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Prosecutors say friend wanted to help accused Boston bomber

Yahoo! National News - Thu, 07/17/2014 - 05:23

Courtroom sketch of defendants Dias Kadyrbayev and Azamat Tazhayakov appearing in front of Federal Magistrate Marianne Bowler, in BostonBy Scott Malone BOSTON (Reuters) - U.S. prosecutors argued that a friend of Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev wanted to help Tsarnaev when he took evidence from his dorm room, while a defense attorney described him as a college kid who did not understand what he was doing. Kazakh exchange student Azamat Tazhayakov is the first of three friends of Tsarnaev charged with going to his room three days after the April 15, 2013, attack that killed three people and injured 264 and removing a laptop computer and backpack containing empty fireworks shells. The visit occurred hours after the FBI released photos of Tsarnaev and his older brother at the site of the bombing and asked for the public's help in learning their identities, Assistant U.S. Attorney John Capin said in closing arguments at U.S. District Court in Boston. He did these things to protect his friend, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev." Tazhayakov, now 20, and his roommate, Dias Kadyrbayev, decided later that night to throw away the backpack after growing concerned that their friend Tsarnaev was a suspect in the investigation, contend prosecutors, who charged them with obstruction of justice and conspiracy.


US escalating economic sanctions against Russia

Yahoo! National News - Thu, 07/17/2014 - 05:23
WASHINGTON (AP) — The United States imposed new sanctions Wednesday on lucrative Russian energy and defense entities, as well as major banks, as the Obama administration struggles for a way to quell an insurgency in eastern Ukraine widely believed to be backed by Moscow.

Blagojevich files new argument in appeal

Yahoo! National News - Thu, 07/17/2014 - 05:22

FILE - This March 14, 2012 file photo shows former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich autographing a 'Free Gov. Blago' sign for one of his supporters at his home in Chicago the day before Blagojevich was due to report to prison to begin serving a 14-year sentence on corruption charges. Blagojevich's lawyers submitted an additional argument on why an appeals court in Chicago should overturn the imprisoned former governor's convictions Wednesday July, 16, 2014, in Chicago. The two-page filing with the U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals refers to an April Supreme Court decision striking down laws that restrict aggregate limits on campaign contributions. (AP Photo/M. Spencer Green, File)CHICAGO (AP) — Lawyers for imprisoned former Gov. Rod Blagojevich submitted an additional argument Wednesday to the federal court that's considering his appeal, saying a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision bolsters their contention that the Illinois Democrat never crossed the line from legal political horse trading into corruption.


Dems seek gains with women in birth control loss

Yahoo! National News - Thu, 07/17/2014 - 05:07

Women activists representing the National Women's Law Center, left, and Planned Parenthood, right, stand outside the Senate chamber after Senate Democrats' effort to proceed on the “Protect Women’s Health From Corporate Interference Act,” was thwarted, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, July 16, 2014. Democrats sponsored the election-year bill to reverse last month's Supreme Court ruling that closely held businesses with religious objections could deny coverage under President Barack Obama's health care law. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)WASHINGTON (AP) — Senate Democrats suffered what looked like a difficult setback on birth control Wednesday, but they hope it pays big political dividends in November.


Texas woman who sent ricin gets 18 years in prison

Yahoo! National News - Thu, 07/17/2014 - 05:01

Mother of five charged with sending poisoned letters to Obama, BloombergTEXARKANA, Texas (AP) — A Texas actress who tried to blame her husband after sending ricin-laced letters to officials including President Barack Obama was sentenced Wednesday to 18 years in prison.


U.S. nurse refuses to force feed Guantanamo Bay detainees

Yahoo! National News - Thu, 07/17/2014 - 04:59

Hospital beds are seen at Camp Delta where some detainees have been tube-fed wh..A U.S. military nurse at the detention center in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, has declined to participate in the force feeding of inmates on hunger strikes, becoming the first conscientious objector to the practice there, U.S. officials said on Wednesday. "This nurse did not want to participate in the enteral feeding and has since been assigned other duties," Pentagon spokesman Colonel Steve Warren told reporters, acknowledging a recent incident first reported by the Miami Herald. Prisoners at the Guantanamo Bay naval base have engaged in hunger strikes for years and the Pentagon noted there was a previous incident where a medical practitioner declined to carry out other types of duties. In June, a Syrian prisoner at the U.S. military prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, said in a court petition that his force-feedings amounted to torture and asked a judge to order his jailers to make them "civilized." Designed to keep hunger strikers alive, the procedure involves feeding them liquid meals via tubes inserted into their noses and down into their stomachs.


Lehigh Univ. student found unconscious after attack in home

Yahoo! National News - Thu, 07/17/2014 - 04:56

Lehigh Univ. student found unconscious after attack in homeA Lehigh University student is hospitalized after a teenager broke into her home and assaulted her early Wednesday morning.


Tunisian man gets time served in US terror case

Yahoo! National News - Thu, 07/17/2014 - 04:54
NEW YORK (AP) — A Tunisian man smiled and hugged his defense lawyer as a judge sentenced him Wednesday to the 15 months he had already served in prison in a terrorism case that fizzled after prosecutors distanced themselves from claims that he came to America to develop a network of terrorists.

US escalating economic sanctions against Russia

Yahoo! National News - Thu, 07/17/2014 - 04:52
The United States imposed new sanctions Wednesday on lucrative Russian energy and defense entities, as well as major banks, as the Obama administration struggles for a way to quell an insurgency in eastern ...

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.