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U.S. judge rules California death penalty system unconstitutional

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

Gavel and old glory. American Justice.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.

Genentech Alzheimer's drug misses goals in studies

Yahoo! National News - Thu, 07/17/2014 - 06:57

FILE - This undated file combo image provided by Merck & Co., shows a cross section of a normal brain, right, and one of a brain damaged by advanced Alzheimer's disease. Researchers said an experimental drug from the biotech company Genentech failed to slow mental decline in tests on more than 500 people with mild to moderate Alzheimer's disease. (AP Photo/Merck & Co., File)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.

Funeral held for six killed in Texas family shooting

Yahoo! National News - Thu, 07/17/2014 - 06:57

Three caskets are lined up and about to be put into hearses after the funeral service for members of the Stay family at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in Spring, TexasBy 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.

300 vials labeled influenza, dengue found at lab

Yahoo! National News - Thu, 07/17/2014 - 06:53
WASHINGTON (AP) — The same federal scientist who recently found forgotten samples of smallpox at a federal lab also uncovered over 300 additional vials, many bearing the names of highly contagious viruses and bacteria.

Fewer gas leaks found in cities with new pipes

Yahoo! National News - Thu, 07/17/2014 - 06:52
WASHINGTON (AP) — Cities such as Indianapolis that regularly replace old natural gas lines have significantly fewer leaks than older urban areas where they don't, like Boston and New York City's Staten Island, according to a new study by Google and an environmental group.

Police ID suspect in murder of art student in Kensington

Yahoo! National News - Thu, 07/17/2014 - 06:52

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.

California hiker with broken leg ate bugs to live

Yahoo! National News - Thu, 07/17/2014 - 06:49

Gregg Hein, who broke his leg on a solo hike in the Sierra Nevada mountains, recovers at the Community Regional Medical Center in Fresno, Calif. on Wednesday, July 16, 2014. The 33-year-old hiker from Clovis, Calif., who was stranded for six days said that survival mode kicked in when he treated his own injury and he sought sustenance by eating crickets and moths, and drinking melting ice. (AP Photo/Scott Smith)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.

After 12 hours, an exit from stalled casino boat

Yahoo! National News - Thu, 07/17/2014 - 06:45

The casino boat Escapade, with 123 people aboard, is grounded 1.8 miles off the north end of Tybee Island, Ga., Wednesday, July 16, 2014. No injuries or medical issues had been reported among the 96 passengers and 27 crew members aboard the boat, according to Coast Guard Petty Officer 3rd Class Anthony L. Soto. (AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton)TYBEE ISLAND, Ga. (AP) — After 16 hours stuck at sea, passengers stranded on a casino boat that ran aground off Georgia's coast were ferried to shore Wednesday aboard two Coast Guard cutters.

PHOTOS: Jamie Apody's new baby Chase

Yahoo! National News - Thu, 07/17/2014 - 06:39

 Jamie Apody's new baby ChaseAction News sports reporter Jamie Apody has returned from maternity leave and brought with her some photos of her new baby boy, Chase, and the rest of her family!

California hearing addresses oil refinery rules

Yahoo! National News - Thu, 07/17/2014 - 06:38

FILE - This July 6, 2006 file photo shows the ConocoPhillips Los Angeles Refinery in operation. The Environmental Protection Agency is coming to one of the nation’s largest petroleum producing areas to hold public hearings, Wednesday, July 16, 2014 on a proposal officials say would reduce toxic air pollution from California to Texas through tough new controls on oil refineries. (AP Photo/Ric Francis,File)LOS ANGELES (AP) — Residents of modest neighborhoods near three of the largest oil refineries in California called on the Environmental Protection Agency on Wednesday to crack down on plant emissions, saying the pollution is choking their children and endangering their health.

Appeals court vacates stay in Missouri execution

Yahoo! National News - Thu, 07/17/2014 - 06:36

FILE - In this 2007 file photo provided by the Missouri Department of Corrections is John Middleton. Middleton is scheduled to die for the 1995 murder of Alfred Pinegar, a suspected drug snitch in rural Missouri. (AP Photo/Missouri Department of Corrections, File)A federal appeals court has vacated a stay of execution for a Missouri death row inmate, and the case is now heading to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Utah woman rescued after being trapped for 12 hours in quicksand

Yahoo! National News - Thu, 07/17/2014 - 06:36
A 78-year-old Utah woman was stuck in quicksand for more than 12 hours before sheriff's deputies found her on a trail in the dark near Arches National Park, authorities said on Wednesday. The woman, whose name was not released, told rescuers she got one leg stuck in the pool about 9 a.m. on July 9 while hiking alone in an area north of Moab known as Courthouse Wash, 235 miles (378 km) southeast of Salt Lake City. Lieutenant Kim Neal of the Grand County Sheriff's Office said the woman's friends raised the alarm after she failed to turn up to a book club gathering later that day at a library. Search-and-rescue crews from the sheriff's office and the national park discovered her car in a trailhead parking lot at about 9 p.m. Two hours later, they found the woman trapped in the quicksand about a quarter of a mile up the trail.

2 wounded in shooting at Philadelphia playground

Yahoo! National News - Thu, 07/17/2014 - 06:34
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Police in Philadelphia say a shooting at a playground has left two young men wounded.

Third victim dies after Florida baseball bat beating

Yahoo! National News - Thu, 07/17/2014 - 06:32
By Barbara Liston ORLANDO Fla. (Reuters) - A third victim in an unexplained beating by a man wielding a baseball bat died on Wednesday in central Florida, according to local media. Eddie Ratliff, 51, succumbed to his injuries at a local hospital, according to the Orlando Sentinel, citing Tavares city and police spokeswoman Joyce Ross. According to witnesses and police, Shannon’s boyfriend James Earl Jones, 32, killed the three, then drowned himself in Lake Dora. Michael Woods, the first officer on the scene, reported that he found Jones next to the van holding an aluminum bat with two hands.

Loaded handgun found in child's bag at day care

Yahoo! National News - Thu, 07/17/2014 - 06:22

Loaded handgun found in child's bag at day carePolice say they've arrested the father of an 11-month-old girl after a day care worker found a loaded handgun in the child's bag.

U.S. Justice Department says investigating lost IRS emails

Yahoo! National News - Thu, 07/17/2014 - 06:19

A woman walks out of the Internal Revenue Service building in New YorkThe U.S. Justice Department on Wednesday confirmed it is investigating the loss of Internal Revenue Service emails being sought by congressional Republicans in an inquiry over tax scrutiny of conservative political groups. In written testimony to be delivered to the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, Deputy Attorney General James Cole said the probe "includes investigating the circumstances of the lost emails" from the computer of Lois Lerner, a retired IRS official. Last month, the IRS acknowledged losing some of Lerner's emails to a computer hard-drive failure, an incident that has rekindled Republican outrage in the long-running controversy over IRS targeting of conservative political groups. A Justice Department official said there had been no determination of whether the probe was criminal in nature.

N.Y. fish dealer pleads guilty to underreporting fluke

Yahoo! National News - Thu, 07/17/2014 - 06:16
By Bernard Vaughan NEW YORK (Reuters) - A Long Island fish dealer pleaded guilty in federal court in New York on Wednesday to falsifying records by underreporting the amount of fluke it handled, the U.S. Department of Justice said in a news release. Jones Inlet Seafood Co Inc of Point Lookout, its President Michael Mihale and Vice President Bruce Larson Jr. pleaded guilty in Central Islip federal court to underreporting the fish, also known as summer flounder, which was being harvested as part of a federal program. Mihale and Larson directed "unwitting subordinates" to falsify and submit fisheries dealer reports from June 2009 through December 2011, defrauding the government of 56,000 pounds (25,000 kg) of overharvested and underreported fluke valued at $116,000, the Justice Department said. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration uses dealer report data to implement management measures aimed at ensuring sustainable fisheries, the Justice Department said.

Neighbor charged in death of woman stuffed in bag

Yahoo! National News - Thu, 07/17/2014 - 06:15

Philadelphia Police Homicide Unit Lieutenant Walter Bell speaks during a news conference Wednesday, July 16, 2014, in Philadelphia. Police in Philadelphia have arrested a 22-year-old man in the killing of a city art school graduate whose body was discovered in a duffel bag. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)PHILADELPHIA (AP) — A recent art school graduate who had just moved into a rooming house was strangled and beaten to death by another tenant trying to rob her, police said Wednesday.

U.S. judge imposes lighter sentences on Britons who supported Taliban

Yahoo! National News - Thu, 07/17/2014 - 06:15

Ahmad, a British national accused of operating a website that promoted jihad and supported al Qaeda, is pictured as he pleads guilty in this courtroom sketch in the U.S. District Court in New HavenBy Richard Weizel NEW HAVEN Conn. (Reuters) - A U.S. judge on Wednesday sentenced two British nationals to far shorter prison sentences than prosecutors were seeking after the men pleaded guilty in December to supporting Muslim militants through print and online publications. Babar Ahmad, 40, was sentenced to 12-1/2 years of a maximum 25 years for the crime, which prosecutors said included helping raise money and recruit fighters for the Taliban and al Qaeda before and after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks. "It is my conclusion that the defendant does not present a risk of becoming involved in future crimes, and was never involved directly with al Qaeda," Judge Janet Hall said, explaining the lighter sentence. "While these are serious crimes that raised funds for the Taliban and helped its ability to protect Osama Bin Laden and to carry out his Sept. 11 attacks, there must be a distinction made between providing material support and actually taking part in terrorism," Hall said.

Dad pleads guilty to helping Army son with bribes

Yahoo! National News - Thu, 07/17/2014 - 06:04
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — Federal prosecutors say the father of a former soldier has pleaded guilty to helping his son launder $250,000 in bribes from contractors in Afghanistan.