or imminent violence. U.S. District Judge John Koeltl in Manhattan said the ad from the American Freedom Defense Initiative, which had previously run in Chicago and San Francisco, was protected speech under the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. What's yours?" Koeltl said he was "sensitive" to the security concerns, but noted that the MTA and Chairman Thomas Prendergast "underestimate the tolerant quality of New Yorkers and overestimate the potential impact of these fleeting advertisements. It strains credulity to believe that New Yorkers would be incited to violence by ads that did not incite residents of Chicago and San Francisco." MTA buses and subways are often forums for policy debates.
The trial of real estate scion and accused murderer Robert Durst on a federal weapons charge in New Orleans has been delayed until September after his lawyers requested more time to prepare his defense, court records show. Durst's lawyers had sought his speedy extradition to Los Angeles County, where prosecutors want him in connection with the 2000 killing of a longtime friend, Susan Berman, in a case recently chronicled in the HBO documentary series "The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst." But by asking for an extension in the weapons case, in which Durst has pleaded not guilty to a charge of being a felon in possession of a firearm, Durst's lawyers appear to have conceded he will be in Louisiana for the foreseeable future. The request for more time was granted on Monday by U.S. District Court Judge Helen Berrigan, with a new trial date set for Sept. 21, court records show.