Indiana Governor Mike Pence on Thursday signed into law a controversial religious freedom bill that could allow businesses and individuals to deny services to gays, in a move that prompted protests from some business leaders. Supporters of the bill, which was passed overwhelmingly by both chambers of the Republican-controlled state legislature, say it will keep the government from forcing business owners to act against strongly held religious beliefs. Opponents say it is discriminatory and broader than other state religious freedom laws. “The Constitution of the United States and the Indiana Constitution both provide strong recognition of the freedom of religion but today, many people of faith feel their religious liberty is under attack by government action," Pence said in a statement after signing the bill.
WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) — A hearing on whether to approve the bankruptcy sale of assets of electronics retailer RadioShack opened Thursday with the company seeking court approval of the purported winning bid, and an attorney for a losing bidder describing the auction as a sham and asking a Delaware judge to reopen the sale process.
By Jon Herskovitz AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) - A U.S. district judge in Texas on Thursday issued a stay to halt the U.S. Labor Department from implementing a rule that would expand medical leave protections for same-sex couples, saying the move impinges on the rights of states that ban gay marriage. The state of Texas, which has a state constitutional amendment banning gay marriage, last week sued the Labor Department over the rule that would grant family medical leave protections to all married same-sex couples.
PONCHATOULA, La. (AP) — After an outcry over an artist's depiction of two black children with no facial features except bright red lips, organizers of a Louisiana strawberry festival have agreed not to show or sell this year's festival poster, which the local NAACP president called racially offensive.
(Reuters) - Tesoro Corp said it anticipates restarting its strike-hit Golden Eagle refinery in Martinez, California, on Friday, according to a filing with Contra Costa Health Services. Workers at the Martinez refinery ratified a new contract and ended a 52-day strike at that plant, the United Steelworkers union (USW) said on Wednesday.
By Steve Quinn JUNEAU (Reuters) - Police in Alaska said on Thursday that human remains found over the weekend belong to two members of a four-person Kenai family that has been missing since last May. The state's medical examiner's office positively identified 23-year-old Rebecca Adams and her boyfriend, 38-year-old Brandon Jividen, from human remains found over the weekend, according to a Kenai police statement. The couple, plus Adams' two daughters, ages 3 and 6, were reported missing in May 2014 from their home in Kenai, 65 miles southwest of Anchorage.
A 13-year-old Florida boy shot his brothers during an argument over food, killing a 6-year-old and wounding a 16-year-old before fatally shooting himself inside their mobile home north of Tampa.
By Sharon Bernstein SACRAMENTO, Calif. (Reuters) - California will no longer bar all paroled sex offenders from living near schools and parks, part of the fallout from a state Supreme Court decision that said such requirements violated the constitutional rights of parolees in San Diego. The new policy gives parole officers the discretion to decide whether offenders pose a risk to children amid concerns among corrections officials as well as the high court that the law had effectively barred many sex offenders from finding any place where it was legal to live. "We are empowering our parole agents to make a determination as to whether the restrictions should be enforced on a case-by-case basis," said Luis Patino, a spokesman for the state Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. "High-risk sex offenders with a current or prior conviction for lewd acts on a child under 14 are still prohibited from living within a half-mile of any K-12 school," he said.
By Sherrel Wheeler Stewart BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (Reuters) - An Alabama jury recommended on Thursday that a woman convicted of running her 9-year-old granddaughter to death as punishment for lying about having eaten chocolates spend the rest of her life in prison, prosecutors said. Joyce Garrard, 50, was found guilty of capital murder last week in the 2012 death of Savannah Hardin. After finding her guilty, the jury was charged with determining whether to recommend a life sentence or the death penalty. The judge in the case will ultimately decide whether to accept the jury's recommendation or sentence Garrard to death at a hearing scheduled for May 11.
UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The U.N.'s top Mideast envoy challenged the Security Council on Thursday to lead the way to resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, suggesting it should present a framework for negotiations that "may be the only way to preserve the goal of a two-state solution."
INKSTER, Mich. (AP) — City leaders urged public patience Thursday as authorities investigate the arrest of a black motorist who was pulled from his car, repeatedly punched in the head by a white police officer and subdued with a stun gun in suburban Detroit.
OAKLAND PARK, Fla. (AP) — Florida police say a man died after swallowing drugs in an apparent attempt to avoid arrest.
ST. LOUIS (AP) — Three Missouri police agencies will restrict their use of tear gas and other chemical agents on crowds as part of a lawsuit settlement with six Ferguson protesters, according to court documents released Thursday.
NEW YORK (Reuters) - A building collapsed on Thursday in New York City's East Village neighborhood, police said. There was no immediate information on possible injuries, said a spokesman for the New York Police Department. (Reporting by Laila Kearney, Editing by Ellen Wulfhorst)
Hundreds of Philadelphia teenagers lined up for a job fair in hopes of landing summer employment.
By Susan Cornwell and Caroline Humer WASHINGTON/NEW YORK (Reuters) - The U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday overwhelmingly approved a bill to permanently repair the formula for reimbursing Medicare physicians, marking a rare bipartisan achievement and sending the issue next to the Senate. The measure drafted and driven forward by Republican House Speaker John Boehner and Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi would fix a long-standing problem with how Medicare pays doctors. The Senate may not act until it returns from a two-week recess that starts this weekend. Democratic President Barack Obama praised the House passage and said he hoped the Senate would approve the measure too, because he wants to sign it.
A top California official is calling on lawmakers to pass a so-called motor-voter law mirroring one recently approved in Oregon, which would automatically register people to vote when they obtain or renew driver's licenses. Alex Padilla, a former lawmaker who was recently elected secretary of state, said on Thursday that such a move would enroll more voters at a time when California election turnouts have been woefully small. “This can go a long way toward addressing the first half of that battle,” said Padilla, a Democrat who represented part of Los Angeles in the state Senate. “So much the better for democracy.” He said he would work with Assembly member Lorena Gonzalez of San Diego to develop a bill and put it before the legislature.
Rain or shine, people love heading to Love Park and now the city is planning a $15 million redesign for the iconic Philadelphia landmark.
MEXICO CITY (AP) — A young Mexican man who is urgently trying to travel to the Mayo Clinic for a double-organ transplant has filed a third application for entry into the United States after twice being denied a visa.
12 people are injured, three critically, after a 7-alarm fire erupted Thursday afternoon in Manhattan's East Village following an explosion and collapse.