By Tom Ramstack FORT MEADE, Md. (Reuters) - A U.S. military court at Guantanamo Bay met in closed session on Thursday as the judge assesses whether commanders are exerting so much influence that a fair trial for accused al Qaeda extremists cannot be ensured. Thursday's hearing was part of pretrial proceedings for Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, a Saudi charged with plotting the 2000 suicide bombing of the USS Cole at Aden, Yemen. Defense attorneys for Nashiri have said efforts by military commanders to reduce costs by speeding up the years-long proceedings are exerting "undue influence" over the trials. Their main complaint is about a Jan. 7 order from Deputy Secretary of Defense Robert Work telling judges overseeing the trials to drop their other duties and relocate to Guantanamo Bay.
By Elvina Nawaguna and Megan Davies WASHINGTON/NEW YORK (Reuters) - A bill to give Puerto Rico's ailing public utilities a way to restructure debt under the U.S. bankruptcy code drew skepticism from congressional Republicans but support from Democrats, who said it would relieve the island's problems. The Republican-controlled Judiciary subcommittee on regulatory reform of the House of Representatives on Thursday held a hearing on the bill, proposed by Puerto Rico's non-voting congressional delegate, Democrat Pedro Pierluisi. The legislation would allow the territory's government-owned corporations to file under Chapter 9 of the bankruptcy code. Puerto Rico's electric power authority, PREPA, is struggling with debt of about $9 billion.
(Reuters) - A woman was lucky to survive when she was run over by a train in Phoenix on Thursday, being struck and falling between the tracks but escaping serious injury, police said. Sergeant Trent Crump, a Phoenix Police Department spokesman, said all the signal devices at the junction were working properly, as well as the audible horn on the train. "She is expected to survive and was also found to be in possession of what we believe is meth (methamphetamine)." The woman, who was not named by police, was being treated at a local hospital, media in Phoenix reported.
By Alina Selyukh WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. regulators on Thursday approved the strictest-ever rules on Internet providers, who in turn pledged to battle the new restrictions in the courts and Congress, saying they would discourage investment and stifle innovation. The rules, which will go into effect in coming weeks, are expected to face legal challenges from multiple parties such as wireless, cable and other broadband companies and trade groups that represent them. ...
PITTSBURGH (AP) — An autopsy is scheduled for a woman accused of killing the brother of Cleveland's police chief before shooting herself in the head on a Pennsylvania highway.
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Two stolen Italian books dating to the 17th century that were discovered in the San Francisco Bay Area and many other plundered ancient artifacts will be returned to their country of origin, federal officials say.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The Tennessee Legislative Black Caucus on Thursday called on Republican Rep. Sheila Butt to apologize for what they said was a racist Facebook post, and said she should be removed from her leadership position.
A man who was on the run for decades will spend the rest of his life in prison for killing a woman he thought was his ex-wife's lover in a Philadelphia restaurant on Father's Day in 1992, his lawyer said on Thursday. Santiago Pedroso, 73, was subject to a mandatory minimum life sentence after a Philadelphia jury on Wednesday deliberated for an hour and found him guilty of the first degree murder of Delores Alvarez, 40, in the Germantown section of the city. Pedroso's court-appointed lawyer, Richard Giuliani, said his client was celebrating Father's Day at the restaurant with his then 17-year-old daughter when Alvarez and his estranged wife Maria Gomez entered the restaurant.
By Lisa Maria Garza and Jon Herskovitz DALLAS (Reuters) - Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant was questioned by police at the scene of a 2011 incident in which a witness reported that Bryant's girlfriend was dragged by an unidentified man across a Texas Walmart parking lot, according to police documents. Neither Bryant or the Cowboys have commented on the report that was released as the National Football League has been rocked by a series of highly publicized domestic violence incidents among players including Ray Rice and Adrian Peterson. In the 2011 incident in Texas, a Walmart security guard told police a person reported to him that a black man dragged Bryant's girlfriend Ilyne Nash from a white Mercedes, which was registered to Bryant, and across the parking lot.
WARRENSVILLE HEIGHTS, Ohio (AP) — A 20-year-old man from the Cleveland area has pleaded not guilty to aggravated murder charges in the shooting of three people at a barbershop.
WASHINGTON (AP) — The new mayor of the nation's capital was hoping to get along fine with Republicans on Capitol Hill.
HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Prosecutors urged a federal judge Thursday to dismiss two challenges to a Pennsylvania law that opponents including convicted cop-killer Mumia Abu-Jamal say violates prisoners' constitutional right to free speech.
FREEHOLD, N.J. (AP) — A man convicted of beating his wife with a frying pan and strangling her said that he misses her daily before he was sentenced Thursday to 30 years in prison before parole.
HONOLULU (AP) — The state has quarantined Oahu coffee farms to gain a better handle on an invasive pest.
SEATTLE (AP) — U.S. scientists following endangered killer whales from a research vessel have spotted a baby orca off the coast of Washington state, the third birth documented this winter but still leaving the population dangerously low.
(Reuters) - A New Jersey man received a 30-year prison sentence on Thursday for killing his wife by hitting her over the head with a frying pan and strangling her, authorities said. Patrick Allen, 47, was convicted of murder and other charges in December in Monmouth County, New Jersey, Superior Court. His wife Kimberly Allen, 44, was discovered dead in their Middletown, New Jersey, home on Nov. 18, 2011, after her husband called police to report she had been attacked. Allen, a former securities salesman, told police he had been out running errands and returned home to find her body. ...
OXNARD, Calif. (AP) — District attorney: No decision on any charges in California train crash until probe complete.
Facebook users who don't fit any of the 58 gender identity options offered by the social media giant are now being given a rather big 59th option: fill in the blank.
SAO PAULO (AP) — A judge says he has ordered the suspension of the globally popular instant messaging system WhatsApp across Brazil because it has allegedly failed to help in an investigation.
By Joseph Ax NEW YORK (Reuters) - A Saudi man described by prosecutors as one of Osama bin Laden's most trusted lieutenants was convicted in a federal court in New York on Thursday in connection with the 1998 bombings of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. Khalid al-Fawwaz, 52, faces up to life in prison after a jury convicted him on four conspiracy counts on their third day of deliberations. U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said the verdict marked the 10th conviction at trial or via a guilty plea of a defendant tied to the bombings, which killed 224 people and injured more than 4,000. "We hope this verdict gives some comfort to al Qaeda's victims around the world," Bharara said in a statement.