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Montana bride who shoved husband off cliff appeals murder conviction

- A Montana bride who admitted pushing her new husband off a cliff at Glacier National Park is appealing her murder conviction on grounds prosecutors distorted facts, acted vindictively toward her and engaged in misconduct, such as publicly labeling her a sociopath.

Atlantic City Trump casino workers picket, target investor Icahn

ATLANTIC CITY N.J. - Hundreds of unionized workers lashed out at Carl Icahn on Friday, picketing the Trump Taj Mahal Casino where the billionaire activist seeks to terminate health-care and pension plans.

Therapists missed Newtown gunman's rage as a teenager: report

HARTFORD Conn. - The extent of Newtown school shooter Adam Lanza's growing rage, isolation and delusions when he was a teenager were apparently overlooked by his mother, psychiatrists and counselors, according to a report expected to be issued next month.

St. Louis officer shot teen in back of legs: family autopsy

- A white off-duty St. Louis police officer shot a black teenager six times in the back of the legs and once in the side of the head in what was likely a fatal wound, a doctor who performed a private autopsy for the teen's family said on Friday.

Ferguson shooting probe to be complete in coming months: Attorney general

WASHINGTON - U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said on Friday that he expects the Justice Department's investigation into the shooting death of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown by a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, to be complete by the time he leaves office.

Maker of U.S. highway guardrails stops shipments over safety concerns

- Railcar maker Trinity Industries Inc said on Friday that it would stop shipping a highway guardrail system, after the U.S. government demanded earlier in the week that the company conduct more crash tests of the product.

Two killed, four wounded in Washington state school shooting

MARYSVILLE Wash. - A student shot dead a female classmate and wounded four others when he opened fire in the cafeteria of his Washington state high school on Friday, apparently after a fight with fellow students, authorities said.

Two deputies killed, two others hurt in California shooting spree

SACRAMENTO Calif. - Two California sheriff's deputies were killed and two others were wounded in a shooting spree that started in a motel parking lot in Sacramento on Friday, authorities said.

Two U.S. states to quarantine health workers returning from Ebola zones

NEW YORK/WASHINGTON - New York and New Jersey will automatically quarantine medical workers returning from Ebola-hit West African countries and the U.S. government is considering the same step after a doctor who treated patients in Guinea came back infected, officials said on Friday.

Court allows Oklahoma to delay executions due to lack of drugs

OKLAHOMA CITY - An Oklahoma court accepted a motion from the state on Friday to delay three planned executions so prison authorities can obtain a fresh batch of lethal injection drugs and implement new protocols drawn up after a troubled execution this year.

Alabama attorneys complain of harassment after $460,000 settlement

BIRMINGHAM Ala. - Lawyers for a man who received a $460,000 settlement after suing the city of Birmingham for police brutality said on Friday they had received harassing emails and phone calls after it was disclosed they would pocket all but $1,000 of the settlement.

Heathcare worker at Newark airport to be quarantined on Ebola fears

NEW YORK - A healthcare worker who had been treating patients in West Africa was detained at Newark Liberty International Airport and will be quarantined, in line with a new policy aimed at reducing risk from the Ebola virus, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie said on Friday.

Pennsylvania man faces possible life in prison for child porn

NEW YORK - A Pennsylvania man faces life in prison for child pornography he left on a computer tablet he sold at a Christmas flea market, according to authorities.

No distress calls before Maryland airplane-helicopter collision

WASHINGTON - A small airplane and helicopter made no distress calls before they collided near a Maryland airport killing all three aboard the helicopter and injuring the two men on the plane, federal investigators said on Friday.

Deputy killed, three others hurt in California shooting spree

SACRAMENTO Calif. - A California sheriff's deputy was killed and three others were wounded in a shooting spree that started in a motel parking lot in Sacramento on Friday, authorities said.

Trove of Flight 93 personal items destroyed in 9/11 memorial fire

- A fire near the western Pennsylvania memorial for a hijacked United flight that crashed on Sept. 11, 2001, destroyed photographs, ID cards and other personal mementos of the victims recovered from the site, officials said on Friday.

Kansas court upholds conviction in abortion doctor's murder

KANSAS CITY Kan. - The Kansas Supreme Court on Friday upheld a man's conviction in the 2009 slaying of a late-term abortion doctor but sent the case back to a lower court for resentencing.

Obama gives big hug to U.S. nurse who survived Ebola

WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama gave a big hug on Friday to Nina Pham, the Dallas nurse who survived a bout with Ebola.

U.S. considering quarantine for returning Ebola health workers: CDC

WASHINGTON - The Obama administration is considering quarantining healthcare workers returning to the United States from the Ebola hot zone of West Africa, after a New York doctor who treated Ebola patients there tested positive for the virus.

Virginia police identify remains as those of missing college student

- A medical examiner has identified human remains as those of missing University of Virginia student Hannah Graham, police said on Friday.

Stolen vehicle plows into Ohio bar, injures 13

CLEVELAND - Thirteen people were injured late Thursday after a high-speed police chase ended with a stolen truck crashing through the front of a bar in a western suburb of Cleveland, police said.

Stolen vehicle plows into Ohio bar, injures 13

CLEVELAND - Thirteen people were injured late Thursday after a high-speed police chase ended with a stolen truck crashing through the front of a bar in a western suburb of Cleveland, police said.

Man in custody in toppling of Ten Commandments at Oklahoma capitol

OKLAHOMA CITY - A man was taken into custody on Friday on suspicion of knocking over a Ten Commandments monument with a car on the grounds of the Oklahoma statehouse and then fleeing the scene, law enforcement officials said on Friday.

Plenary Walsh team to rebuild hundreds of Pennsylvania bridges

NEW YORK - Pennsylvania, with more bad bridges than any other U.S. state, said on Friday it selected Plenary Walsh Keystone Partners' $899 million proposal to replace 558 structurally deficient bridges.

Texas man charged with raping two children, infecting them with HIV

AUSTIN Texas - A Houston man has been arrested on charges of sexually assaulting two girls, ages 14 and 2, and infecting them with sexually transmitted diseases including HIV, police said on Friday.

Student opens fire at Washington state high school: report

SEATTLE - A student opened fire at a high school in Washington state on Friday, wounding an unknown number of victims before killing himself with a gun, the Seattle Times reported.

As Ebola hits, New Yorkers maintain wary calm

NEW YORK - News of New York's first case of Ebola was met with worry and even anger on Friday, but for this city of eight million residents, seasoned by everything from terror attacks to superstorms, there was no sign of panic.

U.S. House panel to meet with safety regulators about Takata air bags next week

WASHINGTON/DETROIT - The U.S. House committee looking into the defective air bags made by Japanese supplier Takata Corp will hold an initial briefing with U.S. safety regulators next week to learn the details of the regional recalls affecting 10 automakers, a committee aide said on Friday.

With U.S. Ebola fear running high, African immigrants face ostracism

(Note: Please be advised that the second paragraph contains language that may be offensive to some readers.)

U.S. nurse who had Ebola is virus free: health officials

WASHINGTON - A Dallas nurse who contracted Ebola is now free of the virus, U.S. health officials said on Friday.

Police in Ferguson committed human rights abuses: Amnesty report

- Police in Ferguson, Missouri, committed human rights abuses as they sought to quell mostly peaceful protests that erupted after an officer killed an unarmed black teenager, an international human rights organization said in a report released on Friday.

Three dead after airplane and helicopter collide in Maryland

WASHINGTON - Three people were killed and two taken to a hospital after a small airplane and a helicopter collided in mid-air on Thursday near a local airport in Frederick, Maryland, authorities said.

Utah Supreme Court clears way for adoption by partners of same-sex spouses

- The Utah Supreme Court on Thursday lifted an order that had blocked spouses in same-sex marriages from adopting their partners' children, state officials said.

New York doctor tests positive for Ebola: official

NEW YORK - A New York City doctor who worked recently with Ebola patients in West Africa and returned to New York City tested positive for the illness on Thursday, officials said.

New York police officer critically wounded in hatchet attack

NEW YORK - A hatchet-wielding attacker charged a group of New York City police officers posing for a photograph on Thursday, wounded two, one critically, before the assailant was shot dead, police said.

Tennessee judge reprimanded for aiding release in assault case

NASHVILLE Tenn. - A Tennessee judicial conduct board has reprimanded a judge who intervened to gain a prominent developer accused of assaulting a girlfriend an early release from a cooling-off period in jail, the state courts office said on Thursday.

U.S. National Park graffiti vandal spotted through social media

SEATTLE - The National Park Service said on Thursday it was investigating a New York artist as a suspect for graffiti vandalism in parks across the Western United States after she posted at least one picture of herself defacing a protected park on social media.

NYC taxi fleet owners win right to appeal 'Taxi of Tomorrow' plan

NEW YORK - New York City's program to create a nearly uniform taxi fleet with cabs from Nissan Motor Co will face a renewed challenge, after fleet operators opposing the "Taxi of Tomorrow" plan won permission to take their case to the state's highest court.

Romanian princess, husband sentenced for Oregon cockfighting ring

PORTLAND Ore. - A princess fifth in line for the Romanian throne and her husband who admitted running a cockfighting ring in rural Oregon have both sentenced to probation and ordered to forfeit $200,000 from the sale of the property, federal prosecutors said on Thursday.

Trial date in Virginia killings set for former political candidate

WASHINGTON - A Virginia judge on Thursday set a 2015 trial date for an eccentric former political candidate charged in three killings in the Washington area.

Oklahoma judge allows law on abortion pills to take effect

OKLAHOMA CITY - An Oklahoma judge said on Wednesday he will allow a law governing the use of an abortion-inducing drug to take effect as planned on Nov. 1, over the objections of abortion rights advocates who said the measure is poor public health policy that could put women at risk.

Michigan girl, 15, charged with conspiring to kill her family

- A 15-year old Michigan girl was arraigned on Thursday on charges that she stabbed her younger brother and plotted to kill the rest of her family in their home while her boyfriend texted her instructions from outside, prosecutors said.

Former Louisiana mayor arrested on child porn possession charges

NEW ORLEANS - The former mayor of a small Louisiana city was arrested on Thursday and charged with 40 counts of possessing child pornography, prosecutors said.

Californians favor $7.5 billion water bond to fight drought: poll

SACRAMENTO Calif. - Most Californians favor a ballot initiative authorizing spending $7.5 billion on projects to shore up the drought-parched state's water supply, including a new reservoir and underground storage projects, a poll shows.

U.S. weighs passport, border changes in wake of Ottawa attack

WASHINGTON - U.S. officials are debating whether to tighten controls on the border with Canada and make it easier to revoke the passports of suspected militants, steps that could gain traction following two attacks in Canada this week.

Navajo high court delays election for leader, orders new ballots

PHOENIX - The Navajo Nation's highest court on Thursday ordered that a November vote to pick the Native American tribe's top official be postponed and ballots reprinted after a finalist was disqualified for refusing to prove his fluency in the Navajo language.

University of Oregon urged to scale back fraternities, sororities

PORTLAND Ore. - A task force formed in response to sexual violence at the University of Oregon is urging the school's leaders to suspend plans to expand the number of sororities and fraternities, citing their outsized involvement in these assaults.

Trial starts for Pittsburgh professor accused of poisoning wife

PITTSBURGH - The trial of a Pittsburgh professor charged with poisoning his physician wife began on Thursday with a prosecutor saying the suspect had been one phone call away from "the perfect murder."

Pennsylvania high school's football season canceled over hazing

PHILADELPHIA - A school district in suburban Philadelphia canceled a high school football team's season and suspended its coaching staff after investigating reports of hazing.

New York tests doctor who was in West Africa for Ebola

NEW YORK - A physician with Doctors without Borders who returned from West Africa recently and developed potential symptoms was being tested for Ebola at a New York City hospital, health officials said on Thursday, setting off fresh fears about the spread of the virus.

Northrop must face whistleblower anti-missile lawsuit: U.S. judge

- A Chicago federal judge on Thursday rejected Northrop Grumman Corp's bid to dismiss a lawsuit by a former employee who accused the defense contractor of defrauding the U.S. government in performing a contract to develop a missile defense system for commercial aircraft.

Three dead after airplane and helicopter collide in Maryland

WASHINGTON - Three people were killed and two taken to a hospital after a small airplane and a helicopter collided in mid-air on Thursday near a local airport in Frederick, Maryland, authorities said.

California clinic doctor suspected of taking nude photos of patients

SAN DIEGO - A doctor who volunteered at a San Diego-area health clinic for the poor and uninsured is suspected of taking more than 1,300 sexually explicit photographs of female patients with his mobile phone, according to court documents filed by state medical board investigators.

New York police officer critically wounded in hatchet attack

NEW YORK - A hatchet-wielding attacker charged a group of New York City police officers posing for a photograph on Thursday, wounded two, one critically, before the assailant was shot dead, police said.

Magnitude 5.1 earthquake quake hits Alaska near Fairbanks

JUNEAU - A 5.1 magnitude earthquake struck Alaska near Fairbanks on Thursday morning, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) said, and there were no initial reports of damage or injuries.

Lockdown lifted for Chicago suburban high school

CHICAGO - A Chicago suburban high school that was on lockdown for about two hours on Thursday resumed normal activities after police found that an unattended package did not pose any threat.

Six bodies identified after decades in Oklahoma lake

OKLAHOMA CITY - Oklahoma authorities have formally identified six people whose bodies were found in a western Oklahoma lake in 2013, bringing a resolution to missing persons mysteries that spanned decades, a spokeswoman for the state medical examiner said Thursday.

Pennsylvania sniper hunt takes toll on lookalike, other locals

MOUNTAINHOME Pa. - Pocono Mountain residents are upset now that a six-week-old manhunt for an accused cop killer has forced the cancellation of school, hunting season and even Halloween parades, but few have suffered as much disruption to their lives as James Tully.

Exclusive: California getting more Bakken crude by barge than rail

SAN FRANCISCO - Shipments of Bakken crude oil from North Dakota to California by barge have quietly overtaken those by train for the first time, showing how the state's isolated refiners are using any means necessary to tap into the nation's shale oil boom.

California community suffers as wells dry up in drought

East Porterville Calif. - In one of the towns hardest hit by California's drought, the only way some residents can get water to flush the toilet is to drive to the fire station, hand-pump water into barrels and take it back home.

Olympian Jim Thorpe's remains should not be moved: U.S. court

- Jim Thorpe's remains will stay in the Pennsylvania hamlet named for the legendary Native American athlete and Olympics champion, after a federal appeals court on Thursday rejected an effort by two sons to move them to tribal lands in his native Oklahoma.

Six in quarantine in Connecticut as U.S. steps up Ebola checks

Connecticut placed six West Africans who recently arrived in the United States under quarantine for possible Ebola exposure, a move that comes as the United States starts new restrictions on those coming from the countries hardest hit by the deadly virus.

Maryland man charged after jumping White House fence, dogs cleared for duty

WASHINGTON - A man arrested after jumping the White House fence on Wednesday night has been charged with three felony counts and four misdemeanors, the U.S. Secret Service said on Thursday.

Prosecutors accept proposed trial delay for Colorado cinema gunman

DENVER - Prosecutors in the Colorado theater massacre case do not oppose a defense request to delay the murder trial of accused gunman James Holmes until early next year, court papers showed on Thursday.

Justice Dept. 'exasperated' by local probe of Missouri teen shooting

- U.S. Justice Department officials on Thursday criticized local authorities' investigation of the shooting death of an unarmed black teenager in Ferguson, Missouri, saying the case had been handled in a "selective" and "inappropriate" manner.

California prisons to end racial lockdown policy

- The California prison system has agreed to settle a long-running civil rights lawsuit by ending race-based lockdowns of inmates, court records show.

Autopsy of slain Missouri teen shows close-range gunshot

- The official autopsy on an unarmed black teenager whose killing by a white police officer in August set off protests in Ferguson, Missouri, suggests he sustained a gunshot wound to the hand from close range, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.

Exclusive: U.S. plans to plug coal royalty loophole padding export profits

WASHINGTON - The U.S. government is drafting rules designed to close an accounting loophole that in recent years has helped coal companies boost export profits and likely cost taxpayers tens of millions of dollars, people familiar with the plan said.

Reporter quits Chicago newspaper, says governor candidate influenced paper

CHICAGO - A veteran Illinois political reporter quit his job at the Chicago Sun-Times on Wednesday and accused the newspaper of bowing to pressure from Republican gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner by removing him from the campaign beat.

Florida men held three years in Mexico on drug charges return to U.S.

MIAMI - Two Florida boaters jailed in Mexico for three years after being arrested with $950,000 in cash returned to the United States on Wednesday, landing in Miami after they were exonerated of money-laundering and drug-trafficking charges, according to their lawyer.

Alabama man gets $1,000 in police settlement, his lawyers get $459,000

BIRMINGHAM Ala. - An Alabama man who sued over being hit and kicked by police after leading them on a high-speed chase will get $1,000 in a settlement with the city of Birmingham, while his attorneys will take in $459,000, officials said Wednesday.

Man arrested after jumping White House fence, causing lockdown

WASHINGTON - A man jumped the White House fence on Wednesday and was attacked by Secret Service dogs before being arrested, a Secret Service spokesman said.

Congressman should have been 'more sensitive' in suicide remarks: spokesman

JUNEAU - A U.S. congressman should have taken a more "sensitive approach" when talking about teen suicide to a group of Alaska high school students he was addressing after a classmate recently took his own life, a spokesman said on Wednesday.

Suspended South Carolina speaker to plead guilty to ethics charges: report

CHARLESTON S.C. - Suspended South Carolina House of Representatives Speaker Bobby Harrell is expected to plead guilty to criminal ethics charges related to misuse of campaign money and misconduct in office, a local newspaper reported on Wednesday.

Oklahoma judge allows law banning abortion pills to take effect

OKLAHOMA CITY - An Oklahoma judge said on Wednesday he will allow a law that bans abortion-inducing drugs to take effect as planned on Nov. 1, over the objections of abortion rights advocates who said the measure is poor public health policy that could put women at risk.

Distracted truck driver blamed for Maryland train wreck, explosion

WASHINGTON - A trash truck driver talking on a hands-free mobile device caused a 2013 Maryland train collision that led to a 15-car derailment and explosion, U.S. investigators said on Wednesday.

Four men plead not guilty to murder in 2013 carjacking at N.J. mall

NEWARK N.J. - Four men accused of slaying a lawyer in front of his wife during a 2013 carjacking at an upscale New Jersey mall pleaded not guilty on Wednesday to murder and illegal weapons possession.

Search near abandoned car fails to turn up missing ex-Harlem Globetrotter

- Police in Northern California have called off a search through remote terrain for former Harlem Globetrotters player Rico Omarr Harris, whose car was found in the area nearly two weeks ago, authorities said on Wednesday.

Suspected serial killer charged in another murder in Indiana

CROWN POINT Ind. - Suspected serial killer Darren Vann, who was arrested on Saturday and charged in the murder of a young woman whose body was found in a motel in Indiana, was charged on Wednesday in the murder of another woman, prosecutors said.

Father, son who ran NY drug treatment centers face fraud charges

NEW YORK - A father and son who ran New York City substance abuse clinics were accused on Wednesday of stealing tax money meant to treat addicts and using it to fund a lavish lifestyle that included luxury cars.

U.S. pastor defrocked over son's same-sex wedding faces Methodist council

MEMPHIS Tenn. - A U.S. pastor who was defrocked after officiating at his son's same-sex wedding ceremony, and later reinstated, made an appeal to hang onto his ordination before a Methodist judicial council on Wednesday.

Navajo court removes presidential candidate over language dispute

PHOENIX - The Navajo Nation Supreme Court has rejected an appeal by a tribal presidential hopeful to remain on the Nov. 4 ballot after he was disqualified for refusing to prove his fluency in the Navajo language, court documents showed on Wednesday.

Lockheed Martin challenges contract to Raytheon

WASHINGTON - Lockheed Martin Corp on Wednesday said it had filed a formal protest with the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) challenging the Air Force's decision to pick Raytheon Co to develop a new long-range radar.

Probe: Athletes took fake classes at University of North Carolina

RALEIGH N.C. - More than 3,000 students at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill received credit for fake classes over an 18-year period as part of a program that allowed many of them to remain eligible to play sports, according to a report released on Wednesday.

Critics of Dow herbicide ingredient sue U.S. EPA over approval

- A coalition of U.S. farmer and environmental groups filed a lawsuit on Wednesday seeking to overturn regulatory approval granted last week for a herbicide developed by Dow AgroSciences.

Family of Dallas nurse Vinson says she no longer showing Ebola

- The family of Amber Vinson, one of two Dallas nurses infected with Ebola, said on Wednesday that tests by medical officials were no longer able to detect the virus in her body.

Man pleads guilty to killing Montana teacher in cocaine frenzy

- A Colorado man accused of killing a Montana teacher during a cocaine-fueled frenzy pleaded guilty to murder on Wednesday as part of a deal in which prosecutors will dismiss a kidnapping charge in the case, court documents showed.

Washington state soldier pleads not guilty to murdering wife

SEATTLE - A U.S. soldier accused of shooting his wife to death as she sat working on a computer inside their home in Washington state pleaded not guilty on Wednesday to a charge of first-degree murder.

Six migrants detained for trying to sneak into U.S. in fuel tank

SAN ANTONIO - Six immigrants from Mexico and Central America have been taken into custody on suspicion of trying to sneak into the United States by squeezing into an auxiliary fuel tank that was mounted in the bed of a pickup truck.

Two dead in murder-suicide at Houston hospital: police say

HOUSTON - Two health workers died on Wednesday in an apparent murder-suicide at the out-patient pharmacy of a major Houston hospital, police said.

UAW eyes bargaining rights at VW Tennessee plant within a year

DETROIT - The United Auto Workers hopes to be recognized as the exclusive bargaining agent for workers at a Volkswagen AG assembly plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee within a year, the union's President Dennis Williams said on Wednesday.

Man jumps White House fence, causes lockdown

WASHINGTON - A man jumped the White House fence on Wednesday and was attacked by Secret Service dogs, a Secret Service spokesman said.

Detroit can survive after bankruptcy but large risks loom: expert

DETROIT - Detroit's relatively fast move through municipal bankruptcy has resulted in costly creditor settlements and too little emphasis on fixing the city's broken operations, a restructuring expert testified in U.S. Bankruptcy Court on Wednesday.

U.S. jury convicts ex-Blackwater guards in 2007 Baghdad killings

WASHINGTON - In a sweeping victory for the U.S. government, a federal jury on Wednesday found four former Blackwater guards guilty on nearly every count they faced in connection with the 2007 killing of 14 unarmed Iraqis at a Baghdad traffic circle.

U.S. Secret Service blasted for sending agents to employee's house

WASHINGTON - Government investigators faulted the Secret Service on Wednesday for pulling agents from their posts near the White House and sending them to the home of an agency employee involved in a private dispute in 2011.

California venture firm does not have to release documents in discrimination suit

SAN FRANCISCO - California’s privacy laws have saved a high-profile venture capital firm from having to release potentially embarrassing information about a former partner in a discrimination lawsuit by a former female partner.

Jury deliberates for second day over accused Boston bomber friend

BOSTON - A jury deliberated for a second day on Wednesday over whether a friend of the Boston Marathon bombing suspect was too high on marijuana to have intentionally lied to investigators about his role in the aftermath of the 2013 attack.

Suspected serial killer silent at Indiana court hearing

CROWN POINT Ind. - Suspected serial killer Darren Vann was silent on Wednesday at a preliminary hearing in Lake County, Indiana, and the judge ordered him to appear again next week to be informed of his rights.

Fowle back at Ohio home 'in good health' after detention in North Korea

- American Jeffrey Fowle returned to his home in southern Ohio on Wednesday, with his lawyer saying he was in good health after a nearly half-year detention in reclusive North Korea.

Boyfriend leads police to pregnant Ohio woman's remains

CLEVELAND - An Ohio man who confessed to killing his pregnant girlfriend and burning down their Columbus apartment led authorities to her body early Wednesday, Ohio police said.

Researchers find German U-boat, ship it sank off U.S. coast

WASHINGTON - The wreck of a World War Two German U-boat and a freighter it sank 72 years ago have been discovered off the North Carolina coast by U.S. researchers, officials said.

Autopsy of slain Missouri teen shows close-range gunshot: report

- A newly disclosed autopsy of the unarmed black teenager whose killing by a white police officer set off months of protests in Ferguson, Missouri, suggests he suffered a gunshot to the hand from close range, the St. Louis Post Dispatch reported.

NYC subway breaks record with more than 6 million daily rides

NEW YORK - More people rode the New York City subway than ever in September, with the number of trips exceeding a record-breaking 6 million on five separate days over the month, transit officials said on Wednesday.

Ebola gives U.S. 'preppers' another reason to prepare for worst

- With the closest known U.S. cases of Ebola diagnosed about 160 miles away in Dallas, Cary Griffin is taking no chances.

U.S. Ebola 'czar' starts work, drugmakers launch vaccine drive

WASHINGTON - The new U.S. Ebola "czar" starts work on Wednesday as the Obama administration ramps up its response to the potential spread of the virus, and drugmakers started a project to accelerate development of a vaccine and produce millions of doses.

Wisconsin judge orders competency hearing for girl in 'Slenderman' case

MILWAUKEE - A judge on Wednesday ordered a competency hearing for one of two Wisconsin pre-teen girls accused of stabbing a friend in an attempt to please the fictional Internet character "Slenderman."

Mega harvest leaves U.S. farmers battling bugs in storage bins

CHICAGO - With record harvests depressing prices, U.S. farmers are holding tight to their corn and soybeans and binging on chemicals that protect stored grain from critters or even leaving corn standing in fields over winter to avoid storage charges.

Kerry welcomes North Korea's release of American, restates terms for resuming talks

BERLIN/SEOUL - U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry welcomed the release of one of three Americans held in North Korea and said Washington is willing to resume talks with Pyongyang if it takes steps towards de-nuclearization.

Big utilities pushing into booming home solar market

- For years, the utilities responsible for providing electricity to the nation have treated residential solar systems as a threat. Now, they want a piece of the action, and they are having to fight for the chance.

U.S. government probes medical devices for possible cyber flaws

BOSTON - The U.S. Department of Homeland Security is investigating about two dozen cases of suspected cybersecurity flaws in medical devices and hospital equipment that officials fear could be exploited by hackers, a senior official at the agency told Reuters.

U.S. authorities arrest head of Mexican drug gang Gulf Cartel

- The head of the notorious Mexican cocaine-trafficking gang, the Gulf Cartel, was taken into custody in southern Texas, U.S. officials said on Tuesday.

New Jersey school board suspends five coaches in hazing scandal

SAYREVILLE N.J. - New Jersey school officials voted on Tuesday to suspend five high school coaches in a locker-room hazing scandal that has led to criminal sex abuse charges against teen football players.

Famed Texas oilman Nelson Bunker Hunt dead at 88

- Nelson Bunker Hunt, the Texas oilman once considered the world's richest man before his fortunes were undone by Muammar Gaddafi and his own epic overreaching in the silver market, died on Tuesday at age 88.

Three Denver girls reportedly en route to Turkey detained, sent home

WASHINGTON - Three teenage girls from Denver who had been missing since last week and were reported to be traveling to Turkey were picked up in Germany and sent back home, U.S. officials said on Tuesday.

Florida teenager arrested for child molestation and pornography

ORLANDO Fla. - A 16-year-old Florida boy remained in jail on Tuesday on a $802,500 bond following his arrest on more than 100 charges related to molesting a child and creating pornography, according to authorities.

NOAA employee charged with stealing U.S. dam information

- A National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) employee in Ohio has been charged with stealing sensitive information from a federal database for the nation's dams and lying about the breach to federal agents, prosecutors said.

North Korea unexpectedly frees American Jeffrey Fowle

WASHINGTON - North Korea has freed Jeffrey Fowle, one of three Americans detained by the country, and he is being flown home to his family in Ohio, the White House said on Tuesday.

Faulty airbags warning expanded to 6.1. million U.S. cars: NHTSA

WASHINGTON - The U.S. highway safety regulator, NHTSA, expanded its warning on Tuesday about faulty airbags made by Japanese auto-part maker Takata to 6.1 million vehicles in the United States.

Three Denver girls reportedly en route to Turkey detained, sent home

WASHINGTON - Three teenage girls from Denver who had been missing since last week and were reported to be traveling to Turkey were picked up in Germany and sent back home, U.S. officials said on Tuesday.

Indiana police search vacant houses after arrest of suspected killer

CHICAGO - Indiana police used a dog trained to hunt for cadavers to search more than 120 vacant structures in the city of Gary on Tuesday, following the discovery of the bodies of six women who may have been victims of a serial killer.

Former Washington Post editor Ben Bradlee dies at 93

WASHINGTON - Ben Bradlee, the hard-driving editor who reigned over the Washington Post newsroom with the style of a well-dressed swashbuckler and the profane vocabulary of dockworker as the newspaper helped topple President Richard Nixon in the Watergate scandal, died on Tuesday at age 93.

U.S. to funnel travelers from Ebola-hit region through five airports

NEW YORK - The United States ratcheted up its safeguards against Ebola on Tuesday, requiring travelers from three countries at the center of an epidemic in West Africa to fly into one of five major airports conducting enhanced screening for the virus.

Northrop protests U.S. Air Force radar award to Raytheon

WASHINGTON - Northrop Grumman Corp on Tuesday said it had filed a formal protest with the U.S. Government Accountability Office against the U.S. Air Force's decision to pick Raytheon Co to develop a next-generation, long-range radar system.

Campaign consultant pleads guilty to embezzling $1.8 million in Texas race

AUSTIN Texas - A political consultant hired for the failed 2012 campaign of Texas Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst for a U.S. Senate seat pleaded guilty on Tuesday to siphoning off about $1.8 million in campaign funds for his personal use, prosecutors said.

Girl who died at Ohio haunted house attraction had heart condition: official

- A teenage girl who died after collapsing at a haunted house attraction in Ohio had a pre-existing heart condition, an official said on Tuesday.

New Jersey school officials to tackle hazing scandal, suspensions

- New Jersey school officials on Tuesday were set to address the suspension of five high school coaches in a locker room hazing scandal that has led to criminal sex abuse charges, according to local media.

U.S. seeks more Trinity guardrail tests after jury verdict

- The U.S. government on Tuesday asked Trinity Industries Inc to conduct additional crash testing of a highway guardrail system that had been the subject of a fraud verdict by a federal jury a day earlier.

More than 20 children attacked by bees at Texas school

AUSTIN Texas - A swarm of bees attacked two dozen children at a school near Fort Worth, Texas, on Tuesday after a student appeared to rattle a nest during a gym-class soccer game, a school spokeswoman said,

Chicago corrections officer charged in pot smuggling attempt

CHICAGO - A corrections officer in Chicago's Cook County Jail was arrested on Tuesday and faces a federal criminal charge for allegedly trying to smuggle two sandwiches packed with marijuana into the jail last year, federal authorities said.

Exclusive: Ex-spy chief's private firm ends deal with U.S. official

WASHINGTON - Former National Security Agency director Keith Alexander has ended a deal with a senior U.S. intelligence official allowing the official to work part-time for his firm, an arrangement current and former officials said risked a conflict of interest.

Court orders mental health evaluation for White House fence jumper

WASHINGTON - A federal judge in Washington on Tuesday ordered a 30 day mental health evaluation for Omar Gonzalez, the Iraq war veteran charged with jumping the fence of the White House and entering the presidential mansion with a knife last month.

New York state to settle landmark suit over public defenders

ALBANY N.Y. - New York state has agreed to settle a lawsuit claiming its public defense system is underfunded and violates poor people's rights to counsel a day before the case was set to go to trial.

Indiana police search vacant houses after arrest of suspected killer

CHICAGO - Indiana police used a dog trained to hunt for cadavers to search more than 90 vacant houses in the city of Gary on Tuesday, following the discovery of the bodies of six women who may have been victims of a serial killer.

Memphis boy wounded when gun he brought to school goes off

- A Tennessee teenager was wounded in the leg on Tuesday when he dropped his backpack and a handgun he was showing off to middle school classmates in Memphis went off, officials said.

Special Report: U.S. visa program for crime victims is hit-or-miss prospect

- It was the week of Chinese New Year, and Jian Zhen Huang was climbing her sister’s doorstep in Brooklyn with cups and other supplies for the celebration inside. Suddenly, a young man grabbed her, punched her in the face several times, knocked her down to the pavement and stole her phone.

Study shows U.S. forced-labor victims unclear where to seek help

- A study of human labor trafficking in the United States released today shows that many of the victims arrived in the country legally, and some had college degrees. Even so, the study by researchers at the non-profit Urban Institute and Boston's Northeastern University concluded, victims seldom understood their rights or where to seek help.

Schools closed after second sighting of Pennsylvania sniper

EAST STROUDSBURG Pa. - A Pennsylvania school district closed on Tuesday after another possible sighting of Eric Frein, the sniper accused of killing one state trooper and wounding another, near a post office close to the fugitive's former high school, officials said.

Indiana police charge suspect who may have killed for decades

HAMMOND Ind. - A convicted sex offender suspected of murdering at least seven women and leaving the bodies in abandoned houses in northwest Indiana may be a serial killer who has killed others in the state as far back as 20 years ago, local police said on Monday.

Ebola among top U.S. worries but well behind economy, jobs: poll

- A new poll on Tuesday showed Ebola has moved into the top 10 issues of concern to Americans but ranks behind the economy, dissatisfaction with government and other worries.

Judge wants settlements, loan, fees in Detroit's closing arguments

DETROIT - The federal judge overseeing Detroit's historic bankruptcy case wants the city to explain its settlements with creditors and its exit financing in closing arguments next week, he said on Tuesday.

Dish drops Turner channels as contract renewal talks fail

- Dish Network has stopped carrying Turner Broadcasting's channels, including CNN, Cartoon Network and Adult Swim, as the companies failed to renew their distribution deal.

Jury selection begins for Pa. professor accused of poisoning wife

PITTSBURGH - Jury selection began on Tuesday in the case of a University of Pittsburgh professor charged with killing his physician wife last year by poisoning her with cyanide.

California climber dies in fall at Zion National Park in Utah

- A climber from California died at Zion National Park in Utah after falling backward and tumbling 80 feet (24 metres) down a sleep slope, Park Service officials said on Tuesday.

Newborn killer whale, first born since 2012, presumed dead in Washington

SEATTLE - The first calf born in two years to an endangered killer whale population off the coast of the Pacific Northwest has been declared missing and presumed dead just weeks after its birth, experts said on Tuesday.

Americans losing billions by taking less vacation time: survey

WASHINGTON - Americans took the least amount of vacation time in almost four decades last year, forfeiting billions of dollars in compensation without scoring points with their bosses, according to an industry group analysis released on Tuesday.

White House confirms U.S. citizen released from North Korea

WASHINGTON - The White House said on Tuesday that detained American tourist Jeffrey Fowle had been released from North Korea and was on his way home to be with his family.

Fate of Boston bomb buddy hinges on marijuana defense

BOSTON - Attorneys clashed in court on Tuesday over whether a friend of the accused Boston Marathon bomber, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, was too high on marijuana to have deliberately lied to investigators about his role in the aftermath of the worst attack on U.S. soil since Sept. 11, 2001.

Missouri governor forms commission to look at Ferguson unrest

- Missouri Governor Jay Nixon said Tuesday he was setting up a special commission to examine the social and economic conditions in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson that have fed ongoing race-related protests following the police killing of an unarmed black teenager in August.

U.S. to funnel travelers from Ebola-hit region through five airports

NEW YORK - Travelers to the United States from Ebola-stricken Liberia, Sierra Leone or Guinea must fly into one of five airports that have enhanced screening in place for the virus, the U.S. government said on Tuesday.

Arizona jury to consider death penalty for murderer Jodi Arias

PHOENIX - An Arizona jury will be sworn in on Tuesday to decide whether 34-year-old convicted murderer Jodi Arias will be executed for the 2008 slaying of Travis Alexander, court officials said.

Pennsylvania Supreme Court suspends one of its own in porn scandal

HARRISBURG Pa. - The Pennsylvania state Supreme Court late on Monday suspended one of its own, Justice Seamus P. McCaffery, in connection with an email porn scandal and other allegations of misconduct.

Missouri State Senator arrested by Ferguson police

- A Missouri state senator was arrested on Monday night outside the police department of the embroiled city of Ferguson, authorities said, in another night of protests following the fatal police shooting of an unarmed black teenager in August.

U.S. national security prosecutors shift focus from spies to cyber

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Justice Department is restructuring its national security prosecution team to deal with cyber attacks and the threat of sensitive technology ending up in the wrong hands, as American business and government agencies face more intrusions.

California mayor resigns after drunk driving arrest

- A southern California mayor who was arrested last week on suspicion of drunken driving in an accident that injured four teenagers announced his resignation on Monday.

GAO upholds FCi protest against security contract to USIS unit

- The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) on Monday upheld portions of a protest filed by vetting firm FCi Federal Inc against a $190 million contract awarded to a unit of U.S. Investigative Services LLC (USIS) earlier this year by the Department of Homeland Security.

Thirteen high school volleyball players hurt in Missouri bus crash

- Thirteen high school girls on a Missouri volleyball team were injured on Monday when their bus collided with a car on the way to a tournament, the school said.

California man charged with capital murder of Saudi student

LOS ANGELES - A 28-year-old man was charged on Monday with murdering a college student from Saudi Arabia whose remains were found last week alongside a freeway in a Southern California desert city, Los Angeles prosecutors said.

U.S. Congress examining deal between NSA official, ex-agency chief

WASHINGTON - A Senate committee and an outspoken U.S. Congressman are seeking further information about a deal under which a top National Security Agency official is being permitted to work part-time for a private company run by the spy agency's former director.

NFL, others file lawsuit to block New Jersey sports betting

- The National Football League and other sports leagues filed a lawsuit on Monday in an attempt to block New Jersey from offering legalized wagering on sporting events.

Oregon man said missing after answering Craigslist ad; police probing

- Oregon authorities are looking into the disappearance of a 19-year-old Portland man, police said on Monday, and an advocacy group said he went missing after he responded to a Craigslist job ad posted by a couple seeking a caregiver.

Plan to overhaul New York airports takes step forward

NEW YORK - A long-awaited overhaul of New York's LaGuardia and John F. Kennedy International airports moved a step closer to reality on Monday when the state and federal governments touted a sweeping plan to make over two of the busiest U.S. travel hubs.

U.S. airlines raise fares by $2 on average

- Major U.S. airlines have raised domestic one-way fares by $2 on average since Thursday, marking the first industry wide increase in half a year.

Idaho pastors opposed to gay marriage sue city over law

SALMON Idaho - Two pastors in Idaho, who fear they could be penalized for refusing to perform newly legal gay marriages at their private wedding chapel, have filed a lawsuit, saying an Idaho anti-discrimination law violates their right to free speech and religious liberty.

Woman in outrigger canoe attacked by shark off California coast

LOS ANGELES - A woman who was attacked by a 6-foot (1.8-meter) shark in her outrigger canoe off the California coast over the weekend managed to escape unharmed and paddle safely back to shore, the local harbor patrol said on Monday.

Seattle police officers' challenge to use-of-force policy dismissed

SEATTLE - A U.S. judge on Monday dismissed a lawsuit by Seattle police officers challenging new rules restricting the department's use of force, which they claimed could endanger both them and civilians.

U.S. issues new protocols for treating Ebola patients

DALLAS - The United States issued stringent new protocols on Monday for health workers treating Ebola victims, directing medical teams to wear protective gear that leaves no skin or hair exposed when caring for patients infected with the virus.

California man charged with murder of Saudi student

LOS ANGELES - A 28-year-old man was charged on Monday with murdering a college student from Saudi Arabia whose remains were found last week alongside a freeway in a Southern California desert city, authorities said.

Obama praises Supreme Court stance on gay marriage: magazine

WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama said the U.S. Supreme Court's recent move to uphold lower-court rulings allowing gay marriage in several states may be its most significant decision during his time in office, he told the New Yorker magazine in comments published on Monday.

Blood sample tests negative for Pennsylvania police ambush suspect

EAST STROUDSBURG Pa. - Blood drops found by a homeowner in northeastern Pennsylvania, where police have spent five weeks searching for a sniper who killed a state trooper and wounded another, have tested negative for the main suspect in the case, police said on Monday.

New York man hired to assist suicide sentenced to 12 years

NEW YORK - A New York man convicted of helping a debt-ridden motivational speaker commit suicide to make the death look like a robbery was sentenced to 12 years in prison on Monday, prosecutors said.

Colorado health officials recommend banning most pot confections

DENVER - Pot-infused brownies, candies and other confections that are “naturally attractive to children” should be banned, according to recommendations on Monday by Colorado health officials to a task force charged with drafting rules on marijuana edibles.

Wyoming attorney general says gay marriages can begin on Tuesday

- Gay marriages can begin in Wyoming on Tuesday after the state files a formal notice that it will not appeal a judge's order overturning a ban on same-sex matrimony, the state's attorney general said on Monday.

U.N. officials tour Detroit to assess impact of water shutoffs

DETROIT - Two United Nations human rights officials on Monday began touring Detroit to assess the impact of widespread water disconnections on residents in an effort by city officials to shore up some $90 million in overdue bills.

California woman gets stuck in chimney trying to sneak into home

LOS ANGELES - A California woman who tried to sneak into a house through the chimney got stuck and had to be rescued by firefighters, who used dish soap to help extricate the soot-covered intruder, authorities said on Monday.

Daughter of Larry Flynt in critical condition after car crash

CLEVELAND - The adult daughter of Hustler Magazine founder and free-speech activist Larry Flynt was in critical condition in a Ohio hospital on Monday after a car accident last week left her pinned beneath a vehicle, police said.

Supreme Court agrees to decide gun ownership case

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Supreme Court agreed on Monday to decide whether a Florida man convicted on drug charges and forced to give up his firearms under federal law could sell the guns or transfer ownership to his wife or a friend.

Missing plane, pilot remains, found in central Florida

ORLANDO Fla. - A man walking in deep woods in central Florida late Sunday found the wreckage of a small plane that disappeared shortly after takeoff April 5, as well as the remains of what is believed to be the pilot, authorities said.

Saudi inmate to stay at Guantanamo, another cleared for transfer

WASHINGTON - A Saudi inmate with links to al Qaeda will remain at the Guantanamo Bay prison and a second Saudi man has been cleared for transfer home, a U.S. national security panel said on Monday.

Virginia police in missing student case search near where remains found

RICHMOND Va. - Authorities searched for clues on Monday across a wide area near where human remains, possibly those of a missing University of Virginia student, were found over the weekend.

Indiana police say more victims possible after seven bodies found

HAMMOND Ind. - Police in northwestern Indiana said on Monday they could be dealing with a serial killer with victims going back as far as 20 years after a man suspected in one woman's murder led them to six more bodies over the weekend.

U.S. top court declines Duane Reade executives' appeals

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday declined to hear two former senior Duane Reade Inc[OKHLPD.UL] executives' appeals of their 2010 securities fraud convictions for inflating earnings at the New York drugstore chain.

Supreme Court to decide police access to hotel guest registries

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday agreed to decide whether hotel operators have grounds to challenge a Los Angeles city ordinance that allows police to view guest registries, a power that local officials say helps them investigate crimes including prostitution.

Ebola fear ends for dozens on U.S. watch lists

DALLAS - Weeks of worry about Ebola infection ended for dozens of people who came off watch lists in the United States on Monday, but scores were still being monitored after potential exposure to the virus, Texas health officials said.

Benghazi attack suspect Khatallah pleads not guilty to 17 new charges

WASHINGTON - Ahmed Abu Khatallah, a Libyan militant accused of participating in the September 2012 attack on the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya pleaded not guilty on Monday to 17 new charges related to the attack, including some that carry the death penalty.

Judge to rule on Detroit bankruptcy plan in early November

DETROIT - A U.S. judge said on Monday he would rule during the week of Nov. 3 on Detroit's plan to adjust its debts and exit the biggest-ever municipal bankruptcy.

Lawyers for accused Boston Marathon bomber due in court Monday

BOSTON - Federal prosecutors and attorneys for the accused Boston Marathon bomber are scheduled to meet in court on Monday to discuss defense requests to throw out evidence and other plans for his trial due to start in January.Prosecutors contend Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 21, killed three people and injured more than 260 with a pair of homemade pressure-cooker bombs at the crowded finish line of the Boston Marathon on April 15, 2013.They also say he and his older brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, k

Obama makes rare campaign trail appearance, some leave early

UPPER MARLBORO Md. - President Barack Obama made a rare appearance on the campaign trail on Sunday with a rally to support the Democratic candidate for governor in Maryland, though the event was marred somewhat by early departures of crowd members and a yelling heckler.

Two arrested in death of Saudi student in California: report

- Two people have been arrested in the death of a college student from Saudi Arabia whose remains were found alongside a freeway in a Southern California desert city, the Los Angeles Times reported Sunday.

U.S. Ebola czar seeks to reverse government mistakes, step up response

CHICAGO/WASHINGTON - U.S. Ebola czar Ron Klain faces a hefty to-do list when he begins his new role: soothe Americans' jitters about the virus, fix federal coordination with states, and restore a sense of control over the crisis that the White House had lost.

U.S. Marines tap female executives for advice on growing women in ranks

WASHINGTON - Last spring, U.S. Marine Corps Commandant General James Amos did not even know who Sheryl Sandberg was.

Hurricane Ana stays well south of Hawaii

- Hurricane Ana stayed on a slow course south of Hawaii on Sunday, well off shore but spinning off threats of heavy rains, strong winds and high surf to the Pacific archipelago, the National Weather Service said.

Ebola victim's Texas fiance expresses gratitude, sorrow

- The fiancée of Thomas Eric Duncan, the Liberian who died of Ebola in Dallas earlier this month, said on Sunday she was grateful to be leaving quarantine without any signs of the disease that killed the man she was to marry, but saddened by the toll the virus has taken.

Man arrested in Indiana killing leads police to three more bodies

- A man arrested in connection with the strangulation death of a woman at an Indiana motel directed police to locations where the bodies of three other women were found, authorities said on Sunday.

Obama makes rare campaign trail appearance, people leave early

UPPER MARLBORO Md. - President Barack Obama made a rare appearance on the campaign trail on Sunday with a rally to support the Democratic candidate for governor in Maryland, but early departures of crowd members while he spoke underscored his continuing unpopularity.

Toddler beaten and choked to death for soiling pants: police

- A man accused in the death of his 3-year-old stepdaughter was being held in a New York City hospital on Sunday after police found him in an apartment with self-inflicted stab wounds, authorities said.

'Water cops' seek sprinkler scofflaws in drought-parched California

SACRAMENTO Calif. - It was still dark on Kokomo Drive in Sacramento's Natomas district as Paul Brown edged his city-issued Honda Civic past a row of beige stucco houses with tiny front lawns, looking for water wasters.

Five coaches suspended at NJ school in hazing scandal: report

- A New Jersey high school embroiled in a hazing case that has led to sexual abuse charges has suspended five football coaches, local media reported on Sunday.

Dozens hurt in riots near New Hampshire pumpkin festival

- More than two dozen people were treated at a New Hampshire hospital for injuries resulting from rioting that erupted near the site of an annual pumpkin festival in Keene, a hospital official said on Sunday.

U.S. hospitals gird for Ebola panic as flu season looms

NEW YORK - A young woman complaining of abdominal pain and nausea who had traveled to Africa arrived at a Long Island hospital fearful that she had contracted Ebola. She did not have the virus, but the pregnancy test was positive.

Texas lab worker tests negative for Ebola after cruise in isolation

GALVESTON Texas - A Dallas hospital lab worker who spent much of a cruise holiday in isolation after possible exposure to Ebola, has tested negative for the disease, Carnival Cruise Lines said on Sunday.

Dallas officials urge calm in city on edge over Ebola

DALLAS - Texas officials are still working to contain the public's fear of Ebola even as dozens of people who may have had contact with a Liberian man who died from the virus are soon expected to be released from a 21-day monitoring period.

New York toddler beaten to death, mother's boyfriend in custody

NEW YORK - A 20-year-old New York City man was in police custody on Sunday in connection with the fatal beating of his girlfriend's toddler daughter at a city homeless shelter, police said.

Americans 'can't give in to hysteria or fear' over Ebola: Obama

WASHINGTON - With three cases of Ebola diagnosed in the United States and more than 100 people being monitored in case they are infected, President Barack Obama said Saturday that Americans "can't give in to hysteria or fear" about the spread of the virus.

Human remains found in search for missing Virginia student

RICHMOND Va. - Searchers looking for missing University of Virginia student Hannah Graham found human remains at an abandoned property in a rural area on Saturday, five weeks after she was last seen in the university town of Charlottesville, police said.

Sick woman at Dallas train station not on Ebola watchlist: official

- A Dallas bus and train station was closed on Saturday after a report that a woman fell ill at the facility, but the transit authority denied an earlier report that the woman had been on a watchlist for possible exposure to Ebola.

Pennsylvania ambush suspect spotted carrying gun, police say

MOUNTAINHOME Pa. - The survivalist charged with murdering a Pennsylvania trooper and wounding another was spotted near his old high school carrying a rifle and with mud smeared on his face, police said on Saturday, five weeks after a manhunt for the suspect began.

Prosecutors rule out sons of NJ hospital CEO as suspects in arson death

- Prosecutors say they have ruled out as arson suspects the four sons of a New Jersey hospital chief executive found dead in a house fire last month, but the investigation is still underway.

Human remains found in search for missing Virginia student

RICHMOND Va. - Human remains were found at an abandoned property on Saturday in the search for missing University of Virginia student Hannah Graham, but the remains have not been identified, police said.

Hurricane Ana, brushing past Hawaii, to bring strong rain, surf

- A hurricane churning past Hawaii will bring heavy rain, strong winds and severe surf conditions to the Pacific archipelago through the weekend but will not make a direct hit on the islands, the National Weather Service predicted on Saturday.

Missouri officer says he feared for life before shooting unarmed teen: report

- A white police officer who shot and killed an unarmed black teenager in Missouri in August told investigators he was in fear for his life after the young man grabbed at his gun, which was discharged twice in his patrol car, the New York Times reported.

U.S. bans Hungarians from entry over corruption charges

BUDAPEST - The United States has banned several Hungarian citizens from entry and alleged that they were engaged in or benefiting from corruption, prompting the Hungarian government to call for a show of evidence.

Supreme Court denies request to block Texas voter ID law

- The U.S. Supreme Court on Saturday denied a request to block a Texas law requiring voters in the state to show certain forms of identification before they cast a ballot.

More young mourners showing love, remembrance with 'RIP' shirts

CHICAGO - At the crowded funeral of 13-year-old Demureye' Macon, who was shot on a Chicago street, older mourners wore sober suits and dresses in beige and black.

Obama says Ebola travel ban could make things worse

WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama on Saturday urged Americans to avoid hysteria over Ebola, and played down the idea of travel bans from Ebola-ravaged countries in West Africa, explaining that restrictions could make things worse.

No sign that leprosy at Ohio prison has spread: officials

CLEVELAND - There are no signs that leprosy diagnosed in an Ohio inmate had spread to other prisoners or staff, and there is little risk that it has, prison officials said on Friday.

Trump Atlantic City casino gets court OK to break labor deal

- The bankrupt Trump Taj Mahal casino received court approval on Friday to break its labor agreement, a key condition for a rescue deal with billionaire Carl Icahn, and the union promptly announced a plan to picket the Atlantic City, New Jersey hotel.

Cross-dressing Washington state teen boys barred from high school event

SEATTLE - Two male students have been barred from a Washington state high school's spirit event for dressing like women, sparking a cross-dressing protest that has seen more than a dozen students show up for class posing as the opposite sex, officials and local media said on Friday.

New Jersey revives sports betting after court struck it down

- New Jersey Governor Chris Christie on Friday revived the state's attempt to allow sports betting, signing legislation that seeks an end run around court decisions blocking legalized wagering on sporting events.

Verizon Wireless outage hits parts of Brooklyn, Manhattan

WASHINGTON - Verizon Wireless customers in New York City experienced a wireless service outage on Friday that affected at least three boroughs, according to website downdetector.com and social media comments.

Black bear consumes body of California man who died of heart attack

- A man who suffered a heart attack and died outside his rural Northern California home had his corpse dragged away and eaten by a black bear that was sheltering nearby, medical officials said on Friday.

Ex-Los Angeles schools chief says resignation came in polarized atmosphere

LOS ANGELES - Former Los Angeles public schools Superintendent John Deasy said on Friday, a day after resigning from his post, that his testimony in a landmark case on tenure rules for teachers created a polarizing atmosphere over his leadership.

Connecticut man in plea deal for carrying assault weapon on campus

MILFORD Conn. - A former University of New Haven student pleaded guilty on Friday to charges stemming from an incident that triggered fears of another Connecticut school massacre in the style of the 2012 Sandy Hook shootings.

San Diego college students get antibiotics after one dies of meningitis

SAN DIEGO - Free antibiotics have been given out to more than 400 San Diego State University students potentially exposed to bacterial meningitis from a campus sorority member who died of the disease early on Friday, campus and public health officials said.

Five report sexual assaults at University of California Berkeley fraternity

- Five people have reported that they were given a date-rape drug and sexually assaulted at an off-campus fraternity at the University of California, Berkeley, school police said on Friday.

Kentucky police say boy remains in hospital after sexual assault

- A Kentucky teenager remains hospitalized but his condition is improving after he was sodomized by a group of male acquaintances at a party, an attack that was captured on cell phone video, police said on Friday.

Courts knock down gay marriage bans in Arizona, Alaska, Wyoming

PHOENIX - Barriers to gay marriage fell in Arizona, Alaska and Wyoming on Friday following a series of federal court actions in the latest in a series of legal victories for supporters of same-sex matrimony in America.

Skimpy weapons video involving servicemen investigated in Utah

SALT LAKE CITY - Images of gun-toting women wearing camouflage bikinis and riding in a tank at a Utah target range have prompted an investigation into whether National Guard and state police gear and uniforms were improperly used in the photo shoot, officials said Friday.

California police identify remains of missing Saudi student

LOS ANGELES - Police said on Friday they had identified the remains of a man found alongside a freeway in a Southern California desert city as those of a college student from Saudi Arabia who went missing in September.

California fraud defendant charged with plotting to kill witnesses

SAN FRANCISCO - A California man awaiting trial for insurance fraud and other charges was indicted for plotting with other inmates to kill nine witnesses set to testify against him, prosecutors said on Friday.

Obama names Ebola 'czar,' bolsters Texas response

WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama appointed a former White House adviser as Ebola "czar" on Friday and named officials to bolster the response to the disease in Texas, the center of U.S. Ebola cases, as the death toll in three West African nations topped 4,500.

GMO labeling foes spend big on campaigns in Oregon, Colorado

- Opponents of GMO food labeling proposals on the ballot next month in Oregon and Colorado have contributed roughly $20 million for campaigning against the proposed laws, nearly triple the money raised by supporters of the initiatives, campaign finance reports show.

Two fez-wearing Detroit drug dealers get life in prison

- Two Detroit drug dealers, who were known for wearing fezzes in court and who sparked a national manhunt when they fled the area last spring, were sentenced on Friday to life in prison.

New York City jail violence rises despite more spending: report

NEW YORK - Violence has increased in New York City's jail system over the past seven years even as the city has spent more money to deal with a steadily declining inmate population, the city's comptroller said in an analysis released on Friday.

Supreme Court allows gay marriage in Alaska

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Supreme Court on Friday allowed gay marriage in Alaska to go into effect, increasing the number of U.S. states that permit gay marriage to 31.

Florida man kills two children, himself after arguing with wife: police

ORLANDO Fla. - A Florida father shot his three children, killing two, before fatally shooting himself early on Friday following a fight with his wife, law-enforcement officials said.

Obama names former adviser to coordinate U.S. Ebola response

WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama has asked former White House adviser Ron Klain to coordinate U.S. efforts to contain the Ebola outbreak, an administration official said on Friday, after criticism the government's response to the virus has been slow and inadequate.

Florida man sentenced to life in loud music murder

JACKSONVILLE Fla. - Michael Dunn, a middle-aged white man, was sentenced to life in prison without parole, plus 90 years, by a Florida judge on Friday for killing an unarmed black teenager in an argument over loud rap music.

Federal judge strikes down Arizona's ban on gay marriage

PHOENIX - A federal judge has struck down Arizona's ban on gay marriage, declaring it unconstitutional in a move that marks the latest in a series of victories for supporters of same-sex marriage in America, court papers showed on Friday.

NJ man sentenced to 45 years for holding family in 'den of horrors'

- A New Jersey man has been sentenced to 45 years in prison for imprisoning and sexually abusing his daughter and stepdaughter in a home that one victim described as "hell," authorities said.

Fourth U.S. traffic death linked to Takata air bags

DETROIT/ORLANDO - A fourth traffic death in a Honda Motor Co car has been linked to a defective air bag made by Japanese supplier Takata Corp, according to a county medical examiner in Florida.

Lawyers of friend of accused Boston bomber continue stoned defense

BOSTON - Attorneys for a friend of the accused Boston Marathon bomber charged with lying to investigators are due back in court on Friday to continue their defense that the 21-year-old man was too high on marijuana to remember his actions.

Treat or nasty trick? Denver police warn of pot-tainted candy

DENVER - The two almost identical gummy bears sitting side by side, coated in sugar and tinged with the same red hue, may end up in a trick-or-treat bag, but only one is plain candy. The other is loaded with marijuana.

Texas health worker isolated on cruise ship, deemed low risk for Ebola

- A Texas health worker who may have had contact with specimens from the first patient diagnosed with Ebola in the United States has been isolated on a cruise ship, but is showing no symptoms of the disease, the U.S. State Department said on Friday.

Texas health worker isolated on cruise ship over possible Ebola contact

- A Texas health worker who may have had contact with specimens from the first patient diagnosed with Ebola in the United States has been isolated on a cruise ship despite showing no symptoms of the disease, the Department of State said on Friday.

Biden's son discharged from U.S. Navy reserve after drug test: sources

WASHINGTON - The son of Vice President Joe Biden was discharged from the U.S. Navy reserve earlier this year after testing positive for cocaine, sources familiar with the matter said on Thursday.

Amazon expands grocery delivery service to Brooklyn

SAN FRANCISCO - Amazon.com Inc is expanding its online grocery delivery program to Brooklyn's well-heeled Park Slope neighborhood on Friday, giving the No. 1 U.S. online retailer a foothold in one of the wealthiest and densest markets in the United States.

Hurricane Gonzalo regains strength on way to Bermuda

HAMILTON Bermuda - One of the most powerful hurricanes ever to menace Bermuda regained strength as it swirled toward the Atlantic island on Thursday, forecasters said, sending residents scrambling to prepare for the second major storm in a week.

At least 113 staffers at U.S. Fed earn more than Yellen

WASHINGTON - The top 113 earners among staff at the Federal Reserve's Washington headquarters make an average of $246,506 per year, excluding bonuses and other benefits - more than Fed Chair Janet Yellen and nearly double the normal top government rate.

Third traffic death in U.S. linked to Takata air bags

DETROIT - A fatal accident near Los Angeles last year of a 2002 Acura sedan involved a Takata Corp air bag, the third death in the United States linked to a defective safety component made by the Japanese supplier, according to local officials and the automaker.

Pennsylvania legislature passes bill to limit inmate public statements

PHILADELPHIA - The Pennsylvania Senate on Thursday sent to Governor Tom Corbett a bill that allows crime victims to sue to prevent inmates from making public statements that cause “mental anguish.”

Poll shows Florida medical marijuana drive falling short

TALLAHASSEE Fla. - A new poll shows a Florida ballot initiative to legalize medical marijuana falling short of the votes needed to pass, with even supporters acknowledging on Thursday that they were struggling in the face of well-funded conservative opposition.

Crystal meth-making chemistry teacher lives Portland's own 'Breaking Bad'

PORTLAND Ore. - A Portland, Oregon, chemistry teacher has been arrested and charged with making methamphetamine in a case drawing comparisons on social media on Thursday to television's gritty drug saga "Breaking Bad."

Obama approves reservists for Ebola fight, government under fire

WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama authorized calling up military reservists for the U.S. fight against Ebola in West Africa on Thursday, as lawmakers criticized his administration's efforts to contain the disease at home.

Accused White House fence jumper faces more charges

WASHINGTON - An Iraq war veteran accused of running inside the White House armed with a knife faces more charges under a federal grand jury indictment returned on Thursday.

Florida high court says police need warrants to track cellphones

TALLAHASSEE Fla. - The Florida Supreme Court ruled Thursday that police must get warrants to track criminal suspects by monitoring their cellphone location signals.

Obama approves reservists for Ebola fight, government under fire

WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama authorized calling up military reservists for the U.S. fight against Ebola in West Africa on Thursday, as lawmakers criticized his administration's efforts to contain the disease at home.

U.S. court dismisses $200 million suit in West Virginia fatal police shooting

- A U.S. federal court has dismissed a $200 million civil lawsuit filed by the family of a man being treated for schizophrenia who was shot 23 times by police in West Virginia, drawing criticism from the local chapter of a national civil rights group.

Man threatening to jump off New York building shuts down street

NEW YORK - New York City police on Thursday afternoon were attempting to stop a man from jumping off of a building towering above a busy stretch of Times Square.

New York judge finds Donald Trump liable for unlicensed school

NEW YORK - Donald Trump is personally liable for operating a for-profit investment school without the required license, a New York judge ruled in a lawsuit brought by the New York Attorney General against the real estate entrepreneur.

California executive gets prison for selling 'knock-off' Navy warship batteries

- The former owner of a Los Angeles-area battery distributor has been sentenced to more than seven years in prison for selling over $2.7 million in "knock-off" emergency batteries used on numerous U.S. Navy vessels, officials said on Thursday.

Third traffic death in U.S. linked to Takata air bags

DETROIT - A fatal accident near Los Angeles last year of a 2002 Acura sedan involved a Takata Corp air bag, the third death in the United States linked to a defective safety component made by the Japanese supplier, according to local officials and the automaker.

Alaska asks U.S. top court to block gay marriage

WASHINGTON - Officials in Alaska on Thursday asked the U.S. Supreme Court to block gay marriage in the state.

Americans say avoiding international air travel over Ebola outbreak: Reuters/Ipsos poll

LOS ANGELES - Nearly half of Americans are so concerned about the Ebola outbreak that has killed more than 4,000 people in West Africa and infected two U.S. nurses who treated a Liberian Ebola victim in Texas that they are avoiding international air travel, a Reuters/Ipsos poll showed on Thursday.

U.S. transportation security chief to retire: Homeland Security

WASHINGTON - The head of the U.S. Transportation Security Administration will retire after four and a half years leading the 60,000-employee agency, the Department of Homeland Security said on Thursday.

U.S. FBI director warns that new phone encryption could thwart probes

WASHINGTON - U.S. FBI Director James Comey on Thursday made his strongest comments yet about encryption features built into new cell phones by Google Inc and Apple Inc, warning they could hurt law enforcement efforts to crack homicide and child exploitation cases.

Most New York rentals on Airbnb illegal, attorney general says

NEW YORK - Nearly three-quarters of the New York City listings of private homes for rent on Airbnb, a popular online marketplace, violate state zoning and sublet laws, the state's attorney general said on Thursday.

Community college in Los Angeles evacuated over threat

LOS ANGELES - A community college in Los Angeles was evacuated on Thursday and students were told to avoid the campus due to a threat made on social media that someone would show up with a gun, a message on the college's Facebook page said.

New York metal shop owner gets prison for copying Jasper Johns art

NEW YORK - A New York metal shop owner was sentenced to 2-1/2 years in prison on Thursday for trying to pass off a sculpture he made as a Jasper Johns creation, as well as other inauthentic artwork.

Seven in Ohio confirm contact with nurse Ebola patient, in quarantine

CLEVELAND - Seven people who had confirmed contact with the second Texas nurse diagnosed with Ebola during her visit to Ohio over the weekend are in voluntary quarantine and have not shown symptoms of the virus, county public health officials said on Thursday.

Tennessee man in jail after beheading threats, ISIS membership claim

NASHVILLE - A Tennessee man was in custody on Thursday and facing criminal charges after claiming to be a member of ISIS and threatening to behead his neighbors and burn down their homes, police said.

White House declines comment on stock market but notes economic weakness abroad

WASHINGTON - The White House on Thursday declined comment on a recent dip by the U.S. stock market but noted that a variety of countries abroad have experienced economic weakness abroad.

Exclusive: U.S. farmers seen cutting fertilizer use as crop prices slide

- U.S. farmers are cutting back on spreading fertilizer this autumn in response to a drop in crop prices to multi-year lows and a delayed harvest, dealers say, warning of a pullback that will be felt from grain markets to Canadian potash mines.

More than 30 hurt, 5 critically, in Arkansas train crash: officials

LITTLE ROCK - More than 30 people were hurt, five of them critically, when a freight train and a passenger train collided in northwest Arkansas on Thursday, the Arkansas Department of Emergency Management said.

Man arrested after shooting police targets in three Washington state cities

SEATTLE - A man suspected of firing on police stations and squad cars in a shooting spree across three Washington state cities north of Seattle was arrested after a gunfight with police and hospitalized with injuries, county law enforcement authorities said on Thursday.

Los Angeles schools Superintendent John Deasy resigns

LOS ANGELES - Los Angeles schools superintendent John Deasy, embroiled in controversy over the district's $1.3 billion iPad rollout and other issues, tendered his resignation on Thursday, Deasy and school board officials said in a joint statement.

Ohio 19-year-old gets death penalty in killing of teen

- A judge in Ohio on Thursday handed down the death penalty to Austin Myers for his role in the killing of an 18-year-old man, making the 19-year-old convict the youngest person on the state's death row.

Detroit, FGIC deal resolves pension debt, includes development

DETROIT - A settlement between Detroit and its last major hold-out creditor, Financial Guaranty Insurance Co, resolves all issues involving the city's outstanding pension debt, an attorney for the city said on Thursday.

Hurricane Gonzalo regains strength on way to Bermuda

- Hurricane Gonzalo regained strength on Thursday, again reaching Category 4, as it swirled towards Bermuda, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said.

Defense continues in trial of friend of accused Boston bomber

BOSTON - Attorneys for a friend of the accused Boston Marathon bomber charged with lying to investigators are due back in court on Thursday to continue their defense of the 21-year-old man.

Second Texas nurse with Ebola receiving care at Atlanta hospital

DALLAS - The second nurse to contract Ebola in the United States was being treated at an Atlanta hospital Thursday, as news she had traveled by plane while symptomatic heightened concern over the spread of the virus and sparked reactions in Washington and on Wall Street.

Extreme measures: U.S. hospitals take on Ebola, but at what risk?

CHICAGO - The infection of two U.S. healthcare workers who cared for a dying Ebola patient in Dallas is challenging assumptions about how to protect Western medical workers who perform advanced, life-saving procedures that may increase their risk of exposure.

Los Angeles school district head expected to step down: LA Times

LOS ANGELES - The Los Angeles schools superintendent is expected to resign after reaching a departure agreement with the school board, the Los Angeles Times reported, after problems dogged the rollout of a landmark program to provide iPads to students.

U.S. Senator's son among four charged in Arizona dog deaths

PHOENIX - The owners of a suburban Phoenix dog-boarding kennel and two caretakers, one of them the son of U.S. Senator Jeff Flake, were indicted on animal cruelty charges on Wednesday after the deaths of 21 dogs at the facility in June, county prosecutors said.

Health officials probing death of Arizona boy for possible enterovirus

PHOENIX - Health officials are investigating whether a potent virus that has infected hundreds of children nationwide killed a six-year-old boy in Arizona, officials said on Wednesday, adding that it would take more than a week to get an answer.

Second sanity exam of accused Colorado cinema gunman completed

DENVER - The sealed results of a second sanity examination of accused Colorado theater gunman James Holmes, which could determine if the long-delayed trial will begin this year, were submitted on Wednesday, a court document shows.

White House shifts into crisis mode on Ebola response

WASHINGTON - Rising public anxiety about the Ebola virus has forced the White House to shift into crisis mode and cancel two days of planned political events as President Barack Obama strives to show he has control over stopping the spread of the deadly disease.

U.S. appeals court strikes down Arizona bail law for immigrants

- A federal appeals court struck down an Arizona law on Wednesday that denied bail to some immigrants who are in the United States illegally and charged with serious felonies, saying it violated constitutional due process protections.

New York makes yogurt official state snack

NEW YORK - Yogurt became New York's official state snack on Wednesday, joining the likes of popcorn and salty boiled peanuts among popular foods honored by U.S. states.

'Praying for justice': Detroit residents speak up in historic bankruptcy

DETROIT - Ordinary Detroit residents sounded off with passion and anger on Wednesday as they gave a federal judge their views on the city's plan to exit its historic municipal bankruptcy.

Hawaii man accused of attempted sex assault aboard jetliner

- A Hawaii man has been charged with attempting to sexually assault a woman in the lavatory of a Japan Airlines jet before he was subdued by crew and fellow passengers who pulled the door from its hinges to reach him, a prosecutor said on Wednesday.

Libyan al Qaeda suspect seeks to toss statements in U.S. case

NEW YORK - Suspected al Qaeda figure Abu Anas al-Liby told a U.S. judge on Wednesday that statements he made to U.S. interrogators should not be allowed at trial because he felt he had no choice but to talk.

Minnesota ex-nurse gets jail term for assisting suicide

MINNEAPOLIS - A former nurse in Minnesota was ordered on Wednesday to serve about six months in jail for assisting in a British man's suicide and trying to assist in the suicide of a Canadian woman who died after jumping into a river.

California air tanker that crashed went down after striking tree

LOS ANGELES - A California firefighting plane that crashed while battling a wildlands blaze near Yosemite National park this month is believed to have gone down after its wing struck a tree and broke off, the results of an investigation showed on Wednesday.

Colombian drug boss pleads guilty to U.S. conspiracy charge

- A Colombian drug lord known as "Papa Grande," deported from Venezuela in 2010 to face U.S. charges, pleaded guilty on Wednesday to conspiring to traffic cocaine into the United States.

Oklahoma teenager killed family over money, authorities say

OKLAHOMA CITY - A teenager has told investigators he killed his parents and his 17-year-old sister in their southern Oklahoma home in a dispute over money and in hopes he would get the family inheritance, authorities said on Wednesday.

Arkansas Supreme Court strikes down state's voter ID law

LITTLE ROCK Ark. - The Arkansas Supreme Court on Wednesday struck down a state law requiring voters to present government-issued photo identification before being allowed to cast a ballot, saying the measure ran counter to the state's constitution.

Top U.S. Marine says F-35s July due date still 'doable'

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Marine Corps said on Wednesday it is sticking to a July 2015 target to declare an initial squadron of 10 new Lockheed Martin Corp F-35 fighter jets ready for combat use, but said it would not be devastated if the date slipped to August.

Golf course sued over property damage from California wildfire

SAN DIEGO - About a dozen Southern California residents whose property or possessions were destroyed in a wildfire earlier this year have sued a neighboring golf course they blame for triggering the blaze through the neglect of fire hazards at the resort.

Prominent Washington rabbi pleads not guilty to voyeurism charge

WASHINGTON - A prominent Washington rabbi who police allege installed a video camera in a ritual bathing area pleaded not guilty to a voyeurism charge on Wednesday, according to court documents.

Student athlete accused of rape in Washington quits team

SEATTLE - A Washington state high school student, who had caused outrage when he was charged with rape but allowed to continue playing football, has quit the team, school officials said on Wednesday.

Grand Ole Opry star's killer paroled after 41 years in prison

NASHVILLE - John Brown, one of the two men convicted in the murders of Grand Ole Opry and "Hee Haw" star David "Stringbean" Akeman and his wife, will be released from prison after serving 41 years, officials said on Wednesday.

California man dies, mother in critical condition after mauling by pit bulls

SACRAMENTO Calif. - A California man has died and his mother is in critical condition after they were mauled by pit bulls, authorities said on Wednesday.

California atheist jailed over objections to faith-based recovery gets $2 million settlement

LOS ANGELES - A California atheist convicted of drug possession who was found in violation of his parole and sent back to prison after he objected to a treatment program centered on belief in a higher power has won a nearly $2 million legal settlement, his attorney said on Wednesday.

Chicago guns and bullets to be melted down, made into jewelry

CHICAGO - Guns and bullets seized from Chicago-area crimes will be melted down and turned into jewelry by a company that pledges to give part of the profit to at-risk children, company and government officials said on Wednesday.

Florida governors debate marred by trivial live TV squabble over fan

MIAMI - Florida's Republican Governor Rick Scott and his Democratic challenger Charlie Crist don't agree on much, not even a podium cooling fan that delayed the start of the second televised debates between the two candidates on Wednesday evening.

Court orders American Indian casino in California to stay closed after standoff

LOS ANGELES - A federal court on Wednesday ordered an American Indian casino in California to remain closed over public safety concerns tied to an armed standoff that occurred last week between two tribal factions at the establishment, officials said.

U.S. health official allowed new Ebola patient on plane with slight fever

DALLAS - A second Texas nurse who has contracted Ebola told a U.S. health official she had a slight fever and was allowed to board a plane from Ohio to Texas, a federal source said on Wednesday, intensifying concerns about the U.S. response to the deadly virus.

Appeals court temporarily blocks gay marriage in Alaska

- A federal appeals court on Wednesday put gay marriage temporarily on hold in Alaska so the state can appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court over a judge's decision overturning its ban on same-sex matrimony.

Pot business conference draws hundreds, hoping U.S. will legalize

NEW YORK - Marijuana is illegal under federal law in the United States, but more than 300 attendees paid $500 each to attend the Cannabis Business Expo at a high-end hotel in Manhattan's Times Square, hoping to profit if it becomes legal by the end of the decade.

Man shot by police after attacking passengers on Connecticut bus

NORWALK Conn. - A man wielding a box cutter who attacked passengers on a tour bus headed to a Connecticut casino has died after being shot by a state trooper, officials said on Wednesday.

Time Warner to launch HBO as streaming broadband service

NEW YORK - Time Warner Inc's HBO will launch a standalone online streaming service next year to make hit shows such as "Game of Thrones" available to people who do not subscribe to cable television.

Indian citizen to be executed for Pennsylvania murders

PHILADELPHIA - An Indian national convicted of killing a 10-month-old girl and her grandmother in a kidnapping for ransom gone awry has been sentenced to death in Pennsylvania.

NYC prosecutor asks judge to quash decades-old murder convictions

NEW YORK - A New York City prosecutor will ask a judge on Wednesday to vacate 28-year-old murder convictions against two men, saying the convictions were based solely on confessions his office believes were false.

Severe storm rattles Washington amid brief tornado warning

WASHINGTON - A tornado warning briefly rattled the U.S. capital on Wednesday as a severe storm swept through the Washington area.

Lawmaker in shootout with robber near Pennsylvania Capitol

HARRISBURG Pa. - A Pennsylvania legislator exchanged gunfire with a would-be robber who tried to mug him and another lawmaker near the statehouse, and four teenagers were arrested on Wednesday and charged with attempted homicide and other offenses.

California school district settles transgender discrimination complaint

- A southern California school district settled a claim with the federal government that alleged the district discriminated against a transgender student, officials said on Tuesday.

California man indicted for fatal stabbing of parents, sons, dog

- A California man was indicted for fatally stabbing his parents, his two young sons and the family's dog, authorities said on Tuesday, in killings the man said were his "destiny".

FBI agent to testify in trial of friend of accused Boston bomber

BOSTON - An agent with the FBI is due to take the witness stand on Wednesday in the trial of a friend of the accused Boston Marathon bomber.

New apps for U.S. renters may keep lax landlords in line

NEW YORK - When Tom Hunter and his two roommates were left without heat for more than a month by a negligent landlord in New York, they began toying with an idea: an app that could help renters keep landlords in check.

Lockheed says makes breakthrough on fusion energy project

WASHINGTON - Lockheed Martin Corp said on Wednesday it had made a technological breakthrough in developing a power source based on nuclear fusion, and the first reactors, small enough to fit on the back of a truck, could be ready in a decade.

Second Texas healthcare worker tests positive for Ebola

DALLAS - A second Texas healthcare worker who treated the first patient to be diagnosed with Ebola in the United States has tested positive for the disease, the Texas Department of State Health Services said on Wednesday.

American killed by camel at Mexico beach resort

MEXICO CITY - A 60-year-old American was killed by a camel which escaped from its pen and attacked him at a wildlife center he owned in the Mexican beach resort of Tulum, local emergency services said on Tuesday.

Anti-abortion display OK'd for Independence Mall in Philadelphia

HARRISBURG Pa - An anti-abortion group has secured a permit to erect a video screen near the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia, a popular destination for young schoolchildren, to show images of aborted fetuses this week, the U.S. National Park Service said on Tuesday.

U.S. national shot dead in Saudi capital Riyadh

RIYADH - A gunman killed a U.S. national and wounded another in the Saudi capital of Riyadh on Tuesday, officials said, heightening Western concerns over security in the world's top oil exporter as regional unrest rises.

Trial begins for Detroit-area businessman accused in wife's murder

DETROIT - A suburban Detroit businessman accused of hiring his handyman to kill his wife tried to point blame away from himself after her body was discovered, telling police she may have gone to a bad neighborhood to buy drugs, prosecutors told jurors on Tuesday.

Ohio inmate charged with rapes days before scheduled release

CLEVELAND - An Ohio inmate due for release in days has been charged with raping five women in the mid 1990s based on tests performed on a backlog of thousands of rape evidence kits submitted by law enforcement, prosecutors said on Tuesday.

Pennsylvania mother jailed in abuse case allowed home with children

PITTSBURGH - A Pennsylvania woman sentenced to jail for mistreating her adopted children will be allowed to go home six days a week to care for her biological children when she starts her sentence this month.

Two park rangers stabbed on Boston Common

- Two Boston city park rangers were stabbed on Tuesday on the Boston Common, and one suffered life-threatening injuries, a police spokesman said.

Five Ohio teenagers charged in fake ALS bucket attack

CLEVELAND - Five Ohio teenagers were charged on Tuesday with dumping a bucket containing urine, tobacco and spit over the head of a boy with autism who thought he was participating in the ALS "Ice Bucket Challenge," a county prosecutor said.

Probe of Bergdahl capture by Taliban complete, under Army review

WASHINGTON - An investigation into the circumstances surrounding the capture of Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl by Taliban militants in Afghanistan has been completed, but it is unclear when the military will finish its report, the Pentagon said on Tuesday.

Idaho governor says he will not appeal gay marriage ruling

- Idaho's Republican governor said on Tuesday he would not challenge a federal appeals court ruling that made gay marriage legal in the state, removing any remaining uncertainty over the future for same-sex couples.

Prominent Washington rabbi arrested for voyeurism

WASHINGTON - A prominent Washington rabbi whose congregation includes leading political figures was arrested on Tuesday on a charge of voyeurism, police said.

U.S. Supreme Court blocks Texas abortion restrictions

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday blocked certain restrictions on abortion contained in a Texas state law that abortion rights groups said would have forced all but a handful of clinics to shut down in the state of 26 million people.

Police say tests show teen shot by St. Louis officer had gun residue on hands

St. Louis - A black teenager fatally shot last week in St. Louis by an off-duty police officer had gunshot residue on his hands, jeans and T-shirt, according to crime lab results released on Tuesday after four days of protests in the city against police violence.

Supreme Court blocks Texas abortion restrictions

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday blocked certain restrictions on abortion contained in a Texas state law that abortion rights groups said would have forced all but a handful of clinics to shut down in the state of 26 million people.

Family of homeless preacher awarded $4.6 million in Denver jail death

DENVER - The family of a homeless street preacher who died in a Denver county jail was awarded $4.6 million on Tuesday by a federal jury who found five sheriff's deputies used excessive force to subdue the U.S. Army veteran.

U.S. sets up rapid-response Ebola team; Dallas nurse improves

DALLAS - The United States is establishing a rapid-response team to help hospitals "within hours" whenever there is a case of Ebola, the top doctor leading the fight against the deadly virus said on Tuesday.

Feminist blogger Sarkeesian cancels Utah speech after threat

- A Canadian-American feminist, media critic and blogger has canceled a speech she was due to give at Utah State University after an email threat was sent to the school, the university said late on Tuesday.

Kansas City diocese to settle sex abuse claims for $9.95 million

- The Catholic Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph has agreed to pay $9.95 million to settle all outstanding sexual abuse claims against its priests in a bid to close a long-running scandal.

Gonzalo becomes major hurricane over open Atlantic waters

SAN JUAN Puerto Rico - Hurricane Gonzalo strengthened to become a major Category 3 hurricane on Tuesday as it moved away from the northern Caribbean and headed toward Bermuda, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said.

Massachusetts college evacuated after bomb threat

- A Massachusetts college was evacuated on Tuesday night following an emailed bomb threat, the school said.

Exclusive: U.S. pork group counters antibiotics report with online campaign

CHICAGO - A leading U.S. pork association will use an online marketing campaign to counter a critical television documentary on antibiotics use in livestock, pointing consumers to industry-funded websites that defend the practice, according to an association email.

Oklahoma newspaper publisher, wife, daughter found dead in family home

OKLAHOMA CITY - The publisher of a newspaper in a small Oklahoma city, his wife and their 17-year-old daughter were found dead inside their home on Monday and the local prosecutor is treating their deaths as homicides, according to police and newspapers.

Dallas Cowboys running back Randle arrested for shoplifting

HOUSTON - Dallas Cowboys running back Joseph Randle has been arrested and charged with shoplifting from a department store, police in the Dallas suburb of Frisco said on Tuesday.

$1 million bail set for Massachusetts woman found living with dead babies

UXBRIDGE Mass. - A Massachusetts judge on Tuesday ordered a 31-year-old woman found living last month with the bodies of three dead infants in a rodent-infested house held on $1 million cash bail.The woman, Erika Murray, was arrested last month and charged with fetal death concealment, witness intimidation and animal cruelty after state officials removed four living children, ranging in age from 3 months to 13 years, from the house where they had been living in Blackstone, Massachusett

Supreme Court leaves California foie gras ban intact

WASHINGTON - In a victory for animal rights activists, the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday allowed California to continue to ban foie gras, a delicacy produced from the enlarged livers of ducks and geese that have been force-fed corn.

Hazmat crews at scene of crude spill in Louisiana: report

- A crude oil spill at Mooringsport village in Caddo Parish, Louisiana, led to the evacuation of at least one family, according to a report on KSLA television website.

Family that lived with Texas Ebola victim showing no symptoms: mayor

WASHINGTON - The family who shared an apartment with a Liberian man who died of Ebola in Texas is showing no signs of illness, while the dog of a nurse who contracted the deadly virus is healthy and being cared for, Dallas's mayor said on Tuesday.

Judge rules AriZona iced tea co-founder, son owed $1 billion for buyout

NEW YORK - A New York state judge ruled on Tuesday the privately held producer of AriZona iced tea should pay about $1 billion to buy out the half of the beverage maker owned by the co-founder and his son.

Roughly half-dozen seriously injured after Indiana tour bus crash

- Roughly a half-dozen people were seriously injured after a double-decker tour bus heading from Atlanta to Chicago crashed outside of Indianapolis early on Tuesday morning, state police said.

Trial of accused Boston bomber's friend turns to text messages

BOSTON - Text messages between the accused Boston Marathon bomber and some of his college friends will be the focus when the criminal trial of a man charged with lying to investigators resumes on Tuesday.

Former Charlotte, N.C., mayor faces sentencing for corruption

CHARLOTTE N.C. - Former Charlotte Mayor Patrick Cannon is due to be sentenced on Tuesday after admitting to using his public positions in North Carolina's largest city for personal financial gain, including taking at least $50,000 in bribes.

Gunman opens fire at Nevada state office building, wounding one

- One man was shot and wounded on Monday when a gunman opened fire in a state office building in Las Vegas and a 73-year-old man was taken into custody as a suspect, police said.

Chicago software executive shot in July by employee dies: official

- The chief executive of a Chicago software company who was shot and gravely wounded in July by a disgruntled employee died on Monday, a medical examiner's spokesman said.

Minnesota archdiocese settle lawsuit on abuse of minors

MINNEAPOLIS - A lawsuit that forced Roman Catholic officials in Minnesota to release decades of files on clergy accused of child sex abuse has been settled along with agreements on new child protection protocols, church officials and a victim's attorney said Monday.

U.S. needs to rethink Ebola infection controls, says CDC chief

DALLAS - Medical experts need to rethink how highly infectious diseases are handled in the United States, a U.S. health official said on Monday, after a Dallas nurse contracted Ebola despite wearing protective gear while caring for a dying Liberian patient.

Alaska gay couples apply for marriage licenses after judge drops ban

JUNEAU Alaska - Alaska officials began accepting marriage license applications from gay couples on Monday, even as the state sought to appeal a weekend ruling by a federal judge that struck down the state ban's on same-sex nuptials.

Police arrest at least 50 protesting shootings of blacks in St. Louis area

FERGUSON Mo. - More than 50 people were arrested in a series of peaceful rolling protests in the St. Louis area on Monday, staged to draw attention to police violence more than two months after a white officer killed an unarmed black teenager in a local suburb.

Florida asks for state Supreme Court to rule on gay marriage

MIAMI - Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi requested on Monday that the state Supreme Court be allowed to decide whether same-sex couples can marry within its jurisdiction.

Hurricane Gonzalo gains strength, nears British Virgin Islands

SAN JUAN Puerto Rico - Hurricane Gonzalo picked up power as it churned through the northern Caribbean late on Monday headed for the British Virgin Islands, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said.

Two killed as storms move across southern United States

BIRMINGHAM Al - Two people were killed and at least four were injured on Monday as a strong storm swept across several southern U.S. states, officials said.

California bus driver quarantined after Ebola scare

- A Los Angeles bus driver was quarantined for several hours on Monday after a passenger wearing a surgical mask claimed he had Ebola, a county transportation official said.

American Airlines Boeing makes emergency landing after wall panels come loose

SAN FRANCISCO - An American Airlines Inc plane made an emergency landing in San Francisco on Monday after a number of interior wall panels came loose mid-flight, an airline spokesman said.

Americans face post-foreclosure hell as wages garnished, assets seized

NEW YORK - Many thousands of Americans who lost their homes in the housing bust, but have since begun to rebuild their finances, are suddenly facing a new foreclosure nightmare: debt collectors are chasing them down for the money they still owe by freezing their bank accounts, garnishing their wages and seizing their assets.

FAA Chicago-area air traffic site back in full operations

- Full operation was restored on Monday at a Chicago-area air traffic control site that was shut down in September by a fire allegedly set by a field technician, forcing extensive flight delays and cancellations, the Federal Aviation Administration said.

Three believed dead in small plane crash in Chicago suburb

- All three people believed to be aboard a small plane died when it crashed into the only vacant lot on a block of residential homes in a Chicago suburb, authorities said on Monday.

Toddler critically injured in New Hampshire bouncy house accident

MANCHESTER N.H. - A New Hampshire toddler was hospitalized in critical condition after a gust of wind lifted a bouncy house he was playing in with his brother, authorities said.

U.S. Army says it faces huge equipment, training risks with budget cuts

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Army warned on Monday that mandatory budget cuts due to resume in fiscal 2016 would be devastating to a service that is already facing huge risks as it tries to keep forces ready for battle, replace aging equipment and respond to crises around the world.

Kroger Co. settles chicken labeling lawsuit, changes packaging

CHICAGO - The Kroger Co, the biggest U.S. supermarket operator, said on Monday it will remove the "humanely raised" claims from a store brand of chicken to settle a federal lawsuit claiming the retailer deceived consumers because the animals were raised under standard commercial farming conditions.

Alaska gay couples seek marriage licenses after judge dumps ban

JUNEAU Alaska - Alaska officials began accepting marriage license applications from gay couples on Monday, a day after a federal judge ruled the state ban's on such nuptials was unconstitutional in the latest victory for U.S. supporters of same-sex matrimony.

Sex abuse case may spell end of football at New Jersey high school

- The superintendent of a New Jersey school district that canceled this year's high school football season amid a hazing case that led to sexual assault charges said on Monday he is considering suspending the program in future years as well. 

Oklahoma attorney general asks for delay in three executions

OKLAHOMA CITY - Oklahoma's attorney general has filed a request to delay three upcoming executions in Oklahoma due to a lack of drugs and to provide more time to implement new lethal injection protocols, according to court documents obtained on Monday.

Suspects aid New Orleans police with photos of selves shot with stolen phone

NEW ORLEANS - A pair of armed-robbery suspects in New Orleans have given police seeking their capture on Monday a helpful clue: pictures of themselves taken with one of their victim's cell phones and uploaded to her storage account.

Parents of Virginia student missing a month plead again for help

- The parents of a University of Virginia student who has been missing for one month on Monday pleaded again for help in finding their daughter.

Californians fork over $533 million more in taxes than expected

SACRAMENTO Calif. - California's recovering economy has generated tax revenues that are more than a half-billion dollars above estimates in the past three months, but the state still needs to take care not to overspend, Controller John Chiang said Monday.

Oregon couple to plead not guilty to sex with 16-year-old babysitter

- An Oregon couple is expected to plead not guilty on Monday to charges they repeatedly sexually abused a 16-year-old babysitter after plying her with alcohol and marijuana, then used a cell phone to film the acts, a county prosecutor said.

U.S. needs to rethink Ebola infection controls, says CDC chief

DALLAS - Medical experts need to rethink how highly infectious diseases are handled in the United States, a U.S. health official said on Monday, after a Dallas nurse contracted Ebola despite wearing protective gear while caring for a dying Liberian patient.

CDC sees low Ebola risk in passengers pulled from Dubai flight

BOSTON - Emergency crews in protective gear removed five passengers with flu-like symptoms from a commercial airliner that arrived at Boston's Logan Airport from Dubai on Monday, but U.S. health authorities said the possibility of Ebola was "exceedingly low."

Marchers confront riot police over Missouri shootings, more protests planned

ST. LOUIS Mo. - More than 1,000 protesters shouted slogans at riot police in St Louis in the early hours of Monday near the climax of four days of street rallies and sit-ins over the police shootings of two black 18-year-olds.

Alaska ban on same-sex marriage ruled unconstitutional

JUNEAU Alaska - A U.S. federal judge on Sunday ruled that the state of Alaska's ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional.

Gonzalo to strengthen but unlikely to hit U.S. mainland: NHC

- Tropical storm Gonzalo is expected to strengthen while it moves through the Leeward Islands tonight and early Monday, the U.S. National Hurricane Center (NHC) said in its latest advisory on Sunday.

St. Louis area police arrest at least 17 during weekend of protests

FERGUSON Mo. - Hundreds of civil rights activists and protesters applauded speakers, preachers and poets on Sunday in a an arena in St. Louis, Missouri, capping a weekend of protests against police violence that included 17 arrests earlier in the day.

Tropical Storm Gonzalo forms in Atlantic, heads for Puerto Rico

MIAMI - Tropical Storm Gonzalo formed on Sunday in the Atlantic Ocean, east of the Caribbean Islands and was forecast to become a hurricane by the time it reaches Puerto Rico on Tuesday, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said.

CDC head criticized for blaming 'protocol breach' as nurse gets Ebola

CHICAGO - Some healthcare experts are bristling at the assertion by a top U.S. health official that a “protocol breach” caused a Dallas nurse to be infected with Ebola while caring for a dying patient, saying the case instead shows how far the nation’s hospitals are from adequately training staff to deal with the deadly virus.

Fay downgraded after brushing Bermuda with high winds, rain

HAMILTON Bermuda - Tropical Storm Fay lost strength after briefly reaching a Category 1 hurricane in the Atlantic on Sunday, sweeping past Bermuda with strong winds, felling trees and knocking out power to thousands in the British territory.

Boston hospital monitoring patient for possible Ebola case

- A man in Massachusetts who recently returned from Liberia is being evaluated at a Boston hospital for a potential case of Ebola after complaining of a headache and muscle aches, health officials said on Sunday.

Alaska ban on same-sex marriage ruled unconstitutional

JUNEAU Alaska - A U.S. federal judge on Sunday ruled that the state of Alaska's ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional.

Boston hospital monitoring patient for possible Ebola case

- A man in Massachusetts who recently returned from Liberia is being evaluated at a Boston hospital for a potential case of Ebola after complaining of a headache and muscle aches, health officials said on Sunday.

Conjoined twin Texas babies to take first step to separation surgery

HOUSTON - Conjoined 6-month-old twin girls will begin to undergo tissue expansion this month to stretch skin that will be used to cover patches of their bodies when they are separated in a surgery planned for December.

Obama calls for action to ensure U.S. medical system can handle Ebola

WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama wants federal authorities to take additional steps to ensure the American medical system is prepared to follow correct protocols in dealing with Ebola following news of an apparent breach in Dallas, the White House said in a statement Sunday.

Seventh New Jersey high school student surrenders in sex abuse case

- A seventh New Jersey high school student has turned himself into authorities to face charges of sex abuse stemming from a hazing scandal that led to the cancellation of the remainder of the school's football season, authorities said Sunday.

One killed, two hurt when train hits them on California trestle

- One woman was killed and two other people were badly hurt when they were struck by a train while taking photographs of the sunset from a California railroad trestle, the Santa Barbara County Fire Department said on Sunday.

Wyoming man accused of stealing train in work dispute

- A Wyoming rail worker could face felony charges for protesting working conditions by stealing a train and taking it on a 13-mile joy ride before crashing it into another locomotive, local media and law enforcement said Sunday.

California police field reports of creepy clowns

- Reports of creepy clowns carrying knives and other weapons have been scaring people in the California city of Bakersfield for the past week, police said on Sunday.

Tropical Storm Fay brushes Bermuda with high winds and rain

MIAMI - Tropical Storm Fay swept past Bermuda drenching the British territory in the Atlantic with winds gusting to hurricane force, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said on Sunday.

Texas health care worker tests positive for Ebola

- A Texas health worker who provided care for the first person diagnosed with Ebola in the United States has tested positive for the deadly virus in a preliminary examination, a state health official said on Sunday.

Obama hangs tough on migrant detention despite slowing influx

WASHINGTON - The surge in child migration from Central America is receding but the United States is aggressively pushing ahead with plans to expand detentions, a little-publicized part of a broader campaign to deter illegal migrants.

Texas worker tests positive for Ebola, U.S. airports start screening

SAN ANTONIO Texas - A health worker in Texas at the hospital where the first person diagnosed with Ebola in the United States died last week has tested positive for the deadly virus in a preliminary test, the state's health department said on Sunday.

More than 20 injured in Halloween hayride accident in rural Maine

- More than 20 people were injured including some seriously on Saturday when a truck towing a Halloween hayride went off the road, flipping the trailer and sending people tumbling to the ground, authorities and media reports said.

Secretive U.S. robotic mini-shuttle to end 22-month mission on Tuesday

CAPE CANAVERAL Florida - The U.S. military plans to land its secretive X-37B robotic space plane in California on Tuesday, ending a classified 22-month mission, officials said.

Louisiana infant survives days trapped beneath father's dead body

- A 10-month-old Louisiana baby survived for three days trapped under the decomposing body of her dead father after he suffered cardiac arrest, authorities said on Saturday.

Arrest in fire that devastated Northern California town: report

- Authorities on Saturday arrested a man for suspected arson in connection with a fire that destroyed much of a small California city in September, local media reported.

U.S. military faces new kind of threat with Ebola

- At Fort Campbell in Kentucky, spouses of U.S. soldiers headed to Liberia seem to be lingering just a bit longer than usual after pre-deployment briefings, hungry for information about Ebola.

Zombie attraction turns fatal at corn maze on Idaho-Washington border

- A teenager playing a zombie at a Halloween-themed corn maze was killed after falling under the event's "Zombie Slayer Paintball Bus," authorities said on Saturday, as the northwestern Idaho attraction's patrons thought it was just part of the act.

Family names new lawyer in $75 million New York chokehold lawsuit

NEW YORK - The family of a black New Yorker who died after a local police officer put the 43-year old man in a chokehold announced on Saturday it chose a new attorney for its planned $75 million wrongful death lawsuit, a spokesman for a civil rights organization said.

Toddler first in Michigan to die from enterovirus strain

NEW YORK - A 21-month-old girl is the first in the state of Michigan and second in the U.S. to die this year from a strain of the enterovirus that has infected more than 500 people across the nation, health officials said on Saturday.

Judge closes California casino in dispute between American Indian factions

SAN FRANCISCO - A U.S. judge has ordered the closure of an American Indian casino in central California following an armed standoff between one tribal faction that was running the gambling establishment and other members of the tribe who stormed the business.

Thousands march in St. Louis to protest police violence

FERGUSON Mo - The mother of an unarmed black teenager shot dead by a white officer in Ferguson, Missouri, walked with hundreds of protesters on Saturday in the St. Louis suburb, part of a weekend of protests against police violence.

New Jersey officials order 'symptom-less' NBC News crew into Ebola quarantine

- New Jersey health officials have ordered into mandatory quarantine an NBC News crew that worked with an American cameraman who contracted Ebola in Liberia, though the group has no symptoms, its health department said on Saturday.

Man sought for smoke-bombing trendy Greenwich Village restaurant

NEW YORK - New York police are searching for a man seen hurling a smoke bomb at diners seated outdoors at a trendy Italian restaurant frequented by celebrities in Manhattan's Greenwich Village.

Cities, states scramble after Dallas's Ebola missteps expose planning gaps

NEW YORK - The missteps in Dallas's handling of the first Ebola case diagnosed in the United States have revealed an uncomfortable reality: state and city plans for handling the deadly virus are based on generic recommendations for everything from measles to floods, to hurricanes and dirty bombs.

Unit at Colorado's Fort Carson locked down after property goes missing

- A unit at Fort Carson in Colorado entered the third day of a lockdown after a piece of government property was taken without permission, an army representative said on Friday.

Kansas Supreme Court temporarily blocks gay marriages

KANSAS CITY Kan. - The legal battle over gay rights in Kansas reached the state's highest court and the federal courts on Friday hours after two women were married outside a county courthouse.

U.S. begins enhanced Ebola screening program at New York's JFK airport

NEW YORK - Stepped up efforts by the U.S. to halt the spread of the Ebola virus will start at New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport on Saturday, where teams armed with thermal guns and questionnaires will screen travelers from West African countries hit hardest by the outbreak.

Seven New Jersey students charged over sexual assaults: New York Times

- Seven New Jersey high school students have been charged following a string of sexual assaults in a hazing controversy that prompted officials to cancel the remainder of the school's football season, the New York Times reported on Friday.

Virginia tells agencies to clear way for adoptions by gay couples

RICHMOND Va. - Virginia same-sex couples can now legally adopt children and also become foster parents, the Virginia Department of Social Services said in a bulletin on Friday to its local offices across the state.

Kansas attorney general seeks to block gay marriages

KANSAS CITY Kan. - The Kansas attorney general on Friday asked the state Supreme Court to block same-sex marriage licenses, filing the petition hours after two women were married outside a county courthouse.

Senator Walsh of Montana stripped of degree for plagiarism

- The U.S. Army War College has revoked the master's degree of U.S. Senator John Walsh of Montana, the result of a plagiarism scandal that prompted him in August to abandon his election bid, both Walsh and the college said on Friday.

Alaska parents find son alive after police notify wrong family

- An Alaska couple, who had been told by police that their 29-year-old son had been killed in a car crash, were overcome with joy just hours later when they discovered him alive and well at his home in Anchorage, officials and media said on Friday.

Co-founder of indicted money exchange extradited to U.S.

NEW YORK - Spanish authorities have extradited to the United States a co-founder of the digital currency exchange Liberty Reserve to face charges that his creation was an unlawful money-laundering operation, U.S. prosecutors said on Friday.

Haitian man faces U.S. charges over reclining airline seat squabble

BOSTON - A Haitian man who authorities say got into a heated dispute on a flight bound from Miami to Paris over a reclining seat has been charged with assaulting a flight attendant, U.S. prosecutors in Boston said on Friday.

One hiker found dead, another injured in Colorado peaks

DENVER - Rescuers in Colorado found one hiker dead and another injured on Friday following a two-day search for the missing men in the mountains above the resort town of Aspen, authorities said.

Toronto-Dominion Bank executive charged for role in $1 billion scheme

MIAMI - A former Toronto-Dominion Bank executive was charged in south Florida federal court with six counts wire fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud in connection with a $1 billion Florida Ponzi scheme on Friday, according to court documents.

St. Louis braces for weekend of protests after new shooting

CLAYTON Mo. - Hundreds of protesters marched through the rain on Friday afternoon to the St. Louis County courthouse, kicking off a weekend of demonstrations against police violence after eight people were arrested in protests overnight.

Las Vegas sounds false alarm as global Ebola fears spread

- A commercial plane was briefly quarantined on a Las Vegas airport tarmac on Friday, sending airline shares down as worldwide fears increased that Ebola could spread outside West Africa, where it has killed more than 4,000 people.

California woman freed after 17 years, declared innocent of murder

LOS ANGELES - A 59-year-old California woman who spent 17 years in prison for murder was ordered freed on Friday by a judge who said she was wrongly convicted on the basis of testimony by a woman known to be a habitual liar, the Los Angeles Times reported on Friday.

Supreme Court lifts hold on gay marriage in Idaho

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Supreme Court cleared the way for same-sex matrimony to proceed in Idaho on Friday by lifting a temporary hold imposed earlier in the week, capping a week of victories for supporters of gay marriage in America.

Actress Misty Upham reported missing in Washington state: police

SEATTLE/LOS ANGELES - Actress Misty Upham, who played a housekeeper in the movie adaption of "August: Osage County," has been missing in Washington state for six days, police said on Friday.

California woman freed after 17 years, declared innocent of murder

LOS ANGELES - A 59-year-old California woman who spent 17 years in prison for murder was ordered freed on Friday by a judge who said she was wrongly convicted on the basis of testimony by a woman known to be a habitual liar, the Los Angeles Times reported on Friday.

St. Louis braces for weekend of protests after new shooting

CLAYTON Mo. - Hundreds of protesters marched through the rain on Friday afternoon to the St. Louis County courthouse, kicking off a weekend of demonstrations against police violence after eight people were arrested in protests overnight.

Boy mauled by jaguars at Arkansas zoo in critical condition

LITTLE ROCK Ark. - A 3-year-old boy who was mauled by jaguars after falling into their exhibit at a zoo in Arkansas on Friday is in critical condition, a hospital spokesman said.

Prayer service held in Indiana for American held by Islamic State

PLAINFIELD Ind. - Family and friends of Abdul-Rahman Kassig held a prayer service on Friday for the U.S. humanitarian worker held hostage by Islamic State militants, expressing hope he will survive his ordeal and lauding his willingness to help others even in the face of danger.

Teen gunman in 2013 Colorado school shooting was bent on revenge

DENVER - An 18-year-old Colorado high school student, who shot to death a classmate last year before committing suicide, had planned the attack for months and had written in a journal that he would soon "shoot up my school," authorities said on Friday.

Idaho and North Carolina are latest states to allow gay marriage

WASHINGTON - County clerks in Idaho and North Carolina began issuing their states' first marriage licenses to gay couples on Friday after court actions that capped a week of victories for supporters of same-sex matrimony in America.

Family seeks medical consensus for California girl declared brain dead

- A lawyer for the family of a California girl declared brain dead after complications from a tonsillectomy wants to broker a conference between several physicians who insist she exhibits signs of life and a court-appointed doctor who rejects their findings.

HIV-positive Alabama pastor confesses to sex with parishioners: reports

BIRMINGHAM Ala. - A veteran Alabama pastor who confessed to having sex with parishioners on church grounds while HIV-positive has defied attempts to remove him from his post, media reported on Friday.

Mistrial declared in Detroit cop's trial over shooting of child

DETROIT - A judge on Friday declared a second mistrial after a jury was unable to reach a verdict in the trial of a Detroit police officer who fatally shot a sleeping girl during a police raid in 2010.

Homeland Security chief appoints Secret Service review panel

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Department of Homeland Security on Friday named four people to conduct an independent review of the Secret Service after a series of security breaches including a fence jumper who got into the White House last month.

Comment triggers Ebola scare on flight from Philadelphia: reports

- An incident on board a U.S. Airways flight from Philadelphia caused an Ebola scare this week, leading officials to investigate the plane when it landed in the Dominican Republic, the airline said on Friday.

New York man shot 15 minutes after release from prison

NEW YORK - After spending 15 years in prison, a New York man was shot and wounded within minutes of being released, state police said on Friday.

Berkshire-owned Dairy Queen says customer data hacked in 46 states

- Ice cream and fast-food restaurant chain Dairy Queen has confirmed a security breach that may have compromised the payment card information of customers at several hundred locations across 46 U.S. states.

New York businessman gets 34-month prison term for 'Rebecca' Broadway scam

NEW YORK - A former New York businessman was sentenced to nearly three years in prison Friday after admitting to defrauding the producers of Broadway production "Rebecca - The Musical" through an elaborate scheme involving nonexistent foreign investors.

Michigan truck driver files coercion charge against UAW union

DETROIT - A truck driver in Michigan filed a charge of coercion against the United Auto Workers union for keeping her from exercising her right to quit the union and stop paying dues, according to the National Right to Work Foundation.

U.S. reaches $30 million settlement with vice president of Equatorial Guinea

WASHINGTON - A federal judge in California announced a $30 million settlement on Friday between the United States and a vice president of Equatorial Guinea that requires him to forfeit his U.S. assets, including a collection of six life-sized statues of late singer Michael Jackson.

U.S. senator lifts objections to $750 million Ebola funding shift

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Defense Department won permission to shift $750 million in war funds to fight Ebola in West Africa as a Republican senator on Friday lifted his remaining objections to the transfer.

HIV-positive Alabama pastor confesses to sex with parishioners: reports

- A veteran Alabama pastor who confessed to having sex with parishioners on church grounds while HIV-positive has defied attempts to remove him from his post, media reported on Friday.

Obama to declare Los Angeles-area mountains national monument

- President Barack Obama will declare a swath of the San Gabriel Mountains near Los Angeles as a national monument on Friday, the White House said, following an 11-year effort that got caught up in partisan politics.

Fears grow in United States over Ebola's spread outside West Africa

NEW YORK/WASHINGTON - Fears are growing in the United States about Ebola with about 200 airline cabin cleaners walking off the job in New York and some lawmakers demanding the government ban travelers from the West African countries hit hardest by the virus.

Alaskan gay marriage ban to be debated in federal court

JUNEAU Alaska - A federal judge will hear oral arguments in a lawsuit challenging Alaska's 16-year-old constitutional ban on gay marriage on Friday, following a week of court rulings backing same-sex unions in seven other states.

California golf coach sentenced to 27 years for murder plot, abuse

SAN FRANCISCO - A San Francisco-area boys' golf coach was sentenced to over 27 years in prison on Thursday on charges of molesting three of his underage students and then plotting to kill his accusers from jail, prosecutors said.

No charges over Palin family drunken Alaska birthday brawl: police

JUNEAU - Anchorage prosecutors declined to file criminal charges over a bloody, booze-fueled brawl involving the family of former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin at a birthday party, police said on Thursday as they released a report describing the melee.

Indiana doctor, new wife die in post-wedding murder-suicide

- An Indiana doctor and his wife died hours after their wedding in a murder-suicide that authorities said on Thursday appeared to be the result of some kind of a dispute at their reception.

Four people in Virginia shot to death in apparent murder-suicide

- Three adults and a young child were killed in an apparent murder-suicide at a home in Richmond, Virginia, police said on Thursday.

Divorce trial of Continental CEO ends, with billions at stake

- Thursday marked the end of the epic nine-week divorce trial of Oklahoma’s richest man, oil magnate and Continental Resources Chief Executive Harold Hamm. With billions of dollars of company wealth at stake, the unusually secretive trial could end with the largest divorce judgment in history.

St. Louis braces for weekend of protests over Michael Brown killing

- The St. Louis area on Thursday was bracing for more racial unrest over the August killing of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown by a white police officer, and another police killing of a black teenager on Wednesday was expected to add fuel to the fire.

Nevada issues first marriage licenses to gay couples; some states push back

CARSON CITY/LAS VEGAS - Nevada began issuing marriage licenses to gay couples on Thursday after a district judge removed the final hurdle to same-sex matrimony in the state, hours after a conservative group withdrew a last-ditch effort to block the change.

California man charged in transgender activist's choking murder

LOS ANGELES - A man accused of killing a Southern California transgender activist and dumping her body behind a fast-food restaurant was charged with murder on Thursday, but prosecutors said they lacked evidence to prove the case was a hate crime.

Oklahoma unveils renovated execution chamber after botched execution

OKLAHOMA CITY - Oklahoma prison officials on Thursday unveiled a renovated execution chamber inside the Oklahoma State Penitentiary, aimed at addressing issues that arose during the state's last execution.

Corpse exhumed in Alabama as FBI seeks link to long-missing murder suspect

- The unidentified body of a man dead for 33 years was exhumed on Thursday in Alabama in hopes of linking it to an FBI Top 10 most wanted fugitive suspected in the 1976 bludgeoning deaths of his wife, mother and three sons, federal authorities said.

U.S. Air Force probed for scrapping costly planes bought for Afghans

WASHINGTON - A U.S. government watchdog agency is asking the Air Force to explain why it decided to destroy 16 aircraft initially bought for the Afgan air force and turn them into $32,000 of scrap metal instead of finding other ways to salvage nearly $500 million in U.S. funds spent on the program.

NYC lawyer accused of rape removes himself from chokehold lawsuit

NEW YORK - A high-profile lawyer accused of raping a woman in his New York City apartment last week has said he will no longer handle a planned wrongful-death lawsuit against the city by the family of Eric Garner, who died after police put him in chokehold during his arrest.

Detroit talks with holdout creditor move to New York as clock ticks

DETROIT - Mediation for the last, and potentially one of the biggest, settlements in Detroit's historic bankruptcy case has moved to New York City, a Detroit spokesman said on Thursday, amid a newspaper report that a potential deal with Financial Guaranty Insurance Co [FGIC.UL] is still days away.

South Carolina court bars judges from issuing gay marriage licenses

CHARLESTON S.C. - The South Carolina Supreme Court ordered state judges on Thursday not to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples until a federal court rules on whether the state can continue enforcing its ban on such marriages.

U.S. House Republicans release $750 million in Ebola funds to Pentagon

WASHINGTON - Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday agreed to release $700 million more to fight Ebola from the Defense Department's request to shift $1 billion in war funds, bringing the total so far to $750 million.

Two adults, two boys killed at New York home

GUILDERLAND N.Y. - Two adults and two children of Chinese descent have been killed in a central New York house, police said on Thursday.

Wildfire burns five homes near Sacramento, threatens 1,000 more

SACRAMENTO Calif. - A wildfire northeast of Sacramento has burned 420 acres (170 hectares) and destroyed five homes, California fire officials said on Thursday.

Pakistani woman acclaimed by Islamists allowed to end U.S. appeal

NEW YORK - A Pakistani neuroscientist whom Islamist militants have tried to free in proposed prisoner swaps with the United States was allowed on Thursday to withdraw what could be the last appeal of her conviction on U.S. charges of attempted murder.

Miami Beach cheers success of flood pumps against 'King Tide'

MIAMI BEACH Fla. - Miami Beach residents breathed a sigh of relief on Thursday as newly installed pumps kept streets dry during the seaside city’s highest tides of the year.

White House dismisses report about Colombia prostitution scandal

WASHINGTON - The White House on Thursday dismissed a report implicating a White House advance team member in a 2012 Secret Service prostitution scandal in Colombia and denied allegations the team member's involvement had been covered up.

Ex-Premier of Cayman Islands acquitted of corruption charges

GEORGE TOWN Cayman Islands - The former premier of the Cayman Islands, McKeeva Bush, was found not guilty on charges of corruption by a local jury on Thursday, a court official confirmed.

U.S. Republican Senator still undecided on Ebola funding increase

WASHINGTON - U.S. Republican Senator James Inhofe has not yet agreed to release additional Defense Department funds for a military mission to fight Ebola in West Africa, his spokeswoman said on Thursday, citing concerns over protecting military staff and the mission's long-term future.

Crews battle fog to search for missing Seattle hiker and her dogs

SEATTLE - Rescue workers battling fog were searching on Thursday for a 21-year-old hiker reported missing earlier this week in the Cascade Range near Seattle, the King County sheriff's office said.

Supreme court makes deep imprint this week, despite no judgments

WASHINGTON - Without issuing a single ruling, the Supreme Court this week paved the way for gay marriage in several U.S. states and let tough new voting laws go ahead in two other states, showing how the court can wield power even when not formally deciding cases.

Woman accused in N.Y. Amish kidnapping was also victim, lawyer says

SYRACUSE N.Y. - A lawyer for Nicole Vaisey, an upstate New York woman accused with her partner of kidnapping two Amish girls and sexually exploiting six children in all, said on Thursday he considered his client to be one of the victims of her co-defendant.

Hearing delayed for Chicago-area teen charged in plan to join ISIS

CHICAGO - A federal judge on Thursday postponed a detention hearing for a Chicago-area teen who allegedly tried to fly to the Middle East to join the militant group Islamic State while she decides whether or not to close part of the proceedings to the media.

Fears grow in United States over Ebola's spread outside West Africa

NEW YORK/WASHINGTON - Fears are growing in the United States about Ebola with about 200 airline cabin cleaners walking off the job in New York and some lawmakers demanding the government ban travelers from the West African countries hit hardest by the virus.

Connecticut man wrongly jailed for 21 years named to parole board

MILFORD Conn. - A Connecticut man who spent 21 years in prison after being wrongly convicted of rape and murder said on Thursday he would not be lenient on inmates in his new role as a member of the state's parole board.

Reuters seeks to open billionaire oilman's Oklahoma divorce trial

- Global news organization Reuters has asked an Oklahoma court to open courtroom proceedings to the public and unseal trial transcripts of the two-month-long divorce trial of billionaire oilman Harold Hamm and his wife, Sue Ann Hamm.

World Trade Center contractor backs out of guilty plea, again

NEW YORK - A construction company owner, charged with defrauding a government program while his firm did nearly $1 billion in work at the World Trade Center, appeared in court on Thursday for the second time this week to plead guilty, only to change his mind.

Three U.S. soldiers in Texas charged with smuggling immigrants

SAN ANTONIO - Three soldiers at the Fort Hood Army post in central Texas were arrested on Thursday on charges of smuggling immigrants into the United States while dressed in their military uniforms.

Four anti-Islamic State Kurds arrested entering U.S. from Mexico

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Homeland Security chief on Thursday presented evidence countering statements from conservative lawmakers that members of the Islamic State, which is the target of a U.S.-led air campaign in Iraq and Syria, had been caught entering America.

Years after shooting, ex-U.S. Marine gets $10 fine in 'unprecedented' case

NEW YORK - For two years, a U.S. judge railed against what she called the "unprecedented" civilian prosecution of a former Marine corporal for lying to military investigators about an accidental shooting in Iraq.

St. Louis policeman shoots, kills black suspect, triggering protests

ST LOUIS Mo - A white off-duty St. Louis city policeman shot and killed a black teenager who fired on him on Wednesday, police said, triggering protests just miles from the flashpoint suburb of Ferguson.

Prayer vigil held at Indiana campus for American held by Islamic State

INDIANAPOLIS - More than 200 people, many wearing white as a sign of peace, gathered on an Indiana university campus on Wednesday to pray for an American humanitarian worker held hostage by Islamic State militants.

Sham investment advisor falsely claims Winklevoss ties: prosecutors

NEW YORK - An investment advisor to CEOs was arraigned on Wednesday and charged with scheming to defraud, in part by falsely claiming business relationships with Tyler Winklevoss and others associated with the founding of Facebook, prosecutors said.

Man arrested in murder of Southern California transgender activist

LOS ANGELES - A 38-year-old man has been arrested in the murder of a transgender and immigrant rights activist who was found slain behind a Southern California fast food restaurant in June, police said on Wednesday.

U.S. judge to decide state secrets procedure in Iran case

NEW YORK - The U.S. government on Wednesday asked a federal judge in Manhattan to dismiss a private civil lawsuit against an Iran sanctions group on national security grounds without any public explanation for the reason.

Autistic boy's hazing by soccer teammates probed in Pennsylvania

HARRISBURG Pa. - Police and school officials on Wednesday were investigating an alleged hazing incident in which two members of a high school soccer team are accused of tying an autistic teammate to a goal post with duct tape for more than 20 minutes.

Texas deputies find $2 million in marijuana plants in house near Houston

- Sheriff's deputies who were checking a report that the electricity of a Houston-area home had been tampered with found nearly $2 million worth of marijuana plants in the house, authorities said on Wednesday.

Florida investigating new female prison inmate death

TALLAHASSEE Fla - Florida is investigating the death of a female inmate, the latest in a series of prisoner deaths that have raised questions about state prison safety, law enforcement officials said on Wednesday.

New Mexico police probe claims girls videotaped in locker-room

ALBUQUERQUE N.M. - New Mexico state police are investigating allegations that members of a high school football team secretly videotaped the girls' volleyball team as they changed in an adjacent locker room, authorities said on Wednesday.

Pennsylvania police say sniper's journal shows 'true evil exists'

BLOOMING GROVE Pa. - Pennsylvania police have found a journal describing in chilling detail the ambush that killed a state trooper and wounded another nearly four weeks ago at a barracks in the Poconos Mountains, officials said on Wednesday.

Officials erred in reporting voter spike in Missouri suburb where teen was shot

- A reported spike in voter registration numbers in Ferguson, Missouri, since the fatal shooting of an unarmed black teenager by a white police officer was the result of an error by election officers, state officials said on Wednesday.

U.S. judge blocks Pennsylvania's execution of immigration lawyer

- A federal judge has issued a stay of execution for an immigration lawyer convicted of killing five people in racially motivated attacks outside of Pittsburgh in 2000, a spokesman for Pennsylvania's governor said on Wednesday.

Kentucky warns Noah's Ark theme park over hiring practices

LOUISVILLE Ky. - The developer of a Noah's Ark-based theme park in Kentucky said on Wednesday he would fight for his religious rights after state officials warned he could lose millions in potential tax credits if he hires only people who believe in the biblical flood.

Atlantic City casino workers block streets to protest cuts

ATLANTIC CITY N.J. - Atlantic City arrested 24 people who blocked streets in the New Jersey city on Wednesday as hundreds of casino workers demonstrated against plans by the Trump Taj Mahal to cut pension and health benefits.

Texans convicted of massive mail theft sentenced to prison

- Two Texans were sentenced to federal prison on Wednesday on their convictions on charges that they stole more than 50,000 pieces of mail and removed checks, credits cards and other items they then turned into cash and merchandise, prosecutors said.

Family of slain LA airport security screener sues city, police

LOS ANGELES - The family of a federal security screener who was fatally shot when a gunman opened fire in a terminal at Los Angeles International Airport last year has sued the city and its police department, alleging that security failures led to his death.

Illinois pension reform law challenges to be argued next month

CHICAGO - Challenges to Illinois' pension reform law remained on track for a ruling by yearend after a judge on Wednesday ordered both sides back in court next month to argue their cases.

U.S. justice grants Idaho's request to block gay marriage

WASHINGTON - U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy put gay marriage on hold in Idaho on Wednesday to the disappointment of couples planning to wed, just a day after a regional federal appeals court struck down bans on same-sex nuptials there and in Nevada.

Remains found in Idaho believed to be man missing since 2000

SALMON Idaho - A dismembered body found in an isolated cabin near Idaho City appears to be an Idaho man who vanished 14 years ago while in the company of the son of a Chicago hit man, authorities said on Wednesday.

Bomb threat forces Miami-bound plane to land in New Orleans

NEW ORLEANS - A passenger's bomb threat aboard a United Airlines-SkyWest plane bound for Miami on Wednesday forced the airliner to land in New Orleans, authorities said.

NY school evacuated after 'odorless gas' makes students vomit

NEW YORK - A school in New York City's suburbs was evacuated on Wednesday after an unknown gas caused students and teachers to vomit in the dining room, according to the local mayor's office.

Report on response to Colorado cinema massacre is broadly positive

DENVER - A report on the emergency response to the 2012 Colorado cinema massacre that was released on Wednesday cited a need for better communication, but in general praised the actions taken during the chaotic scene.

Lawyer for accused Pennsylvania stabber decries lack of treatment options

PITTSBURGH - The lawyer for a teenager accused of stabbing 21 people at his Pennsylvania high school said it was "pathetic" that no mental health facilities in the state would admit him, forcing him to remain in juvenile detention despite court recommendations.

Obamacare website likely ready for record-breaking traffic: official

WASHINGTON - Obama administration officials on Wednesday said an improved HealthCare.gov website should be able to break its own record for online traffic next month, when consumers begin using the site to enroll in private health insurance for 2015.

San Francisco ordinance would tax residents who sublet to tourists

- San Franciscans who rent out their homes to tourists when they are out of town would have to prove that they live there most of the year and pay hotel taxes on the money they make under an ordinance that moved forward on Monday.

California state air tankers grounded after deadly crash

LOS ANGELES - California's 22 firefighting airplanes were kept out of the skies for evaluation on Wednesday, a day after an air tanker crashed in flames while helping quell a wildfire in Yosemite National Park, killing the pilot, officials said.

Governor sees riches for Virginia from U.S. shale gas

- Impressed by the riches created by shale gas in some U.S. Northeast states, Virginia is working to build a manufacturing hub and create thousands of jobs from the cheap fuel that will soon flow into the state, Governor Terry McAuliffe said on Wednesday.

Force-fed Guantanamo inmate abusive, U.S. government says

WASHINGTON - A Syrian inmate on a hunger strike at Guantanamo Bay prison who is seeking more humane force-feeding has a history of assaulting guards and staff, U.S. government lawyers said on Wednesday.

California juvenile camp therapist pleads not guilty to molesting teen

- A former California juvenile detention camp therapist has pleaded not guilty to sexually assaulting a 16-year-old boy whom she was treating, the Los Angeles County prosecutor said on Wednesday.

Workers to block Atlantic City streets in Trump protest

- Casino workers plan to block traffic near a major entrance to Atlantic City, New Jersey, on Wednesday to protest attempts to terminate health benefits for union members at the Trump Taj Mahal casino, according to union officials.

Plans to move Washington's popular Spy Museum collapse

WASHINGTON - Plans to move the International Spy Museum, one of Washington's most popular tourist draws, into a historic library have fallen through, organizers said.

U.S. top court weighs worker pay for security checks

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Supreme Court appeared divided on Wednesday over whether companies must pay workers for time spent undergoing security checks at the end of their shifts in a case involving an Amazon.com Inc contractor.

U.S. to screen travelers arriving from Ebola-stricken countries: CNN

WASHINGTON - Travelers arriving in the United Stated from Ebola-stricken Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea will face mandatory screening measures for the deadly virus as soon as this weekend, according to a media report on Wednesday.

Three get life in prison over sports shoe murder in Georgia

ATLANTA - Three suburban Atlanta residents have been sentenced to life in prison without parole for killing a 14-year-old before taking his collection of high-end sports shoes, prosecutors said on Wednesday.

First person diagnosed with Ebola in U.S. dies in Texas hospital

DALLAS - A Liberian man who was the first person diagnosed with Ebola in the United States died in a Texas hospital on Wednesday, his case having put health authorities on alert for the deadly virus spreading outside of West Africa.

Dead bear cub in NYC's Central Park likely struck by vehicle

NEW YORK - A bear cub found dead in the bushes of New York City's Central Park this week was likely struck and killed by a vehicle, state wildlife officials said on Wednesday.

Firefighter killed in Connecticut house blaze

BRIDGEPORT Conn. - A firefighter was killed while putting out a fire overnight at a house in Hartford, Connecticut, officials said on Wednesday, the first firefighter in the state's capital to be killed on the job in 40 years.

Fayetteville: A Military Town's Second Thoughts

FAYETTEVILLE, NC, Oct 8 - After 13 years of war, life outside the gates of the United States' largest military base has settled into a familiar ebb and flow.

Veteran Alaska radio host shot dead, foster son arrested

- A longtime Anchorage public radio host was found shot dead in his home and his teenage foster son was suspected of killing him out of anger after being punished for synthetic drug use, Anchorage police said on Wednesday.

South Carolina judge to issue marriage license to same-sex couple

CHARLESTON S.C. - A judge in Charleston, South Carolina, said on Wednesday he would issue a marriage license to a same-sex couple even though the state's ban on gay unions remains in place after actions by the U.S. Supreme Court cleared the way for them elsewhere.

U.S. medical workers get crash course on treating Ebola on frontlines

ANNISTON Ala. - Dr. Kwan Kew Lai's family and colleagues in Boston fear for the safety of the infectious disease physician when she travels to Liberia later this month to treat Ebola patients.

Son of slain California mayor says mother was 'defending herself'

- The son of a slain Los Angeles-area mayor told police that his mother was acting in self defense when she shot his father, according to 911 tape released on Tuesday.

Mother, boyfriend face murder charge after son's alcohol-related death

- A Vermont mother and her boyfriend were arrested and face murder charges for filling her disabled, 13-year-old son's IV bag with alcohol, police said.

Vikings star Peterson to appear in court on child abuse charge

HOUSTON - Suspended Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson is expected to plead not guilty on Wednesday in a Texas court to a felony charge that he injured his son while disciplining him with a thin tree branch in May.

Friend of accused Boston bomber due to testify on Wednesday

BOSTON - A man convicted of obstructing justice for removing fireworks from the accused Boston Marathon bomber's dorm room days after the deadly blasts is due in court on Wednesday to testify against a friend who prosecutors say joined him in that visit.

U.S. justice temporarily blocks Idaho gay marriage ruling

WASHINGTON - U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy on Wednesday temporarily blocked an appeals court ruling that struck down Idaho's gay marriage ban.

Rising seas seen causing routine floods in U.S. cities: study

- As sea levels rise, tidal flooding along the U.S. coast is likely to become so common that parts of many communities, including the nation’s capital, could become unusable within three decades, according to a new report from the Union of Concerned Scientists.

California school voucher backer to head U.S. education reform group

SACRAMENTO Calif. - The education reform group Students First has named as its president a longtime supporter of school vouchers and loosening tenure protections for public school teachers, the group said on Tuesday.

Wyoming resort town struggles to lessen threat of slow-moving landslide

- Efforts by an upscale Wyoming town to stabilize a hillside whose slow collapse is threatening homes and businesses has been hampered by lack of access to private property where the landslide destroyed a house, a city manager said on Tuesday.

U.S. court to hear appeal over keeping U.S. demands for telecom records secret

SAN FRANCISCO - A U.S. appeals court is set to hear arguments on Wednesday on whether the Federal Bureau of Investigation can force Internet and telecommunications firms to turn over customer records without revealing the government's demands.

Baltimore officials outline plans to reduce police brutality

- Baltimore officials outlined plans on Tuesday to reduce police brutality that is the target of a federal investigation and the cause of millions of dollars in lawsuits.

New York court to weigh legal rights of chimps

ALBANY N.Y. - A New York appeals court will consider this week whether chimpanzees are entitled to "legal personhood" in what experts say is the first case of its kind.

Colorado's top court clears way for gay marriage in the state

DENVER - Colorado's attorney general told county clerks in the state to start issuing marriage licenses to gay couples on Tuesday after the Colorado Supreme Court lifted stays it had imposed in two related cases and cleared the way for same-sex nuptials.

U.S. justices scratch chins over prison beard lengths

WASHINGTON - U.S. Supreme Court justices, hearing an important religious rights case on Tuesday, expressed doubt over whether the state of Arkansas can justify preventing a Muslim inmate from having a beard.

New Jersey high school's football season axed amid bullying investigation

NEW YORK - New Jersey prosecutors are investigating allegations of widespread bullying and harassment within a local high school's football teams, prompting the school district to cancel the remainder of the season, officials said on Tuesday.

Three siblings dead in murder-suicide in New Orleans: police

NEW ORLEANS - A 55-year-old man shot dead his older brother and sister before turning the gun on himself early on Tuesday in a New Orleans residence, police said.

Brookfield gets court OK to buy Atlantic City's Revel casino

- An affiliate of Brookfield Asset Management got court approval to buy Atlantic City, New Jersey's shuttered Revel Casino Hotel for $110 million in cash on Tuesday after a judge rejected complaints the auction for the bankrupt complex was tainted.

Boy survives six-story fall in trash chute at Hawaii condo building

- An 8-year-old boy has survived a six-story fall down a trash chute at a Honolulu high-rise building, and he escaped the chute with help from a bystander who pulled him out using a hose, officials said on Tuesday.

Guantanamo force feedings aimed at discouraging other prisoners -witness

WASHINGTON - Officials at Guantanamo Bay prison are using force feedings of a Syrian detainee to discourage other inmates from joining a hunger strike, a witness at a federal trial over his treatment said on Tuesday.

Pennsylvania grandfather charged in starving of seven-year-old boy

PITTSBURGH - The grandfather of a boy who Pennsylvania authorities say was starved nearly to death, appeared in court on Tuesday to face 14 charges including aggravated assault, false imprisonment and attempted first-degree murder.Dennis Beighley, his wife Deana Beighley and step-daughter Mary Rader, have been charged with participating in torturing and nearly killing Rader's 7-year-old son in Greenville, Pennsylvania.The boy was starved, beaten and his family only allowed him to bathe

Dallas Ebola patient on ventilator and receiving kidney dialysis

DALLAS - The Ebola patient fighting for his life in a Dallas hospital is on a ventilator and a kidney dialysis machine to help stabilize his health, the hospital said on Tuesday.

Exclusive: Missouri police plan for possible riots if Brown cop not charged

FERGUSON MISSOURI - Missouri authorities are drawing up contingency plans and seeking intelligence from U.S. police departments on out-of-state agitators, fearing that fresh riots could erupt if a grand jury does not indict a white officer for killing a black teen.

Jury convicts man of murder in Auburn, Alabama pool party shooting

BIRMINGHAM Ala. - An Alabama jury on Tuesday convicted a 24-year-old man of capital murder in the deaths of two former Auburn University football players and another man, all shot at a pool party in 2012, a court official said.

Wal-Mart raises healthcare costs, cuts benefits for some part-timers

- Wal-Mart Stores Inc, the biggest U.S. private sector employer, said on Tuesday that its 1.3 million workers would have to pay more for healthcare and it would end benefits for some part-time staff in a move that could prompt other companies to follow suit.

Choke hold complaints against N.Y.C. police on the rise: report

NEW YORK - Complaints against the New York Police Department about the use of illegal choke holds are increasing, and the incidents are not always properly investigated or subject to discipline, an agency that handles police complaints said on Tuesday.

Gay marriage bans fall in Idaho, Nevada after high court decision

SAN FRANCISCO - Legal momentum for extending U.S. marriage rights to same-sex couples accelerated on Tuesday as a federal appeals court struck down bans on gay matrimony in Idaho and Nevada a day after the U.S. Supreme Court let stand similar rulings for five other states.

Attempted fire-bombing of Missouri federal office brings new charges

KANSAS CITY Mo. - A federal grand jury on Tuesday indicted a Kansas City man on three new charges for his alleged attempt last month to fire-bomb the local office of Missouri U.S. Democratic Representative Emanuel Cleaver, prosecutors said.

Gay marriage bans fall in Idaho, Nevada after high court decision

SAN FRANCISCO - Legal momentum for extending U.S. marriage rights to same-sex couples accelerated on Tuesday as a federal appeals court struck down bans on gay matrimony in Idaho and Nevada a day after the U.S. Supreme Court let stand similar rulings for five other states.

Dallas Ebola patient on ventilator and receiving kidney dialysis

DALLAS - The Ebola patient fighting for his life in a Dallas hospital is on a ventilator and a kidney dialysis machine to help stabilize his health, the hospital said on Tuesday.

Jury questionnaire in Colorado cinema massacre case finalized

DENVER - Prospective jurors in the upcoming murder trial of accused Colorado theater gunman James Holmes will be asked to respond in writing to at least 75 questions, a court document made public on Tuesday showed.

Twitter engineer, LGBT activist pleads guilty to domestic violence

LOS ANGELES - A senior Twitter engineer hailed as one of the most important gay or transgender people in the tech industry was sentenced on Tuesday to three years probation after pleading guilty to domestic violence charges, San Francisco prosecutors said.

FBI asks public to help identify militant in Islamic State video

WASHINGTON - The FBI is asking the public to help identify a masked man who speaks in what is believed to be a North American accent in a video that Islamic State militants released last month aimed at Western audiences.

Air tanker crashes fighting Yosemite National Park wildfire

LOS ANGELES - An air tanker being used to fight a wildfire burning in Yosemite National Park crashed on Tuesday, and there was no immediate word on the pilot, a spokesman for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said.

Ebola lawsuits would face high hurdles in Texas

NEW YORK - Potential suits against the Dallas, Texas hospital that sent home a patient later diagnosed with Ebola face long odds in the face of state medical malpractice laws.

Hobby Lobby executive's Bible museum: priceless artifacts, scholarly doubts

WASHINGTON - Hobby Lobby's Steve Green hopes his planned $800 million Museum of the Bible in Washington and its priceless collection can satisfy both scholars and casual visitors.

Accused Boston bomber's friend did not say pot clouded memory: agent

BOSTON - A friend of the accused Boston Marathon bomber charged with lying to investigators in the days after the deadly blasts last year did not say he had been too intoxicated on marijuana to remember his actions, an official who interviewed him testified on Tuesday.

U.S. working on new screenings for Ebola but no travel ban

WASHINGTON/DALLAS - President Barack Obama said on Monday that the government would develop expanded screening of airline passengers for Ebola, both in the West African countries hit by the disease and the United States.

California oyster farm settles with U.S. government, agrees to close

SAN FRANCISCO - A California oyster farm has settled its years-long lawsuit against the federal government and agreed to cease operations by the end of the year, the company said on Monday, ending a high-profile case that split the environmental community.

Southern California tutor arrested over cheating scandal

- A private Los Angeles-area tutor was arrested and charged on Monday for illegally changing grades for three high school students, police said.

Delaware mother charged after daughter brings heroin to daycare

- A Delaware mother was arrested on Monday after her four-year-old daughter unknowingly brought roughly 250 packets of heroin to her daycare, and passed them out to classmates thinking they were candy, police said.

National monument status questioned for L.A. area mountains

SACRAMENTO Calif. - A seemingly innocuous effort to declare part of a mountain range near Los Angeles a national monument has drawn sharp criticism from Republicans, who see it as a Democratic land grab that bypasses Congress and abuses power.

Georgia deputies cleared after stun grenade injured toddler

ATLANTA - A grand jury in Georgia on Monday declined to indict sheriff's deputies who during a drug raid in May set off a stun grenade that severely injured a 19-month-old boy, prosecutors said Monday.

Women get 20-day jail term for theft of mask and hat from Washington governor's office

SEATTLE - Two women who broke into Washington Governor Jay Inslee's office and stole items including an animal-fur mask and ceremonial state police hat were sentenced on Monday to 20 days in jail, a county prosecutor said.

Mississippi family gunfight leaves two dead, two wounded

- Two family members killed each other and wounded two relatives in a gunfight following a domestic altercation in rural northeast Mississippi last week, a law enforcement official said on Monday.

Workers begin removing Trump name from Atlantic City casino

- Workers began removing the large letters spelling out the Trump name from the shuttered Trump Plaza casino in Atlantic City on Monday after real-estate mogul Donald Trump sued to end a licensing deal that allowed the casino owners to use his name.

Seattle lawmakers vote to change name of Columbus Day holiday

SEATTLE - The Seattle City Council unanimously voted on Monday to redesignate the federal Columbus Day holiday as Indigenous Peoples' Day to reflect that Native Americans were living on the continent before Christopher Columbus' 15th Century arrival.

Supreme Court dodges gay marriage, allowing weddings in five more states

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Supreme Court declined on Monday to decide once and for all whether states can ban gay marriage, a surprising move that will allow gay men and women to get married in five additional states, with more likely to follow quickly.

Jewish fraternity house in Atlanta vandalized with swastikas

ATLANTA - Swastikas were spray painted on a Jewish fraternity house at Emory University in Atlanta hours after the solemn Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur, school officials said on Monday.

Suspected gunman wrote letter about Pennsylvania ambush: CNN

- The survivalist accused of gunning down two Pennsylvania State Police troopers left a handwritten letter detailing the ambush and his escape, CNN reported on Monday.

Detroit not 'where we need to be,' but can rebuild after bankruptcy: mayor

DETROIT - Detroit may take years before fully functioning as a city, its mayor said on Monday as he gave a tepid blessing to the plan for ending the city's historic bankruptcy.

Billionaire's estate tax 'windfall' a boon to Pennsylvania coffers

HARRISBURG Pa. - A whopping $100 million tax payment to Pennsylvania by the estate of a conservative billionaire is a welcome addition to the state's strained finances, state officials said on Monday.

Casino magnate gambles another $1.5 million on Florida marijuana vote

TALLAHASSEE Fla. - Las Vegas casino magnate Sheldon Adelson has put up another $1.5 million for opponents of a constitutional amendment that would let doctors prescribe marijuana for medical reasons in Florida.

Lawyers seek end to force-feeding practices for Guantanamo prisoner

WASHINGTON - Lawyers for a Syrian prisoner at the Guantanamo Bay prison urged a U.S. judge on Monday to halt harmful force-feeding practices used on their client during a hunger strike.

Black bear cub found dead in New York City's Central Park

NEW YORK - The body of a black bear cub was found in the bushes of New York City's Central Park on Monday and police have launched a criminal investigation into the death, park officials said.

Defendant can withdraw U.S. terror plea due to warrantless surveillance: judge

NEW YORK - An Albanian man who pleaded guilty to a terrorism charge can withdraw his plea after the U.S. government disclosed it monitored his communications without a warrant, a federal judge in Brooklyn has ruled, likely setting up a rare constitutional challenge to the controversial practice.

Obama says U.S. working on new ways to screen passengers for Ebola

WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama said on Monday his administration was working on additional protocols for screening airplane passengers to identify people who might have Ebola and would step up efforts to make medical professionals aware of what to do if they encounter a case.

Jail time ordered for Florida clinic owner in baseball doping scandal

MIAMI - A federal judge on Monday revoked the bail of the former anti-aging clinic owner at the center of a Major League Baseball doping scandal after he twice tested positive for cocaine.

Claims for compensation from GM for faulty switch rise 30 percent

WASHINGTON - The number of claims of injury and death linked to a faulty ignition switch in General Motors Co cars rose 30 percent last week to 1,130, according to a report on Monday from the lawyer overseeing a program set up to compensate accident victims.

Teen driver in fiery California crash that killed five lacked license

- A 16-year-old boy behind the wheel in a fiery Los Angeles-area car crash that killed five teenage passengers over the weekend did not have a driver's license, the California Highway Patrol said on Monday.

U.S. wealthy give less income to charity, mid-earners give more: report

- Wealthy Americans contributed less of their incomes to charity while low and middle-income residents gave more in the years surrounding the Great Recession, according to a newly released report by The Chronicle of Philanthropy.

Philadelphia teachers to pay for health benefits as contract axed

- The state panel that oversees Philadelphia's cash-strapped public schools abruptly canceled a contract with teachers on Monday, despite nearly two years of labor negotiations, saying teachers would have to begin paying for healthcare benefits.

Child in Seattle suburb under boil water order sickened by E. coli

SEATTLE - A child living in a wealthy Seattle suburb under orders to boil its tap water after tests showed the presence of E. coli has become infected with the bacteria, authorities said on Monday.

Boeing to build some 777X parts in St. Louis: sources

WASHINGTON - Boeing Co plans to start building some parts of its 777X commercial airliner at the company's huge defense business facility in St. Louis, a move that will add hundreds of jobs in several years, according to sources familiar with the decision.

NFL's Jacksonville Jaguars apologize for Ebola prank by mascot

- The National Football League's Jacksonville Jaguars apologized on Monday after their mascot used the Ebola epidemic to taunt fans of the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Trump name to come down from Atlantic City casino, family says

- Lights spelling out the Trump name are due to be removed from the shuttered Trump Plaza casino in Atlantic City after real-estate mogul Donald Trump sued to end a licensing deal with the casino owners to use his name, his family said on Monday.

Chicago-area man charged in attempt to join Islamic State in Syria

CHICAGO - A Chicago-area man was charged on Monday with attempting to support a foreign terrorist organization after he was arrested on Saturday at O'Hare International Airport allegedly on his way to Syria to join the militant group Islamic State.

Hot air balloon drifts into ocean in California, surfers come to rescue

LOS ANGELES - A hot air balloon carrying a man who had just proposed to his girlfriend drifted into the ocean off the Southern California coast, where daring surfers grabbed a rope to pull the aircraft to shore, an official said on Monday.

Attorneys back in court to narrow jury pool in Jodi Arias sentencing retrial

PHOENIX - Attorneys returned to an Arizona court on Monday to narrow an already whittled-down pool for selecting jurors who will determine whether convicted murderer Jodi Arias will be executed for killing her ex-boyfriend at his Phoenix-area home in 2008.

No signs of foul play seen in Pennsylvania 9/11 memorial fire

- Investigators have found no signs of foul play or arson in a fire at a 9/11 memorial complex in Pennsylvania which destroyed a U.S. flag that flew over the U.S. Capitol on Sept. 11, 2001, authorities said on Sunday.

Police investigate high-profile NYC lawyer after rape complaint

NEW YORK - Police are investigating an allegation that a New York City lawyer who has been involved in a string of high-profile civil-rights lawsuits against police raped a woman at his Manhattan apartment last week, police said on Monday.

Nebraska hospital prepares for arrival of Ebola patient

- A Nebraska hospital is preparing for the expected arrival of an Ebola patient who contracted the disease in Liberia, a spokesman said on Sunday.

Supreme Court declines to review Massachusetts man's al Qaeda support conviction

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday declined to hear a Massachusetts man's appeal of his 2011 conviction on charges of supporting the Islamic militant group al Qaeda.

Supreme Court dodges gay marriage, allowing weddings in five states

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday declined to decide once and for all whether states can ban gay marriage, a surprise move that will allow gay men and women to marry in five states where same-sex weddings were previously forbidden.

Parents of dead Missouri teenager renew call for special prosecutor

- The parents of Michael Brown, the unarmed black teenager shot dead in August by a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, on Monday asked Missouri's governor to reconsider his decision not to appoint a special prosecutor in the case, according to the family's attorney.

Opening statements due in trial of friend of accused Boston bomber

BOSTON - A college friend of the Boston Marathon bombing suspect, charged with lying about a visit to his dorm room three days after the deadly blasts, is set to go on trial on Monday and faces up to 16 years in prison if convicted.

Two injured as freight train derails in north Louisiana

- The conductor of a Union Pacific freight train and an engineer on board were injured on Sunday when it crashed into a tractor-trailer that was stuck on tracks in northern Louisiana, a spokesman for Union Pacific said.

No signs of foul play seen in Pennsylvania 9/11 memorial fire

- Investigators have found no signs of foul play or arson in a fire at a 9/11 memorial complex in Pennsylvania which destroyed a U.S. flag that flew over the U.S. Capitol on Sept. 11, 2001, authorities said on Sunday.

Two NFL players arrested for trespass in separate incidents

- Police in Fort Lauderdale, Florida and Minneapolis arrested two professional football players on trespassing and other charges, authorities and local media reported Sunday.

Ebola patient in Dallas struggling to survive, says CDC head

DALLAS/NEW YORK - The first person diagnosed with Ebola in the United States was fighting for his life at a Dallas hospital on Sunday and appeared to be receiving none of the experimental medicines for the virus, a top U.S. health official said.

Two dead as ultralight helicopter crashes in Colorado

DENVER - Both people aboard an ultralight helicopter-like aircraft were killed when it crashed into a river in western Colorado, authorities said on Sunday.

Two NFL players arrested for trespass in separate incidents

- Police in Fort Lauderdale, Florida and Minneapolis arrested two professional football players on trespassing and other charges, authorities and local media reported Sunday.

Parents of American held by Islamic State release photos, letter

- The parents of an U.S. aid worker held hostage by Islamic State militants on Sunday released photographs of their son and parts of a letter he wrote them from captivity in which he says he is scared to die but at peace with his belief.

Texas ground beef recalled due to possible metal pieces

- Texas groceries had likely removed by Sunday morning all ground beef from store shelves that was subject to a recall due to possible contamination from tiny pieces of metal, an executive at the company which recalled the product said.

At Dallas church service, prayers of Ebola patient and families

DALLAS - It was like any other Sunday morning worship service at Wilshire Baptist Church in Dallas, where Louise Troh, the quarantined girlfriend of the first patient in the United States diagnosed with Ebola, is a member of the congregation.

Chicago pedicabs run into rough headwinds from City Hall

CHICAGO - T.C. O'Rourke has encountered plenty of nasty weather in his years as a Chicago pedicab operator - rain, snow and steamy summer heat.

New Jersey boy's death is 1st linked directly to enterovirus: CNN

- A New Jersey boy who went to bed last month in seemingly good health and died in his sleep is the first fatality linked directly to a strain of enterovirus that has infected more than 500 people, CNN reported, citing a local medical official.

Nebraska hospital prepares for arrival of Ebola patient

- A Nebraska hospital is preparing for the expected arrival of an Ebola patient who contracted the disease in Liberia, a spokesman said on Sunday.

Cuban migrants drank own blood, urine, adrift at sea for 23 days

MIAMI - A group of Cuban migrants drank their own urine and blood after the engine of their homemade boat failed, leaving them adrift in the Caribbean for three weeks without food or water, according to survivors who reached the United States this week.

Ebola patient in Dallas 'fighting for his life' says CDC head

DALLAS - The first person to develop Ebola in the United States was struggling to survive at a Dallas hospital on Sunday after his condition worsened to critical, the director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control said.

Albuquerque officials cancel school dance after mass shooting threat

ALBUQUERQUE New Mexico - An Albuquerque high school on Saturday canceled its homecoming dance after threats were posted online threatening a mass shooting.

Flag that flew over U.S. Capitol on 9/11 destroyed in memorial fire

- The flag that flew over the U.S. Capitol on Sept. 11, 2001, was destroyed in a fire at a 9/11 memorial complex in Pennsylvania, authorities said Saturday.

Sister of suspected Pennsylvania sniper thinks he has fled area

CANADENSIS Pa. - The sister of the survivalist suspected of killing a Pennsylvania trooper and wounding another three weeks ago said on Saturday she thought her brother had fled the area, and she urged him to surrender to authorities.

Ebola ruled out for ill passenger escorted off plane in Newark

- U.S. disease-control agents in biohazard suits removed a sick passenger and his daughter from a United Airlines jet that landed on Saturday in Newark, New Jersey, but federal health officials later said they had ruled out Ebola as a concern.

African immigrants worry about backlash from U.S. Ebola case

DALLAS - In Dallas and other cities home to large populations of African immigrants, worries are abounding among many that their standing in the United States has been tainted by one Liberian man infected with Ebola being treated in Texas.

Ebola patient in Dallas turns critical, no new U.S. cases

DALLAS - The first Ebola patient diagnosed in the United States took a turn for the worse on Saturday, slipping from serious to critical condition in a Dallas hospital, as health officials reported tracking scores of possible cases around the country that proved to be false alarms.

Washington hospital rules out Ebola for patient back from Nigeria

- Howard University Hospital said on Saturday that a medical team has determined that a patient feared afflicted with Ebola does not have the disease.

U.S. CDC: Many inquiries about possible Ebola cases, no new infections

- U.S. health officials have fielded inquiries about as many as 100 potential cases of Ebola since the first patient with the deadly virus was detected in the country, but no new infections have been identified, a senior health official said on Saturday.

Hot, dry weather in California stokes wildfire fears

LOS ANGELES - The fall season has brought a wave of hot, dry weather to California, with parts of the state baking this weekend in triple-digit temperatures and officials expressing concern the summer-like heat could spark a massive wildfire.

Dallas hospital: U.S. Ebola patient now in critical condition

- The first Ebola patient diagnosed in the United States is now in critical condition, Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas said on Saturday.

Medical copter crashes in north Texas, killing patient

- A medical helicopter transporting a patient to a north Texas hospital crashed early Saturday near downtown Wichita Falls, killing the passenger and injuring all three crew members, authorities said.

U.S. officials say Ebola unlikely in sick Newark passengers: report

- Federal health officials do not believe two sick passengers removed from a United Airlines flight that landed on Saturday at Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey are infected with the Ebola virus, according to a local media report.

Parents of American held by Islamic State appeal for his release

- The parents of an American humanitarian worker held hostage by Islamic State militants appealed for his release on Saturday, speaking in a statement and a video message that highlighted his aid work and mentioned his conversion to Islam.

Parents of missing Virginia student plead for help in finding her

- The parents of missing University of Virginia student Hannah Graham released a tearful video on Saturday, pleading for help in finding their daughter who vanished three weeks ago.

Boston's storied horse track, and a way of life, enter final stretch

BOSTON - Since high school, Lorita Lindemann has lived to the rhythm of horse racing - rising before dawn to tend her thoroughbred charges, cheering as they thunder down the track and working into the night to prepare them to compete again.

Colorado school board decision to review curriculum draws fire

DENVER - A Colorado school board's vote to review advanced placement curriculum in the state's second-largest district drew more criticism on Friday, despite removing wording from a proposal that triggered student walkouts and teacher sick-outs.

FBI assisting search for Saudi college student missing from California

LOS ANGELES - The FBI has joined the search for a college student from Saudi Arabia who went missing from his Southern California home last month and has not been seen since, a spokeswoman for the agency said on Friday.

Los Angeles County jail system edges closer to court oversight

LOS ANGELES - The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department is edging closer to court oversight of its jail system after the U.S. Department of Justice found mentally ill inmates were mishandled in vermin-infested facilities where suicides are too common.

New Mexico police shooting ruled unjustified, charges weighed

ALBUQUERQUE N.M. - A special prosecutor may soon be appointed to determine whether to press criminal charges against two New Mexico police officers after a grand jury ruled that a 2013 shooting of a motorist in Santa Fe was unjustified, the District Attorney said on Friday.

Hundreds of Harvard students receive email shooting threats: police

CAMBRIDGE Mass. - Hundreds of students and staff at Harvard University received emails on Friday from a sender who threatened to come to the Ivy League school "tomorrow" and shoot them, according to campus police.

California surfer injured in shark attack, beaches closed

LOS ANGELES - A shark attack that left a surfer injured on the central California coast late on Thursday has prompted the closure of three public beaches in the area controlled by Vandenberg Air Force Base, the military installation said on Friday.

U.S. defends Ebola response, about 50 under observation

DALLAS/WASHINGTON - U.S. officials on Friday broadly defended the response to the country's first case of Ebola, although one acknowledged that while the government was confident of containing the virus, it had been "rocky" in Dallas where the patient is in serious condition.

U.S. parents confront fear of Ebola in classroom

DALLAS - A visibly nervous Qeuna Dawson on Friday walked her two boys to the Jack Lowe Elementary School in Dallas, where a student was removed after coming into contact with the first patient diagnosed with Ebola in the United States.

Fire destroys three buildings at Pennsylvania memorial for 9/11 victims

- A major fire destroyed three buildings on Friday at the Flight 93 National Memorial's headquarters complex in Pennsylvania, near the site of the Sept. 11, 2001, crash of a hijacked airliner, but no one was reported injured.

Former NFL kicker found to be legally drunk when killed in crash

NASHVILLE Tenn. - Former Tennessee Titans place kicker Rob Bironas’ blood-alcohol level was nearly triple the legal limit on the night he died in a single-car crash near his Nashville home last month, toxicology test results released on Friday showed.

California coroner releases report on fugitive ex-policeman

- A former Los Angeles police officer who eluded authorities for days following a grudge-driven killing spree fatally shot himself in the basement of a burning cabin, a coroner report released on Friday said.

Eleventh child in Colorado treated for virus-related paralysis symptoms

DENVER - The number of children treated in Colorado for limb weakness or paralysis-like symptoms after coming down with a respiratory virus has risen to 11, a hospital official said on Friday.

Secret Service in disarray, fueling questions over Obama's safety

WASHINGTON - When Secret Service officer Timothy McCarthy took a bullet to protect Ronald Reagan in a 1981 assassination attempt and agent Jerry Parr shoved the president into a limousine, their quick reflexes projected a Hollywood-style image of invincibility around the agency.

New data emerges on rape kit backlogs in four U.S. cities

NEW YORK (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Thousands of rape kits remain untested in four major U.S. cities, according to new data on rape kit backlogs released on Friday by the Joyful Heart Foundation.

Pennsylvania police find supplies left in woods by ambush suspect

- A survivalist suspected of killing a Pennsylvania trooper and wounding another three weeks ago is living on cans of tuna fish and noodles while eluding an intensive manhunt in the deep woods of the Pocono Mountains, officials said on Friday.

Suspected South Carolina child murderer earlier accused of domestic violence

CHARLESTON S.C. - A South Carolina man charged with murdering his five children last month before driving their bodies across several states and dumping them in Alabama was accused more than two years ago of domestic violence, police records show.

Missouri must recognize same-sex marriages from other areas: judge

KANSAS CITY Mo. - Missouri must recognize the marriages of same-sex couples who have wed legally in other places, a state court judge ruled on Friday in the latest case to address gay rights in the United States.

Fire burning at Pennsylvania memorial for 9/11 victims: official

- Fire broke out on Friday at the Flight 93 National Memorial's headquarters complex in Pennsylvania, the National Park Service said, causing no reported injuries but extensive damage near the site of the Sept. 11, 2001, crash of a hijacked airliner.

Report details four seconds of horror in deadly crash at Florida daycare

ORLANDO Fla. - The driver of a car that crashed through a Florida daycare center and killed a 4-year-old girl in April mistakenly accelerated instead of braking after he was rear-ended, according a report on the crash released this week.

New investigation in Florida woman's 2010 fatal shooting

TAMPA Fla. - Florida authorities opened a new investigation into the 2010 death of a woman whose shooting was ruled a suicide, her family's attorneys said on Friday, after questions were raised about the local police department's handling of the case.

Justice Department to probe North Carolina inmate's dehydration death

WINSTON-SALEM N.C. - The U.S. Justice Department has opened a criminal investigation into what happened to a mentally ill inmate in North Carolina who was found dead from dehydration after a prison transfer in March, grand jury subpoena records show.

Pennsylvania jail guard accused of spying on naked inmates

PITTSBURGH - A western Pennsylvania jail guard is accused of using the facility's video surveillance system to spy on naked female inmates and will appear in court on invasion of privacy charges, authorities said on Friday.

Milwaukee man pleads guilty in Stradivarius violin theft

MILWAUKEE - A Milwaukee man accused of stealing a 300-year-old Stradivarius violin from a concert musician pleaded guilty on Friday to felony robbery, circuit court records show.

Scrutiny of Florida child welfare office after family killing

TAMPA Fla. - A Florida agency under scrutiny since a recent murder-suicide killed a family of eight defended one of its managers on Friday, noting that he was cleared of accusations of inappropriate workplace behavior shortly before the deaths.

Alaska top court rules Native American girl can stay with adoptive family

- Alaska's Supreme Court has ruled a Native American girl should stay with her adoptive non-Native family instead of tribal relatives, angering a tiny coastal community and dealing another blow to a 36-year-old law governing out-of-tribe adoptions.

Ex-N.Y. lawmaker ordered to prison for marriage fraud

NEW YORK - A former New York state lawmaker was sentenced on Friday to a year and a day in prison for entering into a sham marriage to gain U.S. citizenship and for lying about her assets when filing for bankruptcy.

Damages slashed to $34.6 million in Boston Scientific mesh trial

- A jury award of $73.4 million to a woman who said she was injured by a Boston Scientific Corp transvaginal mesh device has been cut to $34.6 million, thanks to a Texas law that caps how much companies must pay in punitive damages.

Judge raises questions about bankrupt Detroit's future

DETROIT - U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes asked pointed questions on Friday about how Detroit will fare after it exits its historic bankruptcy, expressing concerns about a commission intended to oversee city finances and a settlement with Syncora Guarantee Inc.

Detroit judge throws out manslaughter charge against cop

DETROIT - A judge on Friday tossed out an involuntary manslaughter charge against a Detroit police officer who shot and killed a 7-year-old girl during a 2010 police raid.

California man whose pit bulls killed woman gets 15 years to life

LOS ANGELES - A Southern California man whose four pit bulls fatally mauled a woman near her home was sentenced on Friday to 15 years to life in prison on his conviction for second-degree murder, a court clerk said.

Gay marriage aside, business cases dominate U.S. high court docket

WASHINGTON - Gay marriage may be the most anticipated issue heading for the U.S. Supreme Court, but the justices also must tackle a host of business cases as they convene for their new term, including a patent battle involving Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd.

Miami Beach in race to control flood ahead of annual King Tide

MIAMI BEACH Fla. - Construction crews are wading into chest high pools of muck in a race against time to install pumps Miami Beach officials hope will help control an annual super-high tide threatening to flood south Florida's popular seaside city next week.

Two California men indicted for killing, raping four women

- Two southern California men were indicted on Thursday for the rape and murder of four women, the Orange County District Attorney's office said, in crimes that came to light when the body of one of the victims was found at a recycling center.

Missouri police make arrests as protests persist over black teen killing

- Police in Ferguson, Missouri arrested several people, an official said on Friday, following another night of protests over the police shooting of a black teenager in August.

Colorado school board approves review of history curriculum

DENVER - A Colorado school board whose proposed changes to a history curriculum spawned student walk-outs and teacher sick-outs voted on Thursday to move ahead with a modified version of the controversial measure.

Texas immigrant detention center rife with abuse, groups say

SAN ANTONIO - A large detention center holding hundreds of Central American women and children near San Antonio should be shut down amid accusations that guards have sexually abused and harassed detainees, human rights groups said on Thursday.

U.S. appeals court lets Texas enforce abortion clinic rules

NEW ORLEANS - A federal appeals court ruled on Thursday that Texas could begin enforcing restrictions on abortion clinics that critics of the new rules say will force all but seven of the facilities in the state to shut down.

Obama tells angry Hispanics he won't give up on immigration reform

WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama sought to rally frustrated Latinos on Thursday with a firm promise to keep fighting for immigration reform and a renewed pledge to take executive action this year to reduce deportations of undocumented immigrants.

American cameraman for NBC News diagnosed with Ebola in Liberia

LOS ANGELES - An American freelance television cameraman working for NBC News in Liberia has tested positive for the Ebola virus and will be flown back to the United States for treatment, the network said on Thursday in an online report.

Four people close to U.S. Ebola patient quarantined in Dallas

DALLAS - Four people close to the first person diagnosed with Ebola in the United States were quarantined in a Dallas apartment, where sheets and other items used by the man were sealed in plastic bags, as health officials widened their search for others who had direct or indirect contact with him.

Political clash over U.S. history sparks Colorado school protests

JEFFERSON COUNTY Colo. - Sitting with friends by a skate park near a Colorado high school known more for an infamous shooting than conflict over curriculum, 17-year-old Charlotte Beierle said attempts to play down the darker parts of U.S. history mystify her.

Three men indicted over mob link to Boston-area casino deal

BOSTON - A federal grand jury on Thursday indicted three men on charges they tried to conceal a mob associate's ownership stake in land near Boston upon which Wynn Resorts has proposed to build a $1.6 billion casino.

Husband gets 41 months prison in 'Real Housewives of New Jersey' fraud case

NEWARK N.J. - Joe Giudice, reality television cast member and husband of one of "The Real Housewives of New Jersey," was sentenced on Thursday to 41 months in prison in the couple's federal fraud case.

Chaotic scene outside White House a challenge for Secret Service

WASHINGTON - If James McGinley had his way, he would take his message around the world, but he does not have the money and instead is sitting cross-legged in Lafayette Park across Pennsylvania Avenue from the White House with the words "Wage Love" tattooed across his face.

Canadian Pacific CEO to railroads: Let us fix Chicago

TORONTO - With his push to turn around Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd ahead of schedule, Chief Executive Hunter Harrison has his eye on another challenge: the logistics nightmare that is Chicago.

Interim Secret Service head has been a familiar figure beside U.S. presidents

WASHINGTON - As a member of the U.S. Secret Service's most elite detail, Joseph Clancy guarded the lives of three U.S. presidents and now will try to repair the agency's damaged credibility after a spate of embarrassments and failures.

U.S. judge upholds for-profit college recruiter bonuses

WASHINGTON - A federal judge ruled in favor of for-profit colleges and universities on Thursday, overturning a U.S. Department of Education rule that limits how the schools recruit students.

Two female Louisiana teachers accused of group sex with boy

NEW ORLEANS - Two female Louisiana high school teachers have been arrested on charges of engaging in group sex with a 16-year-old male student who then bragged to classmates, authorities said on Thursday.

Civil rights charges unlikely for George Zimmerman: Washington Post

TAMPA Fla. - The U.S. Justice Department on Thursday declined to comment directly on a Washington Post report that officials are unlikely to bring civil rights charges against George Zimmerman, who was acquitted after the 2012 shooting death of an unarmed black teenager in Florida.

Con artist pleads guilty in Miami Heat fraud case

MIAMI Fla. - A Miami man accused of bilking $7.5 million from investors and scamming a million-dollar package of tickets from the Miami Heat basketball franchise pleaded guilty to wire fraud on Thursday in federal court in Ohio, according to a judicial official.

Wife who killed California mayor was abused by him for years: lawyer

LOS ANGELES - A woman who shot and killed her husband, the mayor of the small Los Angeles suburb of Bell Gardens, during a heated argument at their home earlier this week did so after suffering years of abuse at his hands, her attorney said on Thursday.

Judge to rule Friday on pensions at Atlantic City Trump casino

- A U.S. Bankruptcy judge said he will rule Friday on a request to end pension contributions by the owner of the Trump Taj Mahal casino, which said it will close its Atlantic City hotel if it cannot shed some obligations to unions.

Seattle-area grocery clerk chases down, stabs suspected shoplifter

SEATTLE - A suspected shoplifter was gravely wounded after a grocery store clerk tussled with him inside a Seattle-area supermarket and then chased him down the street to a parking lot and repeatedly stabbed him, police said on Thursday.

U.S. senator calls for soccer corruption report to be made public

WASHINGTON - A senior U.S. senator called on Thursday for an investigative report into bidding for soccer's 2018 and 2022 World Cups to be made public, adding to a growing chorus from inside and outside FIFA, the sport's world governing body, for its release.

Family of girl declared brain-dead wants death certificate revoked

- The family of a California girl declared brain-dead after complications from a tonsillectomy has begun legal action to revoke her death certificate, re-igniting an emotional case that has drawn international attention and the support of pro-life groups.

U.S. commission approves Gehry's Eisenhower Memorial design

WASHINGTON - A federal planning commission in Washington on Thursday gave preliminary approval to a design for the Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial by famed architect Frank Gehry, a project long criticized for its unconventional style and cost overruns.

U.S. heroin deaths double in link to prescription painkillers: CDC

NEW YORK - The over-prescribing of painkillers is fuelling nearly 17,000 annual deaths from overdoses in the United States as well as a rise in heroin use, according to a study released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Thursday.

Oklahoma prosecutors seeking death penalty in beheading case

OKLAHOMA CITY - Prosecutors will seek the death penalty against a man accused of beheading a woman and attacking others at a food distribution warehouse in Moore, Oklahoma, according to court documents filed on Thursday.

Drones banned at New Mexico hot air balloon festival

- The organizers of the world's largest hot air balloon festival said on Thursday the use of drone aircraft in the vicinity of the colorful event is banned for safety reasons.

Grand jury to convene in 1975 disappearance of Maryland girls

- A grand jury in Virginia will begin hearing testimony on Friday on the disappearance of two young sisters last seen at a Maryland mall nearly 40 years ago, as fresh leads and a second person of interest raise hopes of solving the case.

Federal appeals court allows Texas abortion restrictions to take effect

NEW ORLEANS - A U.S. federal appeals court on Thursday ruled that Texas can begin enforcing restrictions on abortion clinics that advocates say will shutter all but seven clinics in the state.

Settlements spared bankrupt Detroit costly litigation: manager

DETROIT - Without a series of settlements, Detroit would face years of costly litigation from creditors and others, with no guarantee that the city would win, Kevyn Orr, Detroit's emergency manager, said on Thursday.

Driver charged with fatal hit-and-run of 101-year-old California man

LOS ANGELES - A driver accused of hitting and killing a 101-year-old Los Angeles-area man with his van then trying to flee the scene was charged on Thursday with vehicular manslaughter and felony hit-and-run.

Silicon Valley takes benefits 'arms race' to health care

SAN FRANCISCO - High salaries and free food aren't enough any more in Silicon Valley, where maturing companies are competing for talent with creative health care and "wellness" programs that use gadgets to promote good behavior.

Supreme Court takes no immediate action on gay marriage cases

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday took no action over whether it plans to take up the question of whether states can ban gay marriage.

Supreme Court to hear case of Muslim woman denied employment

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday said it would consider whether a Muslim woman denied a job at an Abercrombie & Fitch Co clothing store because she wears a head scarf was required to specifically request a religious accommodation.

California probes near-death escape of 12 firefighters

LOS ANGELES - California forestry officials have opened an inquiry into a life-threatening ordeal faced by 12 firefighters who were nearly engulfed by flames in the Sierra Nevada last month before a helicopter pilot flew to the scene and led them to safety.

Blogger indicted for photographing Mississippi senator's wife

- A political blogger accused of breaking into a Mississippi nursing home and photographing U.S. Senator Thad Cochran's bedridden wife now faces felony burglary charges, his lawyer said.

Nearly 500 flights canceled in Chicago due to weather, fire issues

CHICAGO - Incoming stormy weather and operational problems caused by a fire last week at a Chicago-area air traffic control facility forced the cancellation of nearly 500 flights on Thursday at Chicago airports.

Dallas Cowboys player investigated for alleged sex assault: ESPN

- A Dallas Cowboys player is under investigation for an alleged sexual assault that occurred in the team's hotel last month, ESPN reported on Wednesday.

Man, hostage killed following California standoff

- A man who took a woman and her two young children hostage in their southern California home was shot dead by police after apparently shooting the woman, who later died, police said on Wednesday.

Prosecutor investigates grand jury in Ferguson shooting: NY Times

- The St. Louis County prosecutor is investigating the grand jury that is considering whether to indict the Ferguson police officer whose fatal shooting of an unarmed black teenager has ignited weeks of protests, the New York Times reported.

U.S. report cites safety lapses at New Mexico nuclear lab

- Chronic lapses in safety procedures at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico may have led to a radiation leak that has forced a prolonged shutdown across the state of the only permanent U.S. nuclear waste repository, federal inspectors said on Wednesday.

Obama seeks to restore trust with disappointed Latinos

WASHINGTON - After enraging Latino voters last month by delaying promised immigration reforms, President Barack Obama is expected to assure Hispanic-American lawmakers on Thursday that he is on their side and help is on the way.

Tesla factory near Reno is bet old Nevada will meet the new

RENO Nevada - Lance Gilman bounced his white GMC truck up a hill in the high desert country east of Reno, Nevada, and paused at the top to survey his property. Spread out below lay the 165-square-mile Tahoe-Reno Industrial Center, about the size of Rhode Island.

Bail hearing postponed for suspect in Virginia student's disappearance

- A bail hearing for the suspect charged in the disappearance of 18-year-old University of Virginia sophomore Hannah Graham was rescheduled for Dec. 4, his attorney said on Wednesday.

Judge to make final ruling on Stockton bankruptcy late October

SACRAMENTO Calif. - The judge presiding over the Stockton, California, bankruptcy case said on Wednesday that he will wait until late October to make a final ruling over whether the city can exit bankruptcy.

Hawaii lava flow stalls but expected to restart

- A stream of volcanic lava menacing communities on the Big Island of Hawaii has stalled in its tracks after creeping toward populated areas for weeks but is expected to begin moving again fairly soon, scientists and local officials said on Wednesday.

Ten percent of female University of Oregon students raped: survey

PORTLAND Ore. - About 10 percent of female University of Oregon students surveyed have been raped while attending the school and the vast majority of those sexual assault cases were never reported to campus officials, school researchers found.

Teen arrested over string of Washington state arson fires

SEATTLE - A teenager who said he was unhappy with his family's recent move to Washington state was charged Wednesday with setting nearly two dozen fires in vacant homes and parched grassland outside Spokane over the past three weeks, fire officials said.

Exclusive: U.S. nears solution for safe disposal of Ebola waste

WASHINGTON/CHICAGO - The United States is days away from settling the critical question of how hospitals should handle and dispose of medical waste from Ebola patients, a government official said on Wednesday.

U.S. Army drops murder charges against soldier in slaying of Iraqi boys

SEATTLE - The U.S. Army has dropped premeditated murder charges against a soldier accused of fatally shooting two deaf and unarmed Iraqi boys in 2007 as the cattle-herding teens stumbled across his unit in a palm grove, a military official said on Wednesday.

Ohio woman sues sperm bank after birth of mixed-race baby

- A white Ohio woman is suing a sperm bank for mistakenly giving her and her white same-sex partner sperm from an African-American donor, her lawyer said on Wednesday.

Pennsylvania deer hunt curtailed as police search for ambush suspect

EAST STROUDSBURG Pa. - Pennsylvania has reversed an earlier decision to allow deer hunting in an area of the Pocono Mountains where hundreds of law enforcement officers are searching for the suspect in an ambush that killed a state trooper nearly three weeks ago.

Slaying of mother and six children prompts Florida agency changes

TAMPA Fla. - Florida authorities should have done more to respond to repeated warnings of problems in the family where a 51-year-old felon shot his daughter and her six children before killing himself last month, the state child welfare agency said on Wednesday.

LA officials give final approval to pay increase at large hotels

LOS ANGELES - Los Angeles city leaders gave final approval on Wednesday to a measure that would increase the wages of workers at large hotels to $15.37 an hour, prompting a warning from hotel industry officials they might sue over the "living wage ordinance."

Six charged with bribery in grant U.S. National Guard contracts

WASHINGTON - Six people have been charged in a bribery scheme to grant National Guard contracts improperly, prosecutors said on Wednesday, and three of them have pleaded guilty in federal court in Virginia.

U.S. delays plans to replace Healthcare.gov site host: WSJ

- The U.S. government has shelved plans to move the HealthCare.gov insurance website to a new host, the Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday.

Dallas Ebola patient vomited outside apartment on way to hospital

DALLAS - Two days after he was sent home from a Dallas hospital, the man who is the first person to be diagnosed with Ebola in the United States was seen vomiting on the ground outside an apartment complex as he was bundled into an ambulance.

Florida policeman suspended after tasering woman, 61, in the back

TALLAHASSEE Fla. - The Tallahassee Police Department suspended an officer on Wednesday pending an investigation of his use of a taser on a 61-year-old woman who was walking away from him during a confrontation caught on video in a black neighborhood.

Participants in Detroit pension borrowing knew debt sale was 'iffy': city lawyer

DETROIT - Detroit's controversial sale of $1.4 billion of pension debt, which has become one of the biggest disputes in the city's historic bankruptcy case, involved risks known to all the parties in the transaction, an attorney for the city said on Wednesday.

New York transit authority sued for denying anti-Islamic bus ad

NEW YORK - An anti-Islam group filed a civil rights lawsuit against New York City's Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) on Wednesday for refusing to run a so-called "Hamas Killing Jews" advertisement on city busses, the group's attorney said.

Second U.S. university cuts ties with China's Confucius Institute

- A second major U.S. university in a week is severing ties with China's government-funded Confucius Institute, which critics call a propaganda arm wrapped in culture and language education.

Mother of former U.S. Marine says son suffers in Mexico jail

WASHINGTON - The mother of a U.S. Marine held for six months in a Mexican prison appealed on Wednesday for the U.S. government to do more to free her son, who told her his guards threatened him with rape, torture and execution.

U.S. parents who ferried children to Cuba agree to jail time

TAMPA Fla. - A U.S. couple face a decade or longer in jail after pleading guilty this week to kidnapping their two young sons in Florida last year, then fleeing by sailboat to Cuba with the family dog.

Exclusive: For most Americans, spanking is OK, implements are not - Reuters/Ipsos poll

- Nearly seven in 10 Americans believe spanking a child is acceptable at home and a majority say corporal punishment is tolerable provided it does not involve implements such as the one a National Football League star used on his son, a Reuters/Ipsos poll found.

Texas court upholds dismissal of ex-House leader DeLay's convictions

- A Texas court on Wednesday upheld the dismissal of money-laundering and conspiracy convictions against former U.S. House of Representatives Majority Leader Tom DeLay.

Pennsylvania investigates death of trooper shot during training

PHILADELPHIA - An investigation is underway into the death of a 26-year-old Pennsylvania trooper who was shot and killed at a training facility in suburban Philadelphia, the state police commissioner said on Wednesday.

White House fence jumper pleads not guilty in September 19 breach

WASHINGTON - The Iraq war veteran accused in the September 19 breach of the White House pleaded not guilty on Wednesday in federal court.

U.S. judge set to rule on how Calpers 'fits' in Stockton bankruptcy

SACRAMENTO Calif. - The U.S. bankruptcy judge overseeing Stockton, California's municipal bankruptcy trial on Wednesday said he will make a determination later in the day about the role of the state's public employees' retirement fund, or Calpers, in the case.

Semi-nude truck passenger involved in Florida school bus crash

ORLANDO Fla. - Investigators in North Florida were trying Wednesday to figure out whether a nearly naked woman riding in a log truck was a factor in a Monday crash that sent seven children and three adults to the hospital.

No charges yet in shooting death of suburban Los Angeles mayor

LOS ANGELES - No charges have been filed so far in the shooting death of the mayor of the small Los Angeles suburb of Bell Gardens, a day after his wife opened fire on him during a heated argument at their condominium, authorities said on Wednesday.

Secret Service director Pierson resigns under fire

WASHINGTON - U.S. Secret Service Director Julia Pierson resigned under fire on Wednesday after a series of security lapses came to light that showed gaping holes in the protective cocoon around President Barack Obama.

Pennsylvania judge says Scranton can't tax commuters to fix pensions

HARRISBURG Penn. - A Pennsylvania judge on Tuesday rejected the cash-strapped city of Scranton's bid to solve its municipal pension woes with a new commuter tax.

Florida man convicted of killing unarmed teen over loud music

JACKSONVILLE Fla. - A Florida jury found Michael Dunn, a middle-aged white man, guilty of first-degree murder on Wednesday in the shooting death of an unarmed black teenager in an argument over loud rap music.

Fire at NJ home where hospital CEO, wife were found dead was arson: prosecutors

- New Jersey investigators have determined that a weekend fire in the home where a New Jersey hospital chief executive and his wife were found dead was arson, the Somerset County Prosecutor's Office said on Wednesday.

Somali-American gets 30 years for Oregon Christmas bomb plot

PORTLAND Ore. - A U.S. judge sentenced a Somali-American man on Wednesday to 30 years in federal prison for trying to blow up a Christmas tree lighting celebration in Oregon four years ago with a fake bomb supplied by undercover government agents.

Hagel orders steps to improve U.S. military healthcare system

WASHINGTON - Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel took steps on Wednesday to improve the U.S. military healthcare system after a review concluded that some patients had to wait too long to see a doctor and others received care that was below standard.

Sagebrush recreation sites across U.S. West generate millions

CARSON CITY Nev. - Miles of sagebrush may be tedious to interstate travelers across the U.S. West, but the ecosystems supporting the scrubby plants are an economic generator, pumping millions into the local and national economies, according to a report released on Tuesday.

Kidnapped Texas girl found in Mexico after 12-year search: police

AUSTIN Texas - A girl kidnapped in Texas in 2002 by her father's estranged wife when she was 4 years old has been found alive in Mexico and is being returned to the United States, police said on Wednesday.

Hundreds of chickens killed by intruders at California farm: police

- Intruders beat to death more than 900 chickens, some of them with a golf club, during a break-in at a commercial poultry farm in central California, authorities said.

Brookfield wins Revel Casino auction, but loser vows to fight

- An affiliate of Brookfield Asset Management won the auction for Atlantic City, New Jersey's bankrupt Revel Casino Hotel with a $110 million bid, but within hours the losing bidder told Reuters he planned to fight the sale.

U.S. courts deny trafficking victims lost wages: study

WASHINGTON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Most victims of sex and labour trafficking in the United States fail to get any back pay, despite a U.S. law requiring courts to order convicted traffickers to pay their lost wages, a new study has found.

Pepsi to launch naturally sweetened soda on Amazon, bypassing stores

NEW YORK - PepsiCo Inc for the first time is introducing a product exclusively through Amazon.com Inc as the snack and soft drink maker aims to expand its footprint in e-commerce.

Canada's Club Coffee sues Keurig Green Mountain for $600 million

- Canada's Club Coffee said it was suing K-cup coffee pod maker Keurig Green Mountain Inc for engaging in anti-competitive measures to maintain a near monopoly and keep single-serve coffee prices artificially high.

Notorious Florida speed trap ended as city closes police department

ORLANDO Fla. - A 50-year-old nationally recognized speed trap in north central Florida came to an end as of midnight Wednesday after the city of Waldo voted to disband its police department.

Brookfield wins auction for bankrupt Revel Casino: sources

- Brookfield Asset Management BAMa.TO BAM.N won the auction for Atlantic City's bankrupt Revel Casino Hotel with a $110 million bid, said two sources familiar with the situation.

Somali-American man faces sentencing in Oregon bomb plot

PORTLAND Ore. - A Somali-American man convicted of trying to blow up a Christmas tree lighting celebration in Oregon four years ago will be sentenced on Wednesday with prosecutors urging that he be sent to federal prison for four decades.

New Oklahoma procedures increase sedative fivefold in executions

OKLAHOMA CITY - Oklahoma set up new procedures on executions that include increasing by five times the dosage of a controversial sedative that was among the drugs used in a botched execution in April, which prompted the state to suspend lethal injections.

Rhode Island child with Enterovirus dies after infection: officials

BOSTON - A Rhode Island child hospitalized with Enterovirus D68 has died of a bacterial infection in what state public health officials described on Wednesday as an unusual and dangerous combination.

Bomb scare empties Sandy Hook school in Connecticut

- A bomb scare on Wednesday emptied Connecticut's Sandy Hook Elementary School, the replacement for the school where 26 people were massacred in 2012, the school district said.

Pennsylvania trooper shot dead during gun training

- The Pennsylvania State Police said a trooper was accidentally shot dead late on Tuesday during a training exercise at a facility outside Philadelphia.

Sister of accused Boston Marathon bombers pleads not guilty to bomb threat

NEW YORK - The sister of the accused Boston Marathon bombers pleaded not guilty on Tuesday to charges she made a threatening phone call to a woman, telling her she could "put a bomb where you live."

Idaho polygamous sect member gets 90 days on child injury charges

SALMON Idaho - A member of a breakaway Mormon polygamous group on Tuesday was sentenced by a judge to 90 days in jail on child injury charges for the mistreatment of teenage boys placed in his Idaho home as discipline by the sect, a prosecutor said.

Two drivers hit 10-year-old girl in Seattle, speed away

SEATTLE - Seattle police said on Tuesday they were searching for two drivers who gravely injured a 10-year-old girl in back-to-back collisions and then "sped away" with her "still on the ground".

U.S. lawmakers rebuke Secret Service over White House breach

WASHINGTON - The head of the U.S. Secret Service faced scathing criticism on Tuesday for the agency allowing an intruder with a knife to run into the White House, while details emerged of a separate security lapse involving an armed contractor who rode an elevator with President Barack Obama.

Mayor of Los Angeles suburb of Bell Gardens shot to death

LOS ANGELES - The mayor of Bell Gardens, California, a small Los Angeles suburb, was shot to death by his wife on Tuesday in an apparent domestic dispute, and his spouse has been detained by investigators, according to the county sheriff's department.

Advocates file petition to legalize marijuana in Mississippi

- Marijuana advocates in Mississippi have filed a petition to put the legalization of recreational pot use on the politically conservative state's 2016 ballot, state officials said Tuesday.

California governor signs 'gun violence restraining order' law

SACRAMENTO Calif. - People who fear a close relative may commit gun violence will be able to petition a judge to temporarily remove the person's firearms in California, under a bill signed into law on Tuesday by Democratic Governor Jerry Brown.

Texas woman sentenced to 60 years in 'black widow' murder case

FORT WORTH Texas - A Texas woman dubbed a "black widow" was sentenced on Tuesday to 60 years in prison after her conviction on murder and evidence tampering in the shooting death of her husband in what prosecutors said was a plot to collect insurance money.

Tennessee may appeal order to disclose names of execution team

NASHVILLE Tenn. - Tennessee's attorney general is considering appealing a court ruling requiring the state to disclose the names of doctors, pharmacists and others involved in executions to attorneys representing 11 death row inmates, a spokeswoman said on Tuesday.

Self-defense disputed at close of Florida trial over loud music shooting

JACKSONVILLE Fla. - A middle-aged white man on trial for murder in the shooting death of a black teenager during a dispute about loud music told a Florida jury on Tuesday he thought his life was in danger and showed little remorse as he described pulling the trigger.

Former TSA officer accused of secretly recording female co-worker

NASHVILLE Tenn. - A former U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA)officer accused of secretly recording video of a female co-worker inside an employee restroom at Nashville International Airport has been charged with several felonies, authorities said on Tuesday.

Traveler from Liberia is first Ebola patient diagnosed in U.S.

- A man who flew from Liberia to Texas has become the first patient infected with the deadly Ebola virus to be diagnosed in the United States, health officials said on Tuesday, a sign the outbreak ravaging West Africa may spread globally.

Colorado student protests spread to a middle school

DENVER - Protests against a proposed curriculum change that saw hundreds of high school students walk out of class in a Colorado district spread to a middle school on Tuesday.

Brookfield bids for Atlantic City's Revel Casino: WSJ

- An affiliate of Brookfield Asset Management has topped Florida real estate developer Glenn Straub's $90 million bid for the bankrupt Revel Casino Hotel in Atlantic City, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing sources.

California becomes first U.S. state to ban plastic grocery bags

SAN FRANCISCO - Single-use plastic bags are set to disappear from California grocery stores over the next two years under a first-in-the-nation state law signed on Tuesday by Democratic Governor Jerry Brown, despite opposition from bag manufacturers.

Grandmother of girl killed by Detroit police said they 'came to kill'

DETROIT - The grandmother of a 7-year-old girl killed by a Detroit police officer testified at his manslaughter trial on Tuesday that she doesn't feel she can trust the police.

Georgia woman gets 30-year prison term in daughter's malnutrition death

ATLANTA - A suburban Atlanta woman was sentenced to 30 years in prison after pleading guilty on Tuesday to involuntary manslaughter and child cruelty charges in the malnutrition death of her 16-year-old daughter.

Murder charges dropped over California prosecutor's tryst with criminalist

LOS ANGELES - A California district attorney said on Tuesday he would drop murder charges against the husband and brother-in-law of a woman killed in 1989 after learning the lead prosecutor in the case had an affair with a criminalist who handled much of the evidence.

CDC experts to deploy to Texas if patient has Ebola: official

DALLAS - U.S. health specialists are ready to deploy to Dallas if a patient being evaluated for Ebola is found to be carrying the disease that has killed thousands of people in West Africa, a Dallas County official said on Tuesday.

U.S. restaurant patrons support minimum wage hike: survey

LOS ANGELES - While the U.S. restaurant industry fights national and state efforts to increase the minimum wage, a new survey released on Tuesday showed that 83 percent of restaurant patrons support raising it and adjusting it annually for inflation.

Olympic swimming champ Phelps arrested on drunken driving charge

WASHINGTON - American swimmer Michael Phelps, the most decorated Olympian of all time, was arrested for drunken driving early on Tuesday after speeding and then crossing the double-lane lines inside a Baltimore tunnel, police said.

Student injured in shooting at Kentucky high school: officials

LOUISVILLE Ky. - A student was injured on Tuesday in a shooting at a Louisville, Kentucky, high school, and police have arrested a suspect, officials said.

Judge accepts guilty plea in U.S. embassy bombing case

NEW YORK - A U.S. judge on Tuesday accepted the guilty plea of an Egyptian man charged in connection with the deadly 1998 bombings of two U.S. embassies in Africa, 10 days after expressing concern that prosecutors had given him too lenient a deal.

U.S. home-schooling group criticizes Sandy Hook panel report

MILFORD Conn. - A U.S. home-schooling advocacy group on Tuesday criticized a proposal for closer monitoring of home-schooled students, likely to be made by a Connecticut panel charged with improving school safety following the 2012 Newtown massacre.

Pipe bombs found by police tracking Pennsylvania ambush suspect

BLOOMING GROVE Pa. - A pair of pipe bombs was discovered by teams searching the Pocono Mountains for Eric Frein, the survivalist suspected in an ambush of two Pennsylvania state troopers that killed one of them, a police official said on Tuesday.

Reward offered for 'AK-47 Bandit' over U.S. bank robberies

LOS ANGELES - Authorities offered a $100,000 reward on Tuesday for the so-called "AK-47 Bandit," who carried an assault rifle in a string of bank robberies across the U.S. West, in one case opening fire and seriously wounding a police officer.

Florida to mail out $200 million in college refunds, week before election

TALLAHASSEE Fla. - Just before Election Day, thousands of Florida families who participate in prepaid college savings plans will receive refunds, or major cuts in their monthly payments, and Governor Rick Scott is not shy about taking credit for the windfall.

Brooklyn science teacher charged with sexually abusing students

NEW YORK - A New York City high school science teacher who was already facing charges of sending a sexually explicit photograph to a student was arrested at court on Tuesday on new charges of sexually abusing six other teenage girls, prosecutors said.

Self-defense in Florida loud music shooting disputed as trial closes

JACKSONVILLE Fla. - A middle-aged white man on trial for murder in the shooting death of a black teenager during a dispute about loud music told a Florida jury on Tuesday he thought his life was in danger and showed little remorse as he described pulling the trigger.

Accused Pennsylvania stabber rejected by psychiatric unit: judge

PITTSBURGH - A western Pennsylvania teenager accused of stabbing 21 people at his high school in April was refused admission to a Pittsburgh psychiatric hospital due to safety concerns, a judge said on Tuesday.

Jailbreak in Washington state goes unnoticed for two days

SEATTLE - A Washington state man jailed on robbery charges managed to slip away from a detention facility last week in an escape that went unnoticed for two days until his lawyer arrived for a visit, officials said on Tuesday.

Colorado movie theater massacre trial may be televised, judge rules

DENVER - A judge presiding over the Colorado theater massacre case ruled on Tuesday that he will allow the murder trial of accused gunman James Holmes to be recorded for television despite opposition from lawyers on both sides, a court ruling showed.

California governor signs 'gun violence restraining order' law

SACRAMENTO Calif. - People who fear a close relative may commit gun violence will be able to petition a judge to temporarily remove the person's firearms in California, under a bill signed into law on Tuesday by Democratic Governor Jerry Brown.

First Ebola case diagnosed in the United States: CDC

- U.S. health officials said on Tuesday the first patient infected with the deadly Ebola virus had been diagnosed in the country after flying from Liberia to Texas, in a new sign of how the outbreak ravaging West Africa can spread globally.

Maine police searching for fake cops after marijuana robbery

AUGUSTA Maine - Police are searching for three armed men who dressed as law enforcement officers to steal medical marijuana plants from a licensed grower in the small central Maine town of Winterport.

U.S. lawmakers scold Secret Service over White House breach

WASHINGTON - U.S. lawmakers scolded the head of the U.S. Secret Service on Tuesday over a security breach that allowed a knife-wielding intruder to run deep into the White House, and Director Julia Pierson promised to make changes to agency procedures to ensure it would never happen again.

Sister of accused Boston Marathon bombers pleads not guilty to bomb threat

NEW YORK - The sister of the accused Boston Marathon bombers pleaded not guilty on Tuesday to charges she made a threatening phone call to a woman, telling her she could "put a bomb where you live."

Human remains found at trash collection site near Los Angeles

LOS ANGELES - A worker at a waste collection site near Los Angeles found human remains on a conveyor belt at the facility, marking what local media called the fourth such grisly find in two years, police said on Tuesday.

Oklahoma suspect in beheading death charged with murder

NORMAN Oklahoma - Oklahoma authorities on Tuesday filed murder charges against Alton Nolen, who is suspected of beheading a former co-worker at a food distribution center last week shortly after being fired, and may seek the death penalty, prosecutors said.

U.S. courts deny trafficking victims lost wages: study

WASHINGTON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Most victims of sex and labor trafficking in the United States fail to get any back pay, despite a U.S. law requiring courts to order convicted traffickers to pay their lost wages, a new study has found.

AEG asks for more time to lure pro football team back to Los Angeles

- Developer Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG) asked Los Angeles on Monday to give it more time to lure a pro football team back to the city and start building a $1.2 billion stadium downtown.

Body of missing Arkansas real estate agent found

- Police have discovered the body of an Arkansas real estate agent in a shallow grave after she was reported missing last week, a law enforcement official said.

One person in custody after shooting at North Carolina high school

WINSTON-SALEM N.C. - One person was in custody after a shooting on Tuesday at a high school in Albemarle, North Carolina, according to police and local media reports.

New York mayor de Blasio plans expansion of living wage: NYT

- New York Mayor Bill de Blasio plans to expand the city's living wage measure to include thousands of additional workers, as well as increase the amount workers are paid under the law, the New York Times reported on Monday.

Texas hospital puts possible Ebola patient in isolation

- A Texas hospital said on Monday it has admitted a patient into "strict isolation" to be evaluated for possible infection with the Ebola virus, as health officials battle an epidemic in West Africa that has already killed thousands of people.

Texas jury starts deliberations in ‘black widow’ murder trial

FORT WORTH Texas - A jury began deliberations on Monday in what has been dubbed the "black widow" case of a Texas woman accused of shooting her husband dead for insurance money and then launching a plot to frame someone else for the crime.

Woman pleads not guilty to 20-year-old South Carolina kidnapping

CHARLESTON S.C. - Dorothy Lee Barnett, 54, pleaded not guilty in federal court in Charleston on Monday to charges of parental kidnapping and falsifying passports 20 years ago. 

New York lawyers charged with bribing court employee for clients

NEW YORK - Three New York defense attorneys and a paralegal were indicted by the Manhattan district attorney on Monday on charges of bribing a court employee to steer clients to them.

Parents of autistic Pennsylvania boy charged in starvation death

HARRISBURG Pa. - Police in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, charged the parents of a 9-year-old autistic boy with homicide on Monday in their son's starvation death in July.

Suspect in Oklahoma beheading expected to be charged with murder

OKLAHOMA CITY - Oklahoma plans to file a murder charge as early as Tuesday against Alton Nolen, who is suspected of beheading a former co-worker at a food distribution center last week, prosecutors said.

Texas jury convicts woman of murder in so-called 'black widow' trial

- A Texas jury convicted a 45-year-old mother of four of murder and tampering with evidence on Monday in the 2011 shooting death of her husband in a suburb of Fort Worth in a plot to collect insurance money, an official said.

Fence-jumper ran through much of main floor of White House

WASHINGTON - The man who breached security at the White House this month raced through several rooms on the main floor, penetrating farther into the building than previously disclosed, a Republican congressman said on Monday.

Flat roofs no longer required on L.A. skyscrapers as city repeals rule

LOS ANGELES - Los Angeles has scrapped a 1950s rule requiring its skyscrapers to have flat roofs and helipads, giving architects a freer hand to shape the skyline of America's second-largest city.

Texas jury convicts woman of murder in 'black widow' trial

FORT WORTH Texas - A Texas jury in what has been dubbed a "black widow" trial convicted a 45-year-old mother of four of murder and evidence tampering on Monday for shooting to death her husband in a 2011 plot to collect insurance money, an official said.

White substance in envelope at Reagan Library causes security scare

LOS ANGELES - A white substance from an envelope opened by a staff member at the Ronald Reagan Library in Simi Valley, California, caused a security scare on Monday, but the substance was later found to be non-toxic, a spokeswoman for the institution said.

Truck driver in deadly Oklahoma crash did not take evasive action: official

AUSTIN Texas - There was no sign the driver of a truck that hit a bus, killing four college softball players from Texas, tried to avoid the collision after he left an Oklahoma highway traveling at about 70 miles per hour, U.S. officials said on Monday.

Deer hunters allowed in Pennsylvania woods despite manhunt

EAST STROUDSBURG Pa. - The manhunt for the suspect in the ambush that killed a Pennsylvania trooper and wounded another won't stop the opening of deer-hunting season in the Pocono Mountains, one of most prized spots in the Northeast for game, authorities said on Monday.

Judge recommends six officers be fired from New York jail for beating

NEW YORK - A New York judge is recommending six correction officers at the city's largest jail be fired for the hog-tying and brutal beating of an inmate who was handcuffed in a segregated mental health unit, according to a ruling released on Monday.

Colorado, CDC probing 10 cases of virus-related paralysis in kids

CHICAGO - U.S. health officials are investigating at least 10 cases of children in Colorado who developed limb weakness or paralysis after testing positive for a respiratory virus, state health officials said on Monday.

Baltimore row house collapses, trapping one person

- A Baltimore row house near Camden Yards collapsed on Monday while under renovation, trapping one person and injuring a second, a fire department spokesman said.

James Foley photo removed from anti-Islamic bus ads in New York

NEW YORK - A photo of American journalist James Foley shortly before his beheading by the Islamic state militant group is being removed from anti-Islam advertisements appearing on Monday on 100 New York City buses and two subway stations.

Teacher 'sick-outs' stop classes at two protest-hit Colorado schools

DENVER - Teachers calling in absent forced the cancellation of classes at two Colorado high schools on Monday in a new twist to a dispute over pay and proposed changes to a history curriculum that has drawn national attention.

Texas doctor given 10 years in jail for poisoning lover's coffee

HOUSTON - A breast cancer specialist working at a nationally renowned cancer center in Houston was sentenced on Monday to 10 years in prison for lacing the coffee of her lover, a fellow cancer doctor, with a compound used in antifreeze.

Report of shots fired near Ethiopian embassy in Washington

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Secret Service detained a possible shooter after a report that shots were fired on Monday near the Ethiopian embassy in Washington, a spokesman for the agency said.

New York City to end solitary confinement for teens at Rikers jail

NEW YORK - New York City plans to end the use of solitary confinement to punish teenage inmates at the troubled Rikers Island jail complex by the end of the year, according to a Department of Correction memorandum.

New documents show legal basis for NSA surveillance programs

NEW YORK/WASHINGTON - Documents released by the U.S. government show it views an executive order issued in 1981 as the basis of most of the National Security Agency's surveillance activities, the American Civil Liberties Union said on Monday.

Pennsylvania baby shot in head in apparent hunting accident

- A newborn baby was in critical condition on Monday after being shot in the head in western Pennsylvania while lying on his father's lap at home, an incident that appears to have been a hunting accident, prosecutors say.

Victim in Florida loud music shooting was in defensive position, court told

TALLAHASSEE Fla. - The trajectory of the bullets that killed an unarmed teen in a gas station dispute over loud rap music indicates that the victim could not have been in an aggressive pose, a forensic expert testified on Monday in a racially charged north Florida murder trial.

Missouri man alleging sexual abuse by priest seeks $10 million from diocese

INDEPENDENCE Mo. - It has been 30 years, but Kansas City's Catholic diocese still should pay a heavy price for allowing a now-dead priest to repeatedly sexually abuse a former altar boy, a lawyer for the alleged victim said in court Monday, kicking off a $10 million lawsuit against the diocese.

Parolee arrested in case of missing Arkansas real estate agent

LITTLE ROCK Ark. - A 33-year-old Arkansas prison parolee was arrested on Monday after an intensive manhunt on suspicion of being responsible for the disappearance of a real estate agent last Thursday.

Police probe Miami nightclub shooting where teens, children wounded

MIAMI - Law enforcement and community leaders on Monday struggled to understand how minors, including preteens, were among the 15 shot and wounded early Sunday morning at what police said might have been an unsanctioned nightclub.

Suspect in missing Virginia student linked to a 2009 case: TV

- The man suspected in the disappearance of a University of Virginia student earlier this month has been linked by forensic evidence to another student who went missing in 2009 and was later found dead, a television station reported on Monday.

Spanish drug trafficker sentenced in Miami to 150 years in prison

MIAMI - The Spanish head of a transatlantic cocaine-smuggling ring dubbed “Los Miami” was sentenced in federal court on Monday to 150 years in prison on charges of laundering more than $14 million through waterfront condos and exotic sports cars.

Massachusetts officials probing death of skydiving duo

BOSTON - Massachusetts officials were investigating on Monday the death of two people during a skydiving accident on the Cape Cod resort area.

Spurred by Ferguson, Chicago families want police shootings reviewed

HARVEY Ill. - The national uproar over a fatal police shooting of an unarmed black teenager near St. Louis has prodded families and activists in the Chicago area to ask for investigations into what they say are similar incidents in the crime-ridden U.S. city.

Man accused in Chicago air traffic disruption appears in court

CHICAGO - A man accused of setting fire to an air control facility in Chicago on Friday, causing an outage that continues to disrupt flights, appeared in federal court on Monday to hear the charges against him and was ordered held without bond.

Former Philadelphia sportscaster pleads guilty to fraud counts

HARRISBURG Pa. - A well-known former Philadelphia sports broadcaster admitted in court on Monday that he defrauded more than 200 people and several local charities of more than $300,000 in a scheme that promised cheap tour packages to the Super Bowl and other events.

Bond set for South Carolina House speaker in official misconduct case

CHARLESTON S.C. - Bond was set on Monday for suspended South Carolina House Speaker Bobby Harrell at his first court appearance since being indicted on nine misdemeanor charges of misusing campaign money and official misconduct, his attorney said.

Fence-jumper ran through much of main floor of White House: report

WASHINGTON - The man who breached security at the White House this month overpowered a U.S. Secret Service officer and ran through much of the main floor, penetrating farther into the building than previously disclosed, the Washington Post reported on Monday, citing three people familiar with the incident.

Israeli cargo ship heads for L.A. to unload after Oakland protest

LOS ANGELES - An Israeli-owned container ship that was blocked from unloading its cargo at the Port of Oakland by pro-Palestinian protesters over the weekend was headed to Los Angeles on Monday, according to a ship-tracking website.

North Las Vegas house fire kills 20 dogs, 70 rescued: TV

- A house fire in North Las Vegas, Nevada, has killed more than 20 dogs and firefighters rescued another 70, a television station reported on Monday.

Former Washington Post editor Ben Bradlee in hospice care: wife

WASHINGTON - Former Washington Post Executive Editor Ben Bradlee, who oversaw the newspaper's coverage of the Watergate scandal in the 1970s, is in hospice care, his wife said.

U.S. bankruptcy judge allows Detroit water shutoffs to continue

DETROIT - U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes ruled on Monday that Detroit can continue shutting off water service to non-paying customers, saying his court does not have jurisdiction over the issue and that suspending disconnections for six months could hurt the city's finances.

Supreme Court meets to consider taking gay marriage cases

WASHINGTON - The nine justices of the U.S. Supreme Court met behind closed doors on Monday to consider whether they should take up the hotly contested question of whether states can ban gay marriage.

Students 'the biggest losers' in Atlanta test-cheating case: prosecutor

ATLANTA - A sweeping test-cheating scheme orchestrated by public educators in Atlanta who were eager for cash bonuses and promotions shortchanged the faltering students who needed help the most, prosecutors said as the educators went to trial on Monday.

U.S. FAA's Huerta says reviewing contingency plans, security polices

WASHINGTON - The U.S. aviation safety agency's top official said on Monday he has asked for a review of all U.S. air traffic control contingency plans and security policies, following a fire on Friday that crippled air travel over much of the Midwestern U.S.

New York City Fire captain accused of Los Angeles child sex crime

NEW YORK - A captain with the Fire Department of New York has been charged with sex crimes against children and is awaiting extradition to California, authorities said on Monday.

UAW, two German labor groups link to organize VW in Tennessee

DETROIT - The United Auto Workers union and two top German labor groups have signed a letter of intent to jointly organize the Volkswagen AG assembly plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee, a top UAW official said on Monday.

California community colleges to offer baccalaureate degrees

SACRAMENTO Calif. - California's two-year colleges would be able to offer baccalaureate degrees under a law signed by Democratic Governor Jerry Brown, who also rejected extra funding for the state's strapped university systems.

Jury selection begins for trial of accused Boston bomber's friend

BOSTON - Jury selection is set to begin on Monday for the trial of the last of three college friends of the accused Boston Marathon bomber to face charges relating to a visit the trio made to the suspect's dorm room three days after the deadly attack.

Jury selection to begin in Arias penalty phase retrial in Arizona

PHOENIX - Jury selection is set to begin in Arizona on Monday to decide whether convicted murderer Jodi Arias will be executed for the 2008 slaying of her ex-boyfriend in a case that drew a national audience with its titillating and gore-spattered testimony.

New Jersey hospital CEO, wife found dead in house fire

- A New Jersey hospital chief executive and his wife were found dead early Sunday following a fire in their home, law enforcement officials said.

As U.S. protests persist, suspects sought in shootings of two Missouri officers

FERGUSON Mo. - Police were seeking suspects on Sunday in what appeared to be the unrelated shootings of two police officers in and near the Missouri city of Ferguson, while protests continued over the shooting death of a black teenager by a white police officer last month.

California governor signs 'yes means yes' college sexual assault bill

- California Governor Jerry Brown on Sunday signed a law requiring all state colleges to adopt a policy of unambiguous, affirmative consent by students engaged in sexual activity, part of a nationwide effort to curb sexual assault on U.S. campuses.

California governor vetoes drone warrant bill

- California Governor Jerry Brown vetoed a bill that would have placed strict regulations on how law enforcement and other government agencies can use drones, his office said on Sunday.

FAA wants to restore Chicago air traffic site by mid-October

WASHINGTON - The Federal Aviation Administration said on Sunday that it has set a target of October 13 to restore to service a Chicago-area air traffic control site that was set ablaze by a field technician, as delays and cancellations continued at Chicago airports.

Indiana State University student arrested in campus shooting

- Police on Sunday arrested an Indiana State University student on a charge of shooting and wounding another student inside a residence hall on the Terre Haute campus, school officials said.

Man in custody following deaths of woman, girl: Chicago police

- A man who claimed he had harmed his family is in custody on Sunday after police found the bodies of a woman and a female child in a home on Chicago's northwest side, police said.

Truck driver in deadly Oklahoma crash told police he was distracted

- The driver of a semi-trailer truck that crashed into a bus, killing four members of a woman's college softball team from Texas, told police he was distracted just before Friday's accident on an Oklahoma highway, police said on Sunday.

Police catch last of 13 boys who escaped from Tennessee detention center

NASHVILLE - The last of 13 boys who escaped Friday night from a troubled Tennessee youth detention facility was caught on Sunday by a police officer on routine patrol, police said.

Harris says working 24/7 to restore Chicago FAA site

WASHINGTON - Harris Corp on Sunday said it was working to install new equipment and conduct repairs at a Chicago-area air traffic control site that was set ablaze by a field technician on Friday in an incident that has continued to snarl U.S. air traffic over the weekend.

Shooting at Miami club leaves 15 hurt, including 11-year-old: police

MIAMI - Fifteen people aged 11 to 25 were injured in a shooting at a Miami nightclub early on Sunday, a police spokeswoman said, adding that it was unclear who was responsible.

One teenager dead, three injured in New York stabbings

- A 14-year-old boy died from a wound to the chest and three other teenagers were injured early on Sunday in stabbings in New York City's Bronx borough, police said.

Obesity research takes high-tech twist at Florida school

ST. PETERSBURG Fla. - Freshmen at Florida's Lakewood High School lined up against gold and black gymnasium mats on Friday to have their height and weight measured, an assessment to launch a novel study on fighting teenage obesity with trendy new technology.

Five family members found dead of unknown causes in Utah home

- Authorities on Saturday night found two parents and their three children dead of unknown causes inside their Utah home, officials said.

Officer shot in area around troubled U.S. city of Ferguson

FERGUSON Mo. - A police officer from the strife-hit Missouri city of Ferguson was shot on Saturday and the suspect was still at large, law enforcement officials said.

U.S. flight woes linger after Chicago air traffic center fire

- U.S. airports reported hundreds of residual flight cancellations on Saturday, a day after a fire at a Chicago-area air traffic control center that authorities said was set by an employee who then tried to take his own life.

Man, 14-year-old boy die in New York state plane collision: police

- The pilot of a small plane and his 14-year-old passenger died on Saturday when their aircraft struck another plane and crashed during an event in upstate New York to introduce young people to aviation, officials said.

California sets up fund for legal representation of immigrant children

LOS ANGELES - California will spend $3 million to provide legal representation for unaccompanied immigrant children from Central America who have arrived in the state, under a bill signed into law on Saturday by Governor Jerry Brown.

Student reports being shot at Indiana State University

- A student at Indiana State University, Terre Haute, reported to police on Saturday that he had been shot, police said, without giving details on any injuries the student may suffered.

Maryland hospital to care for U.S. doctor exposed to Ebola in West Africa

- The U.S. National Institutes of Health plans to admit to one of its special observation wards an American physician exposed to the Ebola virus while volunteering in Sierra Leone, it said on Saturday.

Man, 14-year-old boy die in New York state plane collision: police

- The pilot of a small plane and his 14-year-old passenger died on Saturday when their aircraft struck another plane and crashed during an event in upstate New York to introduce young people to aviation, officials said.

Woman accused of kidnapping daughter in 1994 extradited to U.S. from Australia

CHARLESTON S.C. - A woman accused of taking her baby daughter from the legal custody of her father in the United States 20 years ago has been extradited from Australia to face criminal charges in the United States, authorities said on Saturday.

James Traficant of Ohio, former congressman and felon, is dead

CLEVELAND - Former U.S. Representative James Traficant of Ohio, a brash, eccentric figure known for his bombastic speeches who went to prison for corruption, died on Saturday at age 73, his family attorney said.

Oregon teen accused of bringing homemade bomb to school

- An Oregon teen has been detained on charges of bringing a homemade bomb to his high school and causing a campus evacuation on Friday, police said.

Juror removed from Florida retrial after questioning ability of prosecutor

JACKSONVILLE Fla. - A juror was removed on the third day of the Florida trial of a middle-aged white man accused of murdering an unarmed black teen after the juror reportedly questioned the competence of the state attorney handling the racially-charged case.

Suspect in Oklahoma beheading is formally arrested in hospital

- The Oklahoma man suspected of beheading a former co-worker at a food distribution warehouse last week, who was shot by another employee trying to thwart the attack, was placed under arrest in a hospital where he underwent surgery, authorities said on Saturday.

Teens flee Tennessee detention facility, second breakout in month

NASHVILLE - Thirteen boys escaped from a problem-plagued Tennessee youth detention facility where 32 teens broke out earlier this month, authorities said on Saturday.

Prospect of tighter White House security touches nerve in Washington

WASHINGTON - The prospect of more of the U.S. capital being closed off after an intruder got into the White House has struck a nerve in Washington over public space being eroded by barricades and bollards.

Idaho trucker accused of ditching chicken load arrested

- Idaho authorities said on Friday the truck driver suspected of holding 37,000 pounds of frozen chicken for ransom before ditching the trailer and leaving the fowl to rot at a Montana truck stop has been arrested.

Four dead, dozen injured in college bus crash in Oklahoma

- Four college softball players were killed, and a dozen others were injured, when their bus was involved in a crash on an Oklahoma freeway, officials said on Friday.

Hundreds of small earthquakes hit central California

- More than 500 small earthquakes struck a volcanic region in central California on Thursday and Friday, posing no immediate risk, federal environmental officials said.

Chicago-area air traffic center fire grounds 1,750 flights

CHICAGO - A fire apparently set by an employee at a Chicago-area air traffic control center led to the cancellation of more than 1,700 flights at the city's two major airports, snarling air traffic across the United States, officials said.

New Mexico sheriff guilty of violating motorist's civil rights

ALBUQUERQUE N.M. - A New Mexico sheriff was found guilty by a federal jury on Friday of violating a motorist's civil rights when he dragged the man out of his vehicle and struck him with his badge after a high-speed car chase, prosecutors said.

Water main break floods West Hollywood street, forces closure

- A large water pipe burst under the Los Angeles suburb of West Hollywood on Friday, flooding the famed Sunset Strip and forcing authorities to shut down the thoroughfare to vehicle traffic during the evening rush hour.

Suspect in UVA student's disappearance returned to Virginia

- The man arrested in Texas for the abduction of a University of Virginia student was returned to Virginia on Friday to face charges in the case as newly released records showed he was the focus of a college rape investigation in 2002.

Suspect in Virginia student disappearance tied to 2002 rape probe

- The man arrested in Texas for the abduction of 18-year-old University of Virginia student Hannah Graham was the focus of a college rape investigation in 2002 and has a long history of arrests, records revealed on Friday.

Son of accused cartel leader pleads guilty to drug charges in California

SAN DIEGO - The 24-year-old son of an accused leader of Mexico's Sinaloa Cartel, one of the world's largest drug trafficking organizations, pleaded guilty on Friday in federal court in San Diego to conspiracy to distribute cocaine and marijuana.

Massachusetts man with horn implants convicted of 2011 triple murder

BOSTON - A Massachusetts man with facial tattoos and forehead implants that resemble horns told jurors he would see them "all in hell" after he was convicted of murdering three men in 2011.

Colorado detective accused of tipping off suspect in luring case

DENVER - A police detective in Colorado has been arrested on charges that he tipped off a suspect in a sex crimes investigation that the 13-year-old girl he had been emailing was actually an undercover officer, prosecutors said on Friday.

Florida teens describe death of friend in loud music shooting trial

JACKSONVILLE Fla. - Three friends of a slain Florida teenager testified on Friday that they did not have a gun and posed no threat when a man opened fire on them in November 2012 because he was upset over loud rap music they were playing at a gas station.

Small-town U.S. politician emerges as unlikely foe of India's Modi

NEW YORK - A city council member from a Chicago suburb of 25,000 people is making for an unlikely antagonist of Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India, population 1.2 billion.

Voters in U.S. West oppose transfer of public lands to states: survey

- A majority of voters in Western U.S. states oppose proposals for local authorities to take over the management and costs of national forests and other public lands currently run by the federal government, a survey showed.

Montana ex-teacher re-sentenced to 10 years for rape of student

- An ex-teacher from Montana whose month in jail for the rape of a 14-year-old student triggered public outrage was re-sentenced on Friday to 10 years in prison in a case that a state prosecutor said would bolster rape victims' rights.

Next U.S. attorney general faces daunting national security challenges

WASHINGTON - At a time when heightened fears of government surveillance coincide with growing anxiety about global terrorism, the next top U.S. law-enforcement officer will face daunting challenges to balance protection of Americans' security and the right to privacy.

Justice Department tells Ferguson police to stop wearing bracelets

FERGUSON Mo. - The U.S. Justice Department asked the Ferguson, Missouri, Police Department on Friday to order its officers not to wear bracelets with the name of the white officer who shot and killed an unarmed black teenager last month, sparking protests.

U.S. Border Patrol agent accused of punching detained Mexican boy

- A U.S. Border Patrol agent has been arrested on an assault charge over accusations he punched a Mexican teenager after confiscating the 15-year-old's cellphone at an Arizona immigration station, officials said on Friday.

New York postman accused of hoarding 2,500 pounds of mail

NEW YORK - Tens of thousands of letters, packages and junk mail found stashed in a U.S. postal carrier's New York City apartment will soon get delivered, some of them nearly a decade after they were mailed, prosecutors said on Friday.

New York grand jury to hear evidence in police choke hold death

NEW YORK - A grand jury will begin hearing evidence next week in the controversial case of Eric Garner, who died after New York police put him in a banned choke hold.

Secret Service director briefed Obama on review: White House

WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama received an update Thursday on a review of the Secret Service's response after an intruder climbed the White House fence and entered the executive mansion last week, the White House said on Friday.

Obama, Netanyahu to meet at White House next week

WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama will host Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for a meeting on Wednesday to discuss Israel's relationship with the Palestinians, the situation in Gaza, Iran nuclear talks, and the fight against Islamic State militants, White House spokesman Josh Earnest said on Friday.

Police raids net dozens of drug arrests in Philadelphia suburb

PHILADELPHIA - Federal prosecutors arrested and charged dozens of suspects on Friday in early-morning raids targeting drug gangs operating in Chester, a historical town outside Philadelphia that has earned a reputation for violent crime.

Voters in U.S. West oppose transfer of public lands to states: survey

- A majority of voters in Western U.S. states oppose proposals for local authorities to take over the management and costs of national forests and other public lands currently run by the federal government, a survey showed.

Golden Gate ferry captains stage one-day strike in San Francisco

SAN FRANCISCO - The Golden Gate passenger ferry system, California's largest, was shut down on Friday by striking boat captains, disrupting service for thousands of San Francisco Bay-area commuters in a wider labor dispute over wages and benefits for transit workers.

Foster Farms recalls nearly 40,000 pounds of chicken in U.S. states

SEATTLE - California-based poultry giant Foster Farms is recalling nearly 40,000 pounds of frozen grilled chicken due to Listeria contamination, the Department of Agriculture said on Friday.

Man who sparked N.H. school lockdown with pellet gun wanted reference

MANCHESTER N.H. - A New Hampshire man who sparked a lockdown at a Manchester high school after he walked in with a pellet gun tucked into his belt had been trying to secure a letter of recommendation from a former teacher, according to court papers filed on Friday.

U.S. OKs $2.5 billion to upgrade used military vehicles for UAE

WASHINGTON - The U.S. government on Friday said it has approved $2.5 billion in modifications and upgrades of used U.S. military vehicles that are to be sold separately to the United Arab Emirates as "excess" equipment.

U.S. Forest Service says photo permits saga misunderstood

- The U.S. Forest Service has been forced to clarify its position on photography rules for the nation's wild places after a proposed rule change for picture permits prompted fears that visitors could be fined $1,000 for taking snapshots of nature.

Fired Ohio State band director sues, alleging discrimination

CLEVELAND - The Ohio State University band director, fired for allegedly failing to eliminate a sexually hostile environment, sued school officials on Friday, claiming they discriminated against him because he's a man.

Former manager accused of fraud in New York bridge project

NEW YORK - A former manager of a New York contracting company was accused on Friday of defrauding the state by falsely claiming to use a minority-owned steel supplier to win an $192-million contract to repair a major area suspension bridge, officials said.

U.S. Marine charged in fatal shooting at North Carolina base

WINSTON-SALEM N.C. - A U.S. Marine has been charged with involuntary manslaughter and negligent homicide in the April shooting death of a fellow sentry on guard duty at a base in North Carolina, a military spokesman said on Friday.

Texas jury finds cancer doctor guilty of poisoning lover's coffee

HOUSTON - A Texas jury on Friday found a Houston breast cancer specialist guilty of spiking the coffee of her lover, a fellow cancer doctor, with a compound used in antifreeze.

Victim in Oklahoma food warehouse incident was beheaded: police

OKLAHOMA CITY Okla. - A worker killed during an attack Thursday at an Oklahoma food distribution warehouse was beheaded and the suspect, a fired coworker, had reportedly tried to convert his colleagues to Islam, law enforcement officials said Friday.

U.S. reveals discovery of unapproved GM wheat growing in Montana

WASHINGTON - A strain of genetically modified wheat never approved for sale or consumption in the United States was discovered growing in Montana in July, officials with the U.S. Department of Agriculture said on Friday.

Florida marijuana campaign heats up, could raise Nov. turnout

TALLAHASSEE - Opponents of a proposal to let doctors in Florida prescribe marijuana are poised to launch a $1.6 million advertising campaign on Monday, with potential side effects for the state's heated race for governor in November.

Former U.S. official indicted over lavish Las Vegas conference

WASHINGTON - A federal grand jury has indicted a former official who headed the federal General Services Administration unit that came under fire for holding a lavish Las Vegas conference in 2010.

U.S. says diseases like Ebola should be viewed as security threats

WASHINGTON - The Obama administration urged the international community Friday to view outbreaks of Ebola, MERS and other deadly diseases as global security threats that require broad and rapid responses to protect the safety of populations and economies.

Owners of Connecticut's 'Mystic Pizza' fined over unpaid wages

MILFORD Conn. - The Connecticut restaurant that was the setting of the 1988 movie "Mystic Pizza," which helped launched Julia Roberts' career, has been cited by state labor authorities who found it owed employees $105,000 in back pay and unpaid overtime.

U.S. tells citizens to leave Yemen, reduces embassy staff

DUBAI - The United States told its citizens in Yemen to leave and said it was reducing the number of U.S. government staff there due to political unrest and fears of a possible military escalation.

Third U.S. Ebola survivor says may return to Liberia

BOSTON - The third U.S. patient to be treated in the United States for Ebola, which he contracted while working in Liberia, said on Friday that he would like to return to Africa to continue to fight the outbreak.

One dead after pedestrian bridge collapses onto Detroit highway

DETROIT - A truck driver died on Friday after his vehicle struck a pedestrian bridge, causing it to collapse onto a Detroit highway, closing the roadway, officials said.

Pennsylvania police swarm abandoned inn in search for ambush suspect

BLOOMING GROVE Penn. - Pennsylvania state police swarmed through a long-abandoned resort complex in the Pocono Mountains on Friday as the two-week manhunt for a survivalist suspected in shooting two troopers shifted its focus to the sprawling property.

Obama administration seeks more protection for military borrowers

WASHINGTON - The Obama administration on Friday proposed changes to current lending rules toward military personnel and their families, to expand protections from predatory practices on a wider variety of loans and financial products such as credit cards.

Fire grounds flights in Chicago, snarls air traffic

CHICAGO - All flights into and out of Chicago's O'Hare and Midway international airports were grounded early on Friday due to a fire at an air traffic control tower, snarling traffic nationwide ahead of the weekend.

Texas meat packer recalls beef products for possible E.coli

CHICAGO - A Texas meat processing plant has recalled 23,100 pounds of beef trimmings products for possible contamination with the E.coli bacteria, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced late Thursday.

Rookies Reed, Spieth put U.S. on top at Ryder Cup

GLENEAGLES Scotland - United States, inspired by a brilliant display from rookie duo Patrick Reed and Jordan Spieth, led by 2-1/2 points to 1-1/2 after a topsy-turvy opening fourballs session in the 40th Ryder Cup on Friday.

Money talks: Obamacare initiative makes headway in Republican states

HARRISBURG Pennsylvania - President Barack Obama’s plan to extend health coverage to millions of poor Americans remains highly contentious, yet it is gaining momentum among several initially reluctant states where financial pragmatism is trumping ideology.

Montana ex-teacher to be re-sentenced in rape case after outcry

- An ex-teacher from Montana is to be re-sentenced on Friday for raping a 14-year-old student, after a court earlier jailed him for only one month in a judgment that outraged women's rights activists.

Flights in and out of Chicago airports grounded due to fire: FAA

- All flights into and out of Chicago's O'Hare International and Midway International airports were grounded early on Friday due to a fire at an air traffic control facility, the Federal Aviation Administration said.

Los Angeles schools knew of complaints against former teacher: LA Times

- The Los Angeles Unified School District knew of complaints made against a former teacher some 30 years before he was convicted of taking bondage-style photographs of his young students, some with spoonfuls of semen held to their faces, the Los Angeles Times reported on Thursday.

Police, protesters clash at rally in Ferguson, Missouri: CNN, KMOV

- Several protesters were arrested on Thursday night after police clashed with demonstrators at a rally in Ferguson, Missouri, where black teenager Michael Brown was shot to death by a white police officer last month, CNN and KMOV-TV reported.

NBA player arrested in Michigan for domestic assault

- NBA Charlotte Hornets forward Jeffery Taylor was arrested in a Michigan hotel early on Thursday and charged with domestic assault, according to police.

Jury begins retrial of Florida loud music shooting

JACKSONVILLE Fla. - A Florida jury began hearing the retrial on Thursday of Michael Dunn, a middle-aged white man charged with murder after he shot an unarmed black teenager during an argument over loud rap music.

Dutch tourist fined for crashing drone in Yellowstone hot spring

- A Dutch tourist has been ordered to pay penalites of more than $3,000 for crashing a drone aircraft into a famous hot spring at Yellowstone National Park, a park spokesman said on Thursday.

Cuban couple reunited in U.S. after year-long sea odyssey

AUSTIN Texas - Almost a year after he smuggled his way out of Cuba on a homemade boat, Jose Caballero was reunited late Thursday with his wife who survived a harrowing sea voyage of her own last month.

U.S. Attorney General Holder to step down, successor faces array of challenges

WASHINGTON/NEW YORK - Eric Holder said on Thursday he would step down as U.S. attorney general, setting up a potentially bruising Senate fight to confirm a successor who can tackle a long list of pending challenges at the Justice Department.

Two convicted in California of conspiring to join al Qaeda

LOS ANGELES - Two men accused of seeking to join al Qaeda and training to carry out attacks on U.S. military bases and personnel in the Middle East were convicted on federal charges in California Thursday after a trial of more than six weeks, prosecutors said.

Woman accused of hurling shoe at Clinton pleads guilty to trespassing

LAS VEGAS - A woman accused of throwing a shoe at Hillary Clinton in April while the former secretary of state was giving a speech in Las Vegas has pleaded guilty to trespassing on a restricted building, federal prosecutors said on Thursday. 

Four Memphis cops suspended over porta-potty arrest: report

NASHVILLE - Four Memphis police officers have been suspended with pay for tipping over a portable toilet where a suspect had tried to hide, after a video of the Sept. 19 arrest circulated widely on social media, the Commercial Appeal newspaper reported on Thursday.

NYC boosted subway security after Iraq warning: police commissioner

- New York City Police Commissioner William Bratton said on Thursday that the department boosted police presence on subways and city streets after the Iraqi prime minister's warning of a potential threat to transit systems from Islamist militants.

Fewer New York state municipalities in fiscal stress: study

NEW YORK - The number of counties, cities, towns and villages in New York state experiencing fiscal stress fell to 35 in 2013 compared with 40 during the previous year, a report by the state's top financial watchdog showed on Thursday.

ACLU sues over immigrant's detention under Arizona immigration law

PHOENIX - A civil rights group filed a federal lawsuit on Thursday alleging sheriff's deputies unlawfully arrested and detained an immigrant following a 2012 traffic stop under Arizona's controversial anti-immigration law.

Police probe threats to Colorado school board member's child

DENVER - Police in Colorado are investigating alleged threats made to a school board member's child in the state's second-largest school district, where hundreds of students protested this week over proposed curriculum changes, authorities said on Thursday.

Connecticut prosecutors seek new hearing for man convicted of 2007 triple murder

MILFORD Conn. - Connecticut prosecutors are calling for the state Superior Court to hold a hearing to determine if a man sentenced to death for killing a woman and her two daughters in a 2007 home invasion is entitled to a new trial.

Remains of two bodies identified at notorious Florida boys' school

TAMPA Fla. - Two adolescent boys were identified on Thursday from among the remains exhumed from a notorious Florida reform school, where they were buried in unmarked graves over a half century ago, researchers said.

One killed in incident at Oklahoma food distribution center: police

- One woman has been killed and a man transported to the hospital with multiple gunshot wounds on Thursday in what police said was a fight at a Moore, Oklahoma, food distribution center.

Ex-Seattle coach accused of filming scantily clad girls on trips

SEATTLE - A former Seattle private school coach has been indicted on child pornography related charges over accusations he secretly filmed teenage girls changing clothes or exiting the shower on annual cross-border ski trips, a U.S. Attorney's Office official said on Thursday.

Utah opens criminal probe into Stericycle medical waste incinerator

- Utah Governor Gary Herbert asked the state's attorney general on Thursday to open a criminal probe into allegations of misconduct at a medical waste incinerator that environmental activists have accused of polluting the air.

Mentally ill North Carolina prisoner died of dehydration during transfer

WINSTON-SALEM N.C. - A mentally ill North Carolina inmate died from dehydration during a prison transfer last spring, according to an autopsy report released on Thursday about an incident that led to several prison employees losing their jobs.

Uber driver arrested in Florida, accused of fondling female passenger

ORLANDO Fla. - A Florida driver for the online for-hire car service Uber faces battery charges after a female passenger said he fondled her, according to a police report released on Thursday.

Pennsylvania officials in porn email scandal named by attorney general

PHILADELPHIA - Pennsylvania's attorney general on Thursday identified top state officials who received pornographic emails on government computers, reversing course after a long-running fight with reporters who sought the release of the information.

S&P cuts Pennsylvania GO debt rating to 'AA-minus'

- Standard & Poor's Ratings Services on Thursday cut its rating on Pennsylvania's GO debt outstanding to 'AA-minus' from 'AA', citing weakened financial position and increased expenditure pressures. S&P's outlook is stable.

Fired South Carolina trooper charged in shooting of unarmed driver

CHARLESTON S.C. - A South Carolina state trooper who was fired after shooting and wounding an unarmed driver he stopped for a seat belt violation has been charged with aggravated assault and battery, authorities said.

California woman attacked by bear while walking dogs

LOS ANGELES - A California woman was attacked by a 200-pound black bear in a rural area of central California, suffering bites, scratches and a broken rib, state fish and wildlife officials said on Thursday.

New York officials scramble to reassure city after security threat

NEW YORK - A warning by Iraq's prime minister that Islamist militants planned to attack New York City sent political leaders scrambling on Thursday to assure the public it was safe to ride the subways and travel the streets of the nation's largest city.

Tennessee Supreme Court postpones execution amid court challenge

- The Tennessee Supreme Court on Wednesday granted the request of a death row inmate to postpone his execution so that a court challenge to the state's execution methods can work its way through the judicial system, court documents showed.

Utah opens criminal probe into Stericycle medical waste incinerator

- Utah Governor Gary Herbert asked the state's attorney general on Thursday to open a criminal probe into allegations of misconduct at a medical waste incinerator that environmental activists have accused of polluting the air.

Serial killer sentenced to life in prison for three Los Angeles stranglings

LOS ANGELES - A 74-year-old career criminal convicted in the strangling deaths of three women in Los Angeles was sentenced on Thursday to life in prison without the possibility of parole for the crimes committed in the 1980s, prosecutors said.

Third Ebola patient treated in the U.S. free from virus: doctors

CHICAGO - The third U.S. patient to be treated in the United States for Ebola is now free of the virus, doctors at the Nebraska Medical Center and the patient said in a news conference on Thursday.

Suspect in Virginia student abduction held without bond in Texas

GALVESTON Texas - A man suspected of kidnapping a University of Virginia student will be held without bond in Texas pending his extradition to Virginia, a Texas county judge ruled on Thursday.

Woman shoots dead mother of newborn in Georgia to steal her baby: police

ATLANTA - A Tennessee woman who falsely claimed to be pregnant killed a Georgia mother to take that woman’s newborn baby as her own, police said on Thursday.

Police probe parking meter scam in chic Colorado resort

DENVER - Police in the Colorado mountain resort of Aspen are investigating a parking meter scam involving pre-paid debit and credit cards that they say may have cost the city $600,000 in the past couple of years.

Obama says 'significant gap' in global effort to fight Ebola

UNITED NATIONS - U.S. President Barack Obama warned on Thursday that there was still a "significant gap between where we are and where we need to be" in the international response to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa and appealed for more countries to help.

Jury begins hearing retrial of Florida loud music shooting

JACKSONVILLE Fla. - A Florida jury began hearing the retrial on Thursday of Michael Dunn, a middle-aged white man charged with murder after he shot an unarmed black teenager during an argument over loud rap music.

University in Washington state given all-clear after bomb threat

SEATTLE - Police gave the all-clear on Thursday following a bomb threat that forced the evacuation of Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington, emergency officials said.

Police chief issues apology over slain black teen in Missouri

- After weeks of heavy criticism and calls for his ouster, the police chief of Ferguson, Missouri, issued a video apology on Thursday to the parents of Michael Brown, the black teenager shot to death by a white police officer last month.

GM ignition-switch victim's family to accept compensation offer: lawyer

NEW YORK - The family of at least one victim killed in a General Motors Co vehicle with a faulty ignition switch will accept an offer from a program set up to provide compensation for crash injuries and deaths, a lawyer for the family said on Thursday.

Utah will appeal federal judge's 'Sister Wives' bigamy ruling

- Utah will appeal a U.S. federal judge's ruling that declared part of the state's bigamy law unconstitutional and sided with the star of reality television show "Sister Wives" and his four wives, officials said on Thursday.

SEC wins $188 million in Wyly fraud case, may get more than $300 million

NEW YORK - Texas tycoon Sam Wyly and his late brother Charles' estate must pay $187.7 million to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission for a fraudulent offshore scheme, a U.S. judge said on Thursday.

Militant in videos of Americans being beheaded is identified: FBI

WASHINGTON - The masked Islamic State militant in the videos depicting the beheading of two Americans has been identified, FBI Director James Comey said on Thursday, but he did not give the person's name or nationality.

Rain helps firefighters suppress blaze in California's Sierras

LOS ANGELES - Rain and cooler temperatures in California's rugged Sierra Nevada brought welcome relief on Thursday to fire crews battling flames that have destroyed a dozen homes and threatened thousands more during the past two weeks near Lake Tahoe.

U.S. government unaware of purported subway attack plot, U.S. official says

NEW YORK - No one in the U.S. government is aware of a purported plot to attack the U.S. and French subway systems that was revealed on Thursday to journalists by Iraqi's prime minister, a senior U.S. administration official said.

Magnitude 6.2 quake hits Alaska, close to anchorage: USGS

JUNEAU Alaska - A magnitude 6.2 quake hit Alaska on Thursday, close to Anchorage, U.S. Geological Survey said.

Collector auctions rifle purportedly used in 1966 Texas tower killings

DALLAS - A Dallas gun collector is selling what he said is a rifle used in the sniper attack by ex-Marine Charles Whitman, who perched himself atop the University of Texas clock tower in a 1966 shooting spree that killed 16 people and wounded dozens.

U.S. Attorney General Holder, a close Obama ally, to step down

WASHINGTON/NEW YORK - U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, an unapologetic liberal voice and one of President Barack Obama's closest allies, will announce on Thursday he is stepping down after a term marked by advances in civil rights and frequent battles with Republicans in Congress.

Bad U.S. roads force "just in time" manufacturers to plan for 'just in case'

- Some of America’s leanest manufacturers share a fat secret.

California police settle with woman punched by officer for $1.5 million

- A woman who was repeatedly punched in the head by a California Highway Patrol officer has settled her lawsuit for $1.5 million, police said on Wednesday, and the money will be used for her long-term care.

Former NFL player sentenced in North Carolina for mortgage fraud

- A former NFL player was sentenced in North Carolina to almost four years in federal prison for being the ringleader of a multi-million dollar mortgage fraud scheme, officials said on Wednesday.

Venture capitalist Khosla loses California beach access case

SAN FRANCISCO - Vinod Khosla, co-founder of Sun Microsystems and now a prominent venture capitalist, lost a court battle on Wednesday against a coastal protection group that sued the billionaire for closing access to a northern California beach, court records show.

Central America plan foresees infrastructure, energy projects: draft

TEGUCIGALPA - A plan by Central American governments to boost economic growth in the region and cut illegal immigration to the United States foresees major spending on infrastructure and energy projects, a draft of the proposal showed on Wednesday.

Judge denies bid to move Boston Marathon bombing trial out of city

BOSTON - A U.S. judge on Wednesday denied a bid by the accused Boston Marathon bomber to move his trial out of the city that was the site of the worst mass-casualty attack in the United States since Sept. 11, 2001.

Kentucky man charged with making threats against Representatives

LOUISVILLE Ky. - A Kentucky man was charged by a federal grand jury on Wednesday with threatening to kill Republican Representative Andy Barr and his predecessor, former Representative Ben Chandler, a Democrat, prosecutors said.

Police arrest suspect in search for missing Virginia student

- Police have arrested a suspect in connection with the disappearance of a University of Virginia student who has been missing for 11 days, authorities said on Wednesday.

Lawyers for Florida quarterback, accuser, dispute payoff proposal

ORLANDO Fla. - Lawyers involved in the case over rape accusations against Florida State University star quarterback, Jameis Winston, angrily accused each other of seeking a financial payoff to silence his female accuser, according to documents obtained by Reuters on Wednesday.

U.S. to pay Navajo tribe $554 million in landmark settlement

- The Obama administration has agreed to pay the Navajo Nation a record $554 million to settle longstanding claims by America's largest Indian tribe that its funds and natural resources were mishandled for decades by the U.S. government.

Police arrest suspect in search for missing Virginia student

- Police searching for a missing University of Virginia student said the suspect in the case was arrested in Texas with the help of FBI agents on Wednesday, a day after a warrant was issued accusing the man of abduction with the intent to defile.

Kentucky man charged with making threats against Representatives

LOUISVILLE Ky. - A Kentucky man was charged by a federal grand jury on Wednesday with threatening to kill Republican Representative Andy Barr and his predecessor, former Representative Ben Chandler, a Democrat, prosecutors said.

Appeals court clears way for early voting in Ohio

CLEVELAND - A federal appeals court on Wednesday cleared the way for voters in Ohio to begin casting in-person ballots as early as Tuesday, 35 days before the November midterm election.

Washington state pot law author proposes testing sewage to gauge use

SEATTLE - The main author of a Washington state law that legalized recreational marijuana said on Wednesday that testing sewage for the active ingredient in pot could give municipalities a broader and more reliable picture of drug use than traditional surveys.

More U.S. congregations offer sanctuary to those facing deportation

PHILADELPHIA - A growing network of congregations across the United States is volunteering to offer shelter to immigrants facing deportation in a move organizers hope will help spotlight federal inaction on immigration reform.

U.S. to permit commercial drone flights by movie makers: source

- The U.S. government has plans to permit seven movie and television companies to use commercial drone flights for filming inside closed sets as early as Thursday, according to a person familiar with the matter.

At L.A. Clippers, Steve Ballmer prizes team tested by adversity

LOS ANGELES - After Steve Ballmer plunked down $2 billion for the NBA's Los Angeles Clippers, fans might expect the former Microsoft chief executive to be hitting the reset button on a team that has been through a nasty public fight over racism.

Jury seated in north Florida retrial of loud music shooting

JACKSONVILLE Fla. - A jury was seated on Wednesday in the north Florida retrial of a middle-aged white man charged with killing an unarmed black teenager during a dispute over loud rap music.

Jury seated in north Florida retrial of loud music shooting

JACKSONVILLE Fla. - A jury was seated on Wednesday in the north Florida retrial of a middle-aged white man charged with killing an unarmed black teenager during a dispute over loud rap music.

Appeals court clears way for early voting in Ohio

CLEVELAND - A federal appeals court on Wednesday cleared the way for voters in Ohio to begin casting in-person ballots as early as Tuesday, 35 days before the November midterm election.

Mass shootings on the rise in United States, FBI report finds

- Mass shootings have occurred in the United States with increasing frequency over the past 14 years, with 486 people killed in 160 incidents, according to a Federal Bureau of Investigation analysis released on Wednesday.

Pennsylvania ambush suspect spotted several times, police say

BLOOMING GROVE Pa. - The suspect in the killing of a Pennsylvania trooper is playing a cat-and-mouse game in the deep woods of the Pocono Mountains, eluding capture even though trackers have spotted him several times since the Sept. 12 shooting, police said on Wednesday.

ACLU sues Mississippi county over long detentions

- The American Civil Liberties Union has filed a federal lawsuit against a Mississippi county for holding detainees for close to a year without formal charge or access to an attorney, a lawyer for the group said on Wednesday.

Lawyers for Florida quarterback, accuser discussed payment for her silence in rape case: report

ORLANDO Fla. - Lawyers involved in the case over rape accusations against Florida State University quarterback, Jameis Winston, said a financial payoff was discussed in exchange for the silence of his female accuser, but they disagreed over who initiated the idea, according to the Tampa Bay Times newspaper.

Colorado students stage walkouts to protest proposed curriculum

DENVER - Hundreds of high school students in Colorado's second-largest school district staged a walkout on Wednesday to protest proposed changes to a history curriculum that would stress patriotism and discourage civil disobedience.

Misunderstanding leads to Florida mall shooting; suspects die in car crash

ORLANDO Fla. - A shooting in a Florida store began with a misunderstanding when a shopper whistled to get his son's attention and ended with two shot and two dead in a car crash, authorities said on Wednesday.

Auction for Atlantic City's Revel casino adjourned until Tuesday

- Atlantic City, New Jersey, will have to wait until next week to learn who will emerge as the next owner of the shuttered Revel casino hotel, a sleek resort that closed after just two years in operation.

Texas jury starts deliberations in poisoned coffee case

HOUSTON - A Texas jury began deliberations on Wednesday in the case of a Houston breast cancer specialist charged with spiking the coffee of her lover, a fellow cancer specialist, with a compound used in antifreeze.

Harvard names Stephen Blyth to oversee $36 billion endowment

BOSTON - Harvard University said on Wednesday that Stephen Blyth will become president and chief executive of the unit that runs its $36 billion endowment.

Survivalists on FBI 'Most Wanted List' prove elusive

NEW YORK - With the intense manhunt for a survivalist accused of gunning down two Pennsylvania State Police troopers in its second week, Governor Tom Corbett has vowed the quick capture of the man, Eric Matthew Frein.

NY City mayor says son takes phone to school, recommits to lifting ban

NEW YORK - New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio's teenage son, who helped his father's election campaign with a sentimental commercial, may now be influencing his dad to move forward with a new policy for cellphone use in the city's public schools.

Prosecutors will not seek death penalty in hot-car death of Georgia toddler

ATLANTA - Prosecutors will not seek the death penalty against a Georgia man indicted for murder after leaving his 22-month-old son strapped in a hot car for seven hours in June, the local district attorney announced Wednesday.

Seattle judge dismisses every pot ticket for first seven months of year

SEATTLE - A Seattle judge on Wednesday dismissed every citation for public marijuana use written in the first seven months of this year after city officials said the tickets were disproportionately handed out to black men.

GM compensation fund makes first offers to victims, gets more claims

DETROIT - The fund to compensate for deaths or injuries linked to General Motors Co vehicles with faulty ignition switches this week made its first cash offers to about 15 people, the office of the lawyer overseeing the program said on Wednesday.

Los Angeles officials give initial OK to $15.37 minimum wage for hotel workers

LOS ANGELES - Workers at large Los Angeles hotels would see their wages rise to $15.37 an hour under a measure given preliminary approval by city leaders on Wednesday that would grant employees in that sector one of the highest wage floors in the nation.

Appeals court overturns ruling that halted Wisconsin campaign probe

MILWAUKEE - A federal appeals court on Wednesday overturned an earlier ruling that had halted an investigation in Wisconsin into possible illegal coordination between Governor Scott Walker's campaign and special interest groups in 2011 and 2012 elections.

Two victims identified in shooting at UPS facility in Alabama

BIRMINGHAM Ala. - Authorities on Wednesday released the names of the victims killed a day earlier in a murder-suicide at a UPS facility in Alabama, where police said an employee who had been fired shot dead two supervisors before turning the gun on himself.

White House tells universities to police work on dangerous pathogens

CHICAGO/NEW YORK - The White House on Wednesday charged U.S. universities with policing their research on dangerous pathogens that could be used both for legitimate purposes and for biowarfare or bioterrorism.

California town approves coyote trapping after spike in pet attacks

LOS ANGELES - Officials in a Southern California suburb beset by a surge in coyote attacks on pets, including a small dog snatched from its owner's living room, have approved a plan to trap and kill some of the wild canines roaming the town.

NYC officer accused of slamming pregnant woman to pavement

NEW YORK - New York City's police department said on Wednesday it launched an internal investigation into a complaint that an officer slammed a pregnant woman to the ground during an altercation on a Brooklyn street.

Huge California mudslide may have been triggered by drought

- (Story corrects first two paragraphs to say "National Forest" instead of "National Park")

Illinois top court to review Altria $10.1 billion cigarette verdict

- The Illinois Supreme Court on Wednesday agreed to hear Philip Morris USA's appeal of a $10.1 billion verdict accusing the Altria Group Inc unit of misleading consumers about the risks of smoking "light" cigarettes.

Ohio grand jury decides not to charge officers in Walmart shooting

- An Ohio grand jury on Wednesday decided not to press charges against two police officers who fatally shot a man while he held a pellet gun at a Dayton-area Walmart in August, prosecutors said.

NYC transportation plan may not be funded for years: official

NEW YORK - New York's Mass Transportation Authority passed a 5-year investment program with a $15.2 billion shortfall on Wednesday, and its chief executive said it may take years before the agency secures full funding.

Philadelphia judge pleads guilty to fraud counts after FBI sting

- A Philadelphia municipal court judge pleaded guilty on Wednesday to wire fraud and mail fraud charges after a year-long FBI sting operation that caught him soliciting cash payments and seeking to influence pending cases.

Quarterman, regulator for U.S. oil trains, to step down: sources

WASHINGTON - Cynthia Quarterman, the federal regulator who oversaw expansion of the U.S. oil train sector and the fallout from several fiery derailments, will step down, two sources familiar with her intentions said on Wednesday.

Suspect in killing of U.S. teaching assistant detained in Chile

SANTIAGO - The suspect charged in the apparent murder of Erica Faith Hagan, a young U.S. psychologist, should remain in custody while the investigation into the death continues, a Chilean appeals court unanimously ruled on Wednesday.

Former Ohio congressman Traficant critical after farm accident: police

CLEVELAND - Former U.S. congressman James Traficant of Ohio, who served seven years in prison for bribery, tax evasion and other crimes, was hospitalized in critical condition on Wednesday after a tractor he was riding rolled over on him, police said.

Washington police to test body video cameras

WASHINGTON - Washington police will test body-worn video cameras, joining a trend by law enforcement nationwide to record how officers interact with the public, officials in the U.S. capital said on Wednesday.

Central America plan foresees infrastructure, energy projects-draft

TEGUCIGALPA - A plan by Central American governments to boost economic growth in the region and cut illegal immigration to the United States foresees major spending on infrastructure and energy projects, a draft of the proposal showed on Wednesday.

Grandmother of girl killed by Detroit police testifies at trial

DETROIT - The grandmother of a girl killed by a Detroit police officer wept on the witness stand on Wednesday as she described how the 7-year-old was shot in the head while she was sleeping.

Wichita boxer crushed to death by six-ton tank: police

- A Kansas boxer with Olympic aspirations was killed when a six-ton steel tank he was sandblasting fell on him, police and local media said on Wednesday.

Grand jury decision in Tony Stewart case to be announced Wednesday

- A grand jury investigating a fatal dirt-track incident involving three-time NASCAR champion Tony Stewart has completed its review and the results will be announced on Wednesday afternoon, prosecutors said.

Montana prosecutor seeks 10 years in prison for ex-teacher who raped student

- A Montana prosecutor recommended to a judge on Wednesday that an ex-teacher from Billings who spent just a month in jail for raping a 14-year-old girl be resentenced to serve 10 years in prison.

U.S. immigration agents arrest 19 for human rights violations

WASHINGTON - U.S. immigration agents have arrested 19 fugitives sought for human rights violations committed in other countries, Immigration and Customs Enforcement said on Wednesday.

New Jersey weighs crumbling roads, bridges vs gas tax hike

Montclair N.J. - The New York City suburb of Montclair, New Jersey, may be picturesque, but its roads are a mess. More than half of its 82 miles of roadways are in poor or fair condition.

Clemson University halts fraternity activities after student death

CHARLESTON S.C. - Clemson University has suspended activities for its 24 fraternities following the death of a student and recent reports of inappropriate behavior, school officials said.

Driver charged in fatal Delaware tour bus crash

- A New York tour bus driver faces charges after his bus crashed on a Delaware highway, killing two women and injuring several other people, authorities said late Tuesday.

Exclusive: Oil company rewrites its history, may aid founder's divorce case

OKLAHOMA CITY - Oil driller Continental Resources Inc has been revising its corporate history in ways that diminish the publicly traded company’s accomplishments under CEO Harold Hamm, part of a legal strategy that might help Hamm avoid the largest divorce award in U.S. history.

Houston jury clears Patti LaBelle's bodyguards of assault

AUSTIN Texas - A Houston jury cleared bodyguards of Grammy Award-winning singer Patti LaBelle in a lawsuit filed by a former West Point cadet who claimed they beat him so badly he had to drop out of the military academy.

Houston jury clears Patti LaBelle's bodyguards of assault

AUSTIN Texas - A Houston jury cleared bodyguards of Grammy Award-winning singer Patti LaBelle in a lawsuit filed by a former West Point cadet who claimed they beat him so badly he had to drop out of the military academy.

Massachusetts house where dead babies were found to be razed

BOSTON - Officials in Blackstone, Massachusetts, ordered the owner of a home where a 31-year-old woman was found living with the bodies of three of her dead children to tear the structure down.

Ex-convict seeking comeback leads race for Providence mayor: poll

BOSTON - Former Providence, Rhode Island, mayor Vincent "Buddy" Cianci, who served five years in prison after being convicted of racketeering, is leading in his bid to reclaim the job he held for 22 of the past 50 years, a poll released on Wednesday found.

Yale endowment posts 20 percent return, besting rival Harvard

BOSTON - Yale University's endowment posted a 20.2 percent return in the 2014 fiscal year, the school said on Wednesday, besting Ivy League rivals such as Harvard and Dartmouth.

NFL sponsors should sever ties over scandals, majority in poll say

NEW YORK - More than half of Americans believe that brands should drop their sponsorship deals with the National Football League over its handling of players accused of domestic violence, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll.

Chicago O'Hare airport terminal evacuated due to unattended bag

CHICAGO - Chicago's O'Hare International Airport's Terminal 1 was evacuated on Wednesday and some United Airlines flights delayed as the police bomb squad looked into an unattended bag, the city's aviation department and local media reports said.

Florida poll shows Scott and Crist neck and neck in nasty campaign

TALLAHASSEE Fla. - Months of mud-slinging by Florida Governor Rick Scott and former Governor Charlie Crist have made voters distrust both men in a hot race that is too close to call, according to a new poll released Wednesday.

Fire at memorial to slain teen, evening violence fuels tensions in Missouri

- A window was smashed as a crowd filled the streets late on Tuesday evening in Ferguson, Missouri, hours after a fire destroyed a makeshift memorial honoring the black teenager killed last month by a white police officer, officials said.

Three Seattle schools sealed off as man opens fire, attempts kidnap

SEATTLE - Three Seattle schools ordered students to "shelter in place" after a man opened fire with a handgun in the area and tried to lure several children into a car, police said late on Tuesday.

Oregon man sues Costco, claims store security broke his leg

PORTLAND Ore. - An Oregon man has sued Costco for $670,000, claiming store security detained him and broke his leg after he refused to show his receipt when exiting the building.

Fired UPS worker kills two supervisors, self, in Alabama shooting

BIRMINGHAM Ala. - A recently-fired UPS employee on Tuesday shot dead two supervisors at the company facility where he had worked in Birmingham, Alabama, before turning the gun on himself, police said.

Louisiana 14-year-old shot dead by police after altercation

NEW ORLEANS - A 14-year-old boy was shot dead during an altercation with a police officer who was investigating reports of armed males entering an abandoned house in a small city near New Orleans, Louisiana state police said on Tuesday.

Four injured in 'flash fire' at EOG Resources Wyoming natgas plant

- Four workers were injured on Tuesday in a storage tank fire at a natural gas production facility at top gas producer EOG Resources Inc in Wyoming, the company said.

Central American countries offer plan to curb migration to U.S.

NEW YORK - The governments of Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala presented U.S. officials with a plan on Tuesday to boost economic growth in the poor countries and stem the flow of migration to the United States.

Alaska elections office ordered to expand language assistance

JUNEAU Alaska - A federal judge has ordered Alaska election officials to go further in offering translation assistance to native-language voters in a ruling that one civil rights lawyer said on Tuesday may have implications for non-English speakers in other states.

Turtles band members win copyright dispute against Sirius XM

- A U.S. judge has sided with members of the 1960s band the Turtles in their dispute with Sirius XM Holdings Inc, ruling the satellite radio provider infringed on copyrights by airing their pre-1972 songs without paying royalties.

Florida mall, tech college evacuated after shooting

ORLANDO Fla. - A mall and nearby technical college in Kissimmee, Florida, were evacuated on Tuesday after shots were fired at a clothing store and two possible suspects were killed after crashing their car nearby, police said.

Arrest warrant issued for suspect in Virginia student's abduction

- Police issued an arrest warrant on Tuesday for a suspect in connection with the disappearance of a University of Virginia student who has been missing for 10 days.

Arrest warrant issued for suspect in Virginia student's abduction

- Police issued an arrest warrant on Tuesday for a suspect in connection with the disappearance of a University of Virginia student who was reported missing earlier this month.

White House gets second barrier after fence jumping

WASHINGTON - A second fence has been erected along part of the White House grounds, pushing tourists and passersby farther away after a fence jumper got into the executive mansion.

Firefighters advance on blaze in California's Sierras

LOS ANGELES - Fire crews in California's rugged Sierra Nevada tightened their grip on Tuesday on a fierce blaze that has destroyed a dozen homes and threatened thousands more as it raged for an 11th day through drought-parched timber west of Lake Tahoe.

Arizona congressional candidate denounces ad by gun control group

- A Republican in a hotly contested Arizona congressional race fought back on Tuesday against an attack ad by gun control advocates, saying she has always favored barring stalkers from owning guns and dismissing suggestions to the contrary as "vile tactics."

Connecticut man arrested after driving stolen car to meeting with cops

NEW HAVEN Conn. - A 26-year-old Connecticut man was in police custody on Tuesday after showing up to a phony probation meeting driving a car that police say he stole from a woman in a supermarket parking lot and later may have used to rob a bank.

Man charged with buying Texas school board votes with cocaine

SAN ANTONIO - A campaign manager working in the south Texas town of Donna has been charged with buying votes in a school board election by paying voters with cash and cocaine, U.S. officials said on Tuesday.

Florida State University picks powerful politician as president

TALLAHASSEE Fla. - Florida State University on Tuesday selected a powerful state politician to serve as its next president over the loud objections of angry faculty members and students.

Utah man pleads guilty to hate crime for threatening interracial family

- An elderly Utah man pleaded guilty to a federal hate crime charge on Tuesday for threatening to kill two white members of an interracial family if they did not make an African American relative leave their home, prosecutors said.

Pennsylvania to award one contract to rebuild hundreds of bridges

- It will be winner takes all under an initiative in Pennsylvania to rebuild more than 500 aging bridges via the award of a single contract, part of a national blitz to replace crumbling infrastructure.

Drop in income tax collections depressed state revenue: Census

DETROIT - A surprisingly large decline in U.S. states' income tax collections helped depress state revenue for the entire second quarter, U.S. Census data released on Tuesday showed.

New York politicians criticize anti-Islam ads due to run on buses

NEW YORK - New York City politicians and religious leaders on Tuesday criticized a series of anti-Islam advertisements due to appear on 100 city buses, with many critics calling for the campaign to be blocked.

Trial starts for Texas woman accused of 'black widow' murder

FORT WORTH Texas - Prosecutors told a Texas court a woman shot her husband dead for insurance money and then launched a plot to frame someone else for the crime, as testimony started on Tuesday in a cased dubbed the "black widow" murder.

Nine Cubans arrive on south Florida beach after 10 days in boat

KEY BISCAYNE Fla. - Nine Cubans came ashore in a homemade boat on a south Florida beach on Tuesday afternoon saying they had been at sea for 10 days, according to eyewitnesses.

U.S. security officials issue bulletin on Syria-based threat

WASHINGTON - U.S. security agencies issued an intelligence bulletin on Tuesday about threats from Syria-based al Qaeda operatives, a Homeland Security spokeswoman said.

Pennsylvania police pull back near home of ambush suspect's parents

CANADENSIS Pa. - Pennsylvania police on Tuesday re-opened blockaded roads in the immediate vicinity of the house where the suspect in a fatal ambush of a state trooper lived until recently, scaling back a massive manhunt in the dense forests around the home.

Obama's Syria war carries risks for him at home and abroad

UNITED NATIONS/WASHINGTON - Appearing relaxed enough to crack a joke, U.S. President Barack Obama took to the world stage on Tuesday after launching airstrikes in Syria against Islamic State militants but he is still facing huge political risks at home and abroad.

Woman bound in trunk of Los Angeles area car rescued after calling 911

LOS ANGELES - A woman bound in the trunk of her car in the Los Angeles area managed to call emergency responders on a cell phone to say she had been kidnapped, and was rescued with the help of a GPS tracker, an official said on Tuesday.

Atlantic City's Revel casino heads to sale as late bids emerge

- At least two last-minute bids were received on Tuesday for Atlantic City's Revel casino, which closed this month, setting up an auction to challenge an agreed sale to a Florida developer.

Six L.A. sheriff's deputies sentenced to federal prison

LOS ANGELES - Six current or former Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies who were convicted of conspiring to thwart an FBI probe into prisoner abuse and other misconduct inside the largest U.S. jail system were sentenced on Tuesday to prison terms of up to 41 months. 

Texas drops plan to allow liquor sales at gun shows

SAN ANTONIO - The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission withdrew a proposal on Tuesday to allow liquor sales at gun shows after being criticized over the potentially dangerous combination.

Seattle imposes fine for too many food scraps in the garbage

SEATTLE - Seattle residents who throw too many pizza crusts, coffee grounds and uneaten leftovers in their regular garbage will now face a fine, in one of the toughest mandatory composting efforts in the country, officials said on Tuesday.

Obama calls for closer U.S. ties to civil groups overseas

NEW YORK - President Obama on Tuesday said U.S. agencies working overseas will forge stronger ties with civil groups in other countries to help fight against attacks on human rights and freedom of expression.

Harvard endowment grows to $36.4 billion, nears pre-crisis level

BOSTON - Harvard University said Tuesday its $36 billion endowment posted a 15.4 percent return in fiscal 2014 as in-house bond managers and outside hedge funds teamed up to easily beat the portfolio's 14.6 percent benchmark return.

Washington city council passes concealed-carry gun law

WASHINGTON - The Washington city council passed emergency gun legislation on Tuesday requiring residents and visitors to adhere to strict guidelines to carry a concealed weapon in the U.S. capital.

New U.S. migrant detention center to be run by firm criticized by advocates

WASHINGTON - U.S. officials on Tuesday announced plans to open a detention facility to house migrant Central American women and children to be run by Corrections Corporation of America, a company criticized by rights groups for conditions at other facilities it operates.

Chicago Mayor Emanuel proposes decriminalizing pot in Illinois

CHICAGO - Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel asked Illinois lawmakers on Tuesday to reform sentencing for low-level drug offenses, which would include ticketing rather than arresting people caught with small amounts of marijuana.

Veteran judge nominated for Delaware Supreme Court

- Delaware Gov. Jack Markell nominated James Vaughn, a 15-year veteran of the state's Superior Court, to the Delaware Supreme Court, which plays a key role in interpreting U.S. corporate law.

Fire at memorial to slain teen adds to tensions in Ferguson, Missouri

- City leaders in Ferguson, Missouri, faced heightened tensions on Tuesday after an early morning fire destroyed a makeshift memorial honoring the black teenager killed last month by a white police officer.

White House gets second barrier after fence jumping

WASHINGTON - A second fence has been erected along part of the White House grounds, pushing tourists and passersby farther away after a fence jumper got into the executive mansion.

Idaho woman accused of chewing up back seat of police car

SALMON Idaho - An Idaho woman accused of chewing up the back seat of a police cruiser after being arrested in a pepper spray incident could face up to five years in prison if convicted of a felony charge linked to the damage, authorities said on Tuesday.

Opponents challenge Arizona's 'revenge porn' law in court

- A civil rights group filed a federal lawsuit on Tuesday on behalf of booksellers, newspapers and others against Arizona's so-called "revenge porn" law, which makes it a felony to post intimate images of others online without their consent.

Arizona inmate recaptured after climbing basketball hoop to escape

PHOENIX - Authorities have recaptured a physically fit felon who scaled a basketball hoop to escape from an Arizona detention center and was on the run for more than two months, a top law enforcement official said on Tuesday.

Smoldering fire at Los Angeles port stops container traffic

LOS ANGELES - Thick smoke from a smoldering fire started by a welder's torch at the Port of Los Angeles was preventing the movement of containers at the facility on Tuesday, because air conditions were too harmful for dock workers, officials said.

New York's MTA faces $15.2 billion funding shortfall in infrastructure plan

NEW YORK - New York's Metropolitan Transportation Authority, operator of one of the world's largest public transportation networks, said ahead of a board meeting on Wednesday that it is facing a $15.2 billion shortfall for its infrastructure needs.

One killed in partial building collapse in midtown Manhattan

NEW YORK - A man was struck and killed by falling debris from a building that partially collapsed in midtown Manhattan on Tuesday afternoon, a fire official said.

Chicago Mayor Emanuel proposes decriminalizing pot in Illinois

CHICAGO - Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel asked Illinois lawmakers on Tuesday to reform sentencing for low-level drug offenses, which would include ticketing rather than arresting people caught with small amounts of marijuana.

D'Souza gets community confinement for election law violation

NEW YORK - Conservative author and filmmaker Dinesh D'Souza was sentenced on Tuesday to spend eight months in a community confinement center during five years of probation after pleading guilty to a campaign finance law violation.

U.S. government health agency sees 25 percent increase in Obamacare insurers

- The number of insurers offering individual health plans on the Obamacare exchanges will increase about 25 percent in 2015 and that should keep down prices, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services said on Tuesday in a report.

U.S. soda makers pledge 20 percent calorie cut by 2025

NEW YORK - The largest U.S. soda makers pledged on Tuesday to cut sugary drink calories by 20 percent in 10 years through education, marketing and packaging.

U.S. court halts bitcoin mining operation Butterfly Labs: FTC

WASHINGTON - A U.S. court has shut down Butterfly Labs, a Missouri company the Federal Trade Commission alleges deceptively marketed computers designed to produce bitcoins, the "virtual currency" payment system.

Motorists return to U.S. roads, driving more miles, using less gas

NEW YORK - U.S. motorists drove more miles this summer than at any time since the 2008 financial crisis, according to government data, but the cause and implications of the roadway revival may be different than in years past.

Respiratory illness spreads to more than half of U.S. states: CDC

WINSTON-SALEM N.C. - More than half of U.S. states have confirmed cases of a respiratory illness that has sickened children with symptoms ranging from mild colds to more severe breathing difficulties, according to health officials.

Bin Laden son-in-law sentenced to life in U.S. prison

NEW YORK - A seemingly unrepentant Suleiman Abu Ghaith, a son-in-law of Osama bin Laden, was sentenced to life in prison on Tuesday in New York following his conviction on terrorism charges.

U.S. says will abide by Mine Ban Treaty except on Korean Peninsula

WASHINGTON - The United States edged closer on Tuesday to compliance with the international treaty banning anti-personnel landmines, saying it would abide by key requirements of the 1999 accord everywhere except on the Korean Peninsula.

'Frozen' princess promises hot Christmas for struggling toymaker

- Snow Glow Elsa has a big job ahead of her - even for a princess with magical powers.

Three killed, including shooter, at UPS facility in Alabama

- Three people were killed, including the gunman, in a shooting on Tuesday at a United Parcel Service Inc facility in Alabama, police said.

Emergency call tapes detail slaying of family in Florida

TAMPA Fla. - Florida police released on Tuesday the tape from an emergency call placed last week by a 51-year-old felon in which he said he had just shot his daughter and her six children, adding that he planned to shoot himself when officers arrived.

Alabama toddler drowned in church's baptismal water: coroner

- A toddler found submerged in a tank of baptismal water in an Alabama church died of accidental drowning, the local coroner said on Monday.

Louisiana judge rules state's gay marriage ban unconstitutional

NEW ORLEANS - A Louisiana state judge ruled on Monday in favor of a same-sex couple, saying the state's ban on gay marriage is unconstitutional, advocates said.

About 100 climate protesters arrested in march on Wall Street

NEW YORK - About 100 protesters were arrested on Monday in New York City during a demonstration that at one point blocked streets near the stock exchange to denounce what organizers say is Wall Street's contribution to climate change.

More Americans than ever have never married: survey

WASHINGTON - A record 20 percent of adult Americans, or 42 million people, have never married, marking a U.S. demographic and social shift, according to an analysis released on Wednesday.

Security heightened at Colorado army base after reports of shots fired

- A U.S. Army base in Colorado ordered "an increased security presence" on Monday evening after reports of gun shots on or near the base, Fort Carson authorities said in a statement.

Virgin America flight diverted to Omaha after passenger 'became disruptive'

- A Los Angeles-bound Virgin America Inc flight was diverted to Omaha on Monday after a passenger "became disruptive" and had to be restrained, an airport official said.

Boxing champion Mike Tyson helps Las Vegas crash victim: media

- Former world heavyweight boxing champion Mike Tyson came to the aid of a motorcyclist who crashed on an interstate in Las Vegas last week, U.S. media reported.

Friend of accused Boston bomber seeks to have trial moved

BOSTON - A friend of the accused Boston Marathon bomber charged with lying to investigators has asked a judge to move his trial out of the city.

Boeing, Liquid Robotics to cooperate on maritime surveillance

WASHINGTON - Boeing Co , the No. 2 supplier to the U.S. Defense Department, and Liquid Robotics, a top supplier of autonomous ocean vehicles, on Tuesday said they had signed a multiyear agreement to collaborate on products for maritime surveillance.

White House intruder had 800 rounds of ammunition in car: prosecutor

WASHINGTON - A decorated Iraq war veteran who scaled a fence on Friday night and got into the White House had more than 800 rounds of ammunition in his car and had been arrested in July with a sniper rifle and a map on which the executive mansion was marked, a federal prosecutor said on Monday.

Police search apartment of man seen with missing Virginia student

- Police searching for a missing University of Virginia student issued a wanted poster for a man in the case on Monday and searched his apartment, a city spokeswoman said.

Judge in Colorado cinema massacre case mulls letting cameras in trial

CENTENNIAL Colo. - A judge presiding over the Colorado theater massacre criminal case heard arguments on Monday about whether to allow cameras at the murder trial of accused gunman James Holmes, something both prosecutors and defense lawyers oppose.

Pennsylvania police ambush suspect believed hiding in remote woods

BLOOMING GROVE Pa. - Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett said on Monday that police believed the survivalist suspected of killing a state trooper and wounding another was still hiding in a remote part of the Pocono Mountains, as an intensive manhunt entered its 11th day.

Closing statements made in Texas voter ID case

AUSTIN Texas - A U.S. judge heard closing arguments on Monday in a lawsuit challenging a state law requiring Texas voters to show identification at the polls, which plaintiffs argue is an attempt to suppress minority turnout.

Grizzly bear injures hunter in Wyoming mountains

- A female grizzly bear with cubs attacked and injured a bow hunter in the mountains of western Wyoming not far from where a bear recently killed a Utah man conducting research for the U.S. Forest Service, authorities said Monday.  

U.S. court revives case accusing RBS' NatWest of aiding Hamas

NEW YORK - A U.S. appeals court on Monday revived lawsuits against National Westminster Bank by about 200 victims of attacks in Israel attributed to Hamas who are seeking to hold the bank liable for handling transactions linked to the group.

Former Miami-area mayor found guilty of corruption

MIAMI - A Miami jury found a south Florida mayor guilty of corruption charges on Monday stemming from an undisclosed consulting job he took for a healthcare company while in office, as well as illegally using his position to lobby for a construction deal.

Atlantic City's Revel Casino reimagined as elite school

- A Florida developer who made a $90 million offer for Atlantic City's shuttered Revel Casino wants to use the site to help end world hunger, cancer, and resolve other pressing issues like nuclear waste storage.

Arizona judge bars same-day coverage of Arias penalty phase retrial

PHOENIX - An Arizona judge has rejected another bid by media organizations to air same-day footage of the penalty phase retrial of Jodi Arias that will decide whether she should be executed for killing her ex-boyfriend, documents showed on Monday.

High-profile New York event highlights Clinton's 'elite' image

NEW YORK - When Hillary Clinton rubs shoulders with financial executives and philanthropic giants at the Clinton Global Initiative's meeting this week, it will underscore the tension between her elite connections and populist image likely to feature in her expected 2016 presidential campaign.

U.S. bankruptcy judge hears testimony on Detroit water shutoffs

DETROIT - A federal bankruptcy judge on Monday heard testimony from low-income families in Detroit who say they suffered hardships when the city cut off their water with no warning and are suing to prevent such shutoffs from happening again.

Warnings of drugs, domestic violence in Florida mass murder

TAMPA Fla. - Florida authorities were warned repeatedly about problems in the home of a 51-year-old felon who shot his daughter and her six children before killing himself last week, according to records released on Monday by the state child welfare agency.

Jury chosen in cheating trial of former Atlanta educators

ATLANTA - A jury was chosen Monday in a trial of a dozen former Atlanta educators charged in one of the nation's largest school test-cheating scandals, court officials said.

Prestigious education award shared by schools in Florida, Georgia

ORLANDO Fla. - School districts in Florida and Georgia were named co-winners on Monday of the Broad Prize for Urban Education, recognizing top-performing urban schools that are closing the achievement gap among low-income and minority students.

Animal rights group wants vegan diet for Indiana man accused of cannibalism

Louisville Ky. - An animal-rights group wants an Indiana man accused of murdering his former girlfriend and eating part of her body to receive a vegan diet while he is in custody, saying it could help protect jail staff, a spokesman said on Monday.

Man commits suicide outside Silicon Valley courthouse

- A man shot himself to death outside a courthouse in California's Silicon Valley on Monday and authorities were investigating what prompted the suicide, a police spokesman said.

Arab Bank liable over Hamas attacks: U.S. jury

NEW YORK - A U.S. jury on Monday found Arab Bank Plc liable for providing material support to Hamas and said it must compensate victims of two dozen attacks attributed to the Islamic militant group in Israel and the Palestinian territories.

Arab Bank liable over Hamas attacks: U.S. jury

NEW YORK - A U.S. jury on Monday found Arab Bank Plc liable for providing material support to Hamas and said it must compensate victims of two dozen attacks attributed to the Islamic militant group in Israel and the Palestinian territories.

New York man jailed 23 years dies after wrongful conviction case

NEW YORK - A New York man who spent more than two decades in prison for a murder he was later cleared of died shortly after filing a $124 million lawsuit against the city, his lawyer said on Monday.

Retrial begins in Florida in loud music shooting

JACKSONVILLE Fla. - Jury selection began on Monday in the retrial of a middle-aged white man charged with killing an unarmed black teenager during a dispute over loud rap music.

Leader of Iran sanctions group launches non-profit to fight terror financing

NEW YORK - The leader of a Manhattan-based non-profit that tries to put pressure on Iran by publicly criticizing people and firms who do business there announced on Monday he is launching a new non-profit devoted to tracking terrorist financing.

Heavy rains spur New Mexico evacuations, close caverns park

ALBUQUERQUE N.M. - Heavy rains lingering over southeastern New Mexico from Tropical Storm Odile forced people out of more than 100 houses and kept the popular Carlsbad Caverns National Park closed on Monday.

Judge refuses to cut New York fund manager's 40-year Ponzi sentence

NEW YORK - A federal judge rejected Westgate Capital Management LLC founder James Nicholson's request to shorten his 40-year prison term for running a $140 million Ponzi scheme at his hedge fund firm, likening it to the much larger fraud run by Bernard Madoff.

Highway swallowed by Washington mudslide to reopen, six months later

SEATTLE - A Washington state highway destroyed by a deadly mudslide in March was scheduled to reopen this week, officials said on Monday, as residents of a rural community devastated by the disaster marked its six-month anniversary.

More Americans see influence of religion waning: poll

- Nearly three-quarters of the public think religion is losing influence in American life and a growing number want religion to play more of a role in politics, according to a poll released on Monday.

Ex-New York Mayor Giuliani to defend Activision in Noriega lawsuit

NEW YORK - Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani said on Monday he would defend Activision Blizzard Inc in a lawsuit filed by former Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega over his depiction in the company's popular "Call of Duty: Black Ops II" video game.

Texas soldier beat toddler to death for soiling diaper: police

DALLAS - A Fort Bliss, Texas, soldier beat his 2-year-old daughter to death after he became upset that she soiled her diaper, police said on Monday.

Alaska TV reporter curses, quits on air over marijuana issue

Reuters) - An Alaska television reporter wrapped up a live segment on medical marijuana with a curse and an "I quit," telling viewers she will work instead to legalize pot in the state.

White House intruder to face charges in court

WASHINGTON - The man who jumped the fence at the White House and entered the building in a major security breach was scheduled to appear in court on Monday amid reports that U.S. authorities are considering ways to increase the security buffer surrounding the presidential compound.

Afghan soldiers missing in U.S. after training may seek to defect

BOSTON - Three Afghan National Army soldiers who did not return to a U.S. military base in Massachusetts where they were being trained may be seeking to defect to the United States, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick said on Monday, according to local media.

New Jersey man attacked and killed by black bear, police say

- A man hiking in a heavily wooded area of northern New Jersey was attacked and killed by a black bear during the weekend, police said on Monday.

Murderer escapes from Texas prison

HOUSTON - A murderer escaped from a state prison in Amarillo, Texas, early on Monday, scaling a fence and fleeing as a guard fired six shots at him, officials said.

California wildfire destroys houses, thousands more threatened

- A wildfire sweeping through parts of California's Sierra Nevada mountains has destroyed 10 houses and 22 outbuildings and is threatening thousands of other structures, fire officials said on Sunday.

Woman accused of running granddaughter to death to go on trial

BIRMINGHAM Ala. - An Alabama woman accused of running her 9-year-old granddaughter to death as punishment for eating forbidden chocolates and lying about it was set to go on trial on Monday.

Three Afghan soldiers missing from Massachusetts training exercise

Sept 21 - Three Afghanistan National Army soldiers have been reported missing from a joint military training exercise taking place in Cape Cod, Massachusetts, officials said on Sunday.

Obama tries Reagan touch on economy, but wages weigh

WASHINGTON, Sept 22 - President Barack Obama, stumping for the Democrats ahead of November's congressional elections, has twice invoked Ronald Reagan's seminal campaign question: "Are you better off than you were four years ago?"

NYC police officer dies, 8 hurt in van crash

- A New York City police officer died, and eight others were injured when their van crashed into a barrier in the Bronx on Sunday morning, police said.

Climate protesters pledge to risk arrest during Wall Street sit-in

NEW YORK - Hundreds of protesters plan to risk arrest on Monday during an unsanctioned blockade in New York City's financial district to call attention to what organizers say is Wall Street's contribution to climate change.

Retrial to proceed for Florida man who shot teens

JACKSONVILLE Fla. - Jury selection is due to begin on Monday in the north Florida retrial of a white, middle-aged man charged with killing an unarmed black teenager during a dispute about loud rap music.

Searchers say closing in on Pennsylvania police shooter suspect

BLOOMING GROVE Pa. - Searchers found an assault rifle and ammunition hidden in the woods on the ninth day of a massive hunt for a man suspected of attacking two Pennsylvania state troopers, killing one of them, police said on Sunday.

Accused White House intruder is decorated Iraq war veteran

WASHINGTON - The Texas man accused of breaking into the White House while armed with a knife is a U.S. military veteran who was decorated for his service in the Iraq war, the U.S. Army said on Sunday.

Police capture last of five escaped California inmates

- Police have recaptured the last of five inmates, described as armed and dangerous, who escaped from a jail near Fresno, California, authorities said on Sunday.

One dead, dozens wounded when tour bus overturns in Delaware

- A tour bus with about 50 passengers overturned on a Delaware highway on Sunday, leaving one woman dead and sending the others to hospital with injuries ranging from mild to severe, state police said.

Selling Mitch McConnell: What's love got to do with it?

PADUCAH Ky - Mitch McConnell is hardly a lovable guy. The Republican leader in the U.S. Senate has a dour public persona and many of his constituents don't view him as a "real Kentuckian," according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll that underscores what his election campaign already knows - McConnell has an image problem.

Former NFL kicker Bironas dies in Nashville car wreck

- Former Tennessee Titans’ kicker Rob Bironas died late Saturday in a single-vehicle car crash in Nashville, police said on Sunday.

California wildfire destroys 10 houses, 22 other structures

- Ten houses and 22 outbuildings have been destroyed in a wildfire that swept through parts of the Sierra Nevada mountains in California over the past week and continues to burn, a fire official said on Sunday.

U.S. senator says no place for violence in NFL

WASHINGTON - Women of the U.S. Senate have taken notice and will speak up about how the National Football League has handled domestic abuse cases involving its players, a leading lawmaker said on Sunday.

Arrest warrant issued for man seen with missing Virginia student: police

- An arrest warrant has been issued for the 32-year-old man police have identified as a person of interest in the disappearance of a University of Virginia student, Charlottesville Police Chief Tim Longo said on Sunday.

Massive New York march aims to focus world's eyes on climate change

NEW YORK - World leaders including U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon were set to join farmers, fishermen, children and others in a massive demonstration on Sunday to demand action on climate change.

Florida prison system fires 32 guards after inmate deaths: Miami Herald

- The secretary of Florida's prison system has fired nearly three dozen guards in the wake of the recent scrutiny given to inmate deaths across the state during recent years, the Miami Herald newspaper reported.

Police search for five escaped California inmates

- One day after a jail break near Fresno, California, a large-scale search was underway on Saturday for five escaped inmates, three accused of attempted murder, authorities said.

U.S. Secret Service investigates after man jumps White House fence, reaches doors

WASHINGTON - A man jumped over the White House fence and made it to the front doors of the executive mansion before being apprehended on Friday, sparking an evacuation within the complex shortly after President Barack Obama departed for the weekend.

Man arrested for trespassing at White House day after security breach

WASHINGTON - A man was arrested on Saturday for trespassing at the White House, one day after an intruder from Texas scaled a fence and made it inside the doors of the executive mansion while President Barack Obama was away, the Secret Service said.

Person of interest named in hunt for missing Virginia student

- Police looking for a missing University of Virginia student identified a 32-year-old man, Jesse Leroy Matthew Jr, as a person of interest in the case on Saturday, a day after searching his car and apartment.

White House intruder was armed with knife: officials

WASHINGTON - The Texas man arrested on Friday for charging at the White House was armed with a knife when he climbed a fence and made it into the executive mansion after President Barack Obama had departed, the U.S. Attorney's Office said on Saturday.

Man charged with killing NFL player Peterson's son released on bond: report

- A South Dakota man charged last year with killing NFL star Adrian Peterson's 2-year-old son has been released on $2 million bond, U.S. media reported on Saturday.

Man arrested for trespassing at White House day after security breach

WASHINGTON - A man was arrested on Saturday for trespassing at the White House, one day after an intruder from Texas scaled a fence and made it inside the doors of the executive mansion while President Barack Obama was away, the Secret Service said.

Tour boat runs aground near Statue of Liberty; none injured

NEW YORK - A large sailboat ran aground on a sandbar near the Statue of Liberty in New York on Saturday, triggering the evacuation of all 121 tourists aboard but causing no injuries, authorities said on Saturday.

U.S. Secret Service increases security around White House after breach

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Secret Service has increased security measures along the road in front of the White House where a man scaled a fence on Friday and got inside the doors of the executive mansion, the agency said in a statement on Saturday.

U.S. immigration protesters drop U.S. border blockade plan

DALLAS - A plan by U.S. protesters against illegal immigration to block traffic at more than a dozen border crossings in the southwest on Saturday was canceled after organizers said they received online threats from Mexican drug cartels.

Organizers say Los Angeles rejects giant street waterslide plan

LOS ANGELES - Authorities in Los Angeles have rejected a plan to set up a water slide down a city street that drew criticism from conservationists in the drought-hit state, organizers said.

Kentucky firefighter dies after ice bucket challenge accident

LOUISVILLE KY. - A Kentucky firefighter who was severely injured a month ago while helping college students take part in an "ice-bucket" fundraiser died on Saturday from his injuries, authorities said.

California governor rejects bills to help men change diapers

- California Governor Jerry Brown on Friday vetoed two bills that aimed to make baby diaper changing tables in public restrooms as accessible to men as they are to women.

Kentucky preservation society cracking century old bourbons

LOUISVILLE Ky. - A Louisville preservation society will raise a glass in December to toast the end of the Prohibition Era, but not with just any ordinary drink.

Pennsylvania police shooter manhunt near home of suspect's parents

CANADENSIS PA. - A massive police manhunt intensified on Friday for the gunman who killed an officer and wounded another in an ambush at a Pennsylvania state police barracks a week ago.

Pope names moderate as Chicago archbishop, key role in U.S. Church

VATICAN CITY - Pope Francis, in his first major appointment in the hierarchy of the Catholic Church in the United States, on Saturday named Bishop Blase Cupich as the new archbishop of Chicago.

Part of White House evacuated; Obama not present: witnesses

WASHINGTON - White House staff and reporters were evacuated on Friday night by the Secret Service because an intruder was spotted running on the grounds of the complex shortly after President Barack Obama had left the building, witnesses said.

Person of interest identified in hunt for missing Virginia student

- Police looking for a missing University of Virginia student have identified a person of interest and searched his car and apartment on Friday in what they said was a "major break" in the case.

American Airlines reaches tentative deal with flight attendants

NEW YORK - American Airlines Group Inc said on Friday it struck a tentative contract agreement with the Association of Professional Flight Attendants, an important step in finalizing a deal with 24,500 U.S.-based stewards at the airline.

California lawyer faces discipline for phony celebrity photo-ops

LOS ANGELES - A Los Angeles attorney may have her law license suspended after a state bar investigation found that she had superimposed images of herself into numerous celebrity photographs posted on her website's "publicity" page.

Baltimore judge approves $190 million deal on secret gynecological photos

BALTIMORE - A Baltimore judge on Friday approved a $190 million settlement to compensate thousands of women who were secretly photographed by a now-deceased Johns Hopkins Hospital gynecologist during exams.

Texas governor orders National Guard to look for dead immigrants

SAN ANTONIO - Texas Governor Rick Perry on Friday ordered the Texas National Guard to search for the bodies of undocumented immigrants who have died by the hundreds in a remote part of the state as they attempted to walk to southern cities hundreds of miles (km) away.

Poisoned Texas doctor says lover gave him 'sweet tasting' coffee

HOUSTON - A Texas doctor, who prosecutors said was poisoned by an obsessed colleague and lover, testified on Friday in her criminal trial that the woman served him a sweet cup of coffee one morning even though he preferred his black.

Goodell tackles NFL domestic abuse crisis with vow to reform

NEW YORK - A chastened NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said on Friday that the league's poor response to its domestic violence crisis will prompt an overhaul of how it deals with player behavior and punishment in America's most popular sports league.

U.S. Secret Service investigates after man jumps White House fence, reaches doors

WASHINGTON - A man jumped over the White House fence and made it to the front doors of the executive mansion before being apprehended on Friday, sparking an evacuation within the complex shortly after President Barack Obama departed for the weekend.

Exclusive: Angry with Washington, 1 in 4 Americans open to secession

BOSTON - The failed Scottish vote to pull out from the United Kingdom stirred secessionist hopes for some in the United States, where almost a quarter of people are open to their states leaving the union, a new Reuters/Ipsos poll found.

Weather helps crews make gains against California wildfire

LOS ANGELES - Fire crews in California's rugged Sierra Nevada seized on a break in the weather on Friday to slowly gain ground against a blaze threatening to destroy 12,000 homes as it roared for a seventh day through dry timber and brush west of Lake Tahoe.

Missing Texas deputy found dead in Lake Austin

- The search for a missing Texas sheriff deputy who was swept away during heavy rains in Austin earlier this week concluded on Friday when police discovered her body in a nearby lake, officials said.

Exclusive: Angry with Washington, 1 in 4 Americans open to secession

BOSTON - The failed Scottish vote to pull out from the United Kingdom stirred secessionist hopes for some in the United States, where almost a quarter of people are open to their states leaving the union, a new Reuters/Ipsos poll found.

Utah doctor sentenced to 15 years to life for wife’s 2007 murder

SALT LAKE CITY - A Utah judge sentenced a former doctor to 15 years to life in prison on Friday for murdering his wife by drugging her with a powerful cocktail of painkillers and holding her head underwater in a bathtub until she drowned, court records show.

University of California votes not to divest from fossil fuels

LOS ANGELES - The University of California voted on Friday to maintain its investments in fossil fuels, frustrating a student-led effort to divest its portfolio in oil, natural gas and coal.

Police check car, apartment in search for missing Virginia student

- Police looking for a missing University of Virginia student searched a car and apartment on Friday in a major break in the case, a police spokeswoman said.

Texas triple murder suspect kills self in jail: authorities

- A 63-year-old man charged with killing three adults and wounding a child during a shooting spree at a trailer park in Corpus Christi, Texas, committed suicide in his jail cell, police said on Friday.

North Carolina court releases money in halted school voucher program

WINSTON-SALEM N.C. - About 1,900 North Carolina students will be allowed to receive public money to attend private schools despite a finding by a judge that the scholarship program is unconstitutional, the state's Court of Appeals ruled on Friday.

White House anti-assault campaign uses stars, sports to reach campuses

WASHINGTON - U.S. President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden, who have long talked about the need to curb sexual assault at universities, got some help on Friday from the people many young adults actually listen to: celebrities and athletes.

Detroit council approves regional water authority deal

DETROIT - The Detroit City Council on Friday approved the creation of a regional water authority, pushing forward an integral part of the city's plan to exit the biggest-ever municipal bankruptcy.

Connecticut university sounds 'all clear' after bomb threat

BOSTON - Four buildings were briefly evacuated at Western Connecticut State University in Danbury on Friday afternoon after an emailed bomb threat, and all were cleared after being checked by police bomb-sniffing dogs, officials said.

Former Connecticut Governor Rowland found guilty of campaign law violations

NEW HAVEN Conn. - Former Connecticut Governor John Rowland violated U.S. election laws by taking under-the-table payments from a business owned by the husband of a candidate whose campaign he secretly advised, a federal jury found on Friday.

Man freed after ramming truck into Las Vegas casino commits suicide

- A man, who was ordered released from jail after ramming his truck through the glass doors of a Las Vegas casino last week, has hanged himself in a nearby hotel, Nevada officials said on Friday.

California bill would help protect franchisee business investments

LOS ANGELES - When Kathryn Slater-Carter learned her family would lose $1.5 million after McDonald's Corp did not renew the franchise agreement on one of their restaurants in the San Francisco suburbs, she tried for a second time to change state law to protect franchisee investments.

Ten Commandments marker can stay at Oklahoma Capitol: judge

- An Oklahoma judge on Friday dismissed a lawsuit that sought the removal of a Ten Commandments monument from state Capitol grounds as an unconstitutional use of public property to endorse religion.

Baltimore judge approves $190 million deal on secret gynecological photos

BALTIMORE - A Baltimore judge on Friday approved a $190 million settlement to compensate thousands of women who were secretly photographed by a now-deceased Johns Hopkins Hospital gynecologist during exams.

Los Angeles iPad rollout for schools slowed by technical challenges: report

LOS ANGELES - An ambitious $1.3 billion program to provide an iPad or other device to every Los Angeles public school student has been slowed by technical challenges, with curriculum that was supposed to be built into the technology often incomplete, an independent report has found.

Protests planned to target U.S. southern border entry ports

DALLAS - American citizens describing themselves as "deeply concerned" with Obama administration immigration policies plan a mass protest on Saturday to press their demand to seal the southern border by blocking traffic at more than a dozen U.S. crossings.

Pathologist reviews autopsy of man killed in NY police choke hold

NEW YORK - A prominent pathologist hired by the family of Eric Garner, a man killed by New York City police in July during an arrest involving a banned choke hold, said on Friday his review of the autopsy confirmed earlier findings that Garner's windpipe was crushed.

Purdue University shooter gets 65 years, shows no remorse

LAFAYETTE Ind. - A former Purdue University student was sentenced on Friday to 65 years in prison for shooting and stabbing to death a fellow engineering senior that he envied, in front of about a dozen students in a lab class in January.

Mother, stepfather sought in disappearance of four Mississippi girls

CANTON Miss - The mother and stepfather of four young Mississippi girls missing for nearly two weeks are being sought by authorities in connection with their disappearance, with the girls feared to be in danger, police said Friday.

Accreditation agency places Corinthian under warning

- Corinthian Colleges Inc said the accreditation agency looking into its placement records has directed the for-profit college to notify its students that it is under warning.

Pennsylvania boy, nine, feared kidnapped on sailboat in Pacific Ocean

SEATTLE - An international search was underway on Friday for a Washington state father who vanished on a sailboat with his 9-year-old son, possibly to islands in the Puget Sound or South Pacific, or to Mexico, officials said.

Three peanut company officials guilty in deadly salmonella outbreak

ATLANTA - Three former peanut company officials were found guilty on Friday in connection with a 2009 salmonella outbreak that killed nine people and sickened hundreds, federal prosecutors said.

Goodell tackles NFL domestic abuse crisis with vow to reform

NEW YORK - A chastened NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said on Friday that the league's poor response to its domestic violence crisis will prompt an overhaul of how it deals with player behavior and punishment in America's most popular sports league.

Virginia storm temporarily halts probe into girls' 1975 disappearance

- Authorities said bad weather on Friday cut short the work of investigators in rural Virginia probing the abduction and murder of two young sisters who disappeared while going to see an Easter exhibit at a Maryland shopping mall nearly 40 years ago.

U.S. Border Patrol, under fire for use of force, to trial body cameras

- The U.S. Border Patrol said body cameras would be trialled for its agents from next month following allegations over abuse and use of excessive force, as Washington gave the agency authority to investigate staff for criminal misconduct.

Police search for answers in grisly Florida murder-suicide

- Florida police will search on Friday for clues to why 51-year-old Don Spirit shot dead his daughter and her six children before turning the gun on himself.

Angelina Jolie surgery sparks surge in female cancer tests: study

LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Hollywood star Angelina Jolie's decision to make public her double mastectomy more than doubled the number of women in Britain seeking to have genetic breast cancer tests, according to a study released on Friday.

In shift, U.S. officials fight release on bond of migrants: lawyers

WASHINGTON - The Obama administration is routinely arguing against the release on bond of Central American women and children at a New Mexico detention center in a policy shift meant to discourage others like them from entering the United States, say lawyers for the detainees.

New evacuations ordered as California wildfire doubles in size

LOS ANGELES - More residents of Northern California mountain communities were told to leave their homes on Thursday after an out-of-control wildfire doubled in size, scorching more than 100 sq m (259 sq km) of drought-parched timber and brush.

Obama to tout U.S. climate plan at U.N. summit

WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama will highlight strides the United States has made on climate change when he addresses a major U.N. climate summit next week, senior administration officials said on Thursday.

Detroit art museum will sue if city's bankruptcy plan not approved

DETROIT - The Detroit Institute of Arts is prepared to sue to prevent the sale of its collection if Detroit's plan for exiting bankruptcy is not approved, the museum's chief operating officer told U.S. Bankruptcy Court on Thursday.

Boarding kennel operators in Arizona sued over 21 dog deaths

PHOENIX - A group of dog owners filed a negligence lawsuit on Thursday against the proprietors of a suburban Phoenix boarding kennel who police said left 21 dogs to die of suffocation and overheating while they took a trip to Florida.

All county sheriffs in Colorado halt federal immigration holds: ACLU

DENVER - Colorado's 64 sheriffs will no longer honor federal government requests to hold suspected illegal immigrants beyond their release date on the charges they were arrested for, the American Civil Liberties Union said on Thursday.

Deputy missing in Texas after patrol car swept away in heavy rain

- Rescue workers were searching on Thursday for a sheriff's deputy whose patrol car was washed downstream at a low water crossing during heavy rains in Austin, Texas, authorities said.

In Barry Bonds appeal, U.S. judges take swings at Justice Department

SAN FRANCISCO - Several U.S. appeals court judges appeared skeptical on Thursday about the Department of Justice's attempt to preserve a criminal conviction against baseball home run king Barry Bonds that resulted from a steroids probe.

U.S. Congress approves arming Syrian rebels, funding government

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Senate approved President Barack Obama's plan for training and arming moderate Syrian rebels to battle Islamic State militants on Thursday, a major part of his military campaign to "degrade and destroy" the radical group.

Baltimore cop who cut dog's throat was within his rights: lawyer

ANNAPOLIS Md. - A Baltimore police officer facing felony animal cruelty charges after cutting the throat of a dog that bit a pregnant woman on the hand in June was legally authorized to euthanize the animal, his lawyer said on Thursday.

Police seek shooting suspect at Phoenix's Sky Harbor airport

- Police in Arizona arrested one man and were seeking another at Phoenix's Sky Harbor International Airport on Thursday after officers pursued a car there carrying suspects in a shooting at a nearby gas station forecourt, authorities said.

Couple accused of Amish sisters' kidnap charged with child sex exploitation

SYRACUSE N.Y. - A couple accused of kidnapping two Amish sisters in northern New York state in August were charged on Thursday in federal court in Syracuse with sexual exploitation of children and child pornography possession.

U.S. Congress approves arming Syrian rebels, funding government

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Congress gave final approval on Thursday to President Barack Obama's plan for training and arming moderate Syrian rebels to battle Islamic State, a major part of his military campaign to "degrade and destroy" the militant group.

Two adults, six children dead in Florida shooting: report

TAMPA - Two adults and six children were killed on Thursday in a north Florida town in a shooting that may have been a murder-suicide, the Gainesville Sun newspaper reported, citing local authorities.

Officers kill armed suspect in St. Louis suburb, police say

- St. Louis County police shot dead a man who they said pointed a rifle at them after a short foot chase about two miles from an apartment complex where a white Ferguson officer killed an unarmed black teen in August, sparking protests.

Arrests made after two sexual assaults at Southern Illinois University

- Authorities are investigating two sexual assaults last weekend at the Carbondale campus of Southern Illinois University and have arrested a total of six students in connection with the incidents, the school said on Thursday.

Man kills daughter, six grandchildren in Florida murder-suicide

TAMPA - A 51-year-old Florida man shot dead his daughter and six grandchildren in his home before killing himself on Thursday, authorities said.

Couple accused of Amish sisters' kidnap charged with child sex exploitation

SYRACUSE N.Y. - A couple accused of kidnapping two Amish sisters in northern New York state in August were charged in federal court in Syracuse on Thursday with sexual exploitation of children and possession of child pornography.

Police arrest shooting suspects at Phoenix's Sky Harbor airport

- Police in Phoenix have arrested three shooting suspects following an hours-long manhunt at the city's Sky Harbor International Airport on Thursday, following a shooting at a nearby gas station, authorities said.

U.S. attorney general announces grant to study police racial profiling

WASHINGTON - U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder on Thursday announced the award of a $4.75 million three-year grant to a group of educational and research organizations to study arrest data in five U.S. cities and implement changes to combat any findings of racial profiling.

U.S. fines company $3 million over bogus Ab Glider weight loss claims

WASHINGTON - Icon Health and Fitness will pay $3 million to settle charges that it violated an earlier consent order from the Federal Trade commission by saying that using its "Ab Glider" for three minutes a day would result in significant weight loss.

Google, Mercedes, Audi get California permits for self-driving cars

- California issued its first 29 permits this week to three companies to test self-driving cars on public roads, state officials said on Thursday.

Iraq loses U.S. appeal in U.N. oil-for-food lawsuit

NEW YORK - A U.S. federal appeals court on Thursday rejected Iraq's effort to sue dozens of companies for allegedly conspiring with the Saddam Hussein regime to subvert the United Nations' oil-for-food program and deprive Iraqi citizens of humanitarian aid.

Pennsylvania newlyweds get life without parole in Craigslist killing

- The Pennsylvania newlyweds who admitted using Craigslist to lure a victim for a thrill-killing were sentenced on Thursday to life in prison without parole in a plea deal that spared them from the death penalty, a defense spokeswoman said.

U.S. says 7.3 million with Obamacare health plans have paid premiums

WASHINGTON - The Obama administration on Thursday said 7.3 million people were up to date on their monthly premiums for private health plans under President Barack Obama's healthcare law as of Aug. 15.

California triples tax breaks for film production

SACRAMENTO Calif. - Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill on Thursday tripling California's tax breaks for entertainment companies doing business in Hollywood's home state, in an effort to stop production moving elsewhere.

Man charged with arson in Northern California wildfire

- Authorities in Northern California have charged a man with arson in the so-called King Fire, the largest and most dangerous of nearly a dozen major wildfires raging across the state, court documents showed on Thursday.

U.S. court rules Navy wrongfully monitored computers in child porn probe

SEATTLE - A U.S. appeals court has thrown out evidence against a Washington state man charged with possession of child pornography, saying his conviction revealed that naval intelligence agents were improperly peering into both civilian and military computers.

Rochester, N.Y., store manager pleads not guilty to aiding Islamic State

NEW YORK - A convenience store manager from western New York accused of trying to provide material support to the Islamic State militant group pleaded not guilty in federal court on Thursday, a spokeswoman for the prosecutor's office said.

JetBlue flight makes emergency landing at California airport, four hurt

LOS ANGELES - Four people were injured on Thursday when a JetBlue plane carrying 147 people made an emergency landing at the Long, Beach, California, airport, because of an engine issue, an airport spokeswoman said.

New York offers illegal immigrants zoo trips, museum tours with ID cards

NEW YORK - New York Mayor Bill de Blasio offered free access to some of his city's famed cultural destinations on Thursday in a bid to coax illegal immigrants to join an identification card program aimed at helping them do ordinary things like sign a rental lease.

Officers kill armed suspect in St. Louis suburb, police say

- St. Louis County police shot dead a man who they said pointed a rifle at them after a short foot chase about two miles from an apartment complex where a white Ferguson officer killed an unarmed black teen in August, sparking protests.

Pennsylvania fines shale gas driller Range Resources $4.15 million

- Oil and gas producer Range Resources has been fined more than $4 million for environmental violations in Pennsylvania, state environmental authorities said on Thursday, the largest fine leveled against a shale gas operator in the state.

Seattle set to change name of Columbus Day holiday

SEATTLE - Seattle, named after a Native American tribal chief, is poised to become the next major U.S city after Minneapolis to officially change the name of a federal holiday that celebrates Christopher Columbus' 15th century arrival in the Americas.

Chicago officials investigate human bones sent to Japanese consulate

CHICAGO - Chicago authorities are trying to solve a mystery over a box of human bones that were sent to the Japanese consulate, along with a letter saying they were the remains of soldiers who died during World War Two, police said on Thursday.

FBI adds name of suspect in Pennsylvania police ambush to most wanted list

- The FBI on Thursday added the name of the suspect in last week's ambush of two Pennsylvania troopers to its list of the 10 most wanted fugitives, almost a week after the manhunt began for the person who killed one officer and wounded another.

White House calls for task force to tackle antibiotic-resistant bugs

- The U.S. government will set up a task force and presidential advisory council to tackle the growing threat of antibiotic resistance, setting a Feb. 15 deadline for it to outline specific steps, White House advisers said on Thursday.

Washington D.C. voters back legal pot by 2-1 margin: poll

WASHINGTON - District of Columbia voters back legalized marijuana by a nearly two-to-one margin less than seven weeks before a referendum on the issue, according to a poll released on Thursday.

Man killed after falling into wood chipper in Arizona

PHOENIX - A landscape gardener was decapitated after falling into a wood chipper in Arizona on Thursday and a police spokesman said no foul play was suspected.

Attorneys for accused Boston bomber due in court on Thursday

BOSTON - Attorneys for the accused Boston Marathon bomber are due in court on Thursday as they resume sparring with prosecutors over issues including defense requests to move the trial out of Boston and to delay it past its scheduled Nov. 3 start.

Detroit policeman faces retrial in shooting death of girl in raid

DETROIT - A Detroit police officer charged in the shooting death of a 7-year-old girl during a raid is being retried following a mistrial last year, with opening statements expected on Thursday in a case that has sparked concerns over police use of force.

U.S. wasted $6.5 million on Afghan broadcast towers: inquiry

LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Six communications towers built in Afghanistan were never used and were a waste of more than $6.5 million in U.S. taxpayer funds, an inquiry into U.S. State Department spending on Afghan reconstruction said on Thursday.

Pakistani woman embraced by Islamic State seeks to drop U.S. legal appeal

NEW YORK - A Pakistan-born neuroscientist has become a rallying cry for militant groups demanding her release from a U.S. prison. But in a little-noticed move she is trying to abandon her legal fight for freedom, saying the U.S. court system is unjust.

Man charged in attempted fire bombing of Missouri congressman's office

KANSAS CITY Mo. - A Kansas City man was charged on Wednesday with trying to fire-bomb the local office of Missouri U.S. Democratic Representative Emanuel Cleaver using two bottles filled with charcoal lighter fluid, prosecutors said.

South Carolina father accused of killing kids feared them: report

CHARLESTON S.C. - The man accused of killing his five children in South Carolina and dumping their bodies in Alabama feared that they were going to chop him up and feed him to the dogs, a local television station reported, citing arrest records.

Wildfire in California's Sierra Nevada menaces 2,000 homes

LOS ANGELES - Fire crews in California's rugged Sierra Nevada battled to gain the upper hand on Wednesday against a blaze that threatened at least 2,000 homes and has displaced hundreds of residents as flames roared for a fifth day through dry timber and brush west of Lake Tahoe.

Florida couple face charges months after avoiding U.S. SEC lawsuit

MIAMI - A Florida couple has been charged with running an alleged $300 million real estate Ponzi scheme only months after dodging a Securities and Exchange Commission lawsuit that was rejected when a U.S. federal judge ruled the five-year statute of limitations had expired before it was filed.

Mother surprised to learn son killed by Louisiana police

LAFAYETTE La. - For six months, Catherine Cortez believed that her 30-year-old son, who died in March after a scuffle with police in Louisiana, had succumbed to brain damage from chronic cocaine use.

Alaska residents to get $1,884 payout from oil royalty fund

JUNEAU Alaska - Nearly every Alaska resident will soon be $1,884 richer, thanks to an annual payout from an oil wealth trust fund that has been credited with keeping many low-income families out of poverty, state officials said on Wednesday.

Humana CEO: New competition curbs Obamacare plan prices

BOSTON - New competition between health insurers offering so-called Obamacare plans in 2015 is having an impact on the pricing of such coverage, based on a first look at proposed insurance premiums, the head of Humana Inc said on Wednesday.

Oklahoma deputy sheriff accused of sexual assault resigns

OKLAHOMA CITY - A deputy sheriff in Oklahoma resigned on Wednesday after being arrested for allegedly assaulting two women at a Tulsa County home, the third law enforcement official in the state accused of sex crimes in the past few weeks.

U.S. House passes bill to avert government shutdown, extend Export-Import bank

WASHINGTON - The U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday approved a stop-gap spending measure that averts an Oct. 1 government shutdown and extends the U.S. Export-Import Bank's ability to operate for another nine months.

Florida city wants to ban medical marijuana smoking in public

ORLANDO Fla. - A southwest Florida city took steps Wednesday to ban medical marijuana users from lighting up a joint in public if an amendment legalizing the drug's limited use statewide is approved by voters in November.

Police chiefs pledge more transparency after Ferguson

CHICAGO - Dozens of police chiefs meeting in Chicago this week said a notorious fatal police shooting in Ferguson, Missouri in August had been a defining moment for law enforcement and pledged greater transparency over such incidents.

Videos, written pledges suggested to curb California campus rape

SAN FRANCISCO - A University of California task force seeking to reduce campus sexual violence recommended on Wednesday that new students, staff and faculty sign a pledge or watch a video about such violence as part of a package of measures to confront sexual misconduct.

Alabama woman pleads guilty over leaving baby in hot car: report

- An Alabama woman pleaded guilty on Wednesday to criminally negligent homicide for leaving her 4-month old son in a hot car in 2013, according to local media reports.

Five face federal charges over ride through protected Utah canyon

SALT LAKE CITY - Federal prosecutors in Utah filed criminal charges on Wednesday against five men who allegedly organized and led an all-terrain vehicle protest ride into a red-rock desert canyon closed to motorized use by federal land managers.

Video of dairy cows being abused prompts probe in New Mexico

ALBUQUERQUE N.M. - Authorities in New Mexico are investigating a dairy farm in the state after an animal rights group secretly recorded video apparently showing workers punching and kicking cows and stabbing them with screwdrivers.

Family of unarmed man shot by L.A. police files civil rights suit

LOS ANGELES - The family of an unarmed black man shot dead by Los Angeles police accused the officers of violating his civil rights in a federal lawsuit filed on Wednesday and was seeking $75 million in damages from the city.

Texas executes woman convicted of starving nine-year-old

- A woman convicted of the 2004 starving death of a 9-year-old boy was executed on Wednesday by lethal injection at a Texas state prison, authorities said.

U.S. senators call for federal judge to resign over wife beating

- Three U.S. senators on Wednesday called for the resignation of a federal judge accused of beating his wife in an Atlanta hotel room last month.

House votes to arm Syrian rebels

WASHINGTON - The U.S. House of Representatives approved President Barack Obama's plan on Wednesday to train and arm moderate Syrian rebels, but questions remain over whether it will give them the advanced weapons they say they need to defeat Islamic State militants.

Chinese hacked U.S. military contractors, Senate panel finds

WASHINGTON - Hackers associated with the Chinese government have repeatedly infiltrated the computer systems of U.S. airlines, technology companies and other contractors involved in the movement of U.S. troops and military equipment, a U.S. Senate panel has found.

U.S. contractor gets seven years for passing secrets to Chinese girlfriend

HONOLULU - A former U.S. military contractor in Hawaii was sentenced on Wednesday to more than seven years in prison for passing national defense secrets to his Chinese girlfriend and illegally keeping numerous classified documents at his home.

Pennsylvania ambush suspect is member of war re-enactment group: police

BLOOMING GROVE Pa. - A survivalist suspected of an ambush attack last week on two Pennsylvania troopers, killing one and seriously wounding the other, is a member of an Eastern European Cold War re-enactment group, state police said on Wednesday.

Maine man found guilty of blocking train tracks in oil-by-rail protest

AUBURN Maine - A man who helped block Maine railroad tracks to protest the transport of crude oil through the state after a deadly 2013 train crash across the Canadian border was convicted of criminal trespass for the incident, according to court documents.

As U.S. lawmakers vote on arming Syrian rebels, big questions remain

WASHINGTON - The U.S. House of Representatives votes on Wednesday on legislation to train and arm moderate Syrian rebels, but questions remain over whether it will give them the advanced weapons they say they need to defeat Islamic State militants.

Cop who killed Missouri teen testifies before grand jury: newspaper

- The Ferguson, Missouri police officer whose fatal shooting of an unarmed black teenager has ignited weeks of protests testified Tuesday before a St. Louis grand jury hearing evidence in the case, according to a report in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Chinese hackers breach U.S. military contractors: Senate probe

WASHINGTON - Hackers associated with the Chinese government have repeatedly breached the computer systems of U.S. companies, including airlines and technology firms, that are involved in the movement of U.S. troops and military equipment, a U.S. Senate panel has found.

U.S. needs better end-of-life care, which might cut costs: study

WASHINGTON - The United States needs to improve its medical care for people nearing death, a move that might cut rising healthcare costs, an Institute of Medicine (IOM) study said on Wednesday.

U.S. panel weighs new designs for troubled Eisenhower Memorial

WASHINGTON - The troubled Eisenhower Memorial reaches a crossroads on Wednesday as the panel overseeing its construction weighs alternatives to the original contentious design by celebrity architect Frank Gehry.

Chinese hacked U.S. military contractors, Senate probe finds

WASHINGTON - Hackers associated with the Chinese government have repeatedly infiltrated the computer systems of U.S. airlines, technology companies and other firms involved in the movement of U.S. troops and military equipment, a U.S. Senate panel has found.

Transgender Connecticut teen found safe after escaping custody

NEW YORK - A transgender teenager whose detainment without charges at a Connecticut adult prison sparked protests this year, was back at a juvenile detention facility after fleeing a private treatment center, state officials said on Wednesday.

U.S. panel weighs new designs for troubled Eisenhower Memorial

WASHINGTON - The troubled Eisenhower Memorial reaches a crossroads on Wednesday as the panel overseeing its construction weighs alternatives to the original contentious design by celebrity architect Frank Gehry.

California wildfire in national forest threatens at least 1,600 homes

- A California wildfire racing through the El Dorado National Forest on Wednesday had grown to threaten more than 1,600 homes, forcing more than 2,000 people to evacuate ahead of the flames, officials said.

U.S. Army soldier accused of smuggling undocumented immigrants

- A U.S. Army soldier has been accused of smuggling two undocumented immigrants across the Texas-Mexico border while in uniform, according to a federal criminal complaint.

Pro-pot activists launch first U.S. 'Consume Responsibly' campaign

DENVER - Taking a cheeky jab at a New York Times columnist who had a bad experience with marijuana-infused candy on a visit to Denver, pro-pot activists launched a campaign urging adults to "consume responsibly" in states where the drug is legal.

Obama could deploy U.S. military advisers to forward positions in Iraq: White House

ABOARD AIR FORCE ONE - President Barack Obama would consider requests to "forward deploy" U.S. military advisers with Iraqi troops "on a case-by-case basis" if they are needed, White House spokesman Josh Earnest said on Wednesday.

U.S. attorney general to propose more rewards, agents to fight Wall St crime

WASHINGTON - Wall Street whistleblowers who provide U.S. prosecutors with evidence of financial fraud should get larger rewards for their efforts, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder plans to say in a speech on Wednesday, according to a Justice Department official.

U.S. states boost anti-trafficking laws but slow to help sex, labor slaves

WASHINGTON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - A rising number of U.S. states have strengthened laws to combat human trafficking in the past year but programs to help victims of forced prostitution and labor are lagging behind, according to a report by an anti-slavery group on Wednesday.

Heavy rainfall, flash flooding threaten Arizona, New Mexico

- Heavy rainfall could bring flash flooding to Arizona and New Mexico, the National Weather Service said on Wednesday, as severe weather associated with weakening Tropical Storm Odile sweeps across the drought-stricken U.S. Southwest.

Yelp, TinyCo to settle US charges of improperly collecting kids' data

WASHINGTON - The online review site Yelp and mobile app developer TinyCo have agreed to settle separate charges that they improperly collected children's online information, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission said on Wednesday.

Judge pauses Detroit's bankruptcy trial again

DETROIT - U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes ordered a week-long break in Detroit's bankruptcy trial on Wednesday, giving the last major objector to the city's restructuring plan time to rework its case.

Top U.S. general urges Congress to think again on defense cuts

WIESBADEN Germany - Congress should look hard at whether to continue automatic budget cuts that weaken the U.S. military at a time when security around the world is deteriorating, a top U.S. general said on Wednesday.

Gay marriage activist, cartoonist, mathematician win 2014 'genius' grants

- A gay marriage advocate, a physicist modeling brain activity, a psychologist studying racial bias in policing, and a cartoonist exploring family life were among 21 winners of $625,000 "genius" grants, the U.S. organization awarding them said.

Texas set to execute woman convicted of starving 9-year-old

- A woman convicted of the 2004 starving death of a 9-year-old boy is scheduled to die on Wednesday by lethal injection at a Texas state prison, authorities said.

Vikings change mind, suspend Adrian Peterson

Sep 17 - The Minnesota Vikings have placed star running back Adrian Peterson on the NFL exempt list, suspending him from all team activities until his child-abuse case is resolved, the franchise said on Wednesday.

Los Angeles schools police to return grenade launchers to U.S.: L.A. Times newspaper

- Los Angeles schools' police said on Tuesday it would give up three grenade launchers it acquired for free through a federal program now facing mounting scrutiny for supplying local agencies with military-grade equipment, the L.A Times newspaper reported.

NBA's Howard has driver's license suspended for not paying fine : court records

ORLANDO Fla. - The Florida driver's license of Houston Rockets center Dwight Howard has been suspended for his failure to pay a fine for running a red light, court records show, but the team said on Tuesday he was playing basketball in Texas the day of the alleged infraction.

California judge blocks release of report into police shooting of teen

- A Los Angeles judge on Tuesday issued a temporary restraining order preventing the release of an independent review into the shooting death of an unarmed black teenager by police in Southern California, officials said.

Seventh Los Angeles sheriff's official found guilty in jail probe

LOS ANGELES - A former Los Angeles County sheriff's deputy was found guilty on Tuesday of obstruction of justice and conspiracy for his role in trying to thwart a federal probe into prisoner abuse and other misconduct inside the United States' largest jail system.

Hurricane Edouard weakening, moving away from U.S. coast: NHC

- Hurricane Edouard, the first major hurricane of the 2014 Atlantic hurricane season, is weakening and accelerating north-eastward, the U.S. National Hurricane Center (NHC) said on Tuesday.

Wildfire rips through 150 homes in Northern California

LOS ANGELES - Fire crews in California battled on Tuesday to halt the advance of wildfire that has already destroyed about 150 homes, lapped at rural schools and caused power outages that left an evacuation shelter without electricity, authorities said.

South Korea arrests American trying to swim to North Korea: report

SEOUL - South Korean marines arrested an American man late on Tuesday who had been swimming in a river that flows towards North Korea and said he had been trying to go to the North to meet its leader, Korean media reported.

Georgia man sentenced to 20 years in 2013 school shooting

ATLANTA - A man who fired an AK-47 in a suburban Atlanta elementary school in 2013 before a school clerk convinced him to put his gun down and turn himself in pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 20 years in prison on Tuesday.

Los Angeles electricity use hits record amid heat wave

- The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) urged customers to conserve electricity on Tuesday after customers the day before used record amounts of power for air conditioning to obtain relief from a heat wave.

Lifeguard in pickup truck runs over sunbather at California's Venice beach

LOS ANGELES - A lifeguard in a pickup truck accidentally ran over a 25-year-old sunbather at Southern California's Venice Beach, a popular destination for tourists, leaving the woman with fractures and damage to her internal organs, police said on Tuesday.

Wildfire rips through 150 homes in Northern California

LOS ANGELES - Fire crews in California battled on Tuesday to halt the advance of a day-old wildfire that has already destroyed about 150 homes, lapped at rural schools and caused power outages that left an evacuation shelter without electricity, authorities said.

Scottish independence vote cheers supporters of Texas secession

SAN ANTONIO - The upcoming vote to decide whether Scotland should be independent of the United Kingdom has bolstered those campaigning to split the state of Texas from the United States.

New York state denied federal funds for flagship bridge project

NEW YORK - The U.S. federal government has rejected most of a $511 million loan request for the renewal of New York state's Tappan Zee Bridge, dealing a blow to one of governor Andrew Cuomo's most prominent infrastructure projects just weeks ahead of state elections.

Court's expert witness on Detroit bankruptcy qualified to testify: judge

DETROIT - An expert witness hand-picked by the federal judge overseeing Detroit's historic bankruptcy case will testify on the feasibility of the city's debt adjustment plan without restrictions, the judge ruled on Tuesday.

Dispute could delay Florida rollout of limited medical marijuana

MIAMI - Florida patients with epilepsy and other diseases hoping to gain limited access to medical marijuana may have to keep waiting as the state's largest nursery is contesting newly developed rules needed to roll out a special strain of cannabis.

San Francisco puts earthquake warning signs on buildings

- The city of San Francisco stepped up the pressure on property owners who fail to comply with seismic retrofitting regulations this week, posting large, red and white warning signs on the buildings to make the violations public.

Los Angeles police try to reassure public on newly acquired drones

LOS ANGELES - Two hand-me-down miniature helicopter drones given away for free by Seattle after a political uproar there are now under lock and key in Los Angeles, where a police commission vows to keep the aircraft grounded until it approves rules for their limited use.

NBA's Dwight Howard has driver's license suspended for not paying fine

ORLANDO Fla. - The driver's license of Houston Rockets eight-time All-Star center Dwight Howard has been suspended in Florida for his failure to pay a fine for running a red light, court records show.

Former police officer gets 10 years in NYC kidnap fetish case

NEW YORK - A former police chief of a federal veterans hospital was sentenced in New York on Tuesday to 10 years in prison for his role in conspiring to torture, rape and kill women, a plot that grew out of Internet fetish forums he visited.

Man accused of repeatedly stabbing women is sentenced in New York

NEW YORK - A 61-year-old man with a long history of attacking women was sentenced in suburban New York on Tuesday to 25 years to life in prison for the stabbing death of his girlfriend.

American Airlines' ticket, gate agents vote to unionize

- Passenger service agents at American Airlines backed union representation for the first time in their history on Tuesday, with about 86 percent of members voting in favor of collective bargaining, the union said.

Man sent to California from Czech Republic on kidnap, torture charges

LOS ANGELES - A man accused of abducting a medical pot shop owner and joining others in torturing the man and severing his penis has been extradited to California from the Czech Republic to face charges, prosecutors said on Tuesday.

Key witness cross-examined in trial of Connecticut ex-governor

NEW HAVEN Conn. - Prosecutors cross-examined a key witness in the trial of former Connecticut Governor John Rowland on Tuesday, aiming to undermine defense testimony that Rowland's contract with a nursing home operator was legitimate and not a cover for paid work on a political campaign.

N.Y. court asked to freeze Turkish family's assets in UAE bank

ALBANY N.Y. - An attorney for a Motorola subsidiary has asked New York's top state court on Tuesday to allow it to freeze the assets of a Turkish family held by branch of an international bank in the United Arab Emirates.

Rochester, N.Y., man charged with trying to help Islamic State

WASHINGTON - A Rochester, New York, man has been indicted on charges of trying to provide material support to the Islamic State militant group and attempting to murder U.S. soldiers, the U.S. Justice Department said on Tuesday.

USDA chief says urged Buffett to ready BNSF for record crops

WASHINGTON - U.S. Agriculture Secretary Thomas Vilsack met with Warren Buffett last week to urge the billionaire investor to make sure his BNSF railroad is ready for an expected record corn and soy harvest this year.

N.Y. court asked to freeze Turkish family's assets in UAE bank

ALBANY N.Y. - An attorney for a Motorola subsidiary asked New York's top state court on Tuesday to allow it to freeze the assets of a Turkish family held by a branch of an international bank in the United Arab Emirates.

U.S. Congress may yet reach a deal to curb inversions, lawmaker says

WASHINGTON - Congress may yet pass legislation this year to curb foreign buyout deals that allow corporations to cut their U.S. income taxes, a leading Democratic lawmaker said on Monday.

Edouard becomes first major hurricane of 2014 Atlantic season: NHC

- Edouard strengthened into the first major hurricane of the 2014 Atlantic season on Tuesday but posed no threat to land, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) said.

St. Louis grand jury term extended as it hears Ferguson evidence

- The St. Louis grand jury hearing evidence in the case of the white police officer who fatally shot unarmed black teenager Michael Brown last month has been given an extra four months to weigh possible criminal charges against the officer, officials said on Tuesday.

Virginia police search for missing college student

- Police on Tuesday searched for a University of Virginia student missing since the weekend, a police spokesman said.

Police cite progress in Pennsylvania trooper ambush case

BLOOMING GROVE Pa. - Investigators have "made progress" in their hunt for a gunman who ambushed two Pennsylvania state troopers, killing one, at their law enforcement barracks, a police spokesman said on Tuesday ahead of an expected news conference.

Ohio man who set himself on fire suspected in homicide: police

CLEVELAND - An Ohio man who walked onto a highway and was struck by a truck but still managed to set himself on fire in an apparent suicide attempt is a suspect in the killing of a 25-year-old woman, police said on Tuesday.

U.S. lawmakers want to curb antibiotic use on farms

- Two U.S. lawmakers are calling for action to rein in antibiotic use in livestock in response to a Reuters investigation showing how top U.S. poultry firms have been administering drugs to their flocks.

Virginia sues 13 banks for $1 billion over alleged mortgage bond fraud

WASHINGTON - The state of Virginia sued units of Barclays Plc, Citigroup Inc, and 11 other banks, accusing them of defrauding the state's retirement fund by selling it shoddy mortgage bonds, Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring said on Tuesday.

Spaceport delays prompt some impatience in New Mexico

ALBUQUERQUE N.M. - Delays in the launch of the first space flights by Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic from a base in New Mexico have drawn criticism from a county commissioner in the south of the state.

Children's respiratory illness spreads to a dozen U.S. states: CDC

- A serious respiratory illness sickening U.S. children has spread to 12 states, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Tuesday, as it predicted that more states will report cases in coming weeks.

Boat driver get two years jail in NY crash that killed bride, best man

NEW YORK - A speedboat driver in the 2013 crash that killed a bride-to-be and a best man on New York's Hudson River was sentenced on Tuesday to two years in jail after a plea deal to avoid prison time, prosecutors said.

U.S. consumer watchdog accuses Corinthian Colleges of predatory loans

WASHINGTON - The U.S. consumer finance watchdog on Tuesday sued Corinthian Colleges for alleged predatory lending, saying that the for-profit institute lured students into taking out private student loans by touting "bogus" job prospects and using illegal debt-collection methods.

SpaceX must meet high standard to get rocket certified: general

WASHINGTON - A top U.S. Air Force general on Tuesday said he favored competition for military rocket launches, but insisted the Air Force must stick to its high standards in certifying the Falcon 9 rocket, built by privately-held Space Exploration Technologies.

Nearly 40 empty train cars derail in Arizona

- Nearly 40 empty train cars derailed in southern Arizona late on Monday but no one was hurt, a spokesman for Union Pacific said.

Tropical storm Polo could become hurricane off Mexico Pacific Coast

MEXICO CITY - Tropical storm Polo could become a hurricane off Mexico's Pacific Coast on Thursday the U.S. National Hurricane Center (NHC) said on Tuesday.

Arizona braces for possible repeat of powerful storms

PHOENIX - Arizona residents braced for another wave of heavy rains and flooding on Tuesday as the remnants of Hurricane Odile began to sweep into the desert state.

Amtrak service resumes between Washington, D.C., and Philadelphia

- Amtrak trains resumed with limited operation between Washington, D.C., and Philadelphia on Tuesday afternoon, officials said, following interruptions due to downed wires and debris on the tracks.

Pennsylvania state police ID suspect in deadly ambush of troopers

BLOOMING GROVE Pa. - Pennsylvania state police on Tuesday named Matthew Eric Frein, described as an anti-law enforcement survivalist, as the prime suspect in the deadly ambush of two troopers outside their barracks.

Wynn Resorts wins license to build casino near Boston

BOSTON - The Massachusetts Gaming Commission on Tuesday awarded a license to build a casino just outside Boston to Las Vegas developer Wynn Resorts Ltd.

Tony Stewart fatal dirt-track accident to be heard by grand jury

- The circumstances surrounding a fatal dirt-track accident involving three-time NASCAR champion Tony Stewart in upstate New York last month will be heard by a grand jury, authorities said on Tuesday.

Boeing wins large NASA 'space taxi' award: source

WASHINGTON - Boeing Co has won a large NASA contract to develop new "space taxis" that would fly astronauts to the International Space Station instead of relying on Russian spacecraft, an industry source said ahead of a NASA announcement expected on Tuesday.

Daredevil Nik Wallenda to walk over portion of Chicago skyline

CHICAGO - Daredevil Nik Wallenda, who last year completed a high-wire walk over the Grand Canyon, announced on Tuesday plans for an untethered tightrope walk between Chicago skyscrapers on a night in November.

Woman finds body in trunk, learns it's her neighbor

LOS ANGELES - A Southern California woman who found a dead body in the trunk of her Lexus after shopping over the weekend discovered that the man was a neighbor, police said on Monday.

NYC's women-only taxi service brakes for now

NEW YORK (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - The debut of a livery car service providing women drivers for female passengers in the New York City area has stalled over lack of a sufficient number of drivers, the founder of the service said on Monday.

Duke Energy to invest $500 million in North Carolina solar power

RALEIGH N.C. - Duke Energy Corp, the largest provider of electric power in the United States, will invest $500 million in a major expansion of its solar power program in North Carolina, the Charlotte-based company said Monday.

U.S. congressman calls for subpoena for head of vetting firm

WASHINGTON - A U.S. congressman on Monday asked that the head of U.S. Investigations Services be subpoenaed to give a deposition about allegations of fraud and security problems at the private company, which makes background checks on federal employees.

U.S. Congress may yet reach a deal to curb inversions, lawmaker says

WASHINGTON - Congress may yet pass legislation this year to curb foreign buyout deals that allow corporations to cut their U.S. income taxes, a leading Democratic lawmaker said on Monday.

Children of Arizona gun instructor who was killed by girl wish her peace

- The children of an Arizona gun range instructor who was fatally shot by a 9-year-old girl with an Uzi submachine gun are encouraging the child to find peace and say they hope one day to give her a hug.

Gunman hid in lair outside barracks to kill Pennsylvania trooper: police

BLOOMING GROVE Pa. - The gunman who ambushed two Pennsylvania state troopers, killing one, hid with a rifle in a wooded lair overlooking their law enforcement barracks and opened fire during a late night shift change, police said on Monday.

Texas doctor poisoned lover's coffee over obsession: prosecutor

HOUSTON - A breast cancer physician charged with spiking her lover's coffee with a compound used in antifreeze was obsessed with the man and even had a private investigator follow him, prosecutors said in opening statements at her trial on Monday.

Trial begins for Florida mayor accused of corruption

MIAMI - Former Homestead, Florida, Mayor Steven Bateman went on trial in Monday on charges he illegally held a $125-an-hour consulting job while serving in office and used his position to fast-track construction deals.

Four finalists picked for future Obama library

CHICAGO - Four universities, including two in Chicago, one in New York and one in Hawaii, have been picked as finalists to host a future Barack Obama presidential library, the library's foundation said on Monday.

New York court watches taped confession by accused killer of Etan Patz

NEW YORK - A New Jersey man accused of the murder of 6-year-old Etan Patz in 1979 calmly confessed on a videotape played in court on Monday to choking the boy and stuffing him alive in a garbage bag he tossed in an alley.

Connecticut ex-governor opens defense in campaign law trial

NEW HAVEN Conn. - The first defense witness in the trial of former Connecticut Governor John Rowland testified on Monday that Rowland performed legitimate consulting services for a nursing home company, countering prosecutors who say he worked under a phony contract in violation of federal campaign laws.

Murder charges for man in gruesome Florida quadruple killing

TAMPA Fla. - Florida police charged a man with murder on Monday in a quadruple killing, after finding the victims' bodies earlier this month decomposing by the side of the road.

Researcher killed by bear in Wyoming wilderness

- A Utah man who disappeared earlier this month while conducting research for the U.S. Forest Service in the Wyoming wilderness was killed by an attacking grizzly or black bear, authorities said on Monday.

Ohio man walks into traffic, sets himself on fire: police

CLEVELAND - A Ohio man was in critical condition on Monday after he walked into busy traffic outside of Cleveland and then lit himself on fire in front of three young children, police said.

California state Senator Wright to resign following fraud conviction

LOS ANGELES - California state Senator Roderick Wright plans to resign from office later this month following a perjury and voter fraud conviction that saw him sentenced to 90 days in jail, he said in a letter sent on Monday.

Murder charges for man in gruesome Florida quadruple killing

TAMPA Fla. - Florida police charged a man with murder on Monday in a quadruple killing, after finding the victims' bodies earlier this month decomposing by the side of the road.

California state Senator Wright to resign following fraud conviction

LOS ANGELES - California state Senator Roderick Wright plans to resign from office later this month following a perjury and voter fraud conviction that saw him sentenced to 90 days in jail, he said in a letter sent on Monday.

United Airlines offers flight attendants $100,000 in voluntary buyout

NEW YORK - United Airlines and union officials said Monday that eligible flight attendants will be paid up to $100,000 to leave the company through a voluntary buyout, in a deal that aims to end furloughs at the over-staffed airline.

Montana 'BASE jumper' falls to death in Glacier National Park

MISSOULA Mont. - A Montana hiker reported as missing after he set out alone to perform a BASE jump in Glacier National Park over the weekend has been found dead below the summit of Mount Siyeh, authorities said on Monday.

New York court watches taped confession by accused killer of Etan Patz

NEW YORK - A New Jersey man accused of the murder of 6-year-old Etan Patz in 1979 calmly confessed on a videotape played in court on Monday to choking the boy and stuffing him alive in a garbage bag he tossed in an alley.

Fatal police shooting in Utah fuels racial controversy

- A private autopsy has found a 22-year-old black man shot dead by police in Utah was fired at from behind six times, said a lawyer for the man's family. Authorities say the man was shot dead when he lunged at officers with a sword.

FBI probes traffic stop that left Missouri teen in critical condition

KANSAS CITY Mo. - The FBI is investigating allegations of excessive force by a Missouri police officer during a traffic stop that left a teenage motorist in critical condition, authorities said on Monday.

Wildfires rage in California drought, hundreds forced to flee

LOS ANGELES - Crews were battling about a dozen major wildfires across California on Tuesday that have forced thousands of people to flee, damaged or destroyed more than 100 buildings, and charred thousands of acres of drought-stricken forest.

Miami Bat Squad tracks rare species to golf course roost

MIAMI - Shortly after dusk, three researchers squat on the lawn of a vacant, million-dollar home in a posh Miami suburb, pointing ultrasonic microphones at the darkened mansion.

California man arrested after firing on ice cream truck, police

- A southern California man was arrested following a nine-hour standoff with police after he opened fire on an ice cream truck and later shot at officers, police said on Monday.

U.S. city and county pension funding up nearly 6 percent in 2013: report

- Funding levels for city and county pension plans rose almost 6 percent in 2013 from the previous year, according to a report released by Wilshire Consulting on Monday.

Edouard set to become first major 2014 Atlantic hurricane

- Edouard, a Category 2 hurricane, may become the first major hurricane of the 2014 Atlantic season by Monday night although it poses no threat to land, the National Hurricane Center said.

U.S. to help train people to spot potential violent extremists

WASHINGTON - The U.S. government launched a program on Monday to reach out to key members of communities across the country to try to stop radicalized young people joining Islamic State and other extremist groups fighting in Syria and Iraq.

New Yorker Kira Kazantsev 'Happy' to be crowned Miss America

- New Yorker Kira Kazantsev won the coveted 2015 Miss America Pageant crown on Sunday, a "three-peat" for contenders from the Big Apple.

Hundreds evacuated as northern California wildfires rage

- Hundreds of residents were forced to flee their homes on Sunday as wildfires raged through parts of drought-plagued northern California, officials said.

Four burned in explosion at Arizona pet food factory

- Four contractors were burned on Sunday in an explosion at an Arizona pet food factory, a fire department official said.

U.S. Navy identifies pilot presumed dead in Pacific Ocean crash

- The U.S. Navy on Sunday identified a fighter jet pilot who is presumed dead following a mid-air collision with another jet over the western Pacific Ocean.

Police search three states for suspect in Pennsylvania police ambush

- Police pushed ahead on Sunday with a massive manhunt in three states for a gunman who ambushed two Pennsylvania state troopers two days ago, shooting to death one of them and injuring the other.

Crews gain ground as California wildfire threatens hundreds of homes

- Firefighters were making slow progress on Sunday in a battle to contain a wildfire that has roared through 1,600 acres of drought-stricken forest southeast of Los Angeles and displaced hundreds of people from their homes, the U.S. Forest Service said.

NFL's Carolina deactivates Hardy as NFL draws more fire

- The NFL's Carolina Panthers deactivated defensive end Greg Hardy for Sunday's game against the Detroit Lions, according to the team's website, in a reversal of an earlier decision to let him play while he appeals a domestic violence conviction.

Liberal Vermont Senator Sanders may seek U.S. presidency in 2016

WASHINGTON - Bernie Sanders, one of the Senate's leading liberals, said on Sunday he is thinking about running for U.S. president in 2016 as either a Democrat or an independent in a move that could complicate Hillary Clinton's path to the White House.

Obama 'shocked' by Ray Rice video, supports NFL suspension, aide says

WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama was shocked by the video showing Ray Rice knocking out his then-fiancee and the White House believes the NFL's indefinite suspension of the former Baltimore Ravens star is appropriate, his chief of staff said.

'Dolphin Tale' hero's new home tangled in aquarium politics

CLEARWATER Fla. - The family-friendly hit "Dolphin Tale," whose sequel opened in theaters this weekend, tells the true story of a dolphin who learns to swim without a tail. The movie ends with Winter, the tail-less dolphin, helping save the struggling Florida aquarium that rescued her. In real-life, the story has not yet wrapped up so neatly.

Miss America to be crowned on Sunday in stressed Atlantic City, N.J.

Sept 13 - The winner of the 2015 Miss America Pageant will be crowned on Sunday night in Atlantic City, and the wearer's glittering tiara will stand in contrast to the tarnished fortunes of this New Jersey beach town where yet another casino is slated to close this week.

Islamic State attracts female jihadis from U.S. heartland

MINNEAPOLIS - U.S. law enforcement is investigating a new phenomenon of women from the American heartland joining Islamic State as President Barack Obama vows to cut off the militants' recruiting at home.

North Korea sentences U.S. citizen Matthew Todd Miller to six years hard labor

SEOUL - North Korea sentenced U.S. citizen Matthew Todd Miller to six years hard labor for committing "hostile acts" as a tourist to the country, a statement carried by state media said on Sunday.

Crews battle out-of-control wildfire as Southern California bakes

LOS ANGELES - Hundreds of firefighters spent a second day on Saturday battling a wildfire burning out of control in a national forest southeast of Los Angeles, as the region baked under triple-digit temperatures that prompted authorities to issue a "heat alert."

Contractor dies in Chevron pipeline accident off Louisiana coast

- A Chevron contractor was fatally injured and two people suffered minor injuries on Saturday while performing maintenance on a natural gas pipeline off the Louisiana coast, a Chevron spokesman said.

Crews battle out-of-control wildfire as Southern California bakes

LOS ANGELES - Hundreds of firefighters spent a second day on Saturday battling a wildfire burning out of control in a national forest southeast of Los Angeles, as the region baked under triple-digit temperatures that prompted authorities to issue a "heat alert."

U.S. Navy searches for pilot after crash over Pacific Ocean

- The U.S. Navy was searching for a missing pilot in the western Pacific Ocean on Saturday after the pilot's fighter jet crashed mid-air with another jet, the Navy said.

Texas governor's race heats up over new book

DALLAS - The race for Texas governor entered a new chapter this week with the release of a memoir from Democratic candidate Wendy Davis that rekindled attention on abortion and led to an ethics complaint from her opponent, Republican Greg Abbott.

Colorado activists want rules on pot edibles implemented fast

DENVER - (This story refiles the Sept. 11 story to correct the spelling of a surname to Carlson, not Carson, in the fifth paragraph)

Illinois man arrested on Ohio highway after alleged double murder

LOUISVILLE - An Illinois man was arrested on Friday on a Ohio highway after he allegedly killed his ex-girlfriend, whose body was found in the back seat of his vehicle, and her son, police said.

Workers at Lear plant in Indiana go on strike, could affect Ford: Chicago Tribune

- Workers at a Lear Corp plant in Indiana that makes parts for Ford Motor Co went on strike Saturday, according to the Chicago Tribune.

Miss America to be crowned Sunday in stressed Atlantic City, N.J.

Sept 13 - The winner of the 2015 Miss America Pageant will be crowned on Sunday night in Atlantic City, and the wearer's glittering tiara will stand in contrast to the tarnished fortunes of this New Jersey beach town where yet another casino is slated to close this week.

Police hunt gunman after trooper shot dead at Pennsylvania barracks

- Police in three states were searching on Saturday for a gunman who shot and killed a state trooper in a police barracks in Pennsylvania, a police official said.

Professor from Europe takes plea deal in 1995 California killing

LOS ANGELES - A psychology professor from Europe accused of murder in the 1995 stabbing death of a man who she says raped her pleaded guilty to a lesser charge on Friday in Southern California, and prosecutors said she has agreed to testify against others involved in the killing.

Oregon Zoo euthanizes newborn lion cub after injury

- The Oregon Zoo said on Friday it was forced to euthanize a newborn lion cub after it had been grievously injured by its mother accidentally.

Maria Shriver removed from former California Gov. Schwarzenegger's portrait

LOS ANGELES - A small image of Maria Shriver on a lapel pin worn by former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in an official portrait has been painted over as the actor-turned-politician and his wife go through a divorce, a former aide said.

Over half of Boeing's fighter-jet plant machinists opt for voluntary buyouts

- More than half of the Boeing Co machinists at its fighter-jet plant in St. Louis, Missouri, have signed up to take voluntary buyouts, the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers said on Friday.

Alabama court lets class action lawsuit against CVS Health proceed

BIRMINGHAM Ala. - The Alabama Supreme Court on Friday allowed a class action lawsuit seeking more than $3 billion to go forward against CVS Health Corp and several insurance companies, affirming the ruling by a lower court which said the plaintiffs could be certified as a class.

Colorado mistakenly sends valid driver's licenses to illegal immigrants

DENVER - More than 500 illegal immigrants in Colorado mistakenly received driver's licenses or photo identification cards intended for U.S. citizens because of a vendor's printing error, the company and state officials said on Friday.

Plan to divide California into six states fails to qualify for ballot

- A long-shot effort to break California into six separate states failed to collect enough signatures to put it on the November 2016 ballot, state officials said on Friday, as the group behind the plan criticized the rejection.

Kentucky man admits to selling fraudulent fertility kits

- A Kentucky man, who made international news for saying he was trying to clone humans, must close or sell his business after pleading guilty to a federal charge that he misled customers about in-home fertility kits, according to court documents.

Alumni group says Ohio university fired band director to placate probe

CLEVELAND - An Ohio State University alumni group critical of the firing of a popular band director said on Friday his dismissal was a bid to appease Title IX investigators probing sexual harassment and abuse at the school.

NFL's Adrian Peterson charged with child abuse, will miss Sunday's game

- Police were seeking on Friday to arrest Minnesota Vikings star running back Adrian Peterson on a charge of injury to a child, a Texas sheriff's office said, while Peterson's attorney said the incident resulted from him "using a switch to spank his son."

South Carolina congressman Mark Sanford calls off engagement

CHARLESTON S.C. - South Carolina congressman Mark Sanford called off his engagement to Maria Belen Chapur in a lengthy Facebook post on Friday, citing an ongoing lawsuit with his ex-wife.

Obama says need to 'snuff out' militant groups like Islamic State

BALTIMORE - President Barack Obama said on Friday the goal of an international coalition he is helping to form is to "ultimately snuff out" the type of extremism demonstrated by Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.

Connecticut home invasion killer sues for Kosher meals on death row

- A man sentenced to death for a triple murder in a brutal home invasion in Connecticut is suing to demand a Kosher diet as a newly declared Orthodox Jew, saying the prison's resistance has forced him into "starvation."

Philadelphia woman who posed in Muslim garb guilty of child assault

PHILADELPHIA - A former childcare worker accused of dressing in traditional Muslim garb to abduct a kindergartner from her Philadelphia school was found guilty of sexually assaulting the child after holding her overnight.

Migrant families in U.S. detention centers 'political pawns': activists

- U.S. detention centers for immigrant families treat those in custody as political pawns and make it difficult for them to obtain due process under U.S. laws, activists said on Friday.

Colorado candidate gets death threat after questioning Sandy Hook massacre

DENVER - A candidate for a county commission seat in Colorado said on Friday he received a death threat after questioning whether the 2012 school shooting that killed 20 children in Connecticut was a hoax.

Newtown donations created deep rift after shootings, official says

HARTFORD Conn. - The millions of dollars in donations and grants that poured into Newtown, Connecticut, in the aftermath of one of the worst school massacres in U.S. history have created a deep, “permanent fracture” in the community, a town official said on Friday.

Pennsylvania governor stays execution of killer, citing shortage of lethal drugs

HARRISBURG Pa. - Pennsylvania's governor granted a reprieve to a condemned murderer on death row on Friday because the state did not have the drugs needed to put him to death.

California mountain lion shot dead confirmed as cat that attacked boy

LOS ANGELES - A mountain lion that was shot out of a tree by California wildlife officers has been confirmed by DNA testing to be the same cat that attacked a 6-year-old boy earlier this week, state officials said on Friday.

Wildfires char more than 100,000 acres in Northern California

BERKELEY Calif. - A Northern California wildfire started by a lightning strike a month ago has burned more than 108,000 acres in the drought-stricken state, officials said on Friday.

Hawks general manager takes leave of absence after making racial comments

- Atlanta Hawks General Manager Danny Ferry, under fire for making racially charged remarks, has taken an indefinite leave of absence, the NBA team said on Friday.

Zimmerman accused of threatening driver in Florida road dispute

ORLANDO Fla. - George Zimmerman was accused of threatening to kill a man during a roadside dispute this week, prompting an investigation by Florida police, his latest brush with law enforcement since his acquittal in the shooting death of an unarmed black teenager.

NFL Vikings looking into reports Adrian Peterson indicted for child abuse

AUSTIN Texas - The Minnesota Vikings said on Friday they were looking at the legal situation of star running back Adrian Peterson after media reports in Texas said he has been indicted in a child injury case.

Child pornography suspect nabbed from Alabama university blanket photos

- Authorities caught an Alabama man who confessed to making and disseminating child pornography with the help of a key clue, court records show - a University of Alabama blanket visible in illicit photos discovered by Danish police.

Three dead in Southern California crash in off-road area

LOS ANGELES - Three people were killed when their pick-up truck fell about 200 feet down a ravine in an area of Southern California popular with off-road drivers, but despite the steep drop two men survived and one phoned for help, police said on Friday.

Detroit end in sight as deals leave FGIC last major bankruptcy holdout

DETROIT - With key players in Detroit's historic bankruptcy case locked in marathon mediation sessions, the pressure is on bond insurer Financial Guaranty Insurance Co., the last major holdout creditor, to settle with the city.

Support for death penalty hits 50-year low in California

- The majority of California voters still favor the death penalty as a form of punishment but support has dwindled to a 50-year low, according to a Field Poll released on Friday.

Foley family says was 'threatened' by U.S. official over ransom: ABC

WASHINGTON - The family of murdered American journalist James Foley says it was threatened by a U.S. official who warned that family members could be charged with supporting terrorism if they paid a ransom to his Islamist captors, ABC News reported on Friday.

Lawyers want 2,000 potential jurors called for Boston bombing trial

BOSTON - U.S. prosecutors and attorneys for the accused Boston Marathon bomber asked a judge on Friday to call 2,000 potential jurors to be screened for his trial.

U.S. judge orders Arizona to recognize gay couple's marriage

PHOENIX - A federal judge on Friday ordered Arizona to recognize the California marriage of a gay man whose spouse died from cancer last month, a ruling that could foreshadow a decision on the state's same-sex marriage ban.

U.S. uses state secrets law to intervene in Iran-related lawsuit

NEW YORK - The U.S. government has moved to invoke a powerful national security law to dismiss a private lawsuit against a non-profit group, United Against A Nuclear Iran, on grounds that the case could reveal state secrets, according to a court filing on Friday.

Woman found in Massachusetts home with dead bodies may be mentally ill: lawyer

UXBRIDGE Mass. - A 31-year-old Massachusetts woman found living in a rodent-infested house with the bodies of three dead infants may be suffering from mental illness, her court-appointed lawyer said on Friday.

First freeze causes little damage to U.S. Northern Plains crops

CHICAGO - The U.S. northern Plains and far western Midwest crop regions saw their first freeze of the season but the cold temperatures were only in pockets of the belt, limiting damage to immature corn and soybeans, agricultural meteorologists said on Friday.

Mississippi candidate draws long straw, wins tied election

- The election for alderman in a southern Mississippi city that ended in a tie was settled on amicable terms by drawing straws out of a hat, city officials said Friday.

Gun-toting Colorado woman threatens boy over clarinet practice

DENVER - Sheriff's deputies in Colorado arrested a 60-year-old woman who pointed a rifle at her neighbor's 11-year-old son as he played his clarinet in the backyard, authorities said on Friday.

Washington state company recalls sausages because they contain milk

WASHINGTON - Interbay Food Co LLC is recalling about 4,820 pounds of pork sausage because they contained milk, an allergen that was not on the products' label, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said on Friday.

Los Angeles issues 'heat alert' as temperatures soar

LOS ANGELES - Los Angeles health officials on Friday issued a special "heat alert" for this weekend, urging residents to take special precautions with temperatures expected to soar into triple digits across the region.

South Carolina father, jailed in kids' deaths, in 'mental disarray': lawyer

- A father who is accused of killing his five children in South Carolina and dumping their bodies in rural Alabama is scared and remorseful, and his family fears he suffers from an untreated mental illness, an attorney said on Friday.

N.J. man who left pig mask on stabbed ex-wife gets 50 years

MORRISTOWN N.J. - A New Jersey man who stabbed his ex-wife 84 times before placing a rubber pig mask over her face was sentenced on Friday to 50 years in prison for her murder.

St. Louis groups donating funds to Ferguson schools, shops

- A group of St. Louis corporate executives and a consortium of businesses and civic groups said on Friday they were donating $85,000 to schools and small businesses in Ferguson, Missouri, to help the town recover after weeks of protests over the shooting of a black teen by a white police officer.

Wisconsin asks appeals court for urgent green light on voter ID law

CHICAGO - Wisconsin on Friday asked a U.S. appeals court in Chicago to urgently give a green light to a 2012 law requiring voters to show photo identification, so that it can be in place for the November mid-term elections.

California state senator gets jail time in voter fraud case, judge rules

LOS ANGELES - A California state senator convicted on eight felony counts of perjury and voter fraud was sentenced to 90 days in jail on Friday in one of three ethics scandals involving Democratic lawmakers in the most populous U.S. state.

Venezuela's Maduro vows legal action against Harvard professor

CARACAS - Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has called for legal action against a former government official who now teaches at Harvard University and wrote an opinion piece that contributed to a fall in the nation's bond prices earlier this week.

Low over Florida has 20 percent chance of becoming cyclone: NHC

- A low-pressure area now located over southern Florida still has 20 percent chance of becoming a cyclone in the next 48 hours, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said in its latest advisory on Friday.

U.S. Navy pilot missing after two aircraft crash in Pacific Ocean

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Navy is searching for a pilot missing after two combat jets crashed at sea in the western Pacific Ocean on Friday, Navy officials said.

Torrential rains cause over $1 million worth of damage in Nevada county

- Torrential rains that drenched much of the U.S. Southwest and killed two women earlier this week caused more than $1 million worth of damage to roadways in a Nevada county, officials said on Thursday.

Bridgeport, Connecticut, industrial fire forces hundreds to evacuate

- An overnight fire at a Bridgeport, Connecticut, industrial building forced about 400 nearby residents to evacuate and caused a large power outage in the area, officials said on Friday.

Inmate convicted of killing three teenagers escapes from Ohio prison

CLEVELAND - A teenager serving a life sentence for shooting three students to death at a Cleveland-area high school in 2012 escaped on Thursday with another inmate from a northwestern Ohio prison, prompting a manhunt for the pair, police said.

Judge awards $4.4 million to lawyers in Arizona racial profiling case

PHOENIX - A federal judge on Thursday awarded more than $4.4 million to attorneys who won a long-running racial profiling case against the operations of Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio, although that pared the sum plaintiffs' lawyers had sought by about a third.

Three dead babies found in squalid Massachusetts home

- The bodies of three infants have been found amid the "squalor" and vermin of a condemned southern Massachusetts home where four children were previously removed by state officials, Worcester County officials and media said on Thursday.

FBI probing Louisiana man's suffocation death in fracas with police

NEW ORLEANS - The FBI is investigating the March suffocation death of a Louisiana man, a bureau spokeswoman said on Thursday, after a state agency reported he was heard saying he could not breathe while handcuffed and pinned down by police officers.

Professor who lost job over Gaza tweets rebuffed by Illinois university trustees

- University of Illinois trustees voted overwhelmingly on Thursday not to reinstate Steven Salaita, whose Twitter postings about Israel caused him to lose a promised faculty job, sparking debate about academic freedom and the use of social media.

Retrial to proceed for Florida man who shot teens over loud music

ORLANDO Fla. - Despite prior widespread media coverage, a retrial can go ahead later this month for a white, middle-aged man charged with killing an unarmed black teenager during a dispute about loud rap music, a north Florida judge ruled on Thursday.

Segway seeks import ban on similar products from China

- Segway Inc is asking the U.S. International Trade Commission to stop a "widespread pattern of infringement" and block several Chinese companies from importing and selling their own similar two-wheeled transporters in the United States.

New Jersey 'gay conversion therapy' ban is upheld

NEW YORK - A federal appeals court on Thursday upheld New Jersey's ban on counseling intended to change the sexual orientation of gay and lesbian children.

Lawsuit seeks source of drugs to be used in Pennsylvania execution

PHILADELPHIA - In the wake of botched lethal injections in other states, the ACLU and four newspapers have sued Pennsylvania's prison system to unseal records on the drugs that will be used in an execution later this month, the state's first in 15 years.

Police cite 120 under Baltimore's youth curfew law, mayor says

- Police enforcing Baltimore's tough youth curfew law gave out 120 citations in the measure's first month, the mayor said on Thursday, and officials were divided on its effectiveness.

Seattle court orders HIV-positive man to stop spreading the virus

SEATTLE - An HIV-positive man in Seattle could face jail time if he fails to comply with a court order seeking to prevent him from spreading the disease to his sexual partners, King County officials said Thursday.

Kidde recalls 1.3 million smoke alarms because of alarm failure

WASHINGTON - Walter Kidde Portable Equipment Inc is recalling about 1.3 million smoke alarms and combination smoke and carbon monoxide alarms because they can fail following a power outage, the Consumer Product Safety Commission said on Thursday.

Teacher's 'kissing game' leads to review of New Hampshire school district

MANCHESTER N.H. - A school district in southern New Hampshire is overhauling its sexual harassment policies after U.S. officials found a male high school teacher played a "kissing game" with students and made sexually charged comments, a city official said on Thursday.

Crocs trying to monopolize marketplace, competitor says

- A family-owned, Nevada-based shoe company is taking on the giant shoe maker Crocs, accusing it of creating a monopoly by suing smaller competitors and putting them out of business.

Decision on Tony Stewart crash to come next week, officials say

SYRACUSE N.Y. - Prosecutors will make a statement late next week on whether they will be taking action against three-time NASCAR champion Tony Stewart stemming from a fatal dirt-track crash last month, officials in upstate New York said on Thursday.

Jury selected for Texas doctor charged with poisoning lover's coffee

HOUSTON - A jury was selected on Thursday in the trial of a breast cancer physician accused of spiking two cups coffee for her lover, a cancer researcher, with a compound commonly found in antifreeze.

Ex-tech officer at indicted money exchange pleads guilty to U.S. charge

NEW YORK - A former technology officer at indicted former digital currency exchange Liberty Reserve pleaded guilty on Thursday in New York to a federal charge of conspiring to operate an unlicensed money transmitting business.

Washington's Supreme Court holds state in contempt over education

SEATTLE - Washington state's Supreme Court on Thursday found the legislature in contempt for failing to uphold a court order to come up with a plan to boost its education budget by billions of dollars over the next five years.

Missouri teachers can become armed safety officers under new law

KANSAS CITY Mo. - More Missouri teachers could carry concealed weapons under a measure state lawmakers approved late Wednesday that also bans local laws against open carry of guns.

Colorado activists want rules on pot edibles implemented fast

DENVER - Activists in Colorado called on Thursday for the fast implementation of rules requiring marijuana-infused edibles be clearly distinguishable from regular products when removed from their original packaging.

Colorado activists want rules on pot edibles implemented fast

DENVER - Activists in Colorado called on Thursday for the fast implementation of rules requiring marijuana-infused edibles be clearly distinguishable from regular products when removed from their original packaging.

Over 20 Aryan Brotherhood members arrested in suspected Texas meth ring

AUSTIN Texas - Federal and Texas authorities arrested 21 members of the white supremacist group Aryan Brotherhood on Thursday and charged them with running a methamphetamine distribution operation in the Waco area, a U.S. officials said.

Arkansas judge dismissed for disclosing details about Theron adoption

LITTLE ROCK Ark. - An Arkansas state judge who acknowledged posting on the Internet confidential information regarding an adoption by actress Charlize Theron was removed from office on Thursday by the Arkansas Supreme Court.

St. Louis grand jury weighs charges in Ferguson shooting

ST. LOUIS - The white officer who shot dead unarmed black teenager Michael Brown in August, spurring a wave of violent protests, would be the first policeman charged for killing a suspect in St. Louis County in more than two decades.

Illinois sheriff admits misconduct in cyber stalking case, resigns

CHICAGO - A western Illinois county sheriff pleaded guilty on Thursday to attempted official misconduct and agreed to resign for attempting to cyber stalk an undocumented immigrant woman, officials said on Thursday.

Utah teacher shoots herself in leg with concealed weapon

SALT LAKE CITY - A Utah elementary school teacher with a state permit to carry a concealed firearm in class shot herself in the leg when the handgun went off, apparently by accident, while she was in a faculty restroom on Thursday, school district officials said.

U.S. Representative John Dingell, 88, released from hospital

- U.S. Representative John Dingell of Michigan, the longest- serving member of Congress ever, was released from a Detroit hospital on Thursday after being admitted earlier this week for abdominal pain.

Bankrupt San Bernardino, California, can cut firefighter benefits, judge says

RIVERSIDE Calif. - The city of San Bernardino, California, may impose cuts to its firefighters overtime and pension benefits in a bid to reach a bankruptcy exit plan, the federal judge overseeing the case said on Thursday.

South Carolina father accused of killing kids was investigated for abuse

CHARLESTON S.C. - South Carolina child protection workers visited the family of a man accused of killing his five children at least a dozen times since 2011 in response to reports of abuse and neglect, state records released on Thursday show.

Former New York Mets female ticketing executive sues team over discrimination

- A former New York Mets ticket sales executive sued the baseball club for discrimination on Wednesday, alleging in a federal lawsuit she was "frequently humiliated" and later fired by the team owner's son because she was pregnant while unmarried.

Police find dead cats in Florida child porn suspect's home

- A Florida man wanted on child pornography charges was found living among numerous dead and living cats, police said on Wednesday without confirming a media report that about 50 dead felines were found in the suspect's freezer.

Missouri lawmakers override Governor's veto on '72-hour' abortion law

- Missouri lawmakers on Wednesday passed a law requiring women to wait three days for an abortion, even in cases of rape or incest, according to the legislature's websites - overriding an earlier veto from Governor Jay Nixon,

Former FBI director Mueller to lead probe of NFL's handling of Ray Rice case

- A former director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Robert Mueller III, will lead a probe into the National Football League's handling of former Baltimore Ravens player Ray Rice's domestic violence case, the league said on Wednesday.

University of California task force won't support divesting fossil-fuel holding

SAN FRANCISCO - A University of California panel announced recommendations on Wednesday to combat climate change and make the university more sustainable, but declined to endorse shedding its fossil fuel holdings from its $91 billion invesment portfolio.

U.S. to alert retailers to bomb materials to counter home-grown threat

WASHINGTON - The government plans to give U.S. retailers a list of materials that can be used in explosives and ask them to look out for suspicious behavior as a way to combat domestic terrorism, the homeland security secretary said on Wednesday.

Heatstroke killed Maryland woman, daughters found in car: coroner

ANNAPOLIS Md. - (This version of the story first published on August 12 corects the age of the younger child in paragraph 2 to 5 months, not 9 months)

Mississippi gambler accused of leaving toddler in car outside casino

- A Mississippi father was accused of child neglect after deputies said he left his 1-year-old toddler in the car while he gambled for an hour in a casino.

Imprisoned former Pennsylvania minister sentenced for wife's murder

Harrisburg Pa. - A former Methodist minister serving life in prison in Pennsylvania for the murder of his second wife was sentenced on Wednesday to up to 40 additional years for killing his first wife as well.

In New York's trendy SoHo, a cool million will buy a parking space

NEW YORK - A New York property developer is offering the uber-wealthy the opportunity to buy a condo parking spot for a cool $1 million - merely six times the value of a typical American home.

U.S. government drops top security clearance contractor probed by DOJ

WASHINGTON - The U.S. government is dropping its largest security clearance contractor, US Investigations Services LLC, which carried out background checks on Edward Snowden and the man who shot 12 people to death at the Washington Navy Yard.

No charges in America's Cup drowning, San Francisco police say

- No charges will be filed in connection with the death of a British Olympic sailing champion who drowned after the craft he was sailing during training for last year's America's Cup races capsized and broke apart in San Francisco Bay, police said.

Obama says in speech U.S. to lead 'broad coalition' against Islamic State

WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama said on Wednesday the United States will lead a broad coalition to wage a relentless campaign to root out Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria "wherever they exist."

New York clinic that treated Joan Rivers says no biopsy performed

NEW YORK - The New York clinic where comedian Joan Rivers stopped breathing a week before her death denied on Wednesday ever administering general anesthesia or conducting a vocal cord biopsy as has been alleged in media reports as contributing to her demise.

Los Angeles Fashion District raided in drug money-laundering probe

LOS ANGELES - Police and federal agents on Wednesday raided dozens of Los Angeles Fashion District businesses suspected of operating as part of a major money-laundering hub for narcotics traffickers in Mexico, law enforcement officials said.

Delta flight makes emergency landing in Austin, no injuries reported

AUSTIN Texas - A regional jet carrier operating a flight for Delta Air Lines made an emergency landing in Austin, Texas, on Wednesday after experiencing cabin pressure problems but there were no reported injuries, an airport official said.

Convicted U.S. killer Jodi Arias wants to stop representing herself

PHOENIX - Convicted murderer Jodi Arias no longer wants to represent herself at a sentencing-phase retrial in Arizona that will decide whether she is put to death for the 2008 killing of her ex-boyfriend, court documents showed on Wednesday.

With World Trade site largely rebuilt, New York marks September 11

NEW YORK - Until a few months ago, the part of New York City where crowds will gather on Thursday morning to mark the 13th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks on the United States had been mostly fenced off to the public.

U.S. seeks up to 16 months in prison for Dinesh D'Souza

NEW YORK - The U.S. government wants conservative author and filmmaker Dinesh D'Souza to be sentenced to as much as 16 months in prison, following his guilty plea to a campaign finance law violation.

MGM Resorts cleared to re-enter ailing Atlantic City market

ATLANTIC CITY N.J. - MGM Resorts International won regulatory permission on Wednesday to re-enter the Atlantic City casino market after a 20-month investigation focusing on the company's ties to Pansy Ho, the richest woman in Hong Kong, who New Jersey gaming regulators considered an unsuitable partner.

Arrests made in protest over Missouri shooting

- More than 100 demonstrators tried to block a U.S. highway and some were arrested in clashes with authorities on Wednesday in a protest over the fatal shooting of an unarmed black teen by a white policeman in Ferguson, Missouri, police said.

Texas executes man, 45, for shooting spree that left two dead

AUSTIN Texas - Texas executed a 45-year-old man on Wednesday for killing two people and wounding two others during a shooting spree sparked by a breakup with his girlfriend.

Authorities arrest 35 in protest over Missouri shooting

- More than 100 demonstrators tried to block a U.S. highway and 35 people were arrested in clashes with authorities on Wednesday in a protest over the fatal shooting of an unarmed black teen by a white policeman in Ferguson, Missouri, police said.

Nevada lawmakers to consider huge tax breaks for Tesla

CARSON CITY Nev. - Nevada lawmakers convened in a special session on Wednesday to consider tax breaks and other incentives worth an estimated $1.3 billion to clinch a deal hammered out by Governor Brian Sandoval with Tesla Motors Inc to build a massive battery factory in the state.

Detroit bankruptcy trial delayed until Monday by U.S. judge

DETROIT - A federal judge has put a landmark trial on Detroit's plan to exit bankruptcy on hold until Monday, as the city neared a deal with bond insurer Syncora Guarantee Inc, one of its most formidable hold-out creditors.

California to mandate paid sick leave under new law

SACRAMENTO Calif. - California businesses will have to provide paid sick leave to most employees under a bill signed on Wednesday by Democratic Governor Jerry Brown, the latest move to aid low-income workers in the most populous U.S. state.

Severe storms forecast for Detroit, schools close early

- A forecast of severe thunderstorms for the Detroit metro area on Wednesday afternoon prompted Detroit public schools to dismiss students early and city officials to warn residents of possible flooding.

Oregon girl, 4, dies of E.coli, Washington state boy hospitalized

SEATTLE - A 4-year-old girl in Oregon has died from an E.coli infection and a 5-year-old boy in Washington state was in critical condition Wednesday suffering from what was likely the same strain of bacteria, health officials said.

New York trial opens for mother accused of killing autistic boy

NEW YORK - Socialite Gigi Jordan murdered her autistic son to avoid dealing with his developmental disorder, prosecutors said at the start of her trial on Wednesday, but the defense said it was a mercy killing to protect the boy from being raped by his father.

New York's 'Subway Vigilante' won't face marijuana charges

NEW YORK - New York City's "Subway Vigilante," who made headlines in the 1980s for shooting four teenagers on a train, has had charges dismissed in a recent marijuana-dealing case, prosecutors said on Wednesday.

California woman dies of injuries sustained in Napa quake

SACRAMENTO Calif. - A California woman has died of injuries sustained during last month's earthquake in the state's wine country in Napa County, officials said on Wednesday.

Outgoing Justice Department official says more to come in bank probes

WASHINGTON - Tony West, the third-ranking official at the U.S. Department of Justice, has a ready response for critics who question why few individuals have been charged for conduct tied to the financial crisis: just wait.

White House visitor center reopens after $12.6 million revamp

WASHINGTON - The White House Visitor Center will reopen on Saturday after a $12.6 million, two-year makeover, the National Park Service said on Wednesday.

Washington state teenagers arrested in school shooting threats

SEATTLE - Friends of a Washington state man accused of threatening a shooting rampage at his former high school have been arrested on charges of intimidating witnesses who brought the alleged plot to the attention of police, officials said on Wednesday.

South Carolina man faces murder charges in deaths of his five children

CHARLESTON S.C. - A man accused of killing his five children in South Carolina and driving their corpses through several states before dumping them in Alabama will be charged with murder, law enforcement authorities said on Wednesday.

Missouri executes man after appeal over lethal drugs fails

- Missouri executed a convicted murderer on Wednesday after a court turned down his attorney's appeal based on a report that officials had lied over the drugs used in lethal injections.

Utah author says Christian romance novel plagiarized, sullied by sex

- A Utah author has sued another writer for allegedly copying her Christian romance novel, adding "graphic sex scenes," and then selling the story, court records showed.

Esmark to convert Ohio steel mill to serve shale boom

NEW YORK - An idled steel facility in the heartland of the United States is gearing up for a revival as an energy services provider due to surging production from the U.S. shale revolution. 

Texas to execute man convicted of deadly shooting rampage

AUSTIN Texas - Texas plans to execute Willie Tyrone Trottie on Wednesday for killing two people during a shooting spree sparked by a breakup with his girlfriend.

'Armed patriots': the private citizens out to secure the U.S. border

BROWNSVILLE Texas - With binoculars in hand, an assault rifle slung over his chest and a Glock pistol on his hip, a man named Will scans the banks of the Rio Grande looking for anyone trying to cross from Mexico into Texas.

U.S. mortgage applications fall in latest week: MBA

NEW YORK - Applications for U.S. home mortgages fell last week as interest rates rose for the first time in four weeks, an industry group said on Wednesday.

Californian voters support water bond two-to-one, poll finds

- A two-to-one majority of California voters support the state's $7.5 billion water bond that is slated for November's ballot, according to a new poll.

Californian voters support water bond two-to-one, poll finds

- A two-to-one majority of California voters support the state's $7.5 billion water bond that is slated for November's ballot, according to a new poll.

U.S. groups leery of fast-track trade deals demand transparency

WASHINGTON - More than 500 U.S. organizations on Wednesday urged the Obama administration to ditch the system of congressional authority to fast-track trade negotiations, demanding a more transparent method of handling trade negotiations.

U.S. NHTSA to probe engine stalls on 2007 Chrysler minivans

DETROIT - U.S. safety regulators are investigating about 160,000 Dodge Caravan minivans following reports of engine stalling

Detroit bankruptcy trial delayed until Monday by U.S. judge

DETROIT - A federal judge on Wednesday put the landmark trial on Detroit's plan to exit bankruptcy on hold until Monday as the city neared reaching a deal with one of its most formidable hold-out creditors.

Nevada lawmakers to consider huge tax breaks for Tesla

CARSON CITY Nev. - Nevada lawmakers on Wednesday will consider controversial tax breaks estimated at up to $1.3 billion for Tesla Motors Inc to build its $5 billion battery factory in the state.

Republican holding lead in Connecticut governor's race: poll

BOSTON - Republican businessman and former U.S. ambassador to Ireland Thomas Foley is leading incumbent Democrat Dannel Malloy in the Connecticut governor's race, according to a poll released on Wednesday.

Coleman recalls inflatable tubes after skin irritation reports

WASHINGTON - The Coleman Co Inc is recalling about 20,500 Sevylor brand inflatable flotation tubes because of the risk of skin irritation, the Consumer Product Safety Commission said on Wednesday.

Florida quadruple murder suspect denies role in killings

TAMPA Fla. - A man suspected by authorities of killing four people in Florida and dumping their bodies by a roadside insists that he wasn't responsible for the gruesome crime.

U.S. wholesale stocks barely rise; third-quarter growth estimates cut

WASHINGTON - U.S. wholesale inventories barely rose in July, suggesting a slower pace of stock accumulation at the start of the third quarter that prompted economists to trim growth estimates.

Prosecutor accuses Florida sheriff of letting out violent prisoners

TALLAHASSEE Fla. - A Florida sheriff accused of contempt of court for releasing prisoners for brief furloughs from jail hit back on Wednesday saying the case is racially motivated.

Trump Entertainment begins race to save Atlantic City casino

WILMINGTON Del - Trump Entertainment Resorts received U.S. Bankruptcy Court approval on Wednesday for an agreement that gives it 30 days to craft a cost-cutting turnaround plan to save its Taj Mahal casino-hotel from liquidation.

Californians cut back water use as drought continues

SACRAMENTO Calif. - Facing acute water shortages in some communities and mandatory restrictions on watering lawns, Californians saved 17 billion gallons of water in July, enough to fill 26,000 Olympic-sized swimming pools, the state said.

Colorado woman pleads guilty to conspiring to aid Islamist rebels

DENVER - A 19-year-old Colorado woman pleaded guilty in federal court on Wednesday to conspiring to provide material support to Islamic State militants who have seized large parts of Syria and Iraq.

Texas students airlifted to hospital after taking unknown pills

AUSTIN Texas - At least five middle school students were airlifted to a Houston-area hospital on Wednesday after taking unknown pills, school officials told local media.

Tropical storm Odile forms off Mexico's Pacific Coast

MEXICO CITY - Tropical storm Odile formed on Wednesday off Mexico's Pacific Coast and is due to strengthen overnight as it moves toward the famous beach resort of Acapulco, which was hit hard by storms and record flooding last year.

Former exotic dancer sues Cowboys' owner Jones for sexual harassment

DALLAS - A former exotic dancer has filed a harassment suit seeking at least $1 million from Jerry Jones, claiming the Dallas Cowboys owner sexually assaulted her five years ago.

Founder of Maine elephant refuge trampled to death by elephant

- The founder of a Maine sanctuary for old and injured elephants was trampled to death by one of the elephants under his care, the company, Hope Elephants, and local media said on Tuesday.

Montana college student missing after fishing trip found alive

- A University of Montana student who disappeared over the weekend during a fishing trip was found alive on Tuesday near the state's border with Idaho where his sport utility vehicle had broken down, authorities said.

Five children aged two to eight found dead in Alabama

JACKSON Miss. - The decomposed bodies of five children aged between 2 and 8 were found stuffed into garbage bags on Tuesday near a logging road in Alabama after their father confessed to killing them and led police to the scene, authorities said.

U.S. House formally condemns Obama for Guantanamo prisoner swap

WASHINGTON - The U.S. House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly on Tuesday to condemn President Barack Obama for failing to give Congress a 30-day notice before exchanging prisoner of war Bowe Bergdahl for five members of the Taliban who were being held at the military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Republican Scott Brown wins New Hampshire U.S. Senate primary

CONCORD N.H. - Former Massachusetts U.S. Senator Scott Brown won the nod from New Hampshire Republican voters on Tuesday to take on Democratic incumbent Jeanne Shaheen in November, in a race his party sees as a chance to gain control of the Senate.

Montana governor issues sage grouse conservation plan

- Montana's governor on Tuesday signed an executive order creating a habitat conservation plan for sage grouse in a bid to keep management of the imperiled bird in state hands rather than see it come under strict federal Endangered Species Act protections.

Ferguson council faces calls for reform at first meeting since teen's shooting

FERGUSON Mo. - City leaders in Ferguson, Missouri, confronted demands for reform by several hundred people on Tuesday night at their first public meeting since last month's fatal shooting of an unarmed black teen by a white police officer ignited weeks of protests.

Cougar that injured boy in California tracked for third day

LOS ANGELES - Game wardens and hounds combed steep, wooded canyons and ravines for a third day near California's Silicon Valley on Tuesday, searching for a mountain lion that injured a 6-year-old boy, but the cat has so far evaded trackers, wildlife officials said.

Ohio police have identified suspects in fake ALS bucket attack

CLEVELAND - High school students responsible for dumping a bucket containing water, urine and spit on a teenage boy with autism in a fake ALS "Ice Bucket Challenge" have been identified, police said on Tuesday.

Ahead of speech, Obama briefs Congress on Islamic State strategy

WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama told leaders of Congress on Tuesday that he did not need for them to authorize his strategy to fight Islamic State, ahead of a speech to Americans that may herald expanded operations against the group in Iraq and perhaps Syria.

While others exit, MGM wants back in to Atlantic City gambling

NEW YORK - As other companies abandon the New Jersey gambling hub of Atlantic City, MGM Resorts International could learn on Wednesday whether it will be allowed to re-enter the market as regulators review an old business deal that prompted the company effectively to pull out.

Respite possible for Hawaii community as lava flow shifts course

HONOLULU - A volcanic lava flow that threatens a subdivision on Hawaii's Big Island has shifted slightly, potentially sparing some homes but increasing the number of residents who may be "lava-locked" if the flow overtakes a highway, a civil defense official said on Tuesday.

In Missouri, Michael Brown memorial preserved, protected

The stuffed animals, flowers, and candles mounded into a memorial in the middle of the street where 18-year-old Michael Brown was shot and killed by a police officer changes almost daily. Sometimes it swells with roses or includes a hand-lettered sign of anger over the teen's death.

U.S. House formally condemns Obama for Guantanamo prisoner swap

WASHINGTON - The U.S. House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly on Tuesday to condemn President Barack Obama for failing to give Congress a 30-day notice before exchanging prisoner of war Bowe Bergdahl for five members of the Taliban who were being held at the military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Five children aged two to eight found dead in Alabama

JACKSON Miss. - The bodies of five children aged between 2 and 8 were found stuffed into garbage bags on Tuesday near a logging road in Alabama after their father confessed to killing them and led police to the scene, authorities said.

Oregon nurse pleads guilty to sexually abusing emergency room patients

PORTLAND Ore. - An Oregon nurse pleaded guilty on Tuesday to sexually abusing women in a Portland hospital's emergency room and is expected to be sentenced to 15 years in prison under terms of a deal with prosecutors, a court administrator said.

Remains of Tennessee student found three years after her disappearance

NASHVILLE Tenn. - The partial remains of missing Tennessee student Holly Bobo, a cousin of country music singer Whitney Duncan, have been found in Tennessee more than three years after she disappeared, officials said.

Searchers comb Montana valley for missing college student

- Dozens of law enforcement officials and volunteers scoured the winding canyons and trout streams of western Montana on Tuesday in a search for a University of Montana student who is the second to go missing in recent weeks.

U.S. blames pilot errors, fatigue for 2013 UPS plane crash in Alabama

WASHINGTON - The fatal crash of a United Parcel Service Inc cargo plane at an Alabama airport last year resulted from pilot errors that caused it to clip trees and slam into the ground just short of the runway, the National Transportation Safety Board said on Tuesday.Pilot fatigue also appeared to be a factor in the early morning crash, the board said, noting that both pilots discussed tiredness in the cockpit before the crash. UPS disagreed with that part of the agency's findings, say

Boston Scientific ordered to pay $73 million over mesh device

- A Texas jury has ordered Boston Scientific Corp to pay $73 million to a woman who said she suffered serious injuries from a transvaginal mesh device, the first loss for the device maker in one of thousands of suits over the products.

Snake, seven-foot-long, found lurking near California school

- A 7-foot-long snake was discovered lurking under a parked car outside a middle school in a small Northern California community, a San Mateo County Sheriff's spokeswoman said on Tuesday.

Drug use up among U.S. pilots killed in crashes: government study

WASHINGTON - Tests on pilots killed in plane crashes in the United States since 1990 have found a four-fold increase in the use of legal and illegal drugs, according to a study released on Tuesday by the National Transportation Safety Board.

Professor seeks reinstatement after losing job over Gaza tweets

- A professor who lost a promised job over his tweets on the recent seven-week Israel-Palestine war demanded on Tuesday that the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) reinstate him, citing free speech and academic freedom.

New York man pleads guilty to trying to join al Qaeda

NEW YORK - A New York man pleaded guilty on Tuesday to attempting to join the militant group al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, considered to be one of the most active wings of the network, prosecutors said.

Court voids much of $180 million award over ConAgra silo fire

- A federal appeals court on Tuesday said ConAgra Foods Inc was not liable for a 2010 fire and explosion at an Illinois flour mill that burned three workers, and overturned much of a nearly $180 million jury award against the packaged foods company and a contractor.

Arizona sheriff calls for felony charges in deaths of 21 dogs

PHOENIX - Authorities in Arizona have completed an investigation into the deaths of 21 dogs at a Phoenix-area boarding kennel which overheated, and a local lawman recommended on Tuesday that felony animal cruelty charges be filed against four suspects.

Minnesota ex-nurse convicted again of assisting Briton's suicide

MINNEAPOLIS - A former nurse in Minnesota was convicted on Tuesday for a second time of intentionally assisting in the suicide of a British man who hanged himself and of attempting to assist the suicide of a Canadian woman who died after jumping into a river.

Elderly couple die, Kansas City crime spree death toll hits five

- A husband and wife critically injured last week during a crime spree in a normally tranquil Kansas City neighborhood have died, raising the death toll from the attacks to five, prosecutors said on Tuesday.

San Francisco looks to car-share to reduce city vehicle fleet

SAN FRANCISCO - San Francisco city employees could soon be zipping around the city’s famous hills in car-share vehicles, rather than city-owned cars, under a proposal introduced in the city’s Board of Supervisors on Tuesday.

White House doesn't believe slain U.S. journalist was 'sold' to Islamic State

WASHINGTON - The United States has no information indicating beheaded American journalist Steven Sotloff was "sold" to Islamic State militants by moderate Syrian opposition rebels, White House spokesman Josh Earnest said on Tuesday.

Grand jury to hear case of Georgia toddler injured by police grenade

ATLANTA - A Georgia grand jury will decide later this month whether to indict deputies in the case of a 19-month-old boy who was severely burned by a flash grenade tossed into a house during a raid, an attorney for the child’s family said Tuesday.

Ashes of disabled Pennsylvania boy left unclaimed

- The remains of a 9-year-old disabled boy found decomposing in squalid conditions in his central Pennsylvania home were cremated when no one claimed his body, the local prosecutor's office said on Tuesday.

Calpers criticized for passive approach to pension 'spiking'

LOS ANGELES - America's largest public pension fund was criticized in a report on Tuesday for failing to sufficiently audit and clamp down on pension "spiking", a practice of inflating workers' benefits just before retirement in order to boost their pensions.

U.S. falls behind in college competition: OECD

LOS ANGELES - The United States has slipped behind many other countries in college completion and "educational mobility," with fewer young Americans getting more education than their parents, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development's "Education at a Glance" report.

Pilot killed at Reno Air Races, scene of 2011 crash

- A veteran pilot died when he crashed during qualifying for the National Championship Air Races, official said on Tuesday in Reno, where 11 people were killed in 2011 when a World War Two-era plane slammed into the ground near the grandstand.

New York City's 'responsible banking' law survives court challenge

NEW YORK - A federal judge has refused to block enforcement of a 2012 New York City law designed to ensure that banks holding the city's deposits document how well they meet the needs of low- and moderate-income neighborhoods.

Iowa courthouse closed following shooting: officials

- An eastern Iowa courthouse was closed on Tuesday following a shooting incident, officials said.

Ray Rice's wife rips media as video puts NFL on defensive

- Ray Rice's wife defended the former Baltimore Ravens running back on Tuesday after a video showed him knocking her out, and assailed the media for its handling of an incident that put the U.S. National Football League on the defensive.

Virginia marriage by couple in 90s may be illegal, judge says

- The secret marriage this year of a 96-year-old Virginia woman and a 95-year-old man has drawn the scrutiny of a judge, who has ruled the marriage may be illegal, a lawyer said on Tuesday.

Though facing deportation by U.S., kids learn to 'pledge allegiance'

WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama wants to promptly send them home to Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala, but until they are shipped out children caught entering the United States illegally are getting an old-fashioned dose of American patriotism.

Vermont to Washington: Your education policy is broken

BOSTON - It’s not often that the good folks who run the nation’s state education departments are publicly praised for a job well done. But then there’s Vermont Education Secretary Rebecca Holcombe.

Maine will not impose 'do not resuscitate' order on infant: governor

BANGOR Maine - The mother of a severely brain-damaged infant violently shaken by her father should be allowed to make life-and-death medical decisions for her child, who is now in the state's custody, Maine Governor Paul LePage said.

Missouri prepares for execution amid drug controversy

- Missouri officials on Tuesday were preparing to execute a man convicted of the murder of two restaurant employees as the inmate's attorney seeks a last-minute court-ordered stay, citing a controversy over Missouri's execution protocols.

Obama to give speech at 2100 ET on Wednesday on Islamic State plan

WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama is set to deliver an address to the nation at 2100 ET (0100 GMT) on Wednesday on the threat posed by Islamic State militants and the U.S. strategy "for degrading and ultimately destroying" the group, the White House said in a statement.

Top Virginia lawmakers back stiffer ethics law after ex-governor's conviction

RICHMOND Va. - Two top Virginia state lawmakers on Tuesday backed stiffening ethics legislation, among the laxest in the United States, after the conviction of a former governor and his wife on corruption charges.

Connecticut, Illinois, California lead probe into Home Depot data breach

BOSTON - The attorneys general of Connecticut, Illinois and California are leading a multi-state probe into a data breach disclosed by retailer Home Depot Inc, a spokeswoman for Connecticut Attorney General George Jepsen said on Tuesday.

Detroit, counties reach deal over water, sewer authority

DETROIT - Detroit reached a deal with three Michigan counties over regional water and sewer services that could drop the counties as objectors to the city's plan to adjust its debt and exit bankruptcy, officials announced on Tuesday.

Nebraska lieutenant governor steps down after protection order

- Nebraska's lieutenant governor resigned his post and withdrew from the upcoming election on Tuesday, a day after a judge entered a protection order against him in a family dispute.

Reform candidate closes gap in race to be California schools chief: poll

SACRAMENTO Calif. - A former charter school executive aiming to unseat California's education chief has closed the gap in a race shaping up to be a proxy war between school reform advocates and the state's powerful teachers unions, a new poll shows.

Wisconsin, Indiana ask U.S. justices to hear gay marriage cases

WASHINGTON - The states of Wisconsin and Indiana on Tuesday asked the U.S. Supreme Court to uphold their respective bans on gay marriage.

U.S. judge re-sentences Jose Padilla to 21 years on terrorism charges

MIAMI - A federal judge in Miami re-sentenced Jose Padilla to 21 years for a 2007 terrorism conviction on Tuesday after an appeals court deemed the original 17-year sentence too lenient.

Three bodies, throats slashed, found in burned New York apartment

NEW YORK - New York police found three burned bodies with their throats apparently slashed after an early morning apartment fire on Tuesday, a police spokeswoman said.

U.S. proposes rule to prevent runaway trains of dangerous goods

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Federal Railroad Administration on Tuesday proposed measures to prevent unattended freight trains from causing accidents, a step meant to improve oil train safety after a string of serious mishaps.

Convicted U.S. terror plotter due to receive stiffer prison term

MIAMI - A federal judge in Miami is expected on Tuesday to sentence Jose Padilla, whose original 17-year punishment for a 2007 conviction on terror-plotting charges was deemed too lenient by an appeals court.

U.S. job openings hold near 13-year high in July

WASHINGTON - U.S. job openings held near a 13-year high in July while hiring picked up, according to a report from the U.S. Department of Labor.

U.S. takes halting steps to plug infrastructure funding gap

WASHINGTON - The Obama administration on Tuesday announced a series of measures to help shore up crumbling U.S. infrastructure, including half a billion dollars in loans for the electric grid.

If deemed mentally fit, California college gunman set for trial: local CBS affiliate

- A California grand jury has indicted a former nursing student with seven counts of murder in a shooting rampage at a Christian college, freeing prosecutors from having to present their case to a judge before proceeding to trial if the defendant is later declared mentally competent, a local CBS broadcaster reported.

Jury selection begins in trial of Florida 'race war' planner

ORLANDO Fla. - Jury selection is set to begin on Tuesday in the Florida trial of an alleged ringleader of a white supremacist group that was broken up in 2012 while training near Orlando and Disney World for a "race war".

New Hampshire voters to pick Republican challenger for U.S. Senate

MANCHESTER N.H. - Former Massachusetts U.S. Senator Scott Brown aims to complete his rebranding as a native son of New Hampshire on Tuesday by winning the Republican nomination to run against incumbent U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen in November.

Ferguson council to meet for first time since Michael Brown shooting

- City leaders in Ferguson, Missouri, on Tuesday will hold their first public meeting since last month's fatal shooting of an unarmed black teenager by a white police officer that ignited nights of unrest in the St. Louis suburb.

Final 2014 U.S. primaries to pick contenders for governor, Senate

BOSTON - Voters in five eastern states are set to vote in the final primary elections of 2014 to pick gubernatorial candidates in Massachusetts, Rhode Island and New York and U.S. Senate challengers in New Hampshire and Delaware.

Trump Entertainment Resorts files for bankruptcy

- Trump Entertainment Resorts Inc , which operates two casinos in Atlantic City, joined the list of casino operators in New Jersey that have filed for bankruptcy.

Fourth Ebola patient to arrive in U.S. for care

- A fourth Ebola patient is expected to arrive in the United States from West Africa on Tuesday morning and be admitted to the same Atlanta hospital where two other people were successfully treated for the disease, according to officials.

NYC gets women-only taxi service: newspaper

NEW YORK (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - New York is about to get a new taxi app service – with cabs driven by women for women, according to a report in the New York Times.

Woman granted retrial with new DNA evidence for 1976 Nevada murder

- A woman who has spent more than three decades incarcerated for a 1976 Nevada killing she says she did not commit has won her bid for a retrial with new DNA evidence and will be freed from prison in the meantime, her attorney said on Monday.

Remains of missing student Holly Bobo found in Tennessee

- The partial remains of Holly Bobo, a Tennessee nursing student and cousin of country music singer Whitney Duncan, has been found in Tennessee more than three years after her disappearance from the driveway of her rural home, officials said on Monday.

Torrential rains hit U.S. Southwest, two dead in Arizona

PHOENIX - Torrential rains drenched much of the U.S. Southwest on Monday, prompting flash-flood warnings across four states and taking the lives of two women washed away in separate incidents in Arizona.

University of Miami's Donna Shalala, former Clinton official, to step down

MIAMI - University of Miami President Donna Shalala, a former Clinton administration official who was considered a major catch by the school when she joined in 2001, said on Monday she plans to step down at the end of the academic year.

City to become first in Mississippi to grant same-sex spouse benefits: report

JACKSON Miss. - The Mississippi city of Starkville will become the first in the right-leaning state to extend benefits to same-sex partners of its employees, according to local media reports.

U.S. report rips Boeing, Raytheon quality controls on missile defense

WASHINGTON - The Pentagon's internal watchdog on Monday said it found numerous quality control problems during an investigation of the troubled "kill vehicle", or warhead, built by Raytheon Co for the Boeing Co-led U.S. missile defense system.

Two women in their 90s marry in Iowa, seven decades after meeting

- Two Iowa women in their 90s celebrated seven decades they have spent together as a couple by getting married over the weekend in a small ceremony.

Obama on Ray Rice video: A 'real man' doesn't hit a woman

WASHINGTON - Speaking out against domestic violence in the wake of a video showing former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice punching his then-fiancee in an elevator, President Barack Obama said on Monday that "hitting a woman is not something a real man does."

Former California policeman pleads no contest in baseball bat beating

SAN FRANCISCO - A former Northern California police officer pleaded no contest Monday to assault and vandalism for beating a woman with a baseball bat while off duty, officials said.

Ferguson to reform police, courts after shooting and protests

- The city of Ferguson, Missouri, said on Monday it would reform its police and courts after the fatal police shooting of an unarmed black teenager last month roiled the St. Louis suburb and set off race-related protests.

Pennsylvania man accused of beating, burning woman

- A Pennsylvania man allegedly beat a woman for days with his fists and a belt before pouring lighter fluid on her and setting her on fire, police said on Monday.

Fourth Ebola patient coming to U.S. hospital for treatment

- A fourth Ebola patient will be flown to the United States by air ambulance from West Africa to receive treatment for the deadly disease, hospital officials in Atlanta said on Monday.

Arizona pink underwear inmate case to be settled: lawyer

- An attorney for the estate of a mentally ill inmate who sued an Arizona county after being forcibly dressed in pink underwear by jail officers said on Monday they will settle the case.

California capitol star-struck as Schwarzenegger unveils portrait

SACRAMENTO Calif. - Four years and seven movies after Arnold Schwarzenegger left California's highest office, the actor and politician drew a packed crowd at the unveiling of his official portrait Monday, a flashbulb-popping event as much about star power as politics.

U.S. government spending bill to contain new funds to fight Ebola

WASHINGTON - Legislation to extend U.S. government funding into the new fiscal year will contain additional funds to fight the Ebola epidemic in Africa, House Appropriations Committee Chairman Harold Rogers said on Monday.

Screening woes delay revelers leaving Bud Light event in Colorado

DENVER - Charter airline passengers leaving a weekend festival in a Colorado mountain town promoting Bud Light beer suffered long delays after a screening breakdown by a private security firm, officials said on Monday.

Oklahoma to draft new execution protocols in next two weeks

OKLAHOMA CITY - Oklahoma plans to have new execution protocols written within the next two weeks to correct for shortcomings exposed in a report last week about the troubled execution of a convicted murderer, officials said on Monday.

U.S. air marshal in Texas hospital after syringe attack in Nigeria

AUSTIN Texas - A U.S. air marshal was undergoing tests in a hospital in Houston after being assaulted in Lagos, Nigeria with a syringe containing an unknown substance, the Federal Bureau of Investigation said on Monday.

Release of U.S. Senate CIA 'torture' report still on hold

WASHINGTON - The public release of a long-awaited U.S. Senate report detailing the CIA's use of harsh interrogation techniques could be held up for weeks as the Senate Intelligence Committee and Obama administration negotiate what material can be included in the document, the committee's chairwoman said on Monday.

U.S. military to set up field hospital in Ebola-stricken Liberia

WASHINGTON - The Pentagon will send a 25-bed field hospital to Liberia to help provide medical care for health workers trying to contain the fast spreading Ebola virus that has killed 2,100 people in West Africa.

Detroit IT systems 'fundamentally broken': city's tech officer

DETROIT - Detroit relies on antiquated and dilapidated information technology for basic city administration, which puts citizens' safety at risk, makes simple administrative tasks impossible, and creates opportunities for security breaches, the city's information officer testified at a bankruptcy hearing on Monday.

Washington state hiker missing since last week emerges safe from woods

SEATTLE - A 64-year-old hiker missing for four days in Olympic National Park walked out of the woods in Washington state on his own on Monday and appeared to be in good condition, park officials said.

U.S. Ebola patient at Nebraska hospital eats, listens to music

- A U.S. medical missionary infected with the Ebola virus in West Africa was able to eat breakfast on Monday and was listening to music at the Nebraska Medical Center where he was taken for treatment last week, his wife said.

Missing autistic boy, six, stumbles into California homeless camp

- A 6-year-old autistic boy who apparently wandered away from his Northern California home over the weekend has been reunited with his family after stumbling into a homeless encampment miles away, where he was taken in by people staying there, police say.

Mayor of 'dry' Alabama city arrested on charge of driving drunk

- The mayor of one of Alabama's largest "dry" cities - where the sale of alcohol is still banned - has been arrested on a drunken driving charge, authorities said on Monday.

Homeland Security botched pandemic preparedness : U.S. report

WASHINGTON - The Department of Homeland Security failed to assess the supplies it needed to deal with a potential pandemic and now has expired stockpiles including medications, 200,000 respirators and 4,184 bottles of hand sanitizers, an inspector general report showed.

New York officials face off with Times Square superheroes

NEW YORK - New York City officials on Monday tackled Spider Man, Elmo and other fictional favorites with a proposal to intensify a crackdown on the costumed street performers who wander Times Square and pose with tourists for tips.

Prosecutors join opposition to televising Colorado theater massacre trial

DENVER - Prosecutors in the Colorado theater massacre case have joined lawyers for accused gunman James Holmes in opposing news media requests to televise his murder trial, a court document made public on Monday showed.

Arab Bank chairman testifies in U.S. court, denies funding Hamas

NEW YORK - Arab Bank Plc's chairman told reporters on Monday his bank was "clean" and had not provided funding to Hamas, speaking after his first day as a defense witness in the long-awaited civil terrorism-financing trial.

Former Virginia political candidate indicted in three killings

WASHINGTON - An eccentric former Virginia political candidate was indicted on Monday in three killings that had sparked fears a serial killer could be loose in the Washington area.

Price tag for Detroit's bankruptcy law firm hits $26 million

- The law firm shepherding Detroit through the biggest-ever municipal bankruptcy has charged the city just over $26 million, according to a report on Monday from a court-appointed fee examiner.

Number of children crossing into U.S. alone plummets since June

WASHINGTON - The number of children crossing illegally on their own into the United States dropped 70 percent from June to August, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said on Monday as he appealed to Congress for $1.2 billion in supplemental funding.

Grand jury to investigate blast at Florida jail

TALLAHASSEE - A Florida Panhandle grand jury will start hearings later this month on an explosion that killed two inmates and paralyzed a jailer last spring, a state prosecutor said on Monday.

Indiana couple charged with holding woman captive for two months

- A southwest Indiana couple accused of holding a mother of two captive in a wooden cage for two months and binding her to a bed with bungee cords was charged on Monday with rape and kidnapping, prosecutors said.

University of Florida investigates campus attacks

TAMPA Fla. - Attacks on four women recently around the University of Florida's campus in Gainesville prompted officials on Monday to ramp up security measures as they search for the suspect.

Hundreds of children in U.S. states stricken with respiratory illness

KANSAS CITY Mo - Hundreds of children across the U.S. Midwest have been stricken by a potentially serious respiratory illness, and many states are asking for federal help testing and tracking cases, according to federal and state health officials.

Chicago apartment fire kills four children, injures two adults

- A fire that swept through a Chicago apartment building early Monday killed four children and injured two adults critically, police said.

U.S. widens program to dispose of prescription drugs

WASHINGTON - Americans will be able to dispose of unused prescription drugs at more sites under a Drug Enforcement Administration rule announced on Monday aimed at curbing rising drug addiction and abuse.

Chile police probe apparent murder of U.S. teaching assistant

SANTIAGO - Police in Chile said on Monday they were investigating the apparent murder of a young U.S. psychologist, who was found dead over the weekend in her apartment in the southern city of Temuco.

Heavy rains pound Phoenix, close roads and schools

PHOENIX - A major storm packing heavy rains pounded the Phoenix area early on Monday, forcing schools to cancel classes and closing roads including sections of two major freeways.

U.S. Representative John Dingell, 88, hospitalized: staff

- Representative John Dingell of Michigan, the longest serving member of the U.S. Congress in history, has been hospitalized in Detroit with abdominal pain, his office said on Monday.

University of Miami's Donna Shalala to retire, former Clinton official

MIAMI - University of Miami President Donna Shalala, a former Clinton administration official who was considered a major catch by the school when she joined in 2001, said on Monday she plans to step down at the end of the academic year.

Yosemite National Park wildfire burns four square miles

LOS ANGELES - A wildfire that prompted the rescue of 185 hikers in Yosemite National Park has blackened four square miles of back country wilderness, officials said Monday, as crews hoped rainy weather would give them a chance to gain some control over the flames.

Virginia governor unveils more modest Medicaid expansion plan

- Democratic Governor Terry McAuliffe proposed a plan on Monday to provide medical insurance for 25,000 uninsured Virginians, a move that falls short of his vow to expand coverage to 400,000 people despite Republican objections.

White House says Obama wants Congress to invest in counter-terrorism fund

WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama wants Congress to inject money into a counter-terrorism fund to train and equip partners in other countries to fight extremists, an initiative that would be a core component of his plan to address Islamic State fighters, the White House said on Monday.

Civil rights leader decries 'culture of racism' at Atlanta Hawks

ATLANTA - Civil rights leaders said on Monday they wanted to meet with Atlanta Hawks CEO Steve Koonin to discuss their concerns about pervasive racism at the organization after the team's owner admitted to making racially insensitive remarks about fans.

America's wealth gap 'unsustainable,' may worsen: Harvard study

BOSTON - The widening gap between America's wealthiest and its middle and lower classes is "unsustainable", but is unlikely to improve any time soon, according to a Harvard Business School study released on Monday.

U.S. appeals court to review gay marriage bans in three states

SAN FRANCISCO - Gay marriage bans in Nevada, Idaho and Hawaii will come under scrutiny on Monday when a U.S. appeals court wades back into a civil rights debate that has swept through courthouses across the country.

Harvard receives largest-ever gift, $350 million for public health

NEW YORK - Harvard University has received the largest donation in its history, the school announced on Monday: $350 million from the Morningside Foundation to the School of Public Health.

Mountain lion attack leaves six-year-old California boy injured

LOS ANGELES - A mountain lion attacked and injured a 6-year-old boy hiking with family and friends on Sunday along a wooded trail in California's Silicon Valley before two adults managed to frighten the cat away, a state wildlife official said.

Lesbian teacher says fired by Detroit Catholic school over pregnancy

DETROIT - A Detroit-area teacher says she was fired from her post at a private Catholic all-girls high school after she and her lesbian partner announced they were expecting a child through non-traditional means.

U.S. Coast Guard calls off search for crashed U.S. plane

KINGSTON Jamaica - The U.S. Coast Guard said on Sunday it abandoned its search for a small, private American plane that strayed into the Caribbean on a flight to Florida before apparently crashing near Jamaica, with the pilot and at least one passenger presumed dead.

Indiana woman missing for two months found alive, arrests made

- An Indiana woman missing for two months and apparently held captive has been found alive, and authorities have arrested two people in connection with her July disappearance, police said on Sunday.

Obama to set out plan to go on offensive against Islamic State

WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama will explain to Americans and congressional leaders this week his plan to go on the offensive against Islamic State militants, who he said could eventually become a threat to the United States.

Obama: U.S. must fight Ebola now or face long-term risk

WASHINGTON - The United States needs to do more to help control West Africa's deadly Ebola outbreak to stop it becoming a global crisis that could one day threaten Americans, President Barack Obama said in an interview.

Defense cuts, Ex-Im bank weigh on aerospace companies

WASHINGTON - Commercial aviation and defense companies are grappling with dwindling U.S. defense spending, an uncertain fate for U.S. export financing and questions about the readiness of the Pentagon's top weapons program, the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.

Victims identified in Florida quadruple murder

TAMPA Fla. - Florida police on Saturday identified four bodies that were found dumped in a roadside ditch, and the suspect in the case appeared in court following his arrest in a SWAT operation that rescued a four-year-old boy holed up with him at a hotel.

Wreckage of small U.S. plane believed sunk in ocean, Jamaica says

KINGSTON - The search for the wreckage of a small U.S. private plane that crashed off the northeast coast of Jamaica continued into the evening on Saturday, after searchers spotted an oil slick where the aircraft is believed to have hit the water, authorities said.

San Diego Catholic bishop dies after battle with cancer

- Roman Catholic Bishop Cirilo Flores, the first Hispanic bishop to preside over San Diego's nearly one million Catholics, died Saturday after a battle with cancer, according to church officials. He was 66.

U.S. missionary with Ebola showing signs of improvement, wife says

SEATTLE - The third U.S. medical missionary to become infected with the Ebola virus was showing signs of improvement Saturday at a Nebraska hospital but was still very ill, his wife said.

Firefighters make progress battling blaze near California's Yosemite

- Crews battling a wildfire on the outskirts of Yosemite National Park in central California reported progress Saturday containing the blaze and evacuation orders were lifted for all but a handful of about 700 homes, officials said.

Storms cut power to more than 600,000 in Michigan, Illinois

- More than 600,000 electric customers in Michigan and Illinois lost power at the height of storms that brought heavy winds and lightning, ripping up trees, downing power lines and leaving at least two people dead, officials said on Saturday.

Possible wreckage of small U.S. plane spotted off Jamaica

KINGSTON - Rescuers were searching on Saturday for the wreckage of a small U.S. private plane that crashed off the east coast of Jamaica, after the Jamaican military said debris from the aircraft had likely been spotted.

Singer Simone Battle found dead at West Hollywood home

- Singer Simone Battle, a member of the band G.R.L. and former contestant on the "The X-Factor" television show, has been found dead in her West Hollywood home, authorities said on Saturday. She was 25.

Pennsylvania mother who gave daughter abortion pill gets prison

HARRISBURG Pa. - A Pennsylvania woman has been sentenced to up to 18 months in prison for obtaining so-called abortion pills online and providing them to her teenage daughter to end her pregnancy.

Oklahoma policeman accused of rape while on patrol released on bond

- An Oklahoma City police officer accused of raping or sexually assaulting at least six women while on patrol was released from jail after posting $500,000 bond on Friday, officials said.

Four arrested in kidnapping of 16-year-old Arizona boy

- Police in Arizona have arrested four men suspected of kidnapping a 16-year-old Tucson boy, beating him, and demanding his family pay a ransom for his safe return, authorities said on Friday.

U.S. Army suspends Western states medical chief

SEATTLE - The U.S. Army has suspended a recently-appointed medical chief of military hospitals in 20 Western states, citing an investigation into the "command climate of the organization," a spokeswoman for Joint Base Lewis-McChord said on Friday.

Veteran CBS newsman Bruce Morton dies at 83

WASHINGTON - Bruce Morton, an award-winning political correspondent for CBS News who also covered the Vietnam War and the U.S. space program, died on Friday, the network said. He was 83.

No class-action suit for Darden restaurant staff, U.S. judge rules

ORLANDO Fla. - A U.S. judge has ruled that food servers and bartenders employed by Darden Restaurants Inc, which owns chains including Olive Garden, the Capital Grille and LongHorn Steakhouse, cannot sue the company as a group for alleged wage violations.

Former United Commercial Bank exec agrees to guilty plea

SAN FRANCISCO - A former bank executive has agreed to plead guilty in a U.S. criminal case resulting from the bank's failure after it received a $300 million federal bailout, according to a court filing on Friday.

Alaska Airlines agrees to pay $500,000 over 2010 cockpit fire

- Alaska Airlines has agreed to pay $500,000 in civil penalty claims after an electrical fire ignited in a Boeing 737-400 cockpit in 2010 while it was parked at a gate in Anchorage, the Justice Department said on Friday.

Puerto Rico turnaround boss targets 'fair plan' for utility

NEW YORK - The new turnaround chief of Puerto Rico's power authority said on Friday she was targeting a "fair plan" in the restructuring of PREPA, with all options on the table but said it was too early to say if job cuts or a privatization would be part of the overhaul.

Diverted flight carrying Americans takes off from Iran

WASHINGTON - A chartered aircraft carrying about 100 U.S. citizens from Afghanistan to Dubai has taken off from Bandar Abbas, Iran, where it was diverted because of issues with its flight plan, a U.S. official said on Friday.

Sotloff lauded at Florida service as journalist committed to truth

MIAMI - Nearly 1,000 people including relatives, friends and prominent Florida politicians attended a memorial service on Friday for Steven Sotloff, who was killed by Islamic State militants, recalling him as a journalist committed to revealing the truth.

Sotloff lauded at Florida service as journalist committed to truth

MIAMI - Nearly 1,000 people including relatives, friends and prominent Florida politicians attended a memorial service on Friday for Steven Sotloff, who was killed by Islamic State militants, recalling him as a journalist committed to revealing the truth.

HIV-positive Cleveland priest pleads guilty to soliciting sex in park

- An HIV-positive Cleveland priest on Friday pleaded guilty to attempting to solicit sex from a ranger in a city park, according to court and police records.

Plane carrying Americans reaches Dubai after being diverted to Iran

WASHINGTON - A chartered aircraft carrying about 100 Americans from the U.S. airbase at Bagram, Afghanistan, has landed safely in Dubai after being diverted to Iran because of issues with its flight plan, the U.S. State Department said on Friday.

Iraq refiles case in U.S. court over disputed Kurdish crude

HOUSTON - Iraq has refiled in U.S. court to gain control of $100 million of Kurdish crude oil on a tanker near Texas, days after the court ruled it lacked jurisdiction to seize the cargo but said it could hear arguments over who is the oil's rightful owner.

Oklahoma to install new protocols before next execution: governor

OKLAHOMA CITY - Oklahoma will put in place new procedures, recommended in a report about a troubled execution that exposed shortcomings in the death chamber, before it again carries out capital punishment on an inmate, officials said on Friday.

Unresponsive, private U.S. plane crashes off coast of Jamaica

KINGSTON - A small U.S. private plane with an unresponsive pilot crashed off the east coast of Jamaica on Friday after veering far off its course toward southwest Florida and triggering a U.S. security alert that prompted a fighter jet escort.

Ex-lawyer for Aryan Nations dies during murder plot prison term

LOS ANGELES - Former Idaho attorney Edgar Steele, who once represented the Aryan Nations white supremacist group and expressed his own anti-Semitic and racist views, has died in California while serving a 50-year prison sentence for soliciting murder, a prison official said on Friday.

Fraternity at Los Angeles university disbands after hazing-related death

LOS ANGELES - A fraternity at a Los Angeles university has agreed to disband due to the hazing-related death of a 19-year-old pledge who collapsed in the heat on a hike after his group ran out of water, the school's president said on Friday.

Death penalty sought for Colorado teen, boyfriend in elderly couple’s slaying

DENVER - A Colorado prosecutor said on Friday she will seek the death penalty for a teenage woman and her boyfriend charged with killing the man's grandparents to inherit $20,000 and a house.

Washington state to pay family $10 million after highway tree crash

SEATTLE - Washington state will pay $10 million to the children and son-in-law of a couple who were killed when a tree crashed onto their SUV along a U.S. highway, their attorney said on Friday.

Star witness testifies against ex-Connecticut governor in corruption trial

NEW HAVEN Conn. - Former Connecticut Governor John Rowland, forced from office a decade ago on a corruption conviction, promised a political newcomer he could help her get elected by working as a consultant on her 2012 congressional campaign, her husband testified on Friday.

California wildfire near Yosemite prompts evacuation of 700 homes

- A 300-acre wildfire on the outskirts of Yosemite National Park in central California prompted authorities to order the evacuation of hundreds of homes, officials said on Friday.

Nearly dozen injured after bus crashes into California home

SAN FRANCISCO - Nearly a dozen people were injured when a bus crashed into a San Francisco Bay Area home on Friday after being hit by a stolen car, police said.

New York man gets life in prison for killing policeman and driver

NEW YORK - A New York man was sentenced to life in prison without parole on Friday for fatally shooting a police officer during a traffic stop on Long Island and killing a second man in an attempt to escape, the local prosecutor said.

Minnesota man gets two-year sentence for soldier identity thefts

MINNEAPOLIS - A Minnesota man who pleaded guilty to identity theft for swiping personal data including Social Security numbers on 400 soldiers from his former U.S. Army unit was sentenced in federal court on Friday to two years in prison.

China-bound flight returns to Washington, D.C., after kidnap claim

WASHINGTON - A flight headed to Beijing was forced to turn back to Washington's Dulles International Airport after a mother on board was accused of kidnapping her son amid a custody dispute, the Federal Bureau of Investigation said.Two hours after United Airlines Flight 897 took off on Thursday afternoon, while the flight was over Canada, the FBI alerted pilots to the attempted kidnapping and requested that flight be returned. The plane arrived back at Dulles around 5 p.m. local time.U

Judge approves N.Y. City's $41 mln deal in 'Central Park Jogger' suit

NEW YORK - A federal judge on Friday approved a $41 million settlement between New York City and five men wrongfully convicted of the 1989 rape of a woman jogger in Central Park, ending a decade-long civil rights lawsuit stemming from one of the city’s most infamous crimes.

Detroit needs to shed debt to afford improvements: witness

DETROIT - Detroit could not afford to undertake a series of necessary improvements without a court-approved plan to shed a chunk of its debt, a city consultant testified on Friday at a U.S. Bankruptcy Court hearing.

Fewer air travelers have long waits at U.S. security checkpoints

WASHINGTON - The number of travelers in the United States who waited 20 minutes or more at an airport security checkpoint this summer dropped by 64 percent since last year, federal government figures show.

Exercise rider killed in training accident at Belmont Park

- An exercise rider was killed during training on Friday morning in an accident at Belmont Park in New York, officials said.

Jury hits Ethicon with $3.25 million verdict in mesh case

- A federal jury in West Virginia on Friday awarded a woman $3.27 million in one of 33,000 lawsuits that accuse Johnson & Johnson’s Ethicon Inc unit of selling defective transvaginal mesh devices.

Jury hits Ethicon with $3.25 million verdict in mesh case

- A federal jury in West Virginia on Friday awarded a woman $3.27 million in one of 33,000 lawsuits that accuse Johnson & Johnson’s Ethicon Inc unit of selling defective transvaginal mesh devices.

U.S. air controllers track plane with unresponsive pilot off Florida

MIAMI - U.S. air traffic controllers tracked a plane with an unresponsive pilot off the Florida coast on Friday, apparently headed towards Cuba.

Autopsy shows missing Arizona girl was strangled to death

PHOENIX - An 8-year-old girl who vanished from her bedroom and whose body was found in a shallow grave near her home in northwest Arizona was strangled to death, police said on Friday.

Chicago church laments after falling gargoyle kills woman

CHICAGO - A historic Chicago church apologized on Friday, a day after pieces of a gargoyle fell off the building's facade and killed a mother-of-two who was walking along the street.

Oklahoma to halt execution until new protocols in place: governor

OKLAHOMA CITY - Oklahoma will put future executions on hold until new procedures are in place as recommended in a report about a troubled execution that exposed shortcomings in the death chamber, officials said on Friday.

Ex-driver for Washington mayor pleads guilty to campaign violations

WASHINGTON - The former driver for Washington Mayor Vincent Gray pleaded guilty on Friday to campaign finance violations, prosecutors said, bringing a long-running federal investigation closer to the outgoing mayor.

Iraq refiles case in U.S. court over disputed Kurdish crude

HOUSTON - Iraq has refiled in U.S. court to gain control of $100 million of Kurdish crude oil on a tanker near Texas, days after the court ruled it lacked jurisdiction to seize the cargo but said it could hear arguments over who is the oil's rightful owner.

Daimler to hike Mercedes production in Alabama by 60,000 vehicles

- Daimler AG will hike output at its Alabama Mercedes-Benz plant by 60,000 vehicles annually as it increases production of the C-Class sedan and adds a new sports utility vehicle, the ML Coupe, Daimler's chief executive officer said on Friday.

Unresponsive U.S. plane crashes off coast of Jamaica

MIAMI - A small U.S. private plane with an unresponsive pilot crashed off the coast of Jamaica on Friday after taking off from New York state bound for Florida earlier in the day, aviation officials said.

Alabama federal judge resolves wife-beating charge with court program

- An Alabama federal district court judge facing accusations he beat his wife agreed on Friday to attend a 24-week program on family and domestic violence and undergo a substance abuse assessment to resolve the charges, his attorney said.

U.S. missionary with Ebola arrives in Nebraska for treatment

- A U.S. health missionary infected with the Ebola virus entered on Friday morning the Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha for treatment after being flown in from West Africa, a spokeswoman for the medical center said.

New Orleans council clears Uber, others to offer luxury online taxi service

- New Orleans lawmakers cleared online for-hire car firms such as Uber on Thursday to offer luxury taxi-like services in the city, handing the fast-growing sector a partial legal victory.

Police find four bodies near home of missing Florida child

- Officers searching for a missing Florida boy discovered the bodies of four adults on Thursday near the home where the child was last seen, police said.

Starbucks plans new store designs - upscale in Seattle, speedy in New York

- Starbucks Corp on Friday announced two new types of stores aimed at capturing the growing demand for upscale reserve coffee and a separate test of an "express" store in Manhattan offering speedy service in a city where a "New York minute" is more like a nanosecond.

Ex-fiancee of boxer Floyd Mayweather accuses him of online humiliation

LOS ANGELES - Boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr.'s ex-fiancee filed a lawsuit on Thursday accusing him of humiliating her after their breakup by posting online a copy of a sonogram from when she was pregnant with twins and saying she had an abortion.

From suburban Maryland, U.S. firm tracks gruesome jihadi videos

WASHINGTON - From an office in the Washington suburb of Bethesda, Maryland, a small team scans the Web 24 hours a day for jihadi videos often featuring gruesome executions by groups such as Islamic State.

Pregnant inmates sometimes mistreated in Montana jails, ACLU says

- Pregnant inmates in Montana's county jails have at times been shackled while in labor or forced to deliver their babies in detention without medical assistance, a civil rights group said in a report issued on Thursday.

Bitcoin promoter pleads guilty to unlicensed use of currency

NEW YORK - A man who helped to promote bitcoin wants to remain in the business despite pleading guilty Thursday to indirectly helping send more than $1 million in the digital currency to users of the illicit online marketplace Silk Road, his lawyer said.

Hackers break into server for Obamacare website: U.S. officials

NEW YORK - An unknown hacker or hackers broke into a computer server supporting the HealthCare.gov website through which consumers enroll in Obamacare health insurance, a government cybersecurity team discovered last week, apparently uploading malicious files.

Illinois pension reform lawsuit may be resolved this year

CHICAGO - An Illinois circuit court judge on Thursday indicated that consolidated lawsuits challenging the constitutionality of a new pension reform law could be resolved by the end of the year given a State Supreme Court ruling on pension benefits in July.

Maine man once arrested for gun tattoo pleads guilty to drug charge

BOWDOINHAM Maine - A Maine man arrested by heavily armed police officers after a gun tattoo on his belly was mistaken for a weapon has pleaded guilty to unrelated drug charges after a second arrest in which he was carrying an actual gun.

Detroit CFO sees tough climb to reach revenue targets

DETROIT - Revenue projections in Detroit's debt adjustment plan will be hard to achieve, but restructuring initiatives will bring in new money and help make Detroit's plan feasible, Detroit's chief financial officer said Thursday in the city's historic bankruptcy hearing.

New York City police to test wearable cameras in coming months

NEW YORK - New York City's police commissioner unveiled body cameras on Thursday that his department will start testing soon, demonstrating the equipment by playing a short video showing a notably good-natured traffic stop from an officer's perspective.

Tesla picks Nevada for $5 billion battery plant

CARSON CITY Nevada - Tesla Motors Inc has selected Nevada as the site for a $5-billion battery factory that will be key to its next generation of electric cars, Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval announced on Thursday.

Texas stripper sentenced to 20 years for starving her children

SAN ANTONIO - A Texas woman who authorities said worked as a "freelance stripper" was sentenced on Thursday by a jury to 20 years in prison for starving her two daughters and neglecting their care.

New York City police to test wearable cameras in coming months

NEW YORK - New York City's police commissioner unveiled body cameras on Thursday that his department will start testing soon, demonstrating the equipment by playing a short video showing a notably good-natured traffic stop from an officer's perspective.

California sued over pepper-spray death of mentally ill prisoner

LOS ANGELES - The mother and father of a mentally ill California prison inmate, who died after being pepper-sprayed in his cell, sued the state correctional system on Thursday, charging that guards failed to help him and tried to cover up the circumstances of his death.

Tesla picks Nevada for $5 billion battery plant

CARSON CITY Nevada - Tesla Motors Inc has selected Nevada as the site for a $5 billion battery factory that will be key to its next generation of electric cars, Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval announced on Thursday.

Texas daycare center accused of withholding water to keep diapers dry

DALLAS - A Texas child care center accused of duct-taping children to mats at nap time also withheld water from children to avoid frequent diaper changes, according to an investigation by the state's regulatory agency for child care licensing.

Raiders agree to pay $1.25 million to cheerleaders suing over unfair pay

- The Oakland Raiders have agreed to pay $1.25 million to settle a lawsuit brought by 90 members of the team's cheerleading squad who alleged they were underpaid or faced lengthy delays in receiving their wages in violation of California labor law.

Detroit child's death stemmed from revenge shooting: prosecutors

DETROIT - Prosecutors told a court on Thursday that a Detroit man fired several AK-47 rounds into the bedroom window of an 8-year-old boy, killing him, in retaliation against the child's mother, the man's former girlfriend who had implicated him in a burglary.

Florida officials seek to appeal ruling against gay marriage ban

MIAMI - Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi on Thursday filed a notice of an appeal in federal court on Thursday challenging a ruling last month by a U.S. district judge that declared the state's gay marriage ban unconstitutional.

Obamacare plan premiums to decline on average in 16 cities: study

- Health insurance premiums for low-cost Obamacare plans in 16 U.S. cities will fall slightly in 2015 as competition helps drives down price for the new subsidized individual health plans, according to a study Friday from the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Colombian national pleads guilty in murder case of U.S. agent

- One of seven Colombians extradited to the United States to face charges stemming from the 2013 kidnapping and killing of a U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agent has pleaded guilty to taking part in the crime, federal officials said on Thursday.

California students rushed to hospital after eating pot-laced cookies

SAN FRANCISCO - Two California high school students were rushed to a hospital and three others were sickened on Thursday after eating marijuana-laced cookies that a classmate was selling during the lunch hour, police said.

Victim of Alaska serial killer Robert Hansen exhumed for DNA tests

- The remains of a young woman murdered 30 years ago by Alaska's most notorious serial killer has been exhumed in the hopes of finally confirming her identity, officials said Thursday.

Man arrested after missing girl found dead in Arizona

PHOENIX - An Arizona man was arrested on Thursday on suspicion of first-degree murder and kidnapping in connection with the disappearance of an 8-year-old girl in the northwest of the state, police said.

Mom who drove kids into ocean in Florida had low blood sugar: lawyer

ORLANDO Fla. - A pregnant South Carolina woman drove a minivan with her three children into the ocean off a Florida beach in March because low blood sugar made her act irrationally, her lawyer said on Thursday.

Puerto Rico selects AlixPartners' Donahue for power restructuring: sources

NEW YORK - Puerto Rico has selected AlixPartners' Lisa Donahue to lead a restructuring of the U.S. territory's troubled power authority PREPA, two sources briefed on the matter said on Thursday.

U.S. Justice Department to examine St. Louis County police

WASHINGTON - U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said on Thursday that the Justice Department is reviewing the way the St. Louis County Police Department in Missouri responded to protesters in Ferguson in the wake of the shooting death of unarmed black teen Michael Brown.

Appeals court invalidates Indiana and Wisconsin gay marriage bans

WASHINGTON - A U.S. appeals court on Thursday ruled that gay marriage bans in Wisconsin and Indiana violate the U.S. Constitution.

Nevada museum blast resulted from 'simple oversight,' fire official says

- A chemical flash that injured 13 people, including several children, in a Nevada museum was triggered by a "simple oversight" by a presenter trying to simulate a smoke tornado for visitors, a fire official said on Thursday.

Drought leaves up to 2.81 million hungry in Central America: U.N

OROCUINA Honduras - A severe drought has ravaged crops in Central America and as many as 2.81 million people are struggling to feed themselves, the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) said on Friday, though the region's coffee crop has been largely unscathed.

Man charged with four beating deaths in small Ohio town

- An Ohio man has been charged with aggravated murder in the beating deaths of four men found in separate houses in a small central Ohio town this week, authorities said on Thursday.

Failed IVs and confusion at Oklahoma's troubled execution -report

- A doctor and paramedic failed nearly a dozen times to place an IV in an Oklahoma inmate's execution and were unprepared for how to proceed once the line they secured to deliver a lethal injection began leaking drugs, a report said on Thursday.

Man tied to deadly 2012 U.S. meningitis outbreak arrested

BOSTON - U.S. officials on Thursday arrested a pharmacist linked to a 2012 outbreak of meningitis, which killed 64 people across the United States, as he was boarding a flight out of the country, Justice Department officials in Boston said.

More U.S. households smoke-free, study says

ATLANTA - Nearly twice as many U.S. households are smoke-free compared to 20 years ago, reflecting an increased awareness of the health hazards from secondhand smoke, but too many people still are exposed, according to a federal study released Thursday.

Georgia father charged with murder in son's hot car death

ATLANTA - A Georgia man should be tried for charges including malice murder in the death of his 22-month-old son, who was left strapped in an overheated car for seven hours, a grand jury decided on Thursday.

New suit alleging sex abuse filed against former Penn State coach

HARRISBURG Pa. - An 18-year-old youth who says he was molested several times about six years ago by now-convicted sex offender Jerry Sandusky has filed a lawsuit seeking damages from the former Penn State assistant football coach.

Dutch national pleads guilty in U.S. to running online narcotics bazaar

LOS ANGELES - A Dutch national who created and ran an elaborate online marketplace for the buying and selling of narcotics has pleaded guilty to U.S. drug trafficking and money laundering charges, prosecutors said on Wednesday.

Police surround Nashville youth detention center after disturbance

- Tennessee state and local police set up a perimeter around a youth detention center on Wednesday night after about 20 boys were discovered outside their rooms without permission following a larger break-out from the facility earlier in the week.

U.S. tax revenue to rise if Obama legalizes some immigrants: report

WASHINGTON - U.S. government tax collections would get a multi-billion-dollar boost if President Barack Obama issued an executive order giving temporary legal status to millions of undocumented residents, the liberal-leaning Center for American Progress said in a report on Thursday.

Fast-food worker protests planned for more than 150 U.S. cities

- Fast-food workers will stage another day of protests in more than 150 U.S. cities on Thursday as they seek a doubling in hourly pay to $15 and the right to form a union.

Friend of accused Boston Marathon bomber due in court

BOSTON - The last of three friends of the accused Boston Marathon bomber to face criminal charges for removing a laptop and backpack from the suspect's dorm room was due in court on Thursday

Big pharmacies knock on door of oil-rich North Dakota

BISMARCK N.D. - North Dakota's oil boom has fueled a construction bonanza for new supermarkets, restaurants and clothing stores. But try finding a Rite Aid, Walgreens or other national pharmacy chain in the state, the fastest-growing economy in the nation, and you'll be largely out of luck.

Obesity rates reach historic highs in more U.S. states

NEW YORK - Rates of adult obesity increased in six U.S. states and fell in none last year, and in more states than ever - 20 - at least 30 percent of adults are obese, according to an analysis released on Thursday.

U.S. to probe Ferguson police force after shooting of teen: report

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Justice Department is launching a civil rights probe into the police department in Ferguson, Missouri, several weeks after a white officer shot an unarmed black teenager, sparking racial unrest, the Washington Post reported on Wednesday.

U.S. fast-food workers set for walkouts to demand wage hike

- Fast-food workers in more than 150 U.S. cities are planning protests on Thursday to press for a wage increase to $15 an hour and allow them to unionize jobs from the fry-basket at McDonald's to the cash register at Burger King [BKCBK.UL].

Body found near home of missing 8-year-old Arizona girl

PHOENIX - Search teams looking for an 8-year-old girl reported missing on Tuesday from her bedroom in northwestern Arizona found a body near the family's home on Wednesday, but police said the remains were not immediately identified.

Family of Hawaii toddler who died after dental work settles suit

HONOLULU - Relatives of a 3-year-old Hawaii girl who suffered brain injuries and died after undergoing a dental procedure that went awry late last year have settled the malpractice lawsuit brought in the case, the family's lawyer said on Wednesday.

Man accused of supporting Colombian rebels sentenced to decade in prison

- A man accused of attempting to provide Colombian rebels with rocket-propelled grenade launchers was sentenced to 10 years in prison by a federal judge in New York City, prosecutors said on Wednesday.

Feds probing some Chicago police-involved shootings: attorney

CHICAGO - The FBI and federal prosecutors are investigating some shootings in Chicago in which police were involved and in which a gun belonging to the person shot was not recovered, according to an attorney who represents police officers.

Idaho polygamous sect follower in plea deal over child injury offenses

SALMON Idaho - A follower of a breakaway Mormon polygamous sect who came under public scrutiny after eight boys were taken from his Idaho home in a police raid will plead guilty to child-injury offenses in a plea agreement, prosecutors said on Wednesday.

Sotloff family mourns beheaded son as a 'gentle soul'

MIAMI - The family of Steven Sotloff, the second American journalist beheaded by Islamic State militants, said on Wednesday he was no hero and no war junkie but "a mere man who tried to find good concealed in a world of darkness."

Albino cobra on the loose in Southern California neighborhood

LOS ANGELES - Animal control specialists searched for an albino cobra that was on the loose on Wednesday in a Southern California suburb, where the venomous reptile has slithered around at least since it bit a dog two days ago, officials said.

Pro-fighter War Machine held in Las Vegas on 32 criminal charges

LAS VEGAS - Mixed martial arts fighter War Machine, accused of assaulting his porn actress ex-girlfriend and a man at her home last month, made his initial Las Vegas court appearance on Wednesday to face 32 criminal charges, including attempted murder.

Thirteen people hurt in chemical explosion at Nevada museum

- Thirteen people were hurt, including several children, in a chemical explosion on Wednesday at a museum in Reno, Nevada, where presenters demonstrating a so-called smoke tornado caused the blast with a faulty mixture, officials said.

Oregon arsonist who posted 'like my fire?' on Facebook sent to prison

- An Oregon woman who set a 2013 wildfire to create work for her firefighter friends, an act of arson she later heralded in a "like my fire?" post on Facebook, was sentenced to 18 months in prison on Wednesday.

Magna constructing new seat assembly plant in Tennessee

TORONTO - Magna International Inc, one of the world's largest auto parts suppliers, said on Wednesday it has begun building a manufacturing plant in Spring Hill, Tennessee that will supply a General Motors Co assembly plant.

Feds probing some Chicago police-involved shootings: attorney

CHICAGO - The FBI and federal prosecutors are investigating some shootings in Chicago in which police were involved and in which a gun belonging to the person shot was not recovered, according to an attorney who represents police officers.

Ohio mother fatally shoots young sons, then kills herself: police

CLEVELAND - A southwestern Ohio mother fatally shot her two young sons and then took her own life, police said on Wednesday.

Rural hospitals pressured to close as healthcare system changes

SAN FRANCISCO Sep 3 - In January, Linden Texas native Richard Bowden suffered a mild stroke. Within minutes, medics had taken the 68-year-old to the local hospital emergency room, less than a block from his house.

Idaho professor accidentally shoots himself in the foot in chemistry class

SALMON Idaho - An Idaho State University assistant professor with a concealed-carry gun permit shot himself in the foot with a semiautomatic handgun that accidentally discharged from inside his pocket in a chemistry classroom full of students, police said on Wednesday.

Texas abortion provider to reopen after court lifts restrictions

AUSTIN Texas - An abortion provider in the south Texas border city of McAllen will reopen in the next few days after a federal judge last week ruled as unconstitutional state restrictions that led to its closure.

New York police to announce details of body camera pilot program

NEW YORK - New York City's police department is planning to release new details this week about its pilot program for equipping officers with wearable video cameras to record encounters with the public, the department's chief spokesman said.

New York mayor says most new pre-kindergarten programs to open

- New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said on Wednesday most of the city's new pre-kindergarten programs, a new initiative that was a key platform in his successful 2013 campaign, would open this year.

Three Detroit men charged in murder of French street artist

DETROIT - Three Detroit men have been charged with the robbery and murder last year of a 23-year-old French street artist, prosecutors said on Wednesday.

U.S. healthcare spending growth to slow further: government report

WASHINGTON - U.S. healthcare spending is expected to grow more slowly in the coming decade as a sluggish economic recovery and higher cost sharing in private insurance plans limit demand for services, a government report released on Wednesday said.

Underage driver to face charges in deadly Pennsylvania crash: authorities

PITTSBURGH Pa. - A 15-year-old underage driver will face criminal charges after crashing her father's sports utility vehicle and killing three of her five teen-aged passengers in northeastern Pennsylvania over the weekend, authorities said on Wednesday.

Seattle agrees to pay $45,000 to pregnant woman tasered by police

SEATTLE - Seattle will pay $45,000 to a woman who police shocked with a stun gun after stopping her for speeding when she was seven months pregnant, resolving a long legal dispute in a city under federal scrutiny over allegations of harsh and biased policing.

Judge in Colorado theater massacre case allows ballistics evidence

DENVER - A judge overseeing murder proceedings against accused Colorado movie theater gunman James Holmes ruled on Wednesday that evidence linking bullet fragments and shell casings to weapons belonging to Holmes will be allowed at trial.

Honduran teen rescued from suspected smugglers in Arizona

PHOENIX - A 13-year-old Honduran boy held hostage by two human smugglers in an alleged attempt to extort more money from his family has been rescued from a Phoenix apartment, federal authorities said on Wednesday.

Settlement reached over boy killed by fallen Alabama airport sign

BIRMINGHAM Ala. - The parents of a 10-year-old boy who died last year after a 300-pound (136-kg) sign fell on him at an Alabama airport settled a lawsuit on Wednesday with contractors who acknowledged their role in the accident, a lawyer for the parents said.

Atlantic City's laid off casino workers swell jobless rolls

ATLANTIC CITY N.J. - The closing of Atlantic City's Revel casino has caused a rush of people signing up for unemployment benefits, with around 500 people lining up at a temporary resource center Wednesday morning.

Californians back Obama acting on immigrant children if Congress won't

- Most Californians would support President Barack Obama's issuing an executive order to deal with the flood of immigrant children who have entered the country illegally if Congress fails to act, according to a new poll published on Wednesday.

Missouri governor lifts state of emergency in Ferguson

- Missouri Governor Jay Nixon on Wednesday formally lifted the state of emergency that he had declared in Ferguson weeks ago when the shooting death of an unarmed black teenager by a white police officer sparked sometimes violent demonstrations.

Wisconsin 'Slenderman' attack victim returns to school

MILWAUKEE - A Wisconsin girl stabbed repeatedly by her friends to please the fictional Slenderman character has returned to school as she receives therapy for emotional scars, a spokesman for her family said on Wednesday.

Gay marriage cases await early decision by U.S. Supreme Court

WASHINGTON - Lawyers for the state of Utah believe they have the perfect case for the U.S. Supreme Court to decide once and for all the hotly-contested legal rights issue of whether states can ban gay marriage.

Gay groups to march under own banner in NYC 2015 St. Patrick's parade

NEW YORK - Organizers of the New York City Saint Patrick's Day Parade said on Wednesday they will allow gay groups to march under their own banner in the 2015 procession, changing a decades-long policy.

Missouri misled on execution drugs used: media report

- Missouri officials have not been truthful about the drugs and methods used in recent executions, misleading lawyers for death row inmates and the public, according to a St. Louis Public Radio investigation published on Wednesday.

Federal district judge upholds Louisiana ban on gay marriage

NEW ORLEANS - A federal district court judge in New Orleans upheld a Louisiana ban on gay marriage on Wednesday, bucking a trend of federal judges ruling against such bans in other states.

Man arrested as police probe shooting spree in Kansas City

- Police in Kansas City on Wednesday said they are investigating whether a man arrested for alleged assaults at a motel is connected to a triple homicide in another part of the city on Tuesday.

Slightly fewer U.S. households lacking enough food: USDA

WASHINGTON - The percentage of Americans regarded as "food insecure" - lacking access to enough food for a healthy life - has edged down in the past few years but still represents over 17 million households, the U.S. Agriculture Department said on Wednesday.

Bernard Madoff's son Andrew dies after long battle with cancer

NEW YORK - Andrew Madoff, the son of convicted fraudster Bernard Madoff, died on Wednesday from cancer, his lawyer said. He was 48.

Suburban Detroit man to be sentenced for fatal porch shooting

DETROIT - A white suburban Detroit homeowner could face at least 17 years in prison when he is sentenced on Wednesday for fatally shooting an unarmed black teenager on his front porch.

U.S. says Islamic State video of journalist's killing is authentic

TALLINN - An Islamic State video showing the beheading of American journalist Steven Sotloff in reprisal for U.S. air strikes in Iraq is authentic, U.S. National Security Council spokesperson Caitlin Hayden said on Wednesday.

North Carolina brothers declared innocent, freed after 30 years in prison

RALEIGH N.C. - Two North Carolina men were declared innocent and ordered freed on Tuesday after spending more than 30 years in prison for the rape and murder of an 11-year-old girl that recent DNA tests linked to another man.

Two California judges censured for sex in chambers

LOS ANGELES - Two California judges who had sex in their respective chambers - one with his clerk and the other with multiple women - have been censured for those acts along with other related misconduct, a state judicial commission said on Tuesday.

Drifter convicted of three cold-case Los Angeles murders

LOS ANGELES - A drifter and career criminal in his 70s was convicted on Tuesday of strangling three women to death and dumping their bodies in alleys near downtown Los Angeles during the 1980s in a string of cold case serial murders resurrected by DNA evidence.

Girl who fatally shot Arizona gun instructor said weapon was too powerful

PHOENIX - A 9-year-old girl who fatally shot a gun range instructor with an Uzi submachine gun last week told her mother immediately afterward that the weapon was too much for her to handle and had hurt her shoulder, a sheriff's report released on Tuesday said.

Despite dangers, U.S. journalist Sotloff was determined to record Arab Spring's human toll

WASHINGTON - Even for a freelance journalist covering the tumult in the Arab world, Steven Sotloff's travels seemed nonstop.

Opponents of high-speed rail project petition California Supreme Court

- Opponents of California's controversial $68 billion high-speed rail project petitioned the California Supreme Court on Tuesday, arguing a court of appeals decision ignored the financial protections of voters.

Three killed, two injured in Kansas City shooting

KANSAS CITY Mo. - Three people were killed and two more critically injured in a shooting spree in a south Kansas City neighborhood on Tuesday afternoon, police said.

Senator Begich pulls campaign commercial using grisly murder, rape

JUNEAU Alaska - Alaska Democrat Mark Begich has canceled a re-election campaign attack commercial citing grisly murders and child rape after the victims' family complained, the latest standoff in a key race for Republicans' bid to recapture control of the U.S. Senate.

Key hearing on Detroit's historic bankruptcy begins in U.S. court

DETROIT - Detroit will not recover, and it may not survive as a major city if its debts are not significantly reduced during bankruptcy, a city attorney told a federal judge at the start of a critical phase of the case on Tuesday.

'Java Juggs' coffee-stand brothel operator pleads guilty

SEATTLE - The owner of Seattle-area drive-up coffee stands that offered caffeine and sex acts and earned hundreds of thousands of dollars in tips for her baristas pleaded guilty to felony charges of fraud and promotion of prostitution, the county prosecutor's office said on Tuesday.

Hawaii tropical fish collector denies scuba diving attack

KONA Hawaii - A Hawaii man who collects tropical fish for aquariums pleaded not guilty on Tuesday to a criminal charge stemming from an unusual underwater scuffle in which he is accused of ripping the breathing apparatus from the mouth of another scuba diver.

Islamic State issues video of beheading of U.S. hostage

DUBAI - The Islamic State militant group released a video on Tuesday purporting to show the beheading of a second American hostage, journalist Steven Sotloff, raising the stakes in its confrontation with Washington over U.S. air strikes in Iraq.

Six Cubans land in Texas after drifting across Gulf of Mexico

HOUSTON - Six men who identified themselves as Cubans have landed on a Texas coastal island after the engine failed on their boat, causing it to drift for more than two weeks across the Gulf of Mexico before reaching shore, authorities said on Tuesday.

Florida judge in Casey Anthony trial returns to private practice

ORLANDO Fla - The Florida judge who presided over the Casey Anthony murder trial in 2011 started a new job as a personal injury lawyer on Tuesday, two days after he retired from the bench.

U.S. Navy delays start of bidding for unmanned carrier-based drone

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Navy, concerned about the affordability of a new carrier-based unmanned spy plane, has delayed this month's planned kickoff of the competition to build it, officials said on Tuesday.

Arizona death row inmate charged with murder in 1991 Utah killing

SALT LAKE CITY - An Arizona death row inmate is facing a Utah murder charge after investigators used fingerprints found on Lego toys and DNA evidence to link him to a 23-year-old cold-case homicide, authorities said on Tuesday.

Mississippi woman gets life sentence in fatal buttocks injection case

JACKSON Miss. - A Mississippi woman convicted of murder for administering an unlicensed silicone buttocks injection to a patient who later died was sentenced on Tuesday to life in prison. 

Key hearing on Detroit's historic bankruptcy begins in federal court

DETROIT - The key hearing on the biggest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history started on Tuesday in a federal courtroom, where teams of attorneys began laying out arguments over Detroit's plan to adjust $18 billion of its debt.

Appeals court grills U.S. lawyer on NSA phone collection

NEW YORK - A U.S. appeals court on Tuesday grilled an Obama administration lawyer about the legality of the continuing collection of millions of Americans' phone records, adding fuel to a debate that has raged since the spy program was revealed more than a year ago.

Ex-owner of Poconos resort ordered to pay back former employee pensions

SCRANTON Pa. - A federal judge on Tuesday ordered a former honeymoon resort owner in Pennsylvania's Pocono Mountains to pay more than $2 million for illegally dipping into his employees' pensions.

Suspect in Massachusetts child-porn bust had arsenal, 'murder book': FBI

BOSTON - A Massachusetts man arrested on Tuesday and charged with trafficking in child pornography also had a small arsenal of guns, explosives and a hand-written "Mass Murder Book," according to federal prosecutors.

Three killed, two injured in Kansas City shooting

KANSAS CITY Mo. - Three people were killed and two more critically injured in a shooting spree in a south Kansas City neighborhood on Tuesday afternoon, police said.

California boy, 7, hurt at firing range owned by his family

LOS ANGELES - A 7-year-old boy was wounded at a private firing range at his family's property in Northern California while shooting targets with his father and had to be airlifted to a hospital, police said on Tuesday.

Connecticut catering company CEO resigns over dog-kicking incident

- The chief executive officer of a Connecticut-based catering company has resigned amid a barrage of criticism and possible charges after he was caught on video abusing a dog, the company said on Tuesday.

Girl who fatally shot Arizona gun instructor said weapon was too powerful

PHOENIX - A 9-year-old girl who fatally shot a gun range instructor with an Uzi submachine gun last week told her mother immediately afterward that the weapon was too much for her to handle and had hurt her shoulder, said a sheriff's report released on Tuesday.

U.S. prosecutor probes shooting death of Louisiana man in police car

NEW ORLEANS - Federal prosecutors said on Tuesday they are investigating the shooting death of a black man in the back of a western Louisiana police car that had previously been ruled a suicide.

Indianapolis teenager was asphyxiated, body burned: authorities

- An Indianapolis teenager whose badly burned body was found behind a house over the weekend died of asphyxiation, authorities said on Tuesday.

South Carolina boy sues over makeup removal for driver's license photo

CHARLESTON S.C. - The mother of a South Carolina teenager who says he was ordered to remove his makeup for his driver's license photograph filed suit on Tuesday against the state's Department of Motor Vehicles on civil rights grounds.    The lawsuit, filed on behalf of Chase Culpepper, 16, who regularly wears makeup and women's clothing, pits transgender rights against the state's ability to determine when a person's appearance has been altered to the point of misrepresentation in an o

Judge denies hold-out Detroit creditor motions to block evidence

DETROIT - A federal judge on Tuesday denied motions by two bond insurance companies that sought to block Detroit from presenting certain evidence at a key hearing on the city's plan to exit bankruptcy.

U.S. appeals court upholds Indiana's right-to-work law

WASHINGTON - The validity of an Indiana state law that bars companies from requiring workers to join a union and pay union dues was affirmed on Tuesday by a U.S. appeals court in a win for "right to work" advocates.

Pentagon: death of al Shabaab leader in U.S. strike would be major blow

WASHINGTON - The Pentagon is assessing whether an airstrike on an encampment in Somalia killed al Shabaab leader Ahmed Abdi Godane, but if confirmed the militant's death would represent a "very significant" blow to the group, the Pentagon said on Tuesday.

Amtrak asks for probe of Illinois line delays on CN Rail track

TORONTO - Amtrak, the U.S. passenger rail service, said on Tuesday that it has asked U.S. regulators to investigate "unacceptable train delays" on its Illinois routes that use Canadian National Railway Co tracks.

New York's Evans Bank accused of denying loans to African-Americans

NEW YORK - Regional New York bank Evans Bancorp was accused of illegally discriminating against African-Americans in Buffalo by denying them mortgages in a lawsuit filed by the state's attorney general on Tuesday.

Islamic state issues video of beheading of U.S. hostage

DUBAI - The Islamic State released a video purporting to show the beheading of American hostage Steven Sotloff, a monitoring service said on Tuesday, as the militant group raised the stakes in its confrontation with Washington over U.S. air strikes on its fighters in Iraq.

Tray Vous recalls stroller trays because of strangulation risk

WASHINGTON - Tray Vous LLC is recalling snack and activity trays for strollers because of a strangulation risk for children, the Consumer Product Safety Commission said on Tuesday.

Report blames coal ash for cancers at Pennsylvania prison

HARRISBURG Pa. - A high rate of cancer among inmates at a southwestern Pennsylvania prison is linked to a nearby coal ash dump, and the correctional facility should be closed down, according to a report made public on Tuesday.

Securing release of Americans held in North Korea a top priority: White House

WASHINGTON - Securing the release of the three Americans detained in North Korea is a top priority, the White House said on Tuesday.

U.S. missionary doctor in Liberia tests positive for Ebola: group

WASHINGTON - An American missionary doctor working in Liberia has tested positive for the Ebola virus after working with obstetrics patients at a missionary hospital in Monrovia, the church-affiliated organization SIM USA said on Tuesday.

New York driver chains neck to pole, hits gas pedal, gets decapitated

NEW YORK - A 51-year-old man decapitated himself in New York's Bronx borough by chaining his neck to a pole, getting into his car and stomping on the gas, police said on Tuesday.

New York driver chains neck to pole, hits gas pedal, gets decapitated

NEW YORK - A 51-year-old man decapitated himself in New York's Bronx borough by chaining his neck to a pole, getting into his car and stomping on the gas, police said on Tuesday.

Photos of alleged 9/11 '20th hijacker' can stay classified: court

NEW YORK - A federal appeals court on Tuesday said photos of a Saudi national imprisoned at Guantanamo Bay who U.S. officials have said intended to be the "20th hijacker" in the September 11, 2001 attacks should stay classified, in the interest of protecting national security.

Police search for 17 teens who escaped Tennessee detention center

- Nashville police were searching on Tuesday for 17 teens still at large after 32 boys escaped from a detention center overnight, a spokesman said.

Convicted bomber faces immigration fraud charges in Detroit

DETROIT - A Chicago woman convicted of a 1969 supermarket bombing in Israel and indicted on U.S. immigration fraud charges will appear in a status hearing in federal court in Detroit on Tuesday.

Texas voter ID law heads to trial in U.S. court

- A U.S. court in Texas will hear arguments on Tuesday in a case over a law requiring voters to present photo identification, a move the state's Republican leaders say will prevent fraud while plaintiffs call it a veiled attempt at suppressing minority turnout.

Florida-bound Delta flight diverted over reclining seat dispute

- An argument over leg room and reclining seats forced a Florida-bound flight from New York to divert to a different airport late on Monday, the third such incident of a midair disruption caused by passengers in about a week.

Last call at Atlantic City's Revel: a few bettors, $5 bottles, state cops

ATLANTIC CITY N.J. - Shortly before sunrise on Tuesday, Morgan Capezzera reclined on the roulette table at the Revel Casino in her bikini and snapped a selfie before the Atlantic City gambling hall shut its doors for good.

Doubts over whether Detroit bankruptcy plan gets job done

DETROIT Reuters) - Detroit’s plan to recover from bankruptcy includes several blueprints for a new future. The only problem is the city, the largest ever to file for bankruptcy, is still a long way from financially healthy and its restructuring plans leave little room for error.

California high school drops mascot criticized by Arab-American group

- A California high school has retired its Middle Eastern-themed mascot and accompanying belly dancers and redrawn its logo after criticism from Arab-Americans that they played on harmful stereotypes, a group advocating for the change said on Monday.

Fast-food workers to launch intensified protests across U.S.

- McDonald's line cooks, Burger King cashiers and other fast-food restaurant workers across the U.S. plan to walk off the job on Thursday in an ongoing battle with their employers to gain a $15 hourly wage, organizers said on Monday.

Actress Jennifer Lawrence contacts authorities after nude photos hacked

- Oscar-winning actress Jennifer Lawrence has contacted authorities to investigate who stole and posted nude images of her online, a spokeswoman said on Monday, part of a reported mass hacking of celebrities' intimate photos.

Actress Jennifer Lawrence contacts authorities after nude photos hacked

- Oscar-winning actress Jennifer Lawrence has contacted authorities to investigate who stole and posted nude images of her online, a spokeswoman said on Monday, part of a reported mass hacking of celebrities' intimate photos.

Detained Americans in North Korea seek help in interviews with CNN

SEOUL - Three U.S. citizens detained in North Korea spoke to the U.S. television channel CNN on Monday with one pleading with the United States for help and another describing his situation as "urgent".

Florida power utilities fear return of ‘Green Governor' Crist

MIAMI - When Charlie Crist last governed Florida, his green energy and climate policies made him few friends among the state's powerful electricity corporations.

Dozens arrested at Made in America music festival in Los Angeles

- Seven people were arrested on Sunday at the Made in America music festival in downtown Los Angeles, following an opening day that left more than two dozen people in handcuffs, police said.

All five aboard small plane killed in crash at Colorado airport

DENVER - All five people aboard a single-engine airplane were killed when it crashed on Sunday in a field adjacent to a runway at a northern Colorado airport, authorities said.

NY storms end Electric Zoo music festival, halt U.S. Open, delay flights

NEW YORK - Severe thunderstorms on Sunday forced an early end to New York's Electric Zoo music festival, delayed flights at area airports and injured two people after a lightning strike near a Bronx beach.

Aftershock hits California's Napa Valley

- California's Napa Valley, the site of a strong and damaging earthquake a week ago, was shaken by a small aftershock early on Sunday.

After unrest over shooting, Ferguson police now wear body cameras

- Police officers in Ferguson, Missouri, have begun wearing body cameras after weeks of unrest over the shooting death of an unarmed black teen by a white officer and sharply differing accounts of the incident, officials said on Sunday.

Judge temporarily blocks law that could close all Louisiana abortion clinics

NEW ORLEANS La. - A federal judge on Sunday temporarily blocked a Louisiana law that advocates say would likely have closed of all five abortion clinics in the state.

Three killed, two injured in small plane crash at Colorado airport

DENVER - Three people were killed and two injured on Sunday when a single-engine airplane crashed in a field adjacent to a runway at a northern Colorado airport, authorities said.

Celebrity chef Todd English charged with intoxicated driving in New York

- Celebrity chef Todd English, owner of a number of trendy U.S. restaurants including Figs in Boston, was arrested on Sunday on a charge of intoxicated driving in Southampton on New York's Long Island.

Four members of suburban Chicago family found shot to death

CHICAGO - Four members of a suburban Chicago family were found shot dead in their home, with one death ruled a suicide and the rest homicides, police and coroner officials said on Sunday.

Aftershock hits California's Napa Valley

- California's Napa Valley, the site of a strong and damaging earthquake a week ago, was shaken by a small aftershock early on Sunday.

Sinkhole that proved popular at Corvette Museum will be filled

- A sinkhole that swallowed eight cars inside the National Corvette Museum in Kentucky will be filled even though it has become a tourist attraction that sharply increased attendance and revenue, the museum’s board decided on Saturday.

Fighter 'War Machine' sent to Nevada to face assault charges

LAS VEGAS - The professional fighter known as "War Machine" was in custody in a Las Vegas jail on Saturday after being transferred from Southern California, where he was arrested for assault stemming from an ex-girlfriend's accusation that he beat her in Nevada.

Sam's bid to be first openly gay NFL player on hold

- Defensive end Michael Sam's dream of becoming the first openly gay player in the National Football League (NFL) was put on hold on Saturday when he failed to make the St. Louis Rams' 53-man roster for the 2014 regular season.

F-16s dispatched for unresponsive pilot of small plane near D.C.

- Two F-16 fighter jets were dispatched to check on a small plane that entered restricted airspace around Washington, D.C., on Saturday, and the fighter pilots observed the person at the controls to be unconscious before the plane ran out of fuel and crashed into the Atlantic Ocean, officials said.

Hundreds march in Ferguson to protest police shooting: local media

- Hundreds of marchers took to the streets in Ferguson, Missouri, on Saturday, local media reported, with protesters calling for justice three weeks after a white police officer shot and killed Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager.

Girl digging on Oregon beach dies after sand hole collapses on her

- A 9-year-old girl who was digging in a large sand hole on an Oregon beach suffocated and died after the sand caved in around her and other beachgoers were unable to dig her out in time, police said on Saturday.

Six people die in fire at North Carolina mobile home

- Six people have died in a fire at a mobile home in rural North Carolina, and investigators are seeking to find the cause of the deadly blaze, police said on Saturday.

Sam's bid to be first openly gay NFL player on hold

- Defensive end Michael Sam's dream of becoming the first openly gay player in the National Football League (NFL) was put on hold on Saturday when he failed to make the St. Louis Rams' 53-man roster for the 2014 regular season.

Hundreds march in Ferguson to protest police shooting: local media

- Hundreds of marchers took to the streets in Ferguson, Missouri, on Saturday, local media reported, with protesters calling for justice three weeks after a white police officer shot and killed Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager.

Car tied to suspected threat against Obama found in Connecticut

HAMDEN Conn. - A car sought in connection with a suspected threat against President Barack Obama has been located in Connecticut, authorities said on Saturday.

Florida schools make play for scholastic chess curriculum

FORT LAUDERDALE Fla. - Leaning over chess boards in the middle of classes, seven- and eight-year-olds in one of Florida's largest school districts furrow their brows as they plot moves toward a checkmate.

Death of man after New York police restrain him ruled a homicide

NEW YORK - The death of a man who was restrained by police during a drug-fueled outburst was ruled a homicide by the city's medical examiner, New York police said, as the department faces accusations of overly harsh arrest tactics.

California passes plastic bag ban, would be first such law in U.S

SACRAMENTO Calif. - The California state legislature enacted a ban on plastic grocery bags on Friday near the end of its two-year session, a measure that if signed into law would become the first of its kind in America.

Oil train regulation passes in California

SANFRANCISO - California lawmakers on Friday passed legislation requiring railroad companies to tell emergency officials when crude oil trains will chug through the state.

Bill to regulate California groundwater passes in state legislature

SACRAMENTO Calif - A package of bills aimed at regulating drought-parched California's stressed groundwater supplies were passed on Friday despite efforts by some agricultural interests to block bills in the waning days of the state legislative session.

California says to appeal against teacher protection lawsuit

LOS ANGELES - California will appeal a controversial court decision that overturned some job protections for public school teachers and could change the way educators are hired and fired in the state, the office of Governor Jerry Brown said on Friday.

Oil train regulation passes in California

SAN FRANCISCO - California lawmakers on Friday passed legislation requiring railroad companies to tell emergency officials when crude oil trains will chug through the state.

California to shift mentally ill inmates out of solitary confinement

- California will move mentally ill prisoners from solitary confinement to special isolation units as part of a series of new policies outlined by corrections officials Friday to improve treatment for inmates with psychiatric illnesses.

Two California cities to give up military vehicles, amid local unease

LOS ANGELES - Two Northern California cities have made plans to rid themselves of armored vehicles built to withstand roadside bombs that their police got for free from the U.S. Defense Department, in a move that follows criticism of the police handling of protests in Missouri as too militarized.

Cuban migrants head back to sea as relatives pray in the U.S.

GEORGE TOWN Cayman Islands - Sixteen Cuban migrants who sought refuge in Grand Cayman have resumed their voyage in a small, homemade aluminum boat after local officials turned them away, citing a migration agreement with Cuba.

Idaho attorney for boys in polygamous sect says he fears for them

SALMON Idaho - A court-appointed attorney for boys removed from the Idaho home of a follower of imprisoned polygamous sect leader Warren Jeffs said on Friday he feared for the well-being of six of the children released to their parents' custody.

California bill would remove guns from potential offenders

- A bill allowing family members to ask a judge to order firearms removed from people likely to commit gun violence was sent to California Governor Jerry Brown on Friday for signing into law.

U.S. authorities investigate suspected threat against Obama: reports

- Authorities in Connecticut on Friday were investigating a possible threat against President Barack Obama, local media reported.

California man whose pit bulls killed woman convicted of murder

LOS ANGELES - A Southern California dog owner whose four pit bulls mauled and killed a 63-year-old woman near her home last year was convicted of murder on Friday.

Groups appeal Florida congressional maps, but give OK to 2014 vote

TALLAHASSEE Fla. - A coalition of voters rights organizations that successfully sued Florida over gerrymandering is appealing the state's newly redrawn congressional districting maps, though it will not protest use of the new boundaries in the November elections, according to court filings on Friday.

Hiker dies after falling from treacherous Hawaii trail

- A hiker was killed and another person injured after they fell while hiking a notoriously difficult trail on the Hawaiian island of Kauai, the U.S. Coast Guard said on Friday.

Arizona man arrested for burning, urinating on Bible

PHOENIX - A 22-year-old Arizona man calling himself "Dark Lord" has been arrested for allegedly burning a Bible and urinating on it outside a Christian-oriented homeless shelter in northern Arizona, police said on Friday.

Killer in 1991 Smart trial in New Hampshire seeks time with wife

MANCHESTER N.H. - The killer at the center of a sensationalized 1991 murder trial in New Hampshire has applied for weekend prison furloughs with his wife as he prepares for the next chapter of his life.

Terminally ill Wisconsin ex-deputy sheriff charged with double murder

- A terminally ill former Wisconsin deputy sheriff was charged on Friday with murder in connection with the fatal shootings of his wife and her sister in his home last week, court documents showed.

U.S. judge strikes down some abortion restrictions in Texas

AUSTIN Texas - A U.S. judge struck down parts of a law seen as restricting abortions in Texas, saying in a decision on Friday that a provision requiring clinics to meet the same standards as ambulatory surgical centers was unconstitutional.

Yoko Ono publicist sues Batali eatery in NYC over 'homophobic' flap

NEW YORK - Yoko Ono's publicist is suing Eataly, celebrity chef Mario Batali's New York food emporium, claiming the bouncers at the popular Manhattan eatery shouted homophobic slurs at him and hurled him through a glass window.

Orbitz says American Airlines fares back on its websites

NEW YORK - American Airlines Group Inc airfares went back on Orbitz Worldwide Inc websites on Friday, after the two companies patched up a dispute that caused American to pull the information on Tuesday.

Family of instructor killed at Arizona gun range does not blame girl

- The ex-wife and children of an Arizona gun range instructor shot and killed by a 9-year-old girl using an Uzi submachine gun do not blame the child and plan on reaching out to her family, according to a TV interview broadcast on Friday.

Family of instructor killed at Arizona gun range does not blame girl

- The ex-wife and children of an Arizona gun range instructor shot and killed by a 9-year-old girl using an Uzi submachine gun do not blame the child and plan on reaching out to her family, according to a TV interview broadcast on Friday.

Florida mother arrested after five kids found living in filthy home

ORLANDO Fla. - A Florida mother has been charged with child neglect after her 10-year-old boy came to school in foul-smelling clothes and told a teacher he could not remember when he last took a bath, court documents showed.

Florida mother arrested after five kids found living in filthy home

ORLANDO Fla. - A Florida mother has been charged with child neglect after her 10-year-old boy came to school in foul-smelling clothes and told a teacher he could not remember when he last took a bath, court documents showed.

Alleged gangster admits lying in North Carolina kidnap probe

- A woman described by prosecutors as a gang member dubbed "Lady Jamaica" has pleaded guilty to lying to FBI agents during their investigation into the kidnapping of a North Carolina prosecutor's father this year, court documents show.

Alleged gangster admits lying in North Carolina kidnap probe

- A woman described by prosecutors as a gang member dubbed "Lady Jamaica" has pleaded guilty to lying to FBI agents during their investigation into the kidnapping of a North Carolina prosecutor's father this year, court documents show.

Alleged gangster admits lying in North Carolina kidnap probe

- A woman described by prosecutors as a gang member dubbed "Lady Jamaica" has pleaded guilty to lying to FBI agents during their investigation into the kidnapping of a North Carolina prosecutor's father this year, court documents show.

Some Texas National Guard troops on border using food handouts: lawmaker

AUSTIN Texas - Some of the Texas National Guard troops dispatched to the Texas-Mexico border have been relying on charities and food banks for their meals due to the way the state is paying the troops, a state representative said on Friday.

Some Texas National Guard troops on border using food handouts: lawmaker

AUSTIN Texas - Some of the Texas National Guard troops dispatched to the Texas-Mexico border have been relying on charities and food banks for their meals due to the way the state is paying the troops, a state representative said on Friday.

Rosa Parks artifacts sold for $4.5 million to Buffett son: lawyer

- A foundation controlled by the son of billionaire investor Warren Buffett has paid $4.5 million for hundreds of artifacts belonging to civil rights pioneer Rosa Parks, a lawyer for Parks' heirs said on Friday.

Rosa Parks artifacts sold for $4.5 million to Buffett son: lawyer

- A foundation controlled by the son of billionaire investor Warren Buffett has paid $4.5 million for hundreds of artifacts belonging to civil rights pioneer Rosa Parks, a lawyer for Parks' heirs said on Friday.

Police officer resigns, another is fired after Ferguson incidents

- A police officer has resigned after pointing a rifle at protesters during racially charged demonstrations in Ferguson, Missouri, and another has been fired for inappropriate social media posts stemming from the two weeks of civil unrest, officials said on Friday.

Police officer resigns, another is fired after Ferguson incidents

- A police officer has resigned after pointing a rifle at protesters during racially charged demonstrations in Ferguson, Missouri, and another has been fired for inappropriate social media posts stemming from the two weeks of civil unrest, officials said on Friday.

Pratt suspended F-35 engine shipments in May over titanium

- United Technologies Corp's Pratt & Whitney unit briefly suspended delivery of the engine for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter jet in May because of questions about titanium provided to a parts supplier.

Pentagon identifies F-15 pilot killed in Virginia crash

WASHINGTON - The Pentagon on Friday identified the pilot killed in the crash of an F-15C fighter in Virginia as Lieutenant Colonel Morris "Moose" Fontenot Jr., a U.S. Air Force veteran.

More than a dozen injured in bus crash at Chicago's O'Hare airport

CHICAGO - A shuttle bus crash on Friday at O'Hare International Airport injured at least 13 people, four of them seriously, Chicago fire officials said.

Wildlife officials capture crocodile suspected in Florida attack

MIAMI - Florida wildlife officials trapped a large crocodile on Friday believed to have attacked a pair of late-night swimmers in a first for the Sunshine State, a spokesman said.

U.N. urges U.S. to stop police brutality after Missouri shooting

GENEVA - The U.N. racism watchdog urged the United States on Friday to halt the excessive use of force by police after the fatal shooting of an unarmed black teenager by a white policeman touched off riots in Ferguson, Missouri.

New Hampshire men sentenced as teens to life in prison granted new hearings

MANCHESTER N.H. - New Hampshire's highest court has ruled that four men serving life in prison for murders committed when they were teenagers have the right to new sentencing hearings because of a 2012 U.S. Supreme Court decision.

Man charged with wire fraud in $1 million Miami Heat ticket scam

MIAMI - A Miami man has been charged with wire fraud in connection with a scam that yielded millions of dollars from investors and a premium ticket package for the Miami Heat NBA basketball team, prosecutors said on Friday.

U.S. says no precise threat to homeland from Islamic State

WASHINGTON - The United States is not aware of any specific threat to the U.S. homeland from Islamic State militants, the Department of Homeland Security said on Friday after Britain raised its international terrorism threat level.

John Walker, mastermind of notorious spy ring, dies in U.S. prison

WINSTON-SALEM N.C. - A former U.S. Navy warrant officer who orchestrated a spy ring for the Soviets that was considered one of the most damaging security breaches in American history has died at a federal prison in North Carolina, a prison spokesman said on Friday.

Illinois woman guilty of murder in robbery plot with friends

JOLIET Ill. - An Illinois woman who helped lure two men to a drinking session to rob them for money for cigarettes, gasoline and cocaine, was found guilty on Friday of six counts of first degree murder after her friends allegedly strangled the two men.

Some gamblers at Atlantic City's closing casinos will not return: Fitch

- Four Atlantic City casinos are closing this year, but not all of their gamblers will return to visit eight others that have survived in the down-on-its-luck New Jersey resort.

Kraft issues voluntary recall of some American Singles cheese product

NEW YORK - Kraft Foods Group Inc said on Friday it is voluntarily recalling 7,691 cases of some varieties of its Kraft American Singles as a precautionary measure after a supplier failed to store an ingredient correctly.

Connecticut catering company penalizes CEO after dog-kicking incident

- The chief executive officer of catering company Centerplate, who was caught on videotape kicking a dog, has been placed on indefinite probation by his employer and ordered to donate to animal welfare efforts, the company's board of directors said.

Closing arguments expected in trial of Virginia ex-governor, wife

RICHMOND Va. - Closing arguments were scheduled on Friday in the federal corruption trial of former Virginia Governor Robert McDonnell and his wife, who are charged with accepting gifts and sweetheart loans from a businessman.

Missing Montana college student found dead in Idaho mountains

SALMON Idaho - A Montana college student whose disappearance prompted a search by hundreds of police and volunteers was found dead from injuries sustained in a car accident in the mountains of central Idaho, authorities said late on Thursday.

California passes 'yes-means-yes' campus sexual assault bill

- Californian lawmakers passed a law on Thursday requiring universities to adopt "affirmative consent" language in their definitions of consensual sex, part of a nationwide drive to curb sexual assault on U.S. campuses.

Colorado judge denies special probe in James Holmes' notebook leak

DENVER - A Colorado judge overseeing the murder case against accused theater gunman James Holmes said on Thursday that police may have lied when they denied leaking details of the case to Fox News, but declined to appoint a special prosecutor.

Pilot of crashed U.S. fighter plane found dead in Virginia

- The pilot of a Massachusetts Air National Guard F-15C fighter that crashed in mountainous western Virginia was found dead on Thursday, officials said.

Detroit bankruptcy judge tosses hold-out creditor's charges

- A U.S. Bankruptcy Court judge late on Thursday removed allegations made by one of Detroit's remaining hold-out creditors against mediators in the city's historic municipal bankruptcy case.

Disputed Kurdish oil tanker mysteriously goes dark off Texas coast

HOUSTON - A tanker near Texas loaded with $100 million of disputed Iraqi Kurdish crude has disappeared from satellite tracking, the latest development in a high stakes game of cat-and-mouse between Baghdad and the Kurds.

Big U.S. banks seek new clarity on risks of marijuana-linked accounts

ST. LOUIS (Thomson Reuters Accelus) - Major banks are getting increasingly wary of some transactions with smaller banks that have begun to allow marijuana businesses to open accounts. Officials at the bigger institutions say they fear being in breach of anti-money laundering laws and are pressing federal authorities to make it clear what is legitimate and what is illegal.

White House orders U.S. labs to take inventory of infectious agents

CHICAGO - The White House has ordered federally funded labs working with infectious agents to conduct an immediate inventory of the pathogens in their labs and review their safety and security protocols, according to a memo released on Thursday.

Arizona mom who left children in hot car regains custody

PHOENIX - An Arizona woman who attracted national attention in March when she left her two young children in a hot car while at a job interview regained custody of them on Thursday, her lawyer said.

Lawsuit says police altered video in West Virginia shooting

- Police in a West Virginia city altered video evidence in the death of a mentally ill black man who was shot and killed last year during a confrontation with officers, a lawyer for the victim's family said on Thursday.

Hartford police chief criticized by union for joining protesters

HARTFORD Conn. - The head of the police union in Connecticut's state capital on Thursday blasted the city's police chief for marching with protesters demanding that criminal charges be dropped against a teenager subdued by an officer's stun gun last week.

Idaho follower of polygamous sect faces child injury charges

SALMON Idaho - A follower of imprisoned polygamous sect leader Warren Jeffs has been charged with misdemeanor child injury offenses after eight teenage boys were removed from his home during a raid by Idaho authorities last month, a prosecutor said on Thursday.

Utah considers appeal of federal judge's 'Sister Wives' bigamy ruling

- Utah's attorney general said Wednesday he was considering an appeal of a U.S. federal judge's ruling that declared part of Utah's bigamy law unconstitutional and which sided with the star of reality television show "Sister Wives" and his four wives.

No criminal charges in fatal gun range shooting by 9-year-old girl

WHITE HILLS Ariz. - County law enforcement officials in Arizona said on Thursday no criminal charges are pending after a probe into a gun range incident in which a 9-year-old girl fatally shot her instructor with an Uzi, adding it was "being viewed as an industrial accident."

California governor considers allowing gender identity on death certificates

- Death certificates in California would be changed to reflect the gender identity of people at the time of their death rather than their sex at birth under a bill sent to Governor Jerry Brown on Thursday, the latest effort by the state to further the rights of transgender residents.

Israel police find body of missing U.S. student

JERUSALEM - Israeli police said on Thursday they had found the body of a 23-year-old American student who went missing last week near a forest in Jerusalem and that they did not suspect a criminal motive.

Syrian accused of making detonators with U.S. parts faces Arizona court

- A Syrian man accused of procuring and assembling American-made electronic parts for roadside bombs used in attacks on U.S. military forces in Iraq made his first U.S. court appearance on Thursday in Arizona and pleaded not guilty to federal criminal charges.

Gay rights activists face charges over sit-in at Utah Legislature

SALT LAKE CITY - Thirteen Utah gay rights activists briefly arrested six months ago during a sit-in at the State Capitol to demand lawmakers consider an anti-discrimination bill are now facing misdemeanor charges linked to the protest, according to state court records.

U.S. lists 20 corals as threatened; activists want more

MIAMI - The U.S. government pared back the number of reef-building coral species it was considering to label as threatened from 66 to 20 this week, prompting criticism from conservationists.

Woman dies when run over by bus at Burning Man, police say

- A woman at the week-long Burning Man arts and culture festival in the Nevada desert died on Thursday when she was run over by a bus carrying participants, police and organizers said.

Florida man caught killing, and eating, threatened tortoises

MIAMI - Wildlife authorities in Florida caught a man who killed and ate 15 gopher tortoises and planned to slaughter 11 more of the threatened reptiles, a spokeswoman said on Thursday.

Exclusive: Air quality problems dog Irving's New Brunswick oil-by-rail terminal

BOSTON - Irving Oil's oil-by-rail terminal in Saint John, New Brunswick, has seen increasing air quality problems since it started up in 2012, undermining the company's assurances to regulators the project would likely not impact the environment, according to documents obtained by Reuters.

Four killed in New Mexico medical transport flight crash

ALBUQUERQUE N.M. - A small medical transport plane bound for Arizona crashed in New Mexico outside of Las Cruces late on Wednesday, killing a patient and three crew members aboard, a state police official said on Thursday.

Georgia man's death prompts lawsuit over police use of Tasers

ATLANTA - The family of a Georgia man who died in April after police used two Tasers on him up to 13 times filed a wrongful death lawsuit on Thursday, arguing the officers had no reason to repeatedly use the stun guns.

Detroit says Barclays agrees to $275 million financing

- Barclays Capital Inc has agreed to raise up to $275 million to fund Detroit's exit from municipal bankruptcy, the city announced on Thursday.

Arizona investigating fatal gun range shooting by 9-year-old girl

- Arizona occupational health and safety officials said on Thursday they were investigating a gun range accident in which a 9-year-old girl fatally shot her instructor with an Uzi, and an Arizona newspaper reported the range had closed indefinitely.

Missouri police sued for $40 million over actions in Ferguson protests

- A group of people caught up in unrest in Ferguson, Missouri, after a white officer killed a black teenager, sued local officials on Thursday, alleging civil rights violations through arrests and police assaults with rubber bullets and tear gas.

Texas judge rules state's school finance system unconstitutional

AUSTIN Texas - A Texas judge ruled on Thursday the state's school finance system was unconstitutional because it does not adequately or fairly provide money to public schools, a decision that could force an overhaul of how the state pays for education.

Florida school district sets precedent by opting out of state testing

TAMPA Fla. - A Florida school district is opting out of all state-required testing, a move that experts said on Thursday sets a national precedent amid a growing controversy over the use of high-stakes standardized assessments in public education.

State seeks 17 years for Michigan porch shooter

DETROIT - Prosecutors are seeking a minimum of 17 years in prison for a white homeowner in a Detroit suburb convicted of murdering a black teenager after shooting her on his front porch last November, a source told Reuters on Thursday.

Oklahoma releases prison log for botched April execution

OKLAHOMA CITY - A person trained to draw blood inserted the IV for the botched execution of a convicted murderer in Oklahoma last April, a prison log released on Thursday revealed, but gave no other details of what happened when the procedure went wrong.

Foley, other hostages held by Islamic State were waterboarded: report

WASHINGTON - At least four hostages held in Syria by Islamic State militants, including U.S. journalist James Foley, were waterboarded during their captivity, The Washington Post reported on Thursday, citing people familiar with the treatment of Western hostages.

Syrian accused of making detonators in Iraq charged in Arizona

- A Syrian man accused of supplying electronic parts for roadside bombs used in attacks on U.S. military forces in Iraq made his first U.S. court appearance on Thursday in Arizona and pleaded not guilty to federal criminal charges.

Opponents of tuition vouchers file lawsuit in Florida

TALLAHASSEE Fla. - Opponents of tuition vouchers in Florida filed suit on Thursday against the state's corporate tax credit scholarship program, saying it illegally subsidizes religious schools and violates the state's requirement to guarantee uniform public education for all.

Israel police find body of missing U.S. student

JERUSALEM - Israeli police said on Thursday they had found the body of a 23-year-old American student who went missing last week near a forest in Jerusalem and that they did not suspect a criminal motive.

High-ranking Chicago cop charged with putting gun in suspect's mouth

CHICAGO - A Chicago police commander who had been praised for his crime fighting in some of the city's roughest neighborhoods appeared in court on Thursday to face charges he put a gun in a suspect's mouth, officials said.

Florida appeals court says state can rule on gay marriage ban

MIAMI - An appeals court in Florida on Thursday rejected a motion by its attorney general that urged the state's top court to delay a ruling on its same-sex marriage ban until the U.S. Supreme Court eventually decides on the issue.

U.S. National Security Council aware of reports that second American killed in Syria

WASHINGTON - The U.S. National Security Council on Wednesday said it was aware of media reports that a second American associated with Islamic State militant fighters had been killed in Syria, but it could not confirm the death.

For many Californians, cost of earthquake insurance outweighs the risks

NAPA Calif - During Sunday's 6.0 magnitude earthquake, some $75,000 worth of bottles of wine, rum and whiskey flew off the shelves of Aiyaz Masani's liquor store in Napa, California. He estimates about half his inventory was damaged, winding up in three-foot piles in the aisles.

Digital Ally gets first camera order since Ferguson shooting

- Digital Ally Inc said the Michigan police force placed an order for the company's flagship video cameras for its fleet, highlighting the spike in demand for surveillance systems since a policeman fatally shot an unarmed teenager in Ferguson, Missouri on Aug. 9.

U.S. rapper Pras Michel heads to North Korea for wrestling match

SEOUL - American rapper Pras Michel, who topped the charts in the 1990s with his band the 'Fugees', and is a friend of President Barack Obama, heads to North Korea on Friday to watch a wrestling match hosted by a Japanese politician and former pro wrestler.

Fatal heroin overdoses on the rise in New York City

NEW YORK - The number of deaths from drug overdoses in New York City has steadily risen since 2010, in part because of an apparent resurgence in heroin use, according to data released on Thursday by the city's health department.

After the riots, Ferguson businesses long for normal

FERGUSON Mo. - When Ferguson business owner Chantelle Nickson-Clark spoke at a St. Louis County council meeting this week her voice shook with anger.

In town halls, U.S. lawmakers hear voter anger over illegal migrants

DALLAS - When Republican Rep. Jeb Hensarling sat down with colleagues and constituents at a recent Chamber of Commerce lunch in Dallas, the first question he faced was whether Congress planned to address immigration policy and a burgeoning border crisis.

Texas parents sue day care center for duct taping child to nap mat

DALLAS - A Texas couple has filed a lawsuit against the owners of a Fort Worth-area day care center seeking $1 million damages from the facility for duct-taping their 2-year-old son to a mat because he was unruly at nap time, their lawyer said on Wednesday.

Santa Fe city council votes to decriminalize marijuana

ALBUQUERQUE N.M. - Santa Fe on Wednesday became the latest U.S. city to decriminalize small amounts of marijuana, with lawmakers in the New Mexico capital voting to change local statutes rather than put the issue to a public ballot in November.

Israeli police find body in search for missing US student

JERUSALEM - Israeli police and volunteers found a body near a forest in Jerusalem on Thursday while searching for a 23-year-old American student who went missing last week, but said no formal identification had yet been made.

Search resumes in Virginia for pilot of crashed U.S. fighter plane

- Search resumed on Thursday for the pilot of a Massachusetts Air National Guard F-15C fighter that crashed in mountainous western Virginia, officials said.

Son found dead at New Jersey home of man who killed wife at hospital: police

- A southern New Jersey man shot and killed his wife in her hospital room on Wednesday before shooting and critically wounding himself, authorities said, adding the body of their son was found at their home shortly afterward.

Two sentenced to combined 75 years for Florida bank robberies

MIAMI - Two South Florida men have been sentenced to decades in prison for their role in a month-long string of armed bank robberies that crisscrossed the state, netting an undisclosed sum.

U.S. judge signals he may order more Abu Ghraib photos released

NEW YORK - A federal judge signaled on Wednesday he may order the U.S. government to release as many as 2,000 photographs depicting the alleged harsh treatment of detainees in U.S. custody at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq and other sites.

Suspected Los Angeles serial killer ordered held without bond

LOS ANGELES - A suspected serial killer linked to a spate of apparently random Los Angeles-area shootings, four of them fatal, made his first court appearance on Wednesday and was ordered held without bond until an arraignment set for next month.

Equatorial Guinea envoy in U.S. suspected of beating daughter: police

- Equatorial Guinea's ambassador to the United States is suspected of beating his daughter with a wooden chair leg, leaving her hospitalized, but he was not arrested because he has diplomatic immunity, police said on Wednesday.

Sister of accused Boston marathon bombers arrested after bomb threat

NEW YORK - The sister of the accused Boston Marathon bombers was arrested in New York City for threatening a woman over the phone, saying she could "put a bomb on you," police said on Wednesday.

Accused Montana killer found mentally unfit to stand trial

- A tribal member accused of fatally shooting his grandmother and two others on the Crow Indian Reservation in Montana in 2011 was declared by a federal judge on Wednesday to be mentally incompetent to stand trial.

U.S. government sues Minneapolis suburb for rejecting Islamic center

- The U.S. government sued a small Minneapolis suburb on Wednesday, accusing it of religious discrimination after local leaders denied a Muslim group the right to open a center in the municipality.

U.S. judge signals he may order more Abu Ghraib photos released

NEW YORK - A federal judge signaled on Wednesday he may order the U.S. government to release as many as 2,000 photographs depicting the alleged harsh treatment of detainees in U.S. custody at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq and other sites.

U.S. mother pleads to Islamic State leader for her son's release

BOSTON - The mother of an American journalist held captive by militant group Islamic State released a video on Wednesday appealing directly to the group's leader for his release.

Pizza chain sued over healthcare for gay couples

LOS ANGELES - A former trainee manager at Little Caesars pizza in California sued the company for discrimination on Wednesday, accusing the Detroit-based chain of denying employees health insurance benefits for their legally wed same-sex spouses.

American released by Syrian militants thanks Qatar, U.S. officials

CAMBRIDGE Mass. - A U.S. writer freed this week after being held captive for two years by Syrian insurgents on Wednesday thanked those who had worked for his release and said he was emotionally overwhelmed by his welcome home.

U.S. court clears FedEx Ground drivers to pursue wage, benefit claims

- Groups of mostly former FedEx drivers in California and Oregon can move forward with lawsuits alleging they are owed unpaid wages and benefits under state and federal labor laws after a U.S. appeals court said Wednesday they were employees, not independent contractors.

California city looks to quit Calpers

LOS ANGELES - Officials in Villa Park are considering pulling the tiny California city from Calpers, saying the monthly costs of the state's giant public pension system are crippling the municipal budget.

'Cops' TV show employee killed by police while recording Omaha robbery

OMAHA Neb. - Omaha police accidentally shot and killed an audio technician for the long-running reality television show "Cops" while he was recording officers responding to an armed robbery, police said on Wednesday.

California mulls bill to remove guns from potential offenders

- A bill allowing family members to ask a judge to order firearms removed from people likely to commit gun violence advanced in California on Wednesday, one of several gun control measures up for votes in the last week of the state's legislative session.

Miami voters approve $400 million waterside observation tower

MIAMI - A sweeping majority of Miami voters have cleared the way for a local developer to build a 1,000-foot-tall waterside tower that will feature a nightclub, bungee-jumping platform and vertical "drop ride" sending thrill-seekers plummeting 50 stories.

California bill mandating drone privacy rules heads to governor

SACRAMENTO Calif. - Strict regulations on how law enforcement and other government agencies can use drones won passage by California lawmakers on Wednesday, a move supporters said would protect privacy and prevent warrantless surveillance.

S.C. Supreme Court approves workers' compensation for kickball injury

- A South Carolina man who shattered two leg bones during a company kickball game is entitled to workers' compensation benefits because he was required to attend the event as part of his job, the state's Supreme Court ruled on Wednesday.

Army identifies shooter at Virginia base as Iraq war veteran

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Army on Wednesday identified the soldier who fatally shot herself at a Virginia base this week as Sergeant First Class Paula Walker, an Iraq war veteran.

U.S. CDC says flies home staffer who had 'low-risk' contact with Ebola

CHICAGO - The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Wednesday it flew an employee back to the United States from West Africa by chartered plane after the staff member came in contact with an international healthcare worker who later tested positive for Ebola.

U.S. court in Ohio overturns hate crime convictions of 16 Amish

CLEVELAND - A federal appeals court in Ohio on Wednesday overturned the hate crime convictions of an Amish sect leader and 15 of his followers in beard- and hair-cutting attacks on fellow members of their religious faith.

Death certificates would reflect gender identity under California bill

SACRAMENTO Calif. - Death certificates in California would be changed to reflect the gender identity of people at the time of their death rather than their sex at birth under a bill passed by lawmakers on Wednesday, the latest effort by the state to further the rights of transgender residents.

Gay marriage issue lands at Florida Supreme Court

TALLAHASSEE - The hot topic of same-sex marriage was sent to the Florida Supreme Court on Wednesday in a case brought by two women appealing a Tampa judge's denial of their divorce petition.

California would triple tax breaks for film production under deal

SACRAMENTO Calif. - California will triple its tax breaks for entertainment companies doing business in the state, the latest effort to stem a tide of runaway production that has cost billions in revenue in Hollywood's home state under a deal announced on Wednesday.

Tennessee lawyer Barrett dies, a civil rights champion

NASHVILLE Tenn. - George Barrett, a lawyer who waged a nearly four-decade battle for desegregation of Tennessee's colleges and universities and represented student civil rights activists, has died at 86, a law firm partner said on Wednesday.

Mexican family files suit accusing U.S. agents in border death

- Relatives of a Mexican man they said was shot dead by U.S. agents on the Mexican side of the border in 2012 filed a lawsuit on Wednesday seeking $40 million damages from the United States for what the family claims was an excessive and illegal use of force.

Texas parents sue day care center for duct taping child to nap mat

DALLAS - A Texas couple has filed a lawsuit against the owners of a Fort Worth-area day care center seeking $1 million damages from the facility for duct-taping their 2-year-old son to a mat because he was unruly at nap time, their lawyer said on Wednesday.

Survivor, two bodies found after Philadelphia robbery, abduction

PHILADELPHIA - A man suffering stab wounds who said he was thrown into Philadelphia's Schuylkill River early on Wednesday after a robbery and kidnapping was found by police, who also recovered two bound and submerged bodies.

Dupont fined $1.275 million in West Virginia toxic pollution case

- DuPont will pay a fine of $1.275 million and spend an estimated $2.3 million more to settle claims by U.S. officials that the global chemical conglomerate failed to prevent toxic releases of hazardous substances in West Virginia that killed at least one man, environmental regulators said on Wednesday.

Boston Marathon bombing victim marries his nurse

BOSTON - A Massachusetts man badly injured in the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing married his nurse in a weekend wedding, according to the hotel where the ceremony was held.

Texas man acquitted of shooting driver who hit, killed sons

ANGLETON Texas - A Texas jury on Wednesday found a father not guilty of shooting dead a suspected drunk driver who hit and killed his two sons while they pushed a truck down a country road late at night.

U.S., Blackwater defense clash on jury summary of shooting

WASHINGTON - A U.S. prosecutor and a lawyer for a former Blackwater Worldwide security guard on Wednesday presented a jury with starkly different summaries of a 2007 shooting at a Baghdad traffic circle that sparked international outrage and charges of murder or manslaughter for four guards.

U.S. mother pleads to Islamic State leader for her son's release

BOSTON - The mother of an American journalist held captive by militant group Islamic State released a video on Wednesday appealing directly to the group's leader for his release.

Miami man shot to death wheelchair-bound panhandler, police say

MIAMI - Miami police arrested a man suspected of fatally shooting a wheelchair-bound panhandler at an interstate exit ramp before fleeing from officers, authorities said on Wednesday.

Gay marriage advocates to urge top court to strike down state bans

WASHINGTON - In a bold legal move that few litigants try, gay marriage advocates plan to urge the U.S. Supreme Court in three pending cases across the country to decide once and for all whether states can ban same-sex unions.

Thieves damage civil rights icon Rosa Parks’ former Alabama home

BIRMINGHAM Ala. - Alabama police are seeking help in catching thieves who ransacked a Montgomery apartment building where black civil rights activist Rosa Parks lived when she was famously arrested for refusing to give up her bus seat to a white man in 1955.

Fighter plane crashes in Virginia national forest: USA Today

- An F-15C fighter plane crashed in western Virginia on Wednesday and the status of the pilot was not immediately known, USA Today reported.

New York Times withholds endorsement for New York governor in primary

NEW YORK - The New York Times declined to endorse either Governor Andrew Cuomo or challenger Zephyr Teachout in the Sept. 9 Democratic primary election, citing his failure to clean up corruption and her lack of political experience.

Husband shoots and kills wife, wounds self at New Jersey hospital

- A man shot and killed his wife at a southern New Jersey hospital on Wednesday and then turned the gun on himself, a spokesman for the Camden County Prosecutor's Office said.

Bankrupt Detroit offered bigger loan secured by art

- A New York-based specialty finance group is ready to loan Detroit as much as $4 billion, double its previous offer, if the bankrupt city uses the masterpieces in its art museum as collateral, according to a new proposal that surfaced this week.

Released U.S. hostage says overwhelmed by welcome home

WASHINGTON - An American writer released this week after nearly two years of captivity in Syria said he was overwhelmed by the outpouring of attention he received after returning home, he told reporters on Wednesday.

Jasper Johns aide admits stealing, selling artwork for $6.5 million

NEW YORK - A former assistant to renowned American contemporary artist Jasper Johns pleaded guilty on Wednesday to selling nearly two dozen of his works without Johns' knowledge.

Hurricane Cristobal seen passing west of rain-lashed Bermuda

MIAMI - Hurricane Cristobal is expected to pass well west of Bermuda on Wednesday, where a tropical storm watch is in effect and heavy rain is likely, the National Hurricane Center said.

Santa Fe moves a step closer to decriminalizing marijuana

ALBUQUERQUE N.M. - Santa Fe took a step towards decriminalizing small amounts of marijuana on Tuesday when the county commission agreed to put the issue up for a vote in November.

California Senate approves measure banning warrantless drone surveillance

SAN FRANCISCO - The California State Senate passed legislation on Tuesday imposing strict regulations on how law enforcement and other government agencies can use drones, a move supporters said will protect privacy and prevent warrantless surveillance.

American released by Syrian militants excited to be free, mother says

WASHINGTON - An American writer released this week from two years in the captivity of insurgents in Syria is doing well and is excited to be free, his mother said on Tuesday.

Arizona's state treasurer claims victory in Republican primary

PHOENIX - Arizona state treasurer and businessman Doug Ducey claimed victory on Tuesday in the race to be the Republican nominee to replace outgoing Governor Jan Brewer, who has repeatedly clashed with the Obama administration over illegal immigration.

Suspect in L.A. drive-by killings charged with two other shootings

LOS ANGELES - A man arrested in Los Angeles on suspicion of committing three apparently random shotgun slayings within a single hour on Sunday was formally charged on Tuesday with two other shootings, one of them fatal, police and prosecutors said.

U.S. court will not block lawsuits over Connecticut SWAT raid

MILFORD Conn. - A U.S. federal appeals court has ruled that Connecticut police cannot claim immunity to quash lawsuits seeking millions of dollars in damages from a botched 2008 raid by a SWAT team that severely injured a homeowner and killed his friend.

Insurers pay more tax on executive compensation under Obamacare: study

- When Washington eliminated corporate tax deductions on health insurance executive compensation above $500,000 under President Barack Obama's healthcare reform law in 2013, it generated more than $72 million in additional tax revenue for the U.S. government, a left-leaning think tank said on Wednesday.

Detroit resumes water shutoffs for unpaid bills

DETROIT - Controversial water shutoffs in Detroit resumed on Tuesday after a month-long moratorium to allow delinquent customers to catch up with past-due bills, city officials said.

Demonstrations resume in Missouri over shooting death of black teen

ST. LOUIS - More than 100 demonstrators marched peacefully in St. Louis on Tuesday demanding the arrest of a white police officer who shot and killed an unarmed black teenager in Ferguson, Missouri.

Four family members drown in Oregon lake

- Four members of a family, including two children, have drowned at an Oregon lake, in an unusual occurrence that may have started with one person getting into trouble in the water and other members of the family wading in, authorities said on Tuesday.

Ohio teenager found guilty of two 'knockout game' robberies of $10

- An Ohio teenager was found guilty after he pleaded no contest on Tuesday to two "knockout game" robberies in which he and two teenage accomplices stole a total of $10, prosecutors said.

Seventh-day Adventist church sued over allegations of abuse in youth program

PORTLAND Ore. - Two men who say they were molested in the 1970s by a youth group leader in Oregon sued the Seventh-day Adventist church for $13.5 million on Tuesday, saying it had appointed a known pedophile to head the program and failed to remove him despite abuse allegations.

Mississippi woman stands trial in fatal buttocks injection case

JACKSON Miss. - A Mississippi woman accused of administering an unlicensed silicone buttocks injection to a patient who later died should be convicted of murder, prosecutors told jurors in a trial that commenced on Tuesday.

Hurricane Cristobal gains strength in Atlantic -NHC

- Cristobal, the third hurricane of the 2014 Atlantic season, has strengthened a little, the U.S. National Hurricane Center (NHC) said in its latest advisory on Tuesday.

American man suspected of fighting with Islamic State is killed

LOS ANGELES - An American man suspected of fighting alongside Islamic State militants who have seized large areas of Iraq and Syria to the alarm of the Baghdad government and its allies in the West has been killed in Syria, a U.S. official said on Tuesday.

Suspect in L.A. killings investigated for ties to other shootings

LOS ANGELES - A man arrested in Los Angeles on suspicion of committing three apparently random shotgun slayings within a single hour on Sunday is also under investigation for possible ties to several other shootings in recent months, police said on Tuesday.

Detroit's $1.8 billion refunding bonds priced in muni market

- Detroit completed the pricing on Tuesday of $1.8 billion of water and sewer refinancing bonds related to a tender offer aimed at dealing with a big chunk of the bankrupt city's debt.

Hurricane Cristobal moving away from U.S., but rip currents likely

MIAMI - Hurricane Cristobal continued to turn to the northeast on Tuesday, moving away from the Bahamas and the United States coast but is still likely to stir up dangerous coastal conditions, the National Hurricane Center said.

Defense for Alabama murder suspect cites 'stand your ground' law

- An Alabama man charged with stabbing his cousin to death inside the victim's home was lawfully standing his ground, his lawyers told jurors in a trial that concluded its second day on Tuesday, while prosecutors called him a murderer.

U.S. court will not block lawsuits over Connecticut SWAT raid

MILFORD Conn. - A U.S. federal appeals court has ruled that Connecticut police cannot claim immunity to quash lawsuits seeking millions of dollars in damages from a botched 2008 raid by a SWAT team that severely injured a homeowner and killed his friend.

Harrisburg, Penn. treasurer allegedly embezzled from nonprofit

HARRISBURG Pa. - The treasurer of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania's capital city which nearly went bankrupt three years ago, on Tuesday was accused by prosecutors of embezzling from a nonprofit organization he ran.

Suspect in L.A. killings investigated for ties to other shootings

LOS ANGELES - A man arrested in Los Angeles on suspicion of committing three apparently random shotgun slayings within a single hour on Sunday is also under investigation for possible ties to several other shootings in recent months, police said on Tuesday.

With Lady Luck no longer at its side, Revel casino details closure plan

- As hopes for a last-minute buyer dim, Atlantic City's Revel casino has laid out its closure plans, from disposing of opened bottles of alcohol to cashing unredeemed poker chips.

USC to vet football player's rescue story after doubts: coach

LOS ANGELES - The University of Southern California plans to vet the story of how one of its football players injured himself rescuing a young nephew from a swimming pool after it received calls questioning the account, head coach Steve Sarkisian said on Tuesday.

Surf's up: Hurricane Marie sends big waves to Southern California

LOS ANGELES - Waves up to 15 feet (4.5 meters) high generated by a Pacific Ocean hurricane will hammer Southern California beaches in coming days, creating dangerous conditions for beachgoers and threatening coastal flooding, meteorologists said on Tuesday.

Official proposes turning Houston Astrodome into indoor park

HOUSTON - A commissioner in the Texas county that is home to the Houston Astrodome wants to turn what was once described as the "Eighth Wonder of the World" into a huge indoor park.

Colorado governor defends death sentence comment as 'hypothetical'

DENVER - Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper said on Tuesday that he was responding to a hypothetical question when he raised the possibility of granting clemency to the state's longest-serving death row inmate should he lose his re-election bid in November.

Serial flight stowaway from California arrested in Arizona

- A serial airplane stowaway recently released from jail in California was arrested in Arizona on Tuesday on charges of criminal trespass for lingering at the Phoenix airport without a ticket, police said.

Judge scraps electronic evidence in ex-NFL star's murder case

BOSTON - A judge has thrown out some electronic evidence in a murder case against former National Football League star Aaron Hernandez because of a paperwork problem, according to local media reports on Tuesday.

Kansas lawyer is 'go to guy' in battle against Obama on immigration

NEW YORK/WASHINGTON - As President Barack Obama prepares to announce major immigration policy changes, conservative attorney Kris Kobach is fighting a case in federal court he says has the potential to “torpedo” the president’s plans.

'Craigslist Killers' plead guilty to murdering man lured to his death

HARRISBURG Pa. - A young married couple who admitted using Craigslist to lure a victim for a thrill-killing, pleaded guilty on Tuesday to second-degree murder and other charges in a move that will spare them the death penalty under Pennsylvania law.

California quake warning system delayed by lack of funding

SACRAMENTO Calif. - A system to provide early warnings of earthquakes such as the one which shook California's wine country this week is planned and ready to go, but two years after the scientific work finished, the funding is still being lined up.

Impasse over Kurdish crude cargo near Texas to drag on: source

HOUSTON - A tanker loaded with $100 million of Iraqi Kurdish crude oil cannot be delivered in Texas anytime soon because of serious legal risks so a month-long standoff will likely drag on, a source close to the matter said on Tuesday.

Dispute over gadget that blocks seat reclining diverts flight to Chicago

- A midair argument between two airline passengers over the use of a device that stops the seat in front from reclining caused a Newark-Denver flight to be diverted to Chicago over the weekend, airline and police officials said on Tuesday.

New York teen gets five to 15 years in fatal drugged driving crash

NEW YORK - A New York teenager was sentenced to five to 15 years in prison on Tuesday, a month after he admitted he had been high on marijuana when he smashed his car into a tree, killing four of his friends, said a spokesman for the Nassau County District Attorney.

Ohio appoints special prosecutor for fatal police shooting at Walmart

CLEVELAND - Ohio's attorney general said on Tuesday he has assigned a prosecutor with experience in police-involved shootings to investigate the death of a man shot while holding a BB gun at a Dayton-area Walmart.

Dozens search Idaho mountains for missing Montana college student

SALMON Idaho - Dozens of sheriffs deputies and volunteers combed the rugged canyon lands and whitewater rivers of central Idaho on Tuesday searching for a Montana college student who vanished one week ago while driving to Montana from Idaho.

Lightning strike kills police dog in Florida

MIAMI - A lightning strike apparently killed a police dog in northern Florida after the animal was left in a kennel during a thunderstorm, the local police department said on Tuesday.

U.S. appeals court challenges states on gay marriage bans

CHICAGO - A U.S. appeals court in Chicago appeared ready to strike down gay marriage bans in Indiana and Wisconsin after vigorously challenging the two states' attorneys at a hearing on Tuesday.

U.S. court rules for groups defending historic site from coal mining

- A U.S. appeals court ruled Tuesday in favor of environmental groups fighting to protect the site of a historic 1920s-era labor battle between miners and companies in West Virginia from being destroyed by modern-day coal mining.

Overhydration may have been factor in Mississippi football player's death

- The death of a Mississippi high school football player three days after he fell ill during a game was due to swelling in his brain possibly triggered by overhydration, a doctor who treated him said on Tuesday.

Girl, 9, kills Arizona shooting instructor with Uzi in accident

TUCSON Ariz. - A 9-year-old girl accidentally shot and killed her shooting instructor at an Arizona range with an Israeli-made Uzi submachine gun when the weapon's strong recoil caused her to lose control of her aim, police said on Tuesday.

Obama tells veterans better mental health care on the way

CHARLOTTE N.C. - President Barack Obama sought to make amends with veterans on Tuesday, announcing steps to expand their access to mental health care and an initiative with financial companies to lower home loan costs for military families.

Boston has worst drivers of any big U.S. city: Allstate report

- New York may have its aggressive, horn-honking drivers but it is a bastion of tranquility and safety compared to Boston, home to the worst drivers of any U.S. big city, according to an insurance industry report.

American man suspected of fighting with Islamic State is killed

LOS ANGELES - An American man suspected of fighting with Islamic State militants operating in Iraq and Syria has been killed in the region, a U.S. security official said on Monday.

Water shutoffs to resume in Detroit for unpaid bills

DETROIT - Controversial water shutoffs in Detroit will resume on Tuesday after a month-long moratorium to allow delinquent customers to catch up with past due bills, city officials said.

Four dead in apparent murder-suicide in Tulsa

- Two adults and two children from Guatemala were shot to death in an apparent murder-suicide in a Tulsa, Oklahoma, apartment, police said on Tuesday.

Arizona voters go to polls in Republican primary to succeed governor Brewer

PHOENIX - Voters in Arizona go to the polls on Tuesday to select a Republican candidate to vie for the seat of outgoing Governor Jan Brewer, who has repeatedly clashed with the Obama administration over illegal immigration.

Los Angeles schools official suspends iPad rollout: L.A. Times

- The Los Angeles schools superintendent has suspended a contract with Apple Inc to provide an iPad to each of its students as the $1 billion initiative faces problems and growing scrutiny, the Los Angeles Times newspaper reported.

Police rescue New Mexico woman from car after 'kidnap' text to sister

ALBUQUERQUE N.M. - A New Mexico woman who texted her sister to say she was being kidnapped in a car by a man with a weapon was rescued by police who used the message to track down and arrest the driver after a high-speed chase through central Albuquerque, police said.

U.S. scientist pleads guilty to taking government laptop to China

ALBUQUERQUE N.M. - A former scientist at a U.S. government-owned nuclear weapons research facility in New Mexico pleaded guilty in federal court on Monday to illegally taking a lab-owned computer to China and lying about it, a U.S. prosecutor said.

U.S. murder suspect in Bali denied private legal consultations: lawyer

CHICAGO - A Chicago-area teenager detained in connection with the death of her mother on the resort island of Bali is not being allowed to meet privately with her legal team in Indonesia, her U.S.-based lawyer said.

Americans oppose paying ransom for hostages: Reuters-IPSOS Poll

WASHINGTON - Nearly two out of three Americans say governments should not pay ransom to terrorists in exchange for hostages, despite the posting of an Islamic State video last week depicting the beheading of a U.S. journalist, a Reuters-IPSOS Poll showed on Tuesday.

Four killed in Ohio small plane crash

- Four people were killed on Monday when a small plane crashed shortly after taking off from an Ohio regional airport, the Ohio State Highway Patrol said.

Slain Missouri teen remembered with calls for peace, justice

ST. LOUIS - Family and supporters of Michael Brown on Monday celebrated the life of the black teenager slain by a white officer in Ferguson, Missouri, in a music-filled funeral service ringing with calls for peace and police reforms.

U.S. court scraps order to seize Kurdish crude from tanker near Texas

HOUSTON - A U.S. court on Monday threw out an order to seize some 1 million barrels of disputed Iraqi Kurdish crude oil from a tanker, a move that could allow the cargo to be delivered in Texas and end a nearly month-long impasse.

California wine country quake losses seen in the billions

NAPA Calif. - A strong earthquake that jolted residents of California's Napa Valley wine country from their beds on Sunday caused insured property damage likely in the hundreds of millions of dollars, but the region's total economic losses will be several times that, experts said on Monday.

Mississippi high school football player dies after falling ill in game

- A Mississippi high school football player died on Monday, three days after falling ill during a game, school officials said.

California to require anti-theft 'kill switches' on smartphones

SAN FRANCISCO - Smartphones in California will be required to come with a "kill switch" to render them useless if lost or stolen under a bill signed Monday by Governor Jerry Brown, the latest effort to stem an epidemic of phone theft in the most populous U.S. state.

Top architect Hadid's defamation lawsuit prompts retraction

NEW YORK - A well-known architecture critic has retracted a portion of a recent book review that Pritzker prize-winning-architect Zaha Hadid claimed in a lawsuit had defamed her.

U.S. seeks life in prison for bin Laden son-in-law Abu Ghaith

NEW YORK - The United States on Monday said Suleiman Abu Ghaith, a son-in-law of Osama bin Laden, should spend the rest of his life in prison following his conviction on terrorism-related charges.

Woman, 75, gets life for killing husband in Wyoming 40 years ago

- An elderly Missouri woman convicted of killing her husband four decades ago and burying his body in an abandoned Wyoming gold mine was sentenced to life in prison by a Wyoming judge on Monday, a prosecutor said.

Judge says California gun waiting time not for all buyers

SAN FRANCISCO - A U.S. judge on Monday ruled unconstitutional a 10-day waiting period for gun buyers who already have a firearm, in the latest challenge to government regulation of gun ownership.

Judge dismisses lawsuit over U.S. businessman's Bahamas copter crash

MIAMI - A U.S. judge dismissed a federal lawsuit on Monday that was filed against Florida businessman Jeffrey Soffer over a 2012 helicopter accident in the Bahamas that killed an American lawyer and injured four people.

Oklahoma City police dog dies of stab wounds: media reports

OKLAHOMA CITY - An Oklahoma City police dog stabbed multiple times died on Monday as a result of wounds it incurred while trying to subdue a suspect who led police on a high-speed car chase and then was shot dead by an officer, local media quoted police as saying.

A Florida first: Crocodile attacks couple during late-night dip

MIAMI - A Miami man remained hospitalized in serious condition after a crocodile for the first time in Florida history attacked a pair of late-night swimmers near an upscale suburb, a wildlife official said on Monday.

N.J. teacher, 98, in court to fight 1950 conviction in spy case

NEW YORK - More than six decades ago, Miriam Moskowitz stood in New York federal court and was convicted of lying to a grand jury investigating a Cold War atomic espionage case.

U.S. court overturns law limiting biotech crops on Hawaiian island

- A group of global biotech crop companies won a court victory on Monday that blocks enactment of a law passed last year limiting the planting of biotech crops and use of pesticides on the Hawaiian island of Kauai.

Nuke inspector wanted Calif. plant shut over quake fears: report

- A federal nuclear inspector urged U.S. regulators to shut down a California nuclear power plant until tests showed its reactors could withstand shocks from nearby earthquake faults, according to the Associated Press and an environmental group.

Oklahoma City police dog recovering from stab wounds, suspect killed

OKLAHOMA CITY - An Oklahoma City police dog stabbed multiple times is expected to survive wounds it incurred while trying to subdue a suspect who led police on a high-speed car chase and then was shot dead by an officer, police said on Monday.

Pennsylvania school guard 'hero' fired for being too old: lawyer

- A 70-year-old security guard, wounded in April while helping subdue a student on a stabbing spree at Pennsylvania high school, was fired with no good reason just before the beginning of the new school year, his lawyer said on Monday.

Arkansas police chief resigns after calling reporter 'smelly'

LITTLE ROCK Ark. - The chief of the Jonesboro, Arkansas police resigned on Monday, three days after being suspended by the mayor for making derogatory comments on Facebook about a local news reporter he called "smelly" and a backer of marijuana smoking.

Alabama couple charged with rape, tried to impregnate girl: report

- An Alabama couple has been charged with raping an underage relative multiple times in an unsuccessful attempt to impregnate her so they could keep the baby, a local newspaper reported.

At least 400 Florida beachgoers stung by jellyfish

ORLANDO Fla. - Jellyfish stung at least 400 Florida beachgoers over the weekend, prompting lifeguards to raise purple flags warning of hazardous marine life off the state's east coast, authorities said on Monday.

Activists, newspapers sue over blocked access to Oklahoma executions

OKLAHOMA CITY - Activists groups and two newspapers sued on Monday to try and prevent Oklahoma prison officials from blocking what can be seen by witnesses to executions, in a lawsuit prompted by the state screening off its death chamber in a botched execution in April.

Georgia 13-year-old killed in bed likely not intended target: police

ATLANTA - A 13-year-old Georgia boy who was shot and killed by an older teenager while he slept may have been the victim of mistaken identity, police said on Monday.

Four bodies found floating off Florida coast prompt questions

- U.S. authorities trying to determine what happened to four men whose bodies were found floating off the Atlantic coast of Florida said a search by air and sea on Monday had turned up no additional victims or any signs of a boat or wreckage.

Pilots' union, UPS barred from probe of 2013 U.S. crash

WASHINGTON - The U.S. National Transportation Safety Board told United Parcel Service Inc and its pilots union on Monday they can no longer take part in the investigation of a 2013 crash that killed two UPS pilots.

Detroit police to eventually leave federal oversight

DETROIT - Detroit police on Monday began a transition away from federal oversight that was launched more than a decade ago after accusations about excessive force and its witness detention practices, officials said.

Lawyers for Texas Governor Perry file motion to dismiss charges

AUSTIN Texas - Attorneys for Texas Governor Rick Perry filed a motion on Monday to dismiss two felony charges of abusing his power, saying it is unjust to prosecute the leader of the state over a political dispute by trying to criminalize a veto.

Man arrested for shooting dogs suspected in three L.A. homicides

LOS ANGELES - A 34-year-old man who was arrested after shooting two dogs over the weekend is also considered a suspect in three homicides committed within an hour across Los Angeles' sprawling San Fernando Valley, police said on Monday.

Ohio landlords to pay $850,000 in housing discrimination case

CLEVELAND - An Ohio couple who own apartment buildings agreed to pay $850,000 to settle complaints they discriminated against both African-American renters and families with children, a spokesman for the United States Attorney's Office said Monday.

Bankruptcy judge approves Detroit water/sewer bond plan

DETROIT - A bankruptcy court judge on Monday approved Detroit's proposal to repurchase nearly $1.5 billion of existing water and sewer revenue bonds tendered by investors and to refinance the debt to save money.

Library without books debuts at Florida’s newest college

TAMPA Fla. - The library opening with the first day of classes on Monday at Florida's newest college features a sunlit arched roof and cozy reading chairs - but not a single book.

Four bodies found floating off Florida coast prompt search, questions

- U.S. authorities were trying to determine on Monday what happened to four men whose bodies were found floating off the Atlantic coast of Florida, as the search for additional possible victims continued by air and sea.

Blind Florida man shoots intruder in his Tampa home

TAMPA Fla. - A blind Florida man shot an intruder who broke into his home armed with a knife, not realizing it was his teenage nephew, authorities said on Monday.

Shooter at U.S. Army base in Virginia wounds herself, sparks lockdown

WASHINGTON - A female soldier shot and wounded herself at Fort Lee, Virginia, on Monday, sparking a lockdown of the U.S. Army installation, the base said on its Facebook page.

Virginia ex-governor to testify again in corruption trial

RICHMOND Va. - Former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell is set to be back on the witness stand on Monday in his federal corruption trial, now in its fifth week.

Two people killed in Illinois recycling plant explosion: police

- Two people were killed and at least one injured on Monday in an explosion at a metal recycling plant in southern Illinois possibly caused by munitions, according to police and local media.

U.S. murder suspect in Bali denied private legal consultations: lawyer

CHICAGO - A Chicago-area teenager detained in connection with the death of her mother on the resort island of Bali is not being allowed to meet privately with her legal team in Indonesia, her U.S.-based lawyer said on Monday.

Man dies after being Tasered by police in Florida

MIAMI - Authorities in Florida are investigating the death of a man who was shot with a Taser stun gun by a police officer while resisting arrest, sheriff's deputies said on Monday.

One dead after Haitian migrants come ashore near Fort Lauderdale

MIAMI - One woman died early on Monday as 20 Haitian migrants being transported by an illegal smuggling operation came ashore near Fort Lauderdale, Florida, law enforcement officials said.

Two teens killed by Chicago police after pointing guns, police say

CHICAGO - Two teens were shot to death by Chicago police in separate incidents on Sunday after they refused to drop their guns and pointed them at officers, police and a police union spokesman said on Monday.

Bottle shock: Napa Valley quake shatters prized wine collections

NAPA Calif. - Prized collections and wooden casks crashed to cellar floors when a 6.0 magnitude earthquake struck Napa Valley on Sunday, but damage to the famous wine region at the start of harvest time might be limited to a handful of wineries and warehouses.

Brown supporters from near and far form striking Ferguson tableau

FERGUSON Mo. - When the call came just after the fatal shooting of an unarmed black teenager by a white police officer in this St. Louis suburb, Reggie Jones didn't hesitate. He packed his bag, took time off work and came straight to Ferguson, Missouri.

Kansas lawyer is 'go to guy' in battle against Obama on immigration

NEW YORK/WASHINGTON - As President Barack Obama prepares to announce major immigration policy changes, conservative attorney Kris Kobach is fighting a case in federal court he says has the potential to “torpedo” the president’s plans.

Pennsylvania student dies in fall from crane on college campus

HARRISBURG Pa. - Authorities in Pennsylvania said Sunday they were trying to determine whether a freshman at Penn State University fell or jumped to his death from a crane on a construction site on the State College campus.

Exchange student from Ghana dies in California kayak accident

NEW YORK - Lifeguards and dive teams in California on Sunday recovered the body of a 17-year-old exchange student from Ghana whose kayak capsized near San Diego, officials said.

Man arrested for scaling Brooklyn Bridge tower, snapping photos

- A New York City man was arrested on Sunday after climbing to the top of the Brooklyn Bridge, where he snapped photos with his phone before answering police demands to come down, authorities said.

California wine country rocked by 6.0 quake, dozens hurt

NAPA Calif. - A 6.0 magnitude earthquake rocked wine country north of San Francisco early on Sunday, injuring more than 100 people, damaging historic buildings, setting some homes on fire and causing power outages around the picturesque town of Napa.

Trayvon Martin parents to join rally for slain Missouri teen

ST LOUIS - Hundreds of people gathered in a St Louis park on Sunday for a rally against police violence that is expected to bring together the family of Michael Brown, killed by an officer in Missouri this month, and the parents of Trayvon Martin, a Florida teenager shot dead in 2012.

Four bodies found floating in debris off Florida coast

- Four bodies were found floating in debris off the Atlantic coast of Florida on Sunday but no boat wreckage has been discovered, the U.S. Coast Guard said.

Hip-hop mogul Suge Knight shot in Los Angeles

- Hip-hop music mogul Suge Knight was shot and injured early on Sunday morning at a nightclub in West Hollywood in an incident involving several victims, the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department said.

Quake of 6.0 magnitude registered in California

LONDON - An earthquake of 6.0 magnitude was detected in the U.S. state of California early on Sunday, the U.S. Geological Survey said.

Phoenix police order new probe into mentally ill woman’s killing

PHOENIX - Phoenix’s police chief said on Saturday that an independent probe will be conducted into the death of a mentally ill woman who was shot and killed at her home last week by a police officer.

Texas police chief shot dead during traffic stop

- The police chief of a small south Texas town was shot dead during a traffic stop on Saturday, a county sheriff said.

Protesters mark two weeks since police shooting in Ferguson, Missouri

FERGUSON Mo. - Demonstrators in Ferguson, Missouri, gathered in intense heat on Saturday to mark two weeks since a white police officer shot dead an unarmed black teenager, while supporters of the officer said in a separate rally miles away the shooting was justified.

Obama orders review of police use of military hardware

EDGARTOWN Mass./WASHINGTON - U.S. President Barack Obama has ordered a review of the distribution of military hardware to state and local police out of concern at how such equipment has been used during racial unrest in Ferguson, Missouri.

Two rallies, one racial divide over Ferguson shooting

FERGUSON Mo. - As the crow flies the two rallies held Saturday afternoon over the fatal shooting of an unarmed black teen by a white policeman were about 10 miles (16 km) apart, but the racial divide that separated them made that distance seem infinitely greater.

Man shot to death at Wiz Khalifa concert in Northern California

- A man was shot to death backstage at a Wiz Khalifa rap concert in Northern California and the gunman remained at large, police said on Saturday.

Wyoming officer charged over death of police dog in hot car

- A Wyoming police officer has pleaded not guilty to animal cruelty charges tied to the death of a dog left inside a sweltering patrol car for more than six hours, local media reported.

Obama orders review of police use of military hardware: official

EDGARTOWN Mass. - U.S. President Barack Obama has ordered a review of the distribution of military hardware to state and local police out of concern at how such equipment has been used during racial unrest in Ferguson, Missouri.

Redskins name controversy heralds another season of discontent

WASHINGTON - Amanda Blackhorse decided one afternoon to attend a rally outside a game between the NFL's Kansas City Chiefs and the Washington Redskins.

Thousands march in New York City to protest police chokehold death

NEW YORK - The Reverend Al Sharpton led thousands of chanting but peaceful activists in a march across Staten Island on Saturday to protest the death of Eric Garner, who died after New York City police put him in a banned chokehold last month.

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.