LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Lawmakers in Arkansas and Indiana passed legislation Thursday that they hoped would quiet the national uproar over new religious objections laws that opponents say are designed to offer a legal defense for anti-gay discrimination.
By Steve Barnes LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (Reuters) - Indiana and Arkansas revised on Thursday new religious freedom acts that had drawn criticism from rights groups and U.S. companies that assailed them as discriminatory against gays. Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson, a Republican, signed his state's Religious Freedom Restoration Act into law minutes after it passed in the statehouse. Indiana Governor Mike Pence, also a Republican, signed a revised religious freedom law that amended one he signed last week. The original measure catapulted the state into a firestorm because it lacked specific provisions to prevent denial of services and other discrimination against gays.
MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — An Alabama inmate who spent nearly 30 years on death row will go free Friday after prosecutors told a judge there is not enough evidence to link him to the 1985 murders he was convicted of committing.
DURHAM, N.C. (AP) — An undergraduate student at Duke University admitted to hanging a noose in a tree and has left campus while disciplinary actions are considered, university officials said Thursday.
By Ellen Wulfhorst and Nate Raymond NEW YORK (Reuters) - Two New York City women have been arrested and accused of planning to wage a "terrorist attack" in the United States, according to a federal criminal complaint made public on Thursday. Noelle Velentzas, 28, and Asia Siddiqui, 31, plotted to hit police, government or military targets based on their "violent jihadist beliefs," according to the complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Brooklyn. The complaint said Velentzas and Siddiqui were conspiring "to prepare an explosive device to be detonated in a terrorist attack in the United States." It said Velentzas had praised al Qaeda's Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States and said she and Siddiqui were "citizens of the Islamic State." The women, who were roommates in the city borough of Queens, had researched how to build an explosive device and that they had read textbooks on electricity and watched online videos about soldering, it said.
Arkansas and Indiana leaders agreed Thursday to modify new state laws that were billed as protecting religious freedom but drew criticism from across the country as opening the door to anti-gay discrimination.