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U.S. judge sentences Tunisian accused of link to Canada train plot to time served

Yahoo! National News - Thu, 07/17/2014 - 04:46
By Nate Raymond NEW YORK (Reuters) - A Tunisian man who prosecutors said had ties to a man accused of unsuccessfully plotting to derail a Canada-U.S. passenger train was sentenced by a U.S. judge to time served on Wednesday after pleading guilty last month to immigration charges. Ahmed Abassi, 27, will be deported to Tunisia following the sentence by U.S. District Judge Miriam Goldman Cedarbaum, who made clear during a hearing in Manhattan federal court she viewed the 15 months he served as enough following his plea. When charges were unsealed in May 2013, Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said Abassi had an "evil purpose for seeking to remain in the United States." But his plea deal in June appeared to mark a shift in the government's stance. Prosecutors said Abassi had discussed various plots with Chiheb Esseghaier, another Tunisian charged in Canada last year with plotting to blow up a railroad track carrying passenger trains.

Bomb hoax shuts down Louisiana campus

Yahoo! National News - Thu, 07/17/2014 - 04:44

University of Louisiana at LafayetteLouisiana State Police say the bomb threat that shut down the University of Louisiana at Lafayette for a day was a hoax.


U.S. Senate Democrats' Hobby Lobby bill fails to move forward

Yahoo! National News - Thu, 07/17/2014 - 04:39
By Annika McGinnis and Emily Stephenson WASHINGTON (Reuters) - An attempt by U.S. Senate Democrats to override the Supreme Court's controversial birth control ruling failed to muster enough votes to move forward on Wednesday, but lawmakers vowed to keep pressing the issue heading into the midterm elections. Senators, including three Republicans, voted 56-43 for the bill, which would bar employers from discriminating against female employees in coverage of preventive health services, including contraception. "Women across the country today watched as all but three Republicans showed they care more about protecting the rights of CEOs and corporations than about protecting the rights of women to access critical healthcare coverage," Senator Patty Murray of Washington, one of the bill's sponsors, said at a news conference. The Supreme Court's 5-to-4 decision on June 30 allowed corporations held by a family or a small number of people to forgo for religious reasons requirements in President Barack Obama's signature healthcare reform law that employers' health plans cover birth control.

Legal disputes over debt plan aired in Detroit bankruptcy case

Yahoo! National News - Thu, 07/17/2014 - 04:38

The word 'Bankruptcy' is seen painted on the side of a vacant building by street artists as a statement on the financial affairs of the city on Grand River Avenue in DetroitDetroit's historic bankruptcy case on Wednesday moved on to legal issues underpinning the city's debt adjustment plan, including locking in pension changes for 10 years. The two days of arguments on legal disputes before U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes are a prelude to a key hearing starting on Aug. 14 on whether the city's plan to deal with $18 billion of debt and other obligations is fair and feasible. Rhodes made no immediate rulings on Wednesday on legal issues, which also included whether the Michigan counties of Wayne, Macomb and Oakland have the right to object to the plan. Christopher Legghio, attorney for the Detroit Fire Fighters Association, argued the plan would prevent collective bargaining between the city and its unions by removing pensions as a bargaining chip for a decade.


Chicago archdiocese seeking to help child immigrants

Yahoo! National News - Thu, 07/17/2014 - 04:36

Immigrants who have been caught crossing the border illegally are housed inside the McAllen Border Patrol Station in McAllenBy Mary Wisniewski CHICAGO (Reuters) - Roman Catholic officials in Chicago want to provide services, which may include housing, to undocumented immigrant children who have been pouring into the United States in recent months, church officials said on Wednesday. The Archdiocese of Chicago, the third-largest Catholic diocese in the country with 2.3 million members, has submitted a proposal offering to help the children to the refugee resettlement office at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, spokeswoman Colleen Dolan said. More than 400 unaccompanied minors caught crossing the Mexican border are being held at government shelters in Chicago, according to U.S. Senator Mark Kirk, an Illinois Republican. The Heartland Alliance, an anti-poverty organization, is coordinating services for children in the Chicago area, but a surge in need has the government seeking proposals for more help by Aug. 6, Dolan said.


Attorney: Prostitute had no reason to kill exec

Yahoo! National News - Thu, 07/17/2014 - 04:32

Alix Tichelman looks back toward her family after her arraignment in Santa Cruz County Superior Court on Wednesday, July 16, 2014, in Santa Cruz, Calif. Tichelman, faces manslaughter charges in the death last November of Forrest Hayes, a Google executive after she walked away from him when he overdosed on heroin on his yacht. (AP Photo/Santa Cruz Sentinel, Shmuel Thaler, Pool)SANTA CRUZ, Calif. (AP) — A high-priced prostitute accused of abandoning a Google executive after shooting him up with a fatal dose of heroin would never have wanted him to die because he was paying her well, a defense attorney said Wednesday.


Cleveland settles suit over fatal police shootings

Yahoo! National News - Thu, 07/17/2014 - 04:32

FILE - This undated file photo provided by the Cleveland Police Department shows Timothy Russell. The city of Cleveland has settled federal lawsuits filed by the estates of Russell and Malissa Williams, two unarmed people who were killed in a hail of 137 gunshots fired by police in November 2012. (AP Photo/Cleveland Police Department, File)CLEVELAND (AP) — The city of Cleveland has settled a federal lawsuit filed by the estates of two unarmed people killed in a hail of 137 gunshots fired by police after a car chase.


Pennsylvania jury: Brothers must split $1 million lottery loot

Yahoo! National News - Thu, 07/17/2014 - 04:30
By David DeKok CARLISLE Pa. (Reuters) - A Pennsylvania jury decided on Wednesday that two estranged half brothers must equally divide the winnings from a $1 million lottery ticket after one of them claimed he deserved all the money and the other insisted he was due half of it. Ira Sharp, 52, and Charles Meehan, 45, both of Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, had been fighting over the ticket since it was purchased at a local bar on May 21, 2013. "Once they said 'yes' to that, the rest was easy," said R. Mark Thomas, Sharp's lawyer. Douglas Miller, Meehan's attorney, said both he and his client were disappointed by the verdict.

Police ID suspect in murder of grad student in Kensington

Yahoo! National News - Thu, 07/17/2014 - 04:29

Police ID suspect in murder of art student in KensingtonPhiladelphia police have identified the suspect in the death of a young woman whose body was found in a duffel bag in Kensington.


Seattle taxi drivers attend charm school classes

Yahoo! National News - Thu, 07/17/2014 - 04:24
SEATTLE (AP) — Some Seattle-area taxi drivers are trying charm school as a way to improve their customer service and fight off competition from other ride services.

Negotiations resume over NY rail labor dispute

Yahoo! National News - Thu, 07/17/2014 - 04:02

Anthony Simon, left, lead union negotiator for Long Island Rail Road Union, speaks during a news conference accompanied by union representative Dean Devita, right, in New York on Wednesday, July 16, 2014 after Gov. Andrew Cuomo issued an appeal Wednesday morning for the sides to resume negotiating. MTA and union officials said they agreed to resume negotiating. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)MINEOLA, N.Y. (AP) — Negotiations aimed at avoiding a walkout at the nation's largest commuter railroad resumed Wednesday after Gov. Andrew Cuomo prodded both sides to find an agreement that would keep 300,000 daily riders from being forced to find alternate ways of getting in and out of New York City.


Officer: Man says hidden message told him to kill

Yahoo! National News - Thu, 07/17/2014 - 03:55
SOMERSET, Ky. (AP) — A detective has testified that a man accused of gunning down a prominent Kentucky defense attorney told police he had deciphered a newspaper message instructing him to carry out the killing.

UN calls on Israel to agree to humanitarian pause

Yahoo! National News - Thu, 07/17/2014 - 03:53
UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The United Nations is calling for Israel to agree to "a unilateral humanitarian pause" so that aid can be delivered to people in need of food, water and other necessities in Gaza.

Funerals being held for slain family near Houston (PHOTOS)

Yahoo! National News - Thu, 07/17/2014 - 03:51

Funerals being held for slain family near Houston (PHOTOS)Six white caskets containing the bodies of a suburban Houston couple and four of their five children were wheeled into a church for funeral services Wednesday, not far from where the family was gunned down at their home a week ago.


Police: Bomb threat at park, university in Louisiana was a hoax; no explosives found.

Yahoo! National News - Thu, 07/17/2014 - 03:47
LAFAYETTE, La. (AP) — Police: Bomb threat at park, university in Louisiana was a hoax; no explosives found.

Federal judge rules California's death penalty system unconstitutional

Yahoo! National News - Thu, 07/17/2014 - 03:38
California's system for imposing and carrying out the death penalty is so long and drawn-out that it amounts to cruel and unusual punishment and is unconstitutional, a federal judge ruled on Wednesday. Ruling in the case of Ernest Dewayne Jones, who was condemned to death in 1995 and has yet to be executed, Judge Cormac J. Carney of the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California said that to take "nearly a generation" to decide on Jones' appeals is unconstitutional.

FBI: 3 cartel members accused of kidnapping SC man

Yahoo! National News - Thu, 07/17/2014 - 03:33

Cartel KidnappersThree men affiliated with a Mexican drug cartel kidnapped a South Carolina man and held him for ransom for nearly a week in a dispute over $200,000 in marijuana, authorities said Wednesday.


Funerals being held for slain family near Houston

Yahoo! National News - Thu, 07/17/2014 - 03:25

One of six caskets is moved into The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for a funeral service for members of the Stay family Wednesday, July 16, 2014, in Houston. Slaying victims Stephen Stay, 39, his 34-year-old wife, Katie, and their four youngest children were shot to death last week in their suburban Houston home. The oldest child Cassidy, 15, survived the attack by playing dead, called police and identified her uncle, 33-year-old Ronald Lee Haskell, as the gunman. Funeral services will be held later today. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)SPRING, Texas (AP) — Six white caskets containing the bodies of a suburban Houston couple and four of their five children were wheeled into a church for funeral services Wednesday, not far from where the family was gunned down at their home a week ago.


Washington firefighters battle heat, high winds

Yahoo! National News - Thu, 07/17/2014 - 03:24
SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — A state of emergency has been declared in 20 Eastern Washington counties because of multiple wildfires and scorching hot temperatures coupled with high winds on Wednesday.

Jury to settle Pennsylvania brothers' fight over lottery loot

Yahoo! National News - Thu, 07/17/2014 - 03:21
By David DeKok CARLISLE Pa. (Reuters) - A Pennsylvania jury on Wednesday began deliberating whether two estranged brothers must split the winnings from a $1 million lottery ticket, or whether one gets to keep it all. Judge Christylee Peck in Cumberland County Court of Common Pleas told jurors they must decide whether Ira Sharp was telling the truth when he testified that his half brother, Charles Meehan, had agreed to split the winnings after Sharp gave Meehan a $20 bill to purchase a "Hot Million" scratch-off ticket. Sharp, 52, and Meehan, 45, both of Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, purchased the winning ticket while drinking at a local bar on May 21, 3013.