By Patrick Temple-West WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Senate investigators have sharply criticized the implementation of a new Obama administration law meant to fight offshore tax evasion by Americans, saying that "gaping loopholes" in the law could let shell companies skirt it. The report cited concerns about implementation of 2010's Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA), which was enacted after a scandal involving another Swiss bank, UBS AG, and its role in helping Americans avoid taxes. The subcommittee said FATCA will let foreign financial institutions treat offshore shell entities as exempt from FATCA, even when they are owned and controlled by U.S. taxpayers. Scheduled to take effect on July 1, FATCA will require foreign banks to share information with the Internal Revenue Service about Americans' accounts worth more than $50,000.
By Lawrence Hurley and Joan Biskupic WASHINGTON (Reuters) - For the first time, video footage of U.S. Supreme Court proceedings has been recorded and posted online. The Supreme Court has always barred any type of cameras, including news media, from recording proceedings. The video shows a protester who disrupted an oral argument on Wednesday. The shaky, low-quality video, just over two minutes long, shows a brief disruption that occurred in the courtroom during an oral argument in a patent case.
The families of three teens killed in a northeast Ohio school shooting have filed a personal injury lawsuit against the school and some of its administrators.
WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. (AP) — Jurors began deliberating Thursday whether Kerry Kennedy broke the law when she drove wildly and sideswiped a tractor-trailer on a New York interstate after accidentally taking a sleeping pill.
MOUNT CLEMENS, Mich. (AP) — A Detroit-area man who met four women through an online escort site killed them in his basement and then stuffed their bodies like "garbage" into car trunks, a prosecutor told jurors Thursday as she urged them to return a guilty verdict at the end of a three-week trial.
By Nate Raymond NEW YORK (Reuters) - Radical Islamist cleric Abu Hamza al-Masri plans to testify in his own defense at his trial on terrorism charges in New York in April, according to a letter to the judge overseeing his case. In a five-page hand-written letter made public on Thursday, al-Masri told U.S. District Judge Katherine Forrest he was "surprised" no one had told her of his plans.
HONOLULU (AP) — A small plane crashed and burst into flames shortly after takeoff from Hawaii's Lanai island, killing three people and leaving three others injured, authorities said Thursday.
WASHINGTON (AP) — A protest group has posted what appears to be the first video of the Supreme Court taken inside the courtroom with the court in session.
By Mary Wisniewski CHICAGO (Reuters) - Prisoners at Cook County Jail in Chicago live in fear due to a "culture of brutality and lawlessness" that subjects them to physical abuse by guards, charged a lawsuit filed in federal court in Chicago on Thursday. Some 62,573 people are detained in the jail each year, most of them awaiting trial, the lawsuit noted, adding that jail inmates represent 1.2 percent of the total population of Cook County. Attorneys with the Roderick MacArthur Justice Center at Northwestern University School of Law filed the lawsuit, which seeks class-action status, asks that the court prevent the county from subjecting prisoners to unlawful practices and policies, and seeks unspecified damages. A representative for the union for jail officers was not immediately available for comment.
By David Jones TOTOWA, NJ (Reuters) - A group of 32 men was charged on Thursday with running an international carjacking ring that stole luxury vehicles in New York and New Jersey and shipped them to West Africa for resale, state authorities said. More than 160 cars, worth more than $8 million, have been recovered, most of them at ports in New York and New Jersey where they were set to be shipped out of the country, New Jersey acting Attorney General John Hoffman announced at a news conference at the Totowa, New Jersey, State Police station. For more than a year, they have worked largely in northern New Jersey, they said. The ring targeted high-end vehicles, especially luxury sports utility vehicles, such as Land Rover, Mercedes Benz, BMW, Honda, Porsche, Jaguar and Aston Martin, they said.
WASHINGTON (AP) — First the teenager survived a rare cancer. Then she wanted to study it, spurring a study that helped scientists find a weird gene flaw that might play a role in how the tumor strikes.
PHOENIX (AP) — Gov. Jan Brewer's veto of a bill allowing businesses to refuse service to gays exposed a fracture within the Republican Party between social conservatives and the GOP's pro-business wing, a split that Democrats hope to turn into a midterm election campaign issue.
ST. LOUIS (AP) — When Deacon Wissam Akiki is ordained as a Maronite Catholic priest Thursday night in St. Louis, he's expected to have hundreds of supporters there for him, including his wife and daughter.
NEW YORK (AP) — When an important social issue intersected with business in Arizona, Corporate America decided it was time to take a stand.
TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) — Sharp cutbacks in phosphorus runoff into Lake Erie are needed to counter a worsening problem of algae blooms that degrade water quality, harm fish and chase away tourists, a U.S.-Canadian agency said in a report to both governments Thursday.
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — A judge has delayed sentencing at least a month for an Alabama man who pleaded guilty earlier to trying to hire a Ku Klux Klan hitman to kill a black neighbor.
The items gathered by Christopher Asch, 61, a former New York City school librarian whose federal kidnapping conspiracy trial began on Thursday, included a stun gun, meat hammer, dental retractor, leg spreader, rope, duct tape, bleach, 12-inch skewers, two speculums and pliers. The defense said it was all fantasy play and just part of the conversation Asch had been carrying on for three decades with other men, sometime online, about his violent sexual fantasies. "As strange as it sounds, he was aroused by the male-bonding aspect of it," said Asch's lawyer Brian Waller. In a case that brings to light some of the more esoteric corners of human sexuality and explores the line between fantasy and reality, Waller added that Asch, who is gay, had been in a romantic relationship with a man for 35 years.
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — Federal investigators say a deadly explosion at a military flare plant in West Tennessee was an accident and not caused by a criminal act.
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Jim Lange, the first host of the popular game show "The Dating Game," has died at his home in Mill Valley, Calif. He was 81.
By Victoria Cavaliere WHITE PLAINS, New York (Reuters) - Attorneys in the drugged driving trial of the daughter of assassinated U.S. Senator Robert F. Kennedy on Thursday debated whether Kerry Kennedy made a criminal mistake when she crashed her car in 2012 after inadvertently taking a sleeping pill. Defense attorneys said in closing arguments that Kennedy, a 54-year-old author and activist, had intended to take a thyroid medication before driving her silver Lexus to the gym, but accidentally took the sleeping aid zolpidem, known by its brand name Ambien. Prosecutors conceded that Kennedy had not intended to take the sleeping pill but should have realized her error before sideswiping a tractor-trailer on a suburban New York highway and driving away. "Her mistake was a very serious one," Assistant District Attorney Doreen Lloyd said.