The U.S. Presbyterian Church was close on Tuesday to approving a change in the wording of its constitution to include same-sex marriage, a move which threatens to further splinter one of the largest U.S. mainline Protestant denominations. The change requires a simple majority of 86 votes, and only one more vote is needed, according to the Presbyterian Lay Committee, a conservative group which opposes the change. Some church leaders have expressed concern that endorsement of same-sex marriage could cause an exodus of parishioners who see it as incompatible with biblical teachings. "These are indeed difficult days for folks both within the PCUSA and other denominations that have made these same choices in the past," said Carmen Fowler LaBerge, president of the Lay Committee, in a conference call on Tuesday.
(Reuters) - Three football players at Baltimore's Morgan State University were stabbed on campus on Tuesday and one was seriously injured, the Baltimore Sun reported. A police spokesman said a man was stabbed in the chest and taken to a hospital in very serious condition, and two other people were also injured, the newspaper said on its website. Police Commissioner Anthony Batts said the victims were football players.
Fault lines dating back hundreds of millions of years in Oklahoma that have been recently reactivated could lead to a devastating quake in the state where many structures were not built to withstand major seismic activity, a report said. The state, which has seen several hundred seismic events over the past five years, has "a high degree of potential earthquake hazards," according to the study accepted for publication this month whose authors include researchers from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). "The majority of the recent earthquakes in central Oklahoma define reactivated ancient faults at shallow depths in the crust" of less than 3.7 miles (6 km), said the report for the American Geophysical Union. Daniel McNamara, one of the paper's authors and a research geophysicist at USGS, said on Tuesday the 300 million-year-old subsurface faults that had not been active are suspected to be associated with the recent seismic activity.
LAS VEGAS (AP) — A bankruptcy judge has allowed an arm of casino giant Caesars Entertainment Corp. to tear up contracts it had with the Kansas City Chiefs, a hotel in Louisiana and an audio company as it looks to shed millions of dollars of costs.
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Leaders of California's vast community college system on Tuesday approved a program aimed at making it easier for students to transfer to historically black colleges and universities in other parts of the country. It comes at a time when seats at the state's own public universities have gotten harder to come by and many of the schools that once were the only higher education option for African-Americans are facing declining enrollment.
By Victoria Cavaliere SEATTLE (Reuters) - Debris from Japan's 2011 tsunami will continue to litter the North American coastline over the next three years, with everything from refrigerators to lumber and sports balls still floating offshore in the Pacific, an expert said on Tuesday. About one million tons of debris was still lingering in the Pacific Ocean four years after a magnitude 9.0 earthquake, the most powerful ever recorded in Japan, set off a series of massive tsunami waves that devastated a wide swathe of Honshu's Pacific coastline and killed nearly 20,000 people. The Oregon Sea Grant, a program at Oregon State University funded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), has been working with researchers at Japan's Tottori University to monitor tsunami debris.
LONG BEACH, Calif. (AP) — More than 1,800 starving sea lion pups have washed up on California beaches since Jan. 1 and 750 are being treated in rescue centers across the state, according to updated numbers released Tuesday by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Scientists with the federal agency believe the crisis hasn't reached its peak and sea lions could continue to arrive on beaches sick and starving for at least two more months.
DNA tests have solved a 35-year-old mystery, identifying a hitchhiker that a former Minnesota state trooper later confessed to strangling as a missing Texas teenage girl, officials said on Tuesday. Michelle Busha, who was 18 when she disappeared, had been buried in a Minnesota cemetery as a Jane Doe who was exhumed in August under a state effort to identify dozens of anonymous remains, officials told a news conference. "This is a case of not 'Who done it?' but 'Who was she?'" Faribault County Sheriff Michael Gormley said, adding that learning her identity was as important as solving her murder. The Bay City, Texas, teenager's remains will be returned in a few days to her family, who have asked for privacy, Gormley said.
By Andrea Shalal WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Defense Department has set up a new panel to study electronic warfare needs across the U.S. military and make recommendations to ensure the United States retains its competitive edge, a top Pentagon official said on Tuesday. Pentagon acquisition chief Frank Kendall and Admiral James Winnefeld, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, will chair the panel, Deputy Secretary Robert Work told a conference hosted by McAleese & Associates and Credit Suisse. He said he signed a memo creating the new electronic warfare programs council on Tuesday. The move could spell good news for Boeing Co, which builds electronic attack jets for the Navy, but may open opportunities for U.S. rivals such as Raytheon Co and Northrop Grumman Corp as well as Britain's BAE Systems Plc. Kendall told reporters the new council's review would help shape the Pentagon budget process, but it was unlikely to get the full $2 billion in extra funding for electronic warfare equipment recommended by the Defense Science Board last year.
A fraternity at Penn State University has been suspended as police investigate allegations that members used a secret Facebook page to post photos of nude women, some of whom appeared to be sleeping or passed out.
BALTIMORE (AP) — Baltimore police say one person was stabbed and seriously injured at Morgan State University in Baltimore.
Boeing Co may not carry out the first flight of its KC-46A refueling plane in April as planned, the U.S. Air Force general in charge of the program said on Tuesday, but the first flight was likely sometime in the second quarter. Brigadier General Duke Richardson, program executive officer for tankers, said he was not comfortable saying the first flight would occur in April as planned.
Dover police have charged a convicted sex offender with repeatedly raping a 15-year-old girl's, resulting in her pregnancy.
UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon accused the Syrian government of violating a 1974 agreement creating a buffer zone between Syria and Israel and warned that firing back and forth across the separation line jeopardizes the cease-fire between the two countries.
LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Los Angeles police chief says he will fire a rookie officer who is being sought in the killing of a man during a fight in suburban Pomona while the officer was off-duty.
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (Reuters) - A pregnant former "Food Network Star" contestant and her husband were killed by a neighbor in their North Carolina mountain town, officials said on Tuesday. Family members reported Cristie Schoen Codd, a finalist during the eighth season of the Food Network's show in 2012, and Joseph "JT" Codd missing on Sunday. The investigation into their disappearance resulted in the arrest of man who lived nearby, the Buncombe County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement. Robert Jason Owens, 36, has been charged with two counts of first-degree murder, as well as breaking and entering, and larceny after breaking and entering, the sheriff's office said.
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Police Chief Charlie Beck says a shooting that left two officers with minor injuries in South Los Angeles was gang-related.
A man has been arrested on charges he was dealing drugs out of a gym in Berks County.
(Reuters) - A fraternity at Penn State University has been suspended for posting to Facebook "highly inappropriate photographs," which reportedly included sleeping nude women, drug sales and hazing, the school said on Tuesday. Kappa Delta Rho was suspended as of March 3 and an investigation is continuing, a spokeswoman for the university in State College, Pennsylvania, told Reuters. The fraternity was accused of hosting a series of two private Facebook pages, and uploading pictures that members took of mostly undressed women who were passed out or sleeping, according to WJAC television station, which cited a search warrant obtained by State College police. The first page, called "Covert Business Transactions," was shut down after a victim discovered it but it wasn't long before a second page called "2.0" was created as a replacement, WJAC reported.
By Lindsay Dunsmuir and Nate Raymond WASHINGTON/NEW YORK (Reuters) - A U.S. Air Force veteran has been charged with trying to provide support for the Islamic State militant group, U.S. prosecutors said on Tuesday. A federal grand jury in New York City indicted Tairod Nathan Webster Pugh for attempting to provide material support to the group and attempted obstruction of justice. Pugh, 47, of Neptune, N.J., is to be arraigned Wednesday morning in federal court in Brooklyn. Michael Schneider, a court-appointed lawyer for Pugh, said his client would plead not guilty.