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Yahoo! National News

As U.S. gay-marriage battle looms, attorneys fight over fees

Yahoo! National News - Fri, 04/17/2015 - 05:41

A couple embraces on the Pennsylvania State Capital steps following a rally with gay rights supporters in HarrisburgBy Joan Biskupic WASHINGTON (Reuters) - As a historic constitutional showdown over gay marriage looms this month at the U.S. Supreme Court, attorneys are fighting over another bitterly disputed issue: their fees. The battles over billables are erupting far from the Washington, D.C., limelight, in lower courts from West Virginia to Wisconsin and Oklahoma. In some cases, the fee requests run well into seven figures and are submitted on behalf of powerful law firms that a Reuters examination found have outsized access to the Supreme Court. Gay-marriage litigation, especially, has become a magnet for prominent lawyers and national firms with connections to the Supreme Court.


Adult, juvenile arrested after NY teacher choked inside school

Yahoo! National News - Fri, 04/17/2015 - 05:39

Adult, juvenile arrested after NY teacher choked inside schoolTwo people, an adult and a juvenile, have been arrested in connection with an assault on a teacher inside a New York middle school.


Obama signs overhaul of how Medicare pays doctors

Yahoo! National News - Fri, 04/17/2015 - 05:37

President Barack signs the bill H.R. 2 Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015, Thursday, April 16, 2015, in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington. The president signed legislation permanently changing how Medicare pays doctors, a rare bipartisan achievement by Democrats and Republicans. The bill overhauls a 1997 law that aimed to slow Medicare's growth by limiting reimbursements to doctors. Instead, doctors threatened to leave the Medicare program, and that forced Congress repeatedly to block those reductions. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)WASHINGTON (AP) — Ending years of last-minute fixes, President Barack Obama on Thursday signed legislation permanently changing how Medicare pays doctors, a rare bipartisan achievement by Democrats and Republicans.


Drug strategy agency mixing health, safety proposed in NYC

Yahoo! National News - Fri, 04/17/2015 - 05:29
NEW YORK (AP) — A new drug policy agency would focus as much on health as on policing under a proposal a New York City lawmaker introduced Thursday to shift how the nation's biggest city approaches illegal drug use.

No verdict yet in NYC murder case stemming from 1979 disappearance

Yahoo! National News - Fri, 04/17/2015 - 05:27

Pedro Hernandez appears in Manhattan Criminal Court in New YorkBy Natasja Sheriff NEW YORK (Reuters) - The jury in the trial of a former New York deli worker accused of kidnapping and murdering 6-year-old Etan Patz in 1979 adjourned without a verdict on Thursday after a second day of deliberations. In a case that first raised national awareness of the issue of missing and abducted children, Pedro Hernandez confessed to police in 2012 that he had choked the boy, stuffed him in a box and left him in a lower Manhattan alley. Defense attorneys say Hernandez's confession was coerced, and that the 54-year-old man is mentally ill, intellectually disabled and suffers hallucinations.


Soldier death feared Ebola-related blamed on synthetic pot

Yahoo! National News - Fri, 04/17/2015 - 05:26
KILLEEN, Texas (AP) — An autopsy has concluded that synthetic marijuana was to blame for the death of a Fort Hood soldier shortly after his return from deployment to an Ebola hot zone in West Africa.

Tennessee plan to make Bible 'official' book derailed

Yahoo! National News - Fri, 04/17/2015 - 05:21

State Senate Speaker Ron Ramsey, R-Blountville, presides over a floor session in Nashville, Tenn., on Thursday, April 16, 2015. Ramsey opposed a bill seeking to make the holy Bible the official book of Tennessee. (AP Photo/Erik Schelzig)NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The Bible usually unites Republicans in conservative Tennessee, but lately it is proving to be — as an epistle writer put it — more powerful and sharper than a double-edged sword.


U.S. objects to Boston bomber's lawyers' call to 'look deep inside'

Yahoo! National News - Fri, 04/17/2015 - 05:19

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is pictured in this handout photo presented as evidence by the U.S. Attorney's Office in BostonBy Scott Malone BOSTON (Reuters) - Federal prosecutors on Thursday objected to what they said was a call by lawyers for Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev that jurors "look deep inside" themselves when considering whether they believe the testimony of foreign witnesses. In a filing in Boston federal court, prosecutors said they objected to what they said was the defense's request that U.S. District Judge George O'Toole instruct the jurors to consider whether they are naturally prejudiced in favor of "people like themselves" and if they tend to discredit the testimony of foreign witnesses. Both prosecutors and defense witnesses are set to begin calling another round of witnesses, with the trial's sentencing phase expected to take four weeks before the jury begins deliberations on Tsarnaev's fate.


Florida doctor linked to U.S. senator pleads not guilty to Medicare fraud

Yahoo! National News - Fri, 04/17/2015 - 04:54

Florida ophthalmologist Salomon Melgen arrives at Federal court in Newark, New JerseyBy Zachary Fagenson WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (Reuters) - A Florida ophthalmologist accused of giving lavish gifts to U.S. Senator Robert Menendez in a corruption scandal that led to criminal charges against the New Jersey Democrat pleaded not guilty on Thursday in federal court to Medicare fraud charges. Salomon Melgen faces 76 counts of Medicare fraud and falsifying medical records, for which he has been jailed in southern Florida since his indictment on Tuesday.


Ex-JPMorgan banker charged with stealing $20M from clients

Yahoo! National News - Fri, 04/17/2015 - 04:50
NEW YORK (AP) — A former JPMorgan Chase & Co. banker has been arrested on charges he stole $20 million from clients over a four-year period.

Babysitter tells police he's watching abducted child

Yahoo! National News - Fri, 04/17/2015 - 04:48
RENTON, Wash. (AP) — A couple in Washington state were surprised to discover the child they were babysitting had been abducted and an Amber Alert issued seeking the toddler's return.

Some San Francisco Catholics call for ouster of archbishop

Yahoo! National News - Fri, 04/17/2015 - 04:45
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — More than 100 Bay Area Catholics went public with their complaints about the San Francisco archbishop on Thursday, asking Pope Francis in a full page newspaper ad to replace Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone with someone more inclusive and less divisive.

Stock of online marketplace Etsy surges in trading debut

Yahoo! National News - Fri, 04/17/2015 - 04:44

Kristina Salen, center left, Etsy’s Chief Financial Officer, stands with Chad Dickerson, center right, Chairman and CEO, to celebrate the company's IPO with employees and guests at the Nasdaq MarketSite, Thursday, April 16, 2015, in New York. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)NEW YORK (AP) — The place where you can buy handmade dresses and crocheted dog costumes has a new hot seller: its own stock.


Grand jury indicts Kansas man in Fort Riley bomb plot

Yahoo! National News - Fri, 04/17/2015 - 04:43
KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — A federal grand jury has handed down a three-count indictment charging a 20-year-old Kansas man with trying to carry out a suicide attack at Fort Riley.

Secrecy shrouds decade-old oil spill in Gulf of Mexico

Yahoo! National News - Fri, 04/17/2015 - 04:42

This March 31, 2015 photo shows an oil sheen drifting from the site of the former Taylor Energy oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico, off the coast of Louisiana. An Associated Press investigation has revealed evidence that the spill is far worse than what the Taylor Energy Company _ or the government _ has publicly reported. Presented with AP's findings, the Coast Guard provided a new leak estimate that is about 20 times greater than one recently touted by the company. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)OVER THE GULF OF MEXICO (AP) — A blanket of fog lifts, exposing a band of rainbow sheen that stretches for miles off the coast of Louisiana. From the vantage point of an airplane, it's easy to see gas bubbles in the slick that mark the spot where an oil platform toppled during a 2004 hurricane, triggering what might be the longest-running commercial oil spill ever to pollute the Gulf of Mexico.


Obama administration to remove hurdle to 'wellness' penalties

Yahoo! National News - Fri, 04/17/2015 - 04:41
By Sharon Begley NEW YORK (Reuters) - In what would be a significant and hard-fought victory for U.S. businesses, the Obama administration said on Thursday it will propose new rules for workplace wellness programs that would treat as voluntary even plans that penalize workers thousands of dollars for not participating. That decision, which will be published in the Federal Register on Monday, opening 60 days for public comment, would likely remove the government's legal challenge to the wellness program at Honeywell International Inc. ...

Dog survives for 2 days in van wreckage after deadly crash

Yahoo! National News - Fri, 04/17/2015 - 04:41
RATHDRUM, Idaho (AP) — A pet Chihuahua survived for two days in the wreckage of a van after a crash with a semi-truck in Idaho killed its owner.

Florida doctor in NJ political corruption scandal to fight new Medicare fraud charges: lawyer

Yahoo! National News - Fri, 04/17/2015 - 04:37

Dominguez, a lawyer for Dr. Melgen, speaks to the media following a court hearing in West Palm Beach(Story officially corrects Melgen age by U.S. prosecutors in Miami from 61 to 60 in fifth paragraph) By Zachary Fagenson WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (Reuters) - A Florida ophthalmologist accused of showering New Jersey Senator Bob Menendez with gifts in exchange for help on Medicare disputes plans to fight new federal charges of fraud related to millions in Medicare payments, his attorney said on Wednesday. An arraignment hearing in the Medicare fraud case was continued to Thursday after Salomon Melgen appeared briefly in Florida federal court on Wednesday morning wearing handcuffs and disheveled in a blue jumpsuit. Melgen, who has pleaded not guilty in the Menendez case, now also faces 76 counts of Medicare fraud and falsifying medical records. Melgen was arrested and indicted on Tuesday for Medicare fraud by the U.S. Attorney's office in Miami.


Father of school shooter pleads not guilty to gun charge

Yahoo! National News - Fri, 04/17/2015 - 04:36

Raymond Lee Fryberg Jr., center, walks with supporters near the Federal Courthouse in Seattle, Thursday, April 16, 2015. Fryberg, the father of Jaylen Fryberg, the student who fatally shot four of his high school classmates and himself in October, 2014, pleaded not guilty on Thursday to illegally possessing the gun his son used in the slayings. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)SEATTLE (AP) — The father of the Washington teenager who fatally shot four high school classmates and then himself in October pleaded not guilty in federal court to illegally possessing the gun used in the slayings.


Comment period extended for Arctic offshore drilling rules

Yahoo! National News - Fri, 04/17/2015 - 04:35
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — The public will have 30 more days to comment on federal regulations for exploratory drilling in the Arctic.