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Activists carry coffin of woman killed by Phoenix police

PHOENIX - Activists protesting the fatal shooting of a mentally ill woman by a Phoenix police sergeant last week carried her coffin to City Hall on Friday, demanding an independent investigation into her killing.

Tennessee death row inmates sue to stop electric chair

NASHVILLE Tenn. - Tennessee death row inmates whose execution dates have been set filed suit on Friday against the state to stop it from using the electric chair.

U.S. undercover investigators among those exposed in data breach

BOSTON/WASHINGTON - A cyber attack at a firm that performs background checks for U.S. government employees compromised data of at least 25,000 workers, including some undercover investigators, and that number could rise, agency officials said on Friday.

University of New Mexico suspends soccer coach over hazing

ALBUQUERQUE N.M. - The University of New Mexico women's soccer coach and 22 players on the team were ordered suspended on Friday over a hazing incident that landed one extremely intoxicated freshman athlete in the hospital last weekend, the athletic department said.

Judge blocks Montana from logging in grizzly territory

- Conservation groups on Friday hailed a court decision that blocks Montana from building roads and logging in nearly 37,000 acres of a state forest that serves as core habitat for protected grizzly bears.

Restraint marks Ferguson, Missouri protests for third straight night

FERGUSON Mo. - For a third consecutive night, restraint prevailed at protests on Friday in Ferguson, Missouri, as the National Guard began withdrawing from the St. Louis suburb racked by turmoil after a white police officer shot dead an unarmed black teenager.

Obama to business: tell your lawmakers to renew Ex-Im Bank

WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama on Saturday urged business owners to press Congress to reauthorize the U.S. Export-Import Bank, which could halt any new financing Sept. 30 - as some conservative Republicans hope it will - if lawmakers fail to act.

Sharpen the pencils: Tennessee revives cursive teaching

NASHVILLE - Children in Tennessee will have to get used to holding a pencil again next year when new cursive handwriting standards go into effect in schools throughout the state.

Connecticut preschool teacher's aide faces child porn charges

WILTON Conn. - A Connecticut preschool teacher's aide has been charged with possessing and sharing child pornography, police said on Friday.

Judge denies restraining order in San Francisco rent case

SAN FRANCISCO - A federal judge on Friday denied a motion for a temporary restraining order that would have frozen for the plaintiffs a controversial San Francisco city law that makes landlords pay a hefty fee when evicting tenants to take properties off the rental market.

Exclusive: Amid Ferguson rage, council's lone black member keeps low profile

FERGUSON Missouri - In many ways Dwayne James is a beacon of hope in Ferguson, which has been torn apart by racially charged riots. The only black councilman in a predominantly black town, James is widely respected even by political opponents and talked of as a candidate for mayor.

Oregon sues Oracle, claiming fraud over failed Obamacare website

PORTLAND Ore. - The state of Oregon sued Oracle America Inc. and six of its top executives Friday, accusing the software giant of fraud for failing to deliver a working website for the Affordable Care Act program.

Former Texas teacher gets 10 years for killing boy in hit-and-run

DALLAS - A former Texas school teacher was sentenced on Friday to 10 years in prison for killing a 6-year-old boy in a hit-and-run accident that prompted a highly publicized manhunt in 2013.

U.S. court revives suit over Sturm coffee pod 'knockoffs'

- A U.S. appeals court on Friday reinstated a lawsuit by consumers who said they were duped into buying substandard single-serve coffee cartridges made by Sturm Foods Inc for use in popular Keurig brewing machines.

Alabama teacher suspended after 6th graders re-enact Missouri shooting

- An Alabama teacher was suspended after her sixth-grade students re-enacted along racial lines the police shooting of Michael Brown, the black teenager whose killing in Ferguson, Missouri, has sparked nightly clashes, school officials said Friday.

California lawmakers pass measure requiring testing of rape kits

- Amid ongoing efforts to address a backlog of unanalyzed rape kits that go untested throughout the country, California lawmakers passed a bill on Friday requiring law enforcement to process the evidence within a certain time frame.

Oregon boy, 2, loses two fingers after falling on mall escalator

PORTLAND Ore. - An unattended 2-year-old boy lost two fingers earlier this week after falling on an escalator at a Portland, Oregon-area mall and getting his hand caught in the mechanism, state investigators said on Friday.

Man freed on bail in Pennsylvania murder case after 25 years

HARRISBURG Pa. - A man whose murder conviction was quashed this summer was granted bail by a federal magistrate on Friday after nearly 25 years in a Pennsylvania prison on charges he had set a fire that killed his daughter at a Korean religious retreat.

Maryland man charged with defrauding elderly on dating sites

- A Maryland man is facing federal fraud, money laundering, conspiracy and other charges for allegedly bilking more than $1.1 million from elderly men and women through online dating sites.

Utah teen arrested after bomb threats shut down school

SALT LAKE CITY - The FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force and local police arrested a 16-year-old Utah boy accused of making bomb threats and ransom demands over Skype that shut down the first day of classes at his former high school, authorities said on Friday.

Washington Post editorial board no longer using word 'Redskins'

WASHINGTON - The Washington Post editorial board will generally avoid using the word "Redskins" when referring to Washington's football team, it announced on Friday, saying the term denigrates Native Americans.

Penn ex-justice won't have to send out photo of self in handcuffs

HARRISBURG Pa. - A former Pennsylvania Supreme Court justice is studying an appeals court ruling that upheld her corruption conviction but released her from a requirement that she send a photo of herself in handcuffs to other judges, her lawyer said on Friday.

Florida judge approves new state congressional maps, no special elections

TAMPA Fla. - A Florida judge on Friday approved the new congressional maps redrawn by Republican legislative leaders in a lawsuit over gerrymandering, and ruled that he would not order a special election in affected districts.

Children hurt in fall from Ferris wheel at Michigan fair

- A 16-year-old girl remained hospitalized on Friday after she and her 8-year-old brother were injured when they fell from a Ferris wheel cab in Michigan on Thursday night, police and fair officials said.

Texas Governor Perry's indictment to curb his gun-toting ways

SAN ANTONIO - A felony indictment for abuse of power will hit Texas Governor Rick Perry, an avowed gun enthusiast, where it hurts - by curtailing some of his rights to bear firearms.

Rights struggle to continue after Missouri violence fades, organizers vow

FERGUSON Mo. - After two nights of relative calm in Ferguson, Missouri, many have expressed hope the violent clashes and looting that followed a white police officer's shooting of an unarmed black teenager will soon be a thing of the past.

Kentucky firefighter critical after ice bucket challenge mishap

- A Kentucky firefighter was in critical condition Friday, a day after he and three others were injured when an aerial ladder got too close to a power line when their department doused a university band with water in an "ice bucket" fundraiser.

Head NYC jail investigator resigns amid reports of guard violence

NEW YORK - The commissioner in charge of investigations in New York City's jails resigned on Friday, nearly three weeks after a U.S. Department of Justice report described how guards routinely assaulted teenage inmates at the Rikers Island jail complex.

Breach at U.S. government contractor affected at least 25,000 workers

BOSTON - A cyber attack at a company that performs background checks for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security compromised data of at least 25,000 government workers, and that number could rise, an agency official said on Friday.

Union group seeks quick ruling on Illinois pension reform lawsuit

CHICAGO - A coalition of public labor unions is seeking an expedited ruling in consolidated lawsuits challenging the constitutionality of a new Illinois pension law.

Woman with no fingerprints faces theft, forgery charges in Colorado

DENVER - A disbarred lawyer who removed her fingerprints to hide her identity will be extradited to Colorado to faces charges that she swindled at least two people out of their homes, authorities said on Wednesday.

New York couple lured Amish girls with dog to enslave them: sheriff

NEW YORK - A New York couple accused of kidnapping two Amish girls lured them to their car with an offer to pet a dog before shackling the sisters with the intent of enslaving them, according to the sheriff's office.

Washington state motorists stranded after floods, mudslides

SEATTLE - Heavy rainfall in a wildfire-charred area of North Central Washington state triggered flash flooding and mudslides that stranded motorists and closed highways, a forecaster said on Friday.

Sharpton adapts adversarial style to de Blasio's New York

NEW YORK - It was not the first time the Reverend Al Sharpton made his way to City Hall in a fiery mood to scold a mayor about New York City police officers killing an unarmed black man.

Journalist Foley's parents, after call with pope, call for prayer and action

ROME - The parents of James Foley, the American journalist killed by Islamic State militants in Iraq, on Friday called for prayer and support to free the remaining captives held by Islamic State fighters.

U.S. missionary still physically recovering after Ebola, son says

WASHINGTON - A U.S. missionary who contracted the deadly Ebola virus in Liberia is better after being released from an Atlanta hospital but still regaining her strength, her son said on Friday.

Chicago police investigating killing of nine-year-old boy

CHICAGO - Chicago police are investigating the killing of a 9-year-old boy, and a local Catholic church is offering $5,000 for information leading to his killer's arrest, police and church officials said on Thursday.

Ace Bayou recalls 2.2 million beanbag chairs after two deaths

WASHINGTON - Ace Bayou Corp is recalling about 2.2 million beanbag chairs after the suffocation deaths of two children, the company and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission said on Friday.

Early grape crush kicks off California's winemaking season

DAVIS California - At the University of California's prized winemaking institute near Sacramento, a sleek metal wine crusher on Thursday morning let out a deep rumble and began to shake, jostling grapes made sweeter by the state's ongoing drought into sticky juice.

U.S. brings new charges against accused Silk Road creator

NEW YORK - U.S. prosecutors have brought a trio of new charges against a Texas man accused of creating the underground online drug marketplace Silk Road ahead of his November trial.

Alabama band teacher accused of bondage-style sex with students

BIRMINGHAM Ala. - A popular former Alabama high school band teacher suspected of forcing at least eight underage female students into bondage-style sex over a three-year period was arrested in Georgia, authorities said Thursday.

Federal judge strikes down Florida's gay marriage ban, stays ruling

TAMPA Fla. - A federal judge in north Florida on Thursday struck down the state's gay marriage ban as unconstitutional, but stayed the ruling, leaving same-sex couples still unable to marry in the state.

In case of slain journalist, negotiations, silence, then a chilling warning

WASHINGTON/PARIS - After months of silence from the captors of American journalist James Foley, on the night of Aug. 13, his family received a chilling message: Foley would be executed in retaliation for U.S. airstrikes on the militant group Islamic State.

U.S. aid workers who survived Ebola leave Atlanta hospital

ATLANTA, - Appearing thin but smiling, a Texas doctor who weeks ago entered an Atlanta hospital in a full-body biohazard suit to be treated for Ebola said on Thursday he was "thrilled to be alive" as doctors declared him virus-free and safe for release.

Slain journalist's employer publishes email to family from Islamic State

WASHINGTON - The online news publication that employed slain U.S. journalist James Foley has published the full text of the email to his family from his Islamist militant captors in which they said they would execute him in retaliation for U.S. airstrikes.

It's 'bone-appétit' for California pooches under new law

- California diners can now legally enjoy a meal on a restaurant patio with their dogs in tow, under a law signed Thursday by Governor Jerry Brown that eliminates health code regulations banning restaurant owners from allowing pooches on the premises.

Friend of Boston bomb suspect may get seven-year term in plea deal

BOSTON - A friend of accused Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev pleaded guilty on Thursday to charges of hindering the investigation into the blasts in a deal with prosecutors that calls for a prison sentence of up to seven years.

University of Colorado fights turning over records in theater massacre case

DENVER - The University of Colorado is fighting attempts by lawyers defending accused cinema gunman James Holmes to turn over records that public defenders say the school was trying to hide about its former student, court documents show.

Oklahoma Catholic bishop drops suit over planned 'black mass'

OKLAHOMA CITY - The Catholic Archdiocese of Oklahoma on Thursday dropped a lawsuit filed a day earlier against a Satanic church after it turned over to a Catholic priest a consecrated host, or communion wafer, Satanists planned to use in a "black mass."

National Guard to withdraw from riot-torn Ferguson, Missouri

FERGUSON Mo. - Missouri's governor ordered the withdrawal of National Guard troops from the strife-torn town of Ferguson on Thursday as tensions appeared to ease after nearly two weeks of racially charged protests over the fatal shooting of black teenager Michael Brown.

Alabama man charged in killing over DVDs cites 'stand your ground' law

- An Alabama man charged with stabbing his cousin to death after fighting over DVDs of "The Fast and the Furious" films wants his case thrown out because he acted in self-defense under the state's "stand your ground" law, prosecutors said on Thursday.

Oregon teenager pleads guilty, sentenced in swastika attack

PORTLAND Ore. - An Oregon teenager pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 11 years in prison on Thursday for taking part in an attack on a friend who was beaten, forced to eat cat feces and had a swastika carved into his forehead, prosecutors said.

Houston police face heat for death of wayward Chihuahua

HOUSTON - Houston police defended their actions on Thursday after facing criticism for an arrest last month where two people were taken into custody and a pet dog was left at the scene, eventually dying after apparently being hit by a car.

U.S. watchdog finds Pentagon broke law in Bergdahl transfer

WASHINGTON - The Defense Department violated U.S. law by failing to alert Congress before releasing five Taliban members held at Guantanamo Bay military prison in exchange for a captured U.S. soldier, a government watchdog agency said on Thursday.

California attorney general appeals ruling on death penalty system

- California's attorney general said on Thursday she is appealing a federal district court decision last month that found the state's death penalty system unconstitutional on the grounds it took so long it amounted to cruel and unusual punishment.

Ban on filling swimming pools hits communities in parched California

SAN FRANCISCO - The California dream of owning a house with a sparkling swimming pool is drying up for would-be swimmers in communities across the state as some local water districts have banned homeowners from filling empty pools in drought-stricken areas.

Oklahoma City policeman arrested for raping women while on patrol

OKLAHOMA CITY - An Oklahoma City police officer was arrested on Thursday on suspicion of sexually assaulting at least six women while on patrol, police said.

Top architect Hadid files defamation lawsuit over book review

NEW YORK - Zaha Hadid, an award-winning architect known for futuristic designs, sued The New York Review of Books and the architecture critic Martin Filler on Thursday over alleged defamatory statements about her in a recent book review.

Death of Connecticut boy left in hot car ruled a homicide

MILFORD Conn. - A 15-month-old Connecticut boy's death in a hot car last month was ruled a homicide Thursday by the chief state medical examiner’s office.

Work planned to quell underground fire near Pittsburgh airport

PITTSBURGH - Work will begin next month to extinguish a 10-acre (four-hectare) coal fire that has been burning near Pittsburgh International Airport for years, potentially threatening radar, visibility and a major underground gas pipeline, state officials said on Thursday.

Florida governor vows record education spending in re-election bid

TALLAHASSEE - Governor Rick Scott, under intense criticism by his main opponent for cuts in school spending, on Thursday promised record spending on education next year if he wins a tough re-election campaign.

Judge blocks North Carolina school voucher program

- A North Carolina judge on Thursday blocked the state's new school voucher program, saying it unconstitutionally diverted money from public education to private schools, many of them religious.

One dead, one injured in New York boat explosion

- One person was killed and another was injured in a boat explosion at a New York marina fuel station, police said on Thursday.

Ford tells U.S. dealers to stop selling some C-Max, Focus models

DETROIT - Ford Motor Co has told its U.S. dealers to stop test-driving and selling C-Max and Focus models produced during a week this month because of potential problems with the steering gear assembly, a notice sent to dealers on Wednesday shows.

Weather system east of Caribbean could turn into tropical storm

- An area of low pressure located east of the Caribbean Sea has a 50 percent chance of becoming a tropical depression or storm in the next 48 hours, U.S. forecasters said on Thursday.

Public safe as two Americans treated for Ebola released from hospital: doctor

ATLANTA - Two American aid workers discharged from an Atlanta hospital after being treated for Ebola pose no health risk to the public, an Emory University Hospital doctor said on Thursday.

Colorado voters to weigh in on GMO food labeling

- Colorado voters in November will have their say on a proposition that would require labels on foods that contain genetically modified ingredients, or GMOS.

Hundreds pay it forward at Florida Starbucks in generosity rally

TAMPA Fla. - The rally of java generosity began on Wednesday morning at a Starbucks in Florida, when one patron offered to buy an iced triple grande latte for the next customer in the drive-through line.

New York City bill requires reports on solitary confinement

NEW YORK - The New York City Council approved a bill on Thursday requiring corrections officials to publish regular reports on the use of solitary confinement in city jails and the notorious Rikers Island complex.

Giant Palestine flag draped on New York bridge under investigation

NEW YORK - New York City detectives were searching on Thursday for activists suspected of unfurling a massive Palestine flag over the side of an East River bridge during a march in support of Palestinians in Gaza, police said.

Marching and praying, U.S. clerics seek to restore calm in Ferguson

FERGUSON Mo. - Some clad in clerical collars and others in flowing robes, religious leaders have descended on Ferguson, Missouri, to help end nearly two weeks of violence sparked by the police killing of an unarmed black teenager.

Arkansas college student impaled by flying golf club at fraternity

LITTLE ROCK - An 18-year-old female Arkansas State University student was in critical condition at a hospital after being impaled in the neck by a golf club that broke apart in an accident at a fraternity, university and hospital officials said on Thursday.

Virginia's ex-governor testifies he has moved out of family home

RICHMOND Va. - Former Virginia Governor Robert McDonnell testified on Thursday he was no longer living with his wife, having moved out of his home and into a church about a week before the start of their trial on bribery and corruption charges.

Virginia man named Stoner busted on marijuana charge: police

- A Virginia man with the last name Stoner has been arrested for having $10,000 worth of marijuana plants, police said Thursday.

U.S. opens criminal probe of journalist Foley's death: Holder

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Justice Department is conducting a criminal investigation of the death of American journalist James Foley, Attorney General Eric Holder said on Thursday.

Friend of Boston bomb suspect may get 7-year term in plea deal

BOSTON - A friend of suspected Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev pleaded guilty on Thursday to charges of hindering the investigation into the blasts under a plea agreement in which he would serve no more than seven years in prison.

California bill would increase penalties for soliciting minors for sex

SACRAMENTO Calif. - Adults convicted of soliciting underage prostitutes for sex will spend a minimum of two days in jail and face fines of up to $10,000 under a bill passed by the California legislature on Thursday.

PETA joins protest against sale of rabbit meat at Whole Foods

WASHINGTON - People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has joined a nationwide protest to stop Whole Foods stores from selling rabbit meat, the animal rights group said Thursday.

Federal judge strikes down Florida's gay marriage ban, stays ruling

TAMPA Fla. - A federal judge in north Florida on Thursday struck down the state's gay marriage ban as unconstitutional, but stayed the ruling.

Weapons haul found in Florida man's car after racially charged gas station shooting

- A Florida man pulled over by police near a university in a Jeep laden with guns and military gear is facing hate crime charges after he fired gunshots at a gas station during a racially charged argument with an Arab man.

American doctor treated for Ebola released from hospital

ABIDJAN - An American doctor who contracted Ebola treating victims of the deadly virus in Liberia has been released from a U.S. hospital after receiving treatment with an experimental drug, his charity said on Thursday.

California students charged after plotting school shooting

LOS ANGELES - Two teenagers who conspired to kill three members of staff and many students at a high school in a Los Angeles suburb were charged on Wednesday with one count each of making criminal threats, prosecutors said.

Policeman suspended for pointing rifle at protester in Missouri

FERGUSON Mo. - (Please note: there is strong language used by the police officer in paragraph seven)

Regional water authority envisaged in latest Detroit bankruptcy plan

- Detroit has once again raised the possibility of having a regional water and sewer system authority in the latest version of a debt adjustment plan the city filed in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court late on Wednesday.

Woman sentenced in plot to steal U.S. nuclear secrets

ALBUQUERQUE N.M. - A 71-year-old former contractor at Los Alamos National Laboratory has been sentenced to a year and a day in federal prison after admitting conspiring with her physicist husband to sell U.S. nuclear secrets, prosecutors said on Wednesday.

Ohio clinic to halt surgical abortions due to 2013 state law

CLEVELAND - A suburban Cincinnati clinic will stop performing surgical abortions as a result of a 2013 state law that bars agreements to move women needing emergency care to public hospitals, an attorney for the clinic said on Wednesday.

Police interest in wearable cameras spikes after Ferguson shooting

- Digital Ally Inc has been busy fielding a rush of enquiries from U.S. police departments this past week about its wearable cameras, following the fatal police shooting of an unarmed black teenager that triggered large-scale rioting.

Maryland trooper suspended after accused of being naked in bar

- A Maryland State Police trooper has been put on administrative suspension after sheriff's deputies responded to a call reporting a naked man drinking at a bar in a barbecue restaurant, authorities said on Wednesday.

SeaWorld drops appeal in safety ruling over dead orca trainer

ORLANDO Fla. - SeaWorld Entertainment has ended its appeal of a federal safety agency's citation in connection with the 2010 death of one of its killer whale trainers, the company has told investors.

NYC mayor turns to clergy to heal rift over police choke hold

NEW YORK - New York Mayor Bill de Blasio turned to the city's religious leaders on Wednesday to help heal relations between minority communities after a black man on Staten Island died last month after police put him in a choke hold.

U.S. Ex-Im Bank backers pin hopes on temporary reauthorization

WASHINGTON - Business backers of the U.S. Export-Import Bank said on Wednesday they hope the institution's charter will be extended temporarily while Congress hashes out a longer-term reauthorization of the bank, which some lawmakers are bent on closing.

Boston bomb suspect's friend to plead guilty to obstruction: lawyer

BOSTON - A friend of suspected Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, accused of removing evidence from Tsarnaev's dormitory room, has agreed to plead guilty to charges of obstructing the investigation into the blasts, his attorney said on Wednesday.

Alabama federal judge charged with wife-beating to seek treatment

- An Alabama federal district court judge charged with beating his wife has sought counseling and plans to enter a residential treatment program in the coming days, his attorney said Wednesday.

Fate of captured beluga whales in hands of Georgia judge

ATLANTA - A Georgia aquarium went to court on Wednesday seeking federal permission to bring 18 captured beluga whales to the United States from Russia.

Texas Governor Perry enters 'not guilty' plea to felony charges: newspaper

AUSTIN Texas - Texas Governor Rick Perry, a possible Republican candidate for the 2016 presidential race, has entered a not guilty plea to two felony counts of abuse of power, according to a legal document posted on Wednesday by a newspaper.

Louisiana grocery workers plead guilty in $7 million food aid fraud

NEW ORLEANS - Three workers at a Louisiana grocery store pleaded guilty this week to participating in a $7 million scheme to exchange food assistance benefits for cigarettes and cash, federal prosecutors said on Wednesday.

Phoenix police chief orders probe of fatal shooting by sergeant

PHOENIX - The Phoenix police chief said on Wednesday he has ordered an outside review of his department's criminal investigation into the fatal shooting of a mentally ill woman by a sergeant last week, vowing to review departmental policies and beef up training.

Oklahoma Catholic bishop sues over planned black mass

OKLAHOMA CITY - Oklahoma’s Catholic Archbishop filed a lawsuit on Wednesday to halt the use of what he said were stolen communion wafers destined for a satanic black mass ceremony to be held next month in Oklahoma City.

U.S. military tried, but failed to rescue journalist Foley, other hostages

WASHINGTON - The U.S. military earlier this year carried out an attempt to rescue journalist James Foley and other American hostages held in Syria, a U.S. official said on Wednesday, in an operation that the Pentagon said ultimately failed to find the captives.

Woman with no fingerprints faces theft, forgery charges in Colorado

DENVER - A disbarred lawyer who removed her fingerprints to hide her identity will be extradited to Colorado to faces charges that she swindled at least two people out of their homes, authorities said on Wednesday.

Alaska voters narrowly backing tax cut for oil industry

JUNEAU Alaska - Alaskan voters appear to have narrowly upheld a new law that cut taxes on oil production and is worth up to $1 billion a year for companies such as ConocoPhillips, BP Plc and Exxon Mobil Corp, according to results available on Wednesday.

In case of slain journalist, negotiations, silence, then a chilling warning

WASHINGTON/PARIS - After months of silence from the captors of American journalist James Foley, on the night of Aug. 13, his family received a chilling message: Foley would be executed in retaliation for U.S. air strikes on the militant group Islamic State.

U.S. forces tried but failed to rescue U.S. hostages in Syria

WASHINGTON/EDGARTOWN Mass. - U.S. forces attempted to rescue journalist James Foley and other American hostages during a secret mission into Syria and exchanged gunfire with Islamic State militants only to discover the captives were not there, officials said on Wednesday.

University of New Mexico cancels women's soccer match after hazing

ALBUQUERQUE N.M. - University of New Mexico officials on Wednesday canceled the first match of the women's soccer team's season after a hazing incident that left a teenager in hospital, and they said the UNM athletics department had let down its players.

California bill would let birth certificates reflect same-sex parents

- Birth certificates in California would be changed to more accurately reflect families in which parents are of the same gender under a bill passed by the legislature on Wednesday.

Attorney general visits Missouri town for meetings on fatal shooting

FERGUSON Mo. - Attorney General Eric Holder met with community members in Ferguson, Missouri, on Wednesday and vowed a thorough civil rights probe into the fatal police shooting of an unarmed black teenager that has set off 12 nights of racially charged protests.

Pennsylvania psychologist charged with sexual assault

- A Pennsylvania psychologist was arrested on charges of sexual assault for treating patients with a special brand of "touching therapy" he practiced, the state attorney general said on Wednesday.

Wisconsin priest punished for celebrating Mass with woman dies

- A Wisconsin Jesuit who was punished by Catholic Church authorities for celebrating Mass with a woman priest in violation of Church rules has died at the age of 94, his nephew said on Wednesday.

Convicted Arizona killer Jodi Arias wins delay in penalty phase retrial

PHOENIX - Convicted killer Jodi Arias, who could face the death penalty for the murder of her ex-boyfriend at his Phoenix area home more than six years ago, won a three-week delay on Wednesday in the retrial of the penalty phase of the case.

FBI warns healthcare companies they are targeted by hackers

BOSTON - The FBI has warned that healthcare industry companies are being targeted by hackers, publicizing the issue following an attack on U.S. hospital group Community Health Systems Inc that resulted in the theft of millions of patient records.

Virginia prosecutor questions accountant in ex-governor's trial

RICHMOND Va. - Prosecutors in the bribery and corruption trial of former Virginia Governor Robert McDonnell tried on Wednesday to cast doubt on an accountant’s testimony for the defense that the governor's personal finances were sound.

Lightning hits New Mexico school football practice, six hurt

ALBUQUERQUE N.M. - Six people were injured, one critically, when a lightning bolt struck during a middle school football practice in southern New Mexico, a school spokesman said on Wednesday.

Supreme Court puts hold on gay marriage in Virginia

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Supreme Court stopped gay marriage in Virginia from going ahead on Wednesday, staying an appeals court ruling that had struck down a state ban.

With union deal, curtain falls on Met Opera's labor dispute

NEW YORK - The curtain will rise on Mozart's "Le Nozze di Figaro" next month at New York's Metropolitan Opera after a deal was reached early on Wednesday with the third of its three largest unions, averting a threatened lockout.

Father of Texas 'affluenza' teen arrested for impersonating police officer

DALLAS - The father of the Texas teenager who killed four people while driving drunk and claimed his family's wealth was partially to blame has been arrested for impersonating a police officer, legal documents showed.

U.S. imposes sanctions on alleged Honduran drug gang

WASHINGTON - The United States on Wednesday imposed sanctions on a Honduran group it alleges is responsible for smuggling tens of thousands of kilograms of cocaine each month into the United States.

U.S. hospital breach biggest yet to exploit Heartbleed bug: expert

- Hackers who stole the personal data of about 4.5 million patients of hospital group Community Health Systems Inc broke into the company's computer system by exploiting the "Heartbleed" internet bug, making it the first known large-scale cyber attack using the flaw, according to a security expert.

Many who have left U.S. labor force say they would like to return

WASHINGTON - Mike Yack has left the workforce twice in the last eight years and calls himself retired, yet at age 62 the former General Motors employee does not consider his working life over.

NHTSA unveils new recall search tool

WASHINGTON - U.S. auto safety regulators on Wednesday unveiled a more precise way for vehicle owners to search online to find out if their cars or motorcycles have been recalled by the manufacturer.

Accused bitcoin exchanger loses bid to narrow criminal charges

NEW YORK - A Florida man accused of engaging in a scheme to sell more than $1 million in bitcoins to users of the illicit online marketplace Silk Road on Tuesday lost a bid to narrow his criminal case.

Lawyers for Colorado theater gunman: police lied about media leaks

DENVER - Lawyers for accused Colorado theater gunman James Holmes said on Tuesday two homicide detectives may have perjured themselves when they denied leaking to Fox News details of his plan for the massacre, court documents show.

Islamic State video purports to show beheading of U.S. journalist

BAGHDAD - Islamic State insurgents posted a video on Tuesday purportedly showing the beheading of U.S. journalist James Foley and images of another U.S. journalist whose life they said depended on how the United States acts in Iraq.

Life sentence upheld for U.S. Marine who killed prostitute

HONOLULU - The U.S. Marine Corps Pacific commander has approved the life sentence recommended by a court martial for a former U.S. Marine who murdered a Las Vegas prostitute in Hawaii, a spokesman said Tuesday.

Judge blocks Louisiana governor's move to scrap Common Core tests

NEW ORLEANS - In a blow to Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal's move to withdraw his state from Common Core education standards, a state judge on Tuesday blocked Jindal's plan to scrap a key set of standardized tests due to be introduced in the coming school year.

Two suspected bank robbers lead police on wild chase in Connecticut

WESTPORT Conn. - Two Connecticut men suspected of robbing a bank led police on a wild car and foot chase on Tuesday before being arrested, authorities said.

Funeral planned for Missouri teen shot by police as clashes persist

FERGUSON Mo. - Funeral services are planned on Monday for an unarmed black teenager whose fatal shooting by a white policeman in Missouri has ignited more than a week of racially charged clashes in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson.

California lawmakers pass bill banning inmate sterilizations

SACRAMENTO Calif. - California lawmakers sent a bill to ban sterilization surgeries on inmates in California prisons to Governor Jerry Brown on Tuesday, after media reports and a later audit showed officials failed to follow the state's rules for obtaining consent for the procedure known as tubal ligation from incarcerated women.

Los Angeles schools to ease discipline policies to stem dropouts

LOS ANGELES - Los Angeles schools will take a more lenient approach to offenses such as alcohol possession and fighting to allow students a better chance to graduate, officials said on Tuesday.

Kroger in cross hairs as U.S. gun fight spills into its aisles

- Kroger Co, the largest U.S. supermarket operator, is the latest high-profile company caught in the battle over gun rights and gun control in the United States.

Islamic State says beheads U.S. journalist, holds another

BAGHDAD/BEIRUT - Islamic State insurgents released a video on Tuesday purportedly showing the beheading of U.S. journalist James Foley, who had gone missing in Syria nearly two years ago, and images of another U.S. journalist whose life they said depended on U.S. action in Iraq.

Islamic State says beheads U.S. journalist, holds another

BAGHDAD/BEIRUT - Islamic State insurgents released a video on Tuesday purportedly showing the beheading of U.S. journalist James Foley, who had gone missing in Syria nearly two years ago, and images of another U.S. journalist whose life they said depended on U.S. action in Iraq.

Indicted Texas Governor Perry has fingerprints, mug shot taken

AUSTIN Texas - Texas Governor Rick Perry, a possible Republican presidential candidate in the 2016 race, was fingerprinted and had his mug shot taken by judicial authorities on Tuesday after being indicted last week on two felony charges of abusing power.

California business tax breaks would have to prove effectiveness

SACRAMENTO Calif. - Tax credits aimed at persuading businesses to locate in California would be subject to detailed performance reviews to make sure they are boosting the state's economy under a bill passed on Tuesday by the Legislature.

In riot-hit Ferguson, traffic fines boost tension and budget

NEW YORK - When calm and order is finally restored to Ferguson, Missouri, the city's leaders may find little room to maneuver to resolve an issue that has long inflamed racial tensions: traffic tickets.

Florida pair sentenced in multimillion-dollar coin laundry bank fraud

MIAMI - The leaders of a multimillion-dollar bank fraud and real estate scheme run out of an abandoned Florida coin laundry store have been sentenced to decades in jail by a federal judge.

Scientists warn Florida governor of threat from climate change

TALLAHASSEE Fla. - Five climate scientists warned Florida Governor Rick Scott in a meeting on Tuesday that a steadily rising ocean was a major threat to the state's future, urging it to become a leader in developing solar energy and other clean power sources.

FBI probing reported theft of 1.2 billion Internet credentials

- The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation is investigating a report by a U.S. cybersecurity firm that it uncovered some 1.2 billion Internet logins and passwords amassed by a Russian crime ring, the largest known collection of such stolen data.

Two dead in helicopter crash in Alabama

- Two people died when a helicopter crashed on Tuesday during a flight to inspect power lines in rural western Alabama, authorities said.

Man charged with murder in killing of U.S. Marine's pregnant wife

LOS ANGELES - Prosecutors in Southern California filed murder charges on Tuesday against a man suspected of killing a U.S. Marine's pregnant wife and dumping the 19-year-old woman's body down a mine shaft, authorities said.

Accused bitcoin exchanger loses bid to narrow criminal charges

NEW YORK - A Florida man accused of engaging in a scheme to sell more than $1 million in bitcoins to users of the illicit online marketplace Silk Road on Tuesday lost a bid to narrow his criminal case.

Man pleads guilty over 'Hot Lips' account used to evade U.S. taxes

NEW YORK - A Florida man on Tuesday pleaded guilty in New York to criminal charges for concealing as much $1.1 million in offshore accounts, even after learning that U.S. authorities were cracking down on wealthy Americans evading taxes.

Virginia woman pleads guilty of trying to cut off children's tattoos

- A Virginia woman who tried to remove tattoos on her two young daughters with a heated razor blade has pleaded guilty to felony child abuse, according to court records.

Sister of ex-Virginia governor testifies in his defense

RICHMOND Va. - The youngest sister of former Virginia Governor Robert F. McDonnell testified in his fraud and bribery trial on Tuesday that the governor's wife was "manipulative, unpredictable and can be deceptive."

Islamic State says beheads U.S. journalist

BAGHDAD - Islamic State insurgents who control territory in Iraq and Syria released a video on Tuesday purportedly showing the beheading of U.S. journalist James Foley, who had gone missing in Syria nearly two years ago.

U.S. government's nuclear watchdog victim of cyber attacks: report

BOSTON - The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission was "successfully hacked" three times in recent years in attacks involving tainted emails, according to an internal investigation on cyber attacks at the agency, Nextgov.com reported on Tuesday.

Calpers set to allow 100 extra pay types count toward pensions

LOS ANGELES - The California Public Employees' Retirement System (Calpers), America's largest public pension fund, is expected to approve nearly 100 types of extra pay on Wednesday that will count toward how pensions are calculated for newly hired workers.

Beloved New York bar wins reprieve from wrecking ball

NEW YORK - Owners of the 77-year-old Subway Inn, a New York bar where celebrities like Marilyn Monroe and Joe DiMaggio once mingled, won a court order on Tuesday temporarily blocking their imminent eviction from the site, the business said.

Islamic State says beheads U.S. journalist

BAGHDAD - Islamic State insurgents released a video on Tuesday purportedly showing the beheading of U.S. journalist James Foley, who had gone missing in Syria nearly two years ago.

Texas animal centers 'empty shelters' with massive pet adoption

DALLAS - More than 2,200 dogs and cats found new homes after animal shelters in north Texas joined forces, waived fees and launched a grand campaign to clear space in crowded cages.

Pennsylvania teens to stand trial in freeway rock-throwing incident

LEWISBURG Pa. - Four Pennsylvania teenagers were ordered on Tuesday to stand trial on felony assault charges after prosecutors said they went on a night-long rampage that ended with an Ohio woman critically injured by a rock thrown from a highway overpass.

Man exonerated of murder settles suit against New York for $10 million

NEW YORK - A man who was incarcerated for 16 years for a murder he did not commit has settled a lawsuit against New York City for $10 million, two months before his case was scheduled to go to trial.

Family of Michigan woman sues homeowner in porch shooting case

DETROIT - The family of a 19-year-old black woman shot dead by a white suburban homeowner after she knocked on his door early in the morning last November filed a wrongful death lawsuit against him on Tuesday.

Marketing push, harsh northern winter spur record Florida tourism

TALLAHASSEE Fla. - A record 24 million tourists visited Florida this spring, up 3 percent from 2013, spurred by unusually cold northern weather, a Google program that allows virtual beach tours and aggressive marketing, a state official said on Tuesday.

Missouri racial violence recalls apartheid, U.N. rights chief says

GENEVA - Clashes between police and protesters in the U.S. town of Ferguson are reminiscent of the racial violence spawned by apartheid in her native South Africa, the top U.N. human rights official said on Tuesday.

Oklahoma police officer charged with murdering daughter's boyfriend

OKLAHOMA CITY - A Tulsa police officer has been charged with first degree murder on suspicion of shooting dead his daughter's boyfriend when the 19-year-old tried to introduce himself, court officials said on Tuesday.

Former top Obama aide to lead Uber's global political campaign

SAN FRANCISCO - Uber has enlisted David Plouffe, President Barack Obama's 2008 campaign advisor, to devise and run its global political and branding strategy, as the fast-growing car rides-on-demand firm runs into stiff resistance from taxi companies in some cities.

N.Y. state demands thrift stores comply with ban on child drawstring apparel

NEW YORK - Dozens of New York thrift stores selling children's clothing with drawstrings have received cease and desist letters as part of a clampdown on the sale of products that the state has long banned in retail outlets, officials said on Tuesday.

Indicted Texas Governor Perry to turn himself in for fingerprints, photo

AUSTIN Texas - Texas Governor Rick Perry plans to turn himself in to authorities for fingerprinting and a mug shot on Tuesday after he was indicted by a jury in the state last week on two felony charges of abusing power, local news reports said.

Climber proposes to girlfriend before falling to death at Yosemite: report

- A veteran outdoorsman fell to his death on a solo climb at Yosemite National Park in California the same day he proposed to his girlfriend, a newspaper reported.

Florida woman shoots grandson, 7, after mistaking him for intruder

TAMPA Fla. - A 7-year-old Florida boy was in critical but stable condition on Tuesday after being shot by his grandmother, who mistakenly thought he was an intruder, sheriff's officials said.

Florida lawyer among dead in Bahamas plane crash

ORLANDO Fla. - A small plane crash in the sea off the island of Grand Bahama on Monday killed Ormond Beach lawyer R. Michael Kennedy, who worked for a travel services company, according to a Florida newspaper.

NYC grand jury to hear police chokehold case

NEW YORK - A New York City prosecutor said on Tuesday he will present evidence to a grand jury next month in the death of an unarmed man who police put in a chokehold while arresting him.

Connecticut man charged with fatally stabbing niece

- A Connecticut man has been charged with murder for fatally stabbing his infant niece while babysitting the 1-year-old girl, police said on Tuesday.

Convicted Oregon bomber sentenced to 15 years in federal prison

PORTLAND Ore. - A man convicted of bombing an Oregon district attorney's office last year in a bid to delay his prosecution on unrelated burglary charges was sentenced on Monday to 15 years in federal prison.

Remains from U.S.'s Mount St. Helens belong to Japanese hiker

SEATTLE - Human remains discovered on Washington state's Mount St. Helens have been identified as a Japanese hiker who went missing last November while trying to climb to the volcano's summit alone, officials said Tuesday.

Federal rejection leaves immigrant in limbo at Arizona church

TUCSON Ariz. - Federal officials have denied an undocumented immigrant's application to remain in the United States, leaving her to live in sanctuary, and legal limbo, at a southern Arizona church.

Ex-Virginia teacher indicted in attack on legislator's wife

- A former Virginia high school teacher who police say attacked the wife of a state legislator was indicted by a grand jury on Monday on three felony charges of entering a house armed, abduction and malicious wounding, according to court documents.

Texas' Perry to fight indictment, casting shadow on possible 2016 run

AUSTIN Texas - Texas Governor Rick Perry will vigorously fight a two-count felony indictment returned by a state grand jury last week charging him with abuse of power, his lawyers said on Monday, calling the prosecution "outrageous."

Two California youths accused of plotting high school shooting spree

LOS ANGELES - Police in the Los Angeles suburb of South Pasadena said on Monday they had thwarted a mass shooting plot with the arrest of two teenagers who were conspiring to kill several staffers and as many fellow students as possible at their high school.

Small plane from Florida crashes off Bahamas, four dead

MIAMI - Four people died after their small plane crashed in the sea off the island of Grand Bahama on Monday, according to Bahamian officials.

National Guard deploys as curfew lifted in violence-hit Missouri town

FERGUSON Mo. - Missouri's governor lifted the curfew for the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson on Monday as National Guard troops were called out after days of violent unrest sparked by the fatal shooting of an unarmed black teenager by a white policeman.

With Sterling saga over, Ballmer gets ovation from Clipper Nation

LOS ANGELES - With his trademark top-of-the-lungs, high-fiving, rambunctious enthusiasm, former Microsoft Corp chief executive Steve Ballmer introduced himself to Los Angeles Clippers fans on Monday, promising a new era for the NBA team after former owner Donald Sterling was banned for life over racist remarks.

Oklahoma suspends top freshman running back for entire season

- Oklahoma Sooner freshman running back Joe Mixon, one of the school's top recruits in 2014, was suspended on Monday for the entire college football season after being accused of assaulting a woman, local media said.

San Diego elected officials override mayor's minimum wage veto

SAN DIEGO - The San Diego City Council on Monday overrode the mayor's veto of a bill to gradually raise the minimum wage in California's second-largest city to $11.50 an hour by January 2017, enacting a measure aimed mostly at helping low-paid restaurant and retail workers.

Mother, adult son killed by commuter train in Oregon

PORTLAND Ore. - A commuter train killed a mother and her adult son in Oregon after the man leapt into the woman's motorized wheelchair and apparently hit the controls, propelling them both onto the tracks, officials said on Monday.

Small plane from Florida crashes off Bahamas, four missing

MIAMI - The United States Coast Guard is searching for four missing people after a small plane that took off from Florida crashed Monday morning in the ocean near the western Bahamas.

Advocates urge U.S. top court not to block gay marriage in Virginia

WASHINGTON - Gay marriage supporters on Monday asked the U.S. Supreme Court not to block a court ruling that would allow same-sex couples to wed in Virginia.

California flight stowaway released from jail after three days

LOS ANGELES - A woman with a history of sneaking aboard commercial flights was released from a Los Angeles County jail after serving only three days of a six-month sentence because of overcrowding in the lockup, authorities said on Monday.

Jury selection starts for Texas teacher charged with killing boy with car

DALLAS - Jury selection began Monday in the trial of a former Texas school teacher accused of killing a 6-year-old boy in a 2013 hit-and-run accident who was arrested after a much publicized, nearly week-long manhunt.

Mississippi suspect accused of shooting man over mixed-race grandkids

- A Mississippi man charged with shooting and beating his mother's boyfriend has been accused of carrying out the attack in anger over the victim's mixed-race grandchildren, police said on Monday.

Ex-Guatemalan drug kingpin pleads guilty to U.S. charges

- The patriarch of a Guatemalan family linked by authorities to Mexico's Sinaloa drug cartel pleaded guilty on Monday to conspiring to import more than 450 kilograms (992 pounds) of Colombian cocaine into the United States.

Colorado woman in court on charges of abusing seven-year-old daughter

DENVER - A Colorado woman appeared in court on Monday for the first time after being charged with abusing her 7-year-old daughter who suffered from seizures and was unable to walk or speak when found living amid squalor, prosecutors said.

Girl plunges 550 feet to her death at Yellowstone National Park

- A young girl plunged some 550 feet to her death at Yellowstone National Part on Sunday after stepping off a trail overlooking a 1,200-foot canyon and losing her footing, a park official said on Monday.

Wisconsin ex-policeman pleads not guilty in suitcase corpse case

KENOSHA Wis. - A former Wisconsin police officer entered a plea of not guilty to a charge of first-degree homicide in a case where he is accused of choking a woman to death, stuffing her body in a suitcase and dumping the luggage on a rural road.

$150 million convention center eyed for North Dakota oil patch

WILLISTON - A subsidiary of real estate developer The Prime Group Inc said on Monday it plans to build a $150 million convention center in Williston, North Dakota, aiming to supply a world-class meeting space for the fast-growing oil boom community.

New Orleans police superintendent steps down

NEW ORLEANS - New Orleans Police Superintendent Ronal Serpas announced his retirement on Monday, bringing to a close a four-year tenure marked by a drop in murders, a reduction in the number of officers on patrol and federal demands to reform the department.

Second pot shop opens in Seattle amid slow start to legal sales

SEATTLE - Seattle's second retail marijuana store opened on Monday to a long line of customers, more than a month after Washington became the second U.S. state to legalize the recreational sale of cannabis to adults.

Neighbor arrested in murder of California Marine's missing wife

LOS ANGELES - A neighbor of the pregnant wife of a U.S. Marine who went missing in June from the couple's home in California has been arrested in Anchorage, Alaska, in connection with her murder, law enforcement officials in both states said on Monday.

Weekend shootings in NYC leave two dead, 21 injured

NEW YORK - Two people were killed and 21 injured in more than a dozen separate shootings in New York City over the weekend, police said on Monday.

Husband of U.S. missionary with Ebola visits her after quarantine ends

WINSTON-SALEM N.C. - The husband of an American missionary stricken with Ebola has finished a health monitoring period without showing signs of the disease and was able to visit his wife at the Atlanta hospital where she is being treated, a missionary group said on Monday.

Husband of U.S. missionary with Ebola visits her after quarantine ends

WINSTON-SALEM N.C. - The husband of an American missionary stricken with Ebola has finished a health monitoring period without showing signs of the disease and was able to visit his wife at the Atlanta hospital where she is being treated, a missionary group said on Monday.

New York City council speaker reveals HPV diagnosis to raise awareness

NEW YORK - The speaker of the New York City Council, Melissa Mark-Viverito, announced at the weekend that she has a "high-risk" form of HPV to try to raise awareness about the common but often stigmatized sexually transmitted infection.

Republican-turned-independent former U.S. Senator Jeffords dies

WASHINGTON - James Jeffords, a soft-spoken Vermonter whose defection from the Republican Party in 2001 created an unprecedented power shift in the U.S. Senate and gave Democrats control of the chamber for 18 months, died on Monday at age 80, his former aide said.

Republican-turned-independent former U.S. Senator Jeffords dies

WASHINGTON - James Jeffords, a soft-spoken Vermonter whose defection from the Republican Party in 2001 created an unprecedented power shift in the U.S. Senate and gave Democrats control of the chamber for 18 months, has died at age 80, U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy said on Monday.

Cost of raising a child in U.S. tops $245,000, USDA says

WASHINGTON - An average middle-income family in the United States can expect to spend about $245,000 over 18 years to raise a child born in 2013, the U.S. government estimated on Monday.

Defense opens case in corruption trial of Virginia ex-governor, wife

RICHMOND Va. - The defense begins its case on Monday in the bribery and corruption trial of former Virginia Governor Robert McDonnell and his wife, Maureen, with Robert McDonnell expected to testify at some point.

NY's Met Opera, two unions reach tentative deal to avert lockout

- New York's Metropolitan Opera reached tentative contract agreements on Monday with unions representing its orchestra and chorus, federal mediators said, after tense negotiations that had threatened to derail the new season due to open next month.

Autopsy finds unarmed teen killed by police was shot six times: NYT

- A preliminary private autopsy report found that Michael Brown, the black teen killed by a police officer in the suburban St. Louis city of Ferguson, was shot at least six times, the New York Times reported on Sunday night.

Autopsy finds unarmed teen killed by police was shot six times: NYT

- A preliminary private autopsy report found that Michael Brown, the black teen killed by a police officer in the suburban St. Louis city of Ferguson, was shot at least six times, the New York Times reported on Sunday night.

U.S. farmers fight poisonous wheat fungus with cleaning, waiting

CHICAGO - Dave Wiechert of Nashville, Illinois, does good business most years cleaning seed for farmers in preparation for planting season. But this year, Wiechert is doing big business after harvest: cleaning fungus off wheat so farmers can sell it.

Abducted Amish girls were sexually abused by captors: New York Times

- Two young Amish sisters whose abduction touched off a frantic search in northern New York were sexually abused by their captors, the New York Times reported.

California vintage car auctions: It's not all million-dollar autos

MONTEREY Calif. - The 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO that sold for $38.1 million last Thursday got the headlines. But there's another side to the week of automobile auctions that precede Sunday's 64th annual Concours d'Elegance classic-car show at the Pebble Beach golf resort.

Two dead, two hurt in Arkansas freight train collision

- Two people were killed and two were injured in northern Arkansas early on Sunday when two Union Pacific freight trains carrying toxic substances collided, Arkansas State Police said.

Maryland man killed after shooting and stabbing daughter, police say

- A Maryland man shot and stabbed his 3-year-old daughter to death before dying himself in a gunfight with police, authorities in Prince George's County near Washington, D.C., said on Sunday.

California teen arrested after threats of school attacks made

- A 15-year-old California boy was arrested Sunday in connection with threats of attacks against high schools near Los Angeles posted on social media, law enforcement officials said.

Curfew re-imposed in Missouri city where black teen shot by police

FERGUSON Mo. - Authorities on Sunday imposed a midnight curfew for the second night a row in the tense St. Louis suburb where an unarmed black teen was shot to death last week by police, seeking to secure an elusive peace as protesters continued to gather.

Tourism vs. Reality TV: Exploiting Pennsylvania's Amish

HARRISBURG Pa. - They typically wear plain clothing with nothing as fancy as a button or a zipper, travel by horse-drawn buggy and shun modern conveniences like electricity.

Protesters take to streets again ahead of curfew in Ferguson

FERGUSON Mo. - Hundreds of demonstrators in Ferguson, Missouri, angry at the shooting death of a black teenager by a white police officer took to the streets in the rain on Saturday night, ahead of a planned curfew called for by the state's governor.

Russian accused of hacking detained by U.S.

SEATTLE - A Russian accused of hacking U.S. retailers' computer systems to steal credit card data has been ordered by a Washington State judge to be held pending his trial in October, citing risks that he could flee the country, prosecutors said.

Chips are down for Atlantic City's hard-luck Revel Casino

- When the $2.4 billion Revel Casino opened its doors in 2012, the curvy blue-glass tower was hailed as the wave of the future for Atlantic City, New Jersey.

Drunk commuter stabs three men on New York City subway platform

NEW YORK - A drunken commuter stabbed and wounded three men with a knife as he got off a subway train arriving at New York's Grand Central Terminal early on Saturday morning, police said.

Two arrested in kidnapping of two upstate New York Amish sisters

NEW YORK - A man and a woman have been arrested in connection with the kidnapping of two young Amish sisters from their family farm stand near New York's border with Canada, the county district attorney said on Friday.

Alabama teenager sent home from school over dyed-red hair

- An Alabama teenager with dyed-red hair was sent home from school by her principal over concerns that her mane was too bright and distracting, the girl's mother said on Friday.

Feeling lucky? Los Angeles mulls lottery system in local elections

LOS ANGELES - Los Angeles city leaders are considering a lottery system to reward citizens for casting a ballot in local elections, in a measure to combat low voter turnout that officials and outside observers say could be a first for any U.S. municipality.

Task force to investigate string of 29 arsons in central Florida

ORLANDO Fla. - A string of 29 arson fires targeting historic buildings across central Florida prompted investigators on Friday to form a multi-agency task force to share clues.

California expands tax credit for stealth bomber to Northrop Grumman

SACRAMENTO Calif. - California on Friday offered tax incentives to an aerospace company seeking to build the next generation of stealth bombers, after controversy that the state had earlier offered the valuable tax breaks only to its main competitor.

Professional fighter 'War Machine' arrested in L.A. area: report

LOS ANGELES - A professional fighter sought by authorities after his former girlfriend accused him of attacking her and a friend at her home in Las Vegas has been arrested in the Los Angeles area, the Las Vegas Review-Journal newspaper reported on Friday.

Judge allows lawsuits against cinema owner in Colorado massacre

DENVER - A federal judge has again refused to dismiss wrongful death and personal injury lawsuits filed against a movie theater chain by victims of a 2012 mass shooting at a Colorado cinema where 12 people were killed and dozens injured.

New Mexico teenagers plead not guilty to killing homeless men

ALBUQUERQUE N.M. - Three Albuquerque teenagers pleaded not guilty on Friday to charges of first-degree murder in the beating deaths of two homeless American Indian men that shocked New Mexico's biggest city.

Professional fighter 'War Machine' arrested in L.A. area

LOS ANGELES - A professional fighter sought by authorities after his former girlfriend accused him of attacking her and a friend at her home in Las Vegas has been arrested in the Los Angeles area, officials said on Friday.

Boy who caught Las Vegas flight at nine clear of court supervision

MINNEAPOLIS - A young boy who stowed-away on a flight to Las Vegas after getting through security at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport last October has been released from court oversight, prosecutors said on Friday.

Results delayed in army probe of former prisoner of war Bergdahl

- An Army general investigating the circumstances leading to the capture of former U.S. prisoner of war Bowe Bergdahl by the Taliban will need several more weeks to complete a final report, a military spokesman said Friday.

Officer in Missouri shooting unaware teen was a suspect: police

FERGUSON Mo. - Minutes before a police officer shot him dead, Michael Brown had become a suspect in the theft of cigars from a store, according to police reports released on Friday after days of protests in a St. Louis suburb over the unarmed black teenager's death.

Philadelphia schools to open on schedule despite shortfall

PHILADELPHIA - Philadelphia’s cash-strapped public schools will open on schedule in three weeks after $32 million of budget cuts, the school district's superintendent said on Friday, easing fears of closures or a late start to the school year to save money.

Connecticut schools should have unarmed guards to prevent shootings: expert

HARTFORD Conn. - A security expert told the Connecticut panel reviewing the response to the 2012 massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School that the state should rely on well trained, but not armed, guards to prevent such incidents in the future.

Nesting hawks attack passersby at New Mexico university

- A family of hawks protecting their nest at New Mexico State University in Las Cruces have attacked at least six people in recent weeks, leaving one person dazed, a doctor at the campus said on Friday.

Utah woman critical after drinking restaurant's tainted tea

SALT LAKE CITY - A Utah woman was in critical condition in hospital on Friday, five days after suffering burns to her mouth and esophagus from drinking sweet tea laced with a powerful lye-based cleaning solvent at a local restaurant.

Oregon boy, 14, shot in face by teenage friend: police

PORTLAND Ore. - A 15-year-old Oregon boy shot a 14-year-old friend in the face with a pistol taken from a gun safe in his home, leaving the younger teen in critical condition in hospital, authorities said on Friday.

Fearing booby-traps, bidders skip auction of 2007 New Hampshire standoff site

BOSTON - An auction for 100 wooded acres in New Hampshire that were the site of a nine-month standoff between an anti-government couple and federal agents closed without any bids on Friday, possibly because of fears it could be booby-trapped, authorities said.

NASCAR tells drivers to stay in cars in wake of fatal crash

- NASCAR on Friday said it would forbid drivers from getting out of their cars during caution periods following an on-track fatality last weekend when three-time champion Tony Stewart struck another driver.

Exclusive: Oil-by-rail project for shut California refinery nears approval

- The first new crude-by-rail project at a California refinery is likely to win approval next month after more than a year of scrutiny, the head of the Kern County planning division told Reuters, and it could help reopen the shuttered plant.

A seminary behind bars seeks to change Texas prison system

ROSHARON Texas - In a solitary confinement unit at a maximum-security prison in Texas, convicted murderer Troup Foster offers spiritual guidance to offenders as a part of a program designed to spark a cultural change in the country's largest prison system.

U.S. doctor with Ebola hopes to leave Atlanta hospital soon

WINSTON-SALEM N.C. - The Texas doctor being treated for Ebola said on Friday that he was "recovering in every way" at an Atlanta hospital and hoped to be released soon.

Judge rejects acquittal bids in corruption trial of Virginia ex-governor, wife

RICHMOND Va. - A federal judge on Friday rejected defense motions that former Virginia Governor Robert McDonnell and his wife be acquitted in their corruption and bribery trial.

In CDC bird flu mix-up, U.S. agency cites sloppy science, failed reporting

NEW YORK - A U.S. government scientist working with bird flu rushed through lab procedures in order to get to a staff meeting, setting off what could have been a fatal mishap, health officials said on Friday.

Houston woman pleads guilty to threatening to kill Obama

HOUSTON - A Houston woman who goes by the name Teddy Bear Paradise pleaded guilty on Friday to threatening to assassinate President Barack Obama, prosecutors said on Friday.

Phoenix police say veteran officer shot, killed mentally ill woman

PHOENIX - A mentally ill woman was shot and killed by a Phoenix police sergeant at an apartment complex in the city after she threatened officers with a claw hammer, police officials said on Friday.

Teens busted after sneaking into home of basketball star Ray Allen

MIAMI - Seven teenagers were questioned by south Florida police after sneaking into the house of former Miami Heat basketball star Ray Allen and could face charges after frightening his wife and children, officials say.

Former Mexican policeman wanted in homicide arrested in Colorado

DENVER - A former Mexican police officer, wanted in his home country for allegedly shooting to death a man nearly 15 years ago with his government-issued AR-15 rifle, has been arrested in Colorado, U.S. immigration officials said on Friday.

U.S. court upholds FERC rules on electric grid planning

WASHINGTON - A U.S. court on Friday upheld rules from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission calling on utilities to take various actions, including increased planning of large transmission projects.

Measles outbreak in Ohio appears to be ending: health officials

CLEVELAND - A massive measles outbreak in Ohio that was behind the largest outbreak of the disease in the United States in two decades appears to be coming to an end, with no new confirmed cases in the state in nearly a month, state officials said on Friday.

San Jose police fatally shoot woman, 19, holding power drill

- A 19-year-old woman brandishing a power drill was shot dead by a police officer in San Jose on Thursday, police said.

End of tax credit in North Carolina could send filmmakers packing

RALEIGH N.C. - The looming end of tax breaks that helped lure major film and television productions such as the Hunger Games and Sleepy Hollow to North Carolina has supporters fearing Hollywood will take its bright lights to states with more generous incentives.

After crisis-filled start, Obama's vacation pace slows for a day

OAK BLUFFS Mass. - Nearly a week after arriving on the island of Martha's Vineyard in Massachusetts, U.S. President Barack Obama appeared to take his first full day off since the start of his summer retreat.

U.S. court revives challenge to New York City circumcision law

NEW YORK - A federal appeals court on Friday revived an effort to block a New York City regulation that requires people who perform a Jewish circumcision ritual on infants that involves oral suction to first obtain parental consent.

Chinese national charged with hacking U.S. defense contractors

- A Chinese businessman has been indicted in California on charges he hacked the computer systems of Boeing Co and other U.S. defense contractors and stole confidential plans for military aircraft, federal prosecutors said on Friday.

Child's play takes a turn at new Texas playground for elderly

DALLAS - The label is "playground," the apparatus is bright and shiny, but those using the well-cushioned space in east Texas are elderly people trying to loosen stiff joints at a park designed just for them.

Fire erupts under New Jersey's Pulaski Skyway during rebuilding

NEW YORK - Work on a project to rebuild New Jersey's crumbling Pulaski Skyway ground to a halt on Friday afternoon when a fire erupted along the supporting base of the elevated roadway that connects Jersey City and Newark, a state transportation official said.

Sheriff and son accused of pistol-whipping New Mexico motorist

ALBUQUERQUE N.M. - FBI agents arrested a New Mexico sheriff and his son on Friday after the lawman allegedly pistol-whipped a motorist following a high-speed car chase, officials said.

Exclusive - Wife defines stakes in Oklahoma divorce: $17 billion

OKLAHOMA CITY - More than $17 billion of Oklahoma oilman Harold Hamm's fortune could be subject to division with his estranged wife, according to an economic analysis presented in their divorce trial, defining the stakes in one of the biggest battles ever over a marital estate.

Al Qaeda tells family to press U.S. to negotiate hostage release

DUBAI - Al Qaeda told the family of a U.S. hostage kidnapped three years ago in Pakistan to press their government to exchange him for prisoners held by the United States, in a message posted on the Internet on Friday.

Missouri protests calmer after governor puts black police captain in charge

FERGUSON Mo. - Protests over the shooting of an unarmed black teen in Missouri were boisterous but peaceable on Thursday night as a small number of state police, led by a newly appointed black captain, replaced riot gear-clad local forces and mingled with the crowd.

Thailand stops U.S. and Australian couples leaving with surrogate babies: advocate

SYDNEY - U.S. and Australian couples attempting to leave Thailand with babies born by surrogate mothers have been stopped at the airport and prevented from leaving the country in recent days, an Australian surrogacy advocate said on Friday.

Police investigate possible premeditated murder of U.S. tourist in Bali

DENPASAR Indonesia - Indonesian police said on Friday those responsible for the killing of an American woman, whose remains were found inside a bloodied suitcase on the resort island of Bali, could face the death penalty if the case is deemed premeditated murder.

Los Angeles man convicted of ex-girlfriend's murder 35 years later

LOS ANGELES - A Southern California man, who prosecutors say stabbed and strangled his ex-girlfriend to death in 1979, was found guilty of her murder by a Los Angeles jury on Thursday, more than three decades later.

Former Florida mayor acquitted on federal extortion charges

MIAMI - A federal jury acquitted a Miami-area mayor on Thursday on charges that he accepted thousands of dollars from FBI agents during an undercover sting operation.

Washington state school officials criticize federal 'failing' status

SEATTLE - Superintendents from 28 Washington state school districts have begun sending letters to parents that criticize the classification of many schools as failing under federal standards, education officials said on Thursday.

Billboards go up for fugitive Mexican drug lord wanted in U.S.

SAN DIEGO - Federal authorities offering a $5 million reward for a fugitive Mexican drug lord who killed a U.S. anti-narcotics agent in the 1980s have taken the unusual step of plastering his face on billboards in southwestern border states.

Arrests made in New Orleans shooting that left two dead, toddler blind

NEW ORLEANS - Police on Thursday arrested two men suspected of carrying out a drive-by shooting in New Orleans over the weekend that left two people dead and five wounded, including two toddlers who were shot in the head.

'Whitey' Bulger appeals 2013 racketeering conviction on 11 murders

BOSTON - Lawyers for former Boston mobster James "Whitey" Bulger on Thursday filed a formal appeal of the sweeping 2013 racketeering conviction on charges of committing or ordering 11 murders in the 1970s and 1980s.

The other Texas border deployment: doctors, dentists, opticians

MISSION Texas - For the Texas State and National Guard, Operation Lone Star is a disaster preparedness exercise. For public health experts, it is a humanitarian mission. And for Itzel, a teenage schoolgirl, it is a chance to finally get glasses so she can read textbooks.

New Hampshire declares state of emergency over synthetic drug

MANCHESTER N.H. - New Hampshire Governor Maggie Hassan declared a state of emergency on Thursday in response to 44 reported overdoses linked to people smoking or ingesting "Smacked," a synthetic marijuana-like product sold in convenience stores as potpourri.

Idaho group proposes controversial annual hunting contest

SALMON Idaho - The sponsors of a controversial wolf-hunting competition in Idaho last year are proposing an annual contest on federal lands that rewards participants for bagging as many animals as they can in three days, organizers said Thursday.

Official asks U.S. chief justice to block Virginia gay marriages

WASHINGTON - A county clerk in Virginia on Thursday asked U.S. Chief Justice John Roberts to block an appeals court ruling that would allow gay marriages to go ahead for the first time in the state next week.

New Jersey man charged with double murder, making child pornography

- A New Jersey man has been charged with murdering his cousin and her 10-year-old foster daughter after he was caught taking pornographic pictures of the child, authorities said on Thursday.

Ex-manager at indicted money exchange pleads guilty to U.S. charges

NEW YORK - A former manager at indicted digital currency exchange Liberty Reserve pleaded guilty on Thursday in New York to federal charges of conspiracy and operating an unlicensed money transmitting business.

FBI agent accused of misconduct in California politics probe

SAN FRANCISCO - One of the primary FBI agents investigating California state Senator Leland Yee was removed from the probe and reprimanded for financial misconduct, according to a court filing from one of the other defendants in the case.

Arizona math teacher arrives drunk to class and keeps drinking: police

PHOENIX - An Arizona math teacher arrived drunk at her high school and hit the bottle again in the classroom, where she yelled at her students before one of the pupils alerted administrators, authorities said on Thursday.

FDA warns of fraudulent Ebola drug claims

- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said on Thursday it has become aware of products being sold online that fraudulently claim to prevent or treat Ebola.

Detroit City Council approves bonds to pay bankruptcy settlements

- The Detroit City Council on Thursday approved four bond issues to raise cash to pay settlements with some city creditors, according to the city clerk's office, offering a glimpse at how Detroit intends to finance its exit from the biggest-ever municipal bankruptcy.

Gregg Allman movie production company cited over on-set death

- Federal safety officials on Thursday cited the production company formed to make a film about rock singer Gregg Allman for exposing its workers to grave risk, after an incident in which a crew member died on the Georgia set of "Midnight Rider."Camera assistant Sarah Elizabeth Jones, 27, was killed and eight other crew members were injured when an oncoming train tore through the set while they installed equipment to film on active train tracks and a trestle bridge near Savannah in Feb

Six months in jail for teen who stole from car in Paul Walker crash

LOS ANGELES - A teenager who stole a rooftop panel from the wrecked Porsche of actor Paul Walker, soon after the "Fast and Furious" star was killed in a crash, was sentenced on Thursday to six months in jail, a spokesman for prosecutors said.

At end of round-the-world trip, Kerry's plane breaks down in Hawaii

HONOLULU - The globe-trotting U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry was forced to catch a commercial flight on Thursday after his U.S. Air Force plane encountered technical difficulties before takeoff from Hawaii at the end of a nine-day round-the-world trip.

The other Texas border deployment: doctors, dentists, opticians

MISSION Texas - For the Texas State and National Guard, Operation Lone Star is a disaster preparedness exercise. For public health experts, it is a humanitarian mission. And for Itzel, a teenage schoolgirl, it is a chance to finally get glasses so she can read textbooks.

Missouri takes control of security away from Ferguson police

FERGUSON Mo. - Missouri's governor moved to ease tensions on Thursday after days of racially charged protests over the police shooting of an unarmed black teenager, putting the African-American captain of the Highway Patrol in charge of security in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson.

Search widens for Amish sisters missing in upstate New York

NEW YORK - Two Amish sisters were abducted from their roadside farm stand near New York's border with Canada and a massive hunt to find them was under way on Thursday, the St. Lawrence County Sheriff's Office said.

Family of slain New Hampshire student calls killer 'monster' in court

DOVER N.H. - The mother of a 19-year-old New Hampshire college student slain in October 2012 told the man convicted of raping and murdering Elizabeth Marriott that he "stole her from us" on Thursday, while the victim's grandmother called the killer a "monster."

Philadelphia police seek killer of man shot outside peace concert

PHILADELPHIA - Philadelphia police on Thursday hunted for the shooter of a man slain outside a concert held to promote peace in the streets of the violence-plagued Pennsylvania city.

'Butler' director Daniels faces $25 million suit by hip-hop mogul

- Director Lee Daniels is facing a $25 million lawsuit over claims he failed to pay back hip-hop mogul-turned-fashion entrepreneur Damon Dash, or give him production credits, after Dash invested millions of dollars in his projects.

Arizona State football player tells magazine he is gay

PHOENIX - An Arizona college football player has told a magazine he is gay, probably making him the first active major college football player to come out publicly.

Central America braces for drought-linked food crisis

BOGOTA (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Low rainfall linked to the El Nino weather phenomenon has led to drought in parts of Central America, causing widespread damage to crops, shortages and rising prices of food, and worsening hunger among the region’s poor.

Obama says time for healing, transparency in Missouri shooting

EDGARTOWN Mass. - U.S. President Barack Obama on Thursday called for peace on the streets of Ferguson, Missouri, after the fatal shooting of an unarmed black teenager by a police officer and urged authorities to be transparent in their investigation.

U.S. sovereign group's leader convicted of selling fake IDs

WASHINGTON - A federal jury in Virginia has found an Ohio man who led an anti-government group guilty of selling fake diplomatic IDs to help group members avoid arrest or paying taxes and debts, according to the U.S. attorney's office in Alexandria.

U.S. Embassy dependents to leave Sierra Leone due to Ebola

WASHINGTON - The United States said on Thursday it had ordered family members at the U.S. Embassy in Freetown, Sierra Leone to depart because of limitations on regular medical care as a result of the Ebola outbreak.

Rain, cooler temperatures ease wildfire threat in U.S. Northwest

PORTLAND Ore. - Lower temperatures and scattered rain brought a reprieve Thursday to the wildfire-scorched U.S. Northwest, where firefighters said they hoped to regain control of blazes that had flared during extreme heat this week.

Massachusetts governor signs law tightening state gun rules

BOSTON - Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick has signed into law a measure giving police chiefs authority to turn down a resident's requests to buy a rifle or shotgun if they believe the person may be a danger.

FBI agent testifies as prosecutors rest case against Va. Governor, wife

RICHMOND Va. - An FBI agent will be back on the witness stand on Thursday as federal prosecutors wrap up their corruption and bribery case against former Virginia Governor Robert McDonnell and his wife Maureen.

Black smoke from routine burn-off at Delek's Tyler, Texas refinery: report

- Black smoke was reported from the Delek U.S. Holdings refinery at Tyler, Texas, according to a report on the KLTV news website.

Lawyers for accused Boston bomber due in court on Thursday

BOSTON - Lawyers for accused Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev are due in court on Thursday to argue pre-trial motions, including a request to move the trial out of Boston and what evidence may be shown at trial.

Daughter of American tourist killed in Bali demands U.S. lawyer

NUSA DUA Indonesia - The teenage daughter of an American woman found dead inside a suitcase on the Indonesian holiday island of Bali has asked for U.S. legal representation, an Indonesian lawyer said.

Mississippi seeks new ruling on restrictive abortion law

- Mississippi on Wednesday asked a federal appeals court to review a decision deeming unconstitutional its 2012 law that would shut down the state's sole abortion clinic and force women seeking the procedure to go out of state.

New York suburbs hit by flash floods after record rainfall

NEW YORK - More than a foot of rain hit parts of New York's Long Island on Wednesday, enough to set a preliminary state record, triggering flash floods and swamping cars on major roads that were turned into rivers during the morning rush hour.

Arizona's 'pregnant man' has right to divorce wife: court

PHOENIX - A transgender man who made headlines by giving birth to three children can divorce his wife of more than 10 years, an Arizona appeals court ruled on Wednesday, rejecting a lower court's decision.

Lawmakers in drought-hit California finally agree on water plan

SACRAMENTO Calif. - A deal was reached late Wednesday in drought-stricken California on a plan to improve water supplies that was mired in regional and party politics for a year, Republican leaders said.

More unrest in Missouri, police fire tear gas

FERGUSON Mo. - Police in Ferguson, Missouri, fired several rounds of tear gas to disperse protesters late on Wednesday, on the fourth night of demonstrations over the fatal shooting last weekend of an unarmed black teenager by a police officer.

Alaskan woman, mauled by bear, walks to truck and drives to hospital

JUNEAU Alaska - A 57-year-old Alaskan hiker survived after being mauled by a brown bear on a wilderness trail, walking more than a mile to her truck and driving to hospital after the attack, state police reported on Wednesday.

Oklahoma looks for limited medical test of marijuana-related product

OKLAHOMA CITY - Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin said on Wednesday she would support a limited medical trial in her state for a derivative of marijuana that has been used in other states to treat toddlers with rare conditions that can cause seizures and strokes.

Florida man pleads guilty in global toxin shipping scheme

ORLANDO Fla. - A Florida man has pleaded guilty to making deadly toxins and shipping them to customers across the globe, among them a British woman plotting to kill her mother who is a London magistrate, U.S. authorities said on Wednesday.

Father of dead driver lashes out at Tony Stewart in newspaper interview

- The father of a race car driver fatally struck by NASCAR's Tony Stewart over the weekend lashed out in a newspaper interview at the three-time champion for not seeing his son standing on the track.

Atlantic City aims to counter bad publicity with ad campaign

- Atlantic City's supporters have launched an ad campaign to reverse what they see as an onslaught of bad publicity about the New Jersey seaside resort, where four of 12 casinos have recently announced plans to close.

Divided Penn State board affirms commitment to NCAA sanctions

HARRISBURG Pa. - Penn State University trustees voted on Wednesday to affirm their commitment to sanctions imposed by the NCAA following the Jerry Sandusky child sex scandal, turning back a challenge by board members who think the consent agreement is too harsh.

Arizona convicted murderer asks for sentencing retrial delay

PHOENIX - Convicted murderer Jodi Arias, serving as her own attorney, asked an Arizona judge on Wednesday to delay her upcoming sentencing phase retrial for murdering her ex-boyfriend in 2008.

U.S. sets new ground beef procedures to stop E. coli outbreaks

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Department of Agriculture on Wednesday announced new procedures for detecting and removing unsafe ground beef from grocery stores and suppliers as part of efforts to prevent potentially deadly illnesses caused by contaminated meat.

Guantanamo judge rules 9/11 suspect should be tried with others

FORT MEADE Md. - A military judge ruled on Wednesday that one of the men accused of plotting the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States must at least temporarily rejoin the other four defendants in a single trial despite concerns about his mental health.

Minnesota man arrested for 1983 murder in Texas

- A Minnesota man has been arrested for the murder of a Texas businessman in a cold case that had gone unsolved for 31 years, authorities said on Wednesday.

Man indicted for bomb hoax at Louisiana university

NEW ORLEANS - A 30-year-old man has been charged in connection with a bomb hoax last month at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette that forced an evacuation of the campus and triggered a large-scale police response, prosecutors said on Wednesday.

October court date set for Pittsburgh-area teen accused in stabbings

PITTSBURGH - An October court date has been set for a high school student accused of stabbing 21 people at a Pittsburgh-area high school in April, but delays are expected, his lawyer said Wednesday.

Texas shuts company for running online high school 'diploma mill'

DALLAS - Texas has won court approval to close a Houston-based company the state said ran a fraudulent online program that offered high school diplomas for a flat fee and no course work, state officials said on Wednesday.

Final pair convicted in Aryan Brotherhood of Texas case: prosecutors

HOUSTON - The final two defendants of 73 members and associates convicted in a six-year investigation into the Aryan Brotherhood of Texas have pleaded guilty to racketeering in federal courts, a federal prosecutor's office said on Wednesday.

Los Angeles police investigate shooting of unarmed black man

LOS ANGELES - Los Angeles police are investigating the shooting death of an unarmed black man by an officer during an "investigative stop" that led to a struggle, a police spokeswoman said on Wednesday.

New Jersey to hold summit to rescue Atlantic City

- New Jersey Governor Chris Christie said on Wednesday he would convene a bipartisan summit in September to seek ways to rescue Atlantic City from a slump in its mainstay casino business.

Two out of five U.S. adults at risk of developing diabetes: study

NEW YORK - Two out of five U.S. adults born between 2000 and 2011 are expected to develop type 2 diabetes at some point in their life, which is double the rate for men and some 50 percent higher for women born two decades earlier, according to a new study.

Texas teenager missing for nearly three days found living at Walmart

HOUSTON - A 14-year-old Texas boy who went missing for nearly three days was discovered living at a Walmart store where he had carved out hiding places in shelves stacked with products and foraged for food in other aisles, police and news reports said on Wednesday.

Oklahoma ex-doctor pleads guilty to deaths from over-prescribed pills

OKLAHOMA CITY - A former Oklahoma City doctor pleaded guilty in Oklahoma County District Court on Wednesday to over-prescribing medication that led to the deaths of eight people.

Man arrested with dying immigrants in trunk weeps in San Diego court

SAN DIEGO - A 41-year-old man who was arrested after border officials found two dying Mexican men in the trunk of his car at the U.S.-Mexican border wept in court on Wednesday as he was arraigned on a federal smuggling charge.

Start of Detroit bankruptcy trial pushed to Aug. 29

- A federal judge on Wednesday once again delayed the start of the key phase of Detroit's historic bankruptcy case, pushing it to Aug. 29 from Aug. 21.

Mississippi appeals ruling against restrictive abortion law

- Mississippi filed an appeal on Wednesday to a federal court decision deeming unconstitutional its 2012 law that would shut down the state's sole abortion clinic and force women seeking the procedure to go out of state.

Banker back on stand in corruption trial of Virginia ex-governor, wife

RICHMOND Va. - A banker was to resume testimony on Wednesday in the federal corruption trial of former Virginia Governor Robert McDonnell and his wife, Maureen.

Kidnapped New Hampshire teen suffered 'unspeakable violence': lawyer

- A New Hampshire teenager who was missing for nine months and mysteriously returned home in July "suffered numerous acts of unspeakable violence" at the hands of the man authorities charged with kidnapping her, according to a family lawyer.

GM to build $174 million Cadillac stamping plant in Michigan

DETROIT - General Motors Co will start construction this fall on a $174 million stamping plant in Lansing, Michigan, that will make components for the nearby Lansing Grand River assembly plant, the company said on Wednesday.

Body of American found in suitcase in Indonesian island of Bali

JAKARTA - The body of an American tourist has been found stuffed into a suitcase in Indonesia's resort island of Bali and the victim's daughter and her boyfriend arrested for what police suspect was a gruesome murder.

Oklahoma man charged with threatening to kill Senator Reid

OKLAHOMA CITY - An Oklahoma man has been charged with threatening to kill Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and his family, according to court documents obtained on Wednesday.

Former NBA top pick Oden trial date set on battery charges

- Former No. 1 NBA draft pick Greg Oden must stay away from an ex-girlfriend and remain on a GPS monitor as he awaits trial on battery charges but may travel outside Indiana, a judge ruled on Wednesday.

Conservationists to sue U.S. for denying protections for wolverines

SALMON Idaho - Conservationists said on Wednesday they will sue the Obama administration over its decision to deny federal protections for rare wolverines in the mountains of Idaho, Montana and Wyoming.

Two dead in North Georgia shooting

ATLANTA - A person was killed and three others injured in a shooting spree in North Georgia on Tuesday, local media reported.

California breakup plan would create rich and poor states: report

SACRAMENTO Calif. - A long-shot proposal to break California into six separate states would also divide rich and poor, according to a legislative analysis released on Wednesday.

Dog the Bounty Hunter to join Nevada manhunt for professional fighter

- Reality television star Duane Chapman, better known as Dog the Bounty Hunter, said Wednesday he was joining the manhunt for a professional mixed martial artist whose ex-girlfriend has accused him of a brutal attack on her and a friend.

More middle-aged U.S. women having babies outside marriage: CDC

ATLANTA - More single U.S. women over the age of 35 are having children, even as the overall birth rates for unmarried women in the United States have dropped, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Wednesday.

Miami man pleads guilty to smashing Ai Weiwei museum vase

MIAMI - A Miami man pleaded guilty on Wednesday to destroying a $10,000 vase by Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei in February, agreeing to make an apology and pay restitution for the cost of the artwork, according to court documents.

U.N. experts grill U.S. on racial discrimination

GENEVA - United Nations experts grilled U.S. officials on Wednesday about what they said was persistent racial discrimination against African-Americans and other minorities in jobs, housing, education and the criminal justice system.

U.S. Coast Guard restricts traffic near lower Mississippi River terminal

- The U.S. Coast Guard said it restricted traffic to one way in the vicinity of the International Matex Tank Terminals near Gretna, Louisiana, on the lower Mississippi River early Wednesday following a multi-vessel collision.

Land Rover recalls 40,551 SUVs in U.S. due to air bag issue

DETROIT - Jaguar Land Rover is recalling 40,551 Land Rover sport utility vehicles in the United States because the front passenger air bag may not deploy due to a part failure, according to documents filed with U.S. safety regulators.

Flash floods after more than 13 inches of rain falls in two hours on Long Island

NEW YORK - More than two months' worth of rain fell in two hours on New York's Long Island on Wednesday, causing flash flooding and swamping cars on roads that were turned into rivers during the morning rush hour.

Obama says Missouri shooting death tragic, reflection needed

FERGUSON Mo. - President Barack Obama called the police shooting death of an unarmed black teenager a tragedy on Tuesday and urged a thoughtful response after two nights of violent protests, looting and arrests in a St. Louis suburb.

Michigan man sentenced in killing of college football player

- A judge sentenced a man on Tuesday to up to 30 years in prison for the October 2013 shooting death of an Eastern Michigan University football player who had dreams of playing in the National Football League.

California man accused of stabbing to death parents, sons and dog

LOS ANGELES - A California man allegedly stabbed to death his parents, his two young sons and the family's dog at a home in a coastal community before telling police who arrested him it was his "destiny" to kill them, authorities said on Tuesday.

Hunter pleads not guilty to starting massive California wildfire

- A California hunter pleaded not guilty on Tuesday to charges that he started a massive wildfire on the edge of Yosemite National Park last summer after building an illegal campfire.

At least one person dies in Detroit floods after record rainfall

- Near-record rainfall has caused massive flooding in the Detroit area that is blamed for at least one death and has made roads impassable, swamped vehicles and flooded basements, officials said.

U.S. denies protections for wolverines, outrages conservationists

SALMON Idaho - U.S. wildlife managers on Tuesday denied federal protections for rare wolverines, outraging conservationists but pleasing Western states that opposed adding the reclusive but feisty member of the weasel family to the endangered and threatened species list.

Four plead not guilty in California to beating Chinese student to death

LOS ANGELES - Four teenagers pleaded not guilty on Tuesday to the fatal beating of a Chinese graduate student near his Los Angeles apartment several blocks from the University of Southern California.

U.S. Pacific Northwest grain handlers, union reach tentative deal

CHICAGO - Unionized port workers and a group of Pacific Northwest grain companies reached a tentative contract agreement, according to an announcement on Tuesday, a deal that will soon ease a backlog of shipments from the biggest U.S. West Coast grain terminal.

New Jersey teacher, 98, convicted in spy case, seeks to clear name

NEW YORK - A 98-year-old retired New Jersey math teacher implicated in a Cold War atomic espionage case has asked a U.S. judge to throw out her 1950 conviction and fix a McCarthy-era "miscarriage of justice" of which she is the last surviving victim.

Man gets life sentences for killing two Tennessee postal workers

NASHVILLE Tenn. - A former Tennessee corrections officer was sentenced on Tuesday to consecutive life terms for killing two postal workers during a months-long crime spree in which he teamed up with his son for a series of armed robberies and car thefts around the state.

Heavy Michigan rains close GM tech center, affect other automakers

DETROIT - Heavy rains in southeast Michigan hit the operations of U.S. automakers in the region, including forcing the closure of General Motors Co's technical center outside Detroit.

Federal jury to decide fate of Miami-area mayor in corruption trial

MIAMI - A Miami federal jury began deliberations on Tuesday to decide the fate of a Miami-area mayor accused of accepting thousands of dollars from FBI agents during an undercover sting operation.

Portland bridge for sale, if you have somewhere to put it

PORTLAND Ore. - If you have somewhere to put it, local officials in Portland, Oregon, are offering a decrepit 1,100-foot-long (335-meter-long)steel bridge at a knock-down price.

Probe into death involving NASCAR's Stewart to last two more weeks

- The investigation into the death of a race car driver in an incident involving NASCAR driver Tony Stewart at a New York race track over the weekend will last at least another two weeks, authorities said Tuesday.

New Hampshire man convicted of killing teen to appear at sentencing

MANCHESTER N.H. - A New Hampshire man found guilty last month of murdering a 19-year-old female college student has dropped his request to not appear at his sentencing hearing on Thursday.

U.S. denies protections for wolverines, outrages conservationists

SALMON Idaho - U.S. wildlife managers on Tuesday denied federal protections for rare wolverines, outraging conservationists but pleasing Western states that opposed adding the reclusive but feisty member of the weasel family to the endangered and threatened species list.

Times Square's costumed superheroes fight back against bad press

NEW YORK - After a spate of arrests and bad publicity, the costumed characters who pose for tourist photographs in New York's Times Square in the hopes of a cash tip have formed an association to preserve a livelihood that has come under increasing scrutiny.

Faulty fire engine caused Montana crash that killed six

- A crash that killed a fire chief and a family of five in Montana was caused by a mechanical failure that caused the fire chief to lose control of the recently repaired fire engine he was driving, the Montana Highway Patrol said on Tuesday.

Nevada manhunt on for professional fighter accused of severely beating two

LAS VEGAS - Las Vegas police were searching on Tuesday for a professional mixed martial artist whose ex-girlfriend says he broke her nose and facial bones and ruptured her liver when he beat her and a friend last week.

Illinois woman faces murder charge after planning robbery

JOLIET Ill. - An Illinois woman who helped plan a robbery that led to a double murder and who spent the stolen cash on cigarettes should be found guilty of murder, the prosecution said on Tuesday in closing arguments at a trial in the Chicago suburb of Joliet.

White House loosens restrictions on lobbyists

WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama is loosening restrictions on lobbyists who want to serve on federal advisory boards, a White House official said on Tuesday, a setback to the president's efforts to tamp down special interest influence in Washington.

Obama signs disaster declaration for wildfire-scorched Washington state

SEATTLE - President Barack Obama on Tuesday approved federal disaster aid for wildfire-scorched Washington state, as the U.S. West Coast struggles with a near-record fire season that experts say will likely worsen in the coming weeks.

Gunman hunted in New Mexico looks to have killed himself: police

ALBUQUERQUE N.M. - Police in Albuquerque say a man who was being hunted on suspicion of shooting to death one woman and injuring three others was found dead on Tuesday, apparently after taking his own life with a handgun.

Pipeline explodes in Rusk County, Texas: website

- A 12-inch pipeline exploded in Rusk County, Texas, on Tuesday, news website KSLA.com said.

New York man accused of online death threats against Obama, Cuomo

- An upstate New York man was accused on Tuesday of threatening to kill President Barack Obama and other political leaders just days after he was arraigned on charges that he had made previous online death threats against them, authorities said.

Sinkhole swallows car in western Pennsylvania

PITTSBURGH - A woman was hospitalized on Tuesday after her car fell into a sinkhole that opened up in a Pittsburgh-area parking lot, officials said.

U.S. can keep court orders, phone companies secret in NSA spy case

- The U.S. government need not turn over a secret surveillance court's orders or the names of phone companies helping it collect call records, because it might reveal methods needed to protect national security, a federal judge decided on Monday.

Idaho reports alarming rise in whooping cough cases

SALMON Idaho - Idaho health officials on Tuesday urged vaccination to combat what they said was an alarming rise this year in the number of cases of whooping cough, which has killed an infant and afflicted 240 other state residents since January.

Amid drought, California Democrats seek Republican votes on water plan

SACRAMENTO Calif. - California Democrats scrambled on Tuesday to win Republican support for a plan to improve water supplies that has been mired in regional and party politics for a year, even as the state suffers from a three-year drought that shows no sign of ending.

Water deal could force another delay in Detroit bankruptcy trial

- A federal judge could once again push back the start date for the trial on Detroit's exit from the largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history after some creditors said on Tuesday a possible settlement is snarling key components of the restructuring plan.

Lawyers for accused Colorado theater gunman want media leaks probed

DENVER - Lawyers for accused movie theater gunman James Holmes are seeking a special prosecutor to probe whoever leaked to Fox News details about their client's plans to commit mass murder, a motion made public on Monday showed.

Second night of rioting after killing of black Missouri teen

FERGUSON, Mo. - Police fired tear gas after rioting broke out for a second night in Ferguson, Missouri, despite calls on Monday for calm from the mother of a black teenager who was shot to death by police at the weekend.

Brutality and 'The Beast': why child migration to U.S. is slowing down

ARRIAGA Mexico - When 26-year-old unemployed Honduran Javier Soto tried to sneak into the United States earlier this year, he breezed all the way through to northern Mexico before he was finally caught.

Union says Detroit bankruptcy disrupting contract negotiations

WASHINGTON - Detroit's largest union said on Monday that the city's historic bankruptcy proceedings have given the management of the water and sewer department opportunities to disrupt bargaining units and strip union members of job protections.

NYC official wants police to wear cameras after choke-hold death

NEW YORK - Following public outrage at the death of a New York City man who was put in a choke hold while being arrested, the city's public advocate called on Monday for police officers to be outfitted with body-worn cameras.

Teen suspect in killing of Washington girl, 6, held on $1 million bail

SEATTLE - A 17-year-old boy facing charges as an adult in the killing and sexual assault of a 6-year-old girl who lived in his Washington state mobile home park was ordered held on $1 million bail on Monday, court officials said.

Woman hit by California Highway Patrol officer says feared for her life

LOS ANGELES - A woman punched repeatedly by a California Highway Patrol officer during an arrest that was caught on video has said in television interviews that she felt the officer was trying to beat her to death.

Canadian man facing U.S. terrorism charges to fight extradition

CALGARY Alberta - A Canadian man facing extradition to the United States on charges he helped orchestrate two deadly bombings in Iraq may appeal to Canada's top court after a lower court on Monday supported government efforts to deport him.

Maryland nanny steals $431,542 from her bosses

- A Maryland nanny who stole $431,542 from her employers to gamble and buy a house in Africa pleaded guilty on Monday to federal charges, prosecutors said.

Colorado woman accused of aiding Islamist rebels reaches plea deal

DENVER - A Colorado woman accused of conspiring to provide support to Islamist insurgents waging war against the governments of Syria and Iraq has reached a plea deal with federal prosecutors, the U.S. Attorney's Office said on Monday.

New Hampshire man convicted of killing teen asks to skip sentencing

MANCHESTER N.H. - A New Hampshire judge is expected to rule on Tuesday whether to compel a man found guilty last month of raping and murdering a college student to attend a hearing this week where he will face a mandatory sentence of life in prison without parole.

Illinois man gets life in beating deaths of toddler, three others

CHICAGO - An Illinois man received four life sentences for bludgeoning to death four people including a toddler during a weeklong, two-state crime spree in 2008, the state attorney general said on Monday.

Police investigating whether rabbi’s Miami killing a hate crime

MIAMI BEACH Fla. - Police in Miami investigating the killing of a 60-year-old Orthodox rabbi over the weekend said on Monday they haven't yet decided whether the shooting was a hate crime.

Attorneys for Glenn Beck ask judge to toss suit tied to Boston bombing

BOSTON - Attorneys for U.S. television commentator Glenn Beck on Monday asked a judge to dismiss a lawsuit charging their client with defamation for wrongly accusing a victim of the Boston Marathon bombing of being the "money man" behind the attack.

Man arrested in New York accused of supporting Islamist rebels: CBS

NEW YORK - Federal prosecutors have accused a man arrested on gun charges at a New York City airport of sympathizing with Islamic State militants, CBS News reported on Monday.

Python caught in Florida is chief suspect in mystery of missing cats

ORLANDO Fla. - The evidence is circumstantial but the case looks strong. Multiple cats missing without a trace, a freshly killed body, and one well-fed, 120-pound Burmese python lurking in the Florida underbrush.

Judge OKs access to trailer for defense lawyers in N.H. kidnap case

MANCHESTER N.H. - A judge has ordered that attorneys for the man accused of kidnapping a New Hampshire teenager who mysteriously reappeared last month must be given greater access to his mobile home and a nearby shipping container.

Nebraska court ruling on Keystone XL pipeline not expected until 2015

WASHINGTON - The Nebraska Supreme Court will soon hear arguments in a dispute over the planned route for the Keystone XL pipeline but a court ruling on the controversial project is likely to be delayed until the new year, lawyers and activists say.

No charges for now against NASCAR's Stewart in fatal crash: sheriff

- There is currently no evidence that NASCAR champion driver Tony Stewart committed a crime when he struck and killed a fellow driver in a weekend race, the Sheriff of Ontario County, New York, said on Monday.

Grain dust causes explosion in northeastern Illinois

- A grain dust explosion on Monday damaged a storage bin and injured one person at a Heritage FS Grain Elevator in St. Anne, Illinois, police said.

U.S. can shield court orders, phone co's in surveillance cases: judge

- The U.S. government need not turn over a secret surveillance court's orders or the names of phone companies helping it collect call records, because it might reveal methods needed to protect national security, a federal judge decided on Monday.

Probe faults pilots and controller for 2013 Alaska crash

JUNEAU Alaska - A cargo plane's crash into a mountainside in southwest Alaska last year was caused by failure to maintain a safe altitude, which was the fault of an air traffic controller and the two pilots who died in the accident, federal regulators said on Monday.

California bill would require anti-theft 'kill switches' on smartphones

SACRAMENTO Calif. - All smartphones sold in California would have to come with a "kill switch" to render them inoperable if lost or stolen under a bill passed by the legislature on Monday, the latest effort to stem an epidemic of phone theft in the most populous U.S. state.

TV crew checking crime app in Washington has van robbed

- A TV news van was robbed in Washington while its crew was reporting on a smartphone crime app that rates bad neighborhoods, the station reported.

Six killed after Texas police chase ends in crash

HOUSTON - A teenager, his parents and uncle were among six people killed when a speeding vehicle pursued by police slammed into their car outside Houston, killing both drivers and their passengers, police said.

Virginia governor pitched health product, says corruption trial witness

RICHMOND Va. - Virginia Governor Robert McDonnell gave a personal pitch to a state healthcare official for the dietary supplement at the heart of the former governor’s trial on corruption and bribery charges, the official testified on Monday.

NJ man charged in death after truck tears through farmers market

- Prosecutors in New Jersey charged a man with vehicular homicide on Monday after they said he drove his pickup truck at high speed through a farmers market Sunday, killing one person and sending two others to the hospital.

Utah teen killed by truck while sunbathing in driveway

- A 15-year-old Utah girl died after being run over by a pickup truck while she lay sunbathing in the driveway of their home, police said on Monday.

Guantanamo judge to hear 9/11 suspect's bid for separate trial

WASHINGTON - A Guantanamo Bay military judge this week will hear a request by a suspect in the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks for a separate trial, a move that comes after the U.S. judge ordered one for another accused plotter.

Corruption trial of Virginia governor, wife, enters third week

RICHMOND Va. - The corruption trial of former Virginia Governor Robert McDonnell and his wife Maureen enters its third week on Monday after testimony that centered on the former first lady's behavior.

12 Atlanta educators face trial in widespread cheating scandal

ATLANTA - The trial of a dozen former Atlanta educators charged in one of the nation's largest school test-cheating scandals began on Monday and could last several months, prosecutors said.

Argentina calls on U.S. government to intervene in debt case

BUENOS AIRES - Argentina on Monday called on Washington to intervene in a court case over the country's defaulted debt after a U.S. district judge threatened the South American country with contempt for making what he called false statements.

Federal judge extends execution moratorium in Ohio

CLEVELAND - A federal judge has added five months to a moratorium on executions in Ohio amid scrutiny of a double-drug cocktail the state wants to use.

Husband of missionary with Ebola returns to U.S. under quarantine

WINSTON-SALEM N.C. - Three Liberia-based missionaries, including the husband of a missionary being treated for Ebola in Atlanta, have returned to the United States and will be quarantined to ensure they did not contract the deadly virus, their Christian group said on Monday.

Barneys New York to pay $525,000 in racial profiling settlement

NEW YORK - Barneys New York [DBWLDB.UL] has agreed to pay $525,000 to settle a lawsuit over claims that it targeted black and Latino customers for credit-card fraud checks and surveillance while they shopped in its luxury clothing stores, city officials said on Monday.

U.S. top court's Roberts asks lawyers to 'rise above' political bickering

BOSTON - U.S. Chief Justice John Roberts on Monday called on members of the nation's largest group of attorneys to "rise above" the political disputes that have left Washington increasingly gridlocked in recent years.

New Mexico faces teacher shortage two days before school begins

ALBUQUERQUE N.M. - Just two days before classes resume, New Mexico's biggest school district faces a shortage of almost 200 teachers, officials say, with the majority of the unfilled positions in special education and elementary grades.

New York police to Times Square tourists: call 911 if a superhero pesters you

NEW YORK - New York police have begun handing out fliers to tourists in Times Square telling them that tipping the costumed superheroes and children's characters who pose for photographs is optional, and to call the 911 emergency number if they have complaints.

Two dozen rescued after Maryland roller coaster malfunctions

- Two dozen people were rescued on Sunday from a Maryland roller coaster that malfunctioned, leaving a car stuck for hours near a high point of the ride, emergency officials said.

Philadelphia man confesses to killing wife while jogging: police

- A Philadelphia man was charged with murder after confessing that he strangled his wife while she was out for an evening jog, police said on Sunday.

Riot erupts over police shooting of unarmed black teen in Missouri

NEW YORK - A riot erupted in Ferguson, Missouri, on Sunday following a day of protests over the shooting death of a black teenager by a police officer, police said.

Hawaii's governor defeated in primaries clouded by storms

HONOLULU - Incumbent Hawaii Governor Neil Abercrombie was soundly defeated in the state's Democratic primary, results showed on Sunday, in an election that came as the state was cleaning up from one powerful storm and preparing for another.

Riot erupts following shooting death of unarmed black teen in Missouri

- Rioting and looting erupted in Ferguson, Missouri, late on Sunday as protests over the killing of a black teenager by a police officer turned violent, law enforcement officials and media reports said.

Obama vow to speed deportation of children at odds with public opinion

WASHINGTON/McALLEN Texas - President Barack Obama's pledge to fast-track the deportation of migrant children from Central America is out of step with the opinion of a majority of Americans, who say the children should be allowed to stay in the United States, at least for a while.

Two killed, children wounded in New Orleans drive-by shooting

- Two people were shot dead and three children wounded in a drive-by shooting outside a home in New Orleans on Sunday night, authorities said.

Pennsylvania teen dies in manure pit, trapped under farm equipment

HARRISBURG Penn - A 15-year-old drowned in a manure pit in Pennsylvania when a piece of farm equipment overturned and trapped him underneath, officials said on Sunday.

Missouri teen shot dead by police had assaulted officer: police

- The shooting death of a black teenager that sparked anger in a St. Louis community was started by a fight between the victim and an officer in a squad car that quickly escalated, police said on Sunday.

No optical illusion: Obama balances world crises with golf, time off

OAK BLUFFS Mass. - President Barack Obama gave Americans an update on U.S. military strikes in Iraq on Saturday from a podium on the White House lawn with Marine One, the presidential helicopter, parked in the background.

Returning U.S. missionaries to be quarantined because of Ebola

WASHINGTON - Health officials in North Carolina said on Sunday they will require missionaries and others coming home after working with people infected with Ebola in Africa to be placed in quarantine as a precaution against the spread of the deadly viral disease.

Warrant issued for ex-boyfriend of woman killed in Albuquerque

ALBUQUERQUE N.M. - A shooting in Albuquerque on Friday that left one woman dead and three people hurt was sparked by a jealous rage, police said on Saturday.   

Hawaii governor faces tough primary contest as hurricane nears

HONOLULU - Hawaii voters went to the polls on Saturday for the state's primary election as local authorities and residents rushed to clean up debris from one tropical storm with only a day to prepare for an approaching hurricane.

U.S. emergency labs ready to work on Ebola drugs if asked

NEW YORK/WASHINGTON - All three U.S. facilities established to quickly make vaccines and therapeutics in the event of a major public health threat say they are standing by to support any U.S. government effort to scale up a treatment for Ebola.

Eight firefighters hurt in California wildfire are out of hospital

- Eight firefighters who suffered minor injuries while battling a wildfire in northern California were released from a hospital early on Saturday, a fire official said.

Bridge protest over NYC man's arrest death to proceed

NEW YORK - A march to protest the death of a New York City man in police custody will go ahead later this month on Staten Island, organizers said, although plans to walk over the bridge linking the island to the rest of the city have been scrapped.

Teenage boy dies after climbing accident that killed Phoenix firefighter

PHOENIX - A 15-year-old boy has died from injuries sustained in a climbing accident on a popular Phoenix mountain that claimed the life of an off-duty firefighter, police said on Saturday.

Prosecutors fight Kennedy cousin's overturned murder conviction

HARTFORD Conn. - Connecticut prosecutors appealed to the state Supreme Court late on Friday to reinstate Kennedy cousin Michael Skakel's 2002 conviction on a charge of murdering his neighbor when they were both 15. A state judge overturned verdict last year.

Go home kids: Baltimore launches strict evening curfew for youth

BALTIMORE - As dusk crept over Collington Square Park, in east Baltimore, the children's chatter of questions began.

Cleveland hosts Gay Games in gay marriage battleground state

CLEVELAND - Thousands of athletes and fans are converging on Cleveland on Saturday for the opening ceremonies of the 9th Gay Games, bringing the international event to a state that has become a key battleground for gay marriage rights.

One dead, three injured in lunch-hour shooting in downtown Albuquerque

ALBUQUERQUE N.M. - Albuquerque police on Friday were hunting for a 47-year-old gunman alleged to have shot four women, one of them fatally, in a downtown industrial park before fleeing in a car, officials said.

Former Manson Family killer Bruce Davis is rejected for parole

LOS ANGELES - Former Manson Family member Bruce Davis, who was sentenced to life in prison for two 1969 murders but was granted parole this year, was ordered on Friday to remain behind bars by California Governor Jerry Brown who rejected the decision to free him.

Atlanta confronts tuberculosis outbreak in homeless shelters

ATLANTA - Three homeless people in Atlanta have died of tuberculosis infections as Georgia public health officials work to contain an outbreak affecting shelters, state authorities said on Friday.

Detroit bankruptcy judge sees good, bad and ugly in bus tour

DETROIT - The federal judge overseeing Detroit's bankruptcy case took a three-hour bus tour on Friday to view various aspects of the troubled city, from notorious blighted areas to bright spots such as the Detroit Institute of Arts.

Death of Reagan press secretary James Brady ruled a homicide: police

WASHINGTON - A Virginia medical examiner has ruled the death of former White House press secretary James Brady a homicide resulting from the 1981 assassination attempt against President Ronald Reagan, a Washington police spokesman said on Friday.

U.S. judge declines to stop North Carolina's election law changes

WINSTON-SALEM N.C. - A U.S. judge refused on Friday to halt North Carolina's overhauled election law ahead of the midterm vote this November, allowing the provisions, decried by critics as discriminatory, to remain in effect - at least temporarily.

Cash-stuffed bra lands Florida woman in trouble at airport

- Padding in her bra and girdle got a Florida woman some unwelcome attention at a U.S. airport.

Two killed in botched robbery of marijuana grow in California

SAN FRANCISCO - Seven robbers invaded a Central California house used by pot growers and engaged the occupants in a gun battle that killed two of the attackers, while some of their accomplices briefly kidnapped a 15-year-old girl, police said on Friday.

Texas family sues DirecTV over sex offender who came to their home

DALLAS - A Dallas family has sued satellite television provider DirecTV after a man making a service call at their home was found to be a registered sex offender who took photos of their 12-year-old daughter, their lawyer said on Friday.

Yellowstone may use helicopter to search for crashed drone

- Yellowstone National Park may use a helicopter to search for a drone that a tourist crashed into a famous hot spring, amid concerns the device may harm a geothermal feature that is a top draw for visitors, a park official said on Friday.

Firefighter dies, two teenagers injured in Arizona climbing accident

PHOENIX - An off-duty firefighter and experienced rescuer fell some 30 feet to his death and two 15-year-old boys were injured on Friday while climbing on a popular mountain in Phoenix, fire and police officials said.

U.S. judge rules against NCAA, says athletes can be paid

SAN FRANCISCO - The National Collegiate Athletic Association has violated antitrust laws and must allow colleges to offer student athletes a limited share of revenue, a U.S. judge ruled on Friday in a lawsuit that seeks to redefine traditional notions of sports amateurism.

Former New Jersey Republican official shot dead in apparent murder-suicide

- A former New Jersey Republican official who once worked with Governor Chris Christie was found dead along with her husband inside their home, officials said on Friday, in what appeared to be a murder-suicide.

Virginia governor's wife hid gifts, says corruption trial witness

RICHMOND Va. - The wife of former Virginia Governor Robert McDonnell was known among staffers for hiding gifts in the executive mansion, an aide to the governor testified during the first couple's corruption trial on Friday.

Death of Reagan press secretary James Brady ruled a homicide: police

WASHINGTON - A Virginia medical examiner has ruled the death of former White House press secretary James Brady a homicide resulting from the 1981 assassination attempt against President Ronald Reagan, a Washington police spokesman said on Friday.

Missing Washington girl was victim of homicide, police say

SEATTLE - The body of a child found near a mobile home park in Washington state was positively identified on Friday as a missing 6-year-old girl, and police said the death has been ruled a homicide.

U.S. judge rules against NCAA, says athletes can be paid

SAN FRANCISCO/NEW YORK - The National Collegiate Athletic Association must allow universities to offer student athletes a limited share of revenue, a U.S. judge ruled on Friday, a decision that cuts to the heart of the NCAA's mission to enforce amateurism in college sports.

Iselle lashes Hawaii with wind, rain as Julio threatens

KAPAAU Hawaii - Tropical Storm Iselle pummeled the Hawaiian Islands with high winds and heavy rain on Friday, forcing hundreds to seek shelter and knocking out power to over 20,000 people as residents kept a wary eye on an even more powerful storm headed their way.

Oklahoma says bodies found in lake solve decades-old disappearance cases

OKLAHOMA CITY - Authorities on Friday released the names of two of the six people whose bodies were discovered in two cars in an Oklahoma lake by police testing sonar equipment, ending decades-old disappearance cases.

Texas boy, 8, shot in face by seven-year-old cousin handling gun: police

HOUSTON - An 8-year-old Texas boy was in intensive care on Friday after being shot in the face a day earlier by his 7-year-old cousin when the two were handling a loaded pistol, police and media reports said.

Mother of boys found in squalid Denver home pleads guilty to child abuse

DENVER - The mother of four young boys who were found inside a squalid Denver home suffering from malnutrition and unable to speak except by grunts pleaded guilty on Friday to felony child abuse, prosecutors said.

New Medicaid enrollments top 7 million under Obamacare

WASHINGTON - More than seven million Americans have gained health coverage through government programs including Medicaid since enrollment in Obamacare health insurance was launched October 1, the U.S. administration said on Friday.

Mother of three kids killed in Philadelphia carjacking dies

PHILADELPHIA - The mother of three Philadelphia children killed when a carjacked SUV slammed into their sidewalk fruit stand last month has also died, hospital officials said on Friday.

Accused Boston bomber's lawyers renew bid for trial out of state

BOSTON - Lawyers for accused Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev have renewed efforts to move his trial out of Massachusetts, arguing in new court documents that it would be difficult to find an unbiased jury in the state.

In bond filing, Port Authority lists subpoenas over bridge closure

NEW YORK - The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey has disclosed a list of federal and state subpoenas it has received linked to investigations into a scandal over deliberate lane closures at a major transportation route.

White House: number of Central American migrant children is decreasing

WASHINGTON - A recent surge in migrant children from Central America across the U.S. border has eased, but the numbers are still high compared to historical standards, and could rise again once the weather cools down, the White House said on Friday.

Washington man set ablaze by wife could face molestation charge

SEATTLE - Detectives in Washington state have recommended a man who was set afire by his wife be charged with first-degree child molestation, police said Friday.

Texas school band practice broken up by plane spraying pesticide

HOUSTON - A Texas high school marching band had to cancel practice this week after a plane dropped pesticide for mosquitoes on more than 300 members going through their paces, school officials said on Friday.

Connecticut police officer indicted for stomping tasered suspect

- A Connecticut police officer has been indicted on a charge he violated a tasered suspect's civil rights after being caught on videotape appearing to stomp the downed man's head and neck, federal prosecutors said on Friday.

Mystery woman with no fingerprints a riddle spanning four states

ORLANDO Fla. - A mystery woman, who apparently tried to hide her identity by removing her fingerprints, on Friday was identified as a disbarred lawyer from Virginia, said investigators in a case spanning at least four states.

Virginia governor's wife hid gifts, says corruption trial witness

RICHMOND Va. - The wife of former Virginia Governor Robert McDonnell was known among staffers for hiding gifts in the executive mansion, an aide to the governor testified during the first couple's corruption trial on Friday.

USC steps up security after murder of Chinese graduate student

LOS ANGELES - The University of Southern California announced a series of security improvements on Friday in response to the brutal murder of a Chinese graduate student who was beaten to death with a baseball bat last month near his off-campus apartment.

Hawaiian refineries running as Iselle brings wind, rain

- Hawaii's two refineries continued operating on Friday as Tropical Storm Iselle made landfall on the archipelago's Big Island, the companies said.

Federal government says Virginia schools restrained, isolated students

- The U.S. Department of Education has concluded that two Virginia public schools denied the right of education to emotionally disabled students after discovering teachers had frequently secluded and restrained them.

Growing wildfire threatens hundreds more homes in Oregon

PORTLAND Ore. - A fast-spreading wildfire threatened 740 dwellings in northern Oregon on Friday after destroying a home and five other buildings overnight in what officials said could be one of the state's worst blazes for years.

Undocumented Mexican migrant takes refuge in Arizona church

TUCSON Ariz. - Surrounded by about 50 well-wishers, including representatives from a dozen southern Arizona congregations, an undocumented immigrant from Mexico and longtime Tucson resident took refuge on Thursday in a church that offered her sanctuary.

University of Oregon appoints interim leader after president resigns

PORTLAND Oregon - The University of Oregon named an interim president on Thursday after the abrupt resignation of Michael Gottfredson, whose tenure saw accusations of rape against three basketball players and tough union negotiations with professors and staff.

'Immigration doctor' convicted of sexually assaulting nine-year-old Colorado girl

DENVER - A Colorado man who posed as an immigration doctor to gain access to the home of a Vietnamese family was convicted on Thursday of sexually assaulting a 9-year-old girl inside the residence, prosecutors said.

Baby dies, mother in critical after stabbing attack near Sacramento

SACRAMENTO Calif. - A six-month old baby died and his mother was in critical condition after a family member stabbed them both on Thursday in a Sacramento suburb, police said.

Senator Alexander defeats Tea Party challenge in Tennessee primary

NASHVILLE Tenn. - U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander on Thursday earned the Republican spot on the November general election ballot after defeating a state representative with Tea Party support in Tennessee's primary.

Colorado lawsuit alleges cannabis overdose from fairground candy

DENVER - A Colorado man overdosed on the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana after eating chocolate bars obtained from a fairground vendor promoting the drug but whose products should have been cannabis-free, court documents showed.

Obama signs bill to fix delays in veterans healthcare

FORT BELVOIR Va - U.S. President Barack Obama signed a $16.3 billion bill on Thursday designed to provide veterans with more timely medical care and fix problems in the scandal-plagued Veterans Affairs department.

Head of Chicago gang faction, 34 others arrested for drugs: officials

CHICAGO - The head of a Chicago street gang faction and 34 others were arrested and charged on Thursday with taking part in a high-volume drug business that sold heroin and crack cocaine near a major highway, prosecutors said.

University's plan to limit 'Ole Miss' nickname draws rebuke

JACKSON Miss. - The University of Mississippi's plan to further move past its Confederate ties by renaming campus streets and easing use of the "Ole Miss" nickname has angered some critics, who accuse the school of a wholesale erasure of the state's history.

NYC school workers charged with abusing Korean exchange-students

NEW YORK - The wife of a private school owner and an employee were accused of withholding food and bathroom privileges from underage foreign-exchange students from Korea to discipline them, prosecutors said on Thursday.

New Mexico truck explosion forces evacuation of Navajo community

ALBUQUERQUE N.M. - A semi-tractor trailer carrying hazardous materials crashed and exploded on a New Mexico highway on Thursday, officials said, forcing authorities to evacuate temporarily hundreds of people from a nearby Navajo Nation reservation community.

Massive red tide bloom washing off Florida's Gulf of Mexico coast

TAMPA Fla. - The largest red tide bloom seen in Florida in nearly a decade has killed thousands of fish in the Gulf of Mexico and may pose a greater health threat if it washes ashore as expected in the next two weeks, researchers said on Thursday.

Hundreds evacuated from path of fast-growing Oregon wildfire

PORTLAND Ore. - A wind-whipped Oregon brush fire forced the evacuation of 600 people and shut a highway by Thursday as firefighters struggled against steady winds to tame the growing blaze and tamp down others across the U.S. Pacific Northwest, fire officials said.

Child's body found in search for missing Washington state girl

- Searchers looking for a 6-year-old girl last seen in her bedroom on Saturday evening and reported missing when she failed to turn up for dinner the following day have found a child's body near the family's Washington state mobile home park, a county spokesman said on Thursday.

U.S. Army ends questioning of ex-POW Bergdahl on capture by Taliban

SAN ANTONIO - The military completed its questioning of freed U.S. prisoner of war Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl on Thursday and a U.S. Army general must now recommend whether he should face charges over the circumstances that led to his capture by the Taliban.

Florida researchers identify body found at notorious reform school

ORLANDO Fla. - George Owen Smith, a 14-year-old caught with an older boy in a stolen car, was sent in 1940 to a reform school in the Florida Panhandle, never to be seen again by his family.

Obama administration setting up group on experimental Ebola drugs

WASHINGTON/NEW YORK - The Obama administration is forming a special Ebola working group to consider setting policy for the potential use of experimental drugs to help the hundreds infected by the deadly disease in West Africa, U.S. officials said on Thursday.

New Mexico grants short amnesty to people owing child support

ALBUQUERQUE N.M. - New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez has granted an amnesty until Aug. 29 to parents who face arrest after falling behind with child support payments, but warned that a crackdown will begin next month targeting those who do not pay up.

Star witness in Illinois double-murder trial recounts robbery plan

JOLIET Ill. - The star witness in the trial of a grisly double murder that shocked veteran police officers in the Chicago suburb of Joliet testified on Thursday how she and her friends planned to rob their two male victims.

Married Oklahoma police officers accused of killing daughter's boyfriend

- Two married Tulsa police officers are being held in jail in connection with the alleged murder of their daughter's boyfriend, officials said on Thursday.

Teens hijack Baltimore school bus, hit driver with fire extinguisher

BALTIMORE - Three teenagers were arrested on Thursday after assaulting a Baltimore school bus driver with a fire extinguisher and trash can, then hijacking the bus for a joy ride, police and local media said.

'Art Everywhere US' floods cities, rural areas with paintings

NEW YORK - From the stern couple in "American Gothic" displayed at a bus station in New York to the colorful flags in "Allies Day" over an intersection in Chicago, paintings are popping up everywhere in what is billed as the world's largest art show.

Fewer Colorado teens think pot harmful, use down since legalization

DENVER - The number of Colorado high school students who believe marijuana is harmful has fallen since the state legalized recreational pot, while teen use of the drug has declined slightly during the same time, health officials said on Thursday.

Body found in Washington state appears to be of missing child

SEATTLE - The body of a child found on Thursday near a Washington state mobile home park appears to be that of a 6-year-old girl last seen on Saturday and reported missing when she failed to turn up for dinner the following night, authorities said.

Cabin stowaway re-arrested at Los Angeles airport

- A woman who sneaked aboard a commercial flight at the San Jose International Airport without a ticket this week and flew to Southern California was re-arrested on Thursday after she turned up at Los Angeles International Airport, police said.

Former Calpers board member charged with bribery in corruption case

- A federal grand jury indicted on Thursday a former Calpers board member on charges of bribing a chief executive of the California public pension fund and faking documents to gain million of dollars in investments fees.

Normally sunny Hawaii braces for hurricane double punch

HONOLULU - Hawaii braced for a one-two punch from a pair of major storms barreling toward the archipelago on Thursday, with Hurricane Iselle leading the way bringing high winds and heavy surf as Hurricane Julio gathered steam behind it, U.S. officials said.

Toddler slides through White House gate, alarming Secret Service

WASHINGTON - A toddler squeezed through the White House gates on Thursday evening, causing a brief security lockdown on Pennsylvania Avenue and amusing White House reporters awaiting late-breaking news on Iraq.

California cargo ships to slow for whales under new program

LOS ANGELES - The massive container ships passing through the Santa Barbara Channel off the coast of Southern California will be paid a bonus of $2,500 per trip to slow down, in an effort to cut off-shore air pollution and reduce collisions with whales.

FBI briefing contract removes reference to 'tonality' of news coverage

WASHINGTON - The Federal Bureau of Investigation has removed a reference to the "tonality" of news coverage from a solicitation for a contractor to summarize news reports about the agency.

Former top pick Oden arrested on battery charges: police

- Former number one draft pick Greg Oden was arrested in Indiana early on Thursday morning on battery charges following an attack on his ex-girlfriend, according to a police report.

Senator Alexander faces Tea Party challenge in Tennessee primary

NASHVILLE Tenn. - Tennessee Republicans on Thursday will decide whether Senator Lamar Alexander has earned a shot at a third term or they should look to one of a half-dozen challengers led by a state representative with Tea Party support.

Many U.S. families feel economic stress, few see wages rising: Fed

WASHINGTON - A quarter of U.S. families feel they are under economic stress due to the aftershock of the Great Recession and most do not expect their wages to increase in the next year, according to a new Federal Reserve study released on Thursday.

U.S. college leaders vote for sports reform: NCAA

- College athletes in the United States may be a step closer to receiving greater financial compensation after a group of university leaders voted on Thursday to let the richest athletic conferences have autonomy on several key issues.

Teen killed by boat propeller while tubing in Long Island Sound

MILFORD Conn. - A 16-year-old girl died after being struck by the propeller of the boat she was tubing behind in the Long Island Sound on Wednesday, police said.

Virginia ex-governor's corruption trial resumes after revelations about wife

RICHMOND Va. - The prosecution resumes its case on Thursday in the corruption trial of former Virginia Governor Robert McDonnell and his wife, Maureen, after an ex-aide said she had complained to the governor about the first lady yelling at her.

Former Afghanistan war prisoner Bergdahl questioned in army probe

- Freed U.S. prisoner of war Bowe Bergdahl on Wednesday answered all questions put to him by the U.S. Army general investigating the circumstances leading to his capture by the Taliban, Bergdahl’s attorney said.

California news anchor accused of stealing high-end wallets resigns

SACRAMENTO Calif. - A Sacramento-area television news anchor charged with grand theft and burglary over the alleged theft of Coach wallets from an outlet store has resigned from her job.

California insurer pays out in buckets, literally

- A California insurer has paid a $21,000 court settlement in more than a dozen buckets of coins to an elderly man who alleged an employee assaulted him when he tried to buy insurance, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Americans worry that illegal migrants threaten way of life, economy

KINGSTON New Hampshire - As President Barack Obama considers sidestepping Congress to loosen U.S. immigration policy, a Reuters/Ipsos poll shows Americans are deeply worried that illegal immigration is threatening the nation's culture and economy.

Detroit jury continues deliberations in porch shooting case

DETROIT - A Detroit jury will resume deliberations on Thursday to determine whether the shooting of an unarmed black teenager by a white suburban homeowner was murder or a fear-driven mistake.

Florida lawmakers to reconvene to redraw congressional maps

TALLAHASSEE Fla. - Florida lawmakers will reconvene on Thursday in a hastily called special legislative session to redraw congressional maps that a judge has found unconstitutional, a ruling that raises the possibility of election delays in upcoming midterm races.

Maine mom sentenced to six months for driving 123 mph with kids in car

BOWDOINHAM Maine - A 26-year-old Maine mother has been sentenced to six months in prison for driving 123 miles per hour (198 kph) with her two children in the car, weeks after being arrested a second time and charged with drunken driving with a child in the backseat.

Massachusetts governor signs measure expanding drug treatment

BOSTON - Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick signed a bill into law on Wednesday requiring health insurers to cover up to two weeks of inpatient treatment for people battling drug addiction, the state's latest move to take on soaring rates of opioid drug abuse.

Florida man charged with animal torture in slaughterhouse sting

- A Florida man was arrested and charged with 30 counts of animal cruelty at a Miami-area slaughterhouse where pigs were shot, stabbed and boiled alive, officials said on Wednesday.

Range Resources faces fine over Pennsylvania fracking wastewater leak

HARRISBURG Pa. - Oil and gas producer Range Resources did not properly monitor leaks from a wastewater containment pond in Pennsylvania and the state has begun enforcement action that could lead to a fine, state officials said on Wednesday.

U.S. should drop charges against USS Cole bombing suspect, defense says

FORT MEADE Md. - The United States should drop charges against a Guantanamo Bay prisoner accused of masterminding the 2000 bombing of a U.S. warship off Yemen because the U.S. military planned similar attacks during World War Two, defense lawyers argued on Wednesday.

Tenn. mom charged with taking meth while pregnant going to rehab: officials

NASHVILLE Tenn. - Tennessee prosecutors are temporarily delaying their pursuit of an assault charge against a woman for allegedly taking methamphetamine while she was pregnant, so they can see how she does in drug treatment, officials said on Wednesday.

Jeweler Fabergé forces Brooklyn's Faberge restaurant to change name

NEW YORK - A federal judge has ordered Faberge, a Brooklyn restaurant and banquet hall, to come up with a new name by the end of August after Fabergé, the luxury jewelry company favored by the tsars of Russia, successfully sued for breach of copyright.

Death at Pennsylvania gas well blamed on human error, poor supervision

HARRISBURG Pa. - An explosion at a Chevron Corp gas well in southwestern Pennsylvania that killed a man in February was caused by an inexperienced contract worker who was improperly supervised, according to a state report released on Wednesday.

Arizona county proposes hiring ban, extra charges for smokers

PHOENIX - Smokers seeking a job in one Arizona county need not apply and current employees would pay the price for lighting up under a controversial proposal by its top administrator.

U.S. college sports set for pivotal NCAA reform vote

- Student-athletes in the United States may move a step closer to receiving financial compensation, when a group of university leaders on Thursday are expected to allow the wealthiest collegiate sports programs to leave behind decades-old restrictions and chart a self-governing course.

Houston approves ride services Uber, Lyft

SAN FRANCISCO - The city council in Houston gave the green light to smartphone-enabled car ride services on Wednesday, removing legal uncertainty around popular services including Uber and Lyft.

Obama says lacks sufficient data to fast-track Ebola drug

WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama said on Wednesday he lacks enough information to green-light a promising drug to treat the deadly Ebola virus and that the initial response should focus on public health measures to contain the outbreak.

Reward offered for man shown kicking squirrel into Grand Canyon

PHOENIX - An animal rights group offered a reward of nearly $17,000 on Wednesday for information leading to the arrest and conviction of a man who apparently kicked a squirrel into Arizona's Grand Canyon in a video that went viral on the Internet.

Drone crashes into famed hot spring at Yellowstone National Park

- A tourist seeking to take pictures of Yellowstone National Park crashed a camera-equipped drone into its largest hot spring, possibly damaging the prized geothermal feature, a park official said on Wednesday.

Arizona couple settles lawsuit with polygamous church-run towns

SALT LAKE CITY - A couple who successfully sued a pair of polygamous church-run towns on the Utah-Arizona border for religious discrimination has settled the lawsuit out of court, an attorney for the towns said on Wednesday.

Seattle thieves make off with $50,000 in marijuana from dispensary

SEATTLE - Crafty thieves in Washington state made off with $50,000 worth of medical marijuana by cutting a hole in the wall of a dispensary to gain entrance, police said Wednesday.

Former U.S. surgeon general who warned of secondhand smoke perils dies

LOS ANGELES - Former U.S. surgeon general Jesse Steinfeld, who warned of the perils of second-hand smoke and was famously not asked to return for the Nixon administration's second term after clashing with the tobacco industry, has died at 87, his daughter said on Wednesday.

U.S. Homeland Security contractor reports computer breach

WASHINGTON - A company that performs background checks for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security said on Wednesday it was the victim of a cyber attack, adding in a statement that "it has all the markings of a state-sponsored attack."

Hawaii braces for Hurricane Iselle, with Julio right behind

HONOLULU - Hawaiians braced for a one-two punch from a pair of major storms headed their way on Wednesday, as Hurricane Iselle bore down on the islands packing high winds and heavy surf and Julio, tracking right behind, was upgraded to hurricane status.

U.S. Homeland Security contractor reports computer breach

WASHINGTON - A company that performs background checks for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security said on Wednesday it was the victim of a cyber attack, adding in a statement that "it has all the markings of a state-sponsored attack."

Cabin stowaway caught after flying to Los Angeles on commercial flight

SAN FRANCISCO - A ticketless traveler managed to sneak aboard a commercial flight undetected at the San Jose International Airport and fly to Los Angeles in at least the second major security breach involving a stowaway there this year, authorities said on Wednesday.

Oregon mom whose disappearance sparked search committed suicide: police

PORTLAND Ore. - The death of an Oregon woman whose disappearance prompted a nearly two-week search in a rural community near Portland has been ruled a suicide, police said on Wednesday.

U.S. appeals court conflicted over gay marriage cases

CINCINNATI Ohio - In a sign that gay-marriage rights could lose momentum in U.S. courts, the three judges on a federal appeals court in Cincinnati appeared divided on Wednesday when they weighed cases from four states.

Michigan voters approve plan to end some business-tied property tax

WASHINGTON - Michigan voters have approved a measure to end property taxes on some business equipment and funnel replacement money to local governments for services that were backed with the tax revenue, according to results posted by the Michigan Department of State.

Utah woman denied rescue after dog tussles with mountain goat

SALT LAKE CITY - Sheriff's deputies in Utah said on Wednesday they could not help a woman whose dog was injured in a tussle with a mountain goat because their policy is to rescue only humans, adding the pet was off its leash and attacked the wild animal.

New York teen wins $50,000 prize for invention aiding Alzheimer's patients

NEW YORK - A New York teenager whose grandfather suffers from Alzheimer's disease won a $50,000 science prize for developing wearable sensors that send mobile alerts when a dementia patient begins to wander away from bed, officials said on Wednesday.

Wanted by FBI: someone to rate news stories about the agency

- The Federal Bureau of Investigation wants to hire a contractor to grade news reports about the agency and brief staff on whether press coverage is favorable, an FBI spokeswoman confirmed on Wednesday.

Search for missing Washington girl enters third day with few clues

SEATTLE - Authorities in Washington state said on Wednesday they had searched homes, trash bins and the woods surrounding the mobile home park of a missing 6-year-old girl but remain uncertain whether she may have been abducted.

Man pleads not guilty to possessing gun believed tied to Boston bombing

BOSTON - A high school friend of the accused Boston Marathon bomber pleaded not guilty on Wednesday to charges including having owned a gun that prosecutors believe may have been used by suspects in the 2013 attack.

U.S. marijuana industry group launches first food safety course

DENVER - A national marijuana industry group launched the first food safety basics course in Colorado on Wednesday for producers and retailers of pot-infused edibles, and another for so-called budtenders who work in the state's legal weed stores.

Wife of man who filmed NYPD choke hold is charged with assault

NEW YORK - Police have arrested the wife of a New York City man who filmed an officer using a choke hold on a suspect who later died, authorities said on Wednesday, charging her with misdemeanor assault days after her husband was detained on unrelated gun charges.

Jury selection set for trial of former Connecticut governor Rowland

NEW HAVEN Conn. - Jury selection begins Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Connecticut for the trial of former Governor John Rowland on charges of violating campaign laws by seeking back-room consulting jobs on two Republican congressional campaigns.

Grand jury indicts three New Mexico teens for murdering homeless men

ALBUQUERQUE N.M. - A grand jury has indicted three Albuquerque teens for first degree murder in the beating deaths of two homeless American Indian men, which shocked New Mexico's biggest city.

Donald Trump sues to strip his name from NJ casinos in 'disrepair'

- Donald Trump wants his name taken off two Atlantic City, New Jersey, casinos he founded but no longer controls, saying in a lawsuit that they have become so dilapidated that they damage his brand image.

New York City subway cars fumigated after bedbug sightings

NEW YORK - Three New York City subway trains had to be fumigated after riders and staff spotted bedbugs in the cars, a transit spokesman said on Wednesday.

FBI computer analyst on stand in Virginia ex-governor's corruption trial

RICHMOND Va. - An FBI computer forensic analyst will be back on the witness stand for the prosecution on Wednesday in the federal corruption trial of former Virginia Governor Robert McDonnell and his wife, Maureen.

District of Columbia legal pot measure heads for November ballot

WASHINGTON - An initiative to legalize marijuana possession in the District of Columbia was cleared on Wednesday for a Nov. 4 vote in the U.S. capital, an election board spokeswoman said.

Hurricane, tropical storm roll toward Hawaii

HONOLULU - A hurricane and a tropical storm on Wednesday were heading west across the Pacific Ocean toward the tourist haven of Hawaii, where officials announced school closures and warned visitors and residents to prepare.

Kansas Republican senator Roberts fights off Tea Party challenger

KANSAS CITY Mo. - Veteran Republican Senator Pat Roberts fought off a Kansas primary challenge by a Tea Party-backed doctor who had promised a "family feud" with his distant relative President Barack Obama if elected, results on Wednesday showed.

Closing arguments set for Michigan porch shooting case

DETROIT - Closing arguments are expected on Wednesday in the trial of a white suburban Detroit homeowner charged with second-degree murder for shooting an unarmed black teenage girl on his front porch.

U.S. watchdog gives IRS high marks on Obamacare eligibility data

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Internal Revenue Service has provided nearly accurate information on eligibility data for consumers who sought subsidized health coverage through Obamacare's private insurance exchanges, a federal watchdog said on Tuesday.

Missing Oregon mother found dead

PORTLAND Ore. - A stay-at-home mother of two young children who seemingly vanished from her small Oregon community while running household errands nearly two weeks ago was found dead on Tuesday a short distance from her SUV, authorities said.

Hawaii ocean rescue caught on camera by stranded teenager

HONOLULU - A teenager cast adrift along with seven crewmates when their boat overturned in Hawaii captured their dramatic helicopter rescue from choppy waters on a small video camera.

U.S. Army to start questioning ex-POW Bergdahl Wednesday: lawyer

SAN ANTONIO - The U.S. military plans to start questioning freed U.S. prisoner-of-war Bowe Bergdahl from Wednesday on the circumstances that led to his 2009 capture in Afghanistan by the Taliban, Bergdahl's lawyer said on Tuesday.

Florida same-sex marriage ban declared unconstitutional in fourth ruling

TAMPA Fla. - A south Florida judge on Tuesday became the fourth in recent weeks to strike down the state's same-sex marriage ban, in a case involving the estate of a gay man who owned property in Florida.

Popular, snakelike 'Cobra' rock formation beheaded in Utah

SALT LAKE CITY - A red rock pinnacle popular with climbers and named for its snakelike shape has been beheaded in the Utah desert, federal land managers said on Tuesday.

Searchers comb Washington woods in search of missing six-year-old girl

SEATTLE - Searchers combed through the woods near a Washington state trailer park on Tuesday for a 6-year-old girl last seen in her bedroom on Saturday evening and reported missing when she failed to show up for dinner a day later, officials said.

Havana assails U.S. program to recruit young Cuban dissenters

HAVANA - Cuba on Tuesday demanded the United States halt what it called subversive acts against the communist-ruled island, saying a recent report that Washington recruited young Latin Americans to promote dissent in Cuba confirmed a longstanding policy of destabilization.

Deal may be near for Colorado woman accused of aiding Islamist insurgents

DENVER - U.S. prosecutors and lawyers defending a Colorado woman accused of providing material support to Islamist militants fighting the governments of Syria and Iraq may be close to resolving the case, court records show.

Oklahoma teen accused of raping Kenyan children to remain in custody

OKLAHOMA CITY - An Oklahoma teen accused of raping and molesting orphans during a mission trip to Kenya was ordered on Tuesday to remain in custody when a judge suspended an earlier decision to release him on bond.

Missing Oregon mother found dead near abandoned car

PORTLAND Ore. - A stay-at-home mother of two young children who seemingly vanished from her small Oregon community while running household errands nearly two weeks ago was found dead on Tuesday a short distance from her SUV, authorities said.

Florida same-sex marriage ban declared unconstitutional in fourth ruling

TAMPA Fla. - A south Florida judge on Tuesday became the fourth in recent weeks to strike down the state's same-sex marriage ban, in a case involving the estate of a gay man who owned property in Florida.

Deal may be near for Colorado woman accused of aiding Islamist insurgents

DENVER - U.S. prosecutors and lawyers defending a Colorado woman accused of providing material support to Islamist militants fighting the governments of Syria and Iraq may be close to resolving the case, court records show.

Second Ebola patient wheeled into Atlanta hospital for treatment

ATLANTA - An American missionary stricken with Ebola in West Africa wore a protective white suit on Tuesday as she was wheeled on a stretcher into the Atlanta hospital where doctors will try to save her and a fellow aid worker from the deadly virus.

U.S. appeals court takes up gay marriage cases from four states

WASHINGTON - The national battle over same-sex marriage will resume on Wednesday when a federal appeals court in Cincinnati convenes a special three-hour hearing to consider cases that have worked their way up from lower courts in four different states.

Missouri killer executed after Supreme Court denies stay applications

- Missouri officials executed on Wednesday a man convicted of murder for the rape and strangling of a woman in 1995, in the first lethal injection after a prisoner took more than an hour to die in Arizona last month, a state official said.

Missouri killer executed, scrutiny high after Arizona

- Missouri officials executed convicted killer Michael Worthington on Wednesday despite calls for caution after a problematic execution in Arizona last month, when a condemned prisoner took more than an hour to die.

Albuquerque could scrap jail time for small amounts of pot

ALBUQUERQUE N.M. - Albuquerque in New Mexico may eliminate jail time for offenders caught with small amounts of marijuana after a city councillor proposed giving only small fines to those caught with less than an ounce of pot.

Son of Nevada rancher Bundy arrested on probation violation

- The son of a Nevada rancher who was at the center of an armed standoff with federal agents in a dispute over cattle grazing rights has been arrested on a probation violation, Las Vegas police said on Tuesday.

Residents evacuated after mudslide topples Utah home

SALT LAKE CITY - A mudslide toppled one home in Utah on Tuesday and forced the evacuation of 20 others and a tennis club below a hillside that city officials said had already shown signs of stress. 

Wyoming couple charged with abuse for imprisoning child in cage

- A Wyoming couple are charged with felony child abuse for forcing the woman's 7-year-old son to live in an outdoor cage where they periodically fed him and sometimes freed him to use the bathroom, a prosecutor said on Tuesday.

Double-decker tour buses collide in NY's Times Square

NEW YORK - Two double-decker tour buses collided in New York's Times Square on Tuesday, injuring at least 11 people at the height of the summer tourist season, police and firefighters said.

Hiker vanishes after falling near Oregon's Crater Lake

PORTLAND Ore. - Rangers at Crater Lake National Park in Oregon asked for the public’s help on Tuesday as they look for a man who appears to have vanished after being seen falling near the country’s deepest lake.

U.S. to close three shelters as flow of migrant children wanes

- Three interim shelters that have housed thousands of unaccompanied children who have come to the United States from Central America will close within weeks due to decreasing numbers of minors making the trip, officials said on Tuesday.

Defense asks U.S. judge how Guantanamo prisoner could be executed

FORT MEADE Md. - Defense lawyers for the Guantanamo Bay prisoner charged with masterminding the 2000 USS Cole warship bombing in Yemen sought on Tuesday to find out how their client could be executed in the death penalty case, citing a troubled Arizona execution.

Boy, suspected kidnapper dead after Colorado hostage standoff

DENVER - Police found a boy and a suspected kidnapper dead inside a house on Tuesday, following an hours-long overnight standoff in a small northern Colorado farming town, authorities said.

More wildfire evacuations feared as winds fan flames in Washington state

SEATTLE - Crews battling to contain a wildfire burning close to a city in Washington state said stronger winds forecast for Tuesday could push flames into surrounding canyons, and urged people to be ready for more evacuations.

Wisconsin man charged with homicide in suitcase corpses case

KENOSHA Wis. - A former Wisconsin police officer accused of stuffing the bodies of two women into separate suitcases and dumping the luggage on a rural road was charged on Tuesday with first-degree intentional homicide in one of the cases.

Utah asks U.S. top court to hear gay marriage case

WASHINGTON - Utah officials on Tuesday filed court papers asking the U.S. Supreme Court to uphold the state's ban on gay marriage.

Tennessee man pleads guilty to killing in-laws with exploding lamp

NASHVILLE Tenn. - A Tennessee man on Tuesday pleaded guilty to killing his elderly in-laws with an explosive device disguised as a lamp, prosecutors said.

Three members of family found at bottom of Hollywood pool

LOS ANGELES - A mother and two of her children were in grave condition after being found at the bottom of a swimming pool at a motel in Hollywood, Los Angeles Fire Department officials said on Tuesday.

U.S. court approves $27.8 million deal for toxic Tennessee spill

- A federal judge in Tennessee has approved a $27.8 million settlement from the Tennessee Valley Authority to more than 800 people affected by a 2008 accident that unleashed a wave of toxic coal sludge, plaintiffs’ lawyers said Tuesday.

Fleas overrun western New York courthouse, force shutdown

NEW YORK - A flea infestation forced a courthouse in western New York state to shut its doors for the second straight day on Tuesday, officials said.

Hurricane, tropical storm seen moving toward Hawaii

HONOLULU - A hurricane and a tropical storm are heading west across the Pacific Ocean toward the tourist haven of Hawaii and the U.S. National Hurricane Center said parts of the islands may need to post watches later on Tuesday.

Five-year-old Minnesota 'mayor' loses bid for third term

- Robert Tufts lost election for a third term as honorary mayor of an unofficial northern Minnesota town but he took the defeat in stride and is looking forward to kindergarten, his mother said on Tuesday.

NYPD probing report that EMTs stopped four cops beating handcuffed man

NEW YORK - The New York Police Department said on Tuesday it was investigating a report that two emergency medical technicians jumped in to stop four police officers who were punching a handcuffed patient.

U.S. service sector growth hits 8-1/2 yr high in July: ISM survey

- The pace of growth in the U.S. services sector hit its highest in 8-1/2 years in July, boosted by growth in business activity, new orders and employment, according to an industry report released on Tuesday.

Virginia ex-governor's corruption trial resumes

RICHMOND Va. - The corruption trial of former Virginia Governor Robert McDonnell resumed on Tuesday after revelations that his wife tried to pitch a dietary supplement at the heart of the trial to the wife of presidential candidate Mitt Romney.

Missouri killer set for execution, scrutiny high after Arizona

- Missouri officials are pressing forward with the Wednesday execution of convicted killer Michael Worthington despite calls for caution after last month's problematic execution in Arizona in which the inmate took more than an hour to die.

Michigan porch shooting suspect admits he intended to shoot

DETROIT - A white suburban Detroit homeowner who shot to death a black teenage girl on his front porch said he intended to shoot, but was acting out of fear and not aiming at her.

NYC police union chief denies officers used choke hold on man who died

NEW YORK - The president of New York City's main police union on Tuesday denied arresting officers had used a choke hold on a Staten Island man and said a coroner's report that ruled the man's death a homicide was politically motivated.

Jury selection set for trial of former Connecticut governor Rowland

NEW HAVEN Conn. - Jury selection begins Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Connecticut for the trial of former Governor John Rowland on charges of violating campaign laws by seeking back-room consulting jobs on two Republican congressional campaigns.

Boy, nine, dies after stabbing at Michigan playground

- A 9-year-old boy died after being stabbed repeatedly by another child on a playground at the western Michigan mobile home park where he lived, police said Tuesday.

Burglar who stole Hank Aaron's baseball rings sentenced to prison

- A man who burglarized the Atlanta home of baseball legend Hank Aaron and stole “priceless” rings destined for the Baseball Hall of Fame has been sentenced to eight years in prison and 42 years on probation.

Son of Pennsylvania Congressman Fattah charged with fraud

PHILADELPHIA - The son of a Philadelphia congressman turned himself in to federal authorities Tuesday to face charges that he defrauded banks, the U.S. Small Business Administration and the city's cash-strapped school district.

Food fight in Kansas primary part of election day in four states

KANSAS CITY Mo. - Kansas voters will get to weigh in Tuesday on a right-wing food fight as part of a Congressional House race, while in neighboring Missouri the son of former Attorney General John Ashcroft seeks to follow in his father's footsteps.

Criminal charges filed in baseball doping scandal: report

MIAMI - The U.S. government on Tuesday filed criminal charges against the owner of a defunct Florida anti-aging clinic at the center of a doping scandal involving Major League Baseball players, the Miami Herald reported.

Phoenix Suns P.J. Tucker gets jail time for drunk driving in Arizona: attorney

PHOENIX - Phoenix Suns basketball forward P.J. Tucker was sentenced on Monday to three days in jail and 11 days of house arrest after pleading guilty to "super extreme" drunk driving in Arizona, one of his attorneys said.

Bertha weakens to a tropical storm : NHC

- Bertha, the second hurricane of the 2014 Atlantic season, has weakened to a tropical storm, the U.S. National Hurricane Center (NHC) said on Tuesday.

U.S. to close three interim shelters housing migrant children : U.S. media

- Three interim shelters that have housed thousands of children who have come unaccompanied to the United States from Central America will close within weeks, leading U.S. newspapers reported on Monday.

Hurricane Bertha expected to weaken on Tuesday: NHC

- Bertha, the second hurricane of the 2014 Atlantic season, is expected to weaken on Tuesday, the U.S. National Hurricane Center (NHC) said in its latest advisory on Monday.

White supremacist gets life in prison after U.S. West Coast killing spree

PORTLAND Ore. - A white supremacist convicted of killing two people during a bloody three-state road trip on the U.S. West Coast was sentenced on Monday to two life sentences by a federal judge in Portland, Oregon, the Justice Department said.

Colorado girl, three, shot by 5-year-old boy wielding handgun

DENVER - A 3-year-old Colorado girl was shot and critically wounded by a 5-year-old boy on Monday with a handgun belonging to her mother's boyfriend, police said.

Arizona researcher in airport flap says he was asserting gun rights

PHOENIX - An Arizona medical researcher arrested after taking a loaded assault rifle into the Phoenix airport said on Monday he was making a political statement and did not intend to harm anyone.

Presbyterian church in Arizona offers sanctuary to undocumented migrant

TUCSON Ariz. - For the second time since May, an Arizona Presbyterian church with a long history of sheltering Central American refugees is offering sanctuary to an undocumented immigrant who faces deportation, its pastor said on Monday.

California community stumped by mystery animal caught on videotape

LOS ANGELES - Officials in a Southern California city are trying to identify an animal caught in grainy black-and-white video footage moving quietly through a residential neighborhood, saying the beast does not appear to be a dog or a mountain lion.

Jodi Arias to represent self in Arizona death penalty sentencing retrial

PHOENIX - An Arizona judge agreed on Monday to allow convicted murder Jodi Arias to represent herself during a sentencing retrial to determine if she will face the death penalty for killing her ex-boyfriend in 2008, a court spokesman said.

Medicare raises U.S. hospital payment rates for FY2015

WASHINGTON - The U.S. government said on Monday that it will increase the operating payments that acute-care and long-term care hospitals receive from Medicare for inpatient care for the federal fiscal year that begins on Oct. 1.

Second Ebola patient headed to U.S.; N.Y. tests possible victim

ATLANTA - The second American aid worker who contracted the Ebola virus in West Africa is expected to arrive in Atlanta on Tuesday in serious condition, while a New York hospital is testing a man with symptoms of the deadly disease.

Two men arrested in Tennessee church air-conditioning thefts

NASHVILLE Tenn. - Two men have been arrested and charged with stealing $21,000 worth of air-conditioning systems from four rural Tennessee churches during a summer heat wave, apparently to sell as scrap, police said on Monday.

Drought forces some boats from shrinking Great Salt Lake in Utah

SALT LAKE CITY - Drought forced an early end to the sailing season for some Utah enthusiasts on Monday as a huge crane lifted boats out of the Great Salt Lake State Park Marina, where officials say the water is at its lowest level for more than 50 years.

Washington state mother pleads not guilty in death of toddler

- A Washington state woman locked in a custody battle pleaded not guilty on Monday to charges of murdering her toddler and badly wounding her teenage daughter in an Oregon hotel room, court officials said.

U.S. labor board backs personnel actions from time without quorum

WASHINGTON - The U.S. National Labor Relations Board said on Monday it had unanimously ratified numerous administrative and personnel actions it took when it lacked a constitutionally valid quorum.

Rabbis urge U.S. action to free American jailed in Cuba

HAVANA - Three hundred U.S. rabbis urged President Barack Obama to "take action" to secure the release of Alan Gross, a U.S. government subcontractor jailed in Cuba who has grown increasingly suicidal and has said goodbye to his family, his lawyer said on Monday.

L.A.'s Sunset Boulevard reopens week after huge water main break

LOS ANGELES - Sunset Boulevard reopened in Los Angeles on Monday, a week after part of the famed thoroughfare across America's second-largest city was shut down when a water main ruptured underneath it, spouting a 40-foot geyser and flooding part of the UCLA campus.

Detroit residents get more time to deal with unpaid water bills

CHICAGO - Detroit residents with unpaid water bills now have 21 more days to pay or set up a payment plan as the city reassesses its policy on how to deal with a $90 million backlog in unpaid bills, the mayor said on Monday.

California's new state budget emphasizes funding for education

- California's newest budget package of $152.3 billion in state spending emphasizes large increases for education, pays down debts, and proposes a 32-year plan to fully fund the teachers' pension system, the state's nonpartisan fiscal and policy advisor said on Monday

A dozen Washington homes burn in aggressive West Coast wildfire season

SEATTLE - A newly sparked wildfire was burning unchecked on Monday in central Washington state, charring about a dozen homes and threatening wide evacuations as crews scrambled to contain the blaze in an unusually destructive fire season on the U.S. West Coast.

James Brady, former White House press secretary, dies at 73

- James Brady, a former presidential press secretary critically wounded in the assassination attempt on U.S. President Ronald Reagan, has died, a family spokeswoman said on Monday. He was 73.

Syracuse, University of Iowa crowned as U.S.'s top party schools

BOSTON - New York's Syracuse University edged out the University of Iowa for the crown of top party school in the United States, according to an annual ranking released on Monday by test-prep company the Princeton Review.

Florida same-sex marriage ban struck down in third case

TAMPA Fla. - A Florida judge on Monday struck down the state's same-sex marriage ban in a ruling centered around whether a woman who entered into a civil union in another state could get divorced.

Guantanamo judge refuses to recuse himself in warship bombing trial

FORT MEADE Md. - A military judge refused on Monday to recuse himself from the death penalty case of a Guantanamo Bay prisoner accused of organizing the 2000 bombing of the U.S. warship Cole.

Pennsylvania mother smells foul odor, finds son died 4 days earlier

HARRISBURG Pa. - A mother, alerted by a foul odor, found out her son died four days earlier in their Pennsylvania home, and on Monday an autopsy was under way and the boy's father remained jailed in the case.

Illinois lawmaker pleads guilty to tax charge; faces up to a year in prison

CHICAGO - Illinois state Representative La Shawn K. Ford, who was charged two years ago with bank fraud, pleaded guilty in federal court on Monday to a substantially less serious misdemeanor charge of filing a false 2007 tax return.

NYC hospital tests man after travel to Ebola zone in Africa: local media

NEW YORK - A New York City hospital is testing a patient who traveled to a West African nation where Ebola has been reported, local media reported on Monday.

Man accused in Mich. shooting death of black girl testifies

DETROIT - A white suburban Detroit man wept as he told a jury that he regretted shooting to death an unarmed black teenage girl on his porch, but he thought someone was trying to break into his house.

Pro-marijuana advocates raise $1 million in Oregon

PORTLAND Ore. - Supporters of a recreational marijuana ballot initiative in Oregon have raised $1 million in their effort to legalize, regulate and tax use of the drug by adults, campaign finance documents showed on Monday.

Police to charge Guatemalan man in Boston body-in-box case

BOSTON - A Guatemalan man will be charged on Monday with lying to Massachusetts police investigating human remains found in a cardboard box outside Boston last month, officials said.

U.S. judge rules Alabama abortion law unconstitutional

BIRMINGHAM Ala. - A U.S. judge on Monday ruled unconstitutional an Alabama law that threatened to close three of the state's five abortion clinics.

Mayor of Toledo, Ohio, lifts ban on drinking tap water

TOLEDO Ohio - A ban on drinking tap water in Toledo was lifted early Monday after tests showed that toxins were no longer at dangerous levels from algae on Lake Erie, the mayor's office said.

NJ's high court rejects rap lyrics as evidence in attempted murder trial

- The New Jersey Supreme Court on Monday ordered a new trial for a man whose attempted murder conviction was challenged because prosecutors used rap lyrics the man had authored as evidence against him.

Two Detroit men charged in shooting of eight-year-old boy

- Two Detroit men have been charged in last week's fatal shooting of an 8-year-old boy who had been sleeping in his bed, prosecutors said on Monday.

Kurds ask U.S. court to scrap seizure order, allow crude delivery

HOUSTON - The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) of Iraq asked a U.S. court on Monday to throw out an order to seize some 1 million barrels of disputed crude oil and allow the cargo to be freely delivered in Texas.

Virginia family of five killed in apparent murder-suicide

- A Culpeper, Virginia, family of five was shot to death in an apparent murder-suicide, with the father the suspected shooter, police said on Monday.

NYC's largest jail has pattern of violating teen inmate rights - DOJ

NEW YORK - The U.S. Justice Department said on Monday a multi-year investigation of New York City's Rikers Island jail has found a "pattern and practice of conduct" that violates the constitutional rights of adolescent inmates.

Parents of bullied Florida girl who killed herself sue school board

ORLANDO Fla. - The parents of a 12-year-old Florida girl who killed herself after being bullied by schoolmates filed a lawsuit Monday accusing the school system of negligence for failing to stop the torment.

Star witness back on stand in Virginia ex-governor's corruption trial

RICHMOND Va. - Defense lawyers for former Virginia Governor Robert McDonnell in his federal corruption trial on Monday wrapped up their cross-examination of the businessman alleged to have given McDonnell and his wife gifts and loans.

One dead, thousands stranded after southern California storms

- One person died and thousands of people were stranded after thunderstorms raged through Southern California mountain communities on Sunday, unleashing mudslides and floods, officials said.

U.S. Air Force Academy to probe reports of rape, drug use

DENVER - The U.S. Air Force Academy's superintendent ordered an investigation into the school's athletic programs on Sunday amid reports of sexual assaults, drug use and academic cheating, primarily among football players at the elite institution.

U.S. chicken farmers latest caught in Russia sanction crosshairs

- Russia's threatened ban on U.S. poultry imports, the latest move in a sanctions skirmish over Moscow's support of rebels in Ukraine, has agriculture companies alert to the risks of a conflict that's already roiled trading of crops ranging from soy, beef and fruit to California pistachios.

All-clear given after security alert at White House entrance

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Secret Service cleared Pennsylvania Avenue in front of the White House earlier on Monday and closed one of its gates for more than an hour after a bomb-sniffing dog alerted them to a car in a nearby garage.

Wildfire destroys eight buildings on California-Oregon border

- A wildfire burning on the border of Oregon and California has destroyed eight structures and was threatening hundreds more on Sunday, officials said, after California declared a state of emergency amid an extremely aggressive fire season.

U.S. Air Force Academy to probe reports of rape, drug use

DENVER - The U.S. Air Force Academy's superintendent ordered an investigation into the school's athletic programs on Sunday amid reports of sexual assaults, drug use and academic cheating, primarily among football players at the elite institution.

New Mexico man almost loses genitals in pitbull attack

ALBUQUERQUE N.M. - A New Mexico man almost lost his genitals to a dog bite when a 90-pound (40-kg) mixed breed pitbull attacked his eight-year-old daughter and he intervened to rescue her, police said on Sunday.

Man who filmed NYPD choke hold video arrested on weapons charges

- A man who filmed a New York City police officer use a choke hold on a suspect who later died has been arrested on weapons charges, law enforcement officials said on Sunday.

Remains found of man wanted for murder of family in California

- Human remains found near a river in northern California belong to a man on the U.S. Marshals Service's top 15 most wanted fugitive list for questioning in the murder of his wife and two daughters, officials said Sunday.

U.S. doctor stricken with Ebola said to be improving

ATLANTA - An American doctor stricken with the deadly Ebola virus while in Liberia and brought to the United States for treatment in a special isolation ward is improving, the top U.S. health official said on Sunday.

Some 400,000 in Ohio without drinking water, tests show lower toxin levels

TOLEDO Ohio - Health authorities tested water for toxins in Toledo, Ohio, on Sunday as some 400,000 people remained without safe drinking water for a second day following the discovery of high toxin levels from algae on Lake Erie.

Tropical storm Bertha strengthens as it moves away from the Bahamas: NHC

- Tropical Storm Bertha, the second named storm of the 2014 Atlantic Hurricane Season, is strengthening quickly as it moves away from the Bahamas, the U.S. National Hurricane Center (NHC) said on Monday.

Florida to begin redrawing unconstitutional congressional maps on Thursday

TALLAHASSEE Fla. - Florida legislative leaders said on Sunday they plan to call a special session on Thursday after a judge ordered them to redraw the state's U.S. congressional maps and held open the possibility of delaying general elections in November.

Second Maryland concertgoer dies of suspected overdose

- A second person has died of a suspected drug overdose following a Maryland pop and dance music festival that left another dead and more than a dozen hospitalized with drug-related illnesses, police said on Sunday.

Washington woman arrested on murder charges in death of toddler

SEATTLE - A Washington state woman was arrested on Sunday on murder charges after her two-year-old daughter was found dead and her teenage daughter badly hurt in an Oregon resort hotel, officials said.

Obama says corporate America has benefited from his policies: the Economist

WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama said corporate America has done well under his economic policies, telling the Economist magazine that CEOs should stop complaining about regulations and show greater social responsibility.

Eggnog blast in New Jersey injures two, damages building

- Authorities are investigating an explosion that originated in a vat of eggnog, damaged a pharmaceutical plant and caused minor injuries to two workers in New Jersey, local media said on Sunday.

Billion-dollar debate in Oklahoma divorce: Was oilman just lucky?

NEW YORK - For years, Continental Resources, the largest oil driller in the booming Bakken Shale formation, touted the hard work of its CEO and founder, Oklahoma billionaire Harold Hamm, as "a driving force" behind the company’s success.

Some 400,000 in Ohio without drinking water as toxin tests continue

TOLEDO Ohio - Testing of water for toxins in Toledo, Ohio, continued on Sunday as some 400,000 people remained without safe drinking water for a second day following the discovery of high toxin levels from algae on Lake Erie.

Around 500,000 in Ohio without drinking water as tested for toxins

TOLEDO Ohio - Some 500,000 residents in and around Toledo, Ohio were without safe drinking water for a second day on Sunday while local water supplies were being tested following the discovery of high toxin levels from algae on Lake Erie.

American aid worker stricken with Ebola being treated in U.S.

ATLANTA - An American aid worker infected with the deadly Ebola virus while in Liberia was being treated at an Atlanta hospital in a special isolation unit on Sunday.

N.Y. Met Opera extends contracts one week for financial review

- New York's Metropolitan Opera has agreed to extend union contracts for a week to allow for an independent study of its finances, further postponing a threatened lockout at the nation's largest performing arts organization, the Met said on Saturday.

Supporters, foes of pot legalization post rival ads in NY Times

SEATTLE - Supporters and opponents of the federal ban on marijuana took to the pages of The New York Times this weekend with full-page color advertisements that highlight the fast-evolving debate in the United States about medical and recreational drug use.

One dead, 20 hospitalized from apparent overdoses at Maryland concert

- A North Carolina man died and 20 people were hospitalized due to apparent drug overdoses during a pop and dance music festival in Maryland, authorities said on Saturday.

Mistaken identity leaves Texas man planning new burial service for mother

HOUSTON - A grieving Texas man is planning a second burial service for his mother after a mortuary mistakenly placed the wrong body in a grave on top of his father.

U.S. insurer to stop coverage of gynecological procedure

WASHINGTON - A health insurer with 5.2 million members in three Eastern U.S. states said on Saturday it would stop providing coverage for a procedure called laparoscopic power morcellation that is used in gynecological surgery and may inadvertently spread cancer.

Texas quintuplets arrive home to cheers, stacks of diapers

TEXARKANA Texas - Cheering friends and families lined the streets of the East Texas town of Maud to welcome its five newest residents, quintuplets born nearly five months ago with much fanfare at a Dallas hospital.

FDA says 'stands ready' to work with companies developing Ebola drugs

CHICAGO - (This version of the August 1 story corrects spelling of doctor's name in 12th paragraph to Amesh)

American aid worker stricken with Ebola arrives in U.S. for treatment

ATLANTA - An American aid worker infected with the deadly Ebola virus while in Liberia arrived in the United States from West Africa on Saturday and was able to walk from an ambulance into an Atlanta hospital for treatment in a special isolation unit.

Algal bloom leaves 500,000 without drinking water in northeast Ohio

TOLEDO Ohio - Officials in Toledo, Ohio, warned residents of the city and surrounding areas on Saturday not to drink their tap water or try to boil it for purification after samples found dangerously high levels of toxins from an algal bloom.

California revises rules on use of force with mentally ill inmates

- California on Friday announced court-ordered policy changes aimed at curbing the use of force against thousands of mentally ill inmates after video footage showed prisoners screaming as guards doused them in pepper spray.

Two transit crashes minutes apart injure 40 in San Francisco

- Forty people were injured in two separate transit accidents minutes apart in San Francisco on Friday, police said.

U.S. prepares to receive two American aid workers stricken with Ebola

ATLANTA - Two American aid workers, both seriously ill after being infected with the deadly Ebola virus in Liberia, will be flown to the United States and treated in isolation at an Atlanta hospital, officials said on Friday.

Colorado officials propose tightening rules for marijuana edibles

DENVER - A Colorado task force charged with tightening controls on marijuana edibles unveiled proposed rules on Friday to limit potency levels, require clearer labeling and assure that children cannot get their hands on pot-infused confections.

Albuquerque mayor concerned about city's homeless American Indians

ALBUQUERQUE N.M. - Authorities in Albuquerque said on Friday that homeless American Indian people are more at risk than others from street violence in findings released after the beating deaths of two homeless men in an abandoned lot in New Mexico's largest city.

Area in front of White House reopened after being cleared

WASHINGTON - U.S. Park Police and Secret Service officers reopened an area in front of the White House on Friday evening after briefly closing it due to an unattended package that had been left in front of the presidential building, according to a Reuters eyewitness.

Sudanese woman who had faced execution for conversion arrives in U.S.

MANCHESTER N.H. - A Sudanese woman who was sentenced to death for converting from Islam to Christianity, then detained after her conviction was quashed, arrived in the United States on Thursday.

Bible left in North Korean sailor's club triggered U.S. tourist's arrest

SEOUL - American tourist Jeffrey Fowle was arrested by North Korean authorities for leaving a bible under a bin in the toilet at a club for foreign sailors, a source familiar with Fowle's case told Reuters.

Colorado rolls out driver's licenses for illegal immigrants

DENVER - Colorado granted driver's licenses to 62 illegal immigrants on Friday, officials said, during the first day of a controversial program that supporters say makes the streets safer and opponents argue rewards criminality.

Michael Jackson's Neverland estate being considered for sale

LOS ANGELES - Late pop singer Michael Jackson's Neverland estate is being considered for sale, a spokesman for the company controlling the property said on Friday.

Chicago police say homicides fall to lowest level since 1963

CHICAGO - Chicago's police superintendent said on Friday the number of homicides had fallen to the lowest level in five decades so far this year as he sought to dispel the notion that America's third-largest city reigns as the nation's murder capital.

Arizona reveals drug dosage given in drawn-out execution

PHOENIX - A review ordered by Arizona's governor into last month's drawn-out execution of a death row inmate is underway and authorities confirmed on Friday the dosage of the controversial two-drug cocktail the prisoner received for his lethal injection.

U.S. prepares to receive two American aid workers stricken with Ebola

ATLANTA - Two American aid workers, both seriously ill after being infected with the deadly Ebola virus in Liberia, will be flown to the United States and treated in isolation at an Atlanta hospital, officials said on Friday.

Museum celebrating 'Big Bang' of country music opens in Virginia

BRISTOL Va - A museum celebrating 10 days in 1927 that helped introduce the mountain music of Appalachia to mainstream America opened in Virginia on Friday.

Girl accused of setting California wildfire ordered to have mental exam

LOS ANGELES - A teenage girl charged with setting a California wildfire that burned 2,000 acres (800 hectares) and destroyed some 40 structures north of San Diego in May has been ordered by a judge to submit to a mental competency exam, prosecutors said on Friday.

Legal complication clouds medical marijuana rollout in Florida

ORLANDO Fla. - Prospective medical marijuana growers in Florida are struggling to figure out a legal way to obtain starter cannabis plants under a new state law allowing for limited medical use, the bill's sponsor and other experts say.

Monsoon rains cause floods, but fewer wildfires, in New Mexico

ALBUQUERQUE N.M. - In normally drought-stricken New Mexico, near-historic levels of monsoon rains this month caused a sharp rise in flash flood warnings, but have dampened the risk of devastating wildfires, experts said on Friday.

Arizona professor gets probation for scuffle with campus police

MESA Ariz. - An Arizona professor was sentenced on Friday to nine months' probation for scuffling with campus police after being stopped for walking in the middle of a street at night.

Trappers search for Washington state otter that attacked swimmers

- Wildlife trappers in Washington state searched on Friday for a river otter blamed for a rare attack on humans that sent a boy and his grandmother to the hospital, wildlife experts said.

Florida Lionfish ban, nation's first, goes into effect

MIAMI - Florida's ban on importing invasive lionfish, the first of its kind in the nation, goes into effect on Friday as wildlife managers look for a way to control the spread of the barbed, red-and-white striped fish.

Google, Facebook pay for shuttles to use San Francisco bus stops

SAN FRANCISCO - Commuter shuttles run by Google Inc, Facebook Inc and other Silicon Valley companies began paying on Friday to make stops at San Francisco bus stations after protests blamed them for gentrification.

Florida judge awards $16 million to artist Rauschenberg's trustees

TAMPA Fla. - A Florida judge has awarded about $16 million to three trustees of famed contemporary artist Robert Rauschenberg's trust following years of litigation over the value of their services, the Fort Myers News-Press reported on Friday.

Floor of UCLA's famed Pauley Pavilion to be replaced after water main break

LOS ANGELES - The wooden floor of UCLA's famed Pauley Pavilion, which recently underwent a multi-million dollar renovation, will be replaced after it was flooded this week when a major water main broke, the school's athletic director said on Friday.

Death of New York man a homicide caused by police choke hold -autopsy

NEW YORK - The death of a man during an arrest last month in New York City was caused by a choke hold by a police officer, the chief medical examiner's office said on Friday, declaring the death a homicide.

Illinois man charged with putting needles in store meat

KANSAS CITY Mo - A 68-year-old Illinois man is in jail charged with food tampering after he allegedly inserted sewing needles into packages of meat at a grocery store multiple times in the past year, an official said on Friday.

Former NYPD sergeant sentenced to 58 months in $4.7 million scheme

NEW YORK - A former New York City police sergeant who admitted duping investors in a $4.7 million real estate scheme was sentenced on Friday to nearly five years in prison, a federal prosecutor said.

Federal court agrees to suspend Detroit bankruptcy appeals

- A federal court agreed on Friday to suspend seven cases seeking to overturn a lower court ruling that found Detroit was eligible for municipal bankruptcy.

Q&A: U.S. Justice Ginsburg on Hobby Lobby, gay marriage, retirement

WASHINGTON D.C. - In an interview with Reuters late on Thursday, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, 81, was not just defiant about calls for her retirement. A former women's rights advocate appointed to the court in 1993 by President Bill Clinton, Ginsburg also had plenty to say about how the Court's controversial Hobby Lobby decision highlighted a gender gap among her fellow justices, why gay marriage will continue to face court challenges, and why a woman might not be he

N.J. Governor Christie creates public pension study commission

- New Jersey Governor Chris Christie on Friday created a panel to recommend reforms to the state's pension and health benefits for retired public employees.

Massachusetts lawmakers pass bill tightening state gun laws

BOSTON - Massachusetts lawmakers on Friday tightened the state's already strict gun laws by passing a measure that gives police chiefs authority to turn down a resident's requests to buy a rifle or shotgun if they believe the person may be a danger.

Tape emerges of Clinton discussing bin Laden day before 9/11 attack

NEW YORK - Former President Bill Clinton said he "could have killed" Osama bin Laden in remarks to an audience in Australia the day before al Qaeda's 2001 attacks on the United States, according to an audio tape that emerged this week.

U.S. appeals court upholds Guantanamo detainee frisk-search policy

WASHINGTON - A U.S. appeals court on Friday upheld the Obama administration's new policy of search procedures at Guantanamo Bay that detainees had challenged saying invasive practices such as frisking of their anal and groin areas discourage them from consulting with their lawyers.

U.S. asks appeals court to reconsider Obamacare subsidies ruling

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Justice Department on Friday asked a federal appeals court to reconsider its July 22 ruling that posed a major setback to the Obamacare health insurance overhaul by casting into doubt the availability of federal health insurance subsidies for millions of people.

Grimm choice: Tax fraud trial could dog NY re-election campaign

NEW YORK - This fall, when Representative Michael Grimm asks New York voters to send him to Washington for a third term in Congress he may be splitting his time between the campaign trail and a courtroom where he is due to face tax evasion charges.

Chicago budget gap to shrink, but pension payment spike looms

CHICAGO - Chicago said its budget deficit was on track to shrink to just below $300 million in 2015, but a state-mandated increase in pension payments would expand gaps in the future.

After nine-month kidnap ordeal, New Hampshire teen feeling 'better'

BOSTON - A New Hampshire teenager who reappeared mysteriously after a nine-month kidnapping ordeal told her hometown newspaper that she was "feeling a lot better every day" and re-adjusting to life back home in the mountain town of Conway.

Hyundai recalls in U.S. reach 1.3 million in same week

- South Korea's Hyundai Motor Co is recalling about 420,000 vehicles covering three models for separate problems in the United States, after recalling 883,000 Sonata sedans this week, according to U.S. safety regulators.

Corruption trial of former Virginia governor to hear from businessman

RICHMOND Va. - The businessman at the heart of the corruption trial of former Virginia Governor Robert McDonnell and his wife is due back on the witness stand on Friday for a third day of testimony, including likely questions from defense attorneys.

Competency hearing expected for Wisconsin girl in Slenderman case

MILWAUKEE - Two doctors are expected to testify on Friday on the competency of one of two Wisconsin girls accused of luring their friend into the woods and repeatedly stabbing her to please Slenderman, a fictional Internet character.

U.S. top lawyer calls for greater transparency over execution drugs

- Attorney General Eric Holder is calling on states to be more transparent about the drug cocktails used in executions in the wake of a series of botched lethal injections that have renewed a national debate over the death penalty.

For some companies, influx of migrant children into U.S. means business

NEW YORK - For a handful of U.S. companies that have exclusive or longstanding contracts with federal agencies dealing with illegal immigrants, the recent wave of children crossing the southern border with Mexico is a business opportunity.

Court clears way for California to sell $8 billion of bullet-train bonds

- A California appeals court has ruled a state authority may issue $8 billion in bonds to help finance a high-speed rail system in the most populous U.S. state, removing a substantial obstacle to the proposed $68 billion plan.

U.S. Congressman Cantor to resign seat early: Richmond Times-Dispatch

- U.S. Congressman Eric Cantor said he will resign his seat effective Aug. 18, months earlier than expected following a shock primary election defeat, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reported on Friday.

U.S. residents sue over immigration denials said to target Muslims

LOS ANGELES - Five long-time U.S. residents who are Muslim or from Muslim-majority countries sued the federal government on Thursday, saying the Department of Homeland Security was unfairly denying or delaying requests for citizenship and permanent residency on vague security grounds.

Obamacare subsidy case could be reviewed by U.S. Supreme Court

- The U.S. Supreme Court has been asked to review a case about whether the federal government can subsidize health insurance for millions of Americans, a party involved in the lawsuit said on Thursday.

Man extradited to U.S. from Mexico over slaying of border patrol agent

- A Mexican man has been extradited to the United States in connection with the fatal shooting of a U.S. border patrol agent during a late-night gun battle near the U.S.-Mexican border in Arizona four years ago, federal prosecutors said on Thursday.

New York's Met Opera, unions extend talks for 72 hours, lockout delayed

NEW YORK - New York's Metropolitan Opera agreed to extend negotiations with its labor unions for 72 hours, preventing a threatened lockout at the nation's largest performing arts organization, the Met said late on Thursday.

Obama commemorates Special Olympics anniversary at star-studded White House event

WASHINGTON - Katy Perry, Jason Derulo and Stevie Wonder were all there - but the only guest who got to give President Barack Obama a hug during his speech was restaurant owner Tim Harris.

U.S. to modernize poultry inspections to boost food safety

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Department of Agriculture said on Thursday it will modernize its decades-old inspection methods for poultry in an attempt to crack down on food-borne illness.

California's proposed 2015 Obamacare premiums to rise 4 percent in 2015

- Healthcare premiums will rise an average of 4.2 percent in 2015 on California's health insurance exchange, the largest of the state marketplaces established by President Barack Obama's healthcare reform, state officials said on Thursday.

Washington state man sentenced to 10 years for torching gay club

SEATTLE - A Washington state man was sentenced to 10 years in prison on Thursday for setting fire to a popular Seattle gay nightclub packed with New Year's Eve revelers.

U.S. veterans agency employees falsified data to hide delays: USA Today

WASHINGTON - Employees at more than 100 medical centers run by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs falsified appointment data and hid evidence of delayed medical care, according to a USA Today analysis of government data.

Disgruntled executive shoots CEO, kills self in Chicago building

CHICAGO - A senior executive upset about a job demotion gravely wounded the chief executive officer of his company in a downtown Chicago office building and then fatally shot himself, police said on Thursday.

Fired Ohio State band leader says tried to stamp out hazing

CLEVELAND - An Ohio State University band leader who was fired for failing to stamp out sexual harassment defended his tenure on Thursday, saying he pushed to change the marching band's decades-old, quasi-military culture of hazing rituals.

Speeding grandma thanks Idaho trooper for ticket

SALMON Idaho - A Washington state grandmother has written a thank-you letter to a state trooper in Idaho for giving her a speeding ticket in an exchange that she said on Thursday was a highlight of her recent holiday there.

U.S. aid worker infected with Ebola to be moved to Atlanta hospital: official

- A U.S. humanitarian aid worker who was infected with Ebola in West Africa will be transferred back to the United States and treated in a special high security ward at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, hospital officials said on Thursday.

Search for missing Oregon woman expands to other Western states

- The search for a missing Oregon mother of two young children has expanded to other states, with investigators pursuing all leads after a week without any concrete information on her whereabouts, police said Thursday.

U.S. tells Dallas county no need for it to house immigrants: commissioner

DALLAS - Federal authorities rejected plans to house up to 2,000 children from Central America in temporary shelters in Dallas County, saying the need had waned due to a falling number of immigrants arriving, a county commissioner said on Thursday.

Judge says unclear if NYC is fair when revoking taxi licenses

NEW YORK - A federal judge in New York said it is an open question whether the city's Taxi and Limousine Commission treats taxi drivers fairly in hearings over whether to revoke their licenses.

Spanish-style bull run nixed in California, other events planned

LOS ANGELES - A Spanish-style bull run that would have seen participants in shorts and red scarves scampering alongside the horned animals has been canceled in Southern California due to a permit denial, an organizer said on Thursday.

Prosecutors to appeal dismissal of Minnesota shooting plot charges

- Prosecutors plan to appeal the dismissal of attempted murder and property damage charges against a Minnesota teenager who allegedly planned bombings and shootings at a high school, a court official said on Thursday.

California zoo animals feast on 13,000-pound fruit donation

BERKELEY Calif. - Animals at a zoo in California's Bay Area received an unexpected and unusual feast after a delivery truck carrying exotic fruit crashed and spilled an estimated $50,000 worth of produce across a highway, officials said on Thursday.

Crews tighten battle lines around Yosemite fire threatening Sequoias

- Firefighters tightened their grip Thursday on a blaze roaring for a sixth day through drought-parched timber and brush on the western edge of Yosemite National Park as they took special measures to protect a famed grove of giant Sequoia trees.

U.S. CDC says salmonella outbreak from Foster Farms' chicken appears over

CHICAGO - A salmonella outbreak linked to California-based poultry producer Foster Farms' contaminated chicken appears to be over, more than 17 months after it began, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Thursday.

World Trade Center contractor charged in multimillion-dollar fraud

NEW YORK - The owner of a company that has done nearly $1 billion in construction work at the World Trade Center was charged on Thursday with defrauding a government program intended to promote minority- and women-owned businesses.

Activists say transgender woman raped at Arizona immigrant center

PHOENIX - Rights activists called on Thursday for the immediate release of a transgender women allegedly raped by her cellmate at an Arizona immigrant detention center, accusing authorities of refusing to provide for her safety.

Sudanese woman who had faced execution for conversion arrives in U.S.

MANCHESTER N.H. - A Sudanese woman who was sentenced to death for converting from Islam to Christianity, then detained after her conviction was quashed, arrived in the United States on Thursday.

CIA concedes it spied on U.S. Senate investigators, apologizes

WASHINGTON - The CIA conceded on Thursday that it had improperly monitored computers used by the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee in an investigation of interrogation tactics and secret prisons for terrorism suspects after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. Central Intelligence Agency spokesman Dean Boyd said in a statement that the agency's inspector general had determined that "some CIA employees acted in a manner inconsistent" with an understanding between the agency and the Senate

U.S. reforms poultry inspections to boost food safety

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced on Thursday reforms to decades-old processes for inspecting poultry facilities in a bid to cut down on the number of foodborne illnesses, but dropped an industry-backed plan to speed up production.

Tea Party out-muscles Boehner on border-security funding

WASHINGTON - A bill to fund border security blew up in House Speaker John Boehner's face on Thursday, leaving Republicans in disarray and struggling to reconcile Tea Party demands with the need to deal with a humanitarian crisis on the southwestern border with Mexico.

Sudanese woman who had faced execution for conversion arrives in U.S.

MANCHESTER N.H. - A Sudanese woman who was sentenced to death for converting from Islam to Christianity, then detained after her conviction was quashed, arrived in the United States on Thursday.

Ebola patient coming to U.S. as aid workers' health worsens

CHICAGO/WINSTON-SALEM N.C. - A U.S. aid worker who was infected with the deadly Ebola virus while working in West Africa will be flown to the United States to be treated in a high-security ward at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, hospital officials said on Thursday.

Tea Party out-muscles Boehner on border-security funding

WASHINGTON - A bill to fund border security blew up in House Speaker John Boehner's face on Thursday, leaving Republicans in disarray and struggling to reconcile Tea Party demands with the need to deal with a humanitarian crisis on the southwestern border with Mexico.

U.S. jobless claims up, wage growth starting to push higher

WASHINGTON - The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits rose last week, but the underlying trend pointed to a continuing strengthening of labor market conditions.

Exec at heart of ex-Va. Governor's corruption trial due back on stand

RICHMOND Va. - The businessman who federal prosecutors contend gave gifts and loans to former Virginia Governor Robert McDonnell and his wife is due to return to the witness stand on Thursday at the couple's corruption trial.

Justice Department wants workers to carry heroin antidote

WASHINGTON - U.S. law enforcement agents who deal with heroin addicts may begin carrying the drug naloxone to reverse overdoses, the Justice Department said on Thursday, responding to a surge in heroin use in the United States.

Wisconsin Supreme Court upholds registry for same-sex couples

MILWAUKEE - The Wisconsin Supreme Court on Thursday upheld a 2009 law that establishes a registry for same-sex couples, saying it does not violate an amendment to the state's constitution banning gay marriage.

Voter ID law upheld by Wisconsin Supreme Court

MILWAUKEE - The Wisconsin Supreme Court on Thursday upheld a state law requiring voters to have photo identification to cast a ballot, although the law remains blocked by an earlier ruling by a federal judge that it is unconstitutional.

Night at the museum: U.S. adults embrace art, science sleepovers

NEW YORK - Kids have been sleeping overnight in museums across the country for years, dozing off among live sharks and dinosaur bones. Now adults are getting to join the fun.

Plane crashes in San Diego Costco parking lot, killing one person

- A small plane crashed in the parking lot of a San Diego retail store on Wednesday, killing one person and injuring at least one other, according to officials and local media.

Seattle cop who issued 80 percent of marijuana tickets reassigned

SEATTLE - The Seattle Police Department has reassigned an officer who single-handedly issued about 80 percent of the marijuana tickets handed out in the city during the first half of this year, authorities said on Wednesday.

Businessman says helped ex-Virginia governor, wife as part of 'business relationship'

RICHMOND Va - The businessman at the heart of a corruption trial involving former Virginia Governor Robert McDonnell and his wife, Maureen, testified on Wednesday he helped them out with gifts and loans strictly for the benefit of his dietary supplement company.

San Diego student's near-death in DEA custody avoidable: report

SAN DIEGO - Simple measures, such as a white board listing names of prisoners, might have prevented the near-death of a San Diego college student inadvertently left in a holding cell for nearly five days without food or water, a federal report showed on Wednesday.

Crashed drone carried contraband aimed at South Carolina prison

CHARLESTON Fla. - A drone being flown in a novel attempt to smuggle phones, marijuana and tobacco into a South Carolina maximum security prison crashed outside its walls, authorities said on Wednesday.

U.S. advances plan to reintroduce wild bison herds outside Yellowstone

- New herds of genetically pure wild bison may once again roam vast expanses of the American West where the iconic animal has been absent since the end of the 19th century, under a tentative plan federal officials advanced on Wednesday.

Teen who sneaked to top of World Trade Center pleads guilty: report

NEW YORK - A New Jersey teen, who sneaked into New York City's One World Trade Center and ascended to the top of the 104-story building to the antenna, pleaded guilty on Wednesday to a misdemeanor charge stemming from the incident, New York media reported.

Chicken pox halts immigrant processing at New Mexico center

ALBUQUERQUE N.M. - U.S. border authorities have suspended the processing of undocumented immigrants at a center in New Mexico after one of the detainees was diagnosed with chicken pox, a spokeswoman for Immigration and Customs Enforcement said on Wednesday.

Liberia shuts schools as Ebola spreads, Peace Corps leaves three countries

DAKAR - Liberia will close schools and consider quarantining some communities, it said on Wednesday, rolling out the toughest measures yet imposed by a West African government to halt the worst outbreak on record of the deadly Ebola virus.

Colorado nurse sues after being a 'hostage' in armed gunman drill

DENVER - A Colorado woman is suing the nursing home where she worked and local police for allegedly not telling her that a gunman who held her hostage was a police officer conducting a safety drill, court documents show.

Liberia shuts schools as Ebola spreads, Peace Corps leaves West Africa

DAKAR - Liberia will close schools and consider quarantining some communities, it said on Wednesday, rolling out the toughest measures yet imposed by a West African government to halt the worst outbreak on record of the deadly Ebola virus.

Airlines seek court review of higher U.S. fee on plane tickets

- Two airline trade groups asked a U.S. appeals court on Wednesday to review fee increases on airplane tickets imposed by the Transportation Security Administration, saying the agency is "improperly" raising taxes on travelers and hurting carriers.

Gunman, two others killed in North Carolina shooting

- A North Carolina man who opened fire on Wednesday on a mobile home with six people inside, killing two, was himself killed in an exchange of gunfire with authorities in a incident that also left three sheriff's deputies wounded, authorities said.

Five arrested for Atlantic City casino heist

- Five people, including a security guard, have been arrested in connection with an armed robbery of $181,000 from the Caesars Atlantic City casino last week, police said on Wednesday,

Florida mother arrested for letting 7-year-old son walk alone to park

- A Florida mother faces charges of child neglect for allowing her 7-year-old son to walk alone to a neighborhood park to play, authorities said on Wednesday.

Oregon woman bought sleeping pills before going missing

PORTLAND Ore. - A missing Oregon stay-at-home mother of two young children bought sleeping pills and snacks on an errand run in her small community before she disappeared, but she did not buy enough pills to harm herself, police in Oregon said on Wednesday.

U.S. CFPB director says training managers to create fairer workplace

WASHINGTON - The head of the U.S. consumer watchdog told lawmakers on Wednesday that new managers at the agency initially did not get enough training about creating a fair workplace for women and minority employees, an "oversight" he said the bureau is now addressing.

Drew Barrymore's half-sister found dead in car near San Diego

LOS ANGELES - The half-sister of actress Drew Barrymore was found dead in her vehicle parked on a suburban San Diego street, the San Diego County Coroner said on Wednesday.

Publisher to remove book passage that sparked Jesse Ventura lawsuit

- The publisher of a book at the center of a successful defamation case brought by former Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura against the estate of a former Navy SEAL said on Wednesday it would delete the passage about a bar fight that sparked the suit.

U.S. Peace Corps says two volunteers exposed to Ebola, isolated

WASHINGTON - Two U.S. Peace Corps volunteers have been isolated and under observation after being exposed to a person who later died of the deadly Ebola virus, a Peace Corps spokeswoman said on Wednesday.

Detroit, Syncora fight over casino money in appeals court-report

- A federal appeals court panel heard arguments on Wednesday between Detroit and one of its last hold-out creditors over casino tax revenue, with one of the judges promising a careful consideration of the case, the Detroit News reported.

Prosecution rests in fatal Michigan porch shooting case

DETROIT - Prosecutors rested on Wednesday after presenting evidence they said proved a white suburban Detroit home owner charged with second degree murder acted with malice and forethought when he shot a black teenager dead on his porch.

Bankrupt San Bernardino looks at marijuana sales to raise funds

LOS ANGELES - The city attorney of bankrupt San Bernardino, California, has a novel idea for raising new revenue - open medical marijuana dispensaries to sell pot.

U.S. working on plan for future F-35 incidents: Air Force

WASHINGTON - Military officials hope to prevent the kind of confusion that followed a recent engine failure that grounded Lockheed Martin Corp's F-35 fighter jets for more than three weeks, the U.S. Air Force's top officer said on Wednesday.

New York Met Opera proposes federal arbitration in bitter labor dispute

NEW YORK - New York's Metropolitan Opera has proposed bringing in a federal mediator to resolve its most bitter labor dispute with its musicians and other unionized employees in decades, the company said on Wednesday.

Accused carjacker in Colorado faces 46 charges

DENVER - An accused carjacker whose alleged two-hour crime spree in Colorado was caught on camera last week was charged on Wednesday with 46 offenses, including aggravated robbery, menacing with a deadly weapon, and first-degree assault, authorities said.

Police assist 'Woman in Black' after crowd surrounds her in Virginia

- A woman dressed in all black who has been spotted strolling along highways in the U.S. Southeast and Midwest needed police assistance after she was surrounded by a group of about 50 curious people in Virginia, authorities said on Wednesday.

Lawyer-turned-witness ordered to prison for U.S. tax fraud

NEW YORK - A former partner at defunct law firm Jenkens & Gilchrist, whom prosecutors have called the most important cooperating witness in the largest criminal tax fraud case in U.S. history, was sentenced on Wednesday to six months in prison.

Redskins hire PR firm Burson-Marsteller amid fight over name

- The National Football League's Washington Redskins have hired public relations firm Burson-Marsteller as it battles criticism that its name is a racial slur, a company spokeswoman said on Wednesday.

Killer of actor Kelsey Grammer's sister denied parole in Colorado

DENVER - A man convicted of murdering the sister of actor Kelsey Grammer in Colorado 34 years ago was denied parole on Wednesday, a day after Grammer testified against his release, authorities said.

Pennsylvania state police plan to fight U.S. discrimination suit

HARRISBURG Pa. - The commissioner of the Pennsylvania State Police vowed on Wednesday to fight a lawsuit filed by the U.S. Department of Justice contending that the physical fitness tests required of prospective state troopers discriminate against women.

Six Philadelphia narcotics officers arrested for robbing dealers

PHILADELPHIA - U.S. government agents arrested six Philadelphia narcotics officers on Wednesday on charges they robbed and in some cases kidnapped drug dealers, including dangling one over an 18th story balcony to force him to give up a computer password.

U.S. turns back Central Americans, welcomes 'dusty foot' Cubans

WASHINGTON/MIAMI - Yasel Lopez's journey to the United States was as harrowing as any endured by the thousands of people rounded up in recent months at the Mexican border - he survived days without food and water and the death of a companion on the three-week trip.

U.S. Peace Corps withdrawing volunteers due to Ebola virus

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Peace Corps said on Wednesday it was pulling 340 volunteers from Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea because of the spreading Ebola virus that has killed 672 people in the three countries since February.

Third University of New Mexico football player suspended

ALBUQUERQUE N.M. - The head football coach at the University of New Mexico has suspended a third team member in as many months after the player was arrested this week on charges of breaking into a former girlfriend's apartment, a school spokesman said on Wednesday.

Police arrest New Mexico man suspected of killing, marinating dog

ALBUQUERQUE N.M. - Sheriff's deputies have arrested a New Mexico man suspected of extreme animal cruelty after he was accused of killing his ex-girlfriend's puppy with a screwdriver then marinating it in preparation for eating it, authorities said on Wednesday.

Despite court ruling, no wedding bells for same-sex couples in South Carolina

CHARLESTON S.C. - Five gay couples were denied marriage licenses on Wednesday at a South Carolina courthouse as they offered a symbolic challenge to the state's same-sex marriage ban.

Despite court ruling, no wedding bells for same-sex couples in South Carolina

CHARLESTON S.C. - Five gay couples were denied marriage licenses on Wednesday at a South Carolina courthouse as they offered a symbolic challenge to the state's same-sex marriage ban.

Despite court ruling, no wedding bells for same-sex couples in South Carolina

CHARLESTON S.C. - Five gay couples were denied marriage licenses on Wednesday at a South Carolina courthouse as they offered a symbolic challenge to the state's same-sex marriage ban.

Man accused of trying to smother father could face new charges

CLEVELAND - A 58-year-old man arrested this week on suspicion of trying to smother his terminally ill father at a nursing home after getting drunk could face fresh charges pending the outcome of an autopsy, a county prosecutor's office said on Wednesday.

Fourth Ethiopian athlete missing after track event found safe

SEATTLE - The last of four Ethiopian athletes, who came to the United States for a track meet in Oregon and then failed to fly home with teammates, has been located and is safe after disappearing in a possible asylum bid, authorities said on Wednesday.

New York man faces drug charges tied to 'Electric Zoo' death

NEW YORK - A New York man has been charged with selling the potent party drug "molly" to a 23-year-old concertgoer who died of an overdose at a massive electronic music festival last summer, prosecutors said on Wednesday.

Two women escape death from train in Indiana, but maybe not jail

- Two women may face criminal charges after narrowly escaping an oncoming freight train as they crossed a bridge above a lake in Indiana by crawling between the tracks as train cars passed inches above their heads, authorities said on Wednesday.

Crews clean up, repair flood damage from Los Angeles water main break

LOS ANGELES - Utility crews working around the clock on Wednesday labored to clean up and repair damage from a major water main break that sparked a 20-foot-tall geyser and flooded part of the University of California campus in drought-stricken Los Angeles.

Ohio man gets life for killing mother and living six months with body

CLEVELAND - An Ohio man convicted of stabbing his mother and living with her corpse for six months was sentenced on Wednesday to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Oregon hunting guide pleads guilty to injuring wild cats for easy kill

- An Oregon hunting guide accused of injuring or caging mountain lions and bobcats to make it easier for his clients to shoot and kill pleaded guilty on Wednesday in a U.S. Court in Denver to violating a federal wildlife law, prosecutors said.

Police charge man with raping woman at raucous Massachusetts concert

BOSTON - Prosecutors have charged a Massachusetts man with raping a woman at a raucous country music concert south of Boston on Saturday where dozens of people received treatment for alcohol-related medical problems.

Detroit drops post-bankruptcy monitor from exit plan

- Detroit has dropped the idea of having a court-appointed monitor keep an eye on its finances when it exits bankruptcy after determining the move was not needed, a city spokesman said on Wednesday.

Detroit boy killed by stray bullet while sleeping in bed

- An 8-year-old Detroit boy who was sleeping in his bed was struck and killed on Wednesday by a stray bullet fired from outside his home, police said.

Iraqi Kurdish pipeline stopped; tanker in limbo off Texas

ISTANBUL/LONDON - Iraqi Kurdistan's attempts to export oil independently of Baghdad hit another obstacle on Wednesday, as a Turkish energy official and industry sources said the autonomous region's pipeline to the Mediterranean has been shut for the past week.

Record low July temperatures in southern U.S., Alabama at 49 degrees

ATLANTA - Record-breaking low temperatures across the southern United States on Wednesday made July feel more like October, with the mercury dipping to 49 degrees Fahrenheit in Alabama.

Firefighters battle six-alarm Boston blaze

BOSTON - Six companies of Boston firefighters on Wednesday battled a large blaze that engulfed multiple buildings in the city's residential eastern section, fire officials said.

U.S. relief worker 'fighting through' Ebola virus: son

WINSTON-SALEM N.C. - An American aid worker infected with Ebola while responding to the outbreak of the deadly virus in Liberia and neighboring African countries is "fighting through it," her son said on Wednesday.

One arrested, 100,000 plants seized in Texas marijuana bust

HOUSTON - One person has been arrested and more than 100,000 marijuana plants were being eradicated from a sprawling operation in one of the largest pot farming cases in Texas history, police said on Wednesday.

New York police officer released from hospital following shootout

NEW YORK - A New York police detective wounded in a shootout on Monday in Greenwich Village was released from the hospital on Wednesday, one day after two U.S. marshals injured in the same incident were also released, a police spokesman said.

New York suspends tax preparers for failing to file personal returns

NEW YORK - New York state has suspended 40 registered tax preparers who failed to file their personal tax returns, following the adoption of a set of strict new guidelines earlier this year, Governor Andrew Cuomo said on Wednesday.

Text message from slain Michigan girl's phone is clue in case

CHICAGO - A text message from a Michigan girl's phone is part of the investigation into her death, police said on Wednesday.

Virginia, Maryland on shortlist for FBI headquarters

- The Federal Bureau of Investigation is considering relocating its outdated Washington headquarters to one of three potential sites in Maryland and Virginia, a government spokesman said on Wednesday.

U.S. states extend bar exam deadlines after software havoc

- A company that makes software used to administer bar exams in dozens of states has said that delays experienced by thousands of aspiring attorneys across the country have eased, and many states have extended test deadlines.

U.S. proposes new safety standards for large buses

WASHINGTON - The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration on Wednesday proposed new safety standards to protect passengers on large buses in rollover crashes.

Doctors deny cutting off Alabama man’s penis

- An Alabama man's claim that his penis was amputated recently in a circumcision gone wrong is entirely without merit, an attorney representing the doctors being sued said on Wednesday.

Insanity plea mulled for Connecticut teen in prom stabbing case

MILFORD Conn. - Lawyers for a Connecticut high school student accused of murdering a female classmate hours before their junior court began talks on Wednesday on whether to amend his plea to not guilty based on insanity or on related grounds.

Michelle Obama says the 'blood of Africa' runs through her veins

WASHINGTON - First lady Michelle Obama embraced her family’s African roots in a speech on Wednesday, telling a group of young Africans that the “blood of Africa” runs through her veins as she urged changing traditional beliefs on the worth of educating women.

New York police unions lose bid to challenge stop-and-frisk settlement

NEW YORK - New York's police unions cannot challenge a sweeping settlement over the city's controversial stop-and-frisk police tactic, a U.S. judge ruled on Wednesday, clearing the way for reforms to take effect.

In Florida governor's race, Democrat woos crucial black vote

TAMPA Fla. - As the leading Democratic candidate for Florida governor, Charlie Crist would be expected to draw overwhelming support from the state's more than 1.6 million registered black voters.

Private sector adds 218,000 jobs in July: ADP

NEW YORK - U.S. companies hired 218,000 workers in July, below what analysts projected and the level set the previous month, a report by a payrolls processor released on Wednesday showed.

Mortgage applications fall in latest week: MBA

NEW YORK - Applications for U.S. home mortgages slipped last week as refinancing applications dropped, an industry group said on Wednesday.

Europe could show way for clog maker Crocs' revival

BERLIN - The success of Crocs Inc in Europe, where the U.S. shoemaker has focused on its trademark colorful foam clogs rather than branching into other products, proves the brand has a future despite difficulties at home, its European head said.

Baltimore poised to impose strict new youth curfew

BALTIMORE - City officials in crime-ridden Baltimore on Tuesday defended plans for one of the toughest U.S. youth curfews against criticism from residents who were skeptical about police enforcement of the new law.

Tobacco tax law cost U.S. billions in revenue: report

WASHINGTON - A 2009 law that raised federal taxes to discourage smoking cost the U.S. government billions of dollars in lost revenue as manufacturers relabeled products and consumers shifted to cheaper pipe tobacco and large cigars, the U.S. Government Accountability Office said in a report released on Tuesday.

Most Americans see unaccompanied immigrant kids as refugees: poll

- Some 70 percent of Americans think the United States should provide temporary support and housing for unaccompanied Central American minors who illegally cross into the country while their cases undergo review, according to a poll released on Tuesday.

Former U.S. POW Bergdahl soon to be questioned by Army general

- Freed U.S. prisoner-of-war Bowe Bergdahl is expected to submit to questioning next week by the U.S. Army general probing the circumstances that led to the his 2009 capture by the Taliban, Bergdahl's attorney said on Tuesday.

U.S. sues Pennsylvania state police, alleging sex discrimination

- The federal government sued Pennsylvania and its state police force on Tuesday, alleging that physical fitness tests required of prospective state troopers discriminated against women, court documents showed.

PG&E charged with obstruction in San Bruno natgas blast probe

- A federal grand jury for the Northern District of California charged PG&E Corp on Tuesday alleging it obstructed the investigation of the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) into the deadly San Bruno natural gas explosion in 2010.

Tuberculosis patient who refused treatment arrested in California

LOS ANGELES - A Northern California man who refused treatment and disappeared after he was diagnosed with tuberculosis has been arrested and admitted to a local hospital under guard, law enforcement and local health officials said on Tuesday.

Last U.S. crew member of Hiroshima bomber dies -reports

- Theodore "Dutch" Van Kirk, the last surviving member of the Enola Gay plane that dropped the atomic bomb on the Japanese city of Hiroshima on Aug. 6, 1945, has died at a retirement home in Georgia at age 93, media reports said.

Water main break floods UCLA campus, strands motorists

LOS ANGELES - A major water main broke near the University of California, Los Angeles on Tuesday, touching off a geyser that flooded parts of the campus and stranded motorists on surrounding streets.

University of Texas picks admiral over Dallas Fed president for chancellor

- The University of Texas said Tuesday its Board of Regents picked U.S. Admiral William McRaven as sole finalist for the position of chancellor, passing up Dallas Federal Reserve Bank President Richard Fisher who was also reported to have been a candidate.

U.S. Oak Ridge lab to southern employees: 'Y'all talk just fine'

NASHVILLE - Hey y'all, Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee said on Tuesday it will not try to get Southerners on its staff to disguise their distinctive drawls.

Maryland man leaves hospital after bout with flesh-eating bacteria

ANNAPOLIS Md. - A Maryland man who nearly lost a leg and his life to a flesh-eating bacterial infection he contracted in Chesapeake Bay, has been released from hospital, a spokeswoman said on Tuesday.

Firefighters in California gain ground against Yosemite blaze

GROVELAND Calif. - Firefighters gained ground on Tuesday against a blaze burning on the western edge of Yosemite National Park and an adjacent national forest, where flames have forced the evacuation of several dozen homes and the closure of three campgrounds.

Family finds 300-year-old sunken treasure off Florida's east coast

ORLANDO Fla. - A Florida family scavenging for sunken treasure on a shipwreck has found the missing piece of a 300-year-old gold filigree necklace sacred to Spanish priests, officials said on Tuesday.

Critical Detroit bankruptcy hearing delayed by one week

- The start of a critical hearing on Detroit's plan to adjust $18 billion of debt and exit bankruptcy will be delayed by one week to Aug. 21, a federal judge ruled on Tuesday.

Senators from Colorado, Washington want federal pot laws applied fairly

DENVER - U.S. senators from Colorado and Washington, seeking clarity on federal rules that may affect legal marijuana businesses in their states, are urging the Obama administration to ensure federal agencies take a consistent approach to enforcement.

Ex-Dominican anti-drug official pleads guilty to drug charges

NEW YORK - The former chief operating officer of the Dominican Republic's main counter-drug agency pleaded guilty on Tuesday to U.S. charges that he conspired with drug traffickers to transport cocaine into the United States.

Seattle Jewish group calls for NRA lobbyist to quit over Holocaust remark

SEATTLE - Jewish leaders in Washington state called on Tuesday for the resignation of a National Rifle Association lobbyist over comments in which he compared the push for stricter gun control regulations to the policies of Nazi Germany.

Wrongfully convicted Connecticut man describes prison 'nightmare'

HARTFORD Conn. - A Connecticut man whose wrongful conviction on rape and murder charges was reversed after 21 years in prison described his ordeal as a "nightmare" in a hearing on Tuesday before a state commissioner who can award him up to $8 million in compensation.

Man arrested in stabbing death of LA Clippers player's aunt

- Police in California have arrested a man wanted for the fatal stabbing of the aunt of a Los Angeles Clippers player in a crime that drew national attention after the basketball star pleaded on social media for help in finding the suspect, authorities said on Tuesday.

Last U.S. crew member of Hiroshima bomber dies: report

- The last surviving crew member aboard the Enola Gay, the U.S. bomber that dropped the first atomic bomb on Japan in 1945, died at a retirement community in Georgia at age 93, a newspaper reported on Tuesday.

Parents sue Georgia school after teen found dead in gym mat

ATLANTA - The parents of a Georgia teenager whose body was found in a rolled-up wrestling mat in his school gym are suing school officials for failing to stop bullying by classmates who may have beaten their son to death, their attorney said on Tuesday.

Colorado court tells county to stop issuing gay marriage permits

DENVER - Colorado's top court ordered the Boulder County Clerk on Tuesday to stop giving out marriage licenses to gay couples while it considers an appeal by the state's attorney-general who says a ban on same-sex nuptials remains in force.

Naked woman slashes three during Pittsburgh-area street fight

PITTSBURGH - Pennsylvania authorities were searching on Tuesday for a woman who, apparently nude, stabbed and slashed other women in a street fight at a public housing complex outside of Pittsburgh.

Expert testimony on Michigan porch shooting sheds light on gun

DETROIT - A state firearms expert gave testimony on Tuesday that potentially challenged a statement by a white suburban Detroit homeowner that he shot dead a black teenager when his shotgun accidentally discharged.

U.S. charges Canadian antiques dealer with smuggling wildlife

NEW YORK - An antiques dealer in British Columbia was indicted by a U.S. grand jury on Tuesday for smuggling into Canada more than $500,000 of wildlife items, including rhinoceros horns and sculptures made from elephant ivory and coral, U.S. prosecutors said.

U.S. House Speaker Boehner dismisses talk of impeaching Obama

WASHINGTON - Republicans have no plans to begin impeachment proceedings against President Barack Obama, House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner declared on Tuesday, putting the blame on Democrats for stirring up pre-midterm election tensions in Washington.

Mother of slain Mexican teen sues U.S. Border Patrol agents

PHOENIX - Lawyers for the mother of a Mexican teenager fatally shot by U.S. border police filed a U.S. federal civil rights lawsuit on Tuesday, calling the killing "brazen and lawless" and the latest example of agents using excessive force.

Alabama woman dies after being doused in gasoline, set ablaze

- An Alabama woman whose former boyfriend doused her in gasoline and set her on fire died early on Tuesday after two days in the hospital, authorities said.

More than a third of U.S. adults pursued by collection agencies

CHICAGO - More than a third of U.S. adults have bad debt that has been handed over to a collection agency and their average debt in collections is $5,178, according to a study published on Tuesday by the Urban Institute.

Wisconsin man in dispute with lottery over misprinted tickets

MILWAUKEE - A retired welder in Milwaukee says the Wisconsin lottery owes him $2,000 but the agency contends his scratch-off tickets were misprinted and not truly winners.

Former Virginia governor's marriage in spotlight at corruption trial

RICHMOND Va. - Former Virginia Governor Robert McDonnell and his wife were barely on speaking terms when they accepted $165,000 in gifts and loans from a vitamin company executive, defense attorneys said on Tuesday at the start of the pair's corruption trial.

American opinion of Arabs, Muslims is getting worse: poll

- How Americans view Arabs and Muslims has gotten worse in recent years, with negative feelings strongest among Republicans and senior citizens, according to a poll released on Tuesday.

American man from Minnesota died from Ebola virus: NBC

CHICAGO - A 40-year-old man who died in a Nigerian hospital last week from the ebola virus was an American from Minnesota, his wife told NBC News on Tuesday.

Three of four Ethiopian athletes missing after U.S. track meet located

- Three Ethiopian athletes who came to the United States for a track meet in Oregon and then failed to fly home with their teammates have been located and are safe after disappearing in a possible asylum bid, local officials said on Tuesday.

Poor employee training blamed for 2012 New Jersey Conrail derailment

PHILADELPHIA - Federal investigators on Tuesday blamed inadequate employee training at Conrail for a November 2012 freight train derailment and toxic spill in southern New Jersey that sickened residents and forced hundreds to flee the area.

What FedEx knew of online pharmacies is key issue in drug case: judge

SAN FRANCISCO - The U.S. judge overseeing a criminal drug prosecution against FedEx Corp said one of the core issues will be what FedEx executives knew about illegal online pharmacies whose packages it shipped.

Adolescent stow-away found dead on U.S. military plane

WASHINGTON - The U.S. military has found the body of an adolescent male trapped in a compartment above the landing gear of a C-130 aircraft following a trip to Africa, the Pentagon said on Tuesday.

New Hampshire man charged with kidnapping teen appears in court

CONWAY N.H. - A 34-year-old-man appeared in court on Tuesday charged with kidnapping a New Hampshire teenager who mysteriously reappeared last week in the small mountain town of Conway after nine months.

Idaho suspends plan to kill wolves in wilderness

SALMON Idaho - Conservationists claimed victory on Tuesday after Idaho wildlife managers suspended the killing of wolves in a protected wilderness area for preying on elk prized by commercial hunters.

Federal panel rules Mississippi abortion law unconstitutional

JACKSON Miss. - A Mississippi law that would shutter the state's only abortion clinic, forcing women to go outside the state for the procedure, is unconstitutional, a federal appeals court panel ruled on Tuesday.

Baltimore poised to impose strict new youth curfew

- Baltimore, faced with high crime rates, is set to impose one of the strictest U.S. curfews for young people, with the mayor facing residents on Tuesday to explain the new rules.

Guards at New York City jail accused of drug trafficking

NEW YORK - Three guards at New York City's Rikers Island Correctional Facility have been indicted on charges of smuggling drugs into the city's largest jail complex and selling contraband to inmates, authorities said on Tuesday.

Four California teens charged in murder of China graduate student

LOS ANGELES - Four teenagers were charged with capital murder on Tuesday in the beating death of a graduate student from China not far from the University of Southern California campus in Los Angeles, prosecutors said.

Minnesota ex-Governor Ventura awarded $1.8 million in defamation suit

ST. PAUL Minn. - Former Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura was awarded more than $1.8 million in damages on Tuesday after a federal jury found he had been defamed in a book by an ex-Navy SEAL who claimed the two were in a bar fight.

U.S. marshals released from hospital following New York shootout

NEW YORK - Two U.S. marshals wounded in a shootout in New York's upscale Greenwich Village neighborhood were released from the hospital on Tuesday, while a police detective remained hospitalized in stable condition, officials said.

Phoenix Suns player arrested for super extreme DUI in Arizona

PHOENIX - A Phoenix Suns basketball player has been arrested on suspicion of super extreme DUI in Arizona after attempting to drive home after a night out, authorities said on Tuesday.

U.S. consumer confidence jumps in July

NEW YORK - U.S. consumer confidence jumped in July to a monthly high not seen since October 2007, according to a private sector report released on Tuesday.

Girl dies after being hit by plane on Florida beach

- The 9-year-old girl who was struck by a plane that crash-landed on a Florida beach and killed her father also has died from her injuries, the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office said on Tuesday.

Temple University scraps SAT requirement for new students

- Philadelphia's Temple University said on Tuesday it will no longer require prospective students to submit a standardized test score when they apply, joining a small but growing group of schools that believe there are other ways to gauge talent.

U.S.-Iran nuclear negotiator 'concerned' about detention of journalists

WASHINGTON - A top U.S. negotiator in nuclear talks with Iran said on Tuesday the United States is concerned about the recent detention of four journalists, three of them Americans, and called on Tehran to free them.

U.S. appeals court upholds federal meat labeling regulation

WASHINGTON - A U.S. appeals court on Tuesday rejected a food industry challenge to a federal rule concerning labeling requirements for meat, a ruling that could have a major impact on businesses fighting federal regulation on free-speech grounds.

NCAA agrees to settle head injury suit for $70 million

CHICAGO - The NCAA has agreed to settle a class-action head injury lawsuit by providing $70 million for concussion testing and diagnosis of current and former student athletes, according to court documents filed in Chicago on Tuesday.

U.S. Senate bill proposes sweeping curbs on NSA surveillance

WASHINGTON - Senator Patrick Leahy will introduce legislation on Tuesday to ban the U.S. government's bulk collection of Americans' telephone records and Internet data and narrow how much information it can seek in any particular search.

CVR Refining shuts Kansas refinery after fire; four hurt

- CVR Refining shut its 115,000-barrel-per-day Coffeyville refinery in Kansas after a fire broke out at an isomerization unit early on Tuesday, hurting four employees, the company said in a statement.

Sex website seizure spurs San Francisco bid to decriminalize prostitution

SAN FRANCISCO - The head of San Francisco’s Erotic Service Providers Union has been a sex worker for 24 years — and "I hope to be doing it for another 24," says Maxine Doogan.

Doctor held for pointing rifle toward women at Phoenix airport -police

PHOENIX - An Arizona doctor was arrested on suspicion of pointing a rifle toward a woman and her 17-year-old daughter inside a busy Phoenix airport terminal, police said on Monday.

U.S. judge signs order to seize Kurdish oil from tanker off Texas

HOUSTON - Acting on a request from the central government in Iraq, a U.S. judge has signed an order telling the U.S. Marshals Service to seize a cargo of oil from Iraqi Kurdistan aboard a tanker off the Texas coast, court filings showed on Tuesday.

Rare tornado slams Boston area, knocks out power

BOSTON - Officials and residents in the Boston-area city of Revere were picking up the pieces early on Tuesday after it was raked by a rare tornado that knocked out power and damaged homes and buildings.

Toy drone disrupts aircraft fighting California wildfire

- A private drone trying to film a wildfire that has charred nearly six square miles in Northern California briefly disrupted firefighting efforts, although workers had gained the upper hand against the blaze, officials said on Monday.

U.S. court backs government demand for names of 'straw buyers' of guns

DENVER - A U.S. appeals court on Monday backed a federal government demand that firearms dealers in four southwestern border states report "straw buyers" suspected of purchasing multiple weapons for Mexican drug gangs.

Two men charged in deadly Philadelphia carjacking

PHILADELPHIA - Philadelphia prosecutors have charged two men they say killed three children and injured three others when a carjacked SUV they were driving swerved out of control last week, city officials said in a news conference on Monday.

Blast at Mississippi fish plant kills one, injures three

- One man died and three others were injured in a blast at a fish processing plant in southern Mississippi on Monday, authorities said.

California drought dries up plans for historic gold rush celebration

SACRAMENTO Calif. - California’s drought has claimed yet another historic casualty in this parched capital city - the annual heritage celebration known as Gold Rush Days.

Gary, Indiana, picks new police chief after 'heinous' murders

CHICAGO - Gary, Indiana, has picked a new police chief and is stepping up crime prevention efforts after the slaying of a police officer and other "heinous" killings, the city's mayor said on Monday.

San Diego council approves minimum wage hike to $11.50 an hour by 2017

SAN DIEGO - The San Diego City Council gave formal approval on Monday to an ordinance incrementally raising the minimum wage in California's second-largest city to $11.50 an hour by January 2017, mostly for workers in the restaurant and retail sectors.

Judge allows $2 billion sale of NBA's Los Angeles Clippers to proceed

LOS ANGELES - The record $2 billion sale of pro basketball's Los Angeles Clippers to former Microsoft Corp chief executive Steve Ballmer can proceed over the objections of co-owner Donald Sterling, a judge tentatively ruled on Monday.

Arizona inmate uses basketball hoop to leap to freedom

PHOENIX - A physically fit felon escaped from a detention facility in Arizona by scaling a basketball hoop in the yard and then jumping from it onto a fence, authorities said on Monday.

Judge gives go-ahead for $2 billion sale of NBA's Clippers

LOS ANGELES - The estranged wife of Los Angeles Clippers co-owner Donald Sterling can proceed with the record $2 billion sale of the NBA team despite her husband's objections, a judge ruled on Monday, in a likely coda to a case of lingering racism in American sports.

Man acquitted in murder of Michigan college football player

- A man accused of murdering and robbing an Eastern Michigan University football player last October was acquitted of all charges by a jury on Monday.

Round-up of wild horses gets under way in Utah

SALT LAKE CITY - Federal land managers began rounding up wild horses on public land in central Utah on Monday as part of efforts to cut herd numbers and placate ranchers who say the animals destroy range land vital for cattle grazing.

Pregnant NY woman says she was put in chokehold by NYPD officer

NEW YORK - A New York woman who is seven months pregnant complained on Monday that she was put in a chokehold by a New York police officer after barbecuing outside her home, fueling a controversy that has raged in the city following a man's death linked to the technique.

San Diego council approves minimum wage hike to $11.50 an hour by 2017

SAN DIEGO - The San Diego City Council gave formal approval on Monday to an ordinance that would incrementally raise the minimum wage in California's second-largest city to $11.50 an hour by January 2017, mostly for workers in the restaurant and retail sectors.

Police search for Oregon mom who vanished while running errands

NEWBERG Ore. - Police in Oregon were searching on Monday for a stay-at-home mother of two young children who seemingly vanished from her small community while running household errands last week, as her family said they feared the worst.

Police arrest four in beating death of China grad student near USC

LOS ANGELES - Four people, two of them juveniles, have been arrested in the robbery and beating death last week of a Chinese graduate student near his off-campus apartment, Los Angeles Police officials said on Monday.

Deadly lightning strike was rare event for Southern California coast

LOS ANGELES - Lightning storms that killed a 20-year-old beachgoer in Los Angeles and sent eight other people to the hospital stemmed from a combination of atmospheric conditions relatively unusual for coastal Southern California, weather experts said on Monday.

Crews make headway against destructive Northern California wildfire

- Firefighters began to gain the upper hand on Monday against a Northern California wildfire that has destroyed 13 homes and blackened nearly six square miles in the drought-parched foothills east of Sacramento, officials said.

Colorado attorney general again seeks to halt gay marriage in Boulder

DENVER - Colorado's attorney general asked the state's highest court on Monday to order the Boulder County Clerk to stop giving out marriage licenses to gay couples, saying her actions must be governed by the current state of the law, court documents show.

Arrest made in case of kidnapped New Hampshire teenage girl

MANCHESTER N.H. - Police in New Hampshire on Monday arrested a 34-year-old man on charges of kidnapping a 15-year-old girl who disappeared from her small town in the White Mountains last fall and reappeared mysteriously last week.

Family of Texas doctor with Ebola not showing signs of virus

WINSTON-SALEM N.C. - The family of a Texas doctor who contracted the deadly Ebola virus in West Africa had traveled back to the United States before he showed symptoms and was not at risk for getting or spreading the disease, U.S. health officials said on Monday.

U.S. Marshals, police wounded in New York gun battle; suspect dead

NEW YORK - Two U.S. Marshals and a New York City police officer were shot and wounded on Monday while trying to arrest a suspect in the city's Greenwich Village neighborhood, the police said.

U.S. judge tells jury to take one more shot at Ventura verdict

ST PAUL Minn. - A U.S. judge on Monday asked a jury to try one more time in a defamation case brought by former Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura when the panel said it could not reach a verdict after about five days of deliberations.

Capsized kayakers penetrate New York airport perimeter

NEW YORK - Two kayakers who got in over their heads in the waters off New York have put authorities at John F. Kennedy Airport on the defensive after flipping their boat and accidentally finding themselves in a restricted area of the airport.

Man killed in Florida beach plane crash on wedding anniversary

- The U.S. Army sergeant killed by a plane that crashed on a Florida beach was there celebrating his ninth wedding anniversary with family and friends, according to one of his last Facebook postings.

Four Ethiopian athletes missing in U.S. after track meet

- Four members of an Ethiopian track team competing at an international event in Oregon were missing in what officials said on Monday might be an attempt to seek asylum or otherwise stay in the United States.

Death of five in southern Maine ruled murder-suicide: police

- A man in the southern Maine city of Saco shot dead his wife and three children before turning the shotgun on himself, police said on Monday, calling the incident one of the worst cases of domestic violence in state history.

Storied New York City deli Katz's wins name battle with Florida cafe

NEW YORK - The New York City delicatessen Katz's has won a legal battle to force a Florida restaurant to change its name, according to court documents made public on Monday.

Slower U.S. healthcare cost rise extending life of Medicare fund: trustees

WASHINGTON - Slower growth in U.S. healthcare spending and expected savings from Obamacare are shoring up the funding outlook for the federal Medicare program that covers the hospital bills of the elderly, trustees of the program said on Monday.

Veterans funding deal to provide $17 billion to ease medical wait times

WASHINGTON - Leaders of the Veterans Affairs committees in Congress on Monday said they had agreed on legislation providing about $17 billion in funding to ease long waiting times for VA medical centers.

U.S. appeals court strikes down Virginia's gay marriage ban

- A U.S. appeals court struck down Virginia's constitutional ban on same-sex marriage on Monday, the second appeals court to come out in favor of gay marriage.

Peanut company officials stand trial in Georgia in deadly salmonella outbreak

ATLANTA - The federal trial of three former peanut company officials charged in connection with a salmonella outbreak that killed nine people and sickened hundreds more began on Monday with jury selection in Albany, Georgia.

September 11 museum allowed to display Ground Zero cross-shaped beam

NEW YORK - A cross-shaped steel beam pulled from the rubble of the collapsed World Trade Center in New York days after the September 11, 2001, attacks can be displayed in the national memorial museum at the site, a U.S. appeals court ruled on Monday.

U.S. coastal flooding on the rise, government study finds

- Flooding is increasing in frequency along much of the U.S. coast, and the rate of increase is accelerating along the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic coasts, a team of federal government scientists found in a study released Monday.

Consumer spending, inventories seen lifting U.S. second-quarter GDP

WASHINGTON - U.S. economic growth likely rebounded in the second-quarter from a winter-induced slump at the start of the year and will probably continue to gather momentum through the rest of 2014.

Rare tornado touches down outside Boston, no deaths reported

BOSTON - Police and emergency crews in the city of Revere, Massachusetts, outside Boston scrambled to clean up after a rare tornado touched down on Monday, downing power lines, damaging homes and overturning at least one car.

Florida support for medical marijuana stays near 90 percent: poll

ORLANDO Fla. - Support for legalizing medical marijuana in Florida is holding steady at 88 percent despite weeks of vigorous campaigning by opponents ahead of a November referendum on the issue, a poll released on Monday showed.

U.S. surveillance programs threaten freedom of press, report says

WASHINGTON - U.S. surveillance programs are making it more difficult for government officials to speak to the press anonymously, two rights groups said on Monday.

U.S. lawmakers expand probe of federal biolab mishaps

WASHINGTON - U.S. lawmakers on Monday said they were expanding their investigation of federal biosecurity lapses including problems at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that led to the mishandling of anthrax and bird flu pathogens.

Foreign buyers fuel concerns amid Miami luxury condo boom

MIAMI - As construction cranes crowd the coastline and developers strive to lure wealthy international buyers with brand name towers and lavish amenities, there are signs Miami’s latest condo boom has begun to slow and a possible oversupply could temper record prices.

Man found dead trapped between elevator and shaft wall in NYC

NEW YORK - A man was found dead trapped between the outside of an elevator and the wall of the elevator shaft in a New York City apartment building on Monday morning, police said.

Tanker with Iraqi Kurdish crude cleared to unload cargo off Texas

HOUSTON - A tanker carrying crude oil from Iraqi Kurdistan was cleared by the U.S. Coast Guard to unload its cargo at sea off Texas on Sunday as a State Department official signaled Washington would not intervene to block delivery of the controversial crude.

Suspect in Pennsylvania hospital shooting charged with murder

- A man suspected of opening fire in a Philadelphia-area hospital and shooting dead a case worker before exchanging gunshots with a doctor has been charged with murder, prosecutors said on Sunday.

Dozens of ill Keith Urban fans treated at concert near Boston

BOSTON - Forty-six music fans were treated for mostly alcohol-related medical problems at Australian country singer Keith Urban's concert outside Boston on Saturday night, local officials said.

Tentative agreement reached on U.S. veterans' funding bill

WASHINGTON - A tentative agreement has been reached by the chairmen of the U.S. Senate and House veterans committees on legislation aimed at resolving the Veterans Affairs healthcare crisis, their spokesmen said on Sunday.

Family of five found shot dead in Maine home: police

BOSTON - Five members of a family, including three children, were found shot dead at their southern Maine home on Sunday, with a gun located near one of the bodies and no outside involvement suspected, a police spokesman said.

One dead after lightning strikes crowd at California beach

- One man died and at least eight people were injured on Sunday in a lightning strike during a rare thunderstorm at Venice Beach in Los Angeles, officials said.

Man killed, daughter hurt in Florida beach plane crash

- A man was killed and his daughter injured on Sunday when a small plane crash-landed on a Florida beach, the Sarasota County Sheriff's Office said.

Tanker carrying Iraqi Kurdish oil anchored off Texas port

HOUSTON - A tanker carrying crude oil from Iraqi Kurdistan was anchored near the Port of Galveston, Texas, and must undergo a routine safety inspection by the U.S. Coast Guard on Sunday before it can unload its cargo, an official said.

Two injured after cable snaps on Ohio amusement park ride

- A cable on a large swing ride at an Ohio amusement park snapped and struck two riders as the swing was in motion, injuring them, a park spokesman said on Sunday.

New York Times Square Spider-Man charged with punching police officer

- A street performer dressed as Spider-Man in New York City's Times Square was arrested after punching a police officer who scolded him for demanding more money from a couple he had posed with for a picture, police said on Sunday.

Gary, Indiana, begins knocking down eyesore high-rise hotel

CHICAGO - The demolition of the tallest, ugliest building in Gary, Indiana - an abandoned 14-story hotel which has been a prominent symbol of decay in this troubled steel town - began on Saturday, said city spokeswoman Chelsea Whittington.

New York Times backs sending federal marijuana ban up in smoke

- The New York Times editorial board on Saturday endorsed a repeal of the federal ban on marijuana, becoming the largest paper in the nation to back the idea as it compared the U.S. government's stance on America's most widely used illicit drug to the prohibition on alcohol from 1920 to 1933.

U.S. doctor contracts Ebola in Liberia

DAKAR - A 33-year-old American doctor working for a relief organization in Liberia's capital has tested positive for the tropical disease Ebola, according to a statement from Samaritan's Purse.

California wildfire near Sacramento forces hundreds to flee

- A wildfire forced the evacuation of more than 500 homes and about 1,200 residents in a rural area east of the California state capital Sacramento on Saturday, a day after the blaze broke out, fire officials said.

Federal judge rules DC ban on handguns unconstitutional

WASHINGTON - A federal judge on Saturday overturned Washington D.C.'s ban on carrying handguns outside the home, saying it was unconstitutional.

Two guns found at home of accused Philadelphia hospital shooter

- Two additional guns have been found at the home of the man accused of opening fire this week inside a Philadelphia-area hospital, shooting dead a case worker and exchanging gunshots with a doctor, officials said on Saturday.

Pool, phones, yoga: world intrudes on Amish now home in Ohio after prison

BERGHOLZ Ohio - Amish farmer Raymond Miller developed a taste for Mountain Dew soda, got his GED, and wonders if he should get a pool table after learning to play in prison.

Gary, Indiana, to knock down eyesore high-rise hotel

CHICAGO - The demolition of the tallest, ugliest building in Gary, Indiana - an abandoned 14-story hotel which has been a prominent symbol of decay in this troubled steel town - will begin on Saturday.

Widow of NYC man who died in police custody says he was not violent

NEW YORK - The family of a man who died after being put in a choke hold by a New York City police officer remembered him on Saturday as being peaceful but constantly harassed by law enforcement.

FBI found bomb-making cache in Tucson rampage gunman's home: LA Times

- Jared Lee Loughner, who killed six people and shot former Arizona lawmaker Gabrielle Giffords in a 2011 rampage, kept bomb-making components in a safe in his bedroom, the Los Angeles Times reported on Friday.

Wildfire managers tap military for aid in U.S. West

SALMON Idaho - Wildfire managers have turned to the U.S. Department of Defense for immediate access to two military C-130 aircraft retrofitted to carry retardant, boosting their forces to face the largest blaze in Washington state history.

State judge strikes down Florida's gay marriage ban, stays ruling

MIAMI - A state judge struck down Florida's gay marriage ban on Friday in the latest in a string of legal gay-rights victories that have nonetheless been put on hold for resolution by higher courts.

California burglary suspect may face murder charge in shooting by homeowner

LOS ANGELES - A Southern California burglary suspect faces possible murder charges in the fatal shooting of his alleged accomplice, even though she was gunned down by the elderly man they had just robbed as she pleaded she was pregnant, police said Friday.Ed Winter, assistant chief of the Los Angeles County Coroner's Office, said on Friday that an autopsy had determined that the woman, Andrea Miller, 28, was not pregnant at the time of her death.

Alaska quake knocks out some communication, does little damage

JUNEAU Alaska - An earthquake with a magnitude of 5.9 struck the coast of Alaska early on Friday, shaking people awake in the capital Juneau and cutting off some communications in the southeast part of the state, officials said.

Lead-lined glove tied to New Mexico radiation leak: lawmaker

- A radiation leak that indefinitely shut down a nuclear waste dump in New Mexico was likely caused by a container of radioactive materials improperly packaged with a lead-lined glove at Los Alamos National Laboratory, a state lawmaker said on Friday.

Texas rolls out security surge for its border with Mexico

DALLAS - Texas has launched a law enforcement surge to crack down on drug and human trafficking from Mexico in a move that comes as the state is about to deploy as many as 1,000 National Guard troops to the border, officials said on Friday.

Former WWE champ nabs suspected burglar in Arizona

PHOENIX - A hapless burglar in Arizona learned a hard lesson when he broke into the Phoenix home of former World Wrestling Entertainment heavyweight champion Daniel Bryan, police said on Friday.

Suspended California lawmaker Leland Yee faces new conspiracy charges

LOS ANGELES - A federal grand jury has returned conspiracy charges against California State Senator Leland Yee, adding to the suspended lawmaker's legal woes after he was indicted earlier this year for corruption and taking part in a scheme to traffic guns.

Alaska Supreme Court says same-sex couples entitled to death benefits

JUNEAU Alaska - Same-sex couples in Alaska should be eligible to receive death benefits when a partner dies despite a state ban on gay marriage, the Alaska Supreme Court ruled on Friday in its second decision in four months to favor granting benefits to gay couples.

U.S. fighter jets escort Canadian plane home over passenger threat

- Two U.S. F16 fighter jets were scrambled to escort a Panama City-bound flight from Canada back to Toronto on Friday after a man on the plane apparently threatened to blow up the aircraft, authorities said.

Former WWE champ nabs suspected burglar in Arizona

PHOENIX - A hapless burglar in Arizona learned a hard lesson when he broke into the Phoenix home of former World Wrestling Entertainment heavyweight champion Daniel Bryan, police said on Friday.

Gunman in fatal Philadelphia-area hospital shooting had 39 more bullets

MEDIA Pa. - The accused gunman in a fatal shooting at a Philadelphia-area hospital opened fire after arguing about signs prohibiting guns at his psychiatrist's office and had a cache of 39 more bullets when he was tackled by two men, a prosecutor said on Friday.

Canadian plane escorted by U.S. F-16s after passenger threat

TORONTO - A Canadian charter plane bound for Panama was escorted by U.S. fighter jets back to Toronto, where a passenger was removed by police after allegedly threatening the safety of the flight, police said on Friday.

Accused accomplice of California burglar shot dead may face murder charge

LOS ANGELES - A Southern California burglary suspect faces possible murder charges in the fatal shooting of his accused accomplice even though she was actually gunned down by the elderly man they had just robbed as she pleaded she was pregnant, police said on Friday.

U.S. appeals court backs Florida law in 'Docs v. Glocks' case

- A U.S. appeals court ruled on Friday in favor of a Florida law that bars doctors from asking patients about gun ownership, overturning a decision in the so-called "Docs v. Glocks" case by a lower court that had struck it down.

New Hampshire town gripped by mystery of girl's disappearance

CONWAY N.H. - Elation over the sudden return of a teenager who went missing for nine months from a small town in New Hampshire's White Mountains is giving way to critical questions from residents about why and how she had vanished.

Jury in defamation case by Jesse Ventura to reconvene next week

ST PAUL Minn. - The jury in the defamation lawsuit brought by former Minnesota governor and pro wrestler Jesse Ventura will reconvene next week after it adjourned on Friday without reaching a verdict following four days of deliberations.

State judge strikes down Florida's gay marriage ban, stays ruling

MIAMI - A state judge in Florida on Friday struck down the state's prohibition on same-sex marriages, saying it violated the due process and equal protection clauses of the U.S. Constitution, but immediately stayed the ruling pending appeal.

NYC fare beater pleads guilty, faces 25 years, in police shooting

NEW YORK - A man who shot a New York City police officer trying to apprehend him for not paying the fare on a city bus faces 25 years in prison under a plea deal reached on Friday, prosecutors said.

One Kuwaiti inmate to stay at Guantanamo, second goes home: panel

WASHINGTON - A Kuwaiti man with links to al Qaeda will remain at the Guantanamo Bay prison, while a second is cleared for transfer home, a U.S. national security panel said on Friday.

Chinese grad student found beaten to death near USC campus

LOS ANGELES - A Chinese graduate student at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles has been found dead in his off-campus apartment after being assaulted late at night on his way home, police and university officials said.

Colorado deputies end dramatic crime spree captured on camera

DENVER - Sheriff's deputies in Colorado ended a two-hour crime spree by a couple suspected of carjacking when a lone officer tackled a gun-toting man following a dramatic pursuit that was caught on camera.

Kansas man arrested after baby girl dies in hot car

- A foster parent for a 10-month-old Kansas girl who died after being left in a car in sweltering heat for more than two hours has been arrested on suspicion of aggravated child endangerment, police said on Friday.

Two children killed, three people injured in Philadelphia carjacking

- Two children were killed and three people were critically injured on Friday when a hijacked vehicle went out of control at a North Philadelphia intersection and struck people standing on a sidewalk, police said.

Task force to investigate Ohio State band's 'sexualized culture'

CLEVELAND - An independent task force will look into culture and sex discrimination in the running of Ohio State University's famous marching band after its director was fired for failing to address alleged sexual harassment of its members, the university said on Friday.

Frenchman gets two years in U.S. prison for role in Guinea mine scandal

- A former adviser to mining giant BSG Resources was sentenced in New York federal court on Friday to two years in prison for obstructing a criminal probe in connection with a bribery investigation in Guinea.

Former Bear Stearns chairman Greenberg dead at 86

NEW YORK - Alan "Ace" Greenberg, the former chairman and chief executive officer of Bear Stearns Cos Inc, died on Friday at the age of 86 after a bout with cancer.

Dallas politician charged by FBI with taking bribes

AUSTIN Texas - Dallas County Commissioner and outspoken minority rights community leader John Wiley Price was arrested on Friday by the Federal Bureau of Investigations on graft charges that included taking bribes.

Car plows into Maryland restaurant, seven hurt: police

- A car plowed into a lunchtime crowd outside a Baltimore barbecue restaurant on Friday, injuring seven people, police said.

Troubled U.S. executions raise questions about doctors in death chamber

AUSTIN Texas - Troubled lethal injections in Oklahoma and Arizona have raised questions whether medical personnel are skilled enough to humanely put an inmate to death, and if things go wrong, expert enough to revive one if an order is given.

Ambac says has final deal with bankrupt Detroit over bonds

- Ambac Assurance Corp said on Friday its final settlement in Detroit's bankruptcy case over the treatment of limited-tax general obligation bonds that it insured for the city would result in a 34 percent recovery, plus another possible 19 percent from a litigation reserve.

Dallas man exonerated for rape after being cleared by DNA tests

DALLAS - A 57-year-old Texas man who spent 12 years in prison for rape was exonerated on Friday, with legal experts saying his case marked the first time someone has been cleared of a crime by DNA testing that was not requested by the convicted person.

Ride-sharing service Lyft reaches deal to allow New York City launch

NEW YORK - Lyft Inc has signed an agreement with New York authorities that will allow the ride-sharing service to launch in New York City with commercial drivers, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced on Friday.

Widow of NY man who died in police custody seeks federal probe

NEW YORK - The widow and other relatives of Eric Garner, who died last week soon after a New York police officer put him in a choke hold, met with federal prosecutors on Friday to ask for a civil-rights investigation.

White House aide says Republicans might try for Obama impeachment

WASHINGTON - A top White House adviser said on Friday Republicans might try to impeach President Barack Obama over his go-it-alone immigration strategy, as Obama prepared to talk about the U.S. border crisis with Central American presidents.

House report blasts Eisenhower Memorial as 'five-star folly,' cites costs

WASHINGTON - The troubled Eisenhower Memorial designed by celebrity architect Frank Gehry is a "five-star folly" plagued by rising costs, construction delays and design problems, congressional investigators said on Friday.

Massachusetts judge won't toss murder charge against ex-NFL player

BOSTON - A Massachusetts judge refused to toss out murder and firearms charges against ex-New England Patriots star Aaron Hernandez in last summer's killing of a semi-professional soccer player.

Thousands rally in Massachusetts for return of ousted Market Basket CEO

TEWKSBURY Mass. - Thousands of people joined a rally on Friday calling for family-owned New England supermarket chain Market Basket to reinstate its former chief executive.

Landlords say San Francisco anti-eviction law unconstitutional

SAN FRANCISCO - (This story corrects to show family lives in duplex but wants to take possession of entire building in paragraph four)

Kansas top court overturns death sentences in 'Wichita Massacre'

CHICAGO - The Kansas Supreme Court on Friday overturned death sentences for two brothers convicted in the 2000 execution-style murder of four people on a snowy soccer field in Wichita, ruling that the trial judge erred in refusing to conduct separate penalty phases for the two men.

Judge denies bid for new trial in 'Fatal Vision' murder case

WINSTON-SALEM N.C. - An Army doctor whose conviction for the 1970 murders of his pregnant wife and two daughters prompted the bestseller "Fatal Vision" and a television mini-series has failed to convince a U.S. judge he deserves another trial.

Corinthian faces uphill struggle to sell Everest colleges

- It took a cryptic message on her college login page to alert Stephenie Wickiser to the plight of the company that owns her online university.

Moderate quake strikes Alaska coast but little damage seen

JUNEAU Alaska - An earthquake with a magnitude of 5.9 struck on the coast of Alaska early on Friday, shaking people awake in the state capital city of Juneau but causing little, if any, damage, officials said.

U.S. meat, seafood prices rising on drought and disease: USDA

WASHINGTON - Overall U.S. food inflation will remain near the historic norm in 2014, even as prices for meat and seafood are pushed higher by disease and widespread drought, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said on Friday.

Exclusive: Exxon weighs expansion of Beaumont, Texas, refinery - sources

HOUSTON - Exxon Mobil Corp <XOM.N > is weighing a possible multibillion-dollar expansion of its 344,600 barrel-per-day (bpd) Beaumont, Texas, refinery that could make it the nation’s largest by 2020, according to sources familiar with the company’s deliberations.

FBI investigates Ford engineer after listening devices found: report

DETROIT - A 43-year-old former Ford Motor Co engineer is being investigated by the FBI after listening devices were found in meeting rooms at company offices, the Detroit News reported on Friday.

Federal inspector to examine Alaska tour train derailment site

JUNEAU Alaska - A federal inspector has been sent to examine the Alaska site where a tourism train derailed this week, leaving 19 people with minor injuries, a U.S. Transportation Department spokesman said on Thursday.

Colorado appeals court denies bid to block gay marriages in Boulder County

DENVER - A Colorado appeals court on Thursday denied a motion by the state's top lawyer seeking to block a county clerk from issuing same-sex marriage licenses until the long-running legal battle is resolved by higher courts.

Arizona killer was given two doses of drugs in drawn-out execution

PHOENIX - Arizona executioners had to administer at least two full doses of a two-drug lethal injection cocktail to a convicted killer before he finally succumbed nearly two hours after his execution began, the state's assistant attorney general said on Thursday.

Alabama man claims penis was amputated by mistake

- An Alabama man who went in to a hospital last month for a circumcision awoke after surgery to find his penis had been amputated, his lawyer said on Thursday.

Navajo president calls slayings of two Native men a hate crime

ALBUQUERQUE N.M. - The president of the Navajo Nation condemned the beating deaths of two Native American homeless men in New Mexico as a hate crime, and called on Thursday for a federal investigation into slayings that police have blamed on three teenagers.

Groundwater levels drop in Southwestern U.S. in ongoing drought

- Underground stores of water in the southwestern United States have receded dramatically amid ongoing drought that has parched states from Oklahoma to the Pacific Coast and is costing California billions in lost crops and jobs, a new study shows.

Indiana man charged in killing of police officer

GARY Ind. - A 25-year-old Indiana man was charged on Thursday in the fatal shooting of a Gary, Indiana, police officer in his patrol car earlier this month, city officials said.

Notorious drug smuggling ship towed to Seattle for scrapping

SEATTLE - A freighter seized off the coast of Washington state nearly four decades ago in one of the largest marijuana busts in the region's history was moved to Seattle on Thursday and will eventually be scrapped, local officials said.

Suspect in 1992 slaying of Illinois teen arrested in California

LOS ANGELES - An elderly California man, long suspected in the unsolved killing of a Chicago-area youth 22 years ago, has been arrested in Los Angeles on a murder warrant from Illinois prosecutors, a spokeswoman for the Cook County state's attorney said on Thursday.

Website lets donors pay Detroit residents' overdue water bills

DETROIT - Widespread water shutoffs in Detroit have led to the creation of a website that allows donors to anonymously pay the overdue bills of residents in the bankrupt city, a site organizer said on Thursday.

Milwaukee barber sentenced for role in Stradivarius violin theft

MILWAUKEE - A Milwaukee barber received a 3-1/2-year prison sentence on Thursday for supplying a stun gun used in the theft of a 300-year-old Stradivarius violin from a concert violinist.

Police puzzled by dolls left on porches in California city

LOS ANGELES - Police said on Thursday they were investigating porcelain dolls that had been left on the doorsteps of at least eight homes in a Southern California beach city that homeowners said bore a resemblance their daughters.

California attorney general asks lawyers to help immigrant children

SACRAMENTO Calif. - California's attorney general has personally asked several major law firms to provide pro bono services to unaccompanied immigrant children flooding the U.S. border with Mexico, a signal that California views the growing crisis as a humanitarian issue.

NY woman accused of murder after neighbor's dismembered body found

NEW YORK - A Brooklyn woman faces murder charges in the killing of her neighbor whose dismembered body was discovered in New York near sites where other severed human limbs were found this month, police said on Thursday.

Storm kills three, injures 20 at Virginia campground

WASHINGTON - A likely tornado tore through an eastern Virginia campground on Thursday, killing up to three people and injuring as many as 20 as it overturned vehicles and downed trees, officials said.

BNSF train carrying North Dakota oil derails in Seattle

- A Burlington Northern Santa Fe train carrying crude oil derailed as it left a railyard in north Seattle on Thursday, but there were no reports of a spill or injuries, BNSF said in a statement.

Minnesota man asked to leave Southwest flight after critical tweet

(Story refiled to correct typographical error on third paragraph)

Too few U.S. youth getting vaccine for sexually transmitted virus: CDC

ATLANTA - More U.S. adolescents are receiving vaccines against the sexually transmitted virus that causes cervical and other types of cancer but vaccination rates for the infection remain too low, federal health officials said on Thursday.

New arrest videos add to scrutiny of N.Y. police use of choke holds

NEW YORK - Relatives of Eric Garner, who died soon after New York police put him in a choke hold, will ask federal prosecutors this week for an investigation as new videos emerged of a second recent case of police apparently using the banned hold on another man.

Excommunicated Mormon feminist appeals ejection from faith

SALT LAKE CITY - A Mormon feminist excommunicated from her religion after advocating for the ordination of women has appealed the ejection in a letter to the same panel of male church leaders who decided to oust her from the largely patriarchal faith.

Kennedy cousin tries to stop tapes being played in murder retrial

STAMFORD Conn. - Michael Skakel, a Kennedy cousin awaiting retrial after serving 11 years in prison for the murder of a teenage girl in Connecticut, wants to stop incriminating audiotapes from being used again as evidence, according to court filings on Wednesday.

100 years on, World War One resonates at Kansas City museum

KANSAS CITY Mo. - As far as Joan Barkley Wells is concerned, there isn't much reason for calling World War One a forgotten war.

Mother, daughter die of burns from Philadelphia food truck blast

PHILADELPHIA - A mother and daughter have died from burns they suffered when a propane tank exploded in the family's food truck in Philadelphia earlier this month, authorities said on Thursday.

Judge doubts Florida election maps can be fixed by November

TALLAHASSEE - A judge who ruled Florida’s new congressional districts were unconstitutional earlier this month expressed doubt Thursday that he can postpone next month’s primary election for a quick fix of the political boundaries.

Landlords say San Francisco anti-eviction law unconstitutional

SAN FRANCISCO - A San Francisco law requiring landlords to pay large sums of money to tenants before removing a property from the rental market was challenged in federal court on Thursday amid rising tensions between renters and landlords in the expensive city.

Top Dallas official bets political future by opening arms to immigrants

DALLAS - Images of protesters trying to stop buses loaded with illegal immigrants may dominate the news, but in the heart of Texas, one county judge is taking on friends and foes by trying to find shelter for child migrants flooding across the U.S. border.

California man says he shot fleeing intruder who said she was pregnant

LOS ANGELES - An 80-year-old California man who told a television station he shot to death a fleeing intruder even though she begged for her life and said she was pregnant was under investigation by police on Thursday in connection with the slaying.

Police seek five young adults in Brooklyn Bridge flag case: media

NEW YORK - New York police are looking for five young adults in connection with the mysterious white flags that fluttered atop the Brooklyn Bridge on Tuesday morning, baffling onlookers below, local media reported on Thursday.

Sanity exam of accused Colorado theater gunman can be filmed: judge

DENVER - A second psychiatric examination of accused Colorado theater gunman James Holmes, who says he was insane when he shot dead 12 moviegoers two years ago, can be recorded on video, a judge overseeing the case ruled on Thursday.

Former Massachusetts probation official found guilty in corruption case

BOSTON - A former director of Massachusetts' probation commission was found guilty on Thursday of running the agency as a corrupt political patronage operation, offering jobs in return for favors from state legislators.

Effort to force vote to repeal Seattle minimum wage increase fails

SEATTLE - A Seattle business group said it has fallen short of the number of signatures needed to force a November vote seeking to repeal a municipal ordinance that raises the city's minimum wage to $15 per hour.

One dead, one wounded by gunman at Pennsylvania hospital

- A gunman opened fire inside a Pennsylvania psychiatric facility on Thursday, killing a woman and wounding a doctor who apparently shot back and critically wounded his attacker, authorities said.

Canada board welcomes U.S. oil-by-rail ideas, says danger remains

OTTAWA - The Transportation Safety Board of Canada welcomed on Thursday proposed U.S. regulations for oil-by-rail tankers but cautioned of persistent danger until tank cars built before 2011 stop carrying oil and other flammable liquids.

Maryland seeks to lure anglers to join 'Frankenfish' battle

ANNAPOLIS Md. - Maryland officials are hoping that the prospect of landing a record fish will enlist anglers in the battle against the northern snakehead, a voracious newcomer dubbed "Frankenfish."

Milwaukee barber sentenced for role in Stradivarius violin theft

MILWAUKEE - A Milwaukee barber received a 3-1/2-year prison sentence on Thursday for supplying a stun gun used in the theft of a 300-year-old Stradivarius violin from a concert violinist.

Website lets donors pay Detroit residents' overdue water bills

DETROIT - Widespread water shutoffs in Detroit have led to the creation of a website that allows donors to anonymously pay the overdue bills of residents in the bankrupt city, a site organizer said on Thursday.

Senior U.S. lawmaker: Myanmar must reform before more sanctions easing

WASHINGTON - Jade and rubies from Myanmar will remain banned from the United States unless the Asian nation moves to end a provision in its constitution that bars opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi from running for president, a senior U.S. senator said on Thursday.

Senior U.S. Homeland Security cyber official Larry Zelvin to retire

BOSTON - Larry Zelvin, the head of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's center for countering cyber threats, is retiring next month after a government career of nearly 30 years during which he advised U.S. businesses on fighting hostile hackers.

Lawyers demand outside probe of two-hour Arizona execution

PHOENIX - Lawyers for a convicted double-murderer whose lethal injection in Arizona dragged on for two hours, while witnesses watched him gasping for breath and attorneys scrambled to halt the process, have called for an outside review of the "horrifically botched execution."

For Californians, higher costs dampen support for clean energy

BERKELEY Calif. - An overwhelming majority of California residents support the state's mandate for reducing heat-trapping greenhouse gas emissions, so long as they do not bear the higher costs of cleaner energy themselves, a new public opinion poll shows.

U.S. health insurers to pay $330 million in premium rebates

- U.S. health insurers will send out about $330 million in rebates to employers and individuals this summer under President Barack Obama's healthcare law, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services said on Thursday.

Preachers rail at police in funeral for NYC man who died in custody

NEW YORK - Preacher after preacher stepped up to the pulpit at a sweltering Brooklyn church on Wednesday to express fury at the city's police force during the funeral of Eric Garner, who died soon after police put him in a banned chokehold.

Colorado theater gunman's lawyers challenge firearms analysis

DENVER - Lawyers defending accused theater gunman James Holmes challenged the reliability of firearms analysis on Wednesday, despite conceding that their client was solely responsible for the 2012 massacre that killed 12 moviegoers.

U.S. judge strikes down Colorado's gay marriage ban, stays ruling

DENVER - A federal judge ruled on Wednesday that Colorado's ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional, but stayed his ruling until the issue is decided by a higher court.

Republican Paul Ryan to renew U.S. poverty debate with grant plan

WASHINGTON - Republican Representative Paul Ryan will probably spark a new round of arguments over how to fight poverty in America on Thursday as he introduces a sweeping plan to replace long-standing social safety net programs with new block grants for states and communities.

African Americans disproportionately cited for public pot use in Seattle -police

SEATTLE - African Americans in Seattle were ticketed disproportionately to their population for unlawfully using marijuana in public places during the first half of 2014, according to a report released on Wednesday by the city's police department.

San Francisco approves soda tax for November ballot

SAN FRANCISCO - San Francisco city leaders have approved a measure for the November ballot that would place a two-cents-per-ounce municipal tax on sodas and other sugary beverages, hoping to become the first major city to successfully impose such a levy.

Lack of immigration reform slows U.S.-Mexico economic growth: Mexican official

SACRAMENTO Calif. - The growing network of cross-border ties with Mexico, including trade equaling $1 million every minute, is threatened by the lack of progress toward immigration reform in the United States, Mexico's foreign secretary said on Wednesday.

Arizona inmate takes nearly two hours to die in execution

PHOENIX - An Arizona inmate took almost two hours to die by lethal injection and his lawyers said he "gasped and snorted" before succumbing in the latest botched execution to raise questions about the death penalty in the United States.

U.S. says Chinese man pleads guilty in military technology sting

WASHINGTON - A 28-year-old Chinese man pleaded guilty on Wednesday of attempting to smuggle military technology obtained from undercover U.S. agents out of the United States to China, the U.S. Justice Department said.

U.S. judge knocks down Colorado's gay marriage ban, stays ruling

DENVER - A federal judge ruled on Wednesday that Colorado's ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional, but temporarily stayed his ruling until the issue is decided by a higher court.

Exploding shooting targets banned from 12 U.S. national forests

SALMON Idaho - Federal land managers on Wednesday banned exploding targets used by shooting enthusiasts from 12 national forests in four Western U.S. states, saying the devices could spark wildfires and are a threat to public safety.

Army defends job cut notices to U.S. captains in Afghanistan

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Army on Wednesday defended its decision to notify 87 captains deployed overseas, including 48 in Afghanistan, that they were losing their jobs, would be transferred home and had nine months to organize their departure from the service.

Arizona inmate takes nearly two hours to die in execution

PHOENIX - An Arizona death row inmate took almost two hours to die after his execution by lethal injection began on Wednesday, the state's attorney general said.

Massachusetts bill limiting protests at abortion clinics goes to governor

BOSTON - A bill to limit demonstrations around Massachusetts abortion clinics passed the state's House of Representatives on Wednesday and headed to Governor Deval Patrick.

Exploding shooting targets banned from 12 U.S. national forests

SALMON Idaho - Federal land managers on Wednesday banned exploding targets used by shooting enthusiasts from 12 national forests in four Western U.S. states, saying the devices could spark wildfires and are a threat to public safety.

Funeral to be held for NYC man who died after police chokehold

NEW YORK - Family members gathered on Wednesday evening for the funeral of Eric Garner, who died shortly after police put him in a banned chokehold as they arrested him in New York City where the death has sparked outrage and a promise to reform police training.

Two New Hampshire police officers fired after roughing up teen

- The town manager of Seabrook, New Hampshire, fired two police officers on Wednesday for roughing up a man at the town's police station, an incident that drew scrutiny after surveillance footage of the incident was posted online earlier this year.

Newark, N.J., schools probed after claims of race discrimination

NEWARK N.J. - The U.S. Department of Education said on Wednesday it was investigating complaints that a plan to reorganize public schools in Newark, New Jersey, discriminates against black students.

Senior U.S. Homeland Security cyber official Larry Zelvin to retire

BOSTON - Larry Zelvin, the head of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's center for countering cyber threats, is retiring next month after a government career of nearly 30 years during which he advised U.S. businesses on fighting hostile hackers.

Kennedy cousin tries to stop tapes being played in murder retrial

STAMFORD Conn. - Michael Skakel, a Kennedy cousin awaiting retrial after serving 11 years in prison for the murder of a teenage girl in Connecticut, wants to stop incriminating audiotapes from being used again as evidence, according to court filings on Wednesday.

Over 10 million U.S. adults gain coverage under Obamacare: study

WASHINGTON - An estimated 10.3 million American adults have gained health coverage since Obamacare enrollment began last October, with the biggest gains among young adults and Hispanics, according to a study published on Wednesday.

Jury still undecided in defamation case brought by Jesse Ventura

ST PAUL Minn. - A jury deliberated for a second day on Wednesday without reaching a verdict in a defamation lawsuit brought by former Minnesota governor Jesse Ventura alleging his reputation was sullied by claims in a former Navy SEAL's book about his involvement in a bar fight.

Jury still undecided in defamation case brought by Jesse Ventura

ST PAUL Minn. - A jury deliberated for a second day on Wednesday without reaching a verdict in a defamation lawsuit brought by former Minnesota governor Jesse Ventura alleging his reputation was sullied by claims in a former Navy SEAL's book about his involvement in a bar fight.

Wisconsin governor race remains in a dead heat despite probe -poll

MILWAUKEE - Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, who is seeking re-election in November, has not seen any significant drop in his support since the release of documents on a probe into possible illegal campaign financing, a poll showed on Wednesday.

Firefighters hold line in Washington as experts warn of more fires

SEATTLE - Firefighters were holding the line on Wednesday against the largest wildfire in Washington state's history, as scientists warned that such blazes across the Western United States were becoming hotter, larger and more dangerous.

Libyan al Qaeda suspect's legal defense financed by foreign government

NEW YORK - A foreign government is paying for the criminal defense of alleged senior al Qaeda militant Anas al-Liby, his defense lawyer told a U.S. judge on Wednesday.

California lawmaker's bribery trial postponed until he leaves office

- California state Senator Ron Calderon's trial on bribery charges has been delayed until after he leaves office this year.

Exclusive: Obama sends team to Texas to assess need for National Guard deployment

SAN FRANCISCO - President Barack Obama has sent a team to Texas to assess whether a U.S. National Guard deployment would help to handle an immigration crisis at the Mexican border, White House officials told Reuters on Wednesday, having so far resisted Republican calls for such a move.

Indiana teen dead, dad missing after crash ends world flight bid

CHICAGO - A teenager from Plainfield, Indiana, who was trying to fly around the world in 30 days, is dead and his father is missing after their small plane crashed on Tuesday night near American Samoa, an official told Reuters on Wednesday.

Women charged with financing Somali group al Shabaab -U.S. prosecutors

WASHINGTON - Three women were arrested on Wednesday on charges of conspiring to raise money for Somali insurgent group al Shabaab, the Justice Department said.

Former Nazi guard dies in Pennsylvania just before extradition approved

- A former Nazi concentration camp guard died hours before a judge on Wednesday ordered his extradition to Germany, where he faced charges of aiding and abetting the deaths of 216,000 Jews.

U.S. boosts Iraq surveillance flights to 50 daily from one monthly

WASHINGTON - The United States has boosted the number of surveillance flights over Iraq to nearly 50 a day from one a month as it faces Sunni Islamist militants who control swaths of Iraqi territory, a top State Department official said on Wednesday.

Arkansas air base on lockdown due to 'suspicious individual'

LITTLE ROCK Ark - The Little Rock Air Force Base in Arkansas was on lockdown on Wednesday due to a suspicious individual, the military base said in a Facebook post.

Arkansas air base on lockdown due to 'suspicious individual'

LITTLE ROCK Ark - The Little Rock Air Force Base in Arkansas was on lockdown on Wednesday due to a suspicious individual, the military base said in a Facebook post.

Six indicted in New York for involvement in StubHub cyber fraud

New York - Six people were indicted in New York for involvement in a global cybercrime ring that took over more than 1,000 accounts of eBay Inc's StubHub online ticket reselling service, according to a statement released by the office of Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr.

Lawsuit challenges Louisiana governor's plan to ditch Common Core

NEW ORLEANS - A group of charter schools, teachers and parents filed suit on Tuesday against Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, asserting that he overstepped his authority and has sown chaos by moving last month to ditch the Common Core education standards for teaching English and math which he helped usher in four years ago.

Massachusetts teenager charged in October killing in court on assault charge

BOSTON - A Massachusetts teenager accused of raping and murdering a teacher at his former high school appeared in a Boston court on Wednesday to face charges of stalking and attacking a female staffer at the detention center where he is awaiting trial.

Exclusive: CDC says lab director behind anthrax mishap resigns

WASHINGTON - The director of a government bioterror lab behind the potential exposure of workers to live anthrax has resigned, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Wednesday.

NJ man guilty of murdering 'messy' ex-wife found wearing pig mask

MORRISTOWN N.J. - A jury convicted a New Jersey man of murder on Wednesday in the killing of his ex-wife, who he called a messy housekeeper and whose body was found stabbed 84 times and wearing a pig mask.

Arizona execution to proceed after lethal-injection challenge failed

PHOENIX - A convicted double-murderer was due to be executed by lethal injection in Arizona on Wednesday after his defense team failed in its legal bid to force the state to disclose greater details about how he will be put to death.

Last victim of deadly Washington mudslide believed found

- Search teams in Washington State have found the remains of a person thought to be the last victim of a mudslide that buried an entire community in March and killed 43 people, county authorities said.

Opening statements to begin for Michigan man accused in teen's death

- Opening statements are set to begin on Wednesday in the trial of a white suburban Detroit homeowner charged with killing a black teenager with a shotgun blast to the face after she knocked on his door seeking help early one November morning.

U.S. scientists urge 'national vision' to curb coastal risks in report

- A group of top scientists has called for a fundamental change to how the United States deals with risks to its Atlantic and Gulf coasts from storms and climate change in a National Research Council report released Wednesday.

Jury reconvenes in defamation case brought by Jesse Ventura

ST PAUL Minn. - A jury reconvened Wednesday in a defamation lawsuit brought by former Minnesota governor, Jesse Ventura, alleging his reputation was sullied by claims in a former Navy SEAL's book about his involvement in a bar fight.

Denver Broncos owner Pat Bowlen, battling Alzheimer's, steps down

DENVER - Denver Broncos owner Pat Bowlen is stepping down as he battles Alzheimer's disease, the National Football League team said on Wednesday, adding that it was saddened he could no longer take part in the club's daily operations.

Kansas man charged with murder after girl dies in police chase

- A man accused of kidnapping a 5-year-old Kansas girl, who was found dead after a police chase, was charged on Wednesday with first-degree felony murder in the child's death, authorities said.

U.S. proposes new rules for moving crude oil by rail

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Department of Transportation on Wednesday proposed an overhaul of safety standards for transporting crude oil and ethanol by rail, after a number of explosive accidents over the past year.

New York Governor Cuomo's office intervened in corruption probe -NY Times

NEW YORK - New York Governor Andrew Cuomo's office meddled with a commission he created to root out corruption in state politics, pushing back whenever it focused on groups tied to Cuomo, the New York Times reported on Wednesday.

More U.S. teens' report using human growth hormone, group says

WASHINGTON - U.S. teenagers' reported use of synthetic human growth hormone more than doubled between 2012 to 2013 as they sought to improve athletic performance and appearance, a survey by anti-drug advocates found.

U.S., European airlines halt flights to Israel due to instability

- Air carriers in the United States and Europe on Tuesday halted flights to Tel Aviv after warnings from governmental agencies in an effort to ensure passenger safety as turmoil in Israel and the region intensified.

NYC police training to be overhauled after custody death

NEW YORK - All New York City police officers are expected to undergo retraining in the wake of a man's death on a city sidewalk shortly after he was placed in a chokehold by officers, Bill Bratton, the police commissioner, said on Tuesday.

Business executive wins Georgia Republican runoff in U.S. Senate race

ATLANTA - Campaigning as an outsider who would shake up Washington, a former Fortune 500 chief executive defeated an 11-term congressman in a Georgia runoff election on Tuesday between two Republicans seeking to fill an open U.S. Senate seat.

StubHub was victim of cyber fraud ring; arrests to be announced

SEATTLE/BOSTON - eBay Inc's StubHub online ticket resale service said it was the victim of a massive international cyber fraud ring, the details of which authorities plan to disclose on Wednesday as they announce arrests in the case.

San Diego-area community rejects shelter for undocumented migrants

ESCONDIDO Calif. - A San Diego suburb took center stage in the nation's acrimonious immigration debate on Tuesday as planning commissioners there rejected a proposal to open a temporary shelter for Central American children caught illegally crossing the U.S. border.

Colorado judge sets new December 8 trial date in theater massacre case

CENTENNIAL Colo. - Jury selection in the much-delayed trial of accused movie theater gunman James Holmes will begin on Dec. 8, a Colorado judge said on Tuesday, dismissing objections by the defense who said they needed more time.

NYC police training to be overhauled after custody death

NEW YORK - All New York City police officers are expected to undergo retraining in the wake of a man's death on a city sidewalk shortly after he was placed in a chokehold by officers, Bill Bratton, the police commissioner, said on Tuesday.

Sleep in train station, go to jail under San Francisco crackdown

SAN FRANCISCO - Transit police on San Francisco's BART commuter rail line on Tuesday stepped up efforts to discourage homeless people from sleeping in stations, issuing warnings that could eventually lead to a trip to jail.

U.S. Supreme Court lifts stay of execution for Arizona inmate

PHOENIX - The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday vacated a stay of execution for an Arizona inmate who had sued the state demanding more information about the drugs that will be used in the lethal injection procedure he faces.

Oklahoma teen accused of sexually abusing children in Kenya

OKLAHOMA CITY - An Oklahoma teenager is charged with traveling to Kenya to sexually abuse children at a missionary children's home in the East African country, prosecutors said on Tuesday.

Big California raid targets marijuana grown on tribal land

SAN FRANCISCO - California authorities have launched a major raid to seize marijuana grown on and around a Northern California Indian reservation, joining with tribal authorities to combat illegal grow operations on native lands, authorities said on Tuesday.

Texas woman found guilty of starving stepson to death

DALLAS - A Texas woman was found guilty on Tuesday of starving her 10-year-old stepson to death and then dumping his body in a creek bed.

Obama administration to unveil stricter fuel regulations for trains: WSJ

- The administration of U.S. President Barack Obama is expected to announce new regulations related to more stringent safety standards on trains carrying flammable fuels on Wednesday, the Wall Street Journal reported citing a source on Capitol Hill familiar with the process.

NYC police training to be overhauled after custody death

NEW YORK - All New York City police officers are expected to undergo retraining in the wake of a man's death on a city sidewalk shortly after he was placed in a chokehold by officers, Bill Bratton, the police commissioner, said on Tuesday.

Firefighters advance on biggest wildfire on record in Washington state

SEATTLE - Firefighters gained ground on Tuesday against the largest wildfire in Washington state's history but the massive blaze that has destroyed 200 homes continued to threaten some communities and forced a fresh round of evacuations.

Obama government looks to satisfy religious groups on Obamacare

WASHINGTON - The Obama administration is developing a method for religious organizations opposed to contraception coverage under the Affordable Care Act to opt out of providing the coverage in their health plans without filling out a form.

U.S. announces arrests in border crackdown on human smuggling

WASHINGTON - U.S. officials have made almost 200 arrests and seized more than $625,000 in illicit profits in a month-long crackdown on human smuggling in response to an influx of illegal immigration into Texas, the Department of Homeland Security said on Tuesday.

Hundreds of postal workers protest at Chicago Staples over outsourcing

CHICAGO - Hundreds of postal workers from around the country protested outside a Staples store in downtown Chicago on Tuesday over a program that allows postal services to be sold at more than 80 Staples retail outlets.

Donut capers stymie police in Oregon

PORTLAND Ore. - Police in a Portland suburb have a sticky situation on their hands: for more than a month, mysterious vandals have been smearing pastries on cars, depositing donuts in lawns and leaving cakes strewn about the streets.

Paterno's son and other ex-coach sue Penn State for lost careers

HARRISBURG Pa. - Two former assistant football coaches at Penn State University, including the son of disgraced former head coach Joe Paterno, are suing the school for actions they say wrecked their careers in the wake of the child sex-abuse scandal.

Ohio man sentenced to 30 years for enslaving woman, child

CLEVELAND Ohio - An Ohio man convicted of enslaving a mentally disabled woman and her young daughter for nearly two years was sentenced to 30 years in federal prison Tuesday, according to a federal prosecutor's office.

Jury to weigh murder in pig mask stabbing of 'messy' ex-wife

MORRISTOWN N.J. - A prosecutor on Tuesday held up the rubber pig mask found on the face of a woman stabbed 84 times and told the jury in the murder trial of the victim's ex-husband it showed his contempt for the woman he called a messy housekeeper.

NY judge throws out lawsuit by Empire State Building investors

NEW YORK - A New York state judge has thrown out a lawsuit in which longtime investors in the Empire State Building claimed they were shortchanged out of hundreds of millions of dollars by the real estate magnates who took the iconic skyscraper public last October.

Groups file complaint against Texas city that banned refugee housing

- Immigration rights groups filed a federal complaint on Tuesday against a Texas city they said violated civil rights laws by placing a ban on housing and processing facilities for Central Americans seeking refugee status after fleeing violence at home.

San Antonio makes history as it names black woman mayor

SAN ANTONIO - San Antonio's city council elected Ivy Taylor the new mayor of the seventh most populous U.S. city, making the Yale graduate the first African American to hold the post.

Fourth bacterial infection death reported at South Carolina hospital

CHARLESTON S.C. - A patient who contracted a rare bacterial infection during surgery at a South Carolina hospital died last week, bringing the total deaths to four since the outbreak was first suspected in May, a hospital spokeswoman said on Tuesday.

Thieves steal air conditioners from rural Tennessee churches

NASHVILLE Tenn. - Thieves have been stealing central air conditioning units from rural Tennessee churches during a scorching summer heat wave, and they'll face hell fire for eternity if they're not caught here on earth, a church official said on Tuesday.

Miami restaurant, survivor of desegregation and riots, to close

MIAMI - After more than half a century, Jumbo's, famous for its fried shrimp and conch, and one of the first Miami restaurants to desegregate in the late 1960s, is closing this week as the site is sold to a developer of affordable housing.

Maryland parents charged with locking autistic adult sons in basement

ANNAPOLIS Md. - Police in Maryland have charged a couple with abuse after discovering their 22-year-old twin autistic sons had been locked in a dark, bare basement room for six years, according to police and court records.Police found the men in a room with no furniture or lights, one comforter on a tile floor, and a small window, and noticed an "overwhelming smell of urine coming from the room," said charging documents filed in Montgomery County District Court

North Carolina teenager accused of hiding buried baby's death

WINSTON-SALEM N.C. - The North Carolina teenager whose baby girl's body was found buried in her family's yard last month was arrested on Tuesday on a felony charge of concealing or failing to report the death, sheriff's officials said.

Montana top court sanctions judge for 30-day rape sentence

- The Montana Supreme Court on Tuesday censured a judge and suspended him for 31 days for improperly suggesting a 14-year-old girl was culpable in her rape and unlawfully sentencing the former teacher convicted of the crime to just a month in jail.

Oregon recreational pot initiative qualifies for November ballot

- An initiative seeking to legalize, tax and regulate recreational marijuana in Oregon has qualified for the November ballot, the state said on its website on Tuesday.

In chokehold death, NY police tactics clash with moves to mend relations

NEW YORK - When Bill Bratton returned in January for a second stint as New York City's police commissioner, he often invoked two priorities - to mend relations with black and Latino citizens and to keep serious crime down with the same methods he used in the 1990s.

Helicopter crashes near Washington state community hit by mudslide

SEATTLE - A helicopter crashed on Monday near a Washington state community in the Cascade foothills still reeling from a damaging mudslide, apparently injuring the pilot, according to authorities and media reports.

Most victims of fiery California bus crash died of smoke inhalation

- Most of the 10 people killed in a fiery crash of a bus full of college hopefuls in Northern California survived the initial impact and died of smoke inhalation from flames that engulfed the vehicle, the county coroner said on Tuesday.

Maine governor bemoans move of eight child immigrants to his state

BOSTON - Maine Governor Paul LePage blasted the White House on Tuesday for placing in his state eight children who tried to cross the border illegally.

Driver rescued in Oregon after 12 hours trapped with corpse

SEATTLE - A driver who spent 12 hours trapped in the wreckage of her car with the corpse of a passenger who died after their vehicle tumbled down an embankment was rescued after a hitchhiker in Oregon heard her cries for help, authorities said on Tuesday.

Mysterious white flags replace U.S. stars and stripes on Brooklyn Bridge

NEW YORK - New Yorkers awoke to find two white flags hung in place of the American flags that traditionally flutter atop the Brooklyn Bridge on Tuesday morning, baffling city officials, police and onlookers.

Man arrested in bomb hoax at Louisiana university

NEW ORLEANS - A 30-year-old man has been arrested in connection with a bomb hoax last week at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette that forced an evacuation of the sprawling campus and triggered a large-scale police response, authorities said on Tuesday.

Father posts photo of sexually abused son online in donation plea

- A Florida father who severely beat an 18-year-old man he said he caught sexually assaulting his son posted the child's photo on a fundraising website to solicit donations for the boy's recovery, police said on Tuesday.

San Diego-area community expected to reject illegal immigrant shelter

SAN DIEGO - A Southern California city could find itself at the center of a nationwide debate over illegal immigration on Tuesday evening when officials there are expected to reject a bid by the U.S. government to open a shelter for unaccompanied migrant children.

Manhunt on for armed bandits in $181,000 heist at Atlantic City casino

AVON-BY-THE-SEA N.J. - A manhunt was underway on Tuesday for masked bandits who reportedly stole roughly $181,000 in an armed robbery at Caesar's Atlantic City casino in New Jersey, police said.

Georgia voters to pick Republican U.S. Senate nominee after long fight

ATLANTA - A drawn-out fight between an 11-term congressman and a former Fortune 500 chief executive in a key U.S. Senate race is due to be decided by Georgia's Republican voters on Tuesday.

Three injured when home explodes north of Houston

HOUSTON - Three people were critically burned when a house exploded near a city north of Houston on Tuesday, with the blast felt for miles, officials said.

Wawona Packing recalls fruit over listeria concerns

WASHINGTON - Wawona Packing Co is recalling fresh Sweet 2 Eat brand peaches, plums, nectarines and pluots because of potential contamination by listeria contamination, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said.

Delta, US Airways halt flights to Israel due to instability

- U.S. air carriers Delta Air Lines and US Airways, a unit of American Airlines Group, on Tuesday said they have halted flights to Israel to ensure passenger safety.

Court deals blow to Obama health law by limiting subsidies

WASHINGTON - A U.S. federal judicial panel on Tuesday dealt a potentially devastating blow to President Barack Obama's healthcare law, throwing out a provision that provides millions of Americans with subsidies for private health insurance.

Defense lawyer says Ventura seeking attention with defamation suit

ST PAUL Minn. - Former Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura's defamation case is aimed at keeping the name of the fading star in the headlines at the expense of an ex-Navy SEAL who served his country with honor, defense lawyers said on Tuesday.

Feds: Police misconduct rampant in Newark, N.J., city OKs monitor

NEWARK N.J. - Federal investigators found police repeatedly violated civil rights in New Jersey's largest city, Newark, and recommended an independent monitor to oversee changes, the U.S. Justice Department announced on Tuesday.

'Slenderman' attack victim receives Purple Heart from an anonymous well wisher

MILWAUKEE - A Wisconsin girl stabbed 19 times in a murder plot allegedly hatched by two classmates to win favor with a fictional Internet character, has been sent a prestigious Purple Heart medal by an anonymous well-wisher, the victim's family said on Tuesday.

'Slenderman' attack victim receives Purple Heart from an anonymous well wisher

MILWAUKEE - A Wisconsin girl stabbed 19 times in a murder plot allegedly hatched by two classmates to win favor with a fictional Internet character, has been sent a prestigious Purple Heart medal by an anonymous well-wisher, the victim's family said on Tuesday.

Race for North Dakota's agriculture commissioner is all about oil

TOWNER North Dakota - North Dakota's biggest oil producers have picked a side and put money into an obscure election for the state's agriculture commissioner, hoping to ward off a rising Democratic challenger who could limit development of new wells and pipelines.

U.S. judge dismisses Republican lawsuit over Obamacare subsidy for Congress

MILWAUKEE - A federal judge has thrown out a U.S. Senator's legal challenge to a part of President Barack Obama's healthcare law that grants health insurance subsidies for members of Congress and their staffs.

Wave of migrant children threatens to swamp U.S. immigration courts

WASHINGTON - A deluge of Central American children pouring into the United States threatens to burst the seams of already overstuffed immigration courts, and President Barack Obama's steps to ease the crisis are likely to make matters worse rather than better for some, U.S. officials and immigration lawyers said.

After 13-year struggle, U.S. faces counter-terror fatigue: panel

WASHINGTON - After 13 years of struggle, Americans are showing a growing public fatigue and waning sense of urgency over terrorism, an attitude that threatens U.S. security, members of the panel that investigated the Sept. 11 attacks said in a report on Tuesday.

Detroit workers, retirees vote in favor of city's debt plan

- Detroit's city workers and retirees voted in favor of the city's debt adjustment plan, according to voting results filed late on Monday in U.S. Bankruptcy Court, in what should clear the way for the final stage of the city's historic bankruptcy case.

Colorado county clerk 'reluctantly' halts same-sex marriage licenses

DENVER - A Colorado county clerk who issued nearly three dozen same-sex marriage licenses agreed on Monday to halt the practice after the state's highest court ordered another clerk to stop issuing the permits to gay couples.

Alaska Army National Guard soldier attacked by bear near base

JUNEAU Alaska - An Alaska Army National Guard soldier was attacked by a brown bear while training in the woods near Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in Anchorage, the second bear attack on a soldier from the base in two months, officials said on Monday.

Activists say arrests made in protest at Utah tar sands mine project

SALT LAKE CITY - Sheriff's deputies in Utah arrested nearly two dozen environmental protesters who chained themselves to fences and construction equipment on Monday at a tar sands mining project in the remote Book Cliffs mountains, an activist group said.

Suspect charged over fatal California bank robbery shootout

STOCKTON Calif. - A suspect in a California bank heist in which heavily armed robbers took hostages and engaged police in a running gun battle during a high-speed chase last week was charged with murder on Monday for the deaths of a hostage and two suspected fellow robbers.

Texas governor to deploy 1,000 National Guard troops to border

AUSTIN Texas - Texas Governor Rick Perry said on Monday he planned to send 1,000 Texas National Guard troops to the Mexican border to boost security during an influx of illegal immigration by children, a move that could increase pressure on President Barack Obama.

Philadelphia Eagles player arrested in shoving of Arizona officer

PHOENIX - A Philadelphia Eagles football player was arrested in Arizona on suspicion of felony aggravated assault for allegedly pushing a police officer probing a bar fight, authorities said on Monday.

Kansas police arrest suspect in girl's death

- A man accused of kidnapping a 5-year-old Kansas girl who died in a shootout between police and her alleged abductor was arrested in a hospital on Monday on suspicion of charges including first-degree murder and aggravated kidnapping, authorities said.

New Mexico teens charged with beating two homeless men to death

ALBUQUERQUE N.M. - Prosecutors have charged three New Mexico teens with murder for allegedly beating to death two homeless men whose bodies were so badly disfigured they have yet to be identified, police and the Albuquerque District Attorney's Office said.

Traps set after reports of giant snake on New Jersey's Lake Hopatcong

- In a scene that could open the film "Snakes on a Jet Ski," New Jersey animal control workers have set traps to snare a reported 20-foot-long serpent slithering through the waters of Lake Hopatcong.

Lawyers for Mississippi death-row inmate want conviction overturned

JACKSON Miss. - Attorneys for a Mississippi death-row inmate who was tried six times for the same killings told the state Supreme Court on Monday that his most recent trial was unfair and his conviction should be overturned.

Boy found starved in Pennsylvania home, authorities say

PITTSBURGH - The mother and grandparents of a Pennsylvania boy, who authorities say was starved nearly to death, are facing criminal charges, according to court documents.

Obama says there's more than one 'authentic way of being black'

WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama told a group of young black, Hispanic, Native American and Asian men on Monday that they need be proud of their backgrounds and draw strength from their cultures, but ignore people who accuse them of "acting white."

Black and white are the new orange at a county jail in Michigan

- Black and white are the new orange in a Michigan county where the sheriff has made a wardrobe change for jail inmates after a TV series brought new popularity to the vibrant color associated with prisoners.

Missing New Hampshire teenager reunited with mother after nine months

MANCHESTER N.H. - A New Hampshire teenager who disappeared nine months ago, prompting her mother to launch a nationwide search, has returned home, state officials said on Monday, offering no details on what prompted her disappearance.

Colombia growers see Miami cafe helping revive Juan Valdez brand

MIAMI - Colombian coffee growers, long represented by a fictional farmer named Juan Valdez with a mustache and wide-brimmed hat, opened a namesake coffee shop in downtown Miami on Monday, hoping to re-establish the brand in the high-end U.S. coffee market.

Donated skulls in Washington state lead to more human remains

SEATTLE - Authorities in Washington state were looking for a person who donated three human skulls to a thrift store last month, and said on Monday their pleas for information had instead prompted the handover of yet more human remains.

Two men charged with strangling elderly Philadelphia couple

- Two men have been charged with strangling to death an elderly couple at their Philadelphia home after being hired to do work around the house, police said on Monday.

At least four dead in truck-car crash south of Chicago

CHICAGO - At least four people were dead and three more were airlifted to hospitals after a multi-vehicle crash on I-55, a major truck route between St. Louis and Chicago, Illinois State Police said on Monday.

Bail set as elderly former Nazi guard falls ill in Pennsylvania

- A former Nazi concentration camp guard awaiting extradition to Germany was granted bail on Monday, set at $100,000, after his serious medical condition worsened while in jail, according to court documents.

Prisoner scales fence to escape Oregon jail

PORTLAND Ore. - A man awaiting trial for theft managed to escape an Oregon jail after he was let outside as part of a work crew, fled across the jail parking lot and jumped a fence in the latest in a string of Oregon prisoner escapes, authorities said on Monday.

U.S. court denies bid to reconsider stay of Arizona execution

PHOENIX - A federal appeals court on Monday rejected a bid by Arizona to remove a block that stops the state executing a double murderer until he is provided with more information about the drugs to be used to put him to death.

Texas man arrested for posing as veterinarian

HOUSTON - A 26-year-old Houston man has been arrested for practicing veterinary medicine without a license after he dispensed medicine and performed makeshift treatments on at least 50 animals, police said on Monday.

Israel blocks subpoena in terrorism case over Florida teen's death

NEW YORK - Israel persuaded a U.S. judge not to require a key witness to testify in a case where Bank of China Ltd is accused of supporting terrorism by Palestinian militants, including the 2006 death of an American teenager in a suicide bombing.

Johns Hopkins Hospital settles lawsuit with women filmed by doctor

- Johns Hopkins Hospital has agreed to pay $190 million to thousands of women who were secretly filmed by a doctor during gynecological exams.

Washington state wildfire claims first fatality, weather improving

SEATTLE - Cooler weather and lower winds aided firefighters on Monday as they battled a week-old wildfire in Washington state that has destroyed up to 150 homes, scorched a wide swath of wilderness east of the Cascade Mountains and left one person dead.

Facebook 'selfie' leads to shoplifting arrest in Illinois: police

CHICAGO - An Illinois woman made police work easy when she allegedly stole a colorful, leopard-pattern dress from a small boutique, then posted a picture of herself wearing it on Facebook, police said on Monday.

Want to buy a bridge? Pennsylvania still has 11 for sale

HARRISBURG Pa. - Buying a bridge is not on most to-do lists, but anyone seeking a historic span need look no further than the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, which has 11 of them for sale.

New York environment regulators seek summer shutdown at Indian Point

- New York state environmental regulators are proposing shutting the giant Indian Point nuclear power plant to protect fish in the Hudson River during summer months, when demand for electricity for air-conditioning is greatest.

Texas governor to deploy 1,000 National Guard troops to border: reports

AUSTIN Texas - Texas Governor Rick Perry was expected to announce plans on Monday to send 1,000 Texas National Guard troops to the Mexican border to boost security, according to local media, a move that could pile pressure on U.S. President Barack Obama.

Obama signs order barring federal discrimination against gays

WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama signed an executive order on Monday barring federal contractors from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.

High chance of cyclone near Lesser Antilles: NHC

- An area of low pressure located east of the Lesser Antilles now has a high, or 70 percent, chance of becoming a tropical cyclone during the next 48 hours, the U.S. National Hurricane Center (NHC) said in its latest advisory on Monday.

Friend of accused Boston bomber found guilty of obstructing justice

BOSTON - A U.S. jury on Monday found a friend of the accused Boston Marathon bomber guilty of obstructing the investigation into the deadly blasts by removing a backpack containing fireworks shells from the suspect's dorm room.

N.Y. immigration groups to close over alleged fraud

- Two of the largest non-profit immigration service groups in the United States will shut down after being accused of defrauding thousands of clients, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said on Monday.

Ohio infant attacked and killed by dog

CLEVELAND - An autopsy was under way on an Ohio infant who died this weekend after being attacked by a relative’s dog, a coroner’s office said Monday.

Florida police probe death of four-year-old thrown from car

TAMPA Fla. - A Florida boy found in the middle of a street in Tampa has died, and authorities are investigating how the child came to be thrown from a car, city police said on Monday.

Jury selection due for Michigan man accused of killing black teen

- Jury selection was expected to begin on Monday for a white suburban Detroit homeowner charged with killing a black teenager with a shotgun blast to the face after she knocked on his door seeking help early one November morning.

Gay couple challenges legal halt to gay marriage in Florida Keys

MIAMI - A gay couple hoping to marry in the Florida Keys filed an emergency petition on Monday to reinstate a judge's ruling which struck down the state's gay marriage ban.

New York City settles case of inmate death for $2.75 million: NYT

NEW YORK - New York City has agreed to pay $2.75 million to settle a lawsuit regarding the death of a prisoner at a city jail whose death was ruled a homicide, the New York Times reported on Monday.

Massachusetts mayor in flap with conservatives on gay rights

BOSTON - (This story corrects July 17 story to make clear that article ran on TheBlaze.com but was not authored by Glenn Beck; changes "discrimination" to "orientation" in 2nd paragraph)

In Clippers court case, octogenarian lawyer relishes the ruckus

LOS ANGELES - With the $2-billion sale of pro basketball's Los Angeles Clippers at stake and the team's irascible owner refusing to bless the record deal his estranged wife brokered, Bert Fields can hardly keep a smile from his face.

Forty-five years after Apollo landing, U.S. debates next lunar step

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. - Forty-five years after the first Apollo lunar landing, the United States remains divided about the moon's role in future human space exploration.

CN train derailment in Wisconsin forces people to move to safer sites

- A Canadian National Railway train derailed in Wisconsin on Sunday night, spurring local residents to move to safer locations, according to the railway and media reports.

Four dead in Arizona small plane crash

- Four people were killed on Sunday when a small plane crashed in rugged territory near the popular Arizona resort town of Sedona, authorities said.

Oil-by-rail fight in Washington threatens California gasoline prices

VANCOUVER Washington - California's chance to keep a lid on some of the nation's highest gas prices and join in the spoils of a domestic oil production boom is threatened by quickly growing opposition to a rail terminal in Washington state.

RJ Reynolds' $23-billion punitive damage award unlikely to stand: experts

NEW YORK - A decision by a Florida jury to impose punitive damages of $23.6 billion against RJ Reynolds Tobacco Company on Friday is likely to be rejected on appeal or the award reduced substantially, lawyers with expertise in jury awards said on Sunday.

Four emergency workers barred from 911 duty in NYC arrest death

NEW YORK - Four emergency responders have been put on modified duty while authorities investigate their response to a man who died after New York police put him in a chokehold on suspicion of selling untaxed cigarettes, a fire department official said on Sunday.

Florida teen recovering from beating in Israel-Palestinian conflict

TAMPA Fla. - Despite the red scars on his wrists, a souvenir from a summer vacation to see Palestinian relatives that became a nightmare, Tariq Khdeir felt lucky on Sunday as he described his apparent beating by Israeli police earlier this month.

Four emergency workers barred from 911 duty in NYC arrest death

NEW YORK - Four emergency responders have been put on modified duty while authorities investigate their response to a man, suspected of selling untaxed cigarettes, who died after New York police put him in a chokehold, a fire department official said on Sunday.

Oil trains, born of U.S. energy boom, face test in new safety rules

WASHINGTON - (This July 18 2014 story was corrected to show that the Greenbrier executive estimate of tank car capacity to 30,300 gallons, not 33,000 gallons. Also corrects impact of new tank car design weight in paragraph 23.)

Two soldiers killed fighting for Israel grew up in U.S.

- Two American-raised men were among the 13 Israeli soldiers killed in the conflict in Gaza on Sunday, according to a U.S. Jewish organization and media reports, on the bloodiest day of the conflict, in which about 100 Palestinians were also killed.

Crews make progress in calming massive Washington state wildfire

SEATTLE - Firefighters made progress on Sunday slowing a massive wildfire in Washington state that has raged unchecked for nearly a week, destroying between 80 and 150 homes and charring a wide swath of wilderness east of the Cascade Mountains.

Illinois legalizes medical marijuana for children with seizures

- Illinois children and adults with epilepsy will soon be allowed to use marijuana to ease their symptoms under a law signed on Sunday by Democratic Governor Pat Quinn, the latest in a series of measures loosening restrictions on cannabis by U.S. states.

Forty-five years after Apollo landing, U.S. debates next lunar step

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. - Forty-five years after the first Apollo lunar landing, the United States remains divided about the moon's role in future human space exploration.

Florida boy, 4, mauled to death by pit bulls, officials say

TAMPA Fla. - A 4-year-old Florida boy was mauled to death by two pit bulls at his uncle's home, said authorities on Sunday, who suggested the child may have let the dogs out of their cage to play with them.

In violent weekend, at least 40 people shot in Chicago

- An 11-year-girl was shot and killed during a slumber party as violence struck Chicago over the weekend, local media outlets reported on Sunday.

Crews make progress in calming massive Washington state wildfire

SEATTLE - A massive wildfire raging east of Washington state's Cascade Mountains showed some sign of calming Sunday, with fire crews saying they had slowed the expansion of a wind-whipped blaze that destroyed about 100 homes and displaced hundreds of people.

Scammers target families of illegal child immigrants to U.S.: FBI

SAN ANTONIO - U.S. officials warned on Sunday that scammers are attempting to prey on the families of some of the tens of thousands of unaccompanied child immigrants crossing the border from Latin America, seeking money for phony travel costs.

Washington state wildfire destroys 100 homes, hundreds evacuated

SEATTLE - A wildfire raging unchecked for a sixth day east of Washington state's Cascade Mountains has destroyed about 100 homes, displaced hundreds of residents and left thousands without electricity, emergency officials said on Saturday.

In U.S. gay marriage cases, children emerge in the limelight

WASHINGTON - With legal battles over gay marriage simmering across the United States, proponents are showcasing a group they had once sidelined: children.

Appeals court puts Arizona execution on hold over drugs details

PHOENIX - A U.S. appeals court on Saturday ordered the scheduled execution of an Arizona man condemned for killing of his ex-girlfriend and her father in 1989 be put on hold until the state provides more details about the lethal injection procedure he faces.

Florida jury awards $23 billion punitive damages against RJ Reynolds

ORLANDO Fla. - A Florida jury has awarded the widow of a chain smoker who died of lung cancer punitive damages of more than $23 billion in her lawsuit against the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, the nation's second-biggest cigarette maker.

Florida jury awards $23 billion punitive damages against RJ Reynolds

ORLANDO Fla. - A Florida jury has awarded the widow of a chain smoker who died of lung cancer punitive damages of more than $23 billion in her lawsuit against the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, the nation's second-biggest cigarette maker.

Kidnapped girl dead after Kansas shootout between police, suspect

KANSAS CITY - A 5-year-old Kansas girl who was kidnapped on Friday night died in a gun battle between police and her abductor following a high-speed chase, police said on Saturday.

Kidnapped girl dead after Kansas shootout between police, suspect

KANSAS CITY - A 5-year-old Kansas girl who was kidnapped on Friday night died in a gun battle between police and her abductor following a high-speed chase, police said on Saturday.

HIV diagnosis rate falls by a third in U.S.: researchers

WASHINGTON - The annual rate of diagnosis with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, fell by a third in the United States between 2002 and 2011, researchers reported on Saturday.

Nineteen hurt when ceiling collapses at Texas jail

- A ceiling at a Texas jail collapsed on Saturday, injuring 19 inmates, with one of those hurt airlifted to a Houston hospital, officials said.

HIV diagnosis rate falls by a third in U.S.: researchers

WASHINGTON - The annual rate of diagnosis with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, fell by a third in the United States between 2002 and 2011, researchers reported on Saturday.

Nineteen hurt when ceiling collapses at Texas jail

- A ceiling at a Texas jail collapsed on Saturday, injuring 19 inmates, with one of those hurt airlifted to a Houston hospital, officials said.

Florida police chief has no issue with dad who says he beat up son's sex attacker

- A Florida police chief has caused a media stir by saying he is looking the other way after a father severely beat a man he caught sexually assaulting his 11-year-old son.

Raging Washington state wildfire destroys 80 homes

SEATTLE - A fast moving wildfire burning east of Washington state’s Cascade Mountains destroyed some 80 homes and displaced hundreds of people on Friday as it scorched through parched vegetation and showed no sign of letting up, emergency officials said.

California tightens handgun restrictions

SACRAMENTO California - California has banned the sale of single-shot handguns that can be altered into semi-automatic weapons, handing a modest victory to proponents of tougher gun laws while striving to protect antique collectors.

California reviews fracking water disposal amid contamination concerns

SAN FRANCISCO - California on Friday said it would review wells where oil drilling waste water from the process known as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, is disposed to ensure they are not contaminating drinking water.

U.S. federal court throws out case against FAA's drone policy

- The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration's informal email orders enforcing its drone policy are not legally binding, a federal court ruled in a case filed by a Texas group.

U.S. federal court throws out case against FAA's drone policy

- The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration's informal email orders enforcing its drone policy are not legally binding, a federal court ruled in a case filed by a Texas group.

Obama to sign order Monday barring federal discrimination against gays

WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama will sign an executive order on Monday barring federal contractors from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity, the White House said on Friday.

NYC doctor convicted of manslaughter for illegal prescriptions

NEW YORK - A New York City pain management doctor was convicted on Friday of manslaughter and other charges for selling narcotics prescriptions to 20 patients, including two who fatally overdosed.

Obama to meet Central America leaders, migrant numbers fall: officials

WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama will meet with the leaders of Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador next week to discuss cooperation on the influx of child migrants from Central America into the United States, senior administration officials said on Friday.

Parents of former POW Bergdahl strained by his silence: friend

SALMON Idaho - Freed war prisoner Bowe Bergdahl has not yet reached out to his parents who campaigned hard for his freedom and who hold out hope he will eventually contact them once fully recovered from trauma inflicted by his Taliban captors, a family friend said on Friday.

Parents of former POW Bergdahl strained by his silence: friend

SALMON Idaho - Freed war prisoner Bowe Bergdahl has not yet reached out to his parents who campaigned hard for his freedom and who hold out hope he will eventually contact them once fully recovered from trauma inflicted by his Taliban captors, a family friend said on Friday.

Philadelphia mosque leaders try to cut off man's hand -police

PHILADELPHIA - Two men described as leaders of a Philadelphia mosque were accused of trying to cut off the hand of a suspected thief, whose wrist was sliced so deeply it required hospital treatment, police said on Friday.

Philadelphia mosque leaders try to cut off man's hand -police

PHILADELPHIA - Two men described as leaders of a Philadelphia mosque were accused of trying to cut off the hand of a suspected thief, whose wrist was sliced so deeply it required hospital treatment, police said on Friday.

New York mayor delays Italy trip by a day after backlash

NEW YORK - New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio will delay a 10-day trip to Italy by a day after a wave of criticism over taking the longest holiday outside the city by a mayor in over a decade.

Dump-truck driver charged in fatal crash into lake in New Jersey

- A dump-truck driver was charged on Friday with killing another driver after crashing into the back of a car at a red light in New Jersey, sending both vehicles into a lake, the local prosecutor said.

After U.S. deportation, a Honduran mother and daughter's uncertain fate

TEGUCIGALPA - When 9-year-old Genesis stepped off a plane in Honduras after being deported from the United States, she was excited at the thought of seeing her cousins. For her mother, Victoria Cordova, the homecoming was terrifying: she fears being killed if she does not repay money she owes the wife of a local gang leader.

Authorities identify mummified remains of woman in Detroit suburb

- A woman whose mummified remains were found in her garage in a Detroit suburb up to five years after her death has been identified through DNA tests, an official said on Friday.

Charges to be dropped for Arizona mother who left children in hot car

PHOENIX - Arizona prosecutors will drop child abuse charges against a woman who generated nationwide attention after leaving her two young sons in a hot car while she went on a job interview, authorities said on Friday.

Member of Eisenhower Memorial panel says troubled design is dead

WASHINGTON - A member of the commission overseeing construction of the Eisenhower Memorial said on Friday the controversial design by celebrity architect Frank Gehry should be scrapped.

U.S. Supreme Court grants Utah's appeal to stay gay marriage court order

- The U.S. Supreme Court on Friday agreed to a request from Utah for an emergency stay of an appeals court order that told the state to recognize hundreds of same-sex marriages performed there pending an appeal.

Obama to meet Central America leaders, migrant numbers fall: officials

WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama will meet with the leaders of Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador next week to discuss cooperation on the influx of child migrants from Central America into the United States, senior administration officials said on Friday.

Oklahoma infant thought kidnapped found safe in Texas

- A 5-month-old Oklahoma girl who police initially said was abducted by a woman who had visions that the infant would be dead in two days has been found unharmed in west Texas, authorities said on Friday.

Same-sex marriage in limbo in Florida after judge strikes ban

TAMPA Fla. - Wedding bells may not be ringing anytime soon for gay couples in Florida, as conservatives vowed on Friday to fight a circuit judge's landmark ruling to strike down the state's same-sex marriage ban, a rising political issue for the fall elections.

NYC doctor convicted of manslaughter for illegal prescriptions

NEW YORK - A New York City pain management doctor was convicted on Friday of manslaughter and other charges for selling narcotics prescriptions to 20 patients, including two who fatally overdosed.

Accused Nazi camp guard tells U.S. court his service was involuntary

PHILADELPHIA - An 89-year-old man wanted in Germany for working as a concentration camp guard during World War Two said in court filings on Friday that he should not be deported because his service in the Waffen SS was involuntary.

Court orders Denver to stop issuing gay marriage licenses

DENVER - Colorado's Supreme Court ordered the Denver County clerk on Friday to stop issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples pending the resolution of an appeal by the state's attorney general.

Maryland man killed while testing bulletproof vest

- A Maryland man faced murder charges on Friday after accidentally shooting his friend while testing out a bulletproof vest, a shooting reportedly recorded on a video camera.

U.S. Congress staffer arrested on weapons charge

WASHINGTON - A staff member for a Pennsylvania congressman was arrested on Friday after he tried to carry a handgun and magazine into a House of Representatives office building, U.S. Capitol Police said.

Man, allegedly selling untaxed cigarettes, dies after chokehold by NYC police

NEW YORK - A man, described as an asthmatic father of six, died after New York police tackled him in front of a beauty parlor and put him in a chokehold on suspicion of selling untaxed cigarettes.

Obama to sign order Monday barring federal discrimination against gays

WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama will sign an executive order on Monday barring federal contractors from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity, senior administration officials said.

Texas Rangers names its first woman lieutenant

SAN ANTONIO - The Texas Rangers, the nearly 200-year-old law enforcement agency known for white cowboy hats and silver star badges, has named its first female lieutenant, officials said on Friday.

MS-13 gang members in New Jersey charged with racketeering, murder

NEWARK N.J. - Two men described by prosecutors as New Jersey members of MS-13, a street gang with turf stretching from Salvadorean prisons to U.S. coastal cities, were due to appear in a New Jersey federal court on Friday on charges of racketeering and murder conspiracy.

U.S. judges vote for early release of more than 46,000 drug offenders

WASHINGTON - A U.S. judiciary agency passed an amendment on Friday that will make more than 46,000 drug offenders eligible for early release from federal prison, unless Congress moves to block it.

Charges to be dropped for Arizona mother who left children in hot car

PHOENIX - Arizona prosecutors will drop child abuse charges against a woman who generated nationwide attention after leaving her two young sons in a hot car while she went on a job interview, authorities said on Friday.

With 1 million comments, U.S. net neutrality debate nears first marker

WASHINGTON - U.S. companies, consumer advocates and citizens submitted more than 1 million comments to the Federal Communications Commission, drawing contentious divisions on the issue of net neutrality as the first deadline to comment approached Friday.

Oil trains, born of U.S. energy boom, face test in new safety rules

WASHINGTON - North Dakota's Bakken oil patch has thrived thanks in large part to the once-niche business of hauling fuel on U.S. rail tracks. New safety rules may now test the oil train model.

Suspects charged in North Carolina theft of $10,000 dinosaur replica

RALEIGH N.C. - A man and woman caught on video swiping a baby dinosaur replica from a North Carolina museum have turned themselves in, and the roughly foot-long model valued at $10,000 was recovered, state officials said on Friday.

Tour bus crash in upstate New York kills one, injures others

NEW YORK - A commercial tour bus traveling from Canada rolled over on an upstate New York highway on Friday, killing at least one person and injuring several others, police said.

Appeals court upholds decision voiding Okla. gay marriage ban

- A U.S. appeals court on Friday upheld a lower court decision voiding as unconstitutional Oklahoma's ban on same-sex marriage, drawing on a similar decision it made for Utah.

Indiana University doctoral student among Malaysia Air dead

- A Dutch doctoral student and former member of the Indiana University rowing team was among the nearly 300 passengers killed when a Malaysian airliner went down in Ukraine, the university said on Friday.

University of Connecticut in $1.2 million settlement deal on sex assault lawsuit

BOSTON - The University of Connecticut on Friday said it had reached a $1.2 million deal to settle a 2013 lawsuit filed by five current and former students charging that the school had mishandled claims of sexual assault and harassment.

Republican gaining on Democrat in Massachusetts governor's race: poll

BOSTON - A Republican former hospital executive has pulled into a statistical tie with Massachusetts' Democratic attorney general in the race to be the state's next governor, according to a Boston Globe poll released on Friday.

Four more charged with hate crimes tied to 2011 Mississippi slaying

JACKSON Miss. - Four white Mississippi residents pleaded not guilty on Wednesday to federal hate crime charges stemming from an attack on a black man run over by a truck and killed, in a case that has already yielded six convictions.

NYPD detective charged with filing fake crime tip for reward

NEW YORK - A New York police detective has been arrested and charged with filing a fake crime tip in an attempt to cash in on the $1,000 reward, prosecutors said on Thursday.

Truck driver arrested in death of officer in New Jersey crash

NEWARK N.J. - Prosecutors have charged a Brooklyn truck driver with second-degree vehicular homicide after his 18-wheeler left a road in New Jersey on Thursday and killed a police officer conducting speed checks from an unmarked car, officials said.

Mexican authorities identify body of missing New York man

MEXICO CITY - Mexican authorities said they had identified human remains found in two black plastic bags as a New York man who had disappeared in January while riding his motorcycle to Brazil for the World Cup, an official said on Thursday.

Three U.S. states sue 5-Hour Energy drink over advertising

- Oregon, Washington and Vermont sued the makers of 5-Hour Energy on Thursday for allegedly deceptive and misleading advertising, and said similar suits will follow in other states in the coming weeks.

Police find woman's severed head in bushes outside New York home

- Police found a woman's severed head in bushes outside a Long Island home on Thursday in an area where human body parts were discovered scattered last week, authorities said.

Jerry Sandusky's son recounts sexual abuse by his father

HARRISBURG Pa. - An adopted son of convicted child molester Jerry Sandusky recounted to Oprah Winfrey in often graphic detail how the former Penn State University assistant football coach had molested him as a teenager in what became a "bedtime ritual."

Colorado issues kidnap alert for woman who claimed dying baby vision

DENVER - Officials in Colorado issued a child-abduction alert late on Thursday for a 5-month-old girl they said was kidnapped in Oklahoma by a woman described as claiming to have had a vision of the infant dying within two days.

U.S. hearing aid sales gain 6 percent in June, led by veterans: data

COPENHAGEN - The U.S. hearing aid market grew 6 percent year-on-year in June, driven by an increase in sales to Veterans Affairs (VA), a government program for military veterans, data from Bernstein Research showed on Friday.

Lower Manhattan economy taking off but many new jobs are low wage

New York - Lower Manhattan’s economy is set to take-off. New shopping centers, hotels and food courts are opening in the area that looked more like a war zone after the attacks on September 11, 2001.

U.S. judicial agency to vote on releasing federal prisoners early

WASHINGTON - More than 50,000 drug offenders may be released early from federal prison if a U.S. judiciary agency votes on Friday to change the nation's sentencing guidelines.

Twelve bodies found in Massachusetts storage unit, prosecutors say

BOSTON - An investigation into a former Massachusetts funeral-home operator has turned grisly, with authorities discovering 12 bodies at a storage unit outside Boston leased by the man, Joseph O'Donnell, authorities said.

Ex-Black Panther sentenced to 20 years for 1980s hijacking

MIAMI - A former member of the Black Panther Party who hijacked a commercial airplane and forced it to fly to Cuba nearly 30 years ago was sentenced to 20 years in prison on Thursday by a federal judge in Florida.

Texans plead guilty to stealing more than 50,000 pieces of mail

AUSTIN Texas - Two Texans pleaded guilty to stealing more than 50,000 pieces of mail and then removing checks, credits cards and other items from letters that they turned into cash and merchandise, U.S. prosecutors said on Thursday.

Body discovered in area of Northern California wildfire

- A body has been discovered in an area where a wildfire allegedly started by a marijuana grower has charred 10,700 acres (4,330 hectares) in Northern California, officials said on Thursday.

Military did not support fixing Afghan exit date: U.S. commander

WASHINGTON - U.S. military officials would have preferred the United States not announce a date for ending its troop presence in Afghanistan, as the White House did in May, the outgoing commander of U.S. forces there said on Thursday.

Louisiana man pleads guilty in 1985 pet cemetery slaying

NEW ORLEANS - A Louisiana man who had long been a suspect in the brutal 1985 slaying of woman at a secluded pet cemetery where he worked as a groundskeeper pleaded guilty on Friday to manslaughter in her death, authorities said.

Florida judge strikes down voter-approved same-sex marriage ban

MIAMI - A county judge in Florida struck down on Thursday the state's gay marriage ban, the latest in a string of court rulings across the United States voiding state laws that restrict the right of same-sex couples to marry.

Suit filed on behalf of woman seen punched by California Highway Patrol officer

LOS ANGELES - Attorneys filed a lawsuit on Thursday on behalf of a woman whose arrest was caught on video when a California Highway Patrol officer threw her to the ground beside a Los Angeles freeway and punched her, an incident that angered civil rights groups.

Opponents question signatures gathered by California breakup group

SACRAMENTO Calif. - Opponents of a long-shot plan to break California into six states demanded an investigation on Thursday into the signature-gathering techniques used by proponents trying to put their proposal before voters in 2016.

Jury ends second day of deliberations in trial of accused Boston bomber's friend

BOSTON - The jury weighing obstruction of justice and conspiracy charges against a friend of Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev adjourned after a second day of deliberations on Thursday.

Arizona authorities probe church fires as possible hate crimes

MESA Ariz. - Arizona authorities are probing a series of arson fires at suburban Phoenix churches as possible hate crimes after an apparent arsonist set Bibles alight on church doorsteps, police said on Thursday.

Pit bull alerts sleeping Indiana boy to fire

- An Indiana family's pit bull is being praised for alerting a deaf boy to a serious fire in his home by licking the sleeping boy's face until he woke up, authorities said.

Proposed ban on Russian arms firm would hurt U.S. troops: general

WASHINGTON - A day after President Barack Obama slapped sanctions on several Russian arms firms over the Ukraine conflict, a top U.S. general warned that a congressional bid to bar dealings with Moscow's main weapons exporter could be "catastrophic" for U.S. forces.

Threat rises in U.S. from mosquito-borne chikungunya virus

MIAMI - The first two locally acquired cases of a painful mosquito-borne viral illness, chikungunya, have been reported in Florida, the health officials confirmed on Thursday.

Washington state says marijuana brownies OK, but no lollipops

SEATTLE - Marijuana stores in Washington state can sell pot in cookies, brownies and other approved baked goods but cannot put the drug in candies, lollipops or food items that might appeal to children, according to newly released rules.

Decriminalized pot takes effect in District of Columbia

WASHINGTON - Marijuana decriminalization takes effect in the District of Columbia on Thursday, part of an easing of pot penalties in the U.S. capital that has drawn fire from Congress.

One dead, two injured in boat crash on popular Seattle lake

SEATTLE - One person was killed when a power boat slammed into a sailboat on a popular Seattle lake, scattering debris over a wide stretch of water, and the motorboat owner was facing criminal charges in the matter, police said on Thursday.

California bank robbers sought to kill police officers: chief

- Heavily armed bank robbers who took hostages and engaged police in a running gun battle during a high-speed chase across three Northern California communities were bent on killing officers, a police chief said on Thursday.

U.S. libraries become front line in fight against homelessness

WASHINGTON - George Brown, a homeless man in Washington, has a simple answer when asked how often he uses a public library.

Wisconsin man accused of hiding bodies in suitcases expected to enter plea

MILWAUKEE - A Wisconsin man accused of stuffing the bodies of two women in separate suitcases and dumping the luggage in a roadside ditch is expected to enter a plea in court on Thursday.

Magnitude 5.8 earthquake hits near Gulf of Alaska in Canada: USGS

WASHINGTON - A magnitude 5.8 earthquake struck western Canada near the Gulf of Alaska early on Thursday, the U.S. Geological Survey said.

White House sees labor force dropouts getting back into the game

WASHINGTON - The White House said on Thursday it expects America's strengthening economy will temporarily halt the troubling decline in the share of workers who have jobs or are looking for one.

Young adults drive record U.S. trend of multi-generational homes

WASHINGTON - A record 57 million Americans, or 18.1 percent of the U.S. population, lived in households with two or more generations in 2012, with young adults leading the trend, a report said on Thursday.

Judge mulls timetable for redrawing Florida redistricting maps

TALLAHASSEE Fla - Lawyers for the Florida legislature's Republican leaders and county elections officers argued on Thursday that a judge who threw out their 2012 congressional redistricting plan could not require that boundaries be redrawn in time for the November elections.

Gay, married church worker sues Missouri Catholic diocese for firing

KANSAS CITY Mo. - A Missouri church worker sued the Catholic diocese in Kansas City on Thursday claiming she was wrongfully fired from her salaried position as a pastoral associate after her marriage to another woman was mentioned in a local newspaper.

Kentucky man charged with pizza prank at police station

- A Kentucky man already charged with shoplifting beer added to his troubles when he made a prank call from the police station to order five pizzas, police said on Thursday.

Transgender sibling of NBA player found slain in Baltimore

- A transgender woman whose brother is an National Basketball Association player has been found slain in a Baltimore alley, police said on Thursday.

New York transit strike averted, two labor unions say

- A threatened strike on New York's Long Island Rail Road has been averted after a tentative contract agreement was reached on Thursday, two of the labor unions involved in the negotiations said on their websites.

Homeless man pleads not guilty in Arizona priest killing

PHOENIX - An Arizona homeless man and convicted felon pleaded not guilty on Thursday to charges of killing a priest and beating another pastor with a metal pipe at a Phoenix church, court officials said.

Buckyball magnetic toys recalled, ending legal fight

WASHINGTON - Magnetic toys called Buckyballs, which can be swallowed and have been blamed for numerous injuries, are being recalled at the end of a years-long legal fight, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission said on Thursday.

Florida judge strikes down voter-approved same-sex marriage ban

MIAMI - A Florida judge on Thursday struck down the state's gay marriage ban, the latest in a string of court rulings across the United States voiding state laws that restrict the right to marry.

Man jailed in Detroit mob beating needed father -judge

- A judge on Thursday told a man who pleaded guilty to being part of a mob assault on a motorist in Detroit that he had needed a father "to beat the hell out of you" and then sentenced the defendant to six months in jail.

Israeli-Palestinian clash echoed on University of California council

SAN FRANCISCO - A student with strong ties to Israel was appointed to the governing council of the University of California Wednesday amid debate similar to that which arose last year after the Board of Regents chose a Muslim student active in Palestinian causes.

Four more charged with hate crimes tied to 2011 Mississippi slaying

JACKSON Miss. - Four white Mississippi residents pleaded not guilty on Wednesday to federal hate crime charges stemming from an attack on a black man run over by a truck and killed, in a case that has already yielded six convictions.

Fight over human trafficking law jeopardizes U.S. response to border crisis

WASHINGTON - U.S. Democratic lawmakers' deep resistance to changing a 2008 law that combats human trafficking threatened on Wednesday to slow the government's response to a surge of 57,000 undocumented Central American children across the southern border.

U.S. beauty pageant winner sues after being stripped of crown

- A beauty pageant winner who was stripped of her Miss Delaware crown for being a few months too old is suing the Miss America organization, saying officials knew her age and disqualified her unfairly, court documents filed on Wednesday show.

San Diego strippers say cops photographed them in the nude

SAN DIEGO - Thirty strippers in the San Diego area filed a lawsuit against the San Diego Police Department on Wednesday, saying they were forced to be photographed while nude or nearly nude while officers claimed to be inspecting the clubs where they worked.

Attorney says Bergdahl grateful to Obama for freedom

SALMON Idaho - U.S. Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl is grateful to President Barack Obama for the prisoner exchange that freed him from five years as a captive of the Taliban and wishes for privacy concerning family matters, his attorney said on Wednesday.

Romanian princess admits running cockfighting ring in Oregon

PORTLAND Ore. - A Romanian princess and her husband pleaded guilty on Wednesday to one charge of running an illegal gambling operation for their involvement in a cockfighting ring in rural Oregon. 

Utah asks Supreme Court to stay ruling on recognizing gay marriages

SALT LAKE CITY - Utah's attorney general asked the U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday for an emergency stay of an order by an appeals court to recognize hundreds of same-sex marriages performed in the state pending an appeal.

Suspect, hostage die in police shootout with California bank robbers

- A suspected bank robber and a female hostage died on Wednesday in a shootout with California police after a car chase sparked by a bank robbery in which thieves seized three women as hostages, firing assault rifles as they fled.

Plane's near-miss in Alaska becomes a whale of a tale online

JUNEAU Alaska - A dramatic video of a sea plane just missing a surfacing humpback whale as it came in to land in Alaska has become a hit online, and the man who shot it says it was blind luck.

Florida teen detained in Israeli-Palestinian conflict returns home

TAMPA Fla - A Florida teenager who was detained in Israel and apparently beaten by police returned home on Wednesday, eager to seek medical care and put behind him a summer trip that drew renewed world attention to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Top GM lawyer, Delphi CEO to face Senate on deadly ignition flaw

WASHINGTON - Two more major figures in General Motors Co's safety debacle will appear on Thursday for the first time before U.S. lawmakers investigating why it took the automaker more than 10 years to recall millions of vehicles with a deadly ignition switch flaw.

Wildfire prompts evacuation of nearly 900 Washington state homes

SEATTLE - Wildfires stoked by high winds and dry, hot weather threatened homes and businesses across parts of Washington state on Wednesday, with nearly 900 dwellings evacuated near the Bavarian-style village of Leavenworth in the Cascade mountains.

Trial starts for Texas stepmother accused of starving boy to death

DALLAS - Lawyers for a Texas woman accused of starving her 10-year-old stepson to death and dumping his body in a creek bed told a court at the start of her trial on Wednesday that she was trying to protect the child from his father.

New York's MTA, unions to continue talks Thursday to avert strike

NEW YORK - The New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority and unions representing 5,400 workers on the Long Island Rail Road will continue talks to avert a strike that may affect hundreds of thousands of commuters, both sides said on Wednesday.

New York's MTA, unions to continue talks Thursday to avert strike

NEW YORK - The New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority and unions representing 5,400 workers on the Long Island Rail Road will continue talks to avert a strike that may affect hundreds of thousands of commuters, both sides said on Wednesday.

Colorado judge proposes new trial date for accused theater gunman

DENVER - A Colorado judge overseeing the murder case against accused theater gunman James Holmes proposed on Wednesday that jury selection begin in December for the trial that has already been postponed three times, a court filing shows.

Funeral held for six killed in Texas family shooting

HOUSTON - 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.

Couple sought in North Carolina theft of $10,000 dinosaur replica

RALEIGH N.C. - North Carolina police said on Wednesday they were looking for a man and woman caught on video pilfering a duck-billed dinosaur replica valued at $10,000 from a state science museum.

New York's MTA, unions to continue talks Thursday to avert strike

NEW YORK - The New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority and unions representing 5,400 workers on the Long Island Rail Road will continue talks to avert a strike that would cripple the nation's largest commuter railway, both sides said on Wednesday.

Missouri executes convicted triple murderer

- After a nearly day-long delay amid a flurry of final appeals, Missouri on Wednesday put to death a convicted triple murderer who had argued that he was innocent and suffered from mental incompetence.

U.S. Air Force seeking bids to launch spy satellite

CAPE CANAVERAL Fla. - The U.S. Air Force released the first of up to eight solicitations for space launch services outside of its controversial, exclusive, multibillion-dollar agreement with United Launch Alliance, a partnership of Lockheed Martin and Boeing.

Colorado sues two foreclosure law firms for fraud

DENVER - Colorado's attorney general has sued the state's two largest foreclosure law firms, accusing them of defrauding homeowners, investors and taxpayers by padding costs and expenses, court documents made public on Wednesday show.

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

NEW HAVEN Conn. - 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.

N.Y. fish dealer pleads guilty to underreporting fluke

NEW YORK - 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.

U.S. Justice Department says investigating lost IRS emails

WASHINGTON - The 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.

Third victim dies after Florida baseball bat beating

ORLANDO Fla. - A third victim in an unexplained beating by a man wielding a baseball bat died on Wednesday in central Florida, according to local media.

Utah woman rescued after being trapped for 12 hours in quicksand

SALT LAKE CITY - 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.

U.S. Treasury urges Congress to act on corporate tax dodge deals

- Calling for a new sense of "economic patriotism," U.S. Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew urged Congress on Wednesday to take steps quickly to discourage U.S. companies from moving their tax domiciles abroad to avoid federal taxes.

Pennsylvania jury: Brothers must split $1 million lottery loot

CARLISLE Pa. - 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.

Legal disputes over debt plan aired in Detroit bankruptcy case

DETROIT - Detroit'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.

U.S. Senate Democrats' Hobby Lobby bill fails to move forward

WASHINGTON - 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.

U.S. judge sentences Tunisian accused of link to Canada train plot to time served

NEW YORK - 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.

Chicago archdiocese seeking to help child immigrants

CHICAGO - 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.

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

WASHINGTON - 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.

Florida airport staff get lesson in nation's geography

ORLANDO Fla. - Federal security officers at Orlando International Airport were getting a geography lesson this week after one failed to recognize the nation’s capital as part of the United States.

Pennsylvania lawmaker portraits to include criminal history

- Visitors to the portrait gallery at the Pennsylvania state Capitol in Harrisburg will see more than simple images of the state's past lawmakers - new plaques unveiled on Tuesday include a listing of any well-known criminal history as well.

Sugar rush at ethanol plant fuels fight with Nebraska corn farmers

CHICAGO - An ethanol plant in Nebraska corn country is pumping out fuel made from sugar beets, and corn farmers are suing to stop it - a small-town dispute that offers an unusual take on the debate over the market-distorting impact of sugar and corn subsidies.

U.S. judge stays execution of convicted triple murderer in Missouri

- A United States judge has halted the execution of a former methamphetamine dealer who was convicted of murdering three people with ties to the drug trade who he feared would inform on him to police.

Tocco, believed to be longest-serving U.S. mob boss, dies in Detroit

- Jack Tocco, believed to be the longest-serving mob boss in the United States and the last living person with first-hand knowledge of the circumstances surrounding the death of Jimmy Hoffa, has died aged 87.

Campaign to break California into six states submits signatures

SACRAMENTO Calif. - The billionaire backer of a long-shot effort to break California into six separate states submitted signatures to state officials on Tuesday aimed at putting his proposal before voters in 2016.

Attorney says former U.S. POW Bergdahl grateful to Obama for freedom

- U.S. Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl is grateful to President Barack Obama for the prisoner exchange that freed him from five years as a captive of the Taliban, his attorney said on Wednesday.

Commercial U.S. cargo ship reaches space station

CAPE CANAVERAL Fla. - An Orbital Sciences Corp cargo ship reached the International Space Station on Wednesday with a delivery of food, supplies, science experiments and a fleet of tiny Earth-imaging satellites that will be launched from the orbital outpost.

Patio chairs recalled after U.S. reports of rear legs breaking

WASHINGTON - Nantucket Distributing Co is recalling about 4,000 patio set chairs after reports that the back legs could break and people could fall, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission said on Wednesday.

Prosecutors say friend wanted to help accused Boston bomber

BOSTON - 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.

Arizona politician mistakes campers for migrant children: report

- An Arizona congressional candidate at a protest mistook a busload of YMCA campers for undocumented immigrant children on Tuesday, according to a report on The Arizona Republic website, azcentral.com.

Casino boat stuck overnight on rocks off Georgia coast

ATLANTA - A casino boat with 123 people aboard was grounded off the Georgia coast on Wednesday, and rescuers were waiting for high tide at midday to escort passengers off the vessel, the U.S. Coast Guard said.

U.S. veterans agency needs $17.6 billion to clear wait times: acting head

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs needs $17.6 billion in additional funding over the next three years to eliminate long waiting times for veterans' healthcare appointments, the embattled agency's acting chief said on Wednesday.

Accused prostitute pleads not guilty in heroin death of Google executive

SANTA CRUZ Calif. - An accused prostitute charged with killing a Google executive by injecting him with a fatal dose of heroin on his yacht off the California coast pleaded not guilty on Wednesday and her attorney said she has been unfairly demonized in the case.

U.S. lawmakers press CDC chief over 'dangerous pattern' of lapses

WASHINGTON - U.S. lawmakers on Wednesday faulted a "dangerous pattern" of safety lapses at government laboratories handling deadly pathogens such as anthrax and avian flu, calling for an overhaul of controls at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Detroit Institute of Arts secures $26.8 million for bankruptcy bargain

- The Detroit Institute of Arts said on Wednesday it has secured another $26.8 million in pledged donations to cover its portion of the "grand bargain" intended to help Detroit emerge from bankruptcy while sparing a sale of the museum's art works.

Texas actress sentenced to 18 years for ricin-laced letter to Obama

TEXARKANA Texas - A Texas actress was sentenced to 18 years in a federal prison on Wednesday for mailing the toxic agent ricin in letters to President Barack Obama, former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and a gun control advocate.

Has telecommuting blunted power of potential New York rail strike?

NEW YORK - For decades, it's been the mightiest weapon in the transit union's arsenal, enough to cripple commerce and bring governments to their knees. But has the age of telecommuting taken the edge off the transit strike?

Massachusetts lawmakers take up bill on abortion clinic buffer zones

BOSTON - Massachusetts lawmakers took up consideration on Wednesday of a bill to limit protests around abortion clinics after the U.S. Supreme Court last month struck down an earlier law that kept demonstrators at least 35 feet (9 meters) from clinic entrances.

U.S. appeals court lifts stay of execution for Missouri inmate

- A U.S. appeals court has vacated a stay of execution for a triple murderer and ruled that Missouri can proceed with plans to execute him Wednesday night.

Funeral to be held for six killed in Texas family shooting

HOUSTON - A funeral service is planned on Wednesday for six members of a Texas family shot dead execution-style in their home last week, a killing spree that prompted shock and sorrow in their suburban Houston community of Spring.

South Carolina man kidnapped by suspected drug traffickers found: FBI

CHARLESTON S.C. - A South Carolina man taken hostage last week in an elaborate kidnapping plot has been rescued, and three people suspected of having ties to a Mexican drug trafficking ring were arrested in the abduction, U.S. authorities said on Wednesday.

Jury to settle Pennsylvania brothers' fight over lottery loot

CARLISLE Pa. - A Pennsylvania jury on Wednesday began deliberating whether two estranged brothers must split the winnings from a $1 million lottery ticket, or whether one gets to keep it all.

U.S. judge sentences Briton to 12-1/2 years for supporting Taliban

NEW HAVEN Conn. - A U.S. judge on Wednesday sentenced a British national to 12-1/2 years in prison after he pleaded guilty in December to running a website and distributing publications that promoted violence and raised money for Muslim militants.

Federal judge rules California's death penalty system unconstitutional

SACRAMENTO Calif. - 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 is unconstitutional, a federal judge ruled on Wednesday.

Federal judge rules California's death penalty system unconstitutional

SACRAMENTO Calif. - 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 is unconstitutional, a federal judge ruled on Wednesday.

Half brothers fight over lottery winnings in Pennsylvania court

CARLISLE Pa. - Two estranged half brothers faced off on Tuesday in a Pennsylvania court in a fight over a winning million-dollar lottery ticket.

Connecticut man accused of stabbing watermelon as threat to wife

- A Connecticut man faces charges of threatening his wife after stabbing a large butcher's knife through a watermelon and leaving it on the kitchen table for her to see, authorities said on Tuesday.

Atheist to open meeting in N.Y. town at center of prayer case

NEW YORK - An atheist will deliver the first non-religious invocation at a town board meeting in Greece, New York, on Tuesday evening after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the town's practice of opening its meetings with a Christian prayer was constitutional.

New York's MTA to publish LIRR offer in newspaper, radio ads Wednesday

NEW YORK - New York's transit agency will publicize the details of its contract offer to Long Island Rail Road workers in newspaper and radio advertisements on Wednesday, the agency said, in an effort to pressure unions to call off a looming strike.

U.S. urges stiff sentences for Britons who recruited for al Qaeda

NEW HAVEN Conn. - U.S. prosecutors urged a judge on Tuesday to impose the maximum sentences for two British men who pleaded guilty in December to running a website and distributing publications that promoted violence and raised money for al Qaeda.

U.S. woman rescued at sea with family sues satellite phone company

SAN DIEGO - A U.S. woman rescued with her family from a Pacific Ocean sailboat after her infant daughter became ill has filed suit against her satellite phone company for cutting off service, a move she said led the family to seek an emergency rescue and ultimately to scuttle their boat, her lawyers said on Tuesday.

Pennsylvania boys choir head pleads guilty to child sex assault

- A Pennsylvania boys choir director has pleaded guilty to sexual assault of a child and possessing child pornography and faces more than a decade in prison, authorities said on Tuesday.

U.S. House passes $10.9 billion transportation funding extension

WASHINGTON - The U.S. House of Representatives on Tuesday overwhelmingly passed a $10.9 billion extension of U.S. transportation funding through May 2015, a measure aimed at averting cutbacks in August in federal money for road, bridge and transit projects.

Maryland insurance executive plotted to kill judge: court documents

ANNAPOLIS Md. - A Maryland executive charged with lying to insurance regulators was allegedly plotting to kill a judge handling his case, according to federal court documents.

Court upholds University of Texas affirmative action plan

- A federal appeals court upheld the use of race by University of Texas at Austin in undergraduate admissions, a victory for affirmative action proponents, one year after the U.S. Supreme Court ordered closer scrutiny of the school's practices.

California high court softens 'three strikes' law

SACRAMENTO Calif. - (This July 11, 2014, story was corrected in paragraph 6 to show courts, not the state, could reconsider cases )

Dozens of trains haul volatile Bakken oil to NY weekly: railroads

- As many as 44 trains loaded with volatile Bakken crude oil are being sent through the state of New York each week, according to confidential disclosures made by railroads to state emergency responders, and released to Reuters through a Freedom of Information Law request.

U.S. court sides with Chinese firm in dispute with Obama

WASHINGTON - A federal appeals court on Tuesday delivered a surprising rebuke to U.S. President Barack Obama, saying he deprived a small Chinese-owned company of its right to due process when he squashed its bid to build wind farms near a U.S. naval site.

U.S. business inventories up, retail stocks rise modestly

WASHINGTON - U.S. business inventories rose in May, suggesting restocking will still be a boost to growth in the second quarter even as stocks at non-automobile retailers rose marginally.

U.S. officials purge biosafety board in midst of anthrax crisis

NEW YORK - Federal officials, amid the worst U.S. biosafety crisis in years, have dismissed 11 eminent scientists from a 23-member panel that advises the government on what research on pathogens is too dangerous to conduct.

Judge finds accused Boston bomber friend's words to FBI voluntary

BOSTON - A friend of the accused Boston Marathon bombing suspect did not speak involuntarily when telling FBI agents about the removal of a laptop and backpack from the suspect's room and his statements are admissible as evidence, a U.S. judge said on Tuesday.

U.S. court sides with Chinese firm in dispute with Obama

WASHINGTON - A federal appeals court on Tuesday issued a surprising rebuke to U.S. President Barack Obama and said he deprived a small Chinese-owned firm of its right to due process when he squashed its bid to build wind farms close to a U.S. naval training site.

Washington state bridge collapse result of failed safety measures: NTSB

SEATTLE - A Washington state bridge collapse that sent two cars tumbling into a frigid river below after a commercial truck accidentally struck an overhead truss was the result of failed safety precautions and inadequate permitting for oversize loads, federal investigators said on Tuesday.

Long Island rail strike may cost economy $50 million/day: N.Y. comptroller

NEW YORK - A strike by workers at New York's Long Island Rail Road could cost $50 million a day in lost economic activity, a blow for a region still overcoming the effects of the recession and Superstorm Sandy, the state's top financial watchdog said on Tuesday.

Two people killed in Pennsylvania house explosion

- Two people died in an early morning house explosion on Tuesday in a rural area of western Pennsylvania, local emergency officials said.

San Diego City Council votes to raise minimum wage to $11.50 by 2017

LOS ANGELES - The San Diego City Council has given tentative approval to an ordinance raising the minimum wage in California's second-largest city to $11.50 by 2017, and giving workers a chance to earn a paid sick leave benefit.

Female firefighter is first to muscle into FDNY beefcake calendar

NEW YORK - The Fire Department of New York's annual celebration of beefcake just added a slice of cheesecake.

Old-style U.S. public pensions weather cost-cutting storm

NEW YORK - Retirement payouts for 19.3 million U.S. state and local government workers in coming years are not likely to look much different from the iron-clad pensions that former teachers and police now get.

Arizona town protests arrival of undocumented migrants

ORACLE Ariz. - Waving U.S. flags and playing patriotic music, dozens of protesters demonstrated in southern Arizona on Tuesday against the arrival of undocumented immigrants for processing at a center near the border before being returned to their homelands.

Yellen defends loose Fed policy, says job market still too weak

WASHINGTON - Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said U.S. labor markets are far from healthy and signaled the Fed will keep monetary policy loose until hiring and wage data show the effects of the financial crisis are "completely gone."

Immigration activist Vargas detained at airport in Texas

AUSTIN Texas - Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Jose Antonio Vargas, an undocumented immigrant and prominent immigration activist, was detained at an airport in McAllen, Texas, on Tuesday as he went through a security checkpoint, rights groups said.

Two former Utah attorneys general arrested for corruption

SALT LAKE CITY - FBI agents arrested two former Utah attorneys general at their homes on Tuesday and charged them pair with felonies stemming from a two-year investigation into claims of bribery and corruption, prosecutors said.

U.S. says return of Honduran women, children sends message in border crisis

WASHINGTON/TEGUCIGALPA - The U.S. government's deportation on Monday of a group of Honduran women and children should be seen by Central America as a message that President Barack Obama is serious when he says illegal migrants will be sent home, the White House said.

Ex-New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin files notice of appeal in corruption case

NEW ORLEANS - Disgraced former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin filed a notice of appeal on Tuesday in a corruption case stemming from the critical years of rebuilding after Hurricane Katrina devastated the city in 2005.

U.S. judge stays Missouri execution of convicted killer

- A federal judge in Missouri on Tuesday stayed the impending execution of a 54-year-old man convicted of three drug-related murders after the inmate's lawyers lodged a series of appeals, including arguments he is mentally incompetent and innocent.

Three women avoid prison in NYC payroll fraud case

NEW YORK - Three women avoided prison on Tuesday for crimes stemming from a massive fraud and kickback scheme involving a New York City payroll project that prosecutors say pushed its costs to $700 million.

Government report finds 2.3 percent of Americans gay or bisexual

- U.S. government data released on Tuesday showed that 2.3 percent of American adults are either gay or bisexual and that these men and women more often reported serious anxiety and having self-destructive habits than their straight peers.

Man killed in front of son in California freeway shooting

LOS ANGELES - A blast of gunfire killed an automobile mechanic and wounded a cousin who was driving him home from work as their teenage sons sat behind the two men in a Southern California freeway shooting that has left police searching for suspects and a motive.

California drought expected to cost state $2.2 billion in losses

SAN FRANCISCO - California’s drought is expected to cost the state an estimated $2.2 billion this year, along with a loss of more than 17,000 jobs, as farmers are forced to fallow some valuable crops, a report by scientists at the University of California in Davis showed on Tuesday.

Ex-Minnesota governor was rolling on ground-Navy SEAL

ST. PAUL Minn. - A Navy SEAL told a court on Tuesday he saw former Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura on his back outside a bar in 2006, although he did not see if he had been struck by a former Navy SEAL accused of fabricating an altercation with Ventura.

Seattle eases limit on ridesharing companies

SEATTLE - Seattle lawmakers eased limits on ridesharing companies on Monday, handing a victory to a nascent industry that has emerged in scores of cities to compete with traditional taxis.

Decades to justice for Florida man on death row for 1985 murder

TAMPA Fla. - From his cell on Florida's death row, Paul Hildwin has spent 28 years fighting for his life, waiting between cancer treatments for the state to acknowledge decade-old DNA evidence supporting his claims of innocence.

Norfolk Southern train derails in Virginia, no injuries

- A Norfolk Southern Corp train hauling vehicles and nail polish derailed on Monday evening in southwestern Virginia, though there were no injuries or hazardous material spilled, county and company officials said.

Prominent outsider seeks rerun of Mississippi U.S. Senate primary

- The prominent head of a political action committee has filed a complaint seeking a possible rerun of last month’s Mississippi U.S. Senate Republican primary race, which Tea Party-backed challenger Chris McDaniel lost amid accusations of illegal voting, an attorney said Monday.

Oklahoma lawmaker wants quarantine of migrant children housed in state

OKLAHOMA CITY - An Oklahoma state lawmaker called on Monday for the quarantine of unaccompanied immigrant children housed at an Oklahoma military base, but U.S. health officials said such a move was unnecessary.

Man dies after jumping into bonfire at Utah festival

SALT LAKE CITY - Police in Utah are investigating after a man killed himself by jumping into a 30-foot (9-meter) bonfire during an arts and culture festival on the weekend in the desert west of Salt Lake City, local media reported.

Man dies after jumping into bonfire at Utah festival

SALT LAKE CITY - Police in Utah are investigating after a man killed himself by jumping into a 30-foot (9-meter) bonfire during an arts and culture festival on the weekend in the desert west of Salt Lake City, local media reported.

Ex-Minnesota governor says TV career halted by sniper's claims

ST. PAUL Minn. - Former Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura told a court on Monday his annual income dropped sharply after his reputation was damaged by what he called a fictitious passage in a book by a former Navy SEAL who said the two had gotten in a bar fight.

U.S. court partly overturns Guantanamo conviction of al Qaeda publicist

NEW YORK - A U.S. appeals court on Monday partially overturned the Guantanamo war crimes conviction of an al Qaeda publicist, saying a military commission lacked authority to convict him on two of three charges.

U.S. pushes for prison for Tunisian accused of train plot link

NEW YORK - U.S. prosecutors pushed Monday for a hefty sentence for a Tunisian man accused of ties to an unsuccessful plot to derail a Canada-U.S. passenger train who agreed last month to a plea deal that included no terrorism charges.

Nevada rancher Bundy says son will submit himself for arrest

- A Nevada rancher who was at the center of an armed standoff with federal rangers in a fight over cattle said his son will submit himself for arrest on Monday on a warrant alleging he violated terms of his probation on theft charges.

Missouri governor vetoes bill allowing schools to designate armed officers

- Missouri Governor Jay Nixon vetoed a bill on Monday that would have allowed public school districts to designate certain teachers and administrators as armed protection officers.

Billionaire's breakup plan would chop California into six states

San Francisco - A long-shot effort to break California into six separate states got a boost on Monday, when the billionaire venture capitalist behind the proposal said he had gathered enough signatures to place it on the ballot in two years.

First U.S. flight deports Honduran kids under fast-track push

SAN PEDRO SULA Honduras - The United States deported a group of Honduran children as young as 1-1/2 years old on Monday in the first flight since President Barack Obama pledged to speed up the process of sending back illegal immigrant minors from Central America.

Ravens cornerback arrested, giving Baltimore dubious NFL distinction

ANNAPOLIS Md. - The starting cornerback for the Baltimore Ravens was arrested over the weekend, authorities said, giving the professional football franchise the highest arrest record in the National Football League since last season.

Federal officer under scrutiny for firing gun during L.A. protest

LOS ANGELES - Four people have been arrested and a Homeland Security officer is under investigation for firing his weapon during a weekend scuffle between pro-Israel demonstrators and Palestinian supporters outside the Federal Building in Los Angeles.

Dallas Fed's Fisher a top candidate for University of Texas chancellor: report

WASHINGTON - Dallas Federal Reserve Bank President Richard Fisher, one of the Fed's most ardent policy hawks, is a top candidate to be the next chancellor of the University of Texas, the Dallas Morning News said on Monday.

Louisiana man accused of killing girlfriend, taking kids, caught in Texas

NEW ORLEANS - A man accused of killing his girlfriend in a New Orleans suburb over the weekend before fleeing with his three children was arrested on Monday in a trailer park in Texas, where the children were recovered unharmed, authorities said.

Son of Dead Sea Scrolls expert sentenced for impersonating scholars

NEW YORK - A disbarred attorney who admitted assuming the identities of scholars in an Internet debate over the Dead Sea Scrolls was sentenced on Monday to two months in jail for charges including criminal impersonation and forgery, prosecutors said.

George W. Bush has partial knee replacement on left leg

WASHINGTON - Former U.S. President George W. Bush has undergone surgery for a partial replacement of his left knee, six weeks after having a similar procedure on his right knee, his spokesman said on Monday.

California's 'Octomom' pleads no contest to welfare fraud

- The California mother of 14 dubbed "Octomom" after she took fertility medication and gave birth to octuplets pleaded no contest in Los Angeles on Monday to welfare fraud and was sentenced to 200 hours of community service, officials said.

Oregon wildfire forces evacuations, destroys structures

PORTLAND Ore. - A fast-growing wildfire in south-central Oregon has forced more than 100 people to evacuate their homes and destroyed structures, officials said on Monday.

NY transit official says talks end ahead of threatened rail strike

NEW YORK - The head of New York's Metropolitan Transportation Authority said on Monday a "big gulf" between union and management proposals has scuttled contract talks ahead of a possible July 20 Long Island Rail Road strike.

Anti-fracking protesters arrested in U.S. capital

WASHINGTON - Two dozen protesters were arrested in Washington on Monday while demonstrating against hydraulic fracturing and the U.S. gas industry's push to sell "fracked" liquefied natural gas abroad.

Apollo says DoE to review federal aid at University of Phoenix

- Apollo Education Group said the U.S. Department of Education will review the University of Phoenix's administration of federal student financial aid programs.

Long Island rail strike set for Sunday after talks break down

NEW YORK - Talks to avert a Long Island Rail Road strike broke down on Monday and the unions representing workers at the country's largest commuter railroad said they were proceeding with plans to strike on Sunday.

German woman charged in Los Angeles with trying to extort Saudi sheikh

LOS ANGELES - A German woman who falsely claimed she was raped and tortured by the son of a Saudi sheikh in Los Angeles was charged on Monday with trying to extort at least $15 million from one of Saudi Arabia's wealthiest men, prosecutors said.

Manager of New Jersey diner pleads guilty in murder for hire plot

NEWARK N.J. - A former manager of the Tick Tock Diner in Clifton, New Jersey, pleaded guilty on Monday to hiring a hit man to murder his uncle, who co-owns the popular eatery, prosecutors said.

Online campaign raises nearly $300,000 for Texas shooting survivor

DALLAS - An online campaign has raised nearly $300,000 for Cassidy Stay, the teenage survivor of a shooting attack in suburban Houston last week in which her parents and four siblings were killed.

Egypt added to Obama's Africa Summit list

WASHINGTON - Egypt has been invited by the United States to attend next month's African leaders summit in Washington, a White House spokesman said on Monday, reversing a decision not to let Egypt participate.

Ohio hiker collapses and dies on popular Grand Canyon trail

PHOENIX - A 47-year-old Ohio man collapsed and died while hiking a popular trail in the Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona, a park official said on Monday.

Judge backs Denver County clerk over gay marriage licenses

DENVER - A Colorado judge who ruled last week that the state's ban on same-sex nuptials was unconstitutional refused on Monday to stop the Denver County clerk from giving out marriage licenses to gay couples, court records show.

Giant two-pound African snails seized at Los Angeles airport

LOS ANGELES - U.S. customs inspectors at Los Angeles International Airport seized a shipment of several dozen live giant African snails, considered a delicacy in Nigeria but also voracious pests that can eat paint and stucco off houses, officials said on Monday.

U.S. pushes for prison for Tunisian accused of train plot link

NEW YORK - U.S. prosecutors pushed Monday for a hefty sentence for a Tunisian man accused of ties to an unsuccessful plot to derail a Canada-U.S. passenger train who agreed last month to a plea deal that included no terrorism charges.

U.S. Veterans agency struggles with claims problems: watchdog

WASHINGTON - Still reeling from the scandal over healthcare delays, the Department of Veterans Affairs also is struggling to reduce a backlog of disability claims, the agency's inspector general said on Monday.

First U.S. flight deports Honduran kids under fast-track drive

SAN PEDRO SULA Honduras - The United States deported a group of Honduran children on Monday in the first flight since President Barack Obama pledged to speed up the process of sending back illegal immigrant children from Central America.

Panama Canal cost overrun claim headed to Miami arbitration court

MIAMI - A $180 million claim involving the Panama Canal's disputed $1.6 billion cost overrun is headed to arbitration court in Miami next week, canal officials said on Monday.

Former POW Bergdahl set to return to U.S. Army active duty: reports

WASHINGTON - U.S. Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl was set to return to regular active duty status as early as Monday, having completed therapy and counseling following his return from captivity in Afghanistan, according to reports.

FBI agent to testify against friend of accused Boston bomber

BOSTON - An FBI agent who interrogated a friend of the accused Boston Marathon bomber charged with obstructing the investigation into the blasts was expected to testify on Monday as the second week of the trial begins.

Ex-Minnesota governor to resume testifying in defamation trial

ST. PAUL Minn. - Former Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura was expected to return to the witness stand on Monday at his defamation trial accusing a former Navy SEAL sniper of making up an encounter at a bar in 2006 described in a best-selling book.

Disney World monorail in Florida evacuated, no injuries: TV news

- About 120 passengers aboard a monorail at Walt Disney World monorail in Florida had to be evacuated on Sunday due to a weather-related power outage, the company and local news reports said.

How to fix U.S. biosecurity leaks? Close some labs

In the wake of disclosures that top government labs mishandled anthrax, smallpox and avian flu, U.S. health authorities are considering the once unthinkable: cutting the burgeoning number of labs working with the planet's most dangerous microbes.

Pot farmer charged with starting California wildfire

NEW YORK - A 37-year-old man accused of starting a raging wildfire in Northern California while tending to his marijuana farm was arrested and in custody, fire officials said on Sunday.

'Excessive' rubbing of engine blades caused F-35 failure: Pentagon

LONDON - The engine failure that has grounded the entire fleet of Lockheed Martin Corp F-35 fighter jets was caused by "excessive" rubbing of fan blades in the plane's Pratt & Whitney engine, but does not appear to be a fundamental design flaw, the Pentagon's chief weapons buyer said on Sunday.

Former U.S. congressman Ken Gray of Illinois dies at 89

- Former U.S. Representative Ken Gray of Illinois, once known as the "Prince of Pork" for his ability to win federal support for his district, has died at age 89.

Son charged with stabbing death of mother in Indiana hospital: media

- The son of an 80-year-old woman who was stabbed to death at a northwest Indiana hospital last week has been charged with her murder, news media reported on Sunday.

U.S. House panel sets witness list for CDC anthrax hearing

WASHINGTON - A U.S. congressional committee said on Sunday that it will hear from half a dozen witnesses this week about dangerous lapses at federal health facilities, including one that led to the potential exposure of 84 people to live anthrax.

Air India flight returns to New Jersey airport after bird strike

NEWARK New Jersey - An Air India flight with 313 passengers onboard was forced to return to Newark Liberty International Airport on Sunday after a bird strike caused an engine on the Boeing 777 to catch fire, according to airport officials.

Several injured after Philadelphia bus flips on side in crash

- Five people were injured in Philadelphia on Sunday when a car collided with a transit bus and flipped it on its side, according to transit officials and media reports.

Corpse slips out of Pennsylvania coroner's vehicle onto street

- A corpse on a gurney slid out of the back of a coroner's vehicle and onto a busy street in an eastern Pennsylvania town, a local newspaper reported on Sunday.

Pentagon weighing options for missile defense: Undersecretary Kendall

LONDON - The U.S. Defense Department hopes to fund a much more reliable kill vehicle, or warhead, for the homeland missile defense system run by Boeing Co , but final decisions will depend largely on cost, the Pentagon's top arms buyer said on Sunday.

Air India flight returns to New Jersey airport after engine trouble

NEWARK N.J. - An Air India flight with 313 passengers onboard was forced to return to Newark Liberty International Airport on Sunday after an engine on the Boeing 777 appeared to overheat and catch fire, according to airport officials.

Man charged with shooting five people after Connecticut bar fight

STAMFORD Conn. - A 22-year-old Connecticut man was arrested on Sunday and charged with firing a handgun into a crowd leaving a nightclub, injuring five people, police said.

Six people injured when camera catches fire at 30 Rockefeller Plaza

- Six people suffered minor burns when a camera caught fire on the observation deck of the New York landmark building, 30 Rockefeller Plaza, fire officials said.

Debut summer 'supermoon' hangs in the summer sky

NEW YORK - A "supermoon" rose above cities from Los Angeles to London on Saturday night, the first of three times this year the full moon will orbit nearer the earth and appear unusually large and bright.

Indiana Greyhound bus collision kills one, injures others

NEW YORK - One person was killed and several injured when a Greyhound bus and a car collided in Indiana on Sunday, a county official said.

State governments can help U.S. speed up drone use

NEW YORK - U.S. state governments should help break a regulatory logjam that currently bans aerial drones from delivering packages, filming movies and monitoring crops and pipelines, officials from a state with extensive drone experience said on Sunday.

U.S. Marines air chief wants to curb 'big wish lists' for arms upgrades

RAF FAIRFORD England - The U.S. Marine Corps' new aviation chief this week said he plans to hold down "big wish lists" for upgrades to existing warplanes and helicopters so he can maximize purchases of new planes like the Lockheed Martin Corp F-35 fighter jet.

Amateur explorers claim to find lost Army fort in Florida Everglades

MIAMI - A team of amateur explorers say they found the site of a lost U.S. Army fort buried deep in the Everglades that once served as a restocking post for troops during a series of guerilla-like battles with Seminole Indians.

U.S. Navy maintains grounding order for F-35 fighter jets

RAF FAIRFORD England - The U.S. Navy maintained a grounding order for F-35 B-model and C-model fighter jets built by Lockheed Martin Corp, saying it was still not clear what caused a massive engine failure on an Air Force F-35 jet last month.

Three dead, two wounded in Pasadena, California shootings

- Three people were killed and two wounded in a shooting late on Saturday afternoon in Pasadena, California before the gunman surrendered, police said.

Michigan student won't be charged in Visine poisoning

- No charges will be filed against a Michigan high school student who was accused of sickening a teacher by putting Visine eye solution in her coffee, a prosecutor said on Saturday.

Second lightning strike fatality in two days at Colorado park: officials

- A lightning strike on Saturday killed a man in Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado, a day after another strike killed a woman who had been out on a hike.

Teen survivor of Texas shootings says slain family members 'in much better place'

- The teenage survivor of a shooting attack in suburban Houston in which her parents and four siblings were killed told a memorial event on Saturday her family was "in a much better place” and that she was making a full recovery from her injuries.

Trump Plaza in Atlantic City to close, adding to city's woes: report

- The Trump Plaza Hotel in Atlantic City could shut its doors in September and lay off 1,000 workers, a local newspaper reported, in what could make it the fourth casino to close this year in the faltering New Jersey resort city.

No getting away from it all on the Appalachian Trail

HARRIMAN STATE PARK N.Y. - Maybe it was guilt over alarming her parents when she inadvertently dialed 911 from the Appalachian Trail, but Caitlin Belcher wishes she could ditch her cell phone for the rest of the 2,180-mile (3,508-km) hike.

Comedian Tracy Morgan sues Walmart over deadly crash

Newark N.J - Actor and comedian Tracy Morgan has sued Wal-Mart Stores Inc. in a New Jersey federal court, alleging the retailer was negligent in connection with the June crash that left him critically injured and killed a fellow passenger.

Utah man arrested in bomb plot to cause uprising against government

- A Utah man has been arrested in connection with a plot to blow up a police station, kill police officers and destroy infrastructure to delay an emergency response, authorities said.

Practical hurdles hampered police response to D.C. Navy Yard shootings -report

- Police rushing to the scene of last year's Navy Yard shooting in Washington D.C. were hampered in their attempts to help by numerous delaying hurdles such as being locked out of room with live surveillance video, an internal report said.

Lightning kills one, injures seven in Colorado's Rocky Mountain park

DENVER - A lightning strike killed a woman and injured seven other people on Friday as they hiked in the Rocky Mountain National Park northwest of Denver, a park official said.

Armed citizen groups seek recruits to secure U.S. border

DALLAS - Citizen groups in border states are seeking armed volunteers to patrol the U.S.-Mexico frontier alongside law enforcement officers who are struggling to deal with a surge of undocumented migrants from Central America.

U.S. anthrax probe reveals new bird flu mishap, widespread safety lapses

- Federal health officials on Friday disclosed a new safety breach at a high-security U.S. government laboratory involving dangerous avian flu, a lapse that came to light as they investigated the potential exposure of researchers to live anthrax bacteria.

Two more charged in slaying of 12-year-old NJ girl on scooter

NEWARK N.J. - Two more suspects were charged in the killing of a 12-year-old New Jersey girl who was struck in the head by a stray bullet as she rode her scooter to a family gathering, authorities said on Friday.

Accused Boston bomber spoke of martyrdom before attack: FBI

BOSTON - Accused Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev told his friends about martyrdom and bomb-building over lunch before the attacks last year, an FBI agent testified on Friday in the trial of one of the friends for obstruction.

California high court softens 'three strikes' law

SACRAMENTO Calif. - California's highest court has softened implementation of the state's "three-strikes-and-you're-out" criminal sentencing law, marking the second time the rules for identifying and imprisoning career criminals have been loosened in recent years.

U.S. Navy maintains grounding order on F-35 fighter jets

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Navy on Friday maintained a grounding order for F-35 B-model and C-model fighter jets built by Lockheed Martin Corp given that it remained unclear what had caused a massive engine failure on an Air Force F-35 jet on June 23.

Female Yahoo executive sued for sexual harassment

- A high-level female Yahoo Inc executive has been sued in California by a woman who worked under her and is accusing her former boss of sexual harassment and wrongful termination.

U.S. Navy maintains grounding order for F-35 fighter jets

RAF FAIRFORD England - The U.S. Navy on Friday maintained a grounding order for F-35 B-model and C-model fighter jets built by Lockheed Martin Corp, saying it was still not clear what caused a massive engine failure on an Air Force F-35 jet on June 23.

Seattle's attorney apologizes for taking bags of marijuana to the office

SEATTLE - Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes on Friday apologized for violating workplace rules by bringing bags of marijuana he purchased from newly-opened Washington state pot shops back to his office.

Lawyers for Colorado theater gunman oppose videotaping sanity exam

DENVER - Attorneys for an accused mass murderer who claims he was insane when he shot 12 moviegoers to death at a Colorado cinema two years ago oppose the videotaping of their client as he undergoes a new psychiatric examination, court records show.

U.S. appeals court sides with gay marriage proponents in Utah

SALT LAKE CITY - A U.S. appeals court on Friday denied Utah's bid to further block legal recognition of about 1,300 same-sex weddings performed after the state's gay marriage ban was briefly lifted by a federal judge in December.

Seattle's first legal pot shop runs out of marijuana

SEATTLE - Seattle's first and only recreational marijuana store had to close on Friday after running out of stock in just three days since Washington became the second U.S. state to allow pot sales to adults.

Florida's electoral map in flux after court ruling

TALLAHASSEE Fla. - Florida's Republicans, stung by a judge's decision to throw out the state's 2012 congressional redistricting plan, remained silent on Friday on whether they will appeal the ruling that found they conspired to rig the boundaries to protect the party's majority in Washington.

U.S. agency investigating drone flights after video goes viral

FORT LAUDERDALE Fla. - The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating several videos filmed using drones that flew into and around firework displays, including two apparently shot on the Fourth of July and one from Florida that has received nearly nine million YouTube views.

Wind-swept wildfire chars 18,000 acres in Washington state

SEATTLE - Washington state firefighters were battling a wind-swept wildfire on Friday that raged over steep terrain, damaged property and forced evacuations and road closures, officials said.

More Americans succumb to World Cup fever: Reuters/Ipsos poll

NEW YORK - The United States may not yet be in love with football, but more Americans became fans as the World Cup in Brazil progressed, according to an ongoing Reuters/Ipsos poll.

Federal judge affirms Detroit's access to casino revenue

- A U.S. District Court judge on Friday ruled that bond insurer Syncora Guarantee Inc cannot block bankrupt Detroit's access to casino tax revenue.

New York's MTA may have to increase debt in LIRR pay deal: Moody's

NEW YORK - Meeting wage demands of Long Island Rail Road workers threatening to strike over a pay dispute may mean New York's Metropolitan Transportation Authority will have to issue more debt to cover capital investment costs, according to ratings agency Moody's Investors Service.

New York police work to ID body parts found in two towns

NEW YORK - New York police on Friday are working to identify the human body parts scattered around two Long Island communities over three days this week, authorities said.

Test-cheating trial delayed for ill former Atlanta school chief

ATLANTA - The trial for a former Atlanta school superintendent charged with conspiring to alter students' standardized test scores will be delayed indefinitely because she is too sick to attend, a judge ruled on Friday.

Woman stabbed to death at Indiana hospital, body found at her home

- A patient was stabbed to death at a northwest Indiana hospital and a man believed to be her husband was found later stabbed to death at their home in the nearby city of Gary, Indiana, authorities said on Friday.

Philadelphia mayor rebuked for response to fire that killed four children

PHILADELPHIA - Relatives of at least two of the four children killed in a weekend fire that destroyed eight homes in Philadelphia staged a sit-in at City Hall on Wednesday, demanding the mayor apologize for comments about the blaze they decried as insensitive.

Republicans wage uphill battle to win over black voters

CHARLOTTE N.C. - After losing the 2012 presidential election, Republicans vowed to expand their appeal beyond their shrinking base of white males. But as they concede, winning over black voters is likely to be a long and difficult task.

Accused Boston bomber spoke of martyrdom before attack -FBI

BOSTON - Accused Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev told his friends about martyrdom and bomb-building over lunch before the attacks last year, an FBI agent testified on Friday in the trial of one of the friends for obstruction.

U.S. anthrax probe reveals new bird flu mishap, widespread safety lapses

- Federal health officials on Friday disclosed a new safety breach at a high-security U.S. laboratory involving dangerous avian flu, a lapse that came to light as they investigated the potential exposure of government researchers to live anthrax bacteria.

White House trims 2014 deficit projection to $583 billion

WASHINGTON - The White House lowered its U.S. federal deficit forecast for the 2014 fiscal year by $66 billion to $583 billion on Friday on the basis of gathering economic momentum as evidenced by gains in hiring.

New York man who threatened ex-President Bush gets house arrest

NEW YORK - A New York man arrested for threatening to kill former President George W. Bush was sentenced to six months of home confinement on Friday.

Thousands may telecommute in case of New York train strike

NEW YORK - Tens of thousands of New Yorkers could work from home instead of commuting in a plan laid out by transportation officials on Friday to address the threat of a strike at the Long Island Rail Road.

Case of Pennsylvania sheriff accused of assault nears a close

BEAVER Penn. - Testimony concluded on Friday in the trial of a western Pennsylvania sheriff accused of threatening to beat up and shoot a local online reporter in the head.

Ex-Minnesota governor: no fight with 'American Sniper' author

ST PAUL Minn. - Former Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura said Friday he has not been in a fight in decades as he took the stand in his trial accusing a former Navy SEAL sniper of making up a 2006 altercation between them described in a best-selling book.

U.S. Medicaid enrollment nears 7 million since Obamacare rollout

WASHINGTON - New enrollments in Obamacare's Medicaid expansion and other healthcare programs for the poor have reached 6.7 million people since the launch of President Barack Obama's healthcare reforms last year, the administration said on Friday.

Ex-city official in California sentenced to one year in jail in corruption case

LOS ANGELES - A former elected official from the scandal-plagued California city of Bell was sentenced on Friday to one year in jail for inflating his salary by sitting on bogus boards, prosecutors said.

Ex-California pension fund CEO pleads guilty in federal conspiracy case

- A former chief executive of the largest U.S. public pension fund pleaded guilty to bribery and fraud as part of a federal conspiracy case on Friday.

California high court softens 'three strikes' law

SACRAMENTO Calif. - California's highest court has softened implementation of the state's "three-strikes-and-you're-out" criminal sentencing law, marking the second time the rules for identifying and imprisoning career criminals have been loosened in recent years.

Texas mass murder suspect collapses in court as crime recounted

HOUSTON - The man accused of killing six members of his former wife's family, including four children, at their suburban Houston home collapsed in court on Friday when details of the crime were read aloud and was wheeled out in an office chair by sheriff's deputies.

Florida movie theater shooter wins release from jail on bond

TAMPA Fla. - A retired Florida police officer charged with murder in the shooting death of a fellow moviegoer during a dispute over texting is expected to go home on Friday night after being released from jail on bond, his lawyer said.

Mississippi coach, wife indicted for sex with underage girl

- A grand jury indicted a Mississippi girl's softball coach and his pregnant wife on Friday on charges they engaged in oral sex with a 15-year-old player on his team, according to authorities and court records.

Taliban sympathizer posts pictures of smiling Bowe Bergdahl

ISLAMABAD - U.S. soldier Bowe Bergdahl, who was held captive by the Taliban for five years, appeared smiling alongside a commander from the militant Haqqani network in a photo posted on a Twitter account by a supporter of the Afghan Taliban.

Sinaloa drug cartel leader 'Chino Antrax' extradited to California

SAN DIEGO - A suspected high-level Sinaloa drug cartel operative known as "Chino Antrax" was extradited on Thursday from the Netherlands to the United States, where he faces charges related to drug smuggling, the Justice Department said.

Virginia police won't seek nude photo of teenager in sexting case

- Virginia authorities on Thursday said they will not serve a search warrant for evidence in a juvenile sexting case, which the 17-year-old defendant's lawyer said included demands for a picture of the teen's erect penis.

Woman charged with manslaughter in Google exec's heroin death

SAN FRANCISCO - An alleged prostitute suspected of killing a California technology executive by injecting him with a fatal dose of heroin aboard his yacht off the coast of Santa Cruz has been charged with manslaughter, authorities said Thursday.

Boston reaches deal with developer planning nearby casino

BOSTON - Mohegan Sun agreed on Thursday to pay Boston $18 million a year to compensate the city for any negative side effects if the Connecticut-based gambling resort succeeds in its efforts to build a casino in neighboring Revere.

Wisconsin nine-year-old dies trapped in grain bin

- A 9-year-old Wisconsin boy has died after becoming trapped on Thursday in a half-full grain bin on the family farm, authorities said.

Californians lacking health insurance halved under Obamacare: study

SACRAMENTO Calif. - The number of Californians without health insurance has been cut in half since the implementation of Obamacare, according to a survey published Thursday.

Hoping for progress, San Bernardino sets bankruptcy case deadlines

RIVERSIDE Calif. - The city of San Bernardino, California, set new deadlines in an effort to accomplish some measure of progress in a municipal bankruptcy case that has slowed to a crawl over the past two years.

Florida man executed for 1994 rape and murder of girl

TALLAHASSEE - A man who confessed to the rape and murder of an 11-year-old girl was executed by lethal injection on Thursday, the Florida Department of Corrections said.

Supporters optimistic after ex-U.S. Marine appears in Mexico court

- Supporters of a former U.S. Marine held for more than three months in a Mexican jail on weapons charges said on Thursday they were encouraged by his first court appearance and were hopeful he would be home soon.

Detroit boy was abused, harshly disciplined: state petition

- A 12-year-old Detroit boy found in his basement 11 days after being reported missing was ordered by his father to do heavy workouts twice a day and was beaten with plastic piping, according to court documents.

Friend of accused Boston bomber watched bag hauled away: agent

BOSTON - A friend of the accused Boston Marathon bomber charged with obstruction watched a garbage truck haul away a backpack containing fireworks he and two other men had taken from the suspect's dorm room, an FBI agent testified on Thursday.

Colorado judge backs county clerk over gay marriage licenses

DENVER - A state judge in Colorado on Thursday backed a county clerk who has issued more than 100 marriage licenses to gay couples, and another county clerk in Denver said she would begin issuing the permits.

Obama administration warns money low to deal with migrant crisis

WASHINGTON - The Obama administration warned lawmakers on Thursday that U.S. border control agencies would run out of money and migrant children would run out of beds if Congress did not approve $3.7 billion in funds to address an influx of people from Central America.

U.S. defense chief voices confidence in grounded F-35 fleet

EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE Fla. - U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel told military fliers on Thursday the stealthy F-35 attack plane had "issues" but was still "the future for our fighter aircraft" despite a fire that grounded the fleet and jeopardized its international debut in Britain.    In a visit to the Florida base where the blaze occurred in late June, Hagel spoke with F-35 pilots and maintenance workers about the Lockheed Martin aircraft but was not able to say whether the planes wou

Two California men indicted on mink farm sabotage charges

LOS ANGELES - Two Los Angeles-area activists accused of sabotaging an Illinois mink farm and freeing 2,000 of the weasel-like animals from captivity there have been indicted on federal charges of conspiracy and interstate travel to interfere with an animal enterprise.

Georgia man charged with murder in son's car-seat death fired from job

ATLANTA - A suburban Atlanta man jailed on charges he murdered his 22-month-old son by intentionally leaving the child strapped in an overheated car to die has been fired from his job at Home Depot Inc, the company said Thursday.

Measles cases hit 18-year high in Washington state

- Washington state health officials reported on Thursday the highest number of measles cases since 1996 and urged residents to seek vaccinations against the preventable disease during the state's third outbreak of the virus this year.

Teenager charged with killing soldier at Tennessee armory

NASHVILLE Tenn. - A teenager has been arrested and charged with criminal homicide in the shooting death of a Tennessee National Guard soldier at an armory southwest of Nashville, authorities said on Thursday.

Man hoping to be executed must get appeal, Florida court rules

TALLAHASSEE - A sharply divided Florida Supreme Court told public defenders Thursday they may not withdraw from the appeal of a death row inmate who strangled a cellmate in hopes of being executed.

Louisiana guard fired after arrest on suspicion of raping inmate

- A male corrections officer in northwestern Louisiana was fired this week after his arrest on suspicion of forcibly raping a female inmate, authorities said Thursday.

Taliban post picture of commander with smiling U.S. captive

ISLAMABAD - U.S. soldier Bowe Bergdahl, who was held captive by the Taliban for five years, appeared smiling alongside an alleged Haqqani commander in a photo posted on a Twitter account purporting to be from the Afghan Taliban.

Draft notices sent to 14,000 dead men in Pennsylvania

HARRISBURG Pa. - Jane Huey was surprised, to say the least, when a letter arrived at her Kingston, Pennsylvania, home urging Bert Huey to register to be drafted into the U.S. military.

California ends fiscal year with cash for first time in seven years

- California has ended its fiscal year with cash left over in its general fund for the first time since 2007.

Judge orders former New Hampshire cop in hit-and-run back to jail

MANCHESTER N.H. - A former New Hampshire police officer released from prison in June after serving only 72 days of a year-long sentence for a felony hit-and-run conviction was ordered back to jail on Thursday.

U.S. judge sentences man to 15 years in China spying case

OAKLAND Calif. - A U.S. judge sentenced a California businessman to 15 years in prison on Thursday for stealing DuPont trade secrets to help a state-owned Chinese company develop a white pigment used in a wide range of products.

U.S. judge tells IRS to explain lost emails in 'Tea Party' probe

WASHINGTON - A judge told the U.S. Internal Revenue Service on Thursday it must submit an explanation by Aug. 10 for how it lost emails being sought in a Republican congressional inquiry of a 2013 controversy over tax scrutiny of conservative political groups.

Auto union to form branch for workers at Volkswagen plant in Tennessee

- The United Auto Workers will form a local union in Tennessee to represent workers at a Chattanooga Volkswagen AG plant, The Tennessean newspaper reported on Thursday.

Lawmakers eye U.S. immigration law changes for Central American children

WASHINGTON - Legislation to allow President Barack Obama more easily to deport thousands of Central American children who have migrated illegally appeared to gain steam in the U.S. Congress on Thursday as pressure grew to resolve a humanitarian crisis on the border.

Denver County to issue marriage licenses to gay couples: spokesman

DENVER - The Denver County Clerk will begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, a spokesman said on Thursday, hours after a Colorado judge backed another county clerk who has issued more than 100 of the permits.

Colorado judge backs county clerk over gay marriage licenses

DENVER - A state judge in Colorado on Thursday backed a county clerk who has issued more than 100 marriage licenses to gay couples, and another county clerk in Denver said she would also begin issuing the permits.

Pennsylvania mom drowns trying to save son in Lake Erie

NEW YORK - A family vacation turned into tragedy when a mother drowned while trying to rescue her son and his friend in the choppy waters of Lake Erie in western New York, police said.

Top Connecticut court to hear death penalty appeal in rare summer session

HARTFORD Conn. - Attorneys for a Bridgeport, Connecticut, drug lord sentenced to die for ordering the 1999 murders of a mother and her 8-year-old son are scheduled to appeal his sentence before the state Supreme Court Thursday during a special summer session.

Part of U.S. Capitol closed to probe asbestos incident: officials

WASHINGTON - Parts of the U.S. Capitol were closed early on Thursday while authorities investigated a possible asbestos release, delaying the start of the House of Representatives session and canceling some tours of the building.

U.S. weather forecaster still sees 70 percent chance of summer El Nino

- The U.S. weather forecaster maintained its outlook for the El Nino weather phenomenon in its monthly update on Thursday, pegging the chances of the weather pattern striking during the Northern Hemisphere summer at 70 percent.

Germany asks top U.S. intelligence official to leave over spy scandal

BERLIN - Germany asked the top U.S. intelligence official at the Berlin embassy on Thursday to leave the country, a highly unusual step reflecting the deep anger within Angela Merkel's government at the discovery of two suspected U.S. spies within a week.

Central U.S. to see cold snap next week: NWS

WASHINGTON - The central United States will see temperatures well below normal next week as a low pressure system pulls in colder Canadian air, the National Weather Service said on Thursday.

Man sentenced to year in jail in Detroit mob beating of motorist

- A man who pleaded guilty to assaulting a motorist who was severely beaten by a mob in Detroit after he struck a child accidentally was sentenced on Thursday to one year in county jail.

U.S. judge blocks New Hampshire law creating abortion clinic buffers

- A federal judge has halted the enforcement of a New Hampshire law set to go into effect on Thursday that would have allowed abortion providers to set up 25-foot (7.6-meter) buffer zones around clinics.

Philadelphia man accused of being Nazi guard denied bail

PHILADELPHIA - A former Nazi concentration camp guard awaiting extradition to Germany has been denied bail by a U.S. judge in Philadelphia.

Obstruction trial in Boston bombing focuses on Web searches

BOSTON - Testimony in the trial of a friend of the accused Boston Marathon bomber focused Thursday on the man's Internet searches after the deadly April 2013 blasts.

Seven killed in Massachusetts apartment blaze -fire officials

BOSTON - Seven people were killed when a fire tore through an apartment building in the Boston suburb of Lowell on Thursday morning, a Massachusetts fire official said.

Exclusive: Coastal flooding has surged in U.S., Reuters finds

- Coastal flooding along the densely populated Eastern Seaboard of the United States has surged in recent years, a Reuters analysis has found.

WTC cleanup workers may renew health claims: U.S. appeals court

NEW YORK - A federal appeals court in New York has revived claims by 211 cleanup workers who sought compensation for their alleged exposure to toxic contaminants in buildings near the World Trade Center site after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

North Carolina voter law hurts African Americans: Justice Department

WINSTON-SALEM N.C. - North Carolina's decision to reduce early voting days and eliminate same-day registration will cause irreparable harm to African Americans if not halted ahead of the midterm elections in November, a Justice Department lawyer argued on Thursday.

New form of U.S. healthcare saves money, improves quality, one insurer finds

NEW YORK - In one of the largest tests of a novel way to deliver and pay for healthcare, insurer CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield announced on Thursday that 1.1 million people receiving care through its "patient-centered medical homes" last year were hospitalized less often and stayed for fewer days compared to patients in traditional fee-for-service care.

Philadephia mayor rebuked for response to fire that killed four children

PHILADELPHIA - Relatives of least two of the four children killed in a weekend fire that destroyed eight homes in Philadelphia staged a sit-in at City Hall on Wednesday, demanding the mayor apologize for comments about the blaze they decried as insensitive.

Parched California proposes steep fines for over-watering lawns

SAN FRANCISCO - Regulators in drought-stricken California are proposing stringent new conservation measures to limit outdoor water use, including fines of up to $500 a day for using a hose without a shut-off nozzle.

Florida set to execute convicted murderer of 11-year-old girl

TALLAHASSEE - A Florida man who confessed to the rape and murder of a child is scheduled to die by lethal injection on Thursday, while another convicted murderer in Georgia had his death sentence, also due to be carried out on Thursday, commuted to life imprisonment.

Engine fire triggers new turbulence for Lockheed's F-35 jet

RAF FAIRFORD England - Borne of the last downturn in U.S. military spending in the 1990s, Lockheed Martin Corp's F-35 Joint Strike Fighter was intended as a quick and affordable way for the United States and its allies to replace thousands of aging F-16s and other warplanes while avoiding the pitfalls of earlier programs.

'American Sniper' says punched ex-Minnesota governor Ventura

ST. PAUL Minn. - A Navy SEAL accused of defaming former Minnesota governor Jesse Ventura and who died last year said in a videotaped deposition played Wednesday at a trial that he encountered a loud and belligerent Ventura at a bar in 2006 and punched him.

New Orleans-area school district agrees to rules protecting Hispanics

NEW ORLEANS - A New Orleans-area school district reached a deal with federal officials on Wednesday to make changes that address allegations of discrimination against Hispanic students and parents.

Obama rejects criticism over border crisis

DALLAS/WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama rejected demands from Texas Governor Rick Perry and others that he visit the border where a child migrant crisis is unfolding and said his critics should get behind his request for $3.7 billion if they want to solve the problem.

Shooting at Tennessee National Guard armory leaves one wounded

NASHVILLE Tenn. - Police in western Tennessee searched on Wednesday for a suspect in a shooting at a National Guard armory outside Nashville that left one person wounded, according to the county sheriff's department and local media reports.

Mexican train derails, stranding 1,300 migrants headed toward U.S.

MEXICO CITY - A cargo train used by Mexicans and Central Americans to travel toward the U.S. border derailed in the southern Mexican state of Oaxaca on Wednesday, stranding about 1,300 migrants, emergency services said.

U.S. House Republicans seek CDC documents on anthrax scare

WASHINGTON - Congressional Republicans asked the Obama administration on Wednesday to provide documents related to last month's anthrax scare at a U.S. lab, where more than 80 people were initially feared to be exposed to the deadly pathogen.

Georgia man's death sentence commuted a day before scheduled execution

ATLANTA - The day before he was due to die by lethal injection, a man on Georgia's death row was granted clemency and his sentence commuted to life without parole on Wednesday by the state Board of Pardons and Paroles.

Several people killed in Houston-area shooting

HOUSTON - Several people were shot to death on Wednesday in the Houston suburb of Spring, Texas, the Harris County Sheriff's Office said, with local media reporting six people killed.

Colorado puts annual marijuana demand at 130 tonnes

DENVER - Total marijuana demand in Colorado, where the nation's first recreational pot shops opened in January, is estimated at 130 tonnes this year, a study for the state's revenue authority said on Wednesday.

Congress seen unlikely to block threatened New York transit strike

NEW YORK - Congress will likely not intervene to prevent a threatened strike this month that would shut down the Long Island Rail Road, the country's largest commuter rail system, a U.S. representative from New York said on Wednesday.

New York man gets 17 years in beating death of nursing home roommate

NEW YORK - A former New York nursing home resident who pleaded guilty to clubbing to death his 71-year-old roommate has been sentenced to 17 years in prison, prosecutors said on Wednesday.

Police shoot knife-wielding woman dead outside Idaho hospital

SALMON Idaho - Police shot and killed a woman brandishing a knife outside a regional medical center in northern Idaho that had been locked down amid reports of a weapons threat, authorities said Wednesday.

Florida cat owners call 911 after Russian blue 'freaked out'

ORLANDO Florida - Kush the cat was quarantined in central Florida after her owner called 911 over the weekend for help, saying the ferocious feline had her trapped in her home.

Exclusive: U.S. grills suspects in new strategy to build bank laundering cases

ST. LOUIS - U.S. prosecutors are using a new tactic to crack down on banks that fail to fight money laundering: systematically asking suspects in a wide range of criminal cases to help them follow the money back to their bankers.

Texas robbery suspect sets himself on fire, then is shot by police

AUSTIN Texas - Police in a Dallas suburb shot a suspected burglar after he poured a flammable material on his clothing and set himself on fire on Wednesday outside a chicken wing restaurant, a city official said.

Washington state approves first producer of pot edibles

SEATTLE - A Seattle-based company that makes marijuana-infused drinks and candies has become the first business in Washington approved to make edible pot products for the state's newly opened stores, officials said Wednesday.

Judge strikes down Colorado gay marriage ban, stays ruling

DENVER - A state judge struck down Colorado's gay marriage ban on Wednesday, saying the prohibition violated constitutional rights, but put his ruling on hold pending appeal.

House Republicans seek CDC documents on anthrax scare

WASHINGTON - Congressional Republicans asked the Obama administration on Wednesday to provide documents related to last month's anthrax scare at a U.S. lab facility, where more than 80 people were initially feared to be exposed to the deadly pathogen.

Obama urges Congress to pass migrant funding request quickly

DALLAS - President Barack Obama urged Congress on Wednesday to pass his request quickly for $3.7 billion in funds to address the influx of unaccompanied migrant children from Central America crossing the U.S. border.

Former U.S. Marine jailed in Mexico since March appears in court

MEXICO CITY - A former U.S. Marine held for more than three months in a Mexican jail on weapons charges appeared in court in the border city of Tijuana on Wednesday, his lawyers said.

'American Sniper' widow: husband planned to donate book proceeds

ST. PAUL Minn. - The widow of a late Navy SEAL accused of defaming former Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura testified on Wednesday in a federal trial that her husband was a humble man who planned to give away proceeds from a best-selling book.

NY lawmakers set to clamp down on Times Square's caped crusaders

NEW YORK - Cartoon characters like Mickey Mouse and Spider-man have been adored by generations of children, but their costumed counterparts who roam New York City's Times Square are more a public nuisance, New York City lawmakers said on Wednesday.

Actor John Wayne's heirs sue university to use 'Duke' nickname

WINSTON-SALEM N.C. - Heirs of film star John Wayne have sued Duke University over their right to use the late Academy Award winner's nickname, "Duke," to market a line of bourbon, describing the school's protests over such branding efforts as "ludicrous."

Storm leaves 244,000 in dark, shuts Buckeye pipeline in Pennsylvania

- Over 244,000 homes and businesses in the U.S. Mid-Atlantic and Northeast states remained without power on Wednesday after severe thunderstorms rolled through the region overnight.

Teen arrested in killing of New Jersey girl shot on her scooter

- A teen was arrested in the killing of a 12-year-old girl who was riding on her scooter near a family gathering in Paterson, New Jersey, when she was struck by a stray bullet, officials said on Wednesday.

Michigan man charged with murder in death of soccer referee

- A soccer player accused of punching a referee and fatally injuring him during a weekend game in a Detroit suburb has been charged with second-degree murder, prosecutors said on Wednesday.

Verdict reached in lawsuit over Dodger Stadium beating

LOS ANGELES - Jurors have reached a verdict in a $37 million lawsuit against the Los Angeles Dodgers and their former owner by a baseball fan who was permanently disabled by a brutal assault he blames on lax security at Dodger Stadium.

Accused Silk Road creator loses bid to dismiss U.S. indictment

NEW YORK - The man accused of creating Silk Road, which U.S. authorities said was an online drug marketplace, lost his bid on Wednesday to dismiss a federal indictment accusing him of conspiring to deal illegal narcotics and launder money.

Utah to appeal gay marriage ruling to U.S. Supreme Court

SALT LAKE CITY - Utah will appeal directly to the U.S. Supreme Court over last month's ruling by a regional appeals court that found in favor of gay marriage in the conservative state, the attorney general's office said on Wednesday.

Berkeley, California orders free pot for poor patients

BERKELEY California - A California college town known for its liberal activism has voted to make medicinal marijuana dispensaries give away free a small amount of their pot to the poor.

Arizona professor admits resisting arrest during scuffle

PHOENIX - A professor in Arizona who scuffled with campus police after being stopped for walking in the middle of the street at night pleaded guilty on Wednesday to a misdemeanor charge of resisting arrest, court officials said.

Judge delays trial in Colorado movie theater massacre case

DENVER - A district court judge in Colorado on Wednesday delayed the planned trial in October of accused movie theater gunman James Holmes to allow more time to conduct a second sanity review.

U.S. court rules for Beirut bombing victims in Iran funds case

NEW YORK - A U.S. appeals court on Wednesday ruled that $1.75 billion in Iranian funds be turned over to families of the victims of the 1983 bombings of a Marine barracks in Beirut.

Foster Farms battles insurers over definition of 'recall'

CHICAGO - Foster Farms and its London insurers are facing off over the definition of "product recall" as the poultry producer seeks payment of $14.2 million in claims arising from a government-mandated shutdown of one of its plants, court documents show.

Severe storms leave four dead in New York state and Maryland

SYRACUSE N.Y. - Thunderstorms and high winds swept through the U.S. Northeast on Tuesday following tornado warnings, killing three people in New York state and a boy who was crushed to death by a fallen tree in Maryland, weather and emergency officials said.

San Francisco passes law allowing forced treatment of mentally ill

SAN FRANCISCO - San Francisco lawmakers approved a law late on Tuesday allowing the forced treatment of mentally ill patients under certain conditions, drawing swift criticism from patient advocacy groups who say the measure tramples civil rights.

Utah mother accused of slaying six infants was hooked on meth: police

SALT LAKE CITY - A Utah mother accused of killing six of her newborn infants over the course of a decade told investigators she had been suffering from methamphetamine and alcohol addiction that left her with no means to support or care for the babies, police said on Tuesday.

Disgraced former New Orleans Mayor Nagin due for sentencing

NEW ORLEANS - Disgraced former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin was set to be sentenced by a federal judge on Wednesday on 20 corruption charges that could land him in prison for two decades.

Boston bombing obstruction trial hears from suspect's roommate

BOSTON - The college roommate of accused Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is due to continue testifying on Wednesday at the trial of a friend charged with obstructing the investigation into the deadly bombing attack.

East Coast wakes up to power cuts after storms kill five

SYRACUSE N.Y. - Thousands of people in U.S. East Coast states woke up to power cuts and a major clean-up operation on Wednesday after severe storms and high winds killed five people.

Exclusive: Roosters' fertility problem hits U.S. chicken supply, lifts prices

- The world's largest chicken breeder has discovered that a key breed of rooster has a genetic issue that is reducing its fertility, adding to problems constraining U.S. poultry production and raising prices at a time when beef and pork prices are already at record highs.

U.S. judge tosses Miami mortgage discrimination suit against BofA

- A federal judge has dismissed the City of Miami's mortgage discrimination lawsuit against Bank of America Corp , ruling the city lacked legal standing to sue for damages under the U.S. Fair Housing Act.

California police say prostitute gave fatal heroin overdose to customer

- Police in California have arrested a woman they described as a high-priced prostitute who is suspected of murdering a man by injecting him with heroin aboard his yacht in a Santa Cruz harbor, authorities said.

Boston bomber suspect called September 11 attacks a hoax: roommate

BOSTON - The accused Boston Marathon bomber once called the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks a hoax but showed no signs of extremist views, his college roommate testified on Wednesday.

Former New Orleans Mayor Nagin sentenced to 10 years in prison

NEW ORLEANS - Former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin was sentenced on Wednesday to 10 years in federal prison on corruption charges that arose in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.    A jury in February found Nagin guilty of charges including bribery, wire fraud, conspiracy, money laundering and tax evasion.

Bill allowing parole for young offenders advances in Massachusetts

BOSTON - Massachusetts legislators passed a bill that would grant people convicted of first-degree murder while under age 18 a chance at parole after serving at least 20 years of their sentence.

Combative Sterling says NBA's Clippers worth more than $2 billion

LOS ANGELES - Los Angeles Clippers co-owner Donald Sterling on Tuesday sparred with his estranged wife's attorney at a trial over the $2 billion sale of the NBA franchise, interrupting and shouting during testimony and saying he wants to keep the team for financial reasons.

Ex-Coast Guard employee gets life for killing two others on Alaska base

JUNEAU Alaska - A former U.S. Coast Guard employee convicted of shooting two co-workers to death at a remote Kodiak Island communications station two years ago was sentenced to four consecutive life terms in prison on Tuesday, federal prosecutors said.

Stockton bankruptcy judge says city's collateral not worthless

SACRAMENTO Calif. - The judge in Stockton, California's bankruptcy on Tuesday ruled that the city has collateral worth $4 million with which it could pay holdout creditor Franklin Templeton, dismissing the city's contention its collateral was worthless.

Obama shoots pool in night out on the town in Denver

DENVER - A man shouted "get that man a beer" and sure enough, President Barack Obama soon had a cold pint in his hand and prepared to play billiards with Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper.

Acura to recall vehicles in U.S. over defective headlights

- Acura, the luxury division of Japanese automaker Honda Motors Co Ltd, said it would recall 14,078 model-year 2013-2014 ILX vehicles to replace their halogen projector beam headlights.

Ex-Minnesota Governor Ventura alleges 'American Sniper' defamed him

ST. PAUL Minn. - A late Navy SEAL accused of defamation by former Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura described an alleged altercation between the two men in 2006 in a videotaped deposition played for jurors in a federal trial that began on Tuesday.

Buyers line up at first legal pot shops in Washington state

SEATTLE - Eager customers lined up before dawn on Tuesday as Washington became the second U.S. state to allow the sale of marijuana for recreational use, although shortages and high prices were likely to accompany any euphoria.

U.S. government watchdog criticizes probe into student detained for days

SAN DIEGO - A federal government watchdog criticized the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration on Tuesday for assigning agents suspected of misconduct to investigate the near death of a college student left in a holding cell for five days without food or water.

More than 550 Memphis police call in sick in 'blue flu' protest

- More than 550 police officers from Memphis, Tennessee, called in sick on Tuesday, a quarter of the department, in an escalating protest over cuts in health benefits that could eventually cost some officers their jobs, the city's mayor said.

Boeing to recover remaining fuselage from derailed train -railway

NEW YORK - The last of six Boeing Co fuselages damaged in a train derailment were expected to be recovered on Tuesday, the railway said, clearing the way for full train service to resume.

Obama to meet Texas governor, a critic in U.S. border crisis

WASHINGTON/AUSTIN - President Barack Obama will meet Texas Governor Rick Perry on Wednesday to discuss a surge of Latin American young people crossing the U.S.-Mexico border that has put the two leaders at odds with each other.

Baby dies inside car parked in affluent Connecticut town

NEW YORK - A 15-month-old boy has died after being left inside a car parked in an affluent Connecticut community in sweltering summer weather, police said on Tuesday.

U.S. to put child migrants on fast track in deportation hearings: official

WASHINGTON - The United States plans to give priority to child migrants over adults in deportation hearings as part of a broader initiative to deal with a surge of unaccompanied minors crossing the border illegally, a Justice Department official told Reuters.

Latino activists aim to boost participation in U.S. midterm vote

NEW YORK - A coalition of Latino groups is launching a new push to register voters and mobilize Hispanics ahead of the 2014 midterm elections in the hope of electing more lawmakers sympathetic to issues important to them, including immigration.

New Harry Potter attraction opens at Florida theme park

ORLANDO Fla. - The new Harry Potter attraction at Universal Orlando opened on Tuesday to crowds of fans eager to be among the first to experience the theme park's Diagon Alley expansion based on J.K. Rowling's books and the popular films about the boy wizard.

No decision on whether grounded F-35s will be ready for air show: Pentagon

WASHINGTON - No decision has been made yet on whether to send a group of F-35 Joint Strike Fighters to Britain this week for the plane's international debut at two air shows after the fleet was grounded in response to an engine fire, the Pentagon said on Tuesday.

Chicago mayor's panel recommends hiking minimum wage to $13

- Chicago's minimum wage would rise to $13 an hour from $8.25 by 2018 under a proposal announced on Tuesday by a panel that Mayor Rahm Emanuel appointed to chart a path for raising the wage floor in the nation's third largest city.

Car service Uber, New York AG reach deal on emergency pricing

NEW YORK - Uber Technologies Inc, a car service that allows users to summon a ride on their smartphone, has agreed to cap prices during emergencies and natural disasters in New York state to prevent price gouging, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced Tuesday.

Body count up to 17 after Chicago's bloody holiday weekend

- The death toll from a spree of gun violence in Chicago during the Fourth of July holiday weekend has risen to 17, the medical examiner's office said on Tuesday.

Three hurt in electrical accident at NYC's Intrepid Sea, Air & Space museum

NEW YORK - Three people were injured on Tuesday in an electrical accident at the New York City pier where the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum is located, fire officials said.

Two dead in shooting at Washington state medical center: police

- Police said two people died on Tuesday in a shooting at a medical center in Spokane, Washington, and that it appeared a man shot a woman before taking his own life.

Warring Episcopalians in South Carolina court over $500 million in property

CHARLESTON South Carolina - A dispute between the U.S. Episcopal Church and a breakaway diocese angered over its acceptance of gay rights wound up in court on Tuesday as a trial got under way to decide the fate of $500 million in historic real estate.

Oklahoma rape suspect arrested while in coma dies at hospital

OKLAHOMA CITY - An Oklahoma suspect in multiple rapes who was arrested after a car crash left him in a coma died at a hospital on Tuesday hours before he was to be formally charged, prosecutors said.

U.S. judge declines to dismiss charges against ex-Connecticut governor

MILFORD Conn. - A U.S. judge on Wednesday refused to dismiss charges that former Connecticut Governor John Rowland violated campaign finance laws while working as an adviser to congressional campaigns after leaving office.

Florida lawyers fired for calling Palestinians 'swine,' 'cockroaches'

MIAMI - Two South Florida public defenders were fired Tuesday after making inflammatory remarks on social media about Palestinians allegedly celebrating the abduction and murder of three Israeli teenagers in June.

Prosecutors in NYC's Brooklyn won't pursue low-level pot cases

NEW YORK - Prosecutors in New York City's most populous borough of Brooklyn will no longer prosecute low-level marijuana possession cases, particularly for first-time offenders, the office said on Tuesday.

New Jersey's storm recovery chief steps down, replaced by deputy

NEW YORK - The director of New Jersey's response to Superstorm Sandy stepped down on Tuesday, almost two years after the storm tore through the state, and was replaced by his deputy, Governor Chris Christie's office said.

House Republican proposes $10.9 billion transport funding extension

WASHINGTON - U.S. House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp on Tuesday unveiled a $10.9 billion plan to extend U.S. transportation funding through May 31, 2015, aimed at averting cutbacks for construction projects due to start in August.

New Hampshire law creating clinic buffers is target of lawsuit

MANCHESTER, N.H. - A conservative religious group has sued the state of New Hampshire to block a law from taking effect later this week that would establish 25-foot buffer zones around clinics offering abortions.

Colorado clerk: gay marriage bans unconstitutional

DENVER - A county clerk in Colorado says she cannot deny gay couples their fundamental right to wed, according to court documents filed ahead of a hearing in a lawsuit by the state's attorney general to stop her issuing same-sex marriage licenses.

American women targeted as Malaysia becomes Internet scam haven: U.S.

KUALA LUMPUR - Hundreds of American women are being ensnared by Internet scammers based in Malaysia, with some losing over a quarter of a million dollars, as the country becomes an epicenter for online crime perpetrated by Africans, U.S. officials say.

Agent who interrogated accused Boston bomber's friend due to testify

BOSTON - An FBI agent who interrogated a college friend of the suspected Boston Marathon bomber three days after the deadly blasts is due back on the witness stand on Tuesday in the man's trial on obstruction charges.

Mom suspected of abandoning baby on New York subway platform: police

- A mother accused of abandoning her baby by pushing its stroller onto the platform in a New York City subway station before hopping on a departing train was in custody on Tuesday, police said.

Fewer than 100 Americans probed for fighting in Syria, Iraq: U.S. Attorney General

OSLO - The U.S. Justice Department has opened fewer than a hundred investigations into American citizens who may have traveled to Syria or Iraq to fight, the U.S. Attorney General said on Tuesday.

Washington state issues retail pot licenses

SEATTLE - Washington state took the final step in legalizing recreational marijuana use on Monday when officials began issuing retail licenses to stores that could start selling cannabis 24 hours later.

Two dozen rescued after being stranded on California roller coaster

LOS ANGELES - Two dozen people, four of them slightly injured, were left stranded high off the ground after a roller coaster ride struck a tree branch at a Six Flags amusement park in southern California on Monday evening, fire officials said.

White House says most children at border to be sent home

WASHINGTON - The White House said on Monday that most unaccompanied minors flooding into the United States from Central America will not be allowed to stay as the Obama administration prepares to ask Congress for $2 billion to address the border crisis.

Bahrain orders out visiting U.S. official: state news agency

MANAMA - Bahrain on Monday ordered a visiting senior U.S. official to leave the kingdom immediately because he had "intervened flagrantly" in the country's internal affairs, the state news agency BNA said.

California cop spared charges in mistaken killing of boy with toy gun

LOS ANGELES - Northern California prosecutors have decided against bringing criminal charges against a sheriff's deputy who shot and killed a 13-year-old boy who was carrying a plastic replica of an assault rifle that the officer mistook for a real gun.

Venezuelan man charged in Miami with fish and coral smuggling

MIAMI - A Venezuelan man charged with smuggling more than 100 specimens of fish and live coral out of the United States in his luggage faces five years in prison and a $250,000 fine after he was arrested trying to board a plane from Miami to Caracas in May.

U.S. arrests Russian in hacking of retail systems

WASHINGTON - U.S. authorities have arrested a Russian man accused of hacking into American retailers' computer systems to steal credit card data from 2009 to 2011, officials said on Monday.

Florida teenager at center of escalating Israeli-Palestinian conflict

TAMPA Fla. - Family and friends of a Florida teenager who says he was beaten by Israeli police while in detention describe him as a typical U.S. high school student.

South Carolina toddler dies after being trapped in hot car

CHARLESTON S.C. - A 3-year-old boy died on Saturday after he walked out of a South Carolina home last Wednesday, climbed into his grandmother's car and became trapped, a South Carolina coroner said on Monday.

White House says most children crossing border to be sent home

WASHINGTON - The White House said on Monday that most unaccompanied minors flooding into the United States from Central America will not be allowed to stay as the Obama administration prepares to ask Congress for $2 billion to address the border crisis.

LA police will require judges to sign off on immigrant detentions

LOS ANGELES - Police in Los Angeles will no longer hold in jail undocumented immigrants for federal authorities unless a judge requests it, officials said on Monday.

New York governor signs medical marijuana bill into law

ALBANY N.Y. - Governor Andrew Cuomo said on Monday he had signed legislation making New York the 23rd state to allow medical marijuana, calling his approach, which forbids smoking of the drug and includes strict limits, the "smartest" any state had taken so far.

Massachusetts judge OKs moving ex-NFLer Hernandez to Boston jail

BOSTON - A Massachusetts judge agreed on Monday to transfer former National Football League star Aaron Hernandez to a state jail near Boston and closer to his lawyers as he prepares for two trials where he will face charges of murdering three men.

Maine companies sued over treatment of migrant blueberry pickers

BOWDOINHAM Maine - Two Maine companies and a labor recruiter are being sued for allegedly mistreating Haitian migrant workers during the state's wild blueberry harvest in 2008.

Man found at Detroit airport with knife in shoe: TSA

WASHINGTON - A passenger at Detroit's airport was found with a concealed knife in his shoe and was arrested, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) said.

Boeing says still assessing damages to 737 fuselages

- Boeing Co said it was still assessing damages to six 737 fuselages after a train carrying them derailed in Montana last Thursday.

U.S. tightens security on electronics at overseas airports

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Transportation Security Administration will not allow cellphones or other electronic devices on U.S.-bound planes at some overseas airports if the devices are not charged up, the agency said on Sunday.

Arizona cannot deny driving licenses to some immigrants: court

- A U.S. appeals court ruled on Monday that Arizona cannot deny driving licenses to some immigrants who came to the United States without permission as children.

N.Y. man jailed for rape revealed in stepdaughter's college essay

NEW YORK - A New York City man was sentenced to 18 years in prison on Monday for raping his stepdaughter, who revealed the sexual abuse in a college application essay.

Washington goes to pot? U.S. capital may vote on legal marijuana

WASHINGTON - Supporters of legal marijuana in Washington on Monday delivered more than double the signatures needed to put the issue on a ballot, an initiative that could face congressional opposition.

Bahrain says senior U.S official persona non grata: BNA

MANAMA - Bahrain on Monday declared a senior U.S. official persona non grata and asked him to leave the kingdom immediately, state news agency BNA said, because he had "intervened flagrantly" in the country's internal affairs.

Exclusive: CIA had role in Germany spy affair

WASHINGTON - The Central Intelligence Agency was involved in a spying operation against Germany that led to the alleged recruitment of a German intelligence official and has prompted renewed outrage in Berlin, two U.S. officials familiar with the matter said on Monday.

Dozens injured, nine dead in bloody holiday weekend in Chicago

CHICAGO - The Fourth of July holiday weekend brought an explosion of gunfire to Chicago, with roughly 50 people shot and nine killed, authorities said on Monday.

Washington state to issue retail pot licenses on Monday

SEATTLE - Washington state takes the final step in legalizing recreational marijuana use on Monday when officials begin to issue retail licenses to stores that could begin selling cannabis 24 hours later.

Obstruction trial opens for friend of accused Boston bomber

BOSTON - A friend of the accused Boston Marathon bomber goes on trial on Monday charged with obstruction of justice and conspiracy.

Bloomberg group to poll U.S. candidates on gun stances: Post

WASHINGTON - The gun-control group founded by former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg will begin to survey all congressional candidates in the 2014 midterm elections on firearms issues, the Washington Post reported on Monday.

Opponents ask U.S. judge to halt sweeping voter law in North Carolina

WINSTON-SALEM N.C. - A federal judge will be asked on Monday to block key provisions of North Carolina's overhauled voter law, including fewer early voting days and the elimination of same-day registration, from remaining in effect for November's midterm elections.

California man says was 'eye to eye' with attacking shark

- A California man said on Sunday he was “eye to eye” with a great white shark before an attack he thought would kill him as he swam near Manhattan Beach in Southern California.

Massachusetts homes evacuated after suspected explosives found

BOSTON - Authorities briefly evacuated homes on Sunday after discovering what appeared to be bomb-making materials, firearms and ammunition in a dead man's home in Lawrence, Massachusetts.

Ordinary people outnumber targeted foreigners in NSA data: Washington Post

WASHINGTON - The Washington Post said on Saturday a study of a large collection of communications intercepted by the U.S. National Security Agency showed that ordinary Internet users, including Americans, far outnumbered legally targeted foreigners caught in the surveillance.

Arthur, no longer a hurricane, pelts Maritime Canada

- Arthur weakened from hurricane force on Saturday and pelted parts of Canada's eastern coast with heavy rain and strong winds, leaving 250,000 homes and businesses without power, as the storm swept away from New England.

Marijuana shortage seen ahead of Washington state retail pot rollout

SEATTLE - His glass pipes are on display and final regulatory hurdles nearly cleared, but the biggest concern for Cannabis City owner James Lathrop as he opens his Seattle pot shop this week is the possibility of running out of mind-altering bud in a matter of hours.

Boeing 737 fuselages damaged in train derailment

SEATTLE - A train derailment in Montana this week damaged a shipment of jetliner fuselages and other large parts on its way to Boeing Co factories in Washington state from Spirit Aerosystems, Boeing said on Saturday.

Indiana police officer dies after late night firefight

- An Indianapolis police officer was killed in a late night shootout in an alley, law enforcement officials said Sunday.

U.S. tightens security on electronics at overseas airports

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Transportation Security Administration will not allow cellphones or other electronic devices on U.S.-bound planes at some overseas airports if the devices are not charged up, the agency said on Sunday.

U.S. needs 'to do right' for immigrant children: official

WASHINGTON - A top U.S. official said on Sunday the U.S. border is not open to illegal entry into the country, but acknowledged the government does need to be sensitive to the tens of thousands of migrant children flowing into detention centers.

Indiana police officer found fatally shot in patrol car

- An Indiana police officer was discovered fatally shot in his patrol car early Sunday, state police said.

New York firefighter dies in cluttered apartment in burning high-rise

NEW YORK - A New York City firefighter recently honored for saving the life of a young boy was killed battling an electrical blaze at a high-rise building that began in a dangerously cluttered apartment, officials said on Sunday.

Great white shark bites swimmer in Southern California

LOS ANGELES - A 7 foot (2 meter) great white shark bit a swimmer off the coast near Manhattan Beach in Southern California on Saturday, leaving the man with moderate injuries, a fire department official said.

Boats collide after Miami fireworks displays killing four people

MIAMI - Four people died after boats collided near a marina south of downtown Miami tossing at least a dozen people into the dark waters following Fourth of July fireworks displays, authorities said on Saturday.

California Highway Patrol probes video of officer punching woman

LOS ANGELES - California Highway Patrol is investigating a video showing an officer pummeling a woman alongside a Los Angeles freeway during an arrest that began with an attempt to stop her from walking into traffic, an agency spokeswoman said on Saturday.

One critical after seven shot in Indianapolis nightclub district

- Seven people were shot and wounded, one critically, early Saturday in an Indianapolis night club district after an argument broke out between two people, police said.

Search for missing toddler ends with body found in NY City lake

NEW YORK - A family outing to a New York City park ended in tragedy on Saturday after a 2-year-old girl wandered off, and police divers found her body in a lake after an hours-long search, authorities said.

Cash incentive mulled to give endangered Florida panther room to prowl

TAMPA Fla. - The endangered Florida panther, running out of room to prowl as its numbers rebound, may find its best chance at survival is a program to pay distrustful ranchers to protect what remains of its habitat.

Protesters gather, await arrival of undocumented immigrants in California

MURRIETA Calif. - Immigration demonstrations intensified in a southern California town on Friday as protesters filled a desolate road to a U.S. Customs and Border Station to await the arrival of undocumented Central American families for processing.

Conjoined Ohio twins, 62, mark a milestone

CLEVELAND - (In Friday story, corrects year of birth for Bunker twins to 1811, instead of 1881, and amends first paragraph to make clear the celebration is not open to the public)

Threatening call prompts evacuations, bomb search at Harvard

CAMBRIDGE Mass. - A call from a man claiming to have an assault rifle at Harvard University and to have planted bombs there prompted police on Saturday to evacuate several buildings at the campus and launch a search for explosives, but the area was later declared safe, authorities said.

Six hurt in shooting and stampede at Houston Caribbean festival

- A shooter opened fire into a crowd at a Caribbean festival in Houston in the early hours of Saturday, critically wounding one man and injuring three others, and police said they were looking for the attacker.

Protesters gather, await arrival of undocumented immigrants in California

MURRIETA Calif. - Immigration demonstrations intensified in a southern California town on Friday as protesters filled a desolate road to a U.S. Customs and Border Station to await the arrival of undocumented Central American families for processing.

Police identify suspect sought in fatal New Orleans shooting

- Police in New Orleans on Friday identified a suspect in a shooting in the city's popular French Quarter last weekend in which a woman was killed and nine people were wounded.

Father of Nicole Brown Simpson dies at age 90

- The father of Nicole Brown Simpson, the slain ex-wife of retired American football star O.J. Simpson, has died, a family spokeswoman said on Friday.

Conjoined Ohio twins, 62, mark a milestone

CLEVELAND - The world’s oldest conjoined twins plan to celebrate surpassing the life span of the original “Siamese Twins” on Saturday with a public celebration in Ohio.

Weaker Hurricane Arthur takes aim at Nantucket, Cape Cod

BOSTON - A weakened but fast-moving Hurricane Arthur swept into southern New England on Friday night, wielding tropical storm-force winds, after an earlier landfall in North Carolina that caused only slight damage.

Hot dogs gobbled, small-town parades cheered as U.S. marks soggy July 4

NEW YORK - Hot-dog eating champs, backyard picnickers and small-town parade lovers pressed on with Fourth of July celebrations on Friday, some featuring less sizzle than usual after Hurricane Arthur dampened many Independence Day plans.

Illinois man suspected in two murders is arrested in Wisconsin

- Police in Wisconsin arrested an Illinois man on Friday who is suspected of killing two people and became the target of a nationwide manhunt.

Ex-priest who killed nun dies in prison after plea rejected

- An ex-priest convicted of murdering a nun died behind bars on Friday, a day after a federal judge rejected his plea for compassionate release for his final days, a spokesman for Ohio's governor said.

On July Fourth holiday, Obama urges immigration overhaul

WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama told Americans on the Independence Day holiday on Friday that welcoming immigrants to the United States is "central to our way of life" as he made an impassioned argument for a new immigration policy.

Red, white and blah start to July Fourth holiday under soggy skies

NEW YORK - Stormy skies over the U.S. East Coast made for a red, white and blah start to the July Fourth holiday on Friday, threatening to wash out small-town parades, family barbecues and fireworks displays.

Phones, shoes to face scrutiny as airport security tightened: U.S.

WASHINGTON - Airlines with direct flights to the United States have been told to tighten screening of mobile phones and shoes in response to intelligence reports of increased threats from al Qaeda-affiliated militant groups, U.S. officials said on Thursday.

Hurricane Arthur scythes through Outer Banks of North Carolina

NAGS HEAD N.C. - The first hurricane of the Atlantic season has hit the North Carolina coast, a wet and windy spoiler of the July Fourth holiday for thousands of Americans as authorities ordered them to evacuate exposed areas.

Foster Farms recalls some chicken, 16 months into salmonella outbreak

- California-based poultry giant Foster Farms will recall some of the contaminated chicken linked to a massive salmonella outbreak that has stretched on for 16 months and sickened hundreds of consumers, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Foster Farms announced late Thursday.

Retired U.S. Navy commander pleads guilty in bribery scandal

SAN DIEGO - A retired U.S. Navy commander pleaded guilty to federal conspiracy charges on Thursday in connection with a wide-ranging corruption investigation of a Singapore-based defense contractor.

National hunt for Illinois man suspected in two murders

- Authorities released new pictures on Thursday in a national hunt for an Illinois man suspected of killing a woman at a rest stop west of Chicago and taking her car a day after killing a man in the northern part of the state.

Arthur strengthens to Category 2 hurricane as it nears North Carolina

MIAMI - Hurricane Arthur was upgraded to a Category 2 storm with maximum sustained winds at 100 miles per hour (160 kilometers per hour), the U.S. National Hurricane Center said on Thursday evening.

U.S. war hero Louis Zamperini, inspiration for 'Unbroken,' dead at 97

LOS ANGELES - Louis Zamperini, an American prisoner of war in World War Two and Olympic runner whose life inspired the book and upcoming feature film "Unbroken," has died at age 97.

Texas governor renews calls for National Guard at U.S.-Mexico border

AUSTIN Texas - Texas Governor Rick Perry and a key U.S. lawmaker renewed Republican calls on Thursday for National Guard troops to be sent to the U.S.-Mexico border to help stem a surge of Central American nationals entering the United States illegally.

North Carolina's outer banks to take full force of hurricane Arthur

HATTERAS ISLAND, N.C, - The first hurricane of the Atlantic season gained strength on Thursday as it spun closer to the North Carolina coast, bringing the anticipated stiff wind gusts and heavy rain that forced thousands of vacationers to scrap their July Fourth holiday plans amid evacuation orders.

National hunt for Illinois man suspected in two murders

- Authorities released new pictures on Thursday in a national hunt for an Illinois man suspected of killing a woman at a rest stop west of Chicago and taking her car a day after killing a man in the northern part of the state.

U.S. grounds entire F-35 fleet pending engine inspections

WASHINGTON - The U.S. military on Thursday said it had grounded the entire fleet of Lockheed Martin Corp F-35 fighter jets until completion of additional inspections of the warplane's single engine built by Pratt & Whitney, a unit of United Technologies Corp.

Police investigating two possible hate crimes from San Francisco gay pride weekend

SAN FRANCISCO - Police are investigating two physical attacks during San Francisco's gay pride celebration over the weekend as possible hate crimes, an officer said on Thursday.

Robbers attack PA gun collectors home, leave with 31 guns

PITTSBURGH - Robbers attacked an elderly gun collector in his western Pennsylvania home and escaped with an arsenal of 31 firearms, at least 14 of which are still missing.

Texas governor renews calls for National Guard at U.S.-Mexico border

AUSTIN Texas - Texas Governor Rick Perry and a key U.S. lawmaker renewed Republican calls on Thursday for National Guard troops to be sent to the U.S.-Mexico border to help stem a surge of Central American nationals entering the United States illegally.

Death of Detroit-area soccer referee ruled a homicide

- The death of a soccer referee who was punched by a player during a game over the weekend in a Detroit suburb was ruled a homicide on Thursday, a step that could lead to more severe charges against the man accused of hitting him.

Errors, staff absences behind $300 mln New York City gaff: report

NEW YORK - Absent employees, flawed processes, and inadequate systems were among a catalog of problems uncovered at New York City agencies in a new report into why nearly $300 million of city money was erroneously paid out to pensioners earlier this year.

Dead South Carolina teen's family skeptical of police suicide probe

CHARLESTON S.C. - Civil rights advocates and the family of a 19-year-old former Army recruit fatally shot during a June 20 encounter with a South Carolina police officer are questioning the claim by law enforcement that his death appears to have been a suicide.

Suspected Seattle killer may have met victims through gay social app

SEATTLE - A man suspected of killing two gay men in Seattle last month may have targeted his victims using a social networking app geared toward gay men and police are investigating their deaths as a possible hate crime, authorities said on Thursday.

Tennessee man wins $153.5 million in state's largest lottery jackpot

- A self-employed Tennessee man on Thursday claimed a cool $153.5 million cash prize after winning the largest Powerball prize in state history.

Oklahoma police arrest rape suspect left in a coma after car crash

OKLAHOMA CITY - Tulsa Police have arrested a 30-year-old man on suspicion of the sexual assault of eight women after finding the man in a weekend car crash that put him into a coma, police officials said on Thursday.

Washington 'Beltway sniper' appeals ruling on life sentence

- Lawyers for convicted "Beltway sniper" Lee Boyd Malvo are appealing a federal judge's rejection of his claim that his life sentence is unconstitutional, according to court documents.

Wildfire near California's wine country grows overnight

SAN FRANCISCO - A wildfire near Northern California's Napa Valley wine country grew overnight Thursday, devouring 4,300 acres and two houses, and prompting more evacuations, officials said.

New Mexico middle school shooter sentenced to detention until age 21

ALBUQUERQUE N.M. - A 13-year-old boy who brought a sawed-off shotgun to his New Mexico middle school and wounded two classmates in January has been sentenced to be held in juvenile detention until age 21, a court official said on Thursday.

Brooklyn cabbie convicted of plotting Pakistan 'honor killings'

NEW YORK - A New York cab driver was found guilty on Thursday of conspiring with relatives in Pakistan to commit "honor killings" of family members of a relative he believed helped his daughter escape back to the United States.

Dying ex-priest convicted of killing nun denied prison release

CLEVELAND - A dying ex-priest convicted of stabbing an Ohio nun to death cannot obtain an early release for his final days, a federal judge ruled on Thursday.

Boy hit in Arizona target-shooting accident dies

- A 9-year-old boy who was shot in the neck by a bullet ricochet while target shooting in the Arizona desert died on Thursday of his wounds, authorities said.

Rhode Island governor signs minimum wage increase

- Rhode Island's Democratic governor, Lincoln Chafee, has signed a bill to increase the state's minimum wage by $1, to $9 an hour, his office said on Thursday, following similar moves by neighboring New England states.

Police release man questioned in New Orleans shootout

NEW ORLEANS - Authorities set free a 20-year-old man on Thursday after questioning him about a weekend shootout on New Orleans' Bourbon Street that left one person dead and nine others wounded.

Georgia man charged with killing son researched child-free living: police

ATLANTA - A suburban Atlanta man charged with murder after his 22-month-old son died from being left in a hot car for seven hours was having marital and work problems and wanted to live a child-free life, prosecutors said on Thursday.

One dead, three badly hurt in Texas school fireworks explosion

DALLAS - One person was killed and three others severely injured when a truck trailer carrying fireworks for a Fourth of July celebration at a central Texas high school exploded on Thursday as workers prepared the show, a fire official said.

Exclusive: Motiva Port Arthur refinery reaches throughput milestone - sources

HOUSTON - The nation's largest refinery hit a throughput milestone last week, processing 615,000 barrels in one day for the first time since a series of setbacks that followed its $10 billion expansion, sources familiar with operations said.

Hurricane Arthur expected to begin weakening: NHC

- Hurricane Arthur was expected to begin weakening by Friday night and become a post-tropical storm by Saturday as conditions for its development have been deteriorating along the coast of North Carolina, the U.S. National Hurricane Center (NHC) said in its latest advisory.

U.S. services sector activity accelerates in June: Markit

NEW YORK, - The final reading for activity in the U.S. services sector hit its highest in 4-1/2 years, pushed higher by increasing new business activity and hiring, a survey showed on Thursday.

U.S. job growth surges, unemployment rate near six-year low

WASHINGTON - U.S. employment growth jumped in June and the jobless rate closed in on a six-year low, decisive evidence the economy was moving forward at a brisk clip after a surprisingly big slump at the start of the year.

U.S. service sector growth slows slightly in June: ISM survey

NEW YORK - The pace of growth in the U.S. services sector slowed slightly in June as business activity decelerated, even as new orders and employment growth sped up, according to an industry report released on Thursday.

Wisconsin man accused of hiding corpses in suitcases due in court

MILWAUKEE - A former police officer suspected in the deaths of two women is due in court on Thursday for a hearing on charges that he stored their corpses in suitcases found beside a rural Wisconsin road in June.

California student dies on hiking trip with fraternity: reports

- A California university fraternity has been ordered to stop all activities after a student died on hiking trip with group members in the Angeles National Forest, the university said, according to local media.

Pot shops buzz, crime eases as Colorado law marks 6 months

DENVER - At the Native Roots Apothecary, a discreet marijuana shop in a grand old building in Denver's busy 16th street shopping mall, business is so brisk that customers are given a number before taking a seat to wait their turn.

U.S. war hero Louis Zamperini, inspiration for 'Unbroken,' dead at 97: Variety

- Louis Zamperini, an American prisoner of war in World War Two and Olympic runner whose life inspired the book and upcoming feature film "Unbroken," has died at age 97, Variety reported on Thursday.

U.S. war hero Louis Zamperini, inspiration for 'Unbroken,' dead at 97: Variety

- Louis Zamperini, an American prisoner of war in World War Two and Olympic runner whose life inspired the book and upcoming feature film "Unbroken," has died at age 97, Variety reported on Thursday.

GMO labeling initiative moves a step closer to Oregon ballot

PORTLAND Ore.  - An initiative requiring mandatory labeling of genetically modified foods in Oregon moved one step closer to the November ballot on Wednesday after advocates said they submitted more than enough qualifying signatures to the state. 

Victim in New Orleans Bourbon Street shootout dies

NEW ORLEANS - A 21-year-old woman caught in the crossfire of a weekend shootout on New Orleans' famed Bourbon Street has died, police said on Wednesday.

U.S. investigators will not reopen TWA Flight 800 crash probe

WASHINGTON - The U.S. National Transportation Safety Board said on Wednesday it will not reconsider its finding that the 1996 crash of TWA Flight 800 was caused by a fuel tank explosion.

New York construction companies accused of safety scam

NEW YORK - Two New York City construction companies and seven people have been accused of leaving 40 Manhattan construction sites unsupervised, conducting fraudulent inspections and falsifying records, prosecutors said on Wednesday.

Wildfire near California's wine country threatens homes

SAN FRANCISCO - In the midst of a statewide drought, a wildfire has consumed 3,200 acres (1,295 hectares) near Northern California's Napa Valley wine country, threatening nearly 400 homes and prompting evacuations, officials said Wednesday.

New York reaches deal with city's biggest public sector union

NEW YORK - New York City has signed a tentative contract with the city largest public sector labor group, District Council 37, Mayor Bill de Blasio said on Wednesday.

Colorado woman accused of supporting Islamist insurgents in Iraq and Syria

DENVER - Federal authorities in Denver have arrested a woman accused of providing material support to Islamist insurgents fighting the governments of Syria and Iraq, and of conspiring to commit an offense against the United States, officials said on Wednesday.

U.S. increases security at overseas airports amid bomb concerns

WASHINGTON - The United States said on Wednesday it would increase security at overseas airports with nonstop flights to the country and U.S. officials cited concerns al Qaeda operatives in Syria and Yemen were developing bombs that could be smuggled onto planes.

Facebook removes hunting photos of Texas teen that raised ire

DALLAS - Facebook has removed some photographs of a Texas teenager posing with freshly killed animals she hunted during a recent safari in South Africa that had been criticized by users as inappropriate, the company said on Wednesday.

Californians don't like wage gap, disagree on how to fix it: poll

SAN FRANCISCO - Most Californians say the wage gap has gotten worse in the most populous U.S. state, but divide along party lines on what to do about it, a new poll shows.

Ohio teenage wrestler died from caffeine overdose -coroner

CLEVELAND - A healthy 18-year-old Ohio high school wrestler died last month from an overdose of powdered caffeine, a county coroner said on Wednesday.

Jurors ordered to keep deliberating in Los Angeles Dodgers lawsuit

LOS ANGELES - Jurors weighing a $37 million lawsuit against the Los Angeles Dodgers and their former owner by a fan who was badly beaten at the team's stadium on Opening Day 2011 told a judge on Wednesday they had been unable to reach a verdict, a court officer said.

Accused Shining Path leaders face terror, drug charges in New York

NEW YORK - Three accused leaders of Peru's Shining Path were charged in New York on Wednesday with running a drug trafficking ring to fund the insurgent group, federal authorities announced.

U.S. storm Arthur to pack hurricane winds by July 4 holiday

- Tropical Storm Arthur threatened to douse some July 4 holiday plans on the U.S. East Coast as officials in several states closed beaches and tourist sites and delayed fireworks shows in anticipation of heavy rain and fierce winds.

Colorado woman accused of supporting Islamist insurgents in Iraq and Syria

DENVER - Federal authorities in Denver have arrested a woman accused of providing material support to Islamist insurgents fighting the governments of Syria and Iraq, and of conspiring to commit an offense against the United States, officials said Wednesday.

Colorado attorney general seeks moratorium on same-sex marriage litigation

DENVER - The Colorado attorney general's office filed a motion in federal court on Wednesday, seeking an injunction to suspend same-sex marriage litigation in the state until the U.S. Supreme Court ultimately rules on the issue.

Missouri town picks solvency over flood fight as river rises

COLUMBIA Mo. - A small Missouri town repeatedly threatened by a rising Mississippi River is choosing to let residents fend for themselves this year rather than face potential bankruptcy to pay for another municipally organized fight against flooding.

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie vetoes gun legislation

NEWARK N.J. - New Jersey Governor Chris Christie on Wednesday vetoed a bill approved by the state legislature that would have reduced the legal size of ammunition magazines from 15 to 10 bullets, saying it would do nothing to end mass shootings.

California tightens some water restrictions as drought continues

SACRAMENTO Calif. - California on Wednesday made it easier for regulators to enforce drought-related pumping restrictions in slow-moving creeks and lakes, prompting worry among farmers as the state enters the dry summer season.

Former hub airports find new life after downsizing

ATLANTA - When an airline cuts back on the number of "hubs" in its system, for an affected city the economic pain can be deep and wide.

Five injured after Brooklyn Bridge facade collapses

- A section of a stone facade inside a Brooklyn Bridge underpass collapsed late on Wednesday evening, injuring five people, a New York City fire official said.

Illinois high court to rule on reach of pension protections

CHICAGO - A ruling expected Thursday from the Illinois Supreme Court involving a change to public worker benefits could provide insight on how justices may eventually rule on the constitutionality of a landmark state pension reform law.

U.S. storm Arthur to pack hurricane winds by July 4 holiday

- Tropical Storm Arthur threatened to douse some July 4 holiday plans on the U.S. East Coast as officials ordered evacuations of some low-lying coastal areas, closed beaches and tourist sites and delayed fireworks shows in anticipation of heavy rain and fierce winds.

U.S. increases security at overseas airports amid bomb concerns

WASHINGTON - The United States said on Wednesday it would increase security at overseas airports with nonstop flights to the country, and U.S. officials cited concerns al Qaeda operatives in Syria and Yemen were developing bombs that could be smuggled onto planes.

More Central American migrants sent to California despite backlash

SAN DIEGO - Residents of a Southern California town confronted their mayor on Wednesday over the arrival of Central American migrants for processing after they slipped across the Mexico border into Texas, extending an influx that has swamped authorities there.

Six Los Angeles sheriff's officials convicted in federal jail probe: reports

- Six Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department officials were found guilty on Tuesday of obstructing a federal investigation into violence and other misconduct against prisoners at county jails, California media reported.

U.S. privacy board says NSA Internet spying program is effective but worrying

- The U.S. National Security Agency (NSA)'s data collection program has been an effective tool to enhance the country's security but some elements of the cyber-spying raises privacy concerns, a U.S. federal privacy watchdog said in a report.

Boston mayor to ask Massachusetts to hold off on casino license

BOSTON - Boston's mayor is due to ask Massachusetts gaming regulators on Wednesday to put off awarding a casino license near the city until November, after a statewide ballot initiative on repealing the law allowing casinos in the state.

Pre-teen defendants in 'Slenderman' stabbing case due in court

MILWAUKEE - Two Wisconsin girls accused of luring a friend into the woods and stabbing her 19 times to please a fictional Internet character are due back in court on Wednesday where the mental competency of one may be addressed.

Mistrial threat looms over case of friend of accused Boston bomber

BOSTON - Four days after the deadly Boston Marathon bombings, dozens of heavily armed federal agents surrounded the home of two friends of the suspected bomber, ordered them out and took the men in handcuffs to a police station for hours of interrogation.

California universities to start sustainable agriculture programs

BERKELEY Calif. - University of California campuses would buy food from local growers, grant more scholarships to agriculture students and teach farmers in the United States and around the world how to grow food with less water under a new initiative announced Tuesday.

Miners dredge protected Idaho river in protest of federal oversight

SALMON Idaho - Protesters gathered to illegally dredge for gold on Tuesday in an Idaho river where such mining is banned, in an open challenge to the U.S. government's authority to regulate public waters and lands in Western states, an organizer said.

New York state senator faces charge of lying about getting son a job

NEW YORK - A powerful Republican New York state senator has been indicted on a charge of lying to the FBI during an investigation into a business deal involving his son, according to court documents unsealed on Tuesday.

California so-called 'nightmare nanny' says was exploited by family

- A woman dubbed the "nightmare nanny" in U.S. media after she refused to move out of the house of a California family she was working for has said she was being exploited.

Hyundai Motor recalls 58,000 Elantra Touring cars in North America

DETROIT - Hyundai Motor Co is recalling 58,000 Elantra Touring cars in the United States and Canada from model years 2010 to 2012 because a support bracket to the car's headliner may become displaced during a side curtain air bag deployment, U.S. safety regulators said.

Storms leave power outages, flooding, flight delays in central U.S

- Hundreds of thousands of people were without power on Tuesday and trying to clean up damaged homes and clear roads after a deadly storm that brought tornadoes, high winds, hail and heavy rain to the central United States.

Anti-immigration protesters block undocumented migrants in California

MURRIETA Calif. - A group of protesters shouting anti-immigration slogans blocked the arrival of two buses carrying undocumented Central American families to a U.S. Border Patrol station in California on Tuesday after they were flown to San Diego from Texas.

Arizona psychiatry professor says fired over marijuana research

PHOENIX - A University of Arizona researcher hoping to explore whether marijuana can help veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder was fired in a move that she said on Tuesday was payback for her high-profile advocacy regarding the work.

Obamacare exchanges see problems with eligiblity data: watchdog

WASHINGTON - Online insurance marketplaces created under President Barack Obama's signature healthcare law have struggled to verify whether Americans who applied for government subsidies to purchase health insurance are actually qualified to receive them, a federal watchdog agency said on Tuesday.

Design issues may delay California driver's licenses for undocumented migrants

SACRAMENTO Calif. - California may have to delay its plan to start issuing driver's licenses to undocumented immigrants next year if a conflict between state and federal authorities over the design of the permits is not resolved soon.

Anti-immigration protesters block undocumented migrants in California

MURRIETA Calif. - A group of protesters shouting anti-immigration slogans blocked the arrival of three buses carrying undocumented Central American families to a U.S. Border Patrol station in California on Tuesday after they were flown to San Diego from Texas.

Defense, prosecutors in Colorado theater massacre case trade accusations

DENVER - Prosecutors in the Colorado movie theater massacre case responded on Tuesday to defense charges of foul play by accusing lawyers for gunman James Holmes of seeking to exploit victims' families to gain a legal advantage.

Storms leave power outages, flooding, flight delays in central U.S.

- Hundreds of thousands of people were without power on Tuesday after a deadly storm that brought tornadoes, high winds, hail and heavy rain to the central United States.

Labor talks for U.S. West Coast ports to continue despite end of deal

LOS ANGELES - Labor negotiations between operators of West Coast port terminals and the union representing nearly 20,000 dock workers will continue, even though a six-year labor agreement expired on Tuesday, both sides said.

Explosion of propane tank in Philadelphia lunch truck injures 11

PHILADELPHIA - An exploding propane tank on a lunch truck sent a ball of fire across a Philadelphia street on Tuesday, critically injuring two people and spreading debris far and wide, police said.

Cousteau's grandson to surface after record underwater stay

MIAMI - Fabien Cousteau, grandson of famed French oceanographer Jacques Cousteau, is due to emerge from the turquoise waters off the Florida Keys on Tuesday morning, marking the end of a record-breaking, 31-day stay inside an underwater habitat with a team of scientists and documentary filmmakers.

California's Napa County wildfire sparks evacuations, damage

- A fast-spreading wildfire was sweeping through a remote swath of California's Napa Valley on Tuesday, forcing evacuations and damaging structures, fire officials and local media said.

Arizona rat breeder accused of cruelty after hundreds of rats die

PHOENIX - An Arizona man was arrested on suspicion of animal cruelty after hundreds of dying or dead domesticated rats were found inside a large trailer north of Phoenix, authorities said on Tuesday.

Berkeley residents to vote on soda tax in November

BERKELEY Calif. - A California college town known for its liberal activism will vote in November on whether to place a penny-per-ounce tax on sugary beverages, touching off the latest obesity-fighting campaign in the United States.

Ahead of key U.S. game, American fans catch soccer fever

- American soccer fans decked out in red, white and blue were expected to flock to stadiums and giant TV screens on Tuesday to cheer their national team in a World Cup clash with Belgium that could be the most-watched soccer game in U.S. history.

Detroit bankruptcy judge keeps city lawsuit on pension debt alive

- A federal judge has blocked an initial attempt to stop Detroit from trying to invalidate $1.4 billion of debt sold to boost funding for the city's two retirement systems.

Soccer referee dies after assault by player in suburban Detroit

- A soccer referee who was punched in the head by a player during a weekend game in a Detroit suburb has died, police said on Tuesday.

First Atlantic tropical depression forms east of Florida: NHC

- A low-pressure area east of Florida has turned into a tropical depression, the U.S. National Hurricane Center (NHC) said on Tuesday in its latest advisory.

Washington legal pot effort has enough signatures for vote -chairman

WASHINGTON - Backers of legal marijuana in Washington have enough signatures to put the issue to a referendum that faces potential hurdles in Congress, the initiative's head said on Tuesday.

Idaho university allows armed patrols as law takes effect

SALMON Idaho - Public safety officers armed with semi-automatic pistols will patrol Idaho State University for the first time on Tuesday to safeguard students and staff, in response to a new state law allowing concealed weapons on college campuses.

Texas man who sought to blow up pipeline, wrote to Unabomber in plea deal

DALLAS - A Texas man accused of trying to blow up a gas pipeline and seeking guidance from Unabomber Ted Kaczynski reached a plea deal with prosecutors under which he will go to prison for an undisclosed term, court documents filed on Tuesday said.

Monica Lewinsky revisits 'humiliation' of Clinton affair in interview

NEW YORK - Monica Lewinsky, the one-time White House intern whose affair with Bill Clinton in the 1990s nearly brought down his presidency, said she ended up feeling like "the most humiliated woman in the world."

U.S. court strikes down Kentucky same-sex marriage ban

- A federal judge on Tuesday struck down a ban on same-sex marriage in Kentucky as a violation of the U.S. Constitution, the latest in a string of court rulings across the United States voiding state laws that restrict the right to marry.

Three men killed crossing Atlanta road likely drunk: police

ATLANTA - Three men were likely intoxicated when they tried to walk across a busy 12-lane interstate highway in Atlanta and were struck and killed by a pickup truck early on Tuesday, according to local police.

Brazilian tourists leapfrog Britons visiting Florida

ORLANDO Fla. - Forget those stay-at-home, World Cup soccer-obsessed Brazilians.

Former NFL star Hernandez, facing murder charges, featured in calendar

- Former NFL star Aaron Hernandez, who has traded the gridiron for the courtroom as he faces charges of murdering three men, is featured as the July image in a calendar approved by his alma mater, the University of Florida, before he was charged, a university spokesman said on Tuesday.

Judge overturns conviction, frees New York's 'cannibal cop'

NEW YORK - A federal judge on Tuesday ordered New York's "cannibal cop" released from jail after overturning the former city police officer's conviction for plotting to kidnap, kill and cook women.

Pitt, Penn State most expensive public colleges in U.S.

HARRISBURG Pa. - A study by the U.S. Department of Education shows that the main campuses of the University of Pittsburgh and Penn State University are the most costly four-year public colleges in the country.

Baby birthed by teenage mother found buried in North Carolina: police

WINSTON-SALEM N.C. - A North Carolina teenager appears to have concealed her pregnancy from her parents before giving birth to a baby girl whose body was found buried in the family's yard, local police said on Tuesday.

Kerry warns U.S. will deport undocumented Central American children

PANAMA CITY - U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on Tuesday Washington would work with Central America to address the root causes of an immigration crisis, but kept up the Obama administration's tough message that undocumented children would be deported.

Massachusetts family says VA offer of help came two years late

BOSTON - Last month, Suzanne Chase opened a letter from a Veterans Affairs hospital offering her husband medical help - an offer that she said came nearly two years after his death.

Texas woman sentenced for million dollar shoplifting ring

SAN ANTONIO - A Texas woman has been sentenced to 10 years in prison for taking part in an international shoplifting ring where members used oversized bags to steal millions of dollars worth of goods from high-end stores, prosecutors said on Tuesday.

Obamacare exchanges not properly verifying applicant data: watchdog

WASHINGTON - Online insurance marketplaces created under President Barack Obama's signature healthcare law are struggling to verify whether Americans who applied for government subsidies to purchase health insurance are actually qualified to receive them, a federal watchdog agency said on Tuesday.

Oregon grandmother arrested after toddler drinks meth-laced tea

PORTLAND Ore.  - An Oregon grandmother who authorities said made a cup of methamphetamine-laced tea while visiting family in California is facing a felony child endangerment charge after her 2-year-old granddaughter drank the concoction and was hospitalized.

Three hurt in explosion at GM Indiana auto stamping plant

DETROIT - General Motors Co said on Tuesday a "small explosion" at its auto stamping plant in Marion, Indiana, injured three workers and caused a suspension of production as the factory was evacuated.

Colorado clerk again refuses to halt issuing same-sex marriage licenses

BOULDER Colo. - A county clerk in Colorado refused on Tuesday an ultimatum by the state attorney general to stop unilaterally issuing same-sex marriage licenses until the U.S. Supreme Court settles the issue, or face legal action.

Benghazi attack suspect has been talking to U.S. interrogators: officials

WASHINGTON - A Libyan militant accused of involvement in the 2012 attacks on U.S. government installations in Benghazi, Libya, has been talking to U.S. interrogators, U.S. officials familiar with the matter said.

Prosecutors urge judge to keep accused bomber's trial in Boston

BOSTON - Federal prosecutors on Tuesday urged a judge to reject accused Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's request to move his trial outside of the city, saying there was no evidence that it would be impossible to select an impartial jury.

Worker killed in explosion at GM Indiana auto stamping plant

DETROIT - One worker was killed on Tuesday and four others hurt in a chemical explosion at a General Motors Co auto stamping plant in Marion, Indiana, the company said.

Colorado attorney general asks county to stop same-sex marriage licenses

DENVER - Colorado's solicitor general wants a county in the state to stop issuing same-sex marriage licenses until separate legislation over the status of such marriages is settled by the U.S. Supreme Court, the Denver Post reported Monday.

Conviction overturned for woman who aided 'squawk-box' prosecutors

NEW YORK - A U.S. judge has vacated the conviction of a former Merrill Lynch administrative assistant who lied to a grand jury under pressure from her boss but then helped convict six former brokers and traders of generating illegal profits with information they overheard on a "squawk box."

White House defends Obama's pick to lead veterans affairs

WASHINGTON - The White House on Monday defended President Barack Obama's choice to lead the troubled Veterans Administration, stressing that the nominee is a seasoned manager and dismissing concerns that he may lack a understanding of issues facing recent war veterans.

Fault lines re-emerge in U.S. Supreme Court at end of term

WASHINGTON - Sometimes there is no middle ground.

U.S. CDC tests suggest anthrax exposures 'highly unlikely'

CHICAGO - The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is advising some employees to stop taking antibiotics to ward off a possible anthrax infection after preliminary tests suggest it is "highly unlikely" they were inadvertently exposed to live anthrax bacteria earlier this month, a spokesman said on Monday.

Exclusive: Jury awards $8.1 million to investor who alleged BB&T misled him

- A jury in a South Carolina state court on Monday awarded $8.1 million to a former adviser who sold his wealth management business to BB&T Corp and later alleged that the bank mismanaged his retirement nest egg with a risky strategy, according to a person familiar with the matter.

PA woman 'doctor' charged after giving physicals to truckers

PHILADELPHIA - A Pennsylvania woman using bogus medical credentials to pose as a doctor was accused of identity theft and other charges after reportedly giving physical examinations to as many as 16 truckers.

Jury selection opens for accused Texas bomber who wrote to Unabomber

DALLAS - Jury selection began on Monday in the trial of a Texas man accused of trying to blow up a natural gas pipeline and suspected of seeking guidance from jailed Unabomber Ted Kaczynski.

Firearms makers moving to more gun-friendly U.S. southern states

CHARLESTON S.C. - The first gun manufacturer to leave Connecticut after it enacted tough new gun control laws last year in the wake of the Newtown school shootings presented a commemorative rifle on Monday to the governor of South Carolina, its new home.

Utah car thief returns minivan after finding toddler inside

SALT LAKE CITY - A would-be car thief surrendered to Utah authorities after realizing the family minivan she sped off in was carrying precious human cargo, a 3-year old girl, Salt Lake City police said on Monday.

New Yorkers hold solidarity vigil for slain Israeli teenagers

NEW YORK - Several hundred people waving Israeli flags and expressing grief and solidarity held a vigil in New York on Monday after the bodies of three missing Israeli teenagers were found in the occupied West Bank.  

Whole South Dakota town for sale at under $400,000

- Prospective buyers who want to be masters of their own domains could turn to southwestern South Dakota, where an entire town can be had for $399,000.

Fault lines re-emerge in U.S. Supreme Court at end of term

WASHINGTON - Sometimes there is no middle ground.

Former Calpers CEO plans to plead guilty to conspiracy

- A former chief executive of Calpers, the largest U.S. public pension fund, plans to plead guilty in a federal conspiracy case, according to his lawyer.

Boy, 12, found shot to death at Boy Scout camp in San Diego

SAN DIEGO - A 12-year-old boy from Las Vegas was found dead of a gunshot wound at a Boy Scouts of America summer camp in San Diego, police said on Monday.

After wet weekend, new tornadoes, floods seen in U.S. Midwest

- A strong storm front that proved deadly in Iowa moved through northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin on Monday, bringing with it hurricane-force winds and thunderstorms that damaged homes and took down trees and power lines.

U.S. to move some Central American immigrants to California

LOS ANGELES - Some 140 illegal immigrants, many of them women with children, will be flown from Texas to California and processed through a San Diego-area U.S. Border Patrol station as federal officials deal with a crush of Central American migrants at the border, a local mayor said on Monday.

U.S. soldier charged with murder after death of Panamanian woman

MEXICO CITY - U.S. military authorities charged on Monday a U.S. soldier with "unpremeditated murder" after he allegedly killed a Panamanian woman, an army spokeswoman said.

Exclusive: South Carolina jury awards $8.1 million to investor who was misled by BB&T

- A South Carolina jury on Monday awarded $8.1 million to a former adviser who sold his wealth management business to BB&T Corp and later alleged that the company mismanaged his retirement nest egg with a risky strategy, according to a person familiar with the matter.

Boy, 12, found shot to death at Boy Scouts camp in San Diego

SAN DIEGO - A 12-year-old boy from Las Vegas was found dead of a gunshot wound at a Boy Scouts of America summer camp in San Diego, police said on Monday.

Indianapolis woman sues police after being stopped over bumper sticker

- An Indianapolis woman has sued the city's police department, contending that an order to remove an "Unmarked Police Car" bumper sticker from her minivan violated her rights to free speech, the group representing her said on Monday.

U.S. seeks nine years prison for ex-Jefferies trader in fraud case

- U.S. prosecutors have recommended that Jesse Litvak, the former Jefferies Group Inc trader convicted of defrauding investors in mortgage bond trades after the financial crisis, be sentenced to nine years in prison and a $5 million fine.

Florida judge suspended for courthouse fisticuffs returns to work

ORLANDO Fla. - A Florida judge who was caught on courtroom video challenging a defense lawyer to a fistfight returned to work on Monday after four weeks of anger management counseling, the court said.

U.S. unveils more export control changes, for military electronics

WASHINGTON - The U.S. government on Monday published another big batch of changes to export control laws affecting military electronics, and said it was on track to finish reviewing remaining categories for possible streamlining by the end of the year.

Feds arrest 10 in New Hampshire marijuana trafficking bust

CONCORD N.H. - Federal prosecutors said on Monday they had arrested 10 men they contended were running a New Hampshire drug ring, and added they were looking for four others suspected of trafficking in marijuana and other drugs.

Maryland kayakers rescued after 200-foot fall dam

- Two Maryland kayakers were recovering on Monday from injuries sustained after falling 200 feet down a Baltimore County dam, according to Baltimore County police.

Southern California man gets 13 years for planning to help al Qaeda

- A Southern California man was sentenced to 13 years in federal prison on Monday after pleading guilty to terrorism charges, the U.S. Attorney's office in Los Angeles said.

L'Oreal settles over skin care ads that U.S. termed deceptive

WASHINGTON - Cosmetics maker L'Oreal USA has agreed to settle U.S. complaints that its advertisements for skin care products Lancome Genifique and L'Oreal Paris Youth Code were deceptive, the Federal Trade Commission said on Monday.

Adult soccer player charged with assaulting referee in Michigan

- A soccer player who was about to be ejected from an adult game in a Detroit suburb critically injured a referee with a punch and has been charged with assault, authorities said on Monday.

Lawyer says Sandusky hired him for new appeal in Penn State sex case

HARRISBURG Pa. - Former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky has hired a new lawyer to pursue another appeal of his conviction on 45 counts of child sex abuse, the attorney said on Monday.

Transgender Connecticut police officer fired, city denies harassment

MILFORD Conn. - A transgender Middletown, Connecticut, police officer who complained for more than a year she had been the target of harassment by fellow officers has been fired, the city's mayor said on Monday, adding the action was not the result of the gender change.

Republican district clings on in Northern Virginia

LEESBURG Va. - Helped by an economic boom in nearby Washington D.C. and an influx of minority voters, Northern Virginia has in recent years become a largely Democratic base - save for one holdout.

New York court upholds ex-Bloomberg aide's larceny conviction

ALBANY N.Y. - New York state's highest court on Monday upheld the grand larceny conviction of former political consultant John Haggerty for stealing nearly $1 million from the 2009 campaign of then-New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

Coast Guard searches for missing swimmer, 14, at New Jersey shore

- Rescuers on Monday searched off Ocean City, New Jersey, for a 14-year-old swimmer caught in rough water and missing since Sunday evening, the U.S. Coast Guard said.

U.S. Supreme Court will not intervene in fight over California cross

- The U.S. Supreme Court has for the second time declined to take up the question of whether the cross atop a San Diego war memorial constitutes an illegal endorsement of religion by the federal government.

Supreme Court won't intervene in California ban on gay-conversion therapy

SACRAMENTO Calif. - The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday refused to consider arguments against California's ban on a controversial therapy aimed at reversing homosexuality in children, allowing the prohibition to be enforced in the most populous U.S. state.

U.S. top court turns away Arab Bank appeal

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday left intact a lower court ruling against Jordan-based Arab Bank Plc for failing to supply documents in lawsuits accusing it of providing services to groups the United States brands as terrorist organizations.

N.Y. top court decides towns can ban fracking

ALBANY N.Y. - New York state's top court ruled on Monday that towns have the authority to ban gas drilling within their borders, giving a boost to opponents of the drilling method known as fracking.

Fired lesbian police chief in South Carolina gets her job back

CHARLESTON S.C. - A South Carolina police chief who said the mayor fired her because she is gay returned to work on Monday after being reinstated by the town council.

Second Wisconsin suitcase body is identified as Oregon woman

MILWAUKEE - An Oregon woman was identified on Monday as the second victim whose body was found in a suitcase dumped in a grassy ditch along a rural road in southeastern Wisconsin.

Flood waters to close parts of Mississippi River: Army Corps

- Rising flood waters were expected to make 11 locks and dams impassable on the upper Mississippi River, forcing the closure of the river later on Monday from Bellevue, Iowa, to Saverton, Missouri, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said.

Gunman shoots two, kills himself in New York City factory

NEW YORK - A man inquiring about a job at a New York City factory on Monday shot two workers and barricaded himself in the building before killing himself, authorities said.

New York's Grand Central main entry dedicated to Jackie Kennedy

NEW YORK - The main entrance to New York City's landmark Grand Central Terminal was dedicated to former first lady Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis on Monday, honoring her efforts to keep the station open.

Woman shot at Pennsylvania gun show says feels sorry for shooter

PHILADELPHIA - A Pennsylvania woman shot in the thigh by a vendor at a weekend gun show says she feel sympathy for the man who shot her, local media reported on Monday.

Florida judge tosses George Zimmerman libel suit against NBC

TAMPA Fla. - A Florida judge on Monday ruled against a libel lawsuit brought by acquitted killer George Zimmerman against NBC Universal, saying the network did not maliciously seek to portray him as a racist when it edited a phone call he made to police before shooting an unarmed black teenager.

U.S. Supreme Court to rule in mandatory union dues case

WASHINGTON - An Illinois healthcare worker's legal challenge of mandatory union dues from public employees reaches a climax on Monday when the U.S. Supreme Court is due to rule in the case at the final session of its nine-month term.

Jury selection begins in trial of friend of accused Boston bomber

BOSTON - Jury selection was set to begin on Monday in a U.S. court in Boston for the trial of the first of three friends of the Boston Marathon bombing suspect, charged with obstructing the investigation into the deadly blasts.

New York City man charged with murder of 8-year-old son

NEW YORK - A New York City father was charged on Monday with the murder of his 8-year-old son who apparently had been strangled, police said.

Dozens stuck for hours on SeaWorld San Diego ride after power failure

- A SeaWorld San Diego elevator ride with dozens aboard was stuck some 220 feet (67 meters) above ground for four hours on Sunday after a power failure, fire officials said.

U.S. court revives Abu Ghraib detainees' torture case

- A federal appeals court on Monday revived a lawsuit against CACI International Inc, in which the defense contractor's employees were accused of directing the torture of detainees at the Abu Ghraib prison near Baghdad.

U.S. justices uphold firms' religious objections to contraception

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday ruled that business owners can object on religious grounds to a provision of President Barack Obama's healthcare law that requires closely held private companies to provide health insurance that covers birth control.

Rescuer dies trying to save Washington state hiker: report

- A 61-year-old volunteer search and rescue worker fell to his death in Washington state after trying to save a hiker who had earlier plunged about 100 feet at a waterfall in mountains north of Seattle, local media said on Sunday.

U.S. Marine, long listed as deserter, back in custody

WASHINGTON - A U.S. Marine listed as a deserter for almost a decade since going missing after his return to the United States following his brief disappearance in Iraq is back in military custody, the Marine Corps said on Sunday.

Mormon activist awaits fates after meeting regional leader

SALT LAKE CITY - A prominent Mormon activist who faces possible excommunication met a regional church leader on Sunday but said there was no news yet on whether he will face a formal disciplinary process that could see him kicked out of the faith.

'Nanny from hell' could leave California home: report

- A 64-year-old woman dubbed the "nanny from hell" after she stopped working for the California family that hired her and refused to move out, is reportedly ready to leave their home.

U.S. soldier suspected of murder in Panama likely to face military justice

PANAMA CITY - A U.S. soldier suspected of murdering a Panamanian woman will "most likely" face charges in a military court in the United States, a U.S. military spokesman said on Sunday.

Low near Florida coast has 60 percent chance of becoming cyclone: NHC

- A low-pressure area located about 210 miles east-southeast of St. Augustine, Florida has a 60 percent chance of becoming a tropical cyclone during the next 48 hours, the U.S. National Hurricane Center (NHC) said on Monday.

Nine wounded in gunfire on New Orleans' Bourbon Street

- Two men armed with guns got into a dispute on New Orleans' famed Bourbon Street early on Sunday, opening fire on one another and wounding nine people in the vicinity, police said.

One dead, four wounded in Los Angeles BET Awards party shooting

- One person was killed and four others wounded in an early Sunday shooting at a pre-party in Los Angeles ahead of the Black Entertainment Television Awards show, police said.

Magnitude-5.2 earthquake shakes New Mexico, Arizona

- A 5.2-magnitude earthquake near the border of Arizona and New Mexico rattled a significant swath of the U.S. Southwest late Saturday but caused no major damage or injuries, the United States Geological Survey said.

Wendy Davis tries to get Texas campaign for governor back on track

DALLAS - For one day a year ago, Wendy Davis became the brightest star in the U.S. political universe when she donned pink tennis shoes and launched a one-woman, 10-hour filibuster against abortion restrictions that brought her international attention.

Obama to seek $2 billion from Congress to tackle child migrant crisis

WASHINGTON - U.S. President Barack Obama is to ask Congress for more than $2 billion to deal with the surge in unaccompanied children from Central America flooding into the United States along its southern border.

Dead Georgia boy's mom researched how kids die in cars: police

- The mother of a 22-month-old Georgia boy who died after being left by his father in a sweltering SUV told police she had researched how children die in hot vehicles, according to search warrants released on Sunday.

Father of California mass killer never knew 'the monster' in son

LOS ANGELES - The father of a 22-year-old man who killed six college students and himself near Santa Barbara, California, says he had long known his son was deeply troubled but realized too late "the monster" lurking within him.

Southwest Airlines co-founder dies at 83

- Rollin King, co-founder of the affordable carrier Southwest Airlines, has died at age 83, the airline said on Saturday.

New Jersey resort is rechristened with its once notorious name

VERNON N.J. - It's hard to forget a trip on the Alpine Slide, the half-mile fiberglass track that sent riders careening down the side of a mountain on a cart at a New Jersey resort once known as Action Park.

Hit-run driver sought in crash that killed three women in Florida

- Police in Tampa are looking for the driver of a car involved in a hit-and-run crash that killed three women, who according to local media reports were all single mothers, authorities said on Saturday.

Georgia father researched child death in hot car on Internet

- A Georgia father charged with murder after leaving his 22-month-old son in a sweltering car for seven hours told police he had researched how hot a vehicle needed to be to kill a child, according to a search warrant released on Saturday.

Conservationists rally outside Yellowstone to protest wolf hunting

- A rally to protest sport hunting and trapping of wolves in the United States drew about 150 participants on Saturday outside the gates of Yellowstone National Park, an organizer said.

Child killed by falling security door at Philadelphia ice treat shop: report

PHILADELPHIA - A 3-year-old girl was killed on Saturday when a metal security door fell on her at a flavored ice shop in Philadelphia, according to local media reports.

Plaintiffs in historic gay marriage case lauded at lavish ceremony

LOS ANGELES - A year after becoming among the first same-sex couples to wed legally in California, two men who were plaintiffs in the case that led to a court overturning the state's five-year ban on gay marriage held a lavish ceremony on Saturday with family and friends including Hollywood stars to celebrate their wedding.

On eve of court ruling, Americans oppose contraceptive ban: Reuters/Ipsos poll

WASHINGTON - A majority of Americans oppose letting employers, based on their religious views, exclude certain contraceptives from workers’ insurance coverage, says a Reuters/Ipsos opinion poll ahead of a U.S. Supreme Court decision expected on Monday.

Sufi faithful raise a stink over sultry perfume ads

SAN FRANCISCO - A sultry ad for a perfume created by Roberto Cavalli has touched a raw nerve with followers of Islamic Sufism, who claim the Italian design house has inappropriately used a symbol sacred to practitioners of their mystical faith.

Scientists unable to recreate chemical reaction suspected in New Mexico radiation leak

- Government scientists have not been able to replicate a chemical reaction suspected of causing a radiation leak at a U.S. nuclear waste dump in New Mexico, complicating efforts to understand what went wrong, a U.S. Energy Department official said Friday.

Pennsylvania school stabbing suspect seeks transfer to mental facility

PITTSBURGH - Lawyers for a teenager charged with wounding 21 people in a stabbing spree at his Pittsburgh-area high school in April have asked that he be moved from a juvenile detention hall to a mental health facility at the county's expense.

Food truck in San Francisco is going to the dogs

SAN FRANCISCO - Dogs and their owners in San Francisco have a moveable feast to chase, in the form of a food truck catering exclusively to customers of the four-legged variety.

U.S. auctions some 30,000 bitcoins from Silk Road raid

NEW YORK - The U.S. Marshals Service on Friday auctioned off about 30,000 bitcoins seized during a raid on Silk Road, an Internet black-market bazaar where authorities say illegal drugs and other goods could be bought.

Wind-whipped wildfire forces evacuations in Arizona

PHOENIX - A wind-driven fire burned through mountainous terrain in northeastern Arizona on Friday, forcing residents in two small subdivisions to evacuate their homes and blackening some 2,000 tree-studded acres, officials said.

U.S. court puts ruling overturning Indiana's gay marriage ban on hold

- A U.S. federal appeals court on Friday put on hold a judge's ruling striking down Indiana's ban on gay marriage, pending an appeal of the case.

Atlanta adoption agency closes after charges of violations in Congo

ATLANTA - An Atlanta-based international adoption agency will close after it was suspended for 90 days by U.S. authorities over allegations it paid bribes and used incorrect papers to adopt children in the Congo.

U.S. seeks more than eight years prison for SAC's Martoma

NEW YORK - Mathew Martoma, a former SAC Capital Advisors portfolio manager convicted of insider trading, should be sentenced to a "substantial" term of prison beyond the eight years recommended by probation officers, U.S. prosecutors argued Friday.

California Border Patrol sends agents to Texas to help with immigrant influx

SAN DIEGO - U.S. Border Patrol officials in Southern California are sending agents and other resources to Texas to help stretched colleagues in the Rio Grande deal with a surge of immigrants illegally crossing the frontier, two Border Patrol union officials said on Friday.

U.S. auctions some 30,000 bitcoins from Silk Road raid

NEW YORK - The U.S. Marshals Service on Friday auctioned off about 30,000 bitcoins seized during a raid on Silk Road, an Internet black-market bazaar where authorities say illegal drugs and other goods could be bought.

U.S. soul singer Bobby Womack dies at age 70: publicist

LOS ANGELES - U.S. soul singer and songwriter Bobby Womack has died, his publicist said on Friday. He was 70.

U.S. court puts ruling overturning Indiana's gay marriage ban on hold

- A U.S. federal appeals court on Friday put on hold a judge's two-day-old ruling striking down Indiana's ban on gay marriage, pending an appeal of the case.

Protesters fly blimp over NSA data center in Utah

SALT LAKE CITY - Three activist groups flew a blimp emblazoned with the words "Illegal Spying Below" over the National Security Agency's data center in Utah on Friday in protest against the federal government's mass surveillance programs.

Trial ends, judge to rule on lawsuit against NCAA over athlete pay

Oakland Calif. - A U.S. judge on Friday examined potential remedies to resolve the case between athletes and the National Collegiate Athletic Association that seeks to reshape traditional notions of amateur sports in the United States.

California bee attack sends 90-year-old woman, neighbors to hospital

- A 90-year-old California woman, her dog and three neighbors were sent to hospital after being attacked by a swarm of bees whose hive the woman inadvertently sprayed with water as she tended her yard, police said.

N.Y. lawmaker pleads guilty to immigration, bankruptcy fraud

NEW YORK - A New York state assemblywoman pleaded guilty on Friday in federal court to entering into a sham marriage to secure U.S. citizenship and lying about her assets when filing for bankruptcy.

U.S. soy supply seen at 37-year low, plantings hit record

CHICAGO - Relentless demand from exporters and processors likely thinned U.S. soybean stocks by June 1 to the lowest since the 1970s, but farmers have responded by planting their largest-ever soy crop this season, analysts expect government data to show on Monday.

Wrong Miss Florida crowned in voting mix-up

TAMPA Fla. - Just a week after her coronation, the winner of the 2014 Miss Florida pageant was dethroned on Friday when organizers said they had crowned the wrong woman after a vote-count error.

Protesters fly blimp over NSA data center in Utah

SALT LAKE CITY - Three activist groups flew a blimp emblazoned with the words "Illegal Spying Below" over the National Security Agency's data center in Utah on Friday in protest against the federal government's mass surveillance programs.

Montana judge facing censure tied to rape case calls penalty unprecedented

- A Montana judge facing suspension by the state's top court for implying a 14-year-old girl was partly to blame for her rape by a teacher and imposing an unlawfully lenient sentence in the case contends his punishment was unprecedented and suggests it be retracted.

Hawaii sentences ex-soldier to life for killing daughter: report

- A former U.S. Army soldier convicted of killing his daughter was spared the death penalty on Friday, sentenced to life in prison by a Honolulu jury in Hawaii's first such capital case since it became a state in 1959, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser newspaper reported.  

Drug testing delayed for Mississippi welfare recipients

- A new Mississippi law requiring drug testing for some welfare recipients will not take effect on July 1 as scheduled after state officials agreed to allow civil liberties groups to voice concerns at an upcoming public hearing.

'Miscommunications' followed Newtown school shooting, parents say

HARTFORD Conn. - Parents of some of the 20 first graders shot dead at Sandy Hook Elementary School told a gubernatorial commission on Friday there were “serious miscommunications” among local, state and federal authorities during the 2012 attack and in its aftermath.

Florida man sentenced to death for killing female deputy

ORLANDO Fla. - A 24-year-old Florida man who fatally shot a deputy investigating a motel robbery in 2012 was sentenced to death by a judge on Friday.

Retailers nervous as West Coast port labor talks running out of time

LOS ANGELES - With peak shipping season approaching, U.S. retailers are anxiously monitoring labor negotiations affecting 20,000 workers at West Coast ports that handle more than 40 percent of goods shipped in ocean containers.

U.S. retailers nervous as West Coast port labor talks running out of time

LOS ANGELES - With peak shipping season approaching, U.S. retailers are anxiously monitoring labor negotiations affecting 20,000 workers at West Coast ports that handle more than 40 percent of goods shipped in ocean containers.

Texas couple say they locked up son out of fear he is rapist

DALLAS - A Texas couple accused of locking up their son in an apartment garage for at least four years did so because they feared he was a rapist who put his family and community in danger, their lawyer told a bail hearing on Friday.

Puerto Rico agency debt slumps on downgrades, restructuring law

NEW YORK - Puerto Rico public corporation debt slumped on Friday after a new law that allows agencies to restructure their debts sparked fears of an imminent default and led to a slew of downgrades on the electricity, highway, and water authorities.

U.S. Marine Corps resumes flights of Lockheed F-35B jets

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Marine Corps said it was resuming flights of Lockheed Martin Corp F-35 B-model jets on Friday, and was continuing with its plan to send several jets to Britain for their international debut next month.

Caesars Entertainment to shut Showboat Atlantic City casino

- Caesars Entertainment Corp.'s decision to close its Showboat casino makes it the second gambling house shuttered in what New Jersey Governor Chris Christie had called a crucial year for the future of gambling in Atlantic City.

Maine woman sentenced to prison for grisly murder of husband

- A Bangor, Maine woman on Friday was sentenced to 50 years in prison for the gruesome murder of her husband, whom she was convicted of killing with pliers and a baseball bat, according to local media.

Maryland fast-food customer gets a bag of pot with her fries

- A Maryland woman who ordered a meal at a Sonic Corp fast-food restaurant got something extra with her French fries - a bag of marijuana.

Bail set at $1 million for Wisconsin man charged with hiding corpses

ELKHORN Wisc. - A Wisconsin judge set bail at $1 million on Friday for a security guard suspected of killing two women and hiding their corpses in two suitcases.

Father says learned son had slain six in California via the Internet

LOS ANGELES - The father of a 22-year-old man who killed six college students in a stabbing and shooting rampage near Santa Barbara, California, said in an interview that he initially thought his son was one of the victims and learned the grim truth only on the Internet.

Suicide nets approved for San Francisco's Golden Gate bridge

SAN FRANCISCO - It could soon be a lot harder for people bent on suicide to leap from San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge, as California state officials approved a funding plan on Friday to install mesh barriers beneath the historic span to catch jumpers before they hit the water.

Washington DC tour guides win court ruling on free speech grounds

WASHINGTON - A federal appeals court ruled on Friday in favor of Washington tour guides who challenged licensing rules that require guides to pay the city a license fee and pass an exam.

Somali expats fear bank curbs on sending money home

NEW YORK - Each month, 42-year-old Abdirizak Alibos shows up at a money transfer business in the heart of Minneapolis to send $500 to his three children in war-torn Somalia.

Fugitive returned to Pennsylvania after 33 years on the run

HARRISBURG Pa. - An elderly Pennsylvania fugitive, on the run for 33 years, is back in the state to face murder charges, authorities said on Friday.

Kansas coal plant fight back in court; emission concerns cited

- A long-running battle over coal-fired energy in Kansas continued Friday as the Sierra Club environmental group filed a legal challenge to the state's issuance of a permit intended to give a green light to a controversial new power plant.

New Jersey may be first state to ban smoking on beaches, in parks

NEW YORK - New Jersey could become the first state in the nation to ban cigarettes, cigars and other tobacco products in all public parks and beaches if Governor Chris Christie signs into law a sweeping anti-smoking bill approved by lawmakers.

U.S. Marines resume F-35B flights after fire; still headed for UK

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Marine Corps said on Friday it was resuming flights of Lockheed Martin Corp F-35 B-model jets that were suspended after a fire on an Air Force F-35A jet earlier this week, and still planned to send F-35 jets to Britain for their international debut next month.

Wrongly convicted men speak of injustice after 'Central Park Jogger' deal

NEW YORK - A group of men wrongfully convicted of raping a jogger in New York's Central Park in 1989 said they continued to battle feelings of injustice on Friday, a day after the city signed a $40 million settlement to end their civil rights lawsuit.

U.S. appeals court blocks lawsuits over Darvon, Darvocet painkillers

- A federal appeals court on Friday upheld the dismissal of nearly all claims in 68 cases seeking to hold drug makers liable for injuries from the use of the prescription painkillers Darvon and Darvocet, which were pulled from the U.S. market in 2010.

Detroit police probe case of boy found in basement, stepmom arrested

- Detroit police said Friday they were still trying to determine if there was any wrongdoing in the case of a 12-year-old boy who was missing for 11 days before being found alive and well in his family's basement.

Mississippi Tea Party leader Mark Mayfield dead in apparent suicide

- A prominent leader of the Mississippi Tea Party who was arrested in connection with photos posted online of U.S. Senator Thad Cochran's bedridden wife died on Friday of an apparent suicide, the man’s lawyer said.

Johns Hopkins hospital workers call off Baltimore strike

- A strike over wages by 2,000 Johns Hopkins Hospital service employees in Baltimore was averted on Friday after intervention by Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley.

Texas man pleads guilty to trying to aid foreign terrorists

AUSTIN Texas - A Texas man pleaded guilty on Friday of attempting to provide support and resources to a Middle Eastern foreign terrorist organization as part of a federal undercover operation, U.S. prosecutors said.

Massachusetts abortion clinics boost security, lawmakers seek fix

BOSTON - Massachusetts is beefing up security around abortion clinics and scrambling for a legal fix after the U.S. Supreme Court voided the state's buffer zone law that kept protesters 35 feet away, saying it violated freedom of speech.

Nebraska releases prisoners by mistake, tries to get some back

OMAHA - Nebraska authorities mistakenly released more than 300 criminals from prison early and are trying to track the two dozen they want to put back in jail, state officials said on Friday.

Mexican helicopter fired shots in Arizona near border, U.S. says

PHOENIX - U.S. authorities are investigating two shots that were fired from a Mexican helicopter when it crossed the border into Arizona, although no injuries or damage to U.S. property were reported, the U.S. Border Patrol said on Friday.

Kentucky head-on collision kills six, injures four

- Six people were killed and four injured in a fiery crash after a station wagon crossed the center line and slammed into a minivan near Lexington, Kentucky, police said on Friday.

NH man found guilty of murdering university student

BOSTON - A New Hampshire jury on Friday found Seth Mazzaglia guilty of first degree murder in the death of University of New Hampshire student Elizabeth Marriott in 2012, a court official said.

Autoliv agrees to settle U.S. securities class action

STOCKHOLM - Car safety gear maker Autoliv said on Friday it had reached an agreement in principle to settle a class action securities lawsuit in the United States.

Dogs, debris and Satan make their mark at Oklahoma capitol

OKLAHOMA CITY - As part of her grand plan to visit all 50 U.S. state capitols before her 70th birthday, Deidra Horan drove to Oklahoma City a few weeks ago. She toured the capitol, but that's not her most vivid memory of the trip.

U.S. to no longer produce anti-personnel landmines

WASHINGTON - The United States announced on Friday that it will no longer produce or seek to acquire anti-personnel landmines, deadly weapons that the United Nations says results in many civilian casualties.

California measure reducing sentences for nonviolent crimes heads to ballot

SACRAMENTO Calif. - A ballot initiative aimed at reducing prison sentences for people who commit nonviolent crimes including drug possession and petty theft will go before California voters in November, the state said Thursday.

Families sue Arizona over 2013 wildfire that killed 19 firefighters

PHOENIX - The families of a dozen of the 19 elite Arizona firefighters killed last year in the nation's worst wildfire in eight decades have filed a wrongful-death lawsuit claiming the state was negligent in its efforts to battle the massive blaze.

Legal pot backers in Oregon submit signatures to put issue before voters

PORTLAND Ore. - Supporters of a voter initiative to legalize marijuana for recreational use in Oregon said they submitted more than enough signatures to state election officials on Thursday to qualify the measure for the November ballot.

Obama to Central American parents: Don't send children to US border

WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama appealed to Central American parents on Thursday to not send their children to the U.S. southern border in his most forceful comments yet on the emerging humanitarian crisis that is causing him political problems.

Nets to catch suicide jumpers may be placed beneath iconic Golden Gate Bridge

SAN FRANCISCO - San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge may soon be less of a magnet for people trying to commit suicide, as regional officials consider a plan to install mesh barriers beneath the historic orange span to catch jumpers before they hit the water.

Federal judge upholds Colorado gun laws, dismisses lawsuit

DENVER - A federal judge upheld gun laws on Thursday introduced by Colorado in the wake of deadly shooting rampages there and in Connecticut, dismissing a lawsuit brought by sheriffs, gun shops, outfitters and shooting ranges.

California Supreme Court rules for immigrant who used other's ID

- A California law that protects workers from discrimination regardless of immigration status could be used by a migrant to sue his employer even though he used another man's Social Security number, the state Supreme Court ruled on Thursday.

Wisconsin man charged with hiding corpses found in suitcases

MILWAUKEE - A Wisconsin security guard charged with hiding the corpses of two women in suitcases told investigators he caused their deaths and stashed them in the luggage that he hid in his apartment and in the trunk of his vehicle, authorities said on Thursday.

Wisconsin man charged with hiding corpses found in suitcases

MILWAUKEE - A Wisconsin man charged with hiding the corpses of two women in suitcases has told investigators he was present when one of them died at a Minnesota hotel last year, authorities said on Thursday.

New York man convicted of murder after rap lyrics used as evidence

NEW YORK - An accused New York City gang member was found guilty of a slew of violent crimes, including three murders, on Thursday after a trial in which his boastful, graphic rap lyrics were used as evidence against him.

Florida Supreme Court tosses death row conviction on DNA evidence

TAMPA Fla. - Florida's Supreme Court threw out the death sentence of a man who spent almost 30 years in jail for the 1985 rape and murder of a woman found in a car trunk in the woods after new DNA evidence cast doubt on his guilt.

Federal judge upholds Colorado gun laws, dismisses lawsuit

DENVER - A federal judge upheld gun laws on Thursday introduced by Colorado in the wake of deadly shooting rampages there and in Connecticut, dismissing a lawsuit filed by sheriffs, gun shops, outfitters and shooting ranges.

California pair arrested over prostitution website

SAN FRANCISCO - An adult website that prosecutors say hooked up prostitutes with clients, under a thin disguise of offering strip club reviews, has been shut down and the website's two Northern California operators were arrested, federal authorities said on Thursday.

Georgia parents who kept boy locked in basement to surrender: police

- A Georgia couple accused of locking their 13-year-old son in the basement for up to two years have agreed to turn themselves in on Friday to face felony child abuse charges, police said.

Detroit bankruptcy judge on board for bus tour of city

DETROIT - The federal judge overseeing Detroit's historic bankruptcy case on Thursday indicated he is willing to join a bus tour proposed by the city, while rejecting demands by a major creditor in the case for an explanation of how a legal opinion was reached.

Rapped by judge, Montana lawyer in German student case scraps World Cup screening

- The lawyer for a Montana man accused of fatally shooting a German exchange student in his garage abruptly cancel led a Germany vs USA World Cup soccer screening party on Thursday after a judge called it a publicity stunt.

Widow of American Indian activist sues doctors over his death

DENVER - The widow of American Indian activist Russell Means has sued a New Mexico hospital for wrongful death and medical malpractice, claiming her husband's cancer was misdiagnosed before his death in 2012, court records show.

U.S. IRS launches education program for tax return preparers

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Internal Revenue Service said on Thursday it will launch a voluntary education program for tax return preparers, a step back from an earlier mandatory program of testing and regulation that was halted by the courts.

University of Washington student arrested after threats to be released

SEATTLE - A University of Washington student charged in federal court with making threatening comments over the Internet, including pledging to kill women and praising a California rampage gunman, will be released on bond on Friday, a judge ruled on Thursday.

U.S. public pensions' investment gains slow in first quarter: Census

WASHINGTON - U.S. public pensions eked out modest gains on their investments in the first quarter of the year, reflecting a slowdown after their huge returns during the stock market's rally in 2013, according to U.S. Census data released on Thursday.

Philadelphia policeman gets 15 years for tipping brother to drug probe

- A federal judge has sentenced a former Philadelphia police officer to 15 years in prison for informing his half-brother that authorities were investigating him for dealing heroin.

Disabled teen in Connecticut charged in sex assault of classmate

BRIDGEPORT Conn - A mentally disabled Connecticut high school student has been charged with sexually assaulting a disabled fellow student in a school bathroom as classmates cheered him on, according to police and court documents.

N.Y. court revives $1 billion suit over Russian oilfield

ALBANY N.Y. - New York's top state court on Thursday reinstated Canadian oil company Norex Petroleum Ltd's $1 billion lawsuit claiming that two billionaires used armed soldiers and corrupted Russian court proceedings to gain control of a Siberian oilfield.

U.S. arrests 22 in New Mexico, says they swapped stolen cars for drugs

WASHINGTON - Twenty-two people were arrested on Thursday in New Mexico and charged with participation in a ring that stole luxury cars and swapped them for drugs from a Mexican cartel, authorities said.

North Carolina legislature approves limited medical marijuana use

RALEIGH N.C - North Carolina is on the verge of joining the wave of states to approve a form of medical marijuana as lawmakers voted to allow its limited use for treating seizures.

Nearly 40 injured in Houston-area building collapse

AUSTIN Texas - Nearly 40 people were injured on Thursday when the ceiling of a garage apartment crashed down on Thursday onto about 100 people who had gathered for a religious event at a Houston-area residence, fire officials said.

Woman admits to buying guns used in deadly 2012 New York ambush

NEW YORK - A western New York woman pleaded guilty on Thursday to illegally supplying guns to a man who killed a policeman and a firefighter in a 2012 Christmas Eve ambush, officials said.

New York gives state workers time off to watch World Cup game

NEW YORK - New York state workers can indulge their World Cup fever on Thursday with an extended lunch break to root for Team USA in its match against Germany, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced.

Arkansas Republican resigns after saying Clinton could 'get shot'

LITTLE ROCK Ark. - An Arkansas Republican official has resigned after telling a magazine former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton would "probably get shot" if she returned to the state where she was a lawyer and served as first lady, officials said on Thursday.

Former Senator Howard Baker, key figure in Watergate hearings, dies

WASHINGTON - Tennessee Republican Howard Baker, a pivotal figure in the Senate Watergate inquiry that pushed U.S. President Richard Nixon toward resignation and who later helped salvage Ronald Reagan's presidency amid the Iran-Contra scandal, has died. He was 88.

Emboldened by Utah ruling, Colorado clerk issues gay marriage licenses

DENVER - A left-leaning Colorado county defiantly issued marriage licenses to gay couples on Thursday, emboldened by a landmark same-sex marriage ruling by a regional appeals court, even as the state attorney general warned such nuptials would not be valid.

Wisconsin governor not a target of special investigation: lawyer

MILWAUKEE - Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker was not a target of an investigation into possible illegal coordination between his campaign and special interest groups during elections in 2011 and 2012, a lawyer for the prosecutor leading the investigation said on Thursday.

U.S. Air Force suspends all F-35A flights, pending fire probe

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Air Force widened a ban on flights of Lockheed Martin Corp's F-35 A-model fighter jets on Thursday as authorities continue to investigate a fire on one of the jets this week, but the Navy and Marine Corps stopped short of a similar blanket move ahead of the plane's international debut next month.

Wife of NJ Governor Christie to help kick off anti-drug campaign

- The wife of Governor Chris Christie heads to one of New Jersey's most well-to-do communities on Thursday to help kick off a broad strategy to battle heroin and opiate abuse, deemed the No. 1 healthcare crisis facing the state.

Father of California mass killer says rampage came as surprise

LOS ANGELES - The father of a man who killed six people in a California college town said in a television interview that his son's rampage came as a surprise, despite contentions by some victims' families that the attack might have been prevented.

New York City to vote on ID cards for illegal immigrants

NEW YORK - The New York City Council was expected to vote Thursday on a proposal to create the nation's largest municipal identification card program to include illegal immigrants.

Massachusetts to raise minimum wage to highest of any U.S. state

BOSTON - Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick on Thursday signed into law a measure raising the minimum wage to the highest of any U.S. state, $11 per hour, by 2017.

City official approves deal to end 'Central Park Jogger' lawsuit

NEW YORK - New York City's chief fiscal officer on Thursday signed off on a settlement that would end the decade-long civil rights lawsuit brought by five men wrongfully convicted of raping a jogger in Central Park in 1989.

Crews making rapid progress on closed Delaware bridge: officials

- Construction crews are making quick progress repairing a busy Delaware commuter bridge closed down earlier this month because some of its support beams were tilting, state transportation officials said on Thursday.

Authorities to prosecute 154, seize guns in Connecticut sweep

- Law enforcement authorities expect to prosecute 154 people as part of an undercover operation that seized illegal drugs and scores of guns in two Connecticut cities, a federal agency said.

Georgia toddler left in car by father died of heatstroke: officials

ATLANTA - A Georgia medical examiner has found a 22-month-old toddler who died last week in suburban Atlanta after being left in his father's SUV for seven hours appears to have succumbed to heatstroke, according to local officials.

Massachusetts to raise minimum wage to highest of any U.S. state

BOSTON - Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick is scheduled on Thursday to sign into law a measure raising the minimum wage to the highest of any U.S. state, $11 per hour, by 2017.

U.S. top court rules against Obama over appointment power

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday delivered a blow to President Barack Obama by cutting back the power of the White House to temporarily fill senior government posts without Senate approval.

U.S. top court strikes down Massachusetts abortion buffer law

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday struck down a Massachusetts law that mandates a protective buffer zone around abortion clinics to allow patients unimpeded access.

Fed carefully eyeing U.S. healthcare costs: Lacker

LYNCHBURG Va. - U.S. healthcare costs are a growing issue for businesses across the country, with the Federal Reserve keeping close tabs on the issue, a top Fed official said on Thursday.

Shoplifting suspect killed after firing gun in Los Angeles mall -police

- Los Angeles police said they had killed a shoplifting suspect in a residential neighborhood late on Wednesday evening after he opened fire in a nearby mall at a security guard who had confronted him.

After six years of pain, Californians now say they are better off: poll

SAN FRANCISCO - For the first time in over six years, since the start of the recession, more Californians are saying they are better off financially than those who say they are worse off, according to a Field Poll to be released Thursday.

U.S. healthcare profit outlook brightens on Obamacare, drug prices

NEW YORK - U.S. healthcare companies are winning higher profit forecasts, bucking a wider trend on Wall Street, as pricey new biotech drugs hit the market and insurance enrollment rises under the Affordable Care Act.

Arizona education official cries in apology over Web comments

- Arizona's top education official broke down in tears on Wednesday as he apologized for his anonymous comments on Internet blogs that included comparing a birth control activist to Adolf Hitler and calling for an end to Spanish-language media in the United States.

Minorities seen driving U.S. household growth: study

WASHINGTON - Minorities will account for more than one-third of U.S. households by 2025 and make up nearly half of first-time homebuyers, according to a study released on Thursday.

Bond insurer Syncora is stubborn city rival in Detroit's bankruptcy

- Bond insurer Syncora Guarantee Inc has emerged as Detroit's chief nemesis in the city's historic bankruptcy case and is fighting as if its financial life depends on a decent recovery on its $400 million exposure to the city.

Boston dance concert attendees hospitalized with minor symptoms

- Three dozen teenagers at an electronic dance concert at Boston's TD Garden were taken to local hospitals on Wednesday, the Boston Herald reported, citing a city official.

Oregon pot advocates to submit signatures for November vote

PORTLAND Ore. - Advocates of legal recreational marijuana in Oregon plan to submit a ballot petition with more than 145,000 signatures on Thursday to force a vote in November on legalizing pot.

New California law lets schools fire teachers for 'egregious misconduct'

SACRAMENTO Calif. - California Governor Jerry Brown on Wednesday signed a law adding "egregious misconduct" to the list of fireable offenses for public school teachers, weeks after a judge said it was too hard to fire incompetent teachers in the most populous U.S. state.

Construction to restart at NYC's 3 World Trade Center

NEW YORK - Construction on Lower Manhattan's flagship 3 World Trade Center building is set to restart after the developer was given the go-ahead on Wednesday to use $159 million in insurance money while he raises more than $1 billion private sector financing.

Glitch generates wrong photos on Arizona driver's licenses

PHOENIX - A new system implemented to better process Arizona driver's licenses has turned out to be less than picture-perfect in its first week of operation - generating a handful licenses with photographs of the wrong person.

Analysis: Game changer or symbolic move - U.S. debates condensate exports

- Facing a growing domestic oversupply, a U.S. crude oil producer and a pipeline company waged a quiet crusade in Washington earlier this year aimed at easing a decades-long ban on crude exports.

U.S. appeals court backs gay marriage in conservative Utah

DENVER - A U.S. appeals court ruled on Wednesday that conservative Utah may not ban gay couples from marrying, a decision that capped a day of victories for same-sex nuptials and nudges the issue closer to the U.S. Supreme Court.

U.S. Supreme Court's milestone ruling protects cellphone privacy

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday ruled that police officers usually need a warrant before they can search the cellphone of an arrested suspect, a major decision in favor of privacy rights at a time of increasing concern over government encroachment in digital communications.

Drone firm says it did not peep on Seattle woman

- A drone that spooked a Seattle woman in her apartment and prompted a police probe of possible invasion of privacy was not trying to catch an illicit image but rather shooting a panoramic view for a developer, the company that operates it said on Wednesday.

After a decade, Parmalat lawsuit versus Grant Thornton in U.S. is back

- A federal appeals court in Chicago said auditor Grant Thornton LLP must again face a lawsuit over its alleged role in the collapse of Italian dairy company Parmalat SpA, while lamenting that its decision puts the nearly 10-year-old case on the brink of starting anew.

Top official at U.S. Attorney's Office in Manhattan to step down

- A top official in the U.S. Attorney's Office in Manhattan who oversaw a number of high-profile insider trading cases is leaving his post after two and a half years, according to a spokesman for the office.

Fresno, Calif., fires may be work of arsonists, investigators say

- Fire investigators in the central California city of Fresno on Wednesday were scrutinizing evidence from two brushfires that erupted downtown this week to see if they are related to a string of blazes believed set by serial arsonists.

Human rights groups seek inquiry into Florida prison shower death

- The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) on Wednesday called for a federal investigation into the 2012 scalding death of a mentally ill prisoner in Florida for which no one has been held accountable.

Connecticut sting busts crime in New Haven, Bridgeport: officials

MILFORD Conn. - Connecticut authorities on Wednesday announced a sting operation aimed at curbing violent crime in Bridgeport and New Haven that netted dozens of illegal weapons and resulted in the planned prosecution of more than 150 people.

Wisconsin man in custody in connection with bodies found in suitcases

MILWAUKEE - A Milwaukee-area man was taken into custody on Wednesday in connection with the deaths of two women whose bodies were found in separate suitcases along a rural road earlier this month, authorities said.

American jailed in Cuba plans suicide, lawyer says

HAVANA - A U.S. foreign aid contractor jailed in Cuba is planning suicide as his health declines and he grows increasingly depressed, his lawyer said on Wednesday.

Conjoined twins, just over two months old, die in Pennsylvania

PITTSBURGH - Conjoined twin boys in Pennsylvania whose parents opted not to separate them have died at just over 2 months old, authorities said on Wednesday.

Wisconsin man in custody in connection with bodies found in suitcases

MILWAUKEE - A Milwaukee-area man was taken into custody on Wednesday in connection with the deaths of two women whose bodies were found in separate suitcases along a rural road earlier this month, authorities said.

Google executive halts his plan to raze historic Portland house

PORTLAND Ore.  - Google executive Kevin Rose has halted his plans to demolish a historic home in downtown Portland following pressure from his new neighbors who sought to save it. He now plans to sell to a long-time resident instead, both sides said. 

Detroit bankruptcy judge rejects big-ticket creditor claims

DETROIT - Detroit is off the hook for $150 million to buy garbage trucks that one resident claimed or to compensate a California man $1 trillion for the loss of nuclear research materials, a U.S. Bankruptcy Court judge ruled on Wednesday.

After a decade, Parmalat lawsuit vs Grant Thornton in U.S. is back

- A federal appeals court in Chicago said auditor Grant Thornton LLP must again face a lawsuit over its alleged role in the collapse of Italian dairy company Parmalat SpA, while lamenting that its decision puts the nearly 10-year-old case on the brink of starting anew.

New York's Metropolitan Opera vandalized with painted obscenities

NEW YORK - New York City's storied Metropolitan Opera House was struck by a vandal who spray painted obscenities on paintings, sculptures and administrative offices early on Wednesday, police said.

Feminist Kelly to appeal excommunication from Mormon church

SALT LAKE CITY - A prominent Mormon feminist, who was excommunicated by the Utah-based church this week after pushing for the ordination of women, said on Wednesday she plans to appeal the decision.

Opponents of renewable energy law ask for U.S. Supreme Court hearing

- Fuel producers are urging the U.S. Supreme Court to hear a challenge to California's landmark low carbon fuel standard, the first of a series of cases seeking to roll back state renewable energy laws around the country.

Acclaimed U.S. poet Wallace Stevens' Connecticut home up for sale

MILFORD Conn. - The former Connecticut home of the late American poet Wallace Stevens is up for sale in Hartford's west end, and devotees of the Pulitzer Prize winner's works hope to buy it.

Pennsylvania man accused of hiding dead father in barrel

PITTSBURGH - A Pennsylvania man is accused of using his dead father's bank card to purchase a barrel for hiding the corpse, authorities said on Wednesday.

New York airports consider playing catch up on free Wi-Fi access

NEW YORK - Airports in the New York City area could soon join others in major U.S. cities that offer free wireless Internet access, according to a plan being considered on Wednesday by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

Woman blames fall on 'Dexter' ad at NY's Grand Central Terminal

NEW YORK - A woman who claims she was injured when she was startled by an advertisement for cable television's "Dexter" show at Grand Central Terminal has filed a lawsuit saying the ad's placement was dangerous, her attorney said on Wednesday.

Lawyer gets 15 years prison for massive U.S. tax fraud scheme

NEW YORK - A former partner at the defunct law firm Jenkens & Gilchrist was sentenced to 15 years in prison on Wednesday following his conviction in what prosecutors call the largest criminal tax fraud in U.S. history.

Lawyer gets 15 years prison for massive U.S. tax fraud scheme

NEW YORK - A former partner at the defunct law firm Jenkens & Gilchrist was sentenced to 15 years in prison on Wednesday following his conviction in what prosecutors call the largest criminal tax fraud in U.S. history.

January trial set in Montana killing of German exchange student

MISSOULA Mont. - A Montana man who admitted to police he shot and killed a 17-year-old German exchange student who entered his garage will go on trial in January in a case expected to test the state's "castle doctrine" self-defense law, a judge ruled on Wednesday.

Minnesota teen detailed school attack plans in police interview

MINNEAPOLIS - A southern Minnesota teen accused of planning an attack at his high school described to police in detail his plans to kill his family and set a fire to distract first responders before detonating explosives at his school in Waseca.

Georgia man charged with murder after leaving son in car seat

ATLANTA - After having breakfast with his son at a restaurant last week, a suburban Atlanta man was supposed to drop the 22-month-old toddler at a day-care center on his way to work.

Philadelphia police find rape suspect by pinging stolen cell phone

- Philadelphia police said on Wednesday they caught a man suspected of rape by pinging the victim's cell phone, which had been stolen by her attacker.

Exclusive: Virgin America flight attendants to hold union vote

SEATTLE - Flight attendants at Virgin America are due to begin voting next month on whether to join a union, which would be the first at the California-based airline.

US Air Force extends ban on F-35A flights from Florida air base

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Air Force is extending a temporary ban on flights of Lockheed Martin Corp's F-35 A-model jets from a Florida air base while officials investigate a fire that damaged one of the aircraft on Monday.

Massachusetts high court says accused criminal must decrypt computers for police

BOSTON - Police can order an accused criminal to decrypt his computer without violating his constitutional right against self-incrimination, Massachusetts' top court said on Wednesday.

Accused N.H. killer was overcome by 'darkness': prosecutor

DOVER N.H. - Seth Mazzaglia was overtaken by "the darkness" when he strangled a 19-year-old University of New Hampshire student in 2012 for rejecting his sexual advances, a state prosecutor said on Wednesday.

Five-burger reward offered in Connecticut restaurant theft

MILFORD Conn. - A Connecticut burger joint is offering five free cheeseburgers - hold the criminal charges - to anyone who helps recover a six-foot high (1.8 meter) fiberglass double cheeseburger stolen from outside the restaurant.

More people visit U.S.'s Sept. 11 museum than expected -officials

NEW YORK - The number of visitors to the National September 11 Memorial & Museum in New York since it opened last month has exceeded expectations as thousands more people flock to the site, museum officials said on Wednesday.

U.S. courts strike down gay marriage bans in Indiana and Utah

- U.S. appeals courts struck down gay marriage bans in Utah and Indiana on Wednesday, saying they violated constitutional rights to equal protection in the latest in a series of court rulings across the nation to allow gay couples to wed.

U.S. judge strikes down Indiana gay marriage ban

- A U.S. federal judge on Wednesday struck down the Indiana ban on same-sex marriage, saying the measure was unconstitutional and ordering officials to start issuing marriage licenses.

Maine governor draws hard line on undocumented immigrants

BOWDOINHAM Maine - Maine Governor Paul Lepage has threatened to cut state funding from the General Assistance Program to cities and towns that give aid to undocumented immigrants, a move that highlights increasing national anxiety over immigration reform and its trickle-down effect to the states.

Chicago lawmakers set to vote on tough gun shop restrictions

CHICAGO - The Chicago City Council is expected to vote on Wednesday in favor of a tough new gun shop law that requires videotaping gun purchases and limiting sales to one per month per buyer.

U.S. appeals court says Utah's gay marriage ban is unconstitutional

- A U.S. appeals court ruled on Wednesday that Utah's ban on gay marriages was unconstitutional, saying a state could not refuse to recognize unions based on the sex of participants.

Chinese millionaire set for lunch with 1,000 homeless in NYC

NEW YORK - A wealthy Chinese businessman who tried to buy the New York Times planned to serve a free lunch to 1,000 homeless people in New York's Central Park on Wednesday with 250 of them dining in the park's Loeb Boathouse restaurant.

U.S. company recalls 66,000 wine cork pierces after bottles break

WASHINGTON - A Massachusetts company is recalling about 66,000 cork-piercing devices because the wine-dispensing systems can break bottles, creating a risk of cuts, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission said on Wednesday.

U.S. top court in major ruling to protect cellphone privacy

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday ruled that police officers usually need a warrant before they can search an arrested suspect's cellphone, a major decision in favor of privacy rights at a time of increasing concern over government encroachment in digital communications.

Seattle Archdiocese to pay $12 million to settle child sex abuse claims: lawyer

SEATTLE - The Archdiocese of Seattle has agreed to pay about $12.125 million to 30 men who alleged they were sexually abused as children and teens at two Seattle-area schools from the 1950s until 1984, their attorney said.

Closing arguments to begin in lurid N.H. murder trial

DOVER New Hampshire - Closing arguments were due Wednesday in a New Hampshire murder trial that has riveted the New England state with details of the occult, sadomasochism and romantic betrayal.

Jailed American in Cuba is suicidal, wife and lawyer say

HAVANA - A U.S. foreign aid contractor serving a 15-year prison sentence in Cuba for importing banned Internet technology is increasingly suicidal, his wife and lawyer said on Wednesday.

Oregon's would-be Christmas festival bomber denied new trial

PORTLAND Ore. - A Somali-American man convicted of trying to blow up a Christmas tree lighting ceremony in Oregon was denied a new trial on Tuesday by a federal judge who rejected the defendant's claims that his constitutional rights were violated by warrantless surveillance.

Ban on inmate sterilizations moves forward in California legislature

SACRAMENTO Calif. - A bill to ban sterilization surgeries on inmates in California prisons advanced on Tuesday, days after an audit showed officials failed to follow the state's rules for obtaining consent for the procedures.

Federal judge rules U.S. no-fly list violates Constitution

- The U.S. government's no-fly list banning people accused of links to terrorism from commercial flights violates their constitutional rights because it gives them no meaningful way to contest that decision, a federal judge ruled on Tuesday.

Property owners sue Arizona over 2013 wildfire that killed 19 firefighters

PHOENIX - More than 160 property owners affected by an Arizona wildfire that killed 19 firefighters last year have filed a lawsuit against the state, claiming that its mismanagement caused lives to be lost and homes and businesses to be destroyed.

U.S. high court bucks pro-business trend this term

WASHINGTON - With only days remaining in its term, the U.S. Supreme Court is on track to at least partly dispel the impression that it's pro-business.

Senator Cochran defeats Tea Party rival in Mississippi Republican runoff

HATTIESBURG Miss. - Veteran U.S. Senator Thad Cochran of Mississippi narrowly defeated challenger Chris McDaniel on Tuesday in a high-profile runoff election that pitted the Republican party's old guard against its anti-establishment Tea Party movement.

Las Vegas man gets prison time for reality TV shooting incident

LAS VEGAS - A Las Vegas man involved in a 2011 shooting incident with the crew of reality TV show "Repo Games" was sentenced on Tuesday to 90 days in prison and five years of probation, his lawyer said.

Firefighter critically injured after truck rolled over at Oakland Airport

- An accident at California's Oakland International Airport on Tuesday left a firefighter in critical condition but did not affect flights or airport operations, officials said.

Florida voter drive seeks to motivate state's youth vote

ORLANDO - The Dream Defenders, a student-led group that garnered national attention for occupying the Florida governor's office in 2013 to protest the state's self-defense law, kicked off a campaign on Tuesday to get younger voters to the polls in November.

Police say two dead, seven injured in Miami shooting

MIAMI - Two people were killed and seven injured after gunfire erupted early Tuesday morning near a Miami-area apartment building in the low-income neighborhood of Liberty City, a police spokeswoman said.

Whole Foods to pay $800,000 for overcharging California customers

- Whole Foods Markets Inc has agreed to pay $800,000 after an investigation found that the supermarket chain overcharged customers in California, officials in the state said on Tuesday.

American Apparel's suspended CEO seeks arbitration: WSJ

- American Apparel Inc founder Dov Charney's lawyer has filed a petition for arbitration to counter plans to strip Charney of his roles as president and chief executive of the company, The Wall Street Journal reported in Tuesday's paper.

Prosecutors insist on felony charge against World Trade Center jumpers

NEW YORK - New York City prosecutors said on Tuesday that any potential plea deal with three men accused of parachuting from the top of the 104-story One World Trade Center tower must include a felony criminal charge.

Colorado suspends oil and gas wastewater disposal well after quake

- Disposal of wastewater from oil and gas drilling into a Colorado well was ordered halted this week after seismic activity was detected in the area, state regulators said on Tuesday.

Wisconsin girl stabbed in 'Slenderman' attack thanks supporters

- A 12-year-old Wisconsin girl stabbed repeatedly by her friends to please the fictional Slenderman character thanked her supporters in a picture released by her family on Tuesday.

Former N.Y. cop faces hate crime charges for robbing Hispanics

NEW YORK - A former police sergeant pleaded not guilty on Tuesday to hate crime charges for stealing cash from Hispanic motorists during traffic stops on New York's Long Island, officials said.

Texas police officer praised for rescuing woman from oncoming train

HOUSTON - A Houston-area police officer who pulled a woman off railroad tracks seconds before a speeding train passed was honored by his colleagues on Tuesday.

Woman who admitted snatching newborn at Penn. hospital is sentenced

- A woman who admitted posing as a nurse and grabbing a newborn baby from a Pittsburgh hospital apologized on Tuesday in court and was sentenced to up to five years in prison.

Advocates say more time needed to seek out N.C. sterilization victims

WINSTON-SALEM N.C. - An effort by North Carolina to compensate hundreds of people forcibly sterilized during the country's longest-running eugenics program is facing criticism from some advocates, who say more time is needed to find possible victims.

Montana health record hackers compromise 1.3 million people

- A data security breach of Montana's state health records has compromised the Social Security numbers and other personal information of some 1.3 million people, but the full extent of damage from the intrusion is unclear, state officials said on Tuesday.

White House weakened draft of FDA's proposed tobacco regulations

WASHINGTON - White House changes to proposed rules for tobacco products significantly weakened language detailing health risks from cigars and deleted restrictions that might have prevented online sales of e-cigarettes, published documents show.

Pennsylvania man sentenced for selling $270,000 in stolen phones

- A former Pennsylvania Verizon Wireless employee was sentenced to two years in prison on Tuesday for stealing 900 cell phones and accessories and selling them online for more than $270,000, prosecutors said.

U.S. police forces 'dangerously' militarized, rights group says

- Police SWAT teams are forcing their way into homes, often using explosive devices, simply to serve drug possession search warrants in tactics that a leading civil rights groups said on Tuesday treated civilians as wartime enemies.

Caribbean cocaine flows to United States keep rising: U.S. official

SANTO DOMINGO - The percentage of cocaine flowing to the United States through the Caribbean has more than tripled in the past three years, an Obama administration official said on Tuesday, adding weight to claims that criminal organizations are shifting back to a route they abandoned years ago.

Convicted NY child molester launches new bid to clear name

NEW YORK - A New York man who spent 13 years in prison for molesting children in the 1980s is relaunching his decade-long bid to clear his name, court papers show, reviving a controversy that was made the subject of an Oscar-nominated documentary.

California eatery marks fois gras ban with free pate portions

SAN FRANCISCO - In a special offer to wistful diners on the two-year anniversary of California’s foie gras ban, a Napa Valley restaurant plans to serve up the culinary delicacy to a select number of its patrons next month – for free.

More than 50 dogs killed in Dallas house fire

DALLAS - More than 50 dogs were killed and two people injured when a fire swept through a Dallas house on Tuesday, fire officials said.

Man pleads guilty in Texas to rhino horn smuggling

AUSTIN Texas - An Asian art dealer based in a Dallas suburb pleaded guilty on Tuesday to being part of a ring that smuggled more than $1 million of rhino horn and elephant ivory from the United States to China, U.S. prosecutors said.

Connecticut mechanic smashes customer's rare Ferrari

- A mechanic driving a customer's extremely rare Ferrari sports car wrecked it on a Connecticut highway, state police said on Tuesday.

KFC says story of scarred girl asked to leave was hoax

- A story involving a disfigured 3-year-old Mississippi girl whose family said they were asked to leave a KFC restaurant because her appearance was scaring customers, has been found to be a hoax, according to a spokesman for the fried chicken franchise.

Montana judge tells fast-food worker to get a 'real job'

- A Montana judge facing censure for suggesting a teenage girl was partly to blame for being raped by a teacher came under scrutiny again after he asked a man convicted of vandalism why he didn’t get a “real job” instead of working at a fast-food chain.

Would-be creditors seek dump trucks, nuclear research from bankrupt Detroit

- As if it's not bad enough that Detroit acknowledges it owes its creditors $18 billion, another batch of would-be creditors says the city owes them much more, for garbage trucks worth $150 million to nuclear research materials valued at an alleged $1 trillion.

Arizona couple accused of child abuse plead not guilty

PHOENIX - An Arizona couple accused of repeatedly beating their two adopted daughters and leaving them severely malnourished pleaded not guilty on Monday to child abuse charges, court officials said.

University of Oregon suspends basketball players accused of rape

PORTLAND Ore. - Three University of Oregon basketball players who were accused of raping a classmate but have not been criminally charged have been suspended from the school for as long as their accuser continues to be enrolled there, her attorney said on Tuesday.

Calif. prosecutors: Informant claims should not derail death penalty case

SANTA ANA Calif. - Prosecutors seeking the death penalty against a former tugboat worker who killed eight people in a 2011 shooting rampage at a California hair salon asked a judge on Monday to cut off further inquiry into his claims of misconduct on their part.

U.S. Air Force to resume F-35A fighter jet flights Wednesday

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Air Force said it will resume flights of Lockheed Martin Corp's F-35 A-model fighter jets at a Florida air base on Wednesday, two days after one of the jets caught fire while preparing for takeoff.

Drone flown in possible peep attempt outside Seattle woman's apartment

- Two men piloted a drone outside a Seattle woman's apartment in a possible attempt to peep at her, and after a concierge came outside to see what they were doing, the two men drove off, city police said on Tuesday.

Man who shot self at Arlington was 92-year-old retired officer

WASHINGTON - A man who died of a self-inflicted gunshot at Arlington National Cemetery has been identified as a 92-year-old retired U.S. Air Force officer, officials said on Tuesday.

Pennsylvania pastor defrocked for son's gay wedding is reinstated

PHILADELPHIA - A Methodist pastor who was defrocked after officiating at his son's same-sex wedding ceremony will be reinstated, said a church appeals panel that withdrew his punishment on Tuesday.

Two arrested in 25-year-old Michigan murder mystery

- Two Michigan brothers were arrested Tuesday and charged with the 25-year-old murder of a young woman in a case that has long frustrated law enforcement, officials said.

CDC reassigns director of lab behind anthrax blunder

ATLANTA/CHICAGO - The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has reassigned the director of the bioterror lab behind the potential anthrax exposure of dozens of scientists and staff, sources told Reuters, as the anthrax controversy intensified.

Second bridge probe linked to Christie is underway: report

NEW YORK - A second bridge investigation linked to New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is underway, this one focusing on possible securities law violations involving the Pulaski Skyway bridge, the New York Times reported on Tuesday.

Warming oceans may shrink Florida stone crab supply

MIAMI - Researchers working with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration say warmer, more acidic oceans may reduce the number of stone crab hatchlings as the availability of the popular, pricey delicacy dwindles.

CDC says more lab workers may have been exposed to anthrax

CHICAGO - U.S. authorities increased to 84 people their count of government workers potentially exposed to live anthrax at three laboratories in Atlanta as they investigated a breach in safety procedures for handling the deadly pathogen.

Turkish man jailed for life for murdering U.S. tourist

ISTANBUL - A Turkish man was sentenced on Tuesday to life in prison for the 2013 murder of American tourist Sarai Sierra, whose disappearance in Istanbul had triggered a massive search.

U.S. investigators propose review of flight controls after Asiana crash

WASHINGTON - U.S. investigators on Tuesday said automated flight controls and warning systems on Boeing Co's 777 jetliner might have done a better job helping Asiana Airlines pilots possibly avoid a crash in San Francisco last July that killed three people and injured more than 180.

KFC probes case of scarred girl asked to leave U.S. fried chicken outlet

- KFC expects findings soon about whether a Mississippi girl with facial scars was asked to leave a franchise and plans to donate $30,000 toward her care despite a report the story was a hoax, a company spokesman said on Tuesday.

Massachusetts court OKs gambling referendum

BOSTON - Massachusetts voters will have an opportunity in November to repeal a 2011 law legalizing gambling, the Supreme Judicial Court ruled on Tuesday, casting uncertainty over a years-long effort to bring casinos to the state.

New York authorities raid Rikers Island jail in crackdown

NEW YORK - New York City authorities raided Rikers Island and searched guards going in and out of the city's largest jail complex as part of a months-long investigation into drugs, weapons and contraband, officials said Tuesday.

Woman scales barrier to feed cookies to lions in Tennessee zoo

- A woman climbed over a railing at the Memphis Zoo, breached a barrier of thorn bushes and tried to feed lions cookies through a piano wire fence as she sang to them, a zoo spokeswoman said on Tuesday.

Records of dead veterans altered at Phoenix VA: CNN

- Records of dead veterans were altered to hide the number of people who died while awaiting care at the Phoenix hospital of the Department of Veterans Affairs, an employee of the facility told CNN.

Man rams Texas house with car, asks for bathroom: TV report

SAN ANTONIO - A Texas man was arrested on suspicion of drunk driving after he plowed his sport utility vehicle into a San Antonio house and then asking the homeowner if he could use the bathroom, police and a TV news report said on Tuesday.

U.S. Navy sailor dies during parachute training in California

- A U.S. Navy sailor has died from injuries suffered during special operations parachute training in Southern California, a military official said on Tuesday.

Mom charged after toddler daughter thrown from moving car

- A Louisiana woman faces charges of attempted murder after her 20-month-old daughter was flung out of their car and injured as the mother sped around a curve at 30 to 45 miles an hour, authorities said.

Asiana crash hearing to focus on pilots: U.S. safety board ex-chair

WASHINGTON - A former head of the U.S. transportation safety regulator said pilot error will likely be the focus of a hearing on Tuesday on the cause of an Asiana Airlines crash at San Francisco International Airport last July in which three passengers died.

Republican favored in Florida special congressional election

TAMPA Fla. - Voters in southwest Florida on Tuesday were expected to pick another Republican to replace U.S. Representative Trey Radel, who resigned in January after pleading guilty to possessing cocaine.

U.S. sends more agents to border amid child immigrant crisis

WASHINGTON - Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said Tuesday the United States is sending more agents to the border with Mexico to help deal with a flood of undocumented children, mostly from Central America, crossing into the United States.

New York Representative Rangel faces voters in congressional primary

NEW YORK - Voters in New York City's Harlem neighborhood and parts of the Bronx will go to the polls on Tuesday to decide the political fate of U.S. Representative Charles Rangel, who is running for a 23rd term in Congress.

Suspect in Seattle shooting spree to mount insanity defense

SEATTLE - A man charged with opening fire with a shotgun at a small Christian college in Seattle, killing a student, intends to plead not guilty by reason of insanity, his lawyer said at a court appearance by the suspect on Monday.

Seattle hiking expert Sykes died of hypothermia: official

SEATTLE - Prominent Seattle hiking enthusiast and author Karen Sykes, whose body was found near Mount Rainier after she disappeared during a trail hike, died of hypothermia, an official in Washington state said on Monday.

U.S. judge approves $135.7 million sale of Brookstone to investor consortium

- Retailer Brookstone Inc [TEMSHB.UL] announced on Monday that a federal bankruptcy court judge in Delaware has approved its sale to a consortium of Chinese investors that will run its 240 stores after exiting bankruptcy.

California's top court says Target not required to carry in-store defibrillators

SACRAMENTO - California's top court on Monday unanimously ruled that large retailers are not required to provide automated external defibrillators (AEDs) inside their stores, deciding in favor of Target Corp in a wrongful death lawsuit brought after a shopper's sudden death.

Even as U.S. economic opportunity falls, study finds broader gains

WASHINGTON - Economic opportunity has dropped in the United States over the past 40 years, but a broader gauge of opportunity incorporating crime, education and healthcare has been on the rise, according to a study released on Tuesday.

Crowded rails in U.S. coal country throw miners, utilities out of gear

- Coal miners and power companies are both suffering as railroads struggle to clear a backlog of coal stuck in the Powder River Basin in Wyoming and Montana after the harshest winter in over a decade.

Review finds 'inexplicable delays' in Pennsylvania's handling of Sandusky case

HARRISBURG Penn. - A highly anticipated review of the child sex abuse case against Jerry Sandusky released on Monday found delays in prosecuting the former Penn State football coach but no evidence of political interference by Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett during his time as attorney general.

Major quake hits off Alaska's Aleutian Islands

JUNEAU Alaska - A magnitude 8.0 earthquake struck deep under the ocean floor near Alaska's Aleutian Islands, triggering shaking that could be felt for vast distances and briefly prompting a tsunami warning, the National Tsunami Warning Center said.

Venezuelan arrested for threatening calls after Sandy Hook massacre

- A Venezuelan man suspected of having made dozens of threatening phone calls in the aftermath of the 2012 massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut, claiming he was the shooter, appeared in federal court on Monday after being arrested over the weekend, authorities said.

U.S. group changes lung transplant policy for kids

NEWTOWN SQUARE Pa. - A U.S. group that sets policy for organ transplants voted on Monday to adopt a permanent rule to allow some children access to adult lungs.

BNSF, CP railroads ordered to report U.S. grain shipping plans

- U.S. officials ordered BNSF Railway Co [BNISF.UL] and Canadian Pacific Railway Co to report by Friday their plans to clear a backlog of grain cars after months of service delays blamed on harsh winter weather and high freight demand.

Examiner says ex-Penn State coach Sandusky should get pension restored

- Former Penn State coach Jerry Sandusky should be allowed to keep his state pension of roughly $60,000 a year despite his 45 child sex abuse convictions, an independent hearing examiner recommended on Monday.

Connecticut man arraigned for hiding 19 bags of pot in sock at court

MILFORD Conn. - A Connecticut man who told his probation officer he “wasn't foolish enough” to bring drugs into court was arraigned on Monday on charges of hiding 19 bags of marijuana in his sock during a meeting at the courthouse.

Review finds 'inexplicable delays' in Pennsylvania's handling of Sandusky case

HARRISBURG Penn. - A highly anticipated review of the child sex abuse case against Jerry Sandusky released on Monday found delays in prosecuting the former Penn State football coach but no evidence of political interference by Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett during his time as attorney general.

F-35A fighter jet flights suspended after fire at U.S. air base

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Air Force on Monday temporarily halted flights at a Florida air base of 26 F-35A fighter jets built by Lockheed Martin Corp after a jet caught fire as it was preparing to take off for a training flight, a Pentagon spokesman said.

Pennsylvania ex-prosecutor, wife, plead in adoption abuse case

- A former Pennsylvania prosecutor and his wife pleaded no contest on Monday to charges of endangering the welfare of two children they adopted from Ethiopia.

Lawyers for Clippers owner says was duped into mental capacity exam

LOS ANGELES - Attorneys for Donald Sterling told a probate court judge on Monday that the Los Angeles Clippers co-owner had been duped into medical examinations that determined he lacked the mental capacity to have a say in the $2 billion sale of his team.

Local tsunami warning issued after quake hits off Alaska's Aleutian Islands

WASHINGTON - A local tsunami warning was issued after an 8.0 magnitude earthquake struck in the Pacific Ocean west of Alaska's Aleutian Islands on Monday, the U.S. Geological Survey and the National Tsunami Warning Center said.

Iraqi-American who staged wife's murder as hate crime gets life term

SAN DIEGO - An Iraqi-American convicted of bludgeoning his wife to death in a slaying staged to look like an anti-Muslim hate crime was sentenced on Monday to 26 years to life in prison.

Obama to award Medal of Honor to U.S. ex-paratrooper Pitts

WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama will award former Army Staff Sergeant Ryan Pitts the Medal of Honor, the highest U.S. award for heroism, on July 21 for gallantry during one of the bloodiest battles of the Afghan war, the White House said on Monday.

Animals killed and injured when fire hits Tennessee rescue center

NASHVILLE Tenn. - Firefighters rescued live animals and removed the remains of dead ones from a wildlife rehabilitation facility that caught fire in the Nashville suburb of Joelton on Monday, a fire official said.

Mormon church excommunicates prominent U.S. activist Kate Kelly

SALT LAKE CITY - Prominent Mormon activist Kate Kelly was excommunicated by her church on Monday after advocating for women’s ordination, something leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints said amounted to apostasy.

Mideast firm to operate new cargo terminal at Port Canaveral, Florida

CAPE CANAVERAL Fla. - A Middle Eastern-owned company landed its first North American port operations contract on Monday, a 35-year agreement with Port Canaveral on Florida's east coast.

New Jersey town without police force to put armed guards in school

- A New Jersey school district has voted to place armed guards in a local high school for students' security in a rural town that does not have a police force, the superintendent said Monday.

Homeland Security chief warns parents on child immigration surge

WASHINGTON - Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson warned Central American parents against sending their children to the United States illegally, part of a White House effort to stem a flood of children crossing the border.

Christian broadcaster arrested on child sex charges in Michigan

- A Michigan radio personality, known for his work on "family friendly" Christian broadcasts, was due in court Monday on charges of paying a middleman to arrange sexual encounters with young boys, authorities said.

Friend of Boston bomb suspect rejects plea deal, lawyer says

BOSTON - A friend of Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is confident he will beat charges he hampered the investigation into the blasts, one of his attorneys said on Monday, citing a "lack of evidence" in the case.

Official report into Sandusky case finds 'inexplicable delays'

HARRISBURG Penn. - A highly anticipated review of the child sex abuse case against Jerry Sandusky released on Monday found delays in prosecuting the former Penn State football coach but no evidence of political interference by Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett during his time as attorney general.

Ex-Millennium Global manager gets four years in prison over fraud

NEW YORK - A former London-based portfolio manager was sentenced to four years in prison on Monday for inflating his hedge fund's assets by manipulating the value of Nigerian debt.

Judge overturns Montana law requiring immigration checks for state services

- A Montana judge struck down a law requiring proof of legal immigration status to seek state services, saying the measure approved by Montana voters in 2012 tramples on the federal government's mandate to decide on immigration matters.

Suspect in deadly Seattle shooting spree to mount insanity defense

SEATTLE - A man charged with murder in a shooting spree at a small Christian college in Seattle intends to plead not guilty by reason of insanity, his lawyer said at a court appearance by the suspect on Monday.

Nepali police hold two men, seek others suspected of raping U.S. woman

KATHMANDU - Police in Nepal said on Monday they had detained two men and were searching for two others suspected of raping an American woman in a hotel in Kathmandu.

Court releases memo justifying drone attacks on U.S. citizens

WASHINGTON - A federal appeals court on Monday released a redacted version of the U.S. Justice Department's legal justification for the September 2011 drone attack that killed Anwar al Awlaki, a American-born Islamist preacher alleged to be an operational leader with al Qaeda's Yemen-based affiliate.

Official report into Sandusky case finds 'inexplicable delays'

HARRISBURG Penn. - A highly anticipated review of the child sex abuse case against Jerry Sandusky released on Monday found delays in prosecuting the former Penn State football coach but no evidence of political interference by Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett during his time as attorney general.

Obama's parenting advice: give kids lots of love and a few rules

WASHINGTON - U.S. President Barack Obama, dad to two teenage girls, has some simple advice for raising kids.

U.S. top court rejects Wisconsin abortion case

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday declined to intervene in the legal fight over a new Wisconsin law that requires any doctor performing an abortion to have privileges to admit patients to a nearby hospital.

U.S. top court declines to revive New Jersey sports betting law

WASHINGTON - New Jersey’s attempt to introduce licensed sports betting has failed, with the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday leaving intact a lower court ruling that said a federal law did not allow it.

Obama seeks to expand flex-time for government workers

WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama, as part of efforts to make the U.S. workplace more accommodating for employees with families, will on Monday direct federal agencies to step up efforts give workers more leeway in determining their schedules.

Exclusive: CDC reassigns director of lab behind anthrax blunder

ATLANTA/CHICAGO - The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has reassigned the director of the bioterror lab behind the potential anthrax exposure of dozens of scientists and staff, sources told Reuters, as the anthrax controversy intensified.

Louisiana's Poverty Point earthworks named a UNESCO world heritage site

- UNESCO on Sunday designated the ancient monumental earthworks of Poverty Point, Louisiana, as a world heritage site, making it the 22nd such U.S. site alongside such landmarks as the Grand Canyon and Statue of Liberty, officials said.

Mideast scholar Fouad Ajami dead at 68

- Fouad Ajami, a prolific writer who became one of the world's most prominent Middle East historians, died on Sunday aged 68, Stanford University said.

Former U.S. Attorney General Thornburgh in hospital: family

- Richard Thornburgh, a former U.S. attorney general and two-term Pennsylvania governor, has been hospitalized in Pittsburgh, his family said on Sunday.

Former Afghanistan POW Bergdahl discharged from hospital: Army

- U.S. Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl, who spent five years as a Taliban prisoner of war before being released last month, has been discharged from a military hospital in Texas and will continue treatment as an outpatient, the Army said Sunday.

Mayors call on Congress to tackle illegal immigration

DALLAS - U.S. mayors on Sunday called for Congress to draw up bipartisan legislation to address a surge of illegal immigrants into the United States and asked for help to ease the resulting financial burden on local governments.

Republicans call for secure U.S. border amid child immigrant influx

WASHINGTON - Republican lawmakers on Sunday stepped up calls to secure the U.S. border with Mexico before proceeding with changes to the country's immigration policies, linking the issue to a recent surge of illegal children.

Firefighters see progress battling Navajo reservation wildfire

- Firefighters on Sunday reported good progress working to contain a wildfire that has torn through pine woodlands and brush on a Navajo reservation in northwestern New Mexico.

Transgender priest preaches at Washington's National Cathedral

WASHINGTON - An Episcopal chaplain on Sunday became the first openly transgender priest to preach at the historic National Cathedral in Washington D.C.

Couple rescued after treading water for 14 hours off Florida coast

MIAMI - A group of off-duty sheriff's officers on a morning fishing trip near Fort Lauderdale, Florida rescued a couple who had been treading water all night after falling off their boat near Key Largo and drifting nearly 70 miles.

Man dies attending Electric Daisy Carnival in Nevada

- A California man died while attending a large electronic music festival in Las Vegas, Nevada, authorities said on Sunday.

Alaska police kill bear that broke into Juneau house

- Police shot dead a black bear after it pushed its way through the front door of a house in Alaska's capital of Juneau while people were at home, authorities said.

U.S. soccer star Hope Solo arrested in assault on sister, nephew

SEATTLE - Hope Solo, goalkeeper for the U.S. women's soccer team, was arrested early on Saturday morning for striking her sister and a teenage nephew during a dispute at her home in a Seattle suburb, police said.

Body found in search for Seattle hiker missing near Mt.Rainer

SEATTLE - National Park Service rangers have suspended the search for a missing Seattle hiking enthusiast and author after finding the body of a woman in the search area around Mount Rainier, park officials told Reuters on Saturday.

South Texas lawmaker calls for inquiry into mass immigrant graves

AUSTIN Texas - A state senator from South Texas called on Saturday for an investigation into recently discovered mass graves containing the bodies of apparent illegal immigrants believed to have been buried by a funeral home paid by the local county government.

Mormon church sues Canadian polygamist over trademarked name

SALT LAKE CITY Utah - The Mormon church has sued a Canadian polygamist for using its trademarked name, saying its reputation was damaged and that donations intended for the denomination were misdirected, a lawsuit filed in a Canadian court said.

U.S. soccer player Hope Solo arrested in domestic assault

- Hope Solo, goalkeeper for the U.S. women's soccer team, was arrested early on Saturday morning for striking her sister and teenage nephew during a dispute at her home in a Seattle suburb, police said.

U.S. building arts college draws young blood to ancient trades

CHARLESTON S.C. - In the bowels of what was once a jail in Charleston, South Carolina, Cody James, 22, is carving limestone blocks into a mantelpiece for one of the city's historic homes.

Parents of California victims angered by "broken" health, legal systems: WaPo

- The families of three college students stabbed to death by a 22-year-old before he gunned down three more victims said the U.S. health and legal systems valued the rights of the mentally ill over those who become their victims.

U.S. Presbyterian Church to shed investments in Israel protest

- A deeply-divided gathering of U.S. Presbyterian Church elders and ministers narrowly voted on Friday to divest the religious group's holdings in three American companies it says have ties to Jewish settlements in occupied Palestinian Territories.

White House announces steps to address immigrant surge

WASHINGTON - The White House on Friday stepped up efforts to slow the flow of illegal children into the country, expanding the government's ability to process and deport people and announcing new funding to boost security in crime-plagued Central American countries.

Seattle hiking expert-author missing on Mount Rainier

SEATTLE - National Park Service rangers have mounted a search for a prominent Seattle hiking enthusiast and author after she disappeared on a trail near Mount Rainier earlier this week, officials said on Friday.

Wrongly jailed U.S. man to get $1.2 million, 21 years after his release

TALLAHASSEE Fla. - A man who was released in 1989 after he was wrongly convicted of fatally poisoning his seven children will be paid $1.2 million for the 21 years he spent in prison under legislation signed into law on Friday by Governor Rick Scott.

Murder suspect who escaped in Colorado caught in cemetery

DENVER - Authorities in Colorado caught a fugitive suspect in a cemetery on Friday hours after he escaped from a private prisoner transport company's van while being extradited from Nevada to face murder charges in Illinois, officials said.

UCLA professor ordered to perform community service in fatal lab fire

LOS ANGELES - A UCLA professor charged in a lab fire that fatally burned a Pakistani research assistant was fined $10,000 and ordered to perform community service on Friday after accepting responsibility for laboratory conditions that led to the blaze, prosecutors said.

Mormon church says it must defend integrity of its doctrine

SALT LAKE CITY - Mormon church leaders welcome questions of faith and doctrine from members but become concerned when they lead to public statements or organized efforts to force change, a spokeswoman said on Friday as the church considers taking steps against two prominent activists.

Family friendly workplaces would boost economy: White House

WASHINGTON - The United States could boost its sagging labor force participation rate and get more people back to work - if more businesses had family friendly policies such as paid maternity and paternity leave, the White House said in a report on Friday.

Where to retire and get best care? Not Florida or Arizona: AARP

ORLANDO Fla. - Retirees who move to Florida and Arizona - popular retirement destinations - may not be getting the quality of life they expect, according to a study that ranked U.S. states by their long-term care services.

Arizona man sentenced to four years prison in baby's hot car death

- An Arizona man whose baby died when he forgot the boy in a car on a hot summer day while he completed tasks at the pub where he worked was sentenced on Friday to four years in prison, an official said.

Starbucks to raise prices on some drinks, packaged coffee

- Starbucks Corp on Friday said it will raise prices on some drinks offered by its U.S. shops and also boost list prices on its own brand of packaged coffee sold in supermarkets and other retail outlets.

Retired physician pleads guilty to killing Aspen, Colorado socialite

DENVER - A retired physician pleaded guilty on Friday to killing a socialite in the tony ski resort town of Aspen, Colorado, and authorities dropped murder charges against his wife and a third suspect, prosecutors said.

Cleveland man sentenced to 35 years in city's deadliest arson

CLEVELAND - A Cleveland man was sentenced to 35 years in prison on Friday for setting a fire that killed nine people, including eight children, the deadliest arson in the city's history.

Teens charged with helping Minnesota school suspect test bombs

- Two teenage boys have been charged with helping a student accused of planning a massacre at his southern Minnesota high school make and test explosives, police said on Friday.

Oregon high school shooter took brother's gun: documents

PORTLAND Ore.  - A teenager who killed a classmate and injured a teacher at an Oregon high school stole the rifle he used in the shooting from his brother, a U.S. Army reservist, court documents obtained on Friday showed. 

CDC says more lab workers may have been exposed to anthrax

CHICAGO - U.S. authorities increased to 84 people their count of government workers potentially exposed to live anthrax at three laboratories in Atlanta as they investigated a breach in safety procedures for handling the deadly pathogen.

Convicted Alaska murderer says he killed three more people

JUNEAU Alaska - An Anchorage, Alaska, man already serving a life sentence in federal prison for two murders has confessed to three other killings, including a 20-year-old homicide, state and federal authorities said on Friday.

In ending Central Park jogger case, NYC mayor signals new approach

NEW YORK - The reported $40 million settlement between New York City and five men wrongfully convicted of the 1989 rape of a woman jogger in Central Park is the latest sign that Mayor Bill de Blasio will not always defend the police in civil rights cases.

Drones help hunt for firefighter missing in California forest

SAN FRANCISCO - Search and rescue crews used aerial drones on Friday to help hunt for an off-duty firefighter who went missing a week ago when he ran off after his dog while hiking in California's Los Padres National Forest, officials said.

Tennessee court adopts tougher bail rules following assault case

NASHVILLE Tenn. - A Tennessee criminal court adopted tougher bail rules for domestic violence suspects on Friday, following a case in which police say a man jailed for assaulting his girlfriend was released early and attacked her again the same morning.

Louisiana curbs private custody transfers of children

NEW ORLEANS - Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal on Friday signed into law a ban on private custody transfers of children to non-family members without court approval, as concerns rise that children are being put at risk by the practice.

NY judge narrows state's case against former Goldman programmer

A New York state judge on Friday significantly narrowed the evidence the Manhattan district attorney can use in its case against a former Goldman Sachs computer programmer accused of stealing secret code from the bank.

Stephanie Kwolek, American chemist who invented Kevlar, dies at 90

WASHINGTON - Stephanie Kwolek, an American chemist who in 1965 invented a super-strong fiber called Kevlar that revolutionized body armor and protected innumerable police officers and soldiers from bullets, has died at age 90.

Wyoming student’s push to recite pledge of allegiance ignites debate

- A U.S. Army veteran’s claim that he was denied the right to recite the pledge of allegiance during a student government meeting at the University of Wyoming has touched off a national online debate over free speech and patriotism.

Florida stiffens law after woman tricked into taking abortion pill

TAMPA Fla. - Florida Governor Rick Scott on Friday signed into law harsher penalties for crimes that cause the death of a fetus, no matter how early in the pregnancy.

Michigan governor signs bills for Detroit bankruptcy plan

DETROIT - Michigan Governor Rick Snyder on Friday signed into law bills that complete funding for a key component of Detroit's plan to adjust $18 billion of debt and exit the biggest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history.

Bullet shatters New York hospital window, injures patient

NEW YORK - A single bullet shattered the window of a New York hospital room on Friday, injuring a patient who suffered glass cuts to her face, a police spokesman said.

Cuban baseball player Yasmani Tomas defects

HAVANA - A 23-year-old Cuban outfielder has defected, official media reported on Friday, apparently in hopes of joining compatriots who have signed lucrative contracts with Major League Baseball teams.

One killed, one injured in southern New Jersey building collapse

- One person was killed and another was injured on Friday when a commercial building collapsed in southern New Jersey about 10 miles (16.1 km) east of Philadelphia, local authorities said.

Fire chief, family of five killed in Montana fire engine crash

- A fire chief and a family of five, including three children, were killed in a crash in Montana when the chief's fire engine and the family's pickup truck collided, spun into a roadside ditch and burst into flames, authorities said on Friday.

Florida law seeks to change rules for Cuban baseball players

TALLAHASSEE Fla. - Major League Baseball must allow players in Cuba to sign contracts directly with professional teams in the United States in order to receive tax breaks in Florida under a new law signed by Governor Rick Scott on Friday.

NJ's bankrupt Revel casino gets cash lifeline to hunt for buyer

CAMDEN N.J. - Atlantic City's bankrupt Revel Casino Hotel has received court approval to borrow $23.9 million that it said would keep the 1,400-room resort operating for the coming month as it scrambles to find a buyer.

At least one dead in building collapse in southern New Jersey: media

- At least one person died after a building in southern New Jersey partially collapsed on Friday afternoon, according to local media.

Homeland Security says 52,000 minors at U.S. borders since October

SAN ANTONIO - Since October, 52,000 unaccompanied children have arrived on the U.S. border with Mexico, the Department of Homeland Security said on Friday, underscoring an immigration problem seen by the White House as a humanitarian crisis.

Army general who had improper liaisons will retire at lower rank

WINSTON-SALEM N.C. - An Army general reprimanded for improper relationships with junior female officers but cleared of sexual assault charges will be retired at a reduced rank that strips him of some pension benefits, Army Secretary John McHugh said on Friday.

U.S. to move some embassy staff from Kenya over security concerns

WASHINGTON - The United States said on Friday it would move some staff from its embassy in Kenya to other countries following a string of militant attacks on the country's coast.

New York mayor and city council reach balanced budget agreement

- New York's mayor and city council came to a handshake agreement late Thursday night for an on-time and balanced budget, of $75 billion, for the next fiscal year.

Review of Penn State child-abuse probe to be issued on Monday

- A long-awaited probe into the investigation of former Penn State football coach Jerry Sandusky, who was convicted in 2012 of sexually abusing children, will be released early next week, Pennsylvania authorities said on Friday.

White House announces funding to address immigrant surge

WASHINGTON - The White House on Friday announced tens of millions of dollars of additional funding for Central American governments to address the root causes of migration that has led to a surge of migrants, many of them children, into the United States.

New York City wins state approval to lower speed limit

NEW YORK - State lawmakers on Friday approved New York City's request to lower its speed limit to 25 miles per hour, down from 30, as part of the city's effort to reduce traffic fatalities.

Drone test flights starting in Texas -FAA

WASHINGTON - The fourth of six U.S. test sites chosen to perform research on unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), or drones, has started operations in Texas to study weather patterns, among other things, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration said on Friday.

Florida law allows firing of warning shots

TAMPA Fla. - Florida Governor Rick Scott signed into law on Friday a controversial bill involving the state's "stand your ground" self-defense rules, making it legal in some circumstances to fire a warning shot.

Obama, via Uruguay, urges Cuba to release jailed U.S. citizen

WASHINGTON - U.S. President Barack Obama has sent an indirect message to Cuban President Raúl Castro through Uruguay's leader, asking Cuba to release a jailed U.S. aid contractor and encouraging political reforms, U.S. officials said on Friday.

Pilot reports laser strike on approach to Los Angeles airport

LOS ANGELES - The captain of a US Airways flight earlier this week reported being visually impaired by a laser strike as the jet approached Los Angeles International Airport, a Federal Aviation Administration spokesman said on Friday.

U.S. creates new CEO position for Obamacare insurance marketplace

WASHINGTON - The Obama administration on Friday announced the creation of a new chief executive position to oversee operations of the federal Obamacare marketplace that provides private health insurance to consumers in 36 U.S. states.

Home found for detained friend of accused Boston bomber -lawyer

BOSTON - A lawyer for a friend of the accused Boston Marathon bomber who has been in U.S. custody since he was arrested in late May and charged with lying to investigators said on Friday he has found a place for the man to live ahead of trial, clearing the way for the suspect's possible release.

Sex abuse lawsuit against former Elmo puppeteer is dismissed

NEW YORK - A federal judge in Pennsylvania has dismissed a lawsuit accusing Kevin Clash, the puppeteer known for his work as the voice of Sesame Street's Elmo, of child sexual abuse.

One killed, five injured in New Jersey highway accident

- One person was killed and five others injured in a single-vehicle accident that has closed portions of the Atlantic City Expressway on Friday, the New Jersey State Police said.

Texas governor says he 'stepped right in it' on gay comments

- Texas Governor Rick Perry has said he "stepped right in it" when he compared homosexuality to alcoholism as something that can be fought against despite genetic disposition.

Texas mother sentenced to two years for tearing son's scrotum

SAN ANTONIO - A 34-year-old woman was sentenced in a U.S. federal court on Thursday to two years in prison for ripping a nearly two-inch (5 cm) tear in her 6-year-old son's scrotum during a fit of anger, and then trying to repair the wound with super glue.

New York poised to become 23rd U.S. state to allow medical marijuana

NEW YORK - Governor Andrew Cuomo and state lawmakers announced a deal on Thursday that would allow limited access to medical marijuana and make New York the 23rd U.S. state to offer some kind of availability of the drug for therapeutic purposes.

Exclusive: U.S. says 75 government scientists possibly exposed to anthrax

As many as 75 scientists working in U.S. federal government laboratories in Atlanta may have been exposed to live anthrax bacteria and are being offered treatment to prevent infection from the deadly toxin, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Thursday.

Atlantic City's Revel Casino files bankruptcy again, seeks buyers

- Atlantic City's Revel Casino Hotel on Thursday filed its second bankruptcy in just over a year as the struggling casino hunts for a buyer to save it.

California bill would limit football practices to reduce concussions

SACRAMENTO Calif. - California lawmakers on Thursday moved to restrict the number of football practices in which students are allowed to tackle each other, due to concerns that permanent brain damage could result from concussions among high school athletes.

Hot grits hurled at man in Florida leads to attempted murder charge

TAMPA Fla. - A Florida man faces murder charges after trying to settle a fight with his neighbor by throwing a scalding pot of a Southern food specialty - hot, greasy grits.

Seattle college student charged over Internet threats

SEATTLE - A University of Washington student was charged in federal court on Thursday with making threatening comments over the Internet, where prosecutors said he pledged to kill women and praised a California college student who went on a killing spree in May.

Hot grits hurled at man in Florida leads to attempted murder charge

TAMPA Fla. - A Florida man faces murder charges after trying to settle a fight with his neighbor by throwing a scalding pot of a Southern food specialty - hot, greasy grits.

FBI investigating possible anthrax exposure at U.S. lab

WASHINGTON - The FBI is working with the U.S Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to examine government scientists’ possible exposure to anthrax at a lab in Atlanta, but has found no evidence of wrongdoing, a spokesman for the agency said on Thursday.

Lance Armstrong must face U.S. doping lawsuit, judge rules

- A U.S. judge on Thursday rejected Lance Armstrong's bid to dismiss a federal whistleblower lawsuit claiming that he and his former cycling team, which had been sponsored by the U.S. Postal Service, had defrauded the government through a scheme to use banned, performance-enhancing drugs.

Former Utah drug cop charged with manslaughter in 2012 shooting

SALT LAKE CITY - Prosecutors charged a former Utah police detective with manslaughter on Thursday in the shooting death of a woman during a botched undercover drug operation in 2012, authorities said.

U.S.-born share of Hispanic workforce eclipses immigrants

LOS ANGELES - For the first time in nearly 20 years, most Hispanic workers in the United States are native-born citizens and not immigrants due mainly to waning migration from Latin America, a Pew Research Center study released on Thursday showed.

Authorities scale back search for missing Alaska family

JUNEAU Alaska - Local and federal authorities have scaled back a three-week search for a missing Alaska couple and their two small children who were last heard from in late May, police said.

Seattle sheriff's deputy arrested for drugs, theft, prostitution

SEATTLE - A sheriff's deputy in Seattle was arrested and charged on Thursday with drug dealing, stealing from his department and acting as his wife's pimp, authorities said.

Los Angeles serial killer found guilty of four more strangling murders

LOS ANGELES - A serial killer facing the death penalty for murdering 10 women in Los Angeles was found guilty by a jury on Thursday of four more counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of women he strangled between 1987 and 1997, prosecutors said.

Colorado judge rules ski resort not immune from lawsuit in avalanche death

DENVER - A Colorado judge has ruled that a ski resort operator is not immune from a wrongful death lawsuit filed by the parents of a 13-year-old boy who was killed in an avalanche on Vail Mountain in 2012.

Lance Armstrong must face U.S. doping lawsuit, judge rules

- A federal judge on Thursday rejected Lance Armstrong's bid to dismiss a whistleblower lawsuit claiming that he and his former cycling team, which the U.S. Postal Service had sponsored, defrauded the government in a scheme to use banned, performance-enhancing drugs.

California officials seek to ensure safety of trains hauling crude oil

SACRAMENTO Calif. - State and local officials in California, worried that trains carrying crude oil from Canada and North Dakota could cause explosions or environmental damage in their state, asked lawmakers on Thursday to regulate the shipments, which are becoming more frequent.

U.S. Presbyterian Church OKs clergy performing gay weddings

- A gathering of U.S. Presbyterian Church elders and ministers voted on Thursday to allow their clergy to perform same-sex weddings, in a major reversal for one of the largest mainline Protestant denominations, a church official said.

Weaker winds aid firefighters battling Navajo reservation blaze

ALBUQUERQUE N.M. - Weaker winds on Thursday allowed firefighters to gain ground on a wildfire that has raged for seven days through parched pine woodlands and brush on a Navajo reservation in northwestern New Mexico, a state fire official said.

Obama extends family leave rights of gay couples

WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama on Friday will announce a rule that makes legally married same-sex couples eligible for benefits under the Family and Medical Leave Act in all 50 states, a White House official said.

N.Y. City to pay $40 million to end 'Central Park Jogger' lawsuit: source

NEW YORK - New York City has agreed to pay $40 million to five men who were convicted, and later exonerated, of brutally raping a female jogger in Central Park in 1989, settling a long-fought civil rights lawsuit, according to a person familiar with the matter.

Exclusive: U.S. says government lab workers possibly exposed to anthrax

As many as 75 scientists and staff in U.S. government laboratories in Atlanta may have been exposed to live anthrax bacteria after researchers failed to follow safety procedures, prompting an investigation by federal authorities.

New York poised to become 23rd U.S. state to allow medical marijuana

ALBANY N.Y. - Governor Andrew Cuomo and state lawmakers announced a deal on Thursday that would allow limited access to medical marijuana in New York, making it the 23rd U.S. state to legalize some kind of availability of cannabis for therapeutic purposes.

Three people wounded in shooting after rap concert in Denver area

DENVER - Three people were wounded in a shooting in the parking lot of a Denver-area amphitheater after a concert headlined by American rapper Nas, the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office said early on Friday morning.

Deadly pig virus cases in U.S. projected to surge after summer

- U.S. veterinarians are warning that outbreaks of a deadly pig virus will climb this autumn after a summertime hiatus, likely killing another 2.5 million pigs over the next 12 months and amplifying an increase in pork prices.

Tornado damages homes and businesses in South Dakota town

SIOUX FALLS S.D. - A tornado plowed through the heart of a small town in eastern South Dakota on Wednesday, causing heavy damage to numerous homes and businesses, but no serious injuries were reported, weather and emergency management officials said.

Florida manatee canonball dive video leads to probation for two men

TAMPA Fla. - Two men caught on video in a cannonball-style jump onto Florida manatees were sentenced on Wednesday to two years probation and community service for harassing the endangered sea cow.

Teenager pleads guilty in April mob beating of Detroit motorist

- A Michigan teenager on Wednesday pleaded guilty to an assault charge and agreed to testify against others in the severe beating of a motorist who struck a child accidentally in Detroit, the second teen to do so in the case this week.

Florida executes man for 1985 murder of wife and her child: official

TALLAHASSEE Fla. - A man convicted of killing his wife and her 5-year-old son nearly 30 years ago was executed at Florida State Prison on Wednesday, the third person to die by injection in 24 hours in separate cases across the South.

Washington state student stays behind bars over online threats

SEATTLE - Federal authorities on Wednesday ordered the continued detention of a University of Washington student who police say posted messages online threatening to kill women and praising another college student who went on a killing spree in California in May, officials said.

Florida manatee cannonball dive video leads to probation for two men

TAMPA Fla. - Two men caught on video in a cannonball-style jump onto Florida manatees were sentenced on Wednesday to two years probation and community service for harassing the endangered sea cow.

Circuit maker pays $10 million to settle U.S. export control charges

WASHINGTON - California-based Intersil Corp has agreed to pay a civil penalty of $10 million to settle 339 alleged violations of U.S. export control laws that potentially harmed U.S. national security, the State Department said on Wednesday.

'Harry Potter' stars help debut Universal Orlando ride

ORLANDO Fla. - Stars of the "Harry Potter" franchise hit the red carpet at the much-anticipated expansion of Universal Orlando’s Wizarding World of Harry Potter on Wednesday, ahead of the opening of the new attraction on July 8.

Three executions across U.S. South mark first since Oklahoma bungle

TALLAHASSEE Fla. - A man convicted of killing his wife and her 5-year-old son nearly 30 years ago was executed at Florida State Prison on Wednesday, the third person to die by lethal injection in 24 hours across the U.S. South.

U.S. military identifies 17 service members after wreckage from 1950s crash found

JUNEAU Alaska - The bodies of 17 U.S. service members recovered from a 1952 military aircraft crash have been identified following discovery of the wreckage two years ago in Alaska’s Chugach Mountain range, military officials said on Wednesday.

Embassy bomb plotter should have communications limits eased: judge

DENVER - An al Qaeda operative serving a life sentence for his role in the 1998 bombing of the U.S. embassy in Tanzania that killed 11 people should have restrictions on his communications eased, a federal judge has ruled.

Suspect in 'Fast & Furious' slaying of border agent extradited to U.S

SAN DIEGO - A suspected drug cartel figure accused of killing U.S. Border Patrol agent Brian Terry in a case tied to the government's ill-fated "Fast and Furious" gun-running sting was extradited from Mexico to Arizona to face murder charges, federal prosecutors said on Wednesday.

Sainthood closer for U.S. Archbishop Sheen, an early televangelist

CHICAGO - U.S. Catholic Archbishop Fulton Sheen, one of the world's first televangelists, has moved closer to sainthood after a team of theologians agreed a reported miracle should be attributed to his intercession, church officials said on Wednesday.

Lockheed buys California firm that makes thin film coatings

WASHINGTON - Lockheed Martin Corp on Wednesday said it is acquiring Deposition Sciences Inc, a California-based company that provides thin film coatings, for an undisclosed amount from its parent company, Advanced Lighting Technologies Inc.

Genealogy website Ancestry.com says hackers crashed servers

SALT LAKE CITY - The genealogy website Ancestry.com said its websites were recovering on Wednesday after hackers temporarily shut them down this week in a distributed denial of service attack, but it said no consumer data was compromised.

Two men arrested in Texas on terrorism charges

SAN ANTONIO - Two men in central Texas have been arrested on charges of trying "to provide material support to terrorists," with one of the pair seeking to aid extremist groups fighting in Syria, U.S. prosecutors said on Wednesday.

Off-duty firefighter missing after hike in California forest

SAN FRANCISCO - Search and rescue crews hunted on Wednesday for an off-duty firefighter who went missing late last week when he ran off after his dog during a camping trip in California's Los Padres National Forest, officials said.

Pennsylvania man gets year in prison for threat to kill Obama

- A Pennsylvania man who threatened online to kill President Barack Obama, calling him an “Anti-Christ” who will be “shot dead,” was sentenced on Wednesday to 12 months in prison and ordered to undergo mental health treatment.

U.S. watchdog bars Florida broker who used foundation's money

- A Florida broker who worked for Morgan Stanley and Oppenheimer & Co Inc was permanently barred from the securities industry for using money from a foundation he headed to fund personal expenses, Wall Street's industry-funded watchdog said in regulatory documents.

Iraqi man charged with war crimes at Guantanamo tribunal

FORT MEADE Md. - An Iraqi man accused of being a senior member of al Qaeda was formally charged by the U.S. war crimes tribunal in Guantanamo Bay on Wednesday with conspiring to bomb Western forces in Afghanistan and killing civilians and U.S. soldiers.

Texas man gets at least 75 years in jail after infecting girl with HIV

AUSTIN Texas - A 31-year-old Dallas man with HIV who pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting a 15-year-old girl was sentenced to at least 75 years in prison on Wednesday for the assault and infecting her with the virus, court officials said.

After bear mauling, Florida neighborhood imposes 'bear-wise' rules

ORLANDO Fla. - A bear attack on a woman during an evening walk has prompted a Central Florida neighborhood to impose the state's first rules requiring residents to secure garbage cans from the scavenging omnivores.

South Florida mayor to remain free on bond in corruption case

MIAMI - A federal judge denied prosecutors’ efforts to jail a south Florida mayor for violating the terms of his bond after he was arrested last year for allegedly accepting thousands of dollars in bribe money from undercover FBI agents.

Utah teen admits stabbing two younger brothers to death

SALT LAKE CITY - A 16-year-old Utah boy pleaded guilty on Wednesday to murdering his two younger brothers by stabbing them to death at the family's home, prosecutors said, and will serve a term of 15 years to life in prison.

Three killed when small plane veers off Alabama runway

- Three people died when a small airplane veered off a runway and caught fire at Alabama's Huntsville International Airport on Wednesday, officials said.

Chicago-area boy sues school over bullying

CHICAGO - The mother of a Chicago-area boy who says her son was routinely punched, kicked and choked by a classmate throughout third grade has filed a lawsuit charging that the school and the parents of the alleged bully failed to protect her son from severe abuse.

U.S. judge blocks 'betrayal' claim in Boston bomber case

BOSTON - A judge told prosecutors on Wednesday that they may not mention that the accused Boston Marathon bomber is a naturalized citizen as a factor in determining whether he should be executed if convicted of the deadly attack.

Missouri gun owner wins apology from police in dispute over video

- A Missouri man who ran into trouble with police when shooting his gun on his family's property and then was ordered to take a video of the incident off the Internet has won an apology from the local police chief and settled his lawsuit against the chief, attorneys for the gun owner said on Wednesday.

U.S. lawyers for Blackwater guards say 2007 Baghdad shooting was self defense

WASHINGTON - Blackwater security guards faced gunfire from multiple directions and acted in self defense when they shot into a Baghdad traffic circle in 2007, their lawyers told a jury on Wednesday in a case over the killing of 14 unarmed people during the Iraq war.

Parents of Texas quintuplets say two babies released from hospital

TEXARKANA Texas - Baby by baby, week by week, the parents of 3-month-old quintuplets are bringing their children out of a Dallas hospital, preparing for the day when the whole family will be home 160 miles away.

Teenager pleads guilty in April mob beating of Detroit motorist

- A Michigan teenager on Wednesday pleaded guilty to a reduced assault charge and agreed to testify against others in the severe beating of a motorist who struck a child accidentally in Detroit, the second teen to do so in the case this week.

NYC firefighters will respond to all gas leak reports

NEW YORK - New York City's fire department will now respond to all reports of leaking gas, according to a report released by the city on Wednesday, a move that comes three months after a gas explosion leveled two buildings in Harlem and killed eight people.

Charges dismissed against Tennessee student choked while handcuffed

- A judge on Wednesday dismissed charges against a Tennessee college student whose choking while handcuffed was captured in internationally circulated pictures and led to the dismissal of a sheriff's deputy.

Holdout creditors in Detroit bankruptcy question secret order

- A group of holdout creditors is asking the federal judge overseeing Detroit historic bankruptcy case to unseal an unusual secret mediation order made last week so that they can understand the terms of mediation.

Mother who documented son's illness charged with his murder

NEW YORK - A single mother in New York state who documented the medical struggles of her 5-year-old son on social media has been charged with murdering him by putting a toxic dose of sodium in his feeding tube.

U.S. says cable, fiber Internet speeds mostly as hyped; DSL lags

WASHINGTON - U.S. cable and fiber Internet providers generally deliver the download speeds they advertise, though not consistently, while DSL connections increasingly fail to meet promised speeds, the Federal Communications Commission said on Wednesday.

Philadelphia prosecutor to tackle political corruption case

PHILADELPHIA - The Philadelphia district attorney said on Wednesday his office is taking over a controversial political corruption case that the Pennsylvania attorney general declined to prosecute.

Lawyers for ex-NFL star Hernandez seek to have search tossed out

BOSTON - Attorneys for former New England Patriots star Aaron Hernandez argued in court on Wednesday that evidence seized from his home should not be allowed in his upcoming trial on charges of murdering an associate because police lacked cause to search the residence.

U.S. judge says Germany seeks Philadelphia man accused of being Nazi guard

PHILADELPHIA - Germany is seeking extradition of an 89-year-old Pennsylvania man in connection with the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Jewish men, women and children at the Auschwitz and Buchenwald Nazi concentration camps, a U.S. judge said on Wednesday.

South Carolina teen fights to wear makeup in his DMV license photo

- A national transgender advocacy group has asked South Carolina officials to retake the driver's license photo of a teenager who says his free speech rights were violated when he was not allowed to wear makeup for his original picture.

Scarfo organized crime case goes to jury in New Jersey

PHILADELPHIA - A federal jury in New Jersey on Wednesday began deliberating the fate of reputed mobster Nicodemo Scarfo Jr. in an alleged organized-crime takeover of a Texas-based mortgage company.

NY man on trial for rape accusations in stepdaughter's college essay

NEW YORK - A jury on Wednesday deliberated the fate of a New York man on trial for rape after his stepdaughter wrote in her college application essay about being sexually abused by him as a child.

Universal Orlando to open new Harry Potter ride in July

ORLANDO Fla. - The much-anticipated expansion of Universal Orlando’s Wizarding World of Harry Potter will open on July 8, the theme park said on Wednesday ahead of a preview of the new attraction.

Racehorses teach New York inmates unexpected lessons 30 years on

WALLKILL N.Y. - When retired racehorses first arrived at Wallkill Correctional Facility, Jim Tremper expected to teach horsemanship skills to inmates who would be looking for jobs when they were freed.

Mother of U.S. aid contractor jailed in Cuba dies

HAVANA - The mother of a U.S. aid contractor jailed in Cuba died on Wednesday, adding to the despondency of a prisoner whose case has strained U.S.-Cuba relations and prompted him to vow not to complete another year of his 15-year term, his lawyer's office said.

Lawyers for accused Boston bomber to argue for moving trial

BOSTON - Attorneys for the accused Boston Marathon bomber were due in court on Wednesday to argue matters including an expected request to move the upcoming trial out of the city where a pair of homemade bombs killed three people and injured 264 others.

U.S. college student due in court over threatening Web comments: police

- A University of Washington student is due on Wednesday to appear in court where he could be charged with harassment and cyber-stalking, after posting online messages pledging to kill women and praising another college student who went on a killing spree in California in May, officials said.

Missouri inmate loses 11th-hour bid for stay of execution

- A man sentenced to death for the 1996 murder of two friends of his ex-girlfriend lost his bid for an 11th-hour reprieve from the U.S. Supreme Court, clearing the way for the state to carry out his execution by lethal injection early on Wednesday.

U.S. Air Force installation in Los Angeles placed on lockdown

LOS ANGELES - A U.S. Air Force installation in Los Angeles was placed under a security lockdown for more than six hours on Tuesday afternoon as police investigated a report of a suspicious person at the base.

Georgia, Missouri executions mark first since Oklahoma bungle

- Two convicted murderers, one in Georgia and the other in Missouri, were put to death barely an hour apart in the first U.S. executions since a botched lethal injection in Oklahoma in April renewed a national debate over capital punishment.

New ridesharing legislation advances in California

SAN FRANCISCO - Bills that would make it more complicated and expensive for ridesharing companies to do business in California passed a state Senate committee on Tuesday, although stripped of one particularly onerous provision.

Hillary Clinton notes distance from Obama on Syria rebels

WASHINGTON - Potential Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton pointed out her differences with President Barack Obama on Tuesday over his decision not to arm moderate Syrian rebels, as neighboring Iraq struggles to cope with extremist spillover from Syria.

Lawmakers push bill to end sex bias in medical studies

WASHINGTON - Biomedical research backed by the U.S. National Institutes of Health must use both male and female lab animals, tissues and cells under a bill introduced in Congress on Tuesday aimed at stamping out a bias toward males in studies not involving human subjects.

Georgia inmate could be first to die since botched Oklahoma execution

ATLANTA - A Georgia inmate is scheduled to die by injection on Tuesday in what would be the first in the United States since a botched execution in Oklahoma in April ignited renewed debate and scrutiny of the death penalty.

U.S. captures suspected ringleader of 2012 attack in Benghazi

WASHINGTON - The United States said on Tuesday it had captured a suspected ringleader of the 2012 attack on the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, that killed four Americans including the U.S. ambassador and ignited a political firestorm in Washington.

Supreme Court refuses to stay execution of Georgia inmate

ATLANTA - The U.S. Supreme Court denied on Tuesday an 11th-hour request to block the execution of a Georgia inmate who was scheduled to be put to death Tuesday night in what would be the nation's first execution since a botched lethal injection in Oklahoma in April.

Arizona attorney general asks judge to disband police in border towns

SALT LAKE CITY - Arizona’s attorney general has asked a federal judge to disband the police department for twin Utah-Arizona border towns that are dominated by the polygamous church of jailed sect leader Warren Jeffs, according to court papers.

U.S. Air Force installation in Los Angeles placed on lockdown

LOS ANGELES - A U.S. Air Force installation in Los Angeles was placed under a security lockdown on Tuesday afternoon, a spokeswoman said, as police said they were investigating a report of a possible suspicious person at the base.

U.S. appeals court lifts stay of Missouri execution set for Wednesday

- A U.S. appeals court on Tuesday overturned a stay of execution for a Missouri murderer, clearing the way for the state to proceed with plans to lethally inject the inmate on Wednesday.

Thirteen bids to host Obama's presidential library

WASHINGTON - Thirteen bidders have applied to host Barack Obama's presidential library, the foundation overseeing the project said on Tuesday.

New England states joining forces to take on heroin crisis

WALTHAM Mass. - The governors of five New England states said on Tuesday they would begin to share data on prescriptions to cut down on "doctor shopping," with heroin addiction and overdose deaths on the rise as a result of prescription painkiller abuse.

Miffed U.S. judge withdraws from Michael Jordan lawsuit

- A veteran federal judge in Chicago has withdrawn from NBA legend Michael Jordan's lawsuit against a local supermarket chain over the use of his name and image in a magazine ad, but not without levying harsh criticism at the basketball Hall of Famer's lawyers for seeking his recusal.

Indiana woman found dead in freezer, roommate in custody

- The body of an elderly Indiana woman found inside a large freezer in her home must thaw out before investigators can determine how she died, but a 47-year-old man has been arrested and is suspected of killing her, police said on Tuesday.

Judge declares mistrial for N.Y. state senator accused of bribery

NEW YORK - A U.S. judge on Tuesday declared a mistrial in the case against a New York state senator accused of trying to buy his way onto the Republican ticket in the 2013 New York City mayoral race, lawyers in the case said.

New York man cleared of murder to sue city for $162 million

NEW YORK - A New York man imprisoned for nearly 25 years for a murder he did not commit filed preliminary paperwork on Tuesday for a $162 million lawsuit against the city seeking damages for his wrongful conviction, his lawyer said.

Ukrainian man sentenced to 30 years in prison for child porn

NEWARK N.J. - A Ukrainian man who pleaded guilty to starting and operating a hard-core child pornography website for three years was sentenced to 30 years in U.S. prison on Tuesday by a federal judge in New Jersey.

Residents of Nebraska town return after deadly tornado

PILGER Neb. - Residents who were forced to leave a small town in Nebraska leveled by a tornado that killed a child and injured more than two dozen people began returning on Tuesday to salvage belongings from their battered homes and businesses.

Phoenix police say homeless woman helped catch suspect in priest killing

- A homeless man charged with the murder of one priest and assault on another in Phoenix was apprehended after a homeless woman told police he had confessed to her before checking into an emergency psychiatric facility, police said on Tuesday.

Bergdahl provided with media coverage about his return: U.S. Army

SAN ANTONIO - U.S. Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl, who spent five years as a Taliban prisoner of war before being released last month, was being informed of the media attention surrounding his return as he recovers at a military hospital, the Army said on Tuesday.

'Nightmares' plague circus performers injured in Rhode Island

BOSTON - Four circus performers, injured last month when an apparatus broke while suspending them 40 feet (12 meters) in the air by their hair, made their first public remarks since the accident on Tuesday with one saying she had nightmares of the fall.

First black, openly gay man confirmed as U.S. federal judge

MIAMI - The United States' first black, openly gay male judge was appointed to the federal bench on Tuesday in a unanimous confirmation decision by the U.S. Senate.

Groups file suit charging Alabama with inadequate prison medical care

- Two advocacy groups filed a lawsuit on Tuesday charging that a pattern of inadequate medical and mental healthcare in Alabama prisons has contributed to inmate deaths and amounts to discrimination against disabled prisoners.

Chicago bomb plot defendant denied secret files by appeals court

CHICAGO - A federal appeals court has overruled a landmark lower court decision that allowed lawyers for a man accused of plotting to bomb a Chicago bar to see documents classified under a major U.S. spying law.

Oregon takes steps toward lawsuit over defunct health exchange website

PORTLAND Ore. - Oregon is taking the next step toward a possible lawsuit against the company that developed the embattled Cover Oregon website as part of the implementation of the federal healthcare program known as Obamacare, state officials said on Tuesday.

Ex-Blackwater guards face jury over 2007 Baghdad shooting

WASHINGTON - Former security guards for Blackwater Worldwide shot first at a Baghdad traffic circle in 2007 and justified their actions later, federal prosecutors told a jury on Tuesday as the government began presenting its case over a shooting that resulted in the death of 14 unarmed Iraqis.

FBI, police arrest 50 in crackdown on Los Angeles gang

LOS ANGELES - FBI agents and police targeting a Los Angeles street gang made 50 arrests on Tuesday, as prosecutors filed an indictment accusing the gang's members of committing murders, robberies and drug crimes over a span of more than two decades, officials said.

Florida inmates accused in foiled shoot-and-sue scheme

TALLAHASSEE Fla. - Authorities in Florida charged two prison inmates on Tuesday with shooting themselves with a smuggled pistol in a foiled scheme to sue the state for their injuries in hopes of reducing their sentences.

Oklahoma teen to testify for state in case of slain Australian

OKLAHOMA CITY - Prosecutors in Oklahoma filed a motion on Tuesday to dismiss a first-degree murder charge against an Oklahoma teenager who has agreed to testify for the state against two of his friends accused of fatally shooting an Australian athlete a year ago.

U.S. captures suspected ringleader of 2012 attack in Benghazi

WASHINGTON - The United States has captured one of the suspected ringleaders of the 2012 attack on the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi that killed four Americans, including the U.S. ambassador, the Pentagon said on Tuesday.

New York man arrested after hijacking empty city bus

NEW YORK - A Staten Island man commandeered an empty New York City bus and managed to drive it nearly two miles before being stopped and arrested near his home, authorities said on Tuesday.

Pilot killed as small plane crashes in yard of N.Y. home

NEW YORK - A small plane crashed in the yard of a home on New York's Long Island on Tuesday morning killing the pilot and scattering shards of glass across a room where a baby was sleeping in its crib, authorities said.

Boston transit toughens staff cellphone policy after crash

BOSTON - Boston's public bus drivers and train conductors can now be fired for simply bringing a cell phone to work, according to a new policy that transit officials say is the toughest of its kind in the nation.

U.S. captures suspected ringleader of 2012 attack in Benghazi

WASHINGTON - The United States said on Tuesday it had captured a suspected ringleader of the 2012 attack on the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, a raid that killed four Americans including the U.S. ambassador and ignited a political firestorm in Washington.

Mother, two children found dead in car outside Maryland school

- A mother and her two young children were found dead in a car parked outside a Hagerstown, Maryland, middle school, police said.

Mummified corpse found hanging in abandoned Ohio home

- A curious Ohio boy who sneaked into an abandoned house over the weekend discovered a mummified corpse hanging inside a closet, unnoticed for nearly five years, officials said on Tuesday.

Suspected NYC drug dealer escapes custody, hits cop with car

NEW YORK - New York City police were searching on Tuesday for a suspected drug dealer who hit a detective with the officer's car while escaping custody, police said.

Georgia inmate could be first to die since botched Oklahoma execution

ATLANTA - A Georgia inmate is scheduled to die by lethal injection on Tuesday, in what would be the first in the United States since a botched execution in Oklahoma in April ignited renewed debate and scrutiny of the death penalty.

Seattle interstate shut after police shoot freeway spray-painter

SEATTLE - Police shut southbound Interstate 5 in Seattle for hours on Monday after shooting a driver who had stopped to begin spray-painting the roadway and then brandished a knife when confronted, officials said.

New Mexico wildfire rages through Native American reservation

ALBUQUERQUE N.M. - A wind-whipped wildfire on the Navajo Reservation in northwest New Mexico raged for a fourth day on Monday, forcing the evacuation of sheep-herding residents in the Chuska mountains, officials said, but no injuries were reported.

Alabama court overturns anti-sodomy law

- An Alabama appeals court has thrown out a law prohibiting consensual homosexual intercourse, declaring it to be unconstitutional.

Seattle mayor wants to scrap driver limits on ridesharing services

SEATTLE - Seattle Mayor Ed Murray on Monday proposed the city remove its cap on the number of ridesharing company drivers and make concessions to traditional taxi and car hire companies, in a bid to appease warring factions hungry for fares.

Miami exiles pressure U.S. to loosen policy on Cuba

MIAMI - Cuban exile Joe Arriola at one time would never have dreamed of returning to his homeland while it was under communist rule.

Temporary reprieve for Mormon activist facing disciplinary hearing

SALT LAKE CITY - A prominent Mormon activist threatened with disciplinary action and possible excommunication for questioning church doctrine said on Monday he had received a temporary reprieve and that it seems church leaders want to "de-escalate" the dispute.

Tornadoes sweep through northeastern Nebraska

- Two large tornadoes swept farming areas of northeastern Nebraska on Monday, causing severe damage to at least one town and some injuries, according to officials and media reports.

Tornado kills one, injures 16 in Nebraska town: sheriff

- One person was confirmed dead and 16 injured from a tornado that struck the northeastern Nebraska town of Pilger on Monday, Stanton County Sheriff Michael Unger said.

San Francisco to propose tax breaks for urban farms

SACRAMENTO Calif. - San Francisco would be the first city in California to offer property owners a tax break if they agree to make empty lots available for urban agriculture, under an ordinance to be introduced at the city's Board of Supervisors on Tuesday.

Man jailed longest without trial in Philadelphia sent to nursing home

PHILADELPHIA - A man thought to be the longest-held prisoner in Philadelphia jails without trial was moved to a nursing home on Monday after spending seven years behind bars despite a ruling that he was not fit to stand trial.

Tornadoes hit northeastern Nebraska, property damage reported

- Large tornadoes hit rural areas of northeastern Nebraska on Monday afternoon, with reports of property damage, according to forecasters and the Weather Channel.

Most guns seized in 8 U.S. cities are pistols, not assault rifles: study

- Most of the guns seized from gang members, felons and drug traffickers in eight U.S. cities over a decade were handguns, not the automatic assault rifles often depicted in Hollywood crime stories, according to a study published on Monday.

Houston police arrest woman for hit-and-run that killed three

HOUSTON - A 23-year-old woman has been charged with four counts of failure to stop and render aid for causing a weekend traffic accident in Houston that killed three people, believed to be teenage siblings, police said on Monday.

Supreme Court rules against 'straw buyer' in gun case

WASHINGTON - The Supreme Court handed a victory to gun control advocates on Monday by upholding the conviction of a former police officer from Virginia who lied when he stated he was buying a handgun for himself when it actually was for a relative.

New York woman's body mistakenly donated for scientific research

NEW YORK - The body of a recently deceased New York woman was mistakenly released from a city morgue and donated for medical student research, city officials and a family attorney said on Monday.

U.S. judge releases Chicago from federal hiring oversight

CHICAGO - A federal judge on Monday released Chicago from federal oversight of its hiring practices after finding it in "substantial compliance" with a decades-old decree to prevent illegal patronage.

Regional U.S. accord signed to protect struggling Chesapeake Bay

ANNAPOLIS Md. - An agreement to restore the struggling Chesapeake Bay by protecting its vast drainage area was signed on Monday by officials that included governors from six U.S. states.

California wildfire threatens 1,000 more homes near Sequoia National Park

LOS ANGELES - A California wildfire that has already destroyed three structures and blackened some three square miles of forest land near Sequoia National Park was threatening 1,000 more homes on Monday, officials said.

FAA to investigate air traffic controller's 'kidding' comment

ATLANTA - The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating an air traffic controller's joking remark that caused a Delta jet to abort a landing at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.

Police arrest suspect in deadly Phoenix church assault

- Phoenix police have arrested a man convicted of a violent burglary in the murder of a 29-year-old priest who was killed and his pastor badly injured during a break-in at a Catholic church last week, authorities said on Monday.

Massachusetts tops in economic evolution: Innovation Foundation index

WASHINGTON - For 15 years, Massachusetts has been the most economically evolved U.S. state, according to an index released on Monday by the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation.

New Mexico parents arrested after toddler ingests methamphetamine

ALBUQUERQUE N.M. - Police arrested a couple in New Mexico on suspicion of child abuse after their 22-month-old daughter was found to have methamphetamine in her system, authorities said on Monday.

Three children injured after parade cannon malfunctions in Utah

SALT LAKE CITY - Three children were injured at a parade in Utah when a spark from a cannon being used by a Civil War re-enactment group caused a bag of black gunpowder to explode, police said on Monday.

Former Yale employee charged with collecting kickbacks

BOSTON - A former employee of Yale University has been charged with collecting tens of thousands of dollars in kickbacks from companies that did business with the Ivy League school, prosecutors said on Monday.

Obama's oldest daughter Malia works on TV set for a day: report

WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama's oldest daughter, Malia, was spotted working as a production assistant for a day on the set of a CBS television program starring Academy Award winning actress Halle Berry, according to the entertainment web site TheWrap.

U.S. Army begins probe into former POW Bergdahl's disappearance

WASHINGTON - The U.S. military said on Monday it had begun an investigation into the 2009 disappearance in Afghanistan of Bowe Bergdahl, the U.S. soldier freed last month after five years in Taliban captivity.

Missing Potomac kayaker who triggered search turns up safe at home

- A kayaker who had been presumed missing on the Potomac River turned up safe at home after triggering a lengthy search by boats, a helicopter and scores of rescuers, Maryland police said.

Former Washington Mayor Barry, once busted for crack, out with memoir

WASHINGTON - Former Washington Mayor Marion Barry, whose conviction for cocaine possession overshadowed his legacy as a civil rights crusader, is out with an autobiography that aims to tell his story.

Support for Massachusetts health law unscathed by website woes: poll

BOSTON - Public support for Massachusetts’ 2006 healthcare law has remained above 60 percent despite a rocky rollout of the state’s new health insurance website, according to a poll from The Boston Globe and The Harvard School of Public Health.

U.S. top court to hear appeal of conviction for online threats

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday agreed to decide whether a man convicted of making threatening statements to his estranged wife and others on social media should have avoided prosecution.

Baseball Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn dies at 54: Major League Baseball

- Former professional baseball player and Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn died at the age of 54, Major League Baseball said on Monday.

U.S. Supreme Court rejects appeal over school graduation in church

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday let stand an appeals court ruling that a Wisconsin school district could not hold graduation ceremonies in a church auditorium because of concerns about the U.S. Constitution's prohibition on government endorsement of religion.

JPMorgan sued by Miami over alleged mortgage discrimination

NEW YORK - JPMorgan Chase & Co has been sued by the city of Miami, accusing the bank of predatory mortgage lending in minority neighborhoods that allegedly caused a wave of foreclosures during the last decade's housing crisis.

U.S. Supreme Court to hear mortgage loan officers' pay case

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday agreed to weigh a dispute over whether mortgage loan officers are exempt from minimum wage and overtime pay regulations.

Ex-NFL star Hernandez due in court on charges of prison assault

BOSTON - Former NFL star Aaron Hernandez, who has been charged with murdering three men in two incidents in 2012 and 2013, is due back in court on Monday to face charges of assaulting a fellow inmate while in jail.

Guantanamo hearing to weigh accusations of FBI spying

WASHINGTON - A U.S. war crimes tribunal will hear arguments on Monday over a suspected FBI investigation that may have created a conflict of interest for lawyers representing Guantanamo Bay inmates accused of orchestrating the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

After oil, natural gas may be next on North American rails

NEW YORK - As politicians debate the dangers of a massive increase in oil carried by rail in North America, railroads and energy producers are considering the same for natural gas.

Six dead as fire rips through New Jersey home

NEW YORK - Fire ripped through a home in Newark, New Jersey, on Sunday killing six members of a family, officials said.

Biden to meet Central America leaders about child migrant wave

RANCHO MIRAGE Calif. - U.S. Vice President Joe Biden will go to Guatemala on Friday to meet Central American leaders about the influx of unaccompanied minors illegally entering the United States, senior administration officials said on Sunday.

'Deep Throat' garage from U.S. Watergate scandal to be razed

WASHINGTON - One of the most historic U.S. journalism sites will vanish after a Virginia county board voted to demolish the building and parking garage central to the Watergate political scandal of the 1970s.

U.S. military appoints general to probe Bergdahl disappearance

WASHINGTON - The U.S. military has appointed a two-star general to investigate the circumstances under which Bowe Bergdahl, the U.S. soldier recently freed after five years in Taliban captivity, disappeared in eastern Afghanistan in 2009, a U.S. official said on Sunday.

California man run over by drunk daughter: police

- A California man who tried to prevent his adult daughter from driving drunk was struck by her car and killed, police said Sunday.

Connecticut hoarder killed by floor collapse: police

BOSTON - A 66-year-old Connecticut woman was found dead in the basement of her home after the first floor collapsed under the weight of a waist-deep pile of newspapers, bottles and other household detritus, local police said on Sunday.

California wildfire prompts hundreds of home evacuations

- Hundreds of firefighters on Sunday were battling a wildfire in southern California that prompted the evacuation of about 500 homes, local officials said.

Six dead as fire rips through New Jersey home

NEW YORK - Fire ripped through a home in Newark, New Jersey, on Sunday killing six people, officials said.

Summer concerts amp up drug screening after 'Molly' deaths

NEW YORK - Sniffer dogs, pat-downs and other drug screening measures await concertgoers during this summer music festival season in the wake of 2013 concert deaths linked to the club drug Molly.

JetBlue apologizes after girl, denied toilet, urinates in plane seat

- JetBlue Airways on Saturday apologized to a mother who said her child had to urinate in her airplane seat because a flight attendant would not let her use the restroom while the plane sat on the tarmac at a New York airport.

Body identified as young mother missing on New York's Long Island

NEW YORK - A woman's body found in a wooded area of New York's Long Island was identified on Saturday as that of a young mother who was reported missing a week ago, police said.

President Obama intervenes to end Philadelphia transit strike

PHILADELPHIA - President Barack Obama on Saturday intervened to end a transit strike in the greater Philadelphia area, establishing an emergency board to force the two sides to negotiate.

Houston police searching for hit-and-run driver who killed three

HOUSTON - Police said they are looking for a hit-and-run driver who early on Saturday struck a car in Houston, killing three of its occupants, reported to be teenagers by local media.

New York airport worker injured by fire in Delta plane engine

NEW YORK - A fire that broke out in the engine of a Delta Air Lines plane that had just landed at New York City's LaGuardia Airport left one airport worker injured on Friday evening, the Federal Aviation Administration said.

Oregon high school shooter's parents "horrified and distraught", offer apology

PORTLAND Ore. - The parents of a teenage Oregon gunman accused of opening fire this week at his high school, killing a classmate before taking his own life, said they were "horrified and distraught" by their son's actions in their first public apology.

California sophomore arrested over school shooting threats

LOS ANGELES - Police in California arrested a 15-year-old student for threatening to kill a classmate, shoot up their high school and then take his own life, authorities said on Friday.

Gay marriage on hold in Wisconsin pending appeal

MADISON Wis. - A federal judge on Friday put same-sex marriages in Wisconsin on hold pending appeals of her ruling one week ago that the state's ban on gay nuptials is unconstitutional.

New Florida law bans e-cigarette sales to minors

TALLAHASSEE Fla. - People under age 18 in Florida will be banned from buying electronic cigarettes under a bill that Republican Governor Rick Scott signed into law on Friday.

Settlement reached over Detroit bonds - court mediators

- A settlement has been reached in Detroit's historic bankruptcy case over the treatment of unsecured limited-tax general obligation bonds, U.S. Bankruptcy Court mediators announced on Friday.

Ex-chief judge on U.S. patent court to retire after ethics issue

- The ex-chief judge of the top U.S. patent court will retire at the end of June, after acknowledging that an email he sent raised questions about his judicial ethics because it praised an attorney who appears before the court.

Montana man arrested for DUI after trying to bail out wife for same offense

- A Montana man whose wife was jailed on suspicion of driving under the influence was arrested for the exact same offense after going to the jail drunk to bail her out, a local newspaper reported on Friday.

California PR consultant indicted on firearms charges

Los ANGELES - A social media consultant who was arrested after FBI agents found bomb-making materials and lethal toxins during a raid of his San Francisco apartment has been indicted on federal charges, prosecutors said on Friday.

Florida attorney general mulls next step after death penalty ruling

TALLAHASSEE Fla. - The Florida attorney general was considering the state's next move on Friday after the state Supreme Court ruled a man sentenced to die for a 25-year-old murder should be taken off death row.

New Florida law bans e-cigarette sales to minors

TALLAHASSEE Fla. - People under age 18 in Florida will be banned from buying electronic cigarettes under a bill that Republican Governor Rick Scott signed into law on Friday.

Owner of Triple Crown-contending racehorse loses tax case versus IRS

WASHINGTON - A California businessman and prominent figure in horse racing on Friday lost a multimillion-dollar tax-shelter dispute in an appeals court decision favoring the U.S. Internal Revenue Service.

Philadelphia-area transit, unions negotiate as strike threat looms

PHILADELPHIA - Negotiations between the Philadelphia-area transit authority and two unions continued on Friday as the region braced for a potentially crippling transit strike ahead of a looming deadline.

Bergdahl in stable condition at Army medical center

SAN ANTONIO - U.S. Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl, who spent five years as a Taliban prisoner of war before being released on May 31, was in stable condition at a military hospital in Texas and has not yet met with his parents, military officials said on Friday.

BP oil spill investor lawsuit in U.S. gets May 2015 trial date

- A U.S. judge set a May 2015 trial date on Friday for BP Plc to face claims in a lawsuit accusing the company of misleading investors about the severity of the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

New York City teacher convicted of raping 10-year-old student

NEW YORK - A former fifth grade teacher in a New York City public school in the Bronx pleaded guilty on Friday of raping one of his 10-year-old pupils last June, prosecutors said.

Christie's rival seeks more than $40 mln in corporate raid suit

ALBANY N.Y. - Christie's Inc is being sued for more than $40 million by a rival that says the famed auction house poached employees from its highly successful luxury goods division after allegedly struggling to create a version of its own.

Owner of Triple Crown-contending racehorse loses tax case vs IRS

WASHINGTON - A California businessman and prominent figure in horse racing on Friday lost a multimillion-dollar tax-shelter dispute in an appeals court decision favoring the U.S. Internal Revenue Service.

Pentagon says mulling options to replace Russian rocket motors

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Defense Department wants to end its dependency on Russian engines to power rockets that launch national security satellites, but is still exploring possible options, a top Pentagon official said on Friday.

Iowa Supreme Court overturns conviction in HIV case

- The Iowa Supreme Court on Friday set aside the conviction of a man who pleaded guilty to criminal transmission of HIV but later argued that he got insufficient legal advice in making the plea.

U.S. Army says Bergdahl condition stable, has not met parents

SAN ANTONIO Texas - U.S. Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl, who spent five years as a Taliban prisoner of war before being released on May 31, was in stable condition at a military hospital in Texas and has not yet met his parents, military officials said on Friday.

PF Chang's swipes cards manually in U.S. after breach

- P.F. Chang's China Bistro said it has begun manually swiping payment cards at all U.S. restaurants in the wake of a data breach to ensure that transactions are secure as investigators figure out how attackers accessed its systems.

California bill makes egregious misconduct fireable offense for teachers

SACRAMENTO Calif. - Days after a Los Angeles judge ruled unconstitutional five California laws granting tenure and other job protections for public school teachers, lawmakers passed a measure adding "egregious misconduct" to the list of fireable offenses.

Police gun down bull on the loose in downtown Baltimore

- An escaped bull led Baltimore police on a 45-minute chase through downtown on Friday before officers gunned it down, police said.

Jailed Chicago man freed by DNA evidence faces new murder charge

CHICAGO - A Chicago man who served almost 32 years in prison for murder and rape before being exonerated by DNA evidence has been charged with murder in another case, officials said on Friday.

KFC investigating claim that disfigured girl was asked to leave restaurant

- The KFC restaurant chain said it was looking into complaints that the family of a Mississippi girl recovering from a pit bull attack was asked to leave a restaurant because her appearance frightened other customers.

Lethal drugs leaked in botched Oklahoma execution: report

- Oklahoma failed to properly insert an intravenous line to deliver lethal drugs to an inmate during a botched execution in April, bypassing strong veins in his arms and using a riskier entry point in the groin area, according to a preliminary autopsy released on Friday by the inmate's lawyers.

Massachusetts gives green light to MGM's casino plan

BOSTON - Massachusetts will award Las Vegas developer MGM Resorts International the state's first license to operate a gambling casino, pending a challenge by anti-gambling activists, officials said on Friday.

U.S. arrests 163 for smuggling of immigrants on Mexican border

WASHINGTON - U.S. immigration agents have arrested 163 suspected smugglers of aliens on the Mexican border, authorities said on Friday, as the United States grapples with a flood of children crossing the border.

Man arrested in 25-year-old rape, murder of California woman

- More than 25 years after a woman was found sexually assaulted and slain in a ravine in Northern California, authorities have arrested a man in her murder.

Fund for Boston bomb victims prepares final payout

BOSTON - A fund that has distributed more than $60 million to the victims of last year's Boston Marathon bombing said on Friday it is preparing its final round of payments.

Pot-smoking driver crashes into CNN headquarters: police

ATLANTA - A driver who told police he had smoked marijuana crashed his car into CNN headquarters in Atlanta early on Friday, causing damage but no injuries, police said.

Virginia lawmakers pass budget, nix Medicaid expansion

- Virginia's Republican-controlled legislature passed a two-year budget late on Thursday that shot down the Democratic governor's proposal to expand Medicaid and closed a $1.55 billion revenue shortfall.

Strong storms, possible tornadoes Saturday in U.S. plains states

- Damaging storms with high winds, heavy rain, large hail and isolated tornadoes are forecast for some central U.S states on Saturday, the National Weather Service said on Friday.

Crews set fire to luxury Texas lake house perched on cliff: video

AUSTIN Texas - Crews set fire to a luxury Texas lake house on Friday left dangling about 75 feet (23 meters) on a decaying cliff that has been giving way underneath the structure, live video showed.

Georgia won't enforce law on food stamp drug testing

ATLANTA - Georgia will not drug test food stamp recipients under a controversial new law that both federal and state officials concluded was illegal, the governor's office said on Friday.

LinkedIn must face customer lawsuit over email addresses

- A federal judge said LinkedIn Corp must face a lawsuit by customers who claimed it violated their privacy by accessing their external email accounts, downloading their contacts' email addresses and soliciting business from those contacts.

Small plane with one on board crashes north of New York City

NEW YORK - A small plane carrying only the pilot crashed on Friday shortly after taking off from an airport just north of New York City, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.

Federal judge could give green light to gay marriage in Wisconsin

MILWAUKEE - A federal judge will hold a hearing on Friday when she could give the green light to gay marriage in Wisconsin a week after she declared state's ban unconstitutional.

Bergdahl arrives in Texas: Pentagon

WASHINGTON - Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl, who spent five years as a Taliban prisoner of war before being released on May 31, has arrived at an Army medical center in Texas where he will receive further treatment, the Pentagon said on Friday.

Jamaica to decriminalize personal marijuana possession

KINGSTON - The Jamaican government has decided to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana, joining the trickle of countries moving to soften laws on the drug known on the Caribbean island as "ganja."

Woman charged with throwing shoe at Clinton in Nevada to undergo competency evaluation

NEW YORK - A federal judge in Nevada has ordered a competency evaluation for a woman charged with throwing a shoe at former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during an April speaking appearance in Las Vegas, according to court papers released on Thursday.

Nextdoor CEO pleads no contest to hit and run charge

SAN FRANCISCO - Nextdoor CEO Nirav Tolia, whose social networking website espouses neighborhood safety and community, pleaded no contest Thursday in a San Mateo court to a misdemeanor for leaving the scene of a highway accident that a driver says Tolia caused.

Grief, resolve marks Oregon high school graduation ceremony after fatal shooting

PORTLAND Ore. - Two days after a teenaged gunman shot dead a classmate and took his own life, a Oregon high school held a graduation ceremony marked by grief, bewilderment and vows to move forward.

Ban on rope swinging from Utah arch rock formations considered

SALT LAKE CITY - Federal officials in Utah are deciding whether to outlaw the increasingly popular daredevil pastime of swinging on ropes dangled from towering sandstone arches and cliffs after one man died and another was badly hurt in the activity.

Texas man sues doctors for removing wrong kidney

DALLAS - A Texas man has filed a lawsuit seeking more than $1 million in damages from two doctors he said were responsible for removing his healthy kidney and leaving a cancerous one in his body.

Second German tourist dies during Grand Canyon holiday

PHOENIX - A German tourist was killed when his kayak capsized on the Colorado River in Arizona's Grand Canyon National Park, authorities said on Thursday, the second German visitor to die in the park this week.

Florida Supreme Court rules against red light cameras in two cities

TALLAHASSEE Fla. - Florida drivers caught on camera running red lights before 2010 could qualify for refunds on their tickets under a ruling by the Florida Supreme Court on Thursday.

Serial bank robber's 45-year sentence too harsh: appeals court

- A 45-year prison sentence leveled against a serial bank robber, who once appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show as a "bank robbing pimp," was too harsh and must be reconsidered, a U.S. federal appeals court ruled on Thursday.

Alabama Republicans say voter fraud found after offering reward

- Alabama Republicans, who offered a $1,000 reward for substantiated reports of voter fraud in this month's primary elections, said on Thursday they plan to forward credible evidence of wrongdoing to state prosecutors.

Sears worker in upstate New York dies after shelves collapse

- A Sears employee in northern New York has died of injuries suffered when storage racks at the store collapsed and pinned him underneath, authorities said.

Lawsuit seeks details of standoff at Nevada ranch

SALT LAKE CITY - An advocacy group for public employees sued the Bureau of Land Management on Thursday, seeking documents detailing the agency’s actions during an armed standoff with militia in a dispute over a Nevada rancher’s grazing rights.

Accused Spanish drug lord convicted in Miami for drug money laundering

MIAMI - The head of a transatlantic cocaine smuggling ring dubbed “Los Miami” has been convicted of laundering more than $26 million in the United States through multimillion-dollar waterfront condos and exotic sports cars.

U.S. food makers sue to stop Vermont's GMO labeling law

- Several industry groups representing U.S. food makers on Thursday asked a federal judge in Vermont to block that state's new law that will require labels on food products made with genetically modified organisms (GMOs).

Court ruling allows Occupy protesters to restore tent city in Idaho

SALMON Idaho - The Occupy movement, which withered after clampdowns on protest encampments in U.S. cities, may now legally erect a tent city in Idaho after a federal court order barred the state from enforcing a ban, citing free speech rights, an attorney for protesters said on Thursday.

NORAD scrambled fighters after Russian bombers seen off California coast

LOS ANGELES - Two Russian long-range bombers were spotted just 50 miles off the California coast earlier this week and air defense officials scrambled a pair of F-22 fighter jets to make visual identification, a NORAD spokeswoman said on Thursday.

Woman charged with throwing shoe at Clinton in Nevada to undergo competency evaluation

NEW YORK - A federal judge in Nevada has ordered a competency evaluation for a woman charged with throwing a shoe at former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during an April speaking appearance in Las Vegas, according to court papers released on Thursday.

Oregon high school marks graduation after fatal shooting

PORTLAND Ore. - The academic year drew to an abrupt, somber end at the Oregon high school where a teenage gunman shot a classmate to death and took his own life, with final exams canceled and a special moment of silence planned for graduation ceremonies on Thursday.

Chocolate Co sues Maryland lawmaker Hershey over campaign signs

ANNAPOLIS Md. - The Hershey Company is not sweet on the idea of Maryland lawmaker Stephen Hershey Jr's campaign signs looking a lot like the chocolate maker's own brown-and-white design.

Wisconsin's clerks warned against issuing same-sex marriage licenses

MILWAUKEE - Wisconsin county clerks who issued marriage licenses to same-sex couples over the past week could face charges for breaking the state's marriage laws, the state's attorney general said on Thursday.

Texas military hospital to treat Bergdahl has long history with POWs

SAN ANTONIO - The sprawling San Antonio Military Medical Center where freed prisoner of war Bowe Bergdahl will soon make his return to the United States is no stranger to healing the mental wounds of those who have gone through traumatic experiences abroad.

Florida accountant accused of running sex slave business

ORLANDO Fla. - A Florida certified public accountant has been charged with human trafficking after being accused of keeping three women as sex slaves in Gainesville.

Louisiana governor to sign into law new restrictions on abortions

NEW ORLEANS - Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal will sign new restrictions on abortion clinics into law on Thursday, his office said, a measure critics have said will force three of the state's five clinics to close.

Bachelor party finds rare mastodon fossil in New Mexico

ALBUQUERQUE - A group of men attending a bachelor party stumbled across a rare fossil of a mastodon skull, complete with its tusks, in sand at a lakeshore in a New Mexico state park, a museum spokesman said on Thursday.

Detroit man held in woman's killing, search goes on for children

- A Detroit man is in custody in Georgia on suspicion that he killed the mother of his child and investigators are questioning him in the hope that he can help them find her two missing children, Detroit police said on Thursday.

Judge stays execution in Missouri pending meddling probe

KANSAS CITY Mo. - A federal judge on Thursday ordered a stay of execution for a Missouri double murderer next week because of allegations that prison staff may have interfered with an employee who wanted to help get clemency for the death row inmate.

New Jersey man arrested in attack on fellow nursing home resident

NEW YORK - A 73-year-old resident of a suburban New Jersey nursing home was arrested on Thursday for an alleged assault on a fellow resident nearly 20 years older, police said.

Bergdahl expected back in U.S. on Friday: official

WASHINGTON - U.S. Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl, held five years as a Taliban prisoner of war before being released on May 31, will return to the United States on Friday after receiving care at a military hospital in Germany, a senior defense official said on Thursday.

Climber rescued after 1,500-feet fall on Colorado's El Diente

DENVER - A climber who broke his leg after falling more than 1,500 feet on one of Colorado's steepest peaks was safe after what local authorities said was their first helicopter rescue using night-vision equipment.

Broad support in NYC for higher minimum wage, poll shows

NEW YORK - New Yorkers strongly back hiking the minimum wage, a poll showed on Thursday, while their support for the police department hit new lows under a mayor seeking to improve community relations.

Size of income tax drop surprises U.S. states: study

WASHINGTON - Most U.S. states were surprised by the size of the drop in their personal income tax collections this April, even though they had expected a decline, according to a report released by the Rockefeller Institute of Government on Thursday.

U.S. teenagers smoke less, but texting while driving a concern: CDC

ATLANTA - Fewer U.S. teenagers are smoking cigarettes, fighting or having sex, but texting while driving is prevalent among high school students, according to a survey released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Thursday.

NFL's Kaepernick cleared by police in Miami incident with woman

MIAMI - Miami police have closed an investigation into a hotel incident involving San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick and a woman who told police that she might have been sexually assaulted after drinks with several football players.

Colorado pot edibles maker says Hershey lawsuit a big surprise

DENVER - A Colorado maker of marijuana edibles says it was surprised to be sued by Hershey Co, which accused it of ripping off the design of the company's iconic chocolates and candies, because it changed its packaging six months ago.

Securing materials in U.S. that could be used in 'dirty bomb' seen a challenge

WASHINGTON - The United States faces "challenges" in trying to secure radiological equipment used in a range of industries that could become part of a "dirty bomb" used in an attack, the Government Accountability Office reported on Thursday.

California man freed by jury mistake is found dead

- A California man, who released from a Fresno jail after a divided jury mistakenly returned a not-guilty verdict against him in a burglary case, was found dead on Thursday from an apparent stabbing, just a day after he was freed.

Missouri firm recalls over 4,000 pounds of beef over mad cow concerns

- A Missouri slaughter house recalled 4,012 pounds (1,800 kg) of fresh beef over concerns that nervous tissue that could contain the "mad cow" disease pathogen may not have been properly removed from the meat before shipment, a federal food safety agency said.

Maine man, 77, pleads insanity in 2012 double murder over snow shoveling

PORTLAND Maine - (This June 11 story was corrected in 11th paragraph to say it was a woman, not a man, who starved a 5-year-old in 1995 case)

Former U.S. President George H.W. Bush plans 90th birthday skydive

BOWDOINHAM Maine - Former U.S. President George H.W. Bush plans to mark his 90th birthday with a skydive in Kennebunkport, Maine, on Thursday with a group of U.S. Army veterans.

Texas Governor Perry compares homosexuality to alcoholism

- Texas Governor Rick Perry, seen as a potential Republican presidential candidate in the 2016 election, compared homosexuality to alcoholism in remarks in San Francisco.

Texas Governor Perry compares homosexuality to alcoholism

- Texas Governor Rick Perry, seen as a potential Republican presidential candidate in the 2016 election, compared homosexuality to alcoholism in remarks in San Francisco.

U.S. political polarization increasing, poll shows

WASHINGTON - Americans are more divided along political lines than at any time in two decades, with about one in five defining themselves as consistently liberal or conservative, a poll showed on Thursday.

Accused Spanish drug lord convicted in Miami for drug money laundering

MIAMI - The head of a transatlantic cocaine smuggling ring dubbed “Los Miami” was convicted of laundering more than $26 million in the United States through multimillion-dollar waterfront condos and exotic sports cars.

Four killed, one injured in Chicago car crash, police say

CHICAGO - Four people were killed and one person seriously injured when their car hit a wall behind a store on Chicago's northwest side early on Thursday, police said.

Trial will decide which Sterling controls LA Clippers

LOS ANGELES - Shelly Sterling on Wednesday was granted a trial next month in Los Angeles to resolve a dispute with her estranged husband Donald Sterling over who controls the NBA's Los Angeles Clippers, leaving its $2 billion sale up in the air.

Priest killed, another injured, in Phoenix church burglary: police

- One priest was shot dead and another injured during what police described as a burglary at a Catholic church in Phoenix, Arizona, on Wednesday evening, police said.

Arizona woman has nearly 50-pound tumor removed from abdomen

TUCSON Ariz. - An Arizona woman was recovering at home on Wednesday after having a 47.5-pound (21.5 kg) tumor removed from her abdomen during life-saving surgery, doctors said.

San Francisco ruled out of hosting next America's Cup

- San Francisco has been ruled out as host for the next America's Cup in 2017, according to a statement on the official regatta website.

Brain-dead California teen to get school diploma: family

- A California girl who was declared brain-dead after a tonsillectomy in December will receive an honorary diploma during her school's eighth grade graduation, her family said on Wednesday.

Man charged with calling in false Lincoln Tunnel sniper threat

NEW YORK - A man has been charged with making a false threat to police about a sniper in the area of the Lincoln Tunnel, a heavily traveled span connecting New Jersey and Manhattan, authorities said on Wednesday.

FBI to use dogs to search for missing Alaska family

JUNEAU Alaska - The FBI will send a canine team to track an Alaska couple and their two small children who went missing nearly two weeks ago, police said on Wednesday.

California 10-year-old boy receives high school diploma

- A 10-year-old home-schooled California boy with presidential ambitions, who at age 4 became one of the youngest Americans admitted to the high-IQ society Mensa, has received his high school diploma, his mother said on Wednesday.

Las Vegas gunman had been interviewed over possible threat, authorities say

LAS VEGAS - A gunman who teamed up with his wife to kill two Las Vegas police officers and an armed bystander in a weekend attack had earlier made comments to a motor vehicles office that were interpreted as a threat, but he was not arrested in that case, police said on Wednesday.

Police arrest Utah man after six-year-old son chained to bed

SALT LAKE CITY - Police have arrested a man in northern Utah on suspicion of child abuse after officers found his 6-year-old son chained by the ankle to a bed frame and alone at home.

California officials debate whether to defend teacher protections

SACRAMENTO Calif. - California officials were wrangling on Wednesday over whether to appeal a court ruling that overturned some job protections for public school teachers and could change the way educators are hired and fired in the most populous U.S. state.

Teen gunman in Oregon school shooting got weapons from home

TROUTDALE Ore. - The teenage gunman who killed a classmate at an Oregon high school on Tuesday was armed with a military-style rifle and a semiautomatic pistol obtained from his home and lacked any known connection to his victim, police said on Wednesday.

Two prominent Mormon activists threatened with excommunication

SALT LAKE CITY - A pair of Mormon activists who have pushed for greater acceptance of gay church members and the ordination of women are facing disciplinary action and possible excommunication by their faith leaders.

Pennsylvania school stabbing suspect enters not guilty plea

PITTSBURGH - A 16-year-old boy accused of stabbing 21 people at a Pittsburgh-area high school in April pleaded not guilty Wednesday to all charges, his lawyer said.

Former astronaut, senator John Glenn doing well after surgery

- Former astronaut and Senator John Glenn is resting comfortably at home in Columbus, Ohio, after undergoing heart valve surgery, a spokesman for Ohio State University said on Wednesday.

Man charged with calling in false Lincoln Tunnel sniper threat

NEW YORK - A man has been charged with making a false threat to police about a sniper in the area of the Lincoln Tunnel, a heavily traveled span connecting New Jersey and Manhattan, authorities said on Wednesday.

California 10-year-old boy with high IQ graduates high school

- A 10-year-old home-schooled California boy with presidential ambitions, who at age 4 became one of the youngest Americans admitted to high IQ society Mensa, has graduated from high school, his mother said on Wednesday.

Appeals court limits police use of cell phone location data

MIAMI - A U.S. appeals court ruled on Wednesday that cell phone tower tracking data used to convict a Miami man for a string of arm robberies that resulted in a 162-year prison sentence violated his constitutional right of privacy.

Colorado judge denies bid to close jury selection in theater massacre case

DENVER - Jury selection in the murder trial of the man accused of killing 12 moviegoers at a Colorado cinema in 2012 will be open to the public, the judge overseeing the case ruled on Wednesday.

Maine man, 77, pleads insanity in 2012 double murder over snow shoveling

PORTLAND Maine - A 75-year-old man who police say shot and killed two teenagers in Maine after a dispute over shoveling snow in a parking lot will plead not guilty by reason of insanity, according to the state attorney general's office.

New psych ward to open on California's death row : report

SACRAMENTO Calif. - Under pressure to improve mental health treatment for inmates in California's massive prison system, officials plan to build a new psychiatric ward to provide inpatient mental health care for prisoners on death row, according to a court-ordered report.

Trade group, franchisees sue to block Seattle minimum wage hike

- A trade group sued the city of Seattle on Wednesday, seeking to block a sharp hike in the minimum wage to $15 an hour over the next seven years on the grounds that it unfairly favors small businesses over larger employers and franchises.

Sale of Philadelphia newspapers caps off wrangling, legal fights

PHILADELPHIA - Philadelphia's two biggest newspapers were formally sold on Wednesday to a former cable television executive, capping months of power struggles and legal battles complicated by the recent death of one of the owners in an airplane crash.

Embalming fluid tanker crash prompts Virginia evacuation

- A crash involving a tank truck carrying 8,000 gallons of embalming fluid forced the evacuation of almost 20 homes in southwest Virginia on Wednesday, authorities said.

Reward offered in search for Wall Street Journal reporter

- The family of a Wall Street Journal reporter who disappeared five months ago while taking a walk near his New Jersey home is offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to his return, a family spokeswoman said on Wednesday.

Florida mother’s forgiveness spares daughter’s killer from prison

MIAMI - In a powerful act of forgiveness, the mother of a girl who died after being shot on a school bus hugged the teen shooter after a plea deal was agreed that he would become an advocate against gun violence rather than be sent to prison.

German tourist dies while camping at Grand Canyon

PHOENIX - A vacationing German tourist lost consciousness and died while camping with his wife in Arizona's Grand Canyon National Park, park officials said on Wednesday.

Immigration groups allege abuse of children by U.S. Border Patrol

PHOENIX - Immigration activists filed a complaint with the U.S. government on Wednesday alleging systematic abuse of more than 100 unaccompanied migrant children by U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents.

Officials say serial arsonists at work in California city of Fresno

- A string of fires that have erupted mostly in unoccupied buildings across the central California city of Fresno this spring may be the work of serial arsonists, fire officials said on Wednesday.

Las Vegas gunman killed by police, not wife, authorities say

LAS VEGAS - A gunman who was part of a husband-wife team who killed two Las Vegas police officers in a weekend pizza restaurant ambush was shot and killed by police, not by his wife in a murder-suicide as first stated by authorities, police said on Wednesday.

Florida man sues police for being shot and Tasered after 911 call

MIAMI - A Florida man who was shot in the chest and Tasered during a struggle with police is suing his local police department, claiming officers unjustly used excessive force against him after he suffered an epileptic seizure.

California officials wrangle over whether to defend teacher protections

SACRAMENTO Calif. - California officials were wrangling on Wednesday over whether to appeal a court ruling that overturned some job protections for public school teachers and could change the way educators are hired and fired in the most populous U.S. state.

Lawyers for accused Boston Marathon bomber to seek to move trial

BOSTON - Attorneys for accused Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev plan to ask a judge to move his trial outside of Boston, they said in court papers on Wednesday, adding they needed more time to prepare their arguments.

Teen gunman in Oregon school shooting got weapons from home

TROUTDALE Ore. - The teenage gunman who killed a classmate at an Oregon high school on Tuesday was armed with a military-style rifle and a semiautomatic pistol obtained from his home and lacked any known connection to his victim, police said on Wednesday.

Alabama woman charged for asking fake Facebook friend to kill family

- An Alabama woman was charged for trying to enlist a Facebook friend, who in fact was her aunt posing as a man, to kill her family, police and prosecutors said on Wednesday.

Guantanamo panel to weigh Kuwaiti prisoner's transfer

WASHINGTON - A Kuwaiti inmate at the Guantanamo Bay prison faces a hearing this week on whether he should be transferred home, with the Pentagon saying on Wednesday that he likely had ties to Osama bin Laden and his lawyer contending he was no threat to the United States.

Two brothers charged in case of missing Tennessee student

- Two Tennessee brothers have been arrested and charged as accessories in connection with the 2011 disappearance of a nursing student in a crime for which two other men already have been charged with murder, authorities said on Wednesday.

Wisconsin girl in 'Slenderman' stabbing to have competency test

WAUKESHA Wis. - One of two 12-year-old Wisconsin girls accused of luring a friend into the woods and stabbing her repeatedly to please a fictional Internet character will undergo a mental competency exam, a circuit court commissioner ordered on Wednesday.

Luxury Texas home dangling from cliff after land gives way

AUSTIN Texas - A luxury $800,000 Texas home perched on a lakeside bluff was poised to plunge into the water below on Wednesday after the ground under its foundation eroded and left it precariously balanced on a decaying cliff.

Two brothers charged in case of missing Tennessee student

- Two Tennessee brothers have been arrested and charged as accessories in connection with the 2011 disappearance of a nursing student in a crime for which two other men already have been charged with murder, authorities said on Wednesday.

Ohio, Illinois soldiers among U.S. dead in Afghan 'friendly fire'

- Soldiers from Ohio and Illinois are among the five U.S. servicemen killed this week in southern Afghanistan by a "friendly fire" air strike during a security operation, relatives and family friends said on Wednesday.

Four N.Y. strippers arrested in drugging, theft plot

NEW YORK - Four New York City strippers and a strip club manager have been arrested in an alleged plot to drug wealthy men and run up false charges on their credit cards, officials said on Wednesday.

Convicted U.S. child killer owes $15 million to child's mother: lawsuit

NEW YORK - A disbarred attorney convicted of killing his illegally adopted daughter in one of New York's most notorious child abuse cases has not paid any of the $15 million restitution he owes the girl's birth mother, according to a lawsuit.

Mom, boyfriend face charges after first-grader heroin scare in Philadelphia

PHILADELPHIA - The mother of a child who brought bags of heroin to her first-grade classroom in Philadelphia was awaiting formal charges on Wednesday, along with her boyfriend, after both were taken into custody by police following the Tuesday incident.

Kayaker who tried to reach Hawaii 'lucky to be alive': Coast Guard

- A man who had to be rescued far from the Californian coast after attempting to kayak almost 2,400 miles (3,860 km) to Hawaii is "very lucky to be alive," the Coast Guard said.

Truck driver in Tracy Morgan 'drowsy driving' crash due in court

NEW YORK - A Georgia truck driver accused of causing a fatal car crash on a New Jersey highway that critically injured comedian Tracy Morgan was due in court on Wednesday to face charges of vehicular homicide while driving with too little sleep.

U.S. defense chief defends swap of Taliban for war prisoner

WASHINGTON - U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel on Wednesday defended Washington's decision to swap five Taliban leaders to win the release of Army war prisoner Bowe Bergdahl, saying the pledge to recover service members in captivity is "woven into the fabric of our nation."

Wisconsin girls accused in 'Slenderman' stabbing to appear in court

MILWAUKEE - Two 12-year-old Wisconsin girls accused of luring a friend into the woods and stabbing her 19 times to please a fictional Internet character are expected to appear in court on Wednesday for a scheduling hearing, according to prosecutors.

Massachusetts' Cape Cod beaches to ban smoking

BOSTON - Massachusetts' famous beaches on Cape Cod will ban smoking at all lifeguard-protected areas beginning next week, a move that officials said followed complaints from visitors to the popular resort area.

Second man convicted in football star Sean Taylor's killing

- A Florida jury convicted a second man on Tuesday in connection with the 2007 murder of Washington Redskins football star Sean Taylor during a botched burglary at his Miami-area home, local media said.

Workers safe after explosions, fire rock Montana wood-products plant

- Explosions and a fire engulfed a Montana wood-products plant owned by Plum Creek Timber Co on Tuesday but all workers were accounted for and no injuries were reported, an emergency official said.

Philadelphia children examined at hospital after heroin found in classroom

PHILADELPHIA - An entire class of first-graders in Philadelphia was taken to a hospital for examination on Tuesday after a classmate was found with heroin in their classroom, authorities said.

California bill would bar jailing of minors for truancy

SACRAMENTO Calif. - A bill that would prohibit the jailing of minors who habitually skip school passed a legislative hurdle in California on Tuesday amid a wave of measures aimed at offering second chances to offenders in the most populous U.S. state.

Poor healthcare in Alabama prisons contributed to deaths -report

- Severe understaffing in Alabama's prisons has contributed to at least three inmate deaths this year and has led to inadequate medical care, amounting to cruel and unusual punishment, two civil rights groups said in a report released on Tuesday.

Mexican immigrant who sought sanctuary in church can stay in U.S

TUCSON Ariz. - A Mexican immigrant who took refuge in an Arizona church to avoid deportation from a country where he has lived illegally for over a decade and raised a family can stay in the United States, a federal official said on Tuesday.

Top N.Y. lawmaker must face harassment suit against ex-assemblyman

NEW YORK - New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver must face claims that he “aided and abetted” a former assemblyman’s sexual harassment of two young female employees by failing to take official action, a U.S. judge ruled on Tuesday.

Marijuana activists sue to halt Colorado pot tax collections

DENVER - A group of marijuana activists in Colorado are suing to prevent the government collecting taxes derived from the state’s legal pot industry, saying it violates the right against self-incrimination guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution.

California must put safety measures in place to prepare for oil spills - report

SAN FRANCISCO - California needs more safety inspections, better emergency response capabilities, and more information about how much oil is expected to be transported by rail given the surge in crude oil shipments, a government report released on Tuesday showed.

Man accused of killing, dismembering woman, eating part of her

- A Tennessee man who confessed to killing a woman, cutting up her body and eating part of it has been charged with first degree murder and abuse of a corpse, authorities said in a criminal complaint.

Online gamers help cops thwart violent Arizona home invasion

PHOENIX - A woman in Arizona has thanked online gamers around the world who helped police thwart a home invasion after watching two armed men threaten her live via their webcams.

One student, gunman dead after Oregon high school shooting

TROUTDALE Ore. - A gunman walked into an Oregon high school gym with a rifle and shot a student to death on Tuesday before he was found dead in a bathroom stall, in the third outbreak of gun violence to shake a U.S. high school or college campus in less than three weeks.

Police still hopeful in search for missing Alaska family

AU - Authorities remain hopeful that a missing Alaska couple and their two small children, last heard from about two weeks ago, will turn up alive and well, police said on Tuesday.

Justice Department strikes deal with Montana prosecutor over rape cases

- Prosecutors in Missoula, Montana, will improve their treatment of rape victims and allow the state attorney general to review any sexual assault cases they decline to pursue as part of an agreement with the U.S. Justice Department released on Tuesday.

Virginia Medicaid expansion hopes dimmed as lawmakers set to return

RICHMOND Va. - Hopes to expand Medicaid in Virginia have dimmed with the Democrats' loss of the state Senate through a surprise resignation, a top Democratic lawmaker said on Tuesday.

Miami chef for celebrities dies after South Beach nightclub shooting

MIAMI BEACH Fla. - A private chef who cooked for celebrities and members of the Miami Heat basketball team died on Tuesday following an argument in a South Beach nightclub that ended in a shooting.

NYC 'Taxi of Tomorrow' program approved by state appeals court

NEW YORK - New York City's plan to create a uniform taxi fleet with cabs from Nissan Motor Co won approval from a state appeals court on Tuesday, which overturned a lower court ruling that had struck down the initiative.

Not everyone on board with Florida fast-rail project

ORLANDO Fla. - A privately financed high-speed train connection linking Orlando and Miami is facing mounting opposition in Florida from communities the train will pass without stopping.

New York City heat lamp fire uncovers 'marijuana farm'

NEW YORK - A New York man whose heat lamp sparked a fire in his basement apartment has been charged after emergency responders discovered a 'marijuana farm,' police said.

California psychology student convinced abductor to free her: cops

LOS ANGELES - A psychology student at a California university put her schooling into practice when she talked a man who kidnapped her in a parking lot near campus into letting her go, police said on Tuesday.

Dozens indicted in Georgia food stamp fraud

ATLANTA - Federal prosecutors in Georgia announced indictments on Tuesday against 88 people in one of the country's largest food-stamp fraud cases.

Florida man guilty in alleged Tampa attack plot

TAMPA Fla. - A Florida man who bought weapons from an undercover FBI agent and planned to blow up popular Tampa entertainment areas was found guilty on Tuesday and faces life in prison.

Pennsylvania to widen sex abuse law passed after Penn State scandal

HARRISBURG Pa. - Pennsylvania is poised to close what lawmakers call a loophole in a sex abuse law it passed in the wake of a child sex scandal at Penn State University.

Kayaker who sparked Maryland shooter scare may have shot himself: police

- A Virginia man who sparked an April scare in Maryland when he told police he had been shot while paddling his kayak may have wounded himself, a police spokesman said on Tuesday.

Kayaker who sparked Maryland shooter scare may have shot himself: police

- A Virginia man who sparked an April scare in Maryland when he told police he had been shot while paddling his kayak may have wounded himself, a police spokesman said on Tuesday.

Texas teen in 3,500-foot skydiving spiral had working parachute: FAA

DALLAS - The parachute of a Texas teenager who went into a 3,500-foot (1,000-metre) spiral before hitting the ground appeared to be in good working order, according to a Federal Aviation Administration report obtained on Tuesday.

United Airlines to tie frequent-flier miles to ticket price

- United Airlines, moving to sweeten awards for its biggest spenders, on Tuesday said it plans to base its frequent-flier rewards program on ticket prices rather than miles traveled.

Weil-McLain boilers in U.S., Canada recalled over fire, explosion risk

WASHINGTON - Weil-McLain is recalling about 8,400 boilers after reports of cracked manifolds raised the risk of fire or explosion, the Consumer Product Safety Commission said on Tuesday.

Girlfriend to testify at trial of friend of accused Boston bomber

BOSTON - The girlfriend of a Kazakh exchange student who has been charged with obstructing the investigation into the Boston Marathon bombing is expected to take the stand during his trial, according to court records.

Former N.J. inmates charged with stealing unemployment benefits while in jail

- Five former New Jersey inmates and three of their wives were charged with stealing roughly $100,000 in unemployment insurance benefits while serving time in county jails, the state prosecutor said on Tuesday.

Philadelphia suburbs brace for possible transit strike

PHILADELPHIA - The Philadelphia region is bracing for a potentially crippling transit strike that could compound the region's already significant traffic woes.

U.S. judge approves revised writers' settlement with publishers

NEW YORK - A U.S. judge on Tuesday signed off on a revised class action settlement between publishers and freelance writers, who for years claimed their work had been reprinted in online databases without their permission.

Tennessee dog rescue operator charged with animal cruelty

- A Tennessee woman who said she ran a dog rescue operation has been charged with animal cruelty after authorities said they found 37 trash bags of animal remains, four dead dogs in cages and dozens of malnourished dogs at properties linked to her.

Nevada cop killers told to leave Bundy ranch due to 'aggressive nature'

- A married couple who shot dead two Las Vegas police officers over the weekend had attended a protest on the property of renegade Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy but were asked to leave because of the husband's aggressive nature and volatility, the Bundy family said on Tuesday.

Dunkin' Donuts shops to return to California this year

LOS ANGELES - Dunkin' Donuts on Tuesday said franchisees will open five "traditional" shops in California before the end of 2014, ending the coffee and baked goods chain's dozen-year absence from the nation's most populous state.

Bonus payout for WTC site workers premature: U.S. court

NEW YORK - (This June 9 story was refiled to correct name of lawyer in 13th paragraph to Margaret Warner from Meredith Warner)

Vermont climate change report warns of catastrophic flood risk

BOSTON - A warming world could pose a risk of more frequent catastrophic flooding but also be a long-term boon for Vermont farmers and a shorter-lived thrill for its skiers, according to a state report released on Tuesday.

Lone Star State makes wines with a Mediterranean touch

NEW YORK - Texas is known for many things: cowboys and cattle, oil and gas wells, the Alamo and a passion for college football. But wine?

'Terrible accident' recounted in 911 tapes of Tracy Morgan crash

NEW YORK - A woman who witnessed a multicar collision on a New Jersey highway that critically injured comedian Tracy Morgan and killed one of his associates called 911 to report a "terrible accident," according to audio recordings released on Tuesday.

62 percent of Americans back letting illegal immigrants become citizens

WASHINGTON - Sixty-two percent of Americans support providing a way for immigrants living in the United States illegally to become citizens if they meet requirements, while almost a fifth support deportation, a poll showed on Tuesday.

Sixteen Ohio amusement park workers arrested after weekend melee

CLEVELAND - Sixteen workers at an Ohio amusement park were arrested after a late night fight at an employee recreation center over the weekend while the park was shut down due to a water main break, police said on Tuesday.

South Carolina OKs Confederate flag at Citadel military college

CHARLESTON S.C. - A Confederate flag displayed at the Citadel military college in Charleston, South Carolina, can keep flying despite objections that it is offensive, the state attorney general's office said on Tuesday.

Grandson of U.S. naval historian charged with stealing records

WASHINGTON - The grandson of late U.S. naval historian Samuel Eliot Morison has been charged with stealing historical records related to his Pulitzer Prize-winning grandfather, federal authorities said on Tuesday.

FDA advises pregnant women to eat more low-mercury fish

WASHINGTON - U.S. regulators recommended on Tuesday that pregnant women, nursing mothers and women who might become pregnant increase the amount of low-mercury fish they eat to between eight and 12 ounces a week as they issued a long-awaited draft update to their advice on mercury levels in seafood.

U.S. appeals court rules against authors in book-scanning lawsuit

NEW YORK - Universities and research libraries that created a searchable online database for millions of books did not violate copyright protections belonging to authors whose works were scanned, a U.S. appeals court ruled on Tuesday.

Occupy Wall Street protesters win $583,000 settlement from New York: lawyer

NEW YORK - New York City has agreed to pay $583,000 in a settlement with 14 Occupy Wall Street protesters who were arrested during a New Year's Day march in 2012, lawyers for the plaintiffs announced Tuesday.

Reports of sex crimes up at colleges and universities: study

NEW YORK - Reports of forcible sex crimes at colleges and universities increased by over 50 percent to 2011 from 2001, even as on-campus crime has declined for every other category, according to a federal report released on Tuesday.

U.S. OK's BP surveys of Alaskan oilfields; boosts drone maker

WASHINGTON - BP has been authorized to use unmanned aircraft to conduct surveys of pipelines and other infrastructure on Alaska's North Slope, the first commercial drone flights over U.S. land, government authorities said on Tuesday, giving a boost to the tiny aircraft's manufacturer.

Private prisons for immigrants rife with abuses, report says

AUSTIN Texas - Private prisons holding more than 25,000 people who violated U.S. immigration laws are cutting corners to generate profits and subjecting inmates to systematic abuse, according to a report released on Tuesday by the American Civil Liberties Union.

Florida woman's retrial in 'warning-shot' case delayed over new legislation

JACKSONVILLE Fla. - The retrial of a Florida woman who had her conviction for shooting at her abusive husband overturned on appeal was postponed on Tuesday to wait for new legislation inspired by the public outcry over her case.

One student, gunman dead after Oregon high school shooting

TROUTDALE Ore. - A gunman walked into an Oregon high school and shot a student to death before the shooter was found dead himself on Tuesday, marking the third outbreak of gun violence to shake a U.S. academic campus in less than three weeks.

U.S. judge orders ExxonMobil produce documents on Arkansas spill

- A U.S. federal judge has denied ExxonMobil Corp's bid to dismiss a government lawsuit and instead ordered the oil giant to hand over documents going back decades on a pipeline that ruptured last year and inundated an Arkansas town with oil.

California teacher job protection laws ruled unconstitutional

LOS ANGELES - California laws granting tenure and other job protections to public school teachers hurt students and are unconstitutional, a court ruled on Tuesday in a decision that may change the way educators are hired and fired in the most populous U.S. state.

North Carolina man accused of holding German woman captive

WINSTON-SALEM N.C. - A North Carolina man was charged with human trafficking after he sexually assaulted a Russian-born German citizen he met online, took her money and held her against her will for several days, police said on Tuesday.

Even as shootings rise, murder rate falls in New York City

NEW YORK - The number of shootings in New York City has spiked by 13 percent so far this year, though the murder rate is on track to hit a 50-year low, a statistical paradox that experts said reflects quick medical response.

Accused Seattle college shooter planned rampage: prosecutors

SEATTLE - A man accused of killing a Seattle Pacific University student and wounding two others in a shooting last week had recently visited the college and was intent on killing students and himself, according to entries in his journal released by prosecutors on Tuesday.

U.S. law firms flock to gay-marriage proponents, shun other side

- As U.S. lawsuits seeking gay-marriage rights move toward a likely showdown at the Supreme Court next year, major law firms are rushing to get involved — but only on the side of the proponents.

Private U.S. report accuses another Chinese military unit of hacking

SAN FRANCISCO - A private U.S. cybersecurity company on Monday accused a unit of China's military of conducting far-reaching hacking operations to advance the country