By Curtis Skinner NEW YORK (Reuters) - The New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority and unions representing 5,400 workers on the Long Island Rail Road will continue talks to avert a strike that may affect hundreds of thousands of commuters, both sides said on Wednesday. A strike would leave some 300,000 daily commuters from New York City's suburbs on Long Island scrambling for alternative transport." We will all be here and we will have communications back and forth all night long. A coalition of eight unions negotiating for workers have balked at a requirement that future workers would have to make steeper payments for their benefits, saying it would create an unfair two-tier system among the LIRR's employees. The two sides met in offices near Times Square on Wednesday afternoon after talks broke down on Monday with a possible strike set to begin at 12:01 a.m. Sunday.
WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. (AP) — A lawyer asked the public Wednesday not to rush to judgment in the case of a young mother accused of killing her 5-year-old son by poisoning him with salt, but he offered no details in her defense.
SOMERSET, Ky. (AP) — A man accused of gunning down a prominent Kentucky defense attorney told police he had deciphered messages from a newspaper and music instructing him to carry out the killing outside the lawyer's office, a police detective testified Wednesday.
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Connecticut's highest court ruled Wednesday that some legal rights of same-sex couples predate the state's approvals of civil unions in 2005 and gay marriage in 2008, a decision that gay rights supporters call the first of its kind in the country.
By Sharon Bernstein SACRAMENTO Calif. (Reuters) - 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 thus 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. Central District of California said that to take "nearly a generation" to decide on Jones' appeals was unconstitutional. As part of the ruling, Carney vacated the death penalty sentence in Jones' case. "The dysfunctional administration of California's death penalty system has resulted, and will continue to result, in an inordinate and unpredictable period of delay," Carney wrote in his opinion, filed on Wednesday.
An experimental drug from the biotech company Genentech failed to slow mental decline in mid-stage studies on more than 500 people with mild to moderate Alzheimer's disease, but showed some promise in the least-impaired participants who received a higher dose.
By Amanda Orr HOUSTON (Reuters) - Hundreds of mourners heard relatives share pleasant memories on Wednesday at the funeral of six family members, including four children, who were shot dead execution-style in their suburban Houston home last week. Those killed were Stephen Stay, 39, his wife Katie, 33, and their children Bryan, 13, Emily, 9, Rebecca, 7, and Zach, 4. "Please bless us that we will know the good that comes out of this seemingly senseless tragedy," Roger Lyon, the father of Katie, said in the invocation held at a Mormon chapel. Police said Ronald Lee Haskell, 33, entered the Stay house on July 10 posing as a delivery man and searching for his former wife, Katie's sister.
FRESNO, Calif. (AP) — A hiker who was stranded for six days in California's Sierra Nevada with a badly broken leg says survival mode kicked in when he treated his own injury and sought sustenance by eating crickets and moths, and drinking melting ice.