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Reports: Paula Deen restaurant closes

Yahoo! National News - Fri, 04/04/2014 - 13:12

FILE - In this June 23, 2006 file photo, Uncle Bubba's Oyster House chef and owner Bubba Hiers, who is also Paula Deen's brother, grills oysters at the Savannah, Ga. restaurant. The wildly popular Georgia restaurant at the center of a lawsuit that left the reputation of famed Southern celebrity cook Paula Deen in shambles has reportedly closed. The Savannah Morning News and WSAV television both reported Thursday April 3, 2014 that Uncle Bubba's Seafood & Oyster House announced the closure on its Facebook page. (AP Photo/Stephen Morton, File)SAVANNAH, Ga. (AP) — A wildly popular Georgia restaurant at the center of a lawsuit that left the reputation of famed Southern celebrity cook Paula Deen in shambles has reportedly closed.


Legal victory for big-money campaign donors to be felt in states, courts

Yahoo! National News - Fri, 04/04/2014 - 13:07

U.S. President Obama speaks at a campaign fund raising event in PhiladelphiaBy Lawrence Hurley and Gabriel Debenedetti WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A U.S. Supreme Court ruling that struck down the overall cap on federal election contributions is sending ripples across American politics, as states have begun backing away from their own restrictions on donations and lawyers are forecasting a new wave of challenges to campaign finance laws nationwide. The court's 5-4 ruling on Wednesday was unsettling for many Washington fundraisers, donors and lobbyists who were comfortable with federal rules that had limited total donations to candidates and party groups to $123,200 in the 2014 election cycle. Now, thanks to the court's decision in McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission, donors who are able to give millions of dollars to candidates and their parties will see their influence expanded - much as it was by a 2010 ruling that inspired the creation of independent "Super PACs" and other groups that could receive unlimited donations. Both rulings are part of a series of decisions by the conservative-led Supreme Court that have given big-money donors more influence in U.S. elections.


White House defends 'Cuban Twitter' to stir unrest

Yahoo! National News - Fri, 04/04/2014 - 12:47

Students gather behind a business looking for a Internet signal for their smart phones in Havana, Cuba, Tuesday, April 1, 2014. The U.S. Agency for International Development masterminded the creation of a "Cuban Twitter," a communications network designed to undermine the communist government in Cuba, built with secret shell companies and financed through foreign banks, The Associated Press has learned. The project, which lasted more than two years and drew tens of thousands of subscribers, sought to evade Cuba’s stranglehold on the Internet with a primitive social media platform. Its users were neither aware it was created by a U.S. agency with ties to the State Department, nor that American contractors were gathering personal data about them. In 2012, the text messaging service vanished as mysteriously as it appeared. (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa)WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration defended its creation of a Twitter-like Cuban communications network to undermine the communist government, declaring the secret program was "invested and debated" by Congress and wasn't a covert operation that required White House approval.


US secretly created 'Cuban Twitter' to stir unrest

Yahoo! National News - Fri, 04/04/2014 - 12:30

In this March 11, 2014 photo, a woman uses her cellphone as she sits on the Malecon in Havana, Cuba. The U.S. Agency for International Development masterminded the creation of a "Cuban Twitter," a communications network designed to undermine the communist government in Cuba, built with secret shell companies and financed through foreign banks, The Associated Press has learned. The project, which lasted more than two years and drew tens of thousands of subscribers, sought to evade Cuba’s stranglehold on the Internet with a primitive social media platform. (AP Photo/Franklin Reyes)WASHINGTON (AP) — In July 2010, Joe McSpedon, a U.S. government official, flew to Barcelona to put the final touches on a secret plan to build a social media project aimed at undermining Cuba's communist government.


Three die of meningitis outbreak in Los Angeles area

Yahoo! National News - Fri, 04/04/2014 - 12:10
Three men in their 20s have died from a meningitis outbreak in the gay community in the Los Angeles area this year, a public health spokesman said on Thursday, a day after officials called on HIV-positive gay men in the region to be vaccinated against the disease. One man died in February and the other two died in late March, said a spokesman for the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health. They were among eight people who have contracted invasive meningococcal disease in 2014, the Public Health Department said in a statement. That is seen as a high rate of infection for the Los Angeles area, which in recent years has seen the number of annual cases range between 12 and 37.

Motorist who struck boy critical after mob attack

Yahoo! National News - Fri, 04/04/2014 - 11:02
DETROIT (AP) — A suburban Detroit man was in critical condition Thursday with severe head injuries after a neighborhood mob beat and kicked him when he stopped to check on a 10-year-old boy who stepped from a curb into the path of his pickup.

US reaches $5.15 billion environmental settlement

Yahoo! National News - Fri, 04/04/2014 - 11:02

FILE - In this May 7, 1953, file photo, Navajo miners work at the Kerr McGee uranium mine at Cove, Ariz., on the Navajo reservation in Arizona. Kerr-McGee left abandoned uranium mine sites, including contaminated waste rock piles, in the Lukachukai mountains of Arizona and in the Ambrosia Lake area of New Mexico. The Lukachukai mountains are located immediately west of Cove, Ariz., and are a culturally significant part of the Navajo Nation. This site is among thousands that are part of the $5.15 billion settlement with Anadarko Petroleum Corp. with approximate amount of funding for cleanup efforts and details about the sites, in information provided by the Justice Department. (AP Photo)WASHINGTON (AP) — The federal government on Thursday reached a $5.15 billion settlement with Anadarko Petroleum Corp., the largest ever for environmental contamination, to settle claims related to the cleanup of thousands of sites tainted with hazardous chemicals for decades.


Edison bosses sell $18M in stock after rate deal

Yahoo! National News - Fri, 04/04/2014 - 10:24
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Two top executives at Edison International sold $17.7 million of their company's stock when it climbed to its highest price since 2007, after Edison reached a major settlement involving the defunct San Onofre nuclear power plant in Southern California, regulatory filings show.

Phoenix murder defendant accused in cellmate death

Yahoo! National News - Fri, 04/04/2014 - 10:23

This undated handout photo courtesy of the Maricopa County Sheriffs Office, shows Andrew Ward . Ward has been charged with first degree murder for the death Wednesday of Douglas Walker, Ward's cellmate at the Maricopa County Jail, Thursday, April 3, 2014, in Phoenix. Ward has been in custody since March 12, 2014 after allegedly killing his 12 year old brother in their Phoenix home. (AP Photo/Maricopa County Sheriffs Office)PHOENIX (AP) — A Phoenix man who told police he killed his 12-year-old half brother last month because he "just felt like killing" is now accused of fatally stabbing a cellmate, authorities said Thursday.


Argument may have preceded deadly Fort Hood attack

Yahoo! National News - Fri, 04/04/2014 - 10:08

This undated photo provided by Glidden Lopez shows Army Spc. Ivan Lopez. Authorities said Lopez killed three people and wounded 16 others in a shooting at Fort Hood, Texas, on Wednesday, April 2, 2014, before killing himself. Investigators believe his unstable mental health contributed to the rampage. (AP Photo/Courtesy of Glidden Lopez)FORT HOOD, Texas (AP) — The soldier who killed three people at Fort Hood may have argued with another service member prior to the attack, and investigators believe his unstable mental health contributed to the rampage, authorities said Thursday.


U.S. lawmakers urge revamp of Army vehicle competition

Yahoo! National News - Fri, 04/04/2014 - 10:07
A group of 10 U.S. lawmakers on Thursday urged Pentagon acquisition chief Frank Kendall to revamp the U.S. Army's $5 billion competition for a new armored vehicle to allow both tracked and wheeled vehicles to compete. The letter came a day before the U.S. Army is due to rule on a protest by General Dynamics Corp, which argues that the Army's rules for the competition are skewed to favor BAE Systems Plc's Bradley Fighting Vehicle, while putting General Dynamics' wheeled Stryker vehicles at a disadvantage.

County weighed buying up homes in mudslide area

Yahoo! National News - Fri, 04/04/2014 - 10:03

A tattered flag, found in the debris of a deadly mudslide, is flown at a staging area for emergency workers on Highway 530 near the debris field, Wednesday, April 2, 2014, in Oso, Wash. Officials have so far confirmed the deaths of 29 people, although only 22 have been officially identified in information released Wednesday morning by the Snohomish County medical examiner's office. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)SEATTLE (AP) — A decade before a colossal landslide buried a Washington community, county officials considered buying up people's homes there to protect them from such a disaster.


Funding gap threatens retirement for California teachers

Yahoo! National News - Fri, 04/04/2014 - 09:55
The pension fund for public school teachers in California faces a long-term shortfall of $74 billion, threatening its ability to pay for the retirement of nearly 1 million teachers and administrators in the nation's most populous state, officials said on Thursday. The gap is growing by about $15 million per day, the California State Teachers Retirement System said in a written statement, and the system could run out of money in 32 years. "CalSTRS has slightly less than 67 cents on hand for every dollar it owes its members," CalSTRS spokeswoman Gretchen Zeagler said in a statement. To make up the difference, participants - whether teachers, school districts or the state - will have to contribute more toward members' retirement, said CalSTRS Chief Executive Officer Jack Ehnes.

FBI: Consultant played key role in weapons case

Yahoo! National News - Fri, 04/04/2014 - 09:49

FILE - In this file photo taken March 16, 2011, Raymond "Shrimp Boy" Chow, second from right, poses with several inducted consultants, including Keith Jackson, left, a former San Francisco school board member, at the Chee Kung Tong spring banquet in San Francisco. Jackson, who is playing a key role in the cash-for-guns political corruption investigation that has ensnared California state Sen. Leland Yee, appeared in federal court Thursday, April 3, 2014 for a bail hearing on charges that include bribery, drugs, guns and murder-for-hire conspiracy. Jackson was ordered released from jail pending trial. (AP Photo/Sing Tao Daily, File)SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Campaign consultant Keith Jackson operated largely outside the spotlight for years as a political power broker in San Francisco.


Judge grills Arizona sheriff's aide in racial profiling case

Yahoo! National News - Fri, 04/04/2014 - 09:47

Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio speaks during the Republican Party election night event in Phoenix, ArizonaBy David Schwartz PHOENIX (Reuters) - A federal judge on Thursday grilled an aide to Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio for misleading local residents about a ruling that found deputies racially profiled Latino drivers. During the tense hearing in Phoenix, U.S. District Judge Murray Snow also threatened to personally attend training sessions for deputies to ensure his order from last year is complied with at Arpaio's Maricopa County Sheriff's Office. "I am not going to tolerate any slip-ups any more," Snow said on Thursday. The judge has called for an independent monitor to ensure Arpaio's Sheriff's Office stops using race in making law enforcement decisions, in a ruling that stems from a 2007 lawsuit questioning whether police could target unauthorized immigrants without profiling Hispanics who are U.S. citizens or legal residents.


Sen. Yee's political consultant freed on bail

Yahoo! National News - Fri, 04/04/2014 - 09:43
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A political consultant playing a key role in a San Francisco political corruption scandal that has ensnared a state senator has been released from jail.

Philly police: Row over man sparks rat retaliation

Yahoo! National News - Fri, 04/04/2014 - 09:33
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Philadelphia police are looking for several suspects in what appears to be a case of rat retaliation.

Funeral held for 2nd fallen Boston firefighter

Yahoo! National News - Fri, 04/04/2014 - 09:21

The casket containing the body of Boston firefighter Michael R. Kennedy is carried off his fire truck before his funeral outside Holy Name Church in Boston, Thursday, April 3, 2014. Kennedy and Boston Fire Lt. Edward J. Walsh were killed Wednesday, March 26, 2014 when they were trapped in the basement of a burning brownstone during a nine-alarm blaze.(AP Photo/Stephan Savoia)BOSTON (AP) — A Boston firefighter and former Marine killed in an apartment blaze last week was praised Thursday as a courageous, compassionate man who served his country in Iraq and his community at home.


Report: Poor management led to Shell grounding

Yahoo! National News - Fri, 04/04/2014 - 09:19
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Poor risk assessment and management were among factors that led to the grounding of a Shell oil drilling rig in the Gulf of Alaska in 2012, the Coast Guard said in a report released Thursday.

Daughter of slain Iraqi-American tells of hearing murder

Yahoo! National News - Fri, 04/04/2014 - 09:17
Fatima Alhimidi, taking the witness stand on the third day of her father's murder trial, said that she was sleeping on the morning of March 21, 2012, when she heard noises downstairs. "I heard my mom moan and a while after that I heard glass breaking," a sobbing Alhimidi, 19, told jurors, adding that she initially concluded that her mother, 32-year-old Shaima Alawadi, had probably broken a plate while cooking. Prosecutors accuse the father, 49-year-old Kassim Alhimidi, of bludgeoning her to death, possibly with a tire iron taken from one of the family's cars. El Cajon police and the FBI initially investigated the killing as a possible hate crime because of a threatening note found at the scene.