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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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

New Mexico faces teacher shortage two days before school begins

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

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

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

Two dozen rescued after Maryland roller coaster malfunctions

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

Philadelphia man confesses to killing wife while jogging: police

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

Riot erupts over police shooting of unarmed black teen in Missouri

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

Hawaii's governor defeated in primaries clouded by storms

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

Riot erupts following shooting death of unarmed black teen in Missouri

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

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

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

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

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

Pennsylvania teen dies in manure pit, trapped under farm equipment

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

Missouri teen shot dead by police had assaulted officer: police

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

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

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

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

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

Warrant issued for ex-boyfriend of woman killed in Albuquerque

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

Hawaii governor faces tough primary contest as hurricane nears

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

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

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

Eight firefighters hurt in California wildfire are out of hospital

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

Bridge protest over NYC man's arrest death to proceed

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

Teenage boy dies after climbing accident that killed Phoenix firefighter

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

Prosecutors fight Kennedy cousin's overturned murder conviction

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

Go home kids: Baltimore launches strict evening curfew for youth

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

Cleveland hosts Gay Games in gay marriage battleground state

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

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

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

Former Manson Family killer Bruce Davis is rejected for parole

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

Atlanta confronts tuberculosis outbreak in homeless shelters

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cash-stuffed bra lands Florida woman in trouble at airport

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

Two killed in botched robbery of marijuana grow in California

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

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

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

Yellowstone may use helicopter to search for crashed drone

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

Firefighter dies, two teenagers injured in Arizona climbing accident

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Missing Washington girl was victim of homicide, police say

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

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

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

Iselle lashes Hawaii with wind, rain as Julio threatens

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

New Medicaid enrollments top 7 million under Obamacare

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

Mother of three kids killed in Philadelphia carjacking dies

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

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

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

In bond filing, Port Authority lists subpoenas over bridge closure

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

White House: number of Central American migrant children is decreasing

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

Washington man set ablaze by wife could face molestation charge

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

Texas school band practice broken up by plane spraying pesticide

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

Connecticut police officer indicted for stomping tasered suspect

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

Mystery woman with no fingerprints a riddle spanning four states

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

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

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

USC steps up security after murder of Chinese graduate student

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

Hawaiian refineries running as Iselle brings wind, rain

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

Federal government says Virginia schools restrained, isolated students

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

Growing wildfire threatens hundreds more homes in Oregon

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

Undocumented Mexican migrant takes refuge in Arizona church

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

University of Oregon appoints interim leader after president resigns

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

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

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

Baby dies, mother in critical after stabbing attack near Sacramento

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

Senator Alexander defeats Tea Party challenge in Tennessee primary

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

Colorado lawsuit alleges cannabis overdose from fairground candy

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

Obama signs bill to fix delays in veterans healthcare

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

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

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

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

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

NYC school workers charged with abusing Korean exchange-students

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

New Mexico truck explosion forces evacuation of Navajo community

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

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

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

Hundreds evacuated from path of fast-growing Oregon wildfire

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

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

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

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

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

Florida researchers identify body found at notorious reform school

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

Obama administration setting up group on experimental Ebola drugs

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

New Mexico grants short amnesty to people owing child support

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

Star witness in Illinois double-murder trial recounts robbery plan

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

Married Oklahoma police officers accused of killing daughter's boyfriend

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

Teens hijack Baltimore school bus, hit driver with fire extinguisher

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

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

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

Fewer Colorado teens think pot harmful, use down since legalization

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

Body found in Washington state appears to be of missing child

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

Cabin stowaway re-arrested at Los Angeles airport

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

Former Calpers board member charged with bribery in corruption case

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

Normally sunny Hawaii braces for hurricane double punch

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

Toddler slides through White House gate, alarming Secret Service

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

California cargo ships to slow for whales under new program

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

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

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

Former top pick Oden arrested on battery charges: police

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

Senator Alexander faces Tea Party challenge in Tennessee primary

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

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

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

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

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

Teen killed by boat propeller while tubing in Long Island Sound

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

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

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

Former Afghanistan war prisoner Bergdahl questioned in army probe

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

California news anchor accused of stealing high-end wallets resigns

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

California insurer pays out in buckets, literally

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

Americans worry that illegal migrants threaten way of life, economy

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

Detroit jury continues deliberations in porch shooting case

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

Florida lawmakers to reconvene to redraw congressional maps

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

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

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

Massachusetts governor signs measure expanding drug treatment

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

Florida man charged with animal torture in slaughterhouse sting

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

Range Resources faces fine over Pennsylvania fracking wastewater leak

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

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

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

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

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

Jeweler Fabergé forces Brooklyn's Faberge restaurant to change name

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

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

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

Arizona county proposes hiring ban, extra charges for smokers

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

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

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

Houston approves ride services Uber, Lyft

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

Obama says lacks sufficient data to fast-track Ebola drug

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

Reward offered for man shown kicking squirrel into Grand Canyon

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

Drone crashes into famed hot spring at Yellowstone National Park

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

Arizona couple settles lawsuit with polygamous church-run towns

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

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

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

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

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

U.S. Homeland Security contractor reports computer breach

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

Hawaii braces for Hurricane Iselle, with Julio right behind

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

U.S. Homeland Security contractor reports computer breach

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

Cabin stowaway caught after flying to Los Angeles on commercial flight

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

Oregon mom whose disappearance sparked search committed suicide: police

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

U.S. appeals court conflicted over gay marriage cases

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

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

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

Utah woman denied rescue after dog tussles with mountain goat

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

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

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

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

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

Search for missing Washington girl enters third day with few clues

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jury selection set for trial of former Connecticut governor Rowland

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

Grand jury indicts three New Mexico teens for murdering homeless men

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

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

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

New York City subway cars fumigated after bedbug sightings

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

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

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

District of Columbia legal pot measure heads for November ballot

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

Hurricane, tropical storm roll toward Hawaii

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

Kansas Republican senator Roberts fights off Tea Party challenger

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

Closing arguments set for Michigan porch shooting case

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

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

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

Missing Oregon mother found dead

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

Hawaii ocean rescue caught on camera by stranded teenager

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

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

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

Florida same-sex marriage ban declared unconstitutional in fourth ruling

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

Popular, snakelike 'Cobra' rock formation beheaded in Utah

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Oklahoma teen accused of raping Kenyan children to remain in custody

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

Missing Oregon mother found dead near abandoned car

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

Florida same-sex marriage ban declared unconstitutional in fourth ruling

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

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

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

Second Ebola patient wheeled into Atlanta hospital for treatment

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

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

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

Missouri killer executed after Supreme Court denies stay applications

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

Missouri killer executed, scrutiny high after Arizona

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

Albuquerque could scrap jail time for small amounts of pot

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

Son of Nevada rancher Bundy arrested on probation violation

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

Residents evacuated after mudslide topples Utah home

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

Wyoming couple charged with abuse for imprisoning child in cage

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

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

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

Hiker vanishes after falling near Oregon's Crater Lake

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

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

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

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

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

Boy, suspected kidnapper dead after Colorado hostage standoff

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

More wildfire evacuations feared as winds fan flames in Washington state

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

Wisconsin man charged with homicide in suitcase corpses case

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

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

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

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

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

Three members of family found at bottom of Hollywood pool

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

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

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

Fleas overrun western New York courthouse, force shutdown

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

Hurricane, tropical storm seen moving toward Hawaii

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

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

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

NYPD probing report that EMTs stopped four cops beating handcuffed man

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

U.S. service sector growth hits 8-1/2 yr high in July: ISM survey

- The pace of growth in the U.S. services sector hit its highest in 8-1/2 years in July, boosted by growth in business activity, new orders and employment, according to an industry report released on Tuesday.

Virginia ex-governor's corruption trial resumes

RICHMOND Va. - The corruption trial of former Virginia Governor Robert McDonnell resumed on Tuesday after revelations that his wife tried to pitch a dietary supplement at the heart of the trial to the wife of presidential candidate Mitt Romney.

Missouri killer set for execution, scrutiny high after Arizona

- Missouri officials are pressing forward with the Wednesday execution of convicted killer Michael Worthington despite calls for caution after last month's problematic execution in Arizona in which the inmate took more than an hour to die.

Michigan porch shooting suspect admits he intended to shoot

DETROIT - A white suburban Detroit homeowner who shot to death a black teenage girl on his front porch said he intended to shoot, but was acting out of fear and not aiming at her.

NYC police union chief denies officers used choke hold on man who died

NEW YORK - The president of New York City's main police union on Tuesday denied arresting officers had used a choke hold on a Staten Island man and said a coroner's report that ruled the man's death a homicide was politically motivated.

Jury selection set for trial of former Connecticut governor Rowland

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

Boy, nine, dies after stabbing at Michigan playground

- A 9-year-old boy died after being stabbed repeatedly by another child on a playground at the western Michigan mobile home park where he lived, police said Tuesday.

Burglar who stole Hank Aaron's baseball rings sentenced to prison

- A man who burglarized the Atlanta home of baseball legend Hank Aaron and stole “priceless” rings destined for the Baseball Hall of Fame has been sentenced to eight years in prison and 42 years on probation.

Son of Pennsylvania Congressman Fattah charged with fraud

PHILADELPHIA - The son of a Philadelphia congressman turned himself in to federal authorities Tuesday to face charges that he defrauded banks, the U.S. Small Business Administration and the city's cash-strapped school district.

Food fight in Kansas primary part of election day in four states

KANSAS CITY Mo. - Kansas voters will get to weigh in Tuesday on a right-wing food fight as part of a Congressional House race, while in neighboring Missouri the son of former Attorney General John Ashcroft seeks to follow in his father's footsteps.

Criminal charges filed in baseball doping scandal: report

MIAMI - The U.S. government on Tuesday filed criminal charges against the owner of a defunct Florida anti-aging clinic at the center of a doping scandal involving Major League Baseball players, the Miami Herald reported.

Phoenix Suns P.J. Tucker gets jail time for drunk driving in Arizona: attorney

PHOENIX - Phoenix Suns basketball forward P.J. Tucker was sentenced on Monday to three days in jail and 11 days of house arrest after pleading guilty to "super extreme" drunk driving in Arizona, one of his attorneys said.

Bertha weakens to a tropical storm : NHC

- Bertha, the second hurricane of the 2014 Atlantic season, has weakened to a tropical storm, the U.S. National Hurricane Center (NHC) said on Tuesday.

U.S. to close three interim shelters housing migrant children : U.S. media

- Three interim shelters that have housed thousands of children who have come unaccompanied to the United States from Central America will close within weeks, leading U.S. newspapers reported on Monday.

Hurricane Bertha expected to weaken on Tuesday: NHC

- Bertha, the second hurricane of the 2014 Atlantic season, is expected to weaken on Tuesday, the U.S. National Hurricane Center (NHC) said in its latest advisory on Monday.

White supremacist gets life in prison after U.S. West Coast killing spree

PORTLAND Ore. - A white supremacist convicted of killing two people during a bloody three-state road trip on the U.S. West Coast was sentenced on Monday to two life sentences by a federal judge in Portland, Oregon, the Justice Department said.

Colorado girl, three, shot by 5-year-old boy wielding handgun

DENVER - A 3-year-old Colorado girl was shot and critically wounded by a 5-year-old boy on Monday with a handgun belonging to her mother's boyfriend, police said.

Arizona researcher in airport flap says he was asserting gun rights

PHOENIX - An Arizona medical researcher arrested after taking a loaded assault rifle into the Phoenix airport said on Monday he was making a political statement and did not intend to harm anyone.

Presbyterian church in Arizona offers sanctuary to undocumented migrant

TUCSON Ariz. - For the second time since May, an Arizona Presbyterian church with a long history of sheltering Central American refugees is offering sanctuary to an undocumented immigrant who faces deportation, its pastor said on Monday.

California community stumped by mystery animal caught on videotape

LOS ANGELES - Officials in a Southern California city are trying to identify an animal caught in grainy black-and-white video footage moving quietly through a residential neighborhood, saying the beast does not appear to be a dog or a mountain lion.

Jodi Arias to represent self in Arizona death penalty sentencing retrial

PHOENIX - An Arizona judge agreed on Monday to allow convicted murder Jodi Arias to represent herself during a sentencing retrial to determine if she will face the death penalty for killing her ex-boyfriend in 2008, a court spokesman said.

Medicare raises U.S. hospital payment rates for FY2015

WASHINGTON - The U.S. government said on Monday that it will increase the operating payments that acute-care and long-term care hospitals receive from Medicare for inpatient care for the federal fiscal year that begins on Oct. 1.

Second Ebola patient headed to U.S.; N.Y. tests possible victim

ATLANTA - The second American aid worker who contracted the Ebola virus in West Africa is expected to arrive in Atlanta on Tuesday in serious condition, while a New York hospital is testing a man with symptoms of the deadly disease.

Two men arrested in Tennessee church air-conditioning thefts

NASHVILLE Tenn. - Two men have been arrested and charged with stealing $21,000 worth of air-conditioning systems from four rural Tennessee churches during a summer heat wave, apparently to sell as scrap, police said on Monday.

Drought forces some boats from shrinking Great Salt Lake in Utah

SALT LAKE CITY - Drought forced an early end to the sailing season for some Utah enthusiasts on Monday as a huge crane lifted boats out of the Great Salt Lake State Park Marina, where officials say the water is at its lowest level for more than 50 years.

Washington state mother pleads not guilty in death of toddler

- A Washington state woman locked in a custody battle pleaded not guilty on Monday to charges of murdering her toddler and badly wounding her teenage daughter in an Oregon hotel room, court officials said.

U.S. labor board backs personnel actions from time without quorum

WASHINGTON - The U.S. National Labor Relations Board said on Monday it had unanimously ratified numerous administrative and personnel actions it took when it lacked a constitutionally valid quorum.

Rabbis urge U.S. action to free American jailed in Cuba

HAVANA - Three hundred U.S. rabbis urged President Barack Obama to "take action" to secure the release of Alan Gross, a U.S. government subcontractor jailed in Cuba who has grown increasingly suicidal and has said goodbye to his family, his lawyer said on Monday.

L.A.'s Sunset Boulevard reopens week after huge water main break

LOS ANGELES - Sunset Boulevard reopened in Los Angeles on Monday, a week after part of the famed thoroughfare across America's second-largest city was shut down when a water main ruptured underneath it, spouting a 40-foot geyser and flooding part of the UCLA campus.

Detroit residents get more time to deal with unpaid water bills

CHICAGO - Detroit residents with unpaid water bills now have 21 more days to pay or set up a payment plan as the city reassesses its policy on how to deal with a $90 million backlog in unpaid bills, the mayor said on Monday.

California's new state budget emphasizes funding for education

- California's newest budget package of $152.3 billion in state spending emphasizes large increases for education, pays down debts, and proposes a 32-year plan to fully fund the teachers' pension system, the state's nonpartisan fiscal and policy advisor said on Monday

A dozen Washington homes burn in aggressive West Coast wildfire season

SEATTLE - A newly sparked wildfire was burning unchecked on Monday in central Washington state, charring about a dozen homes and threatening wide evacuations as crews scrambled to contain the blaze in an unusually destructive fire season on the U.S. West Coast.

James Brady, former White House press secretary, dies at 73

- James Brady, a former presidential press secretary critically wounded in the assassination attempt on U.S. President Ronald Reagan, has died, a family spokeswoman said on Monday. He was 73.

Syracuse, University of Iowa crowned as U.S.'s top party schools

BOSTON - New York's Syracuse University edged out the University of Iowa for the crown of top party school in the United States, according to an annual ranking released on Monday by test-prep company the Princeton Review.

Florida same-sex marriage ban struck down in third case

TAMPA Fla. - A Florida judge on Monday struck down the state's same-sex marriage ban in a ruling centered around whether a woman who entered into a civil union in another state could get divorced.

Guantanamo judge refuses to recuse himself in warship bombing trial

FORT MEADE Md. - A military judge refused on Monday to recuse himself from the death penalty case of a Guantanamo Bay prisoner accused of organizing the 2000 bombing of the U.S. warship Cole.

Pennsylvania mother smells foul odor, finds son died 4 days earlier

HARRISBURG Pa. - A mother, alerted by a foul odor, found out her son died four days earlier in their Pennsylvania home, and on Monday an autopsy was under way and the boy's father remained jailed in the case.

Illinois lawmaker pleads guilty to tax charge; faces up to a year in prison

CHICAGO - Illinois state Representative La Shawn K. Ford, who was charged two years ago with bank fraud, pleaded guilty in federal court on Monday to a substantially less serious misdemeanor charge of filing a false 2007 tax return.

NYC hospital tests man after travel to Ebola zone in Africa: local media

NEW YORK - A New York City hospital is testing a patient who traveled to a West African nation where Ebola has been reported, local media reported on Monday.

Man accused in Mich. shooting death of black girl testifies

DETROIT - A white suburban Detroit man wept as he told a jury that he regretted shooting to death an unarmed black teenage girl on his porch, but he thought someone was trying to break into his house.

Pro-marijuana advocates raise $1 million in Oregon

PORTLAND Ore. - Supporters of a recreational marijuana ballot initiative in Oregon have raised $1 million in their effort to legalize, regulate and tax use of the drug by adults, campaign finance documents showed on Monday.

Police to charge Guatemalan man in Boston body-in-box case

BOSTON - A Guatemalan man will be charged on Monday with lying to Massachusetts police investigating human remains found in a cardboard box outside Boston last month, officials said.

U.S. judge rules Alabama abortion law unconstitutional

BIRMINGHAM Ala. - A U.S. judge on Monday ruled unconstitutional an Alabama law that threatened to close three of the state's five abortion clinics.

Mayor of Toledo, Ohio, lifts ban on drinking tap water

TOLEDO Ohio - A ban on drinking tap water in Toledo was lifted early Monday after tests showed that toxins were no longer at dangerous levels from algae on Lake Erie, the mayor's office said.

NJ's high court rejects rap lyrics as evidence in attempted murder trial

- The New Jersey Supreme Court on Monday ordered a new trial for a man whose attempted murder conviction was challenged because prosecutors used rap lyrics the man had authored as evidence against him.

Two Detroit men charged in shooting of eight-year-old boy

- Two Detroit men have been charged in last week's fatal shooting of an 8-year-old boy who had been sleeping in his bed, prosecutors said on Monday.

Kurds ask U.S. court to scrap seizure order, allow crude delivery

HOUSTON - The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) of Iraq asked a U.S. court on Monday to throw out an order to seize some 1 million barrels of disputed crude oil and allow the cargo to be freely delivered in Texas.

Virginia family of five killed in apparent murder-suicide

- A Culpeper, Virginia, family of five was shot to death in an apparent murder-suicide, with the father the suspected shooter, police said on Monday.

NYC's largest jail has pattern of violating teen inmate rights - DOJ

NEW YORK - The U.S. Justice Department said on Monday a multi-year investigation of New York City's Rikers Island jail has found a "pattern and practice of conduct" that violates the constitutional rights of adolescent inmates.

Parents of bullied Florida girl who killed herself sue school board

ORLANDO Fla. - The parents of a 12-year-old Florida girl who killed herself after being bullied by schoolmates filed a lawsuit Monday accusing the school system of negligence for failing to stop the torment.

Star witness back on stand in Virginia ex-governor's corruption trial

RICHMOND Va. - Defense lawyers for former Virginia Governor Robert McDonnell in his federal corruption trial on Monday wrapped up their cross-examination of the businessman alleged to have given McDonnell and his wife gifts and loans.

One dead, thousands stranded after southern California storms

- One person died and thousands of people were stranded after thunderstorms raged through Southern California mountain communities on Sunday, unleashing mudslides and floods, officials said.

U.S. Air Force Academy to probe reports of rape, drug use

DENVER - The U.S. Air Force Academy's superintendent ordered an investigation into the school's athletic programs on Sunday amid reports of sexual assaults, drug use and academic cheating, primarily among football players at the elite institution.

U.S. chicken farmers latest caught in Russia sanction crosshairs

- Russia's threatened ban on U.S. poultry imports, the latest move in a sanctions skirmish over Moscow's support of rebels in Ukraine, has agriculture companies alert to the risks of a conflict that's already roiled trading of crops ranging from soy, beef and fruit to California pistachios.

All-clear given after security alert at White House entrance

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Secret Service cleared Pennsylvania Avenue in front of the White House earlier on Monday and closed one of its gates for more than an hour after a bomb-sniffing dog alerted them to a car in a nearby garage.

Wildfire destroys eight buildings on California-Oregon border

- A wildfire burning on the border of Oregon and California has destroyed eight structures and was threatening hundreds more on Sunday, officials said, after California declared a state of emergency amid an extremely aggressive fire season.

U.S. Air Force Academy to probe reports of rape, drug use

DENVER - The U.S. Air Force Academy's superintendent ordered an investigation into the school's athletic programs on Sunday amid reports of sexual assaults, drug use and academic cheating, primarily among football players at the elite institution.

New Mexico man almost loses genitals in pitbull attack

ALBUQUERQUE N.M. - A New Mexico man almost lost his genitals to a dog bite when a 90-pound (40-kg) mixed breed pitbull attacked his eight-year-old daughter and he intervened to rescue her, police said on Sunday.

Man who filmed NYPD choke hold video arrested on weapons charges

- A man who filmed a New York City police officer use a choke hold on a suspect who later died has been arrested on weapons charges, law enforcement officials said on Sunday.

Remains found of man wanted for murder of family in California

- Human remains found near a river in northern California belong to a man on the U.S. Marshals Service's top 15 most wanted fugitive list for questioning in the murder of his wife and two daughters, officials said Sunday.

U.S. doctor stricken with Ebola said to be improving

ATLANTA - An American doctor stricken with the deadly Ebola virus while in Liberia and brought to the United States for treatment in a special isolation ward is improving, the top U.S. health official said on Sunday.

Some 400,000 in Ohio without drinking water, tests show lower toxin levels

TOLEDO Ohio - Health authorities tested water for toxins in Toledo, Ohio, on Sunday as some 400,000 people remained without safe drinking water for a second day following the discovery of high toxin levels from algae on Lake Erie.

Tropical storm Bertha strengthens as it moves away from the Bahamas: NHC

- Tropical Storm Bertha, the second named storm of the 2014 Atlantic Hurricane Season, is strengthening quickly as it moves away from the Bahamas, the U.S. National Hurricane Center (NHC) said on Monday.

Florida to begin redrawing unconstitutional congressional maps on Thursday

TALLAHASSEE Fla. - Florida legislative leaders said on Sunday they plan to call a special session on Thursday after a judge ordered them to redraw the state's U.S. congressional maps and held open the possibility of delaying general elections in November.

Second Maryland concertgoer dies of suspected overdose

- A second person has died of a suspected drug overdose following a Maryland pop and dance music festival that left another dead and more than a dozen hospitalized with drug-related illnesses, police said on Sunday.

Washington woman arrested on murder charges in death of toddler

SEATTLE - A Washington state woman was arrested on Sunday on murder charges after her two-year-old daughter was found dead and her teenage daughter badly hurt in an Oregon resort hotel, officials said.

Obama says corporate America has benefited from his policies: the Economist

WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama said corporate America has done well under his economic policies, telling the Economist magazine that CEOs should stop complaining about regulations and show greater social responsibility.

Eggnog blast in New Jersey injures two, damages building

- Authorities are investigating an explosion that originated in a vat of eggnog, damaged a pharmaceutical plant and caused minor injuries to two workers in New Jersey, local media said on Sunday.

Billion-dollar debate in Oklahoma divorce: Was oilman just lucky?

NEW YORK - For years, Continental Resources, the largest oil driller in the booming Bakken Shale formation, touted the hard work of its CEO and founder, Oklahoma billionaire Harold Hamm, as "a driving force" behind the company’s success.

Some 400,000 in Ohio without drinking water as toxin tests continue

TOLEDO Ohio - Testing of water for toxins in Toledo, Ohio, continued on Sunday as some 400,000 people remained without safe drinking water for a second day following the discovery of high toxin levels from algae on Lake Erie.

Around 500,000 in Ohio without drinking water as tested for toxins

TOLEDO Ohio - Some 500,000 residents in and around Toledo, Ohio were without safe drinking water for a second day on Sunday while local water supplies were being tested following the discovery of high toxin levels from algae on Lake Erie.

American aid worker stricken with Ebola being treated in U.S.

ATLANTA - An American aid worker infected with the deadly Ebola virus while in Liberia was being treated at an Atlanta hospital in a special isolation unit on Sunday.

N.Y. Met Opera extends contracts one week for financial review

- New York's Metropolitan Opera has agreed to extend union contracts for a week to allow for an independent study of its finances, further postponing a threatened lockout at the nation's largest performing arts organization, the Met said on Saturday.

Supporters, foes of pot legalization post rival ads in NY Times

SEATTLE - Supporters and opponents of the federal ban on marijuana took to the pages of The New York Times this weekend with full-page color advertisements that highlight the fast-evolving debate in the United States about medical and recreational drug use.

One dead, 20 hospitalized from apparent overdoses at Maryland concert

- A North Carolina man died and 20 people were hospitalized due to apparent drug overdoses during a pop and dance music festival in Maryland, authorities said on Saturday.

Mistaken identity leaves Texas man planning new burial service for mother

HOUSTON - A grieving Texas man is planning a second burial service for his mother after a mortuary mistakenly placed the wrong body in a grave on top of his father.

U.S. insurer to stop coverage of gynecological procedure

WASHINGTON - A health insurer with 5.2 million members in three Eastern U.S. states said on Saturday it would stop providing coverage for a procedure called laparoscopic power morcellation that is used in gynecological surgery and may inadvertently spread cancer.

Texas quintuplets arrive home to cheers, stacks of diapers

TEXARKANA Texas - Cheering friends and families lined the streets of the East Texas town of Maud to welcome its five newest residents, quintuplets born nearly five months ago with much fanfare at a Dallas hospital.

FDA says 'stands ready' to work with companies developing Ebola drugs

CHICAGO - (This version of the August 1 story corrects spelling of doctor's name in 12th paragraph to Amesh)

American aid worker stricken with Ebola arrives in U.S. for treatment

ATLANTA - An American aid worker infected with the deadly Ebola virus while in Liberia arrived in the United States from West Africa on Saturday and was able to walk from an ambulance into an Atlanta hospital for treatment in a special isolation unit.

Algal bloom leaves 500,000 without drinking water in northeast Ohio

TOLEDO Ohio - Officials in Toledo, Ohio, warned residents of the city and surrounding areas on Saturday not to drink their tap water or try to boil it for purification after samples found dangerously high levels of toxins from an algal bloom.

California revises rules on use of force with mentally ill inmates

- California on Friday announced court-ordered policy changes aimed at curbing the use of force against thousands of mentally ill inmates after video footage showed prisoners screaming as guards doused them in pepper spray.

Two transit crashes minutes apart injure 40 in San Francisco

- Forty people were injured in two separate transit accidents minutes apart in San Francisco on Friday, police said.

U.S. prepares to receive two American aid workers stricken with Ebola

ATLANTA - Two American aid workers, both seriously ill after being infected with the deadly Ebola virus in Liberia, will be flown to the United States and treated in isolation at an Atlanta hospital, officials said on Friday.

Colorado officials propose tightening rules for marijuana edibles

DENVER - A Colorado task force charged with tightening controls on marijuana edibles unveiled proposed rules on Friday to limit potency levels, require clearer labeling and assure that children cannot get their hands on pot-infused confections.

Albuquerque mayor concerned about city's homeless American Indians

ALBUQUERQUE N.M. - Authorities in Albuquerque said on Friday that homeless American Indian people are more at risk than others from street violence in findings released after the beating deaths of two homeless men in an abandoned lot in New Mexico's largest city.

Area in front of White House reopened after being cleared

WASHINGTON - U.S. Park Police and Secret Service officers reopened an area in front of the White House on Friday evening after briefly closing it due to an unattended package that had been left in front of the presidential building, according to a Reuters eyewitness.

Sudanese woman who had faced execution for conversion arrives in U.S.

MANCHESTER N.H. - A Sudanese woman who was sentenced to death for converting from Islam to Christianity, then detained after her conviction was quashed, arrived in the United States on Thursday.

Bible left in North Korean sailor's club triggered U.S. tourist's arrest

SEOUL - American tourist Jeffrey Fowle was arrested by North Korean authorities for leaving a bible under a bin in the toilet at a club for foreign sailors, a source familiar with Fowle's case told Reuters.

Colorado rolls out driver's licenses for illegal immigrants

DENVER - Colorado granted driver's licenses to 62 illegal immigrants on Friday, officials said, during the first day of a controversial program that supporters say makes the streets safer and opponents argue rewards criminality.

Michael Jackson's Neverland estate being considered for sale

LOS ANGELES - Late pop singer Michael Jackson's Neverland estate is being considered for sale, a spokesman for the company controlling the property said on Friday.

Chicago police say homicides fall to lowest level since 1963

CHICAGO - Chicago's police superintendent said on Friday the number of homicides had fallen to the lowest level in five decades so far this year as he sought to dispel the notion that America's third-largest city reigns as the nation's murder capital.

Arizona reveals drug dosage given in drawn-out execution

PHOENIX - A review ordered by Arizona's governor into last month's drawn-out execution of a death row inmate is underway and authorities confirmed on Friday the dosage of the controversial two-drug cocktail the prisoner received for his lethal injection.

U.S. prepares to receive two American aid workers stricken with Ebola

ATLANTA - Two American aid workers, both seriously ill after being infected with the deadly Ebola virus in Liberia, will be flown to the United States and treated in isolation at an Atlanta hospital, officials said on Friday.

Museum celebrating 'Big Bang' of country music opens in Virginia

BRISTOL Va - A museum celebrating 10 days in 1927 that helped introduce the mountain music of Appalachia to mainstream America opened in Virginia on Friday.

Girl accused of setting California wildfire ordered to have mental exam

LOS ANGELES - A teenage girl charged with setting a California wildfire that burned 2,000 acres (800 hectares) and destroyed some 40 structures north of San Diego in May has been ordered by a judge to submit to a mental competency exam, prosecutors said on Friday.

Legal complication clouds medical marijuana rollout in Florida

ORLANDO Fla. - Prospective medical marijuana growers in Florida are struggling to figure out a legal way to obtain starter cannabis plants under a new state law allowing for limited medical use, the bill's sponsor and other experts say.

Monsoon rains cause floods, but fewer wildfires, in New Mexico

ALBUQUERQUE N.M. - In normally drought-stricken New Mexico, near-historic levels of monsoon rains this month caused a sharp rise in flash flood warnings, but have dampened the risk of devastating wildfires, experts said on Friday.

Arizona professor gets probation for scuffle with campus police

MESA Ariz. - An Arizona professor was sentenced on Friday to nine months' probation for scuffling with campus police after being stopped for walking in the middle of a street at night.

Trappers search for Washington state otter that attacked swimmers

- Wildlife trappers in Washington state searched on Friday for a river otter blamed for a rare attack on humans that sent a boy and his grandmother to the hospital, wildlife experts said.

Florida Lionfish ban, nation's first, goes into effect

MIAMI - Florida's ban on importing invasive lionfish, the first of its kind in the nation, goes into effect on Friday as wildlife managers look for a way to control the spread of the barbed, red-and-white striped fish.

Google, Facebook pay for shuttles to use San Francisco bus stops

SAN FRANCISCO - Commuter shuttles run by Google Inc, Facebook Inc and other Silicon Valley companies began paying on Friday to make stops at San Francisco bus stations after protests blamed them for gentrification.

Florida judge awards $16 million to artist Rauschenberg's trustees

TAMPA Fla. - A Florida judge has awarded about $16 million to three trustees of famed contemporary artist Robert Rauschenberg's trust following years of litigation over the value of their services, the Fort Myers News-Press reported on Friday.

Floor of UCLA's famed Pauley Pavilion to be replaced after water main break

LOS ANGELES - The wooden floor of UCLA's famed Pauley Pavilion, which recently underwent a multi-million dollar renovation, will be replaced after it was flooded this week when a major water main broke, the school's athletic director said on Friday.

Death of New York man a homicide caused by police choke hold -autopsy

NEW YORK - The death of a man during an arrest last month in New York City was caused by a choke hold by a police officer, the chief medical examiner's office said on Friday, declaring the death a homicide.

Illinois man charged with putting needles in store meat

KANSAS CITY Mo - A 68-year-old Illinois man is in jail charged with food tampering after he allegedly inserted sewing needles into packages of meat at a grocery store multiple times in the past year, an official said on Friday.

Former NYPD sergeant sentenced to 58 months in $4.7 million scheme

NEW YORK - A former New York City police sergeant who admitted duping investors in a $4.7 million real estate scheme was sentenced on Friday to nearly five years in prison, a federal prosecutor said.

Federal court agrees to suspend Detroit bankruptcy appeals

- A federal court agreed on Friday to suspend seven cases seeking to overturn a lower court ruling that found Detroit was eligible for municipal bankruptcy.

Q&A: U.S. Justice Ginsburg on Hobby Lobby, gay marriage, retirement

WASHINGTON D.C. - In an interview with Reuters late on Thursday, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, 81, was not just defiant about calls for her retirement. A former women's rights advocate appointed to the court in 1993 by President Bill Clinton, Ginsburg also had plenty to say about how the Court's controversial Hobby Lobby decision highlighted a gender gap among her fellow justices, why gay marriage will continue to face court challenges, and why a woman might not be he

N.J. Governor Christie creates public pension study commission

- New Jersey Governor Chris Christie on Friday created a panel to recommend reforms to the state's pension and health benefits for retired public employees.

Massachusetts lawmakers pass bill tightening state gun laws

BOSTON - Massachusetts lawmakers on Friday tightened the state's already strict gun laws by passing a measure that gives police chiefs authority to turn down a resident's requests to buy a rifle or shotgun if they believe the person may be a danger.

Tape emerges of Clinton discussing bin Laden day before 9/11 attack

NEW YORK - Former President Bill Clinton said he "could have killed" Osama bin Laden in remarks to an audience in Australia the day before al Qaeda's 2001 attacks on the United States, according to an audio tape that emerged this week.

U.S. appeals court upholds Guantanamo detainee frisk-search policy

WASHINGTON - A U.S. appeals court on Friday upheld the Obama administration's new policy of search procedures at Guantanamo Bay that detainees had challenged saying invasive practices such as frisking of their anal and groin areas discourage them from consulting with their lawyers.

U.S. asks appeals court to reconsider Obamacare subsidies ruling

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Justice Department on Friday asked a federal appeals court to reconsider its July 22 ruling that posed a major setback to the Obamacare health insurance overhaul by casting into doubt the availability of federal health insurance subsidies for millions of people.

Grimm choice: Tax fraud trial could dog NY re-election campaign

NEW YORK - This fall, when Representative Michael Grimm asks New York voters to send him to Washington for a third term in Congress he may be splitting his time between the campaign trail and a courtroom where he is due to face tax evasion charges.

Chicago budget gap to shrink, but pension payment spike looms

CHICAGO - Chicago said its budget deficit was on track to shrink to just below $300 million in 2015, but a state-mandated increase in pension payments would expand gaps in the future.

After nine-month kidnap ordeal, New Hampshire teen feeling 'better'

BOSTON - A New Hampshire teenager who reappeared mysteriously after a nine-month kidnapping ordeal told her hometown newspaper that she was "feeling a lot better every day" and re-adjusting to life back home in the mountain town of Conway.

Hyundai recalls in U.S. reach 1.3 million in same week

- South Korea's Hyundai Motor Co is recalling about 420,000 vehicles covering three models for separate problems in the United States, after recalling 883,000 Sonata sedans this week, according to U.S. safety regulators.

Corruption trial of former Virginia governor to hear from businessman

RICHMOND Va. - The businessman at the heart of the corruption trial of former Virginia Governor Robert McDonnell and his wife is due back on the witness stand on Friday for a third day of testimony, including likely questions from defense attorneys.

Competency hearing expected for Wisconsin girl in Slenderman case

MILWAUKEE - Two doctors are expected to testify on Friday on the competency of one of two Wisconsin girls accused of luring their friend into the woods and repeatedly stabbing her to please Slenderman, a fictional Internet character.

U.S. top lawyer calls for greater transparency over execution drugs

- Attorney General Eric Holder is calling on states to be more transparent about the drug cocktails used in executions in the wake of a series of botched lethal injections that have renewed a national debate over the death penalty.

For some companies, influx of migrant children into U.S. means business

NEW YORK - For a handful of U.S. companies that have exclusive or longstanding contracts with federal agencies dealing with illegal immigrants, the recent wave of children crossing the southern border with Mexico is a business opportunity.

Court clears way for California to sell $8 billion of bullet-train bonds

- A California appeals court has ruled a state authority may issue $8 billion in bonds to help finance a high-speed rail system in the most populous U.S. state, removing a substantial obstacle to the proposed $68 billion plan.

U.S. Congressman Cantor to resign seat early: Richmond Times-Dispatch

- U.S. Congressman Eric Cantor said he will resign his seat effective Aug. 18, months earlier than expected following a shock primary election defeat, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reported on Friday.

U.S. residents sue over immigration denials said to target Muslims

LOS ANGELES - Five long-time U.S. residents who are Muslim or from Muslim-majority countries sued the federal government on Thursday, saying the Department of Homeland Security was unfairly denying or delaying requests for citizenship and permanent residency on vague security grounds.

Obamacare subsidy case could be reviewed by U.S. Supreme Court

- The U.S. Supreme Court has been asked to review a case about whether the federal government can subsidize health insurance for millions of Americans, a party involved in the lawsuit said on Thursday.

Man extradited to U.S. from Mexico over slaying of border patrol agent

- A Mexican man has been extradited to the United States in connection with the fatal shooting of a U.S. border patrol agent during a late-night gun battle near the U.S.-Mexican border in Arizona four years ago, federal prosecutors said on Thursday.

New York's Met Opera, unions extend talks for 72 hours, lockout delayed

NEW YORK - New York's Metropolitan Opera agreed to extend negotiations with its labor unions for 72 hours, preventing a threatened lockout at the nation's largest performing arts organization, the Met said late on Thursday.

Obama commemorates Special Olympics anniversary at star-studded White House event

WASHINGTON - Katy Perry, Jason Derulo and Stevie Wonder were all there - but the only guest who got to give President Barack Obama a hug during his speech was restaurant owner Tim Harris.

U.S. to modernize poultry inspections to boost food safety

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Department of Agriculture said on Thursday it will modernize its decades-old inspection methods for poultry in an attempt to crack down on food-borne illness.

California's proposed 2015 Obamacare premiums to rise 4 percent in 2015

- Healthcare premiums will rise an average of 4.2 percent in 2015 on California's health insurance exchange, the largest of the state marketplaces established by President Barack Obama's healthcare reform, state officials said on Thursday.

Washington state man sentenced to 10 years for torching gay club

SEATTLE - A Washington state man was sentenced to 10 years in prison on Thursday for setting fire to a popular Seattle gay nightclub packed with New Year's Eve revelers.

U.S. veterans agency employees falsified data to hide delays: USA Today

WASHINGTON - Employees at more than 100 medical centers run by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs falsified appointment data and hid evidence of delayed medical care, according to a USA Today analysis of government data.

Disgruntled executive shoots CEO, kills self in Chicago building

CHICAGO - A senior executive upset about a job demotion gravely wounded the chief executive officer of his company in a downtown Chicago office building and then fatally shot himself, police said on Thursday.

Fired Ohio State band leader says tried to stamp out hazing

CLEVELAND - An Ohio State University band leader who was fired for failing to stamp out sexual harassment defended his tenure on Thursday, saying he pushed to change the marching band's decades-old, quasi-military culture of hazing rituals.

Speeding grandma thanks Idaho trooper for ticket

SALMON Idaho - A Washington state grandmother has written a thank-you letter to a state trooper in Idaho for giving her a speeding ticket in an exchange that she said on Thursday was a highlight of her recent holiday there.

U.S. aid worker infected with Ebola to be moved to Atlanta hospital: official

- A U.S. humanitarian aid worker who was infected with Ebola in West Africa will be transferred back to the United States and treated in a special high security ward at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, hospital officials said on Thursday.

Search for missing Oregon woman expands to other Western states

- The search for a missing Oregon mother of two young children has expanded to other states, with investigators pursuing all leads after a week without any concrete information on her whereabouts, police said Thursday.

U.S. tells Dallas county no need for it to house immigrants: commissioner

DALLAS - Federal authorities rejected plans to house up to 2,000 children from Central America in temporary shelters in Dallas County, saying the need had waned due to a falling number of immigrants arriving, a county commissioner said on Thursday.

Judge says unclear if NYC is fair when revoking taxi licenses

NEW YORK - A federal judge in New York said it is an open question whether the city's Taxi and Limousine Commission treats taxi drivers fairly in hearings over whether to revoke their licenses.

Spanish-style bull run nixed in California, other events planned

LOS ANGELES - A Spanish-style bull run that would have seen participants in shorts and red scarves scampering alongside the horned animals has been canceled in Southern California due to a permit denial, an organizer said on Thursday.

Prosecutors to appeal dismissal of Minnesota shooting plot charges

- Prosecutors plan to appeal the dismissal of attempted murder and property damage charges against a Minnesota teenager who allegedly planned bombings and shootings at a high school, a court official said on Thursday.

California zoo animals feast on 13,000-pound fruit donation

BERKELEY Calif. - Animals at a zoo in California's Bay Area received an unexpected and unusual feast after a delivery truck carrying exotic fruit crashed and spilled an estimated $50,000 worth of produce across a highway, officials said on Thursday.

Crews tighten battle lines around Yosemite fire threatening Sequoias

- Firefighters tightened their grip Thursday on a blaze roaring for a sixth day through drought-parched timber and brush on the western edge of Yosemite National Park as they took special measures to protect a famed grove of giant Sequoia trees.

U.S. CDC says salmonella outbreak from Foster Farms' chicken appears over

CHICAGO - A salmonella outbreak linked to California-based poultry producer Foster Farms' contaminated chicken appears to be over, more than 17 months after it began, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Thursday.

World Trade Center contractor charged in multimillion-dollar fraud

NEW YORK - The owner of a company that has done nearly $1 billion in construction work at the World Trade Center was charged on Thursday with defrauding a government program intended to promote minority- and women-owned businesses.

Activists say transgender woman raped at Arizona immigrant center

PHOENIX - Rights activists called on Thursday for the immediate release of a transgender women allegedly raped by her cellmate at an Arizona immigrant detention center, accusing authorities of refusing to provide for her safety.

Sudanese woman who had faced execution for conversion arrives in U.S.

MANCHESTER N.H. - A Sudanese woman who was sentenced to death for converting from Islam to Christianity, then detained after her conviction was quashed, arrived in the United States on Thursday.

CIA concedes it spied on U.S. Senate investigators, apologizes

WASHINGTON - The CIA conceded on Thursday that it had improperly monitored computers used by the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee in an investigation of interrogation tactics and secret prisons for terrorism suspects after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. Central Intelligence Agency spokesman Dean Boyd said in a statement that the agency's inspector general had determined that "some CIA employees acted in a manner inconsistent" with an understanding between the agency and the Senate

U.S. reforms poultry inspections to boost food safety

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced on Thursday reforms to decades-old processes for inspecting poultry facilities in a bid to cut down on the number of foodborne illnesses, but dropped an industry-backed plan to speed up production.

Tea Party out-muscles Boehner on border-security funding

WASHINGTON - A bill to fund border security blew up in House Speaker John Boehner's face on Thursday, leaving Republicans in disarray and struggling to reconcile Tea Party demands with the need to deal with a humanitarian crisis on the southwestern border with Mexico.

Sudanese woman who had faced execution for conversion arrives in U.S.

MANCHESTER N.H. - A Sudanese woman who was sentenced to death for converting from Islam to Christianity, then detained after her conviction was quashed, arrived in the United States on Thursday.

Ebola patient coming to U.S. as aid workers' health worsens

CHICAGO/WINSTON-SALEM N.C. - A U.S. aid worker who was infected with the deadly Ebola virus while working in West Africa will be flown to the United States to be treated in a high-security ward at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, hospital officials said on Thursday.

Tea Party out-muscles Boehner on border-security funding

WASHINGTON - A bill to fund border security blew up in House Speaker John Boehner's face on Thursday, leaving Republicans in disarray and struggling to reconcile Tea Party demands with the need to deal with a humanitarian crisis on the southwestern border with Mexico.

U.S. jobless claims up, wage growth starting to push higher

WASHINGTON - The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits rose last week, but the underlying trend pointed to a continuing strengthening of labor market conditions.

Exec at heart of ex-Va. Governor's corruption trial due back on stand

RICHMOND Va. - The businessman who federal prosecutors contend gave gifts and loans to former Virginia Governor Robert McDonnell and his wife is due to return to the witness stand on Thursday at the couple's corruption trial.

Justice Department wants workers to carry heroin antidote

WASHINGTON - U.S. law enforcement agents who deal with heroin addicts may begin carrying the drug naloxone to reverse overdoses, the Justice Department said on Thursday, responding to a surge in heroin use in the United States.

Wisconsin Supreme Court upholds registry for same-sex couples

MILWAUKEE - The Wisconsin Supreme Court on Thursday upheld a 2009 law that establishes a registry for same-sex couples, saying it does not violate an amendment to the state's constitution banning gay marriage.

Voter ID law upheld by Wisconsin Supreme Court

MILWAUKEE - The Wisconsin Supreme Court on Thursday upheld a state law requiring voters to have photo identification to cast a ballot, although the law remains blocked by an earlier ruling by a federal judge that it is unconstitutional.

Night at the museum: U.S. adults embrace art, science sleepovers

NEW YORK - Kids have been sleeping overnight in museums across the country for years, dozing off among live sharks and dinosaur bones. Now adults are getting to join the fun.

Plane crashes in San Diego Costco parking lot, killing one person

- A small plane crashed in the parking lot of a San Diego retail store on Wednesday, killing one person and injuring at least one other, according to officials and local media.

Seattle cop who issued 80 percent of marijuana tickets reassigned

SEATTLE - The Seattle Police Department has reassigned an officer who single-handedly issued about 80 percent of the marijuana tickets handed out in the city during the first half of this year, authorities said on Wednesday.

Businessman says helped ex-Virginia governor, wife as part of 'business relationship'

RICHMOND Va - The businessman at the heart of a corruption trial involving former Virginia Governor Robert McDonnell and his wife, Maureen, testified on Wednesday he helped them out with gifts and loans strictly for the benefit of his dietary supplement company.

San Diego student's near-death in DEA custody avoidable: report

SAN DIEGO - Simple measures, such as a white board listing names of prisoners, might have prevented the near-death of a San Diego college student inadvertently left in a holding cell for nearly five days without food or water, a federal report showed on Wednesday.

Crashed drone carried contraband aimed at South Carolina prison

CHARLESTON Fla. - A drone being flown in a novel attempt to smuggle phones, marijuana and tobacco into a South Carolina maximum security prison crashed outside its walls, authorities said on Wednesday.

U.S. advances plan to reintroduce wild bison herds outside Yellowstone

- New herds of genetically pure wild bison may once again roam vast expanses of the American West where the iconic animal has been absent since the end of the 19th century, under a tentative plan federal officials advanced on Wednesday.

Teen who sneaked to top of World Trade Center pleads guilty: report

NEW YORK - A New Jersey teen, who sneaked into New York City's One World Trade Center and ascended to the top of the 104-story building to the antenna, pleaded guilty on Wednesday to a misdemeanor charge stemming from the incident, New York media reported.

Chicken pox halts immigrant processing at New Mexico center

ALBUQUERQUE N.M. - U.S. border authorities have suspended the processing of undocumented immigrants at a center in New Mexico after one of the detainees was diagnosed with chicken pox, a spokeswoman for Immigration and Customs Enforcement said on Wednesday.

Liberia shuts schools as Ebola spreads, Peace Corps leaves three countries

DAKAR - Liberia will close schools and consider quarantining some communities, it said on Wednesday, rolling out the toughest measures yet imposed by a West African government to halt the worst outbreak on record of the deadly Ebola virus.

Colorado nurse sues after being a 'hostage' in armed gunman drill

DENVER - A Colorado woman is suing the nursing home where she worked and local police for allegedly not telling her that a gunman who held her hostage was a police officer conducting a safety drill, court documents show.

Liberia shuts schools as Ebola spreads, Peace Corps leaves West Africa

DAKAR - Liberia will close schools and consider quarantining some communities, it said on Wednesday, rolling out the toughest measures yet imposed by a West African government to halt the worst outbreak on record of the deadly Ebola virus.

Airlines seek court review of higher U.S. fee on plane tickets

- Two airline trade groups asked a U.S. appeals court on Wednesday to review fee increases on airplane tickets imposed by the Transportation Security Administration, saying the agency is "improperly" raising taxes on travelers and hurting carriers.

Gunman, two others killed in North Carolina shooting

- A North Carolina man who opened fire on Wednesday on a mobile home with six people inside, killing two, was himself killed in an exchange of gunfire with authorities in a incident that also left three sheriff's deputies wounded, authorities said.

Five arrested for Atlantic City casino heist

- Five people, including a security guard, have been arrested in connection with an armed robbery of $181,000 from the Caesars Atlantic City casino last week, police said on Wednesday,

Florida mother arrested for letting 7-year-old son walk alone to park

- A Florida mother faces charges of child neglect for allowing her 7-year-old son to walk alone to a neighborhood park to play, authorities said on Wednesday.

Oregon woman bought sleeping pills before going missing

PORTLAND Ore. - A missing Oregon stay-at-home mother of two young children bought sleeping pills and snacks on an errand run in her small community before she disappeared, but she did not buy enough pills to harm herself, police in Oregon said on Wednesday.

U.S. CFPB director says training managers to create fairer workplace

WASHINGTON - The head of the U.S. consumer watchdog told lawmakers on Wednesday that new managers at the agency initially did not get enough training about creating a fair workplace for women and minority employees, an "oversight" he said the bureau is now addressing.

Drew Barrymore's half-sister found dead in car near San Diego

LOS ANGELES - The half-sister of actress Drew Barrymore was found dead in her vehicle parked on a suburban San Diego street, the San Diego County Coroner said on Wednesday.

Publisher to remove book passage that sparked Jesse Ventura lawsuit

- The publisher of a book at the center of a successful defamation case brought by former Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura against the estate of a former Navy SEAL said on Wednesday it would delete the passage about a bar fight that sparked the suit.

U.S. Peace Corps says two volunteers exposed to Ebola, isolated

WASHINGTON - Two U.S. Peace Corps volunteers have been isolated and under observation after being exposed to a person who later died of the deadly Ebola virus, a Peace Corps spokeswoman said on Wednesday.

Detroit, Syncora fight over casino money in appeals court-report

- A federal appeals court panel heard arguments on Wednesday between Detroit and one of its last hold-out creditors over casino tax revenue, with one of the judges promising a careful consideration of the case, the Detroit News reported.

Prosecution rests in fatal Michigan porch shooting case

DETROIT - Prosecutors rested on Wednesday after presenting evidence they said proved a white suburban Detroit home owner charged with second degree murder acted with malice and forethought when he shot a black teenager dead on his porch.

Bankrupt San Bernardino looks at marijuana sales to raise funds

LOS ANGELES - The city attorney of bankrupt San Bernardino, California, has a novel idea for raising new revenue - open medical marijuana dispensaries to sell pot.

U.S. working on plan for future F-35 incidents: Air Force

WASHINGTON - Military officials hope to prevent the kind of confusion that followed a recent engine failure that grounded Lockheed Martin Corp's F-35 fighter jets for more than three weeks, the U.S. Air Force's top officer said on Wednesday.

New York Met Opera proposes federal arbitration in bitter labor dispute

NEW YORK - New York's Metropolitan Opera has proposed bringing in a federal mediator to resolve its most bitter labor dispute with its musicians and other unionized employees in decades, the company said on Wednesday.

Accused carjacker in Colorado faces 46 charges

DENVER - An accused carjacker whose alleged two-hour crime spree in Colorado was caught on camera last week was charged on Wednesday with 46 offenses, including aggravated robbery, menacing with a deadly weapon, and first-degree assault, authorities said.

Police assist 'Woman in Black' after crowd surrounds her in Virginia

- A woman dressed in all black who has been spotted strolling along highways in the U.S. Southeast and Midwest needed police assistance after she was surrounded by a group of about 50 curious people in Virginia, authorities said on Wednesday.

Lawyer-turned-witness ordered to prison for U.S. tax fraud

NEW YORK - A former partner at defunct law firm Jenkens & Gilchrist, whom prosecutors have called the most important cooperating witness in the largest criminal tax fraud case in U.S. history, was sentenced on Wednesday to six months in prison.

Redskins hire PR firm Burson-Marsteller amid fight over name

- The National Football League's Washington Redskins have hired public relations firm Burson-Marsteller as it battles criticism that its name is a racial slur, a company spokeswoman said on Wednesday.

Killer of actor Kelsey Grammer's sister denied parole in Colorado

DENVER - A man convicted of murdering the sister of actor Kelsey Grammer in Colorado 34 years ago was denied parole on Wednesday, a day after Grammer testified against his release, authorities said.

Pennsylvania state police plan to fight U.S. discrimination suit

HARRISBURG Pa. - The commissioner of the Pennsylvania State Police vowed on Wednesday to fight a lawsuit filed by the U.S. Department of Justice contending that the physical fitness tests required of prospective state troopers discriminate against women.

Six Philadelphia narcotics officers arrested for robbing dealers

PHILADELPHIA - U.S. government agents arrested six Philadelphia narcotics officers on Wednesday on charges they robbed and in some cases kidnapped drug dealers, including dangling one over an 18th story balcony to force him to give up a computer password.

U.S. turns back Central Americans, welcomes 'dusty foot' Cubans

WASHINGTON/MIAMI - Yasel Lopez's journey to the United States was as harrowing as any endured by the thousands of people rounded up in recent months at the Mexican border - he survived days without food and water and the death of a companion on the three-week trip.

U.S. Peace Corps withdrawing volunteers due to Ebola virus

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Peace Corps said on Wednesday it was pulling 340 volunteers from Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea because of the spreading Ebola virus that has killed 672 people in the three countries since February.

Third University of New Mexico football player suspended

ALBUQUERQUE N.M. - The head football coach at the University of New Mexico has suspended a third team member in as many months after the player was arrested this week on charges of breaking into a former girlfriend's apartment, a school spokesman said on Wednesday.

Police arrest New Mexico man suspected of killing, marinating dog

ALBUQUERQUE N.M. - Sheriff's deputies have arrested a New Mexico man suspected of extreme animal cruelty after he was accused of killing his ex-girlfriend's puppy with a screwdriver then marinating it in preparation for eating it, authorities said on Wednesday.

Despite court ruling, no wedding bells for same-sex couples in South Carolina

CHARLESTON S.C. - Five gay couples were denied marriage licenses on Wednesday at a South Carolina courthouse as they offered a symbolic challenge to the state's same-sex marriage ban.

Despite court ruling, no wedding bells for same-sex couples in South Carolina

CHARLESTON S.C. - Five gay couples were denied marriage licenses on Wednesday at a South Carolina courthouse as they offered a symbolic challenge to the state's same-sex marriage ban.

Despite court ruling, no wedding bells for same-sex couples in South Carolina

CHARLESTON S.C. - Five gay couples were denied marriage licenses on Wednesday at a South Carolina courthouse as they offered a symbolic challenge to the state's same-sex marriage ban.

Man accused of trying to smother father could face new charges

CLEVELAND - A 58-year-old man arrested this week on suspicion of trying to smother his terminally ill father at a nursing home after getting drunk could face fresh charges pending the outcome of an autopsy, a county prosecutor's office said on Wednesday.

Fourth Ethiopian athlete missing after track event found safe

SEATTLE - The last of four Ethiopian athletes, who came to the United States for a track meet in Oregon and then failed to fly home with teammates, has been located and is safe after disappearing in a possible asylum bid, authorities said on Wednesday.

New York man faces drug charges tied to 'Electric Zoo' death

NEW YORK - A New York man has been charged with selling the potent party drug "molly" to a 23-year-old concertgoer who died of an overdose at a massive electronic music festival last summer, prosecutors said on Wednesday.

Two women escape death from train in Indiana, but maybe not jail

- Two women may face criminal charges after narrowly escaping an oncoming freight train as they crossed a bridge above a lake in Indiana by crawling between the tracks as train cars passed inches above their heads, authorities said on Wednesday.

Crews clean up, repair flood damage from Los Angeles water main break

LOS ANGELES - Utility crews working around the clock on Wednesday labored to clean up and repair damage from a major water main break that sparked a 20-foot-tall geyser and flooded part of the University of California campus in drought-stricken Los Angeles.

Ohio man gets life for killing mother and living six months with body

CLEVELAND - An Ohio man convicted of stabbing his mother and living with her corpse for six months was sentenced on Wednesday to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Oregon hunting guide pleads guilty to injuring wild cats for easy kill

- An Oregon hunting guide accused of injuring or caging mountain lions and bobcats to make it easier for his clients to shoot and kill pleaded guilty on Wednesday in a U.S. Court in Denver to violating a federal wildlife law, prosecutors said.

Police charge man with raping woman at raucous Massachusetts concert

BOSTON - Prosecutors have charged a Massachusetts man with raping a woman at a raucous country music concert south of Boston on Saturday where dozens of people received treatment for alcohol-related medical problems.

Detroit drops post-bankruptcy monitor from exit plan

- Detroit has dropped the idea of having a court-appointed monitor keep an eye on its finances when it exits bankruptcy after determining the move was not needed, a city spokesman said on Wednesday.

Detroit boy killed by stray bullet while sleeping in bed

- An 8-year-old Detroit boy who was sleeping in his bed was struck and killed on Wednesday by a stray bullet fired from outside his home, police said.

Iraqi Kurdish pipeline stopped; tanker in limbo off Texas

ISTANBUL/LONDON - Iraqi Kurdistan's attempts to export oil independently of Baghdad hit another obstacle on Wednesday, as a Turkish energy official and industry sources said the autonomous region's pipeline to the Mediterranean has been shut for the past week.

Record low July temperatures in southern U.S., Alabama at 49 degrees

ATLANTA - Record-breaking low temperatures across the southern United States on Wednesday made July feel more like October, with the mercury dipping to 49 degrees Fahrenheit in Alabama.

Firefighters battle six-alarm Boston blaze

BOSTON - Six companies of Boston firefighters on Wednesday battled a large blaze that engulfed multiple buildings in the city's residential eastern section, fire officials said.

U.S. relief worker 'fighting through' Ebola virus: son

WINSTON-SALEM N.C. - An American aid worker infected with Ebola while responding to the outbreak of the deadly virus in Liberia and neighboring African countries is "fighting through it," her son said on Wednesday.

One arrested, 100,000 plants seized in Texas marijuana bust

HOUSTON - One person has been arrested and more than 100,000 marijuana plants were being eradicated from a sprawling operation in one of the largest pot farming cases in Texas history, police said on Wednesday.

New York police officer released from hospital following shootout

NEW YORK - A New York police detective wounded in a shootout on Monday in Greenwich Village was released from the hospital on Wednesday, one day after two U.S. marshals injured in the same incident were also released, a police spokesman said.

New York suspends tax preparers for failing to file personal returns

NEW YORK - New York state has suspended 40 registered tax preparers who failed to file their personal tax returns, following the adoption of a set of strict new guidelines earlier this year, Governor Andrew Cuomo said on Wednesday.

Text message from slain Michigan girl's phone is clue in case

CHICAGO - A text message from a Michigan girl's phone is part of the investigation into her death, police said on Wednesday.

Virginia, Maryland on shortlist for FBI headquarters

- The Federal Bureau of Investigation is considering relocating its outdated Washington headquarters to one of three potential sites in Maryland and Virginia, a government spokesman said on Wednesday.

U.S. states extend bar exam deadlines after software havoc

- A company that makes software used to administer bar exams in dozens of states has said that delays experienced by thousands of aspiring attorneys across the country have eased, and many states have extended test deadlines.

U.S. proposes new safety standards for large buses

WASHINGTON - The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration on Wednesday proposed new safety standards to protect passengers on large buses in rollover crashes.

Doctors deny cutting off Alabama man’s penis

- An Alabama man's claim that his penis was amputated recently in a circumcision gone wrong is entirely without merit, an attorney representing the doctors being sued said on Wednesday.

Insanity plea mulled for Connecticut teen in prom stabbing case

MILFORD Conn. - Lawyers for a Connecticut high school student accused of murdering a female classmate hours before their junior court began talks on Wednesday on whether to amend his plea to not guilty based on insanity or on related grounds.

Michelle Obama says the 'blood of Africa' runs through her veins

WASHINGTON - First lady Michelle Obama embraced her family’s African roots in a speech on Wednesday, telling a group of young Africans that the “blood of Africa” runs through her veins as she urged changing traditional beliefs on the worth of educating women.

New York police unions lose bid to challenge stop-and-frisk settlement

NEW YORK - New York's police unions cannot challenge a sweeping settlement over the city's controversial stop-and-frisk police tactic, a U.S. judge ruled on Wednesday, clearing the way for reforms to take effect.

In Florida governor's race, Democrat woos crucial black vote

TAMPA Fla. - As the leading Democratic candidate for Florida governor, Charlie Crist would be expected to draw overwhelming support from the state's more than 1.6 million registered black voters.

Private sector adds 218,000 jobs in July: ADP

NEW YORK - U.S. companies hired 218,000 workers in July, below what analysts projected and the level set the previous month, a report by a payrolls processor released on Wednesday showed.

Mortgage applications fall in latest week: MBA

NEW YORK - Applications for U.S. home mortgages slipped last week as refinancing applications dropped, an industry group said on Wednesday.

Europe could show way for clog maker Crocs' revival

BERLIN - The success of Crocs Inc in Europe, where the U.S. shoemaker has focused on its trademark colorful foam clogs rather than branching into other products, proves the brand has a future despite difficulties at home, its European head said.

Baltimore poised to impose strict new youth curfew

BALTIMORE - City officials in crime-ridden Baltimore on Tuesday defended plans for one of the toughest U.S. youth curfews against criticism from residents who were skeptical about police enforcement of the new law.

Tobacco tax law cost U.S. billions in revenue: report

WASHINGTON - A 2009 law that raised federal taxes to discourage smoking cost the U.S. government billions of dollars in lost revenue as manufacturers relabeled products and consumers shifted to cheaper pipe tobacco and large cigars, the U.S. Government Accountability Office said in a report released on Tuesday.

Most Americans see unaccompanied immigrant kids as refugees: poll

- Some 70 percent of Americans think the United States should provide temporary support and housing for unaccompanied Central American minors who illegally cross into the country while their cases undergo review, according to a poll released on Tuesday.

Former U.S. POW Bergdahl soon to be questioned by Army general

- Freed U.S. prisoner-of-war Bowe Bergdahl is expected to submit to questioning next week by the U.S. Army general probing the circumstances that led to the his 2009 capture by the Taliban, Bergdahl's attorney said on Tuesday.

U.S. sues Pennsylvania state police, alleging sex discrimination

- The federal government sued Pennsylvania and its state police force on Tuesday, alleging that physical fitness tests required of prospective state troopers discriminated against women, court documents showed.

PG&E charged with obstruction in San Bruno natgas blast probe

- A federal grand jury for the Northern District of California charged PG&E Corp on Tuesday alleging it obstructed the investigation of the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) into the deadly San Bruno natural gas explosion in 2010.

Tuberculosis patient who refused treatment arrested in California

LOS ANGELES - A Northern California man who refused treatment and disappeared after he was diagnosed with tuberculosis has been arrested and admitted to a local hospital under guard, law enforcement and local health officials said on Tuesday.

Last U.S. crew member of Hiroshima bomber dies -reports

- Theodore "Dutch" Van Kirk, the last surviving member of the Enola Gay plane that dropped the atomic bomb on the Japanese city of Hiroshima on Aug. 6, 1945, has died at a retirement home in Georgia at age 93, media reports said.

Water main break floods UCLA campus, strands motorists

LOS ANGELES - A major water main broke near the University of California, Los Angeles on Tuesday, touching off a geyser that flooded parts of the campus and stranded motorists on surrounding streets.

University of Texas picks admiral over Dallas Fed president for chancellor

- The University of Texas said Tuesday its Board of Regents picked U.S. Admiral William McRaven as sole finalist for the position of chancellor, passing up Dallas Federal Reserve Bank President Richard Fisher who was also reported to have been a candidate.

U.S. Oak Ridge lab to southern employees: 'Y'all talk just fine'

NASHVILLE - Hey y'all, Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee said on Tuesday it will not try to get Southerners on its staff to disguise their distinctive drawls.

Maryland man leaves hospital after bout with flesh-eating bacteria

ANNAPOLIS Md. - A Maryland man who nearly lost a leg and his life to a flesh-eating bacterial infection he contracted in Chesapeake Bay, has been released from hospital, a spokeswoman said on Tuesday.

Firefighters in California gain ground against Yosemite blaze

GROVELAND Calif. - Firefighters gained ground on Tuesday against a blaze burning on the western edge of Yosemite National Park and an adjacent national forest, where flames have forced the evacuation of several dozen homes and the closure of three campgrounds.

Family finds 300-year-old sunken treasure off Florida's east coast

ORLANDO Fla. - A Florida family scavenging for sunken treasure on a shipwreck has found the missing piece of a 300-year-old gold filigree necklace sacred to Spanish priests, officials said on Tuesday.

Critical Detroit bankruptcy hearing delayed by one week

- The start of a critical hearing on Detroit's plan to adjust $18 billion of debt and exit bankruptcy will be delayed by one week to Aug. 21, a federal judge ruled on Tuesday.

Senators from Colorado, Washington want federal pot laws applied fairly

DENVER - U.S. senators from Colorado and Washington, seeking clarity on federal rules that may affect legal marijuana businesses in their states, are urging the Obama administration to ensure federal agencies take a consistent approach to enforcement.

Ex-Dominican anti-drug official pleads guilty to drug charges

NEW YORK - The former chief operating officer of the Dominican Republic's main counter-drug agency pleaded guilty on Tuesday to U.S. charges that he conspired with drug traffickers to transport cocaine into the United States.

Seattle Jewish group calls for NRA lobbyist to quit over Holocaust remark

SEATTLE - Jewish leaders in Washington state called on Tuesday for the resignation of a National Rifle Association lobbyist over comments in which he compared the push for stricter gun control regulations to the policies of Nazi Germany.

Wrongfully convicted Connecticut man describes prison 'nightmare'

HARTFORD Conn. - A Connecticut man whose wrongful conviction on rape and murder charges was reversed after 21 years in prison described his ordeal as a "nightmare" in a hearing on Tuesday before a state commissioner who can award him up to $8 million in compensation.

Man arrested in stabbing death of LA Clippers player's aunt

- Police in California have arrested a man wanted for the fatal stabbing of the aunt of a Los Angeles Clippers player in a crime that drew national attention after the basketball star pleaded on social media for help in finding the suspect, authorities said on Tuesday.

Last U.S. crew member of Hiroshima bomber dies: report

- The last surviving crew member aboard the Enola Gay, the U.S. bomber that dropped the first atomic bomb on Japan in 1945, died at a retirement community in Georgia at age 93, a newspaper reported on Tuesday.

Parents sue Georgia school after teen found dead in gym mat

ATLANTA - The parents of a Georgia teenager whose body was found in a rolled-up wrestling mat in his school gym are suing school officials for failing to stop bullying by classmates who may have beaten their son to death, their attorney said on Tuesday.

Colorado court tells county to stop issuing gay marriage permits

DENVER - Colorado's top court ordered the Boulder County Clerk on Tuesday to stop giving out marriage licenses to gay couples while it considers an appeal by the state's attorney-general who says a ban on same-sex nuptials remains in force.

Naked woman slashes three during Pittsburgh-area street fight

PITTSBURGH - Pennsylvania authorities were searching on Tuesday for a woman who, apparently nude, stabbed and slashed other women in a street fight at a public housing complex outside of Pittsburgh.

Expert testimony on Michigan porch shooting sheds light on gun

DETROIT - A state firearms expert gave testimony on Tuesday that potentially challenged a statement by a white suburban Detroit homeowner that he shot dead a black teenager when his shotgun accidentally discharged.

U.S. charges Canadian antiques dealer with smuggling wildlife

NEW YORK - An antiques dealer in British Columbia was indicted by a U.S. grand jury on Tuesday for smuggling into Canada more than $500,000 of wildlife items, including rhinoceros horns and sculptures made from elephant ivory and coral, U.S. prosecutors said.

U.S. House Speaker Boehner dismisses talk of impeaching Obama

WASHINGTON - Republicans have no plans to begin impeachment proceedings against President Barack Obama, House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner declared on Tuesday, putting the blame on Democrats for stirring up pre-midterm election tensions in Washington.

Mother of slain Mexican teen sues U.S. Border Patrol agents

PHOENIX - Lawyers for the mother of a Mexican teenager fatally shot by U.S. border police filed a U.S. federal civil rights lawsuit on Tuesday, calling the killing "brazen and lawless" and the latest example of agents using excessive force.

Alabama woman dies after being doused in gasoline, set ablaze

- An Alabama woman whose former boyfriend doused her in gasoline and set her on fire died early on Tuesday after two days in the hospital, authorities said.

More than a third of U.S. adults pursued by collection agencies

CHICAGO - More than a third of U.S. adults have bad debt that has been handed over to a collection agency and their average debt in collections is $5,178, according to a study published on Tuesday by the Urban Institute.

Wisconsin man in dispute with lottery over misprinted tickets

MILWAUKEE - A retired welder in Milwaukee says the Wisconsin lottery owes him $2,000 but the agency contends his scratch-off tickets were misprinted and not truly winners.

Former Virginia governor's marriage in spotlight at corruption trial

RICHMOND Va. - Former Virginia Governor Robert McDonnell and his wife were barely on speaking terms when they accepted $165,000 in gifts and loans from a vitamin company executive, defense attorneys said on Tuesday at the start of the pair's corruption trial.

American opinion of Arabs, Muslims is getting worse: poll

- How Americans view Arabs and Muslims has gotten worse in recent years, with negative feelings strongest among Republicans and senior citizens, according to a poll released on Tuesday.

American man from Minnesota died from Ebola virus: NBC

CHICAGO - A 40-year-old man who died in a Nigerian hospital last week from the ebola virus was an American from Minnesota, his wife told NBC News on Tuesday.

Three of four Ethiopian athletes missing after U.S. track meet located

- Three Ethiopian athletes who came to the United States for a track meet in Oregon and then failed to fly home with their teammates have been located and are safe after disappearing in a possible asylum bid, local officials said on Tuesday.

Poor employee training blamed for 2012 New Jersey Conrail derailment

PHILADELPHIA - Federal investigators on Tuesday blamed inadequate employee training at Conrail for a November 2012 freight train derailment and toxic spill in southern New Jersey that sickened residents and forced hundreds to flee the area.

What FedEx knew of online pharmacies is key issue in drug case: judge

SAN FRANCISCO - The U.S. judge overseeing a criminal drug prosecution against FedEx Corp said one of the core issues will be what FedEx executives knew about illegal online pharmacies whose packages it shipped.

Adolescent stow-away found dead on U.S. military plane

WASHINGTON - The U.S. military has found the body of an adolescent male trapped in a compartment above the landing gear of a C-130 aircraft following a trip to Africa, the Pentagon said on Tuesday.

New Hampshire man charged with kidnapping teen appears in court

CONWAY N.H. - A 34-year-old-man appeared in court on Tuesday charged with kidnapping a New Hampshire teenager who mysteriously reappeared last week in the small mountain town of Conway after nine months.

Idaho suspends plan to kill wolves in wilderness

SALMON Idaho - Conservationists claimed victory on Tuesday after Idaho wildlife managers suspended the killing of wolves in a protected wilderness area for preying on elk prized by commercial hunters.

Federal panel rules Mississippi abortion law unconstitutional

JACKSON Miss. - A Mississippi law that would shutter the state's only abortion clinic, forcing women to go outside the state for the procedure, is unconstitutional, a federal appeals court panel ruled on Tuesday.

Baltimore poised to impose strict new youth curfew

- Baltimore, faced with high crime rates, is set to impose one of the strictest U.S. curfews for young people, with the mayor facing residents on Tuesday to explain the new rules.

Guards at New York City jail accused of drug trafficking

NEW YORK - Three guards at New York City's Rikers Island Correctional Facility have been indicted on charges of smuggling drugs into the city's largest jail complex and selling contraband to inmates, authorities said on Tuesday.

Four California teens charged in murder of China graduate student

LOS ANGELES - Four teenagers were charged with capital murder on Tuesday in the beating death of a graduate student from China not far from the University of Southern California campus in Los Angeles, prosecutors said.

Minnesota ex-Governor Ventura awarded $1.8 million in defamation suit

ST. PAUL Minn. - Former Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura was awarded more than $1.8 million in damages on Tuesday after a federal jury found he had been defamed in a book by an ex-Navy SEAL who claimed the two were in a bar fight.

U.S. marshals released from hospital following New York shootout

NEW YORK - Two U.S. marshals wounded in a shootout in New York's upscale Greenwich Village neighborhood were released from the hospital on Tuesday, while a police detective remained hospitalized in stable condition, officials said.

Phoenix Suns player arrested for super extreme DUI in Arizona

PHOENIX - A Phoenix Suns basketball player has been arrested on suspicion of super extreme DUI in Arizona after attempting to drive home after a night out, authorities said on Tuesday.

U.S. consumer confidence jumps in July

NEW YORK - U.S. consumer confidence jumped in July to a monthly high not seen since October 2007, according to a private sector report released on Tuesday.

Girl dies after being hit by plane on Florida beach

- The 9-year-old girl who was struck by a plane that crash-landed on a Florida beach and killed her father also has died from her injuries, the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office said on Tuesday.

Temple University scraps SAT requirement for new students

- Philadelphia's Temple University said on Tuesday it will no longer require prospective students to submit a standardized test score when they apply, joining a small but growing group of schools that believe there are other ways to gauge talent.

U.S.-Iran nuclear negotiator 'concerned' about detention of journalists

WASHINGTON - A top U.S. negotiator in nuclear talks with Iran said on Tuesday the United States is concerned about the recent detention of four journalists, three of them Americans, and called on Tehran to free them.

U.S. appeals court upholds federal meat labeling regulation

WASHINGTON - A U.S. appeals court on Tuesday rejected a food industry challenge to a federal rule concerning labeling requirements for meat, a ruling that could have a major impact on businesses fighting federal regulation on free-speech grounds.

NCAA agrees to settle head injury suit for $70 million

CHICAGO - The NCAA has agreed to settle a class-action head injury lawsuit by providing $70 million for concussion testing and diagnosis of current and former student athletes, according to court documents filed in Chicago on Tuesday.

U.S. Senate bill proposes sweeping curbs on NSA surveillance

WASHINGTON - Senator Patrick Leahy will introduce legislation on Tuesday to ban the U.S. government's bulk collection of Americans' telephone records and Internet data and narrow how much information it can seek in any particular search.

CVR Refining shuts Kansas refinery after fire; four hurt

- CVR Refining shut its 115,000-barrel-per-day Coffeyville refinery in Kansas after a fire broke out at an isomerization unit early on Tuesday, hurting four employees, the company said in a statement.

Sex website seizure spurs San Francisco bid to decriminalize prostitution

SAN FRANCISCO - The head of San Francisco’s Erotic Service Providers Union has been a sex worker for 24 years — and "I hope to be doing it for another 24," says Maxine Doogan.

Doctor held for pointing rifle toward women at Phoenix airport -police

PHOENIX - An Arizona doctor was arrested on suspicion of pointing a rifle toward a woman and her 17-year-old daughter inside a busy Phoenix airport terminal, police said on Monday.

U.S. judge signs order to seize Kurdish oil from tanker off Texas

HOUSTON - Acting on a request from the central government in Iraq, a U.S. judge has signed an order telling the U.S. Marshals Service to seize a cargo of oil from Iraqi Kurdistan aboard a tanker off the Texas coast, court filings showed on Tuesday.

Rare tornado slams Boston area, knocks out power

BOSTON - Officials and residents in the Boston-area city of Revere were picking up the pieces early on Tuesday after it was raked by a rare tornado that knocked out power and damaged homes and buildings.

Toy drone disrupts aircraft fighting California wildfire

- A private drone trying to film a wildfire that has charred nearly six square miles in Northern California briefly disrupted firefighting efforts, although workers had gained the upper hand against the blaze, officials said on Monday.

U.S. court backs government demand for names of 'straw buyers' of guns

DENVER - A U.S. appeals court on Monday backed a federal government demand that firearms dealers in four southwestern border states report "straw buyers" suspected of purchasing multiple weapons for Mexican drug gangs.

Two men charged in deadly Philadelphia carjacking

PHILADELPHIA - Philadelphia prosecutors have charged two men they say killed three children and injured three others when a carjacked SUV they were driving swerved out of control last week, city officials said in a news conference on Monday.

Blast at Mississippi fish plant kills one, injures three

- One man died and three others were injured in a blast at a fish processing plant in southern Mississippi on Monday, authorities said.

California drought dries up plans for historic gold rush celebration

SACRAMENTO Calif. - California’s drought has claimed yet another historic casualty in this parched capital city - the annual heritage celebration known as Gold Rush Days.

Gary, Indiana, picks new police chief after 'heinous' murders

CHICAGO - Gary, Indiana, has picked a new police chief and is stepping up crime prevention efforts after the slaying of a police officer and other "heinous" killings, the city's mayor said on Monday.

San Diego council approves minimum wage hike to $11.50 an hour by 2017

SAN DIEGO - The San Diego City Council gave formal approval on Monday to an ordinance incrementally raising the minimum wage in California's second-largest city to $11.50 an hour by January 2017, mostly for workers in the restaurant and retail sectors.

Judge allows $2 billion sale of NBA's Los Angeles Clippers to proceed

LOS ANGELES - The record $2 billion sale of pro basketball's Los Angeles Clippers to former Microsoft Corp chief executive Steve Ballmer can proceed over the objections of co-owner Donald Sterling, a judge tentatively ruled on Monday.

Arizona inmate uses basketball hoop to leap to freedom

PHOENIX - A physically fit felon escaped from a detention facility in Arizona by scaling a basketball hoop in the yard and then jumping from it onto a fence, authorities said on Monday.

Judge gives go-ahead for $2 billion sale of NBA's Clippers

LOS ANGELES - The estranged wife of Los Angeles Clippers co-owner Donald Sterling can proceed with the record $2 billion sale of the NBA team despite her husband's objections, a judge ruled on Monday, in a likely coda to a case of lingering racism in American sports.

Man acquitted in murder of Michigan college football player

- A man accused of murdering and robbing an Eastern Michigan University football player last October was acquitted of all charges by a jury on Monday.

Round-up of wild horses gets under way in Utah

SALT LAKE CITY - Federal land managers began rounding up wild horses on public land in central Utah on Monday as part of efforts to cut herd numbers and placate ranchers who say the animals destroy range land vital for cattle grazing.

Pregnant NY woman says she was put in chokehold by NYPD officer

NEW YORK - A New York woman who is seven months pregnant complained on Monday that she was put in a chokehold by a New York police officer after barbecuing outside her home, fueling a controversy that has raged in the city following a man's death linked to the technique.

San Diego council approves minimum wage hike to $11.50 an hour by 2017

SAN DIEGO - The San Diego City Council gave formal approval on Monday to an ordinance that would incrementally raise the minimum wage in California's second-largest city to $11.50 an hour by January 2017, mostly for workers in the restaurant and retail sectors.

Police search for Oregon mom who vanished while running errands

NEWBERG Ore. - Police in Oregon were searching on Monday for a stay-at-home mother of two young children who seemingly vanished from her small community while running household errands last week, as her family said they feared the worst.

Police arrest four in beating death of China grad student near USC

LOS ANGELES - Four people, two of them juveniles, have been arrested in the robbery and beating death last week of a Chinese graduate student near his off-campus apartment, Los Angeles Police officials said on Monday.

Deadly lightning strike was rare event for Southern California coast

LOS ANGELES - Lightning storms that killed a 20-year-old beachgoer in Los Angeles and sent eight other people to the hospital stemmed from a combination of atmospheric conditions relatively unusual for coastal Southern California, weather experts said on Monday.

Crews make headway against destructive Northern California wildfire

- Firefighters began to gain the upper hand on Monday against a Northern California wildfire that has destroyed 13 homes and blackened nearly six square miles in the drought-parched foothills east of Sacramento, officials said.

Colorado attorney general again seeks to halt gay marriage in Boulder

DENVER - Colorado's attorney general asked the state's highest court on Monday to order the Boulder County Clerk to stop giving out marriage licenses to gay couples, saying her actions must be governed by the current state of the law, court documents show.

Arrest made in case of kidnapped New Hampshire teenage girl

MANCHESTER N.H. - Police in New Hampshire on Monday arrested a 34-year-old man on charges of kidnapping a 15-year-old girl who disappeared from her small town in the White Mountains last fall and reappeared mysteriously last week.

Family of Texas doctor with Ebola not showing signs of virus

WINSTON-SALEM N.C. - The family of a Texas doctor who contracted the deadly Ebola virus in West Africa had traveled back to the United States before he showed symptoms and was not at risk for getting or spreading the disease, U.S. health officials said on Monday.

U.S. Marshals, police wounded in New York gun battle; suspect dead

NEW YORK - Two U.S. Marshals and a New York City police officer were shot and wounded on Monday while trying to arrest a suspect in the city's Greenwich Village neighborhood, the police said.

U.S. judge tells jury to take one more shot at Ventura verdict

ST PAUL Minn. - A U.S. judge on Monday asked a jury to try one more time in a defamation case brought by former Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura when the panel said it could not reach a verdict after about five days of deliberations.

Capsized kayakers penetrate New York airport perimeter

NEW YORK - Two kayakers who got in over their heads in the waters off New York have put authorities at John F. Kennedy Airport on the defensive after flipping their boat and accidentally finding themselves in a restricted area of the airport.

Man killed in Florida beach plane crash on wedding anniversary

- The U.S. Army sergeant killed by a plane that crashed on a Florida beach was there celebrating his ninth wedding anniversary with family and friends, according to one of his last Facebook postings.

Four Ethiopian athletes missing in U.S. after track meet

- Four members of an Ethiopian track team competing at an international event in Oregon were missing in what officials said on Monday might be an attempt to seek asylum or otherwise stay in the United States.

Death of five in southern Maine ruled murder-suicide: police

- A man in the southern Maine city of Saco shot dead his wife and three children before turning the shotgun on himself, police said on Monday, calling the incident one of the worst cases of domestic violence in state history.

Storied New York City deli Katz's wins name battle with Florida cafe

NEW YORK - The New York City delicatessen Katz's has won a legal battle to force a Florida restaurant to change its name, according to court documents made public on Monday.

Slower U.S. healthcare cost rise extending life of Medicare fund: trustees

WASHINGTON - Slower growth in U.S. healthcare spending and expected savings from Obamacare are shoring up the funding outlook for the federal Medicare program that covers the hospital bills of the elderly, trustees of the program said on Monday.

Veterans funding deal to provide $17 billion to ease medical wait times

WASHINGTON - Leaders of the Veterans Affairs committees in Congress on Monday said they had agreed on legislation providing about $17 billion in funding to ease long waiting times for VA medical centers.

U.S. appeals court strikes down Virginia's gay marriage ban

- A U.S. appeals court struck down Virginia's constitutional ban on same-sex marriage on Monday, the second appeals court to come out in favor of gay marriage.

Peanut company officials stand trial in Georgia in deadly salmonella outbreak

ATLANTA - The federal trial of three former peanut company officials charged in connection with a salmonella outbreak that killed nine people and sickened hundreds more began on Monday with jury selection in Albany, Georgia.

September 11 museum allowed to display Ground Zero cross-shaped beam

NEW YORK - A cross-shaped steel beam pulled from the rubble of the collapsed World Trade Center in New York days after the September 11, 2001, attacks can be displayed in the national memorial museum at the site, a U.S. appeals court ruled on Monday.

U.S. coastal flooding on the rise, government study finds

- Flooding is increasing in frequency along much of the U.S. coast, and the rate of increase is accelerating along the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic coasts, a team of federal government scientists found in a study released Monday.

Consumer spending, inventories seen lifting U.S. second-quarter GDP

WASHINGTON - U.S. economic growth likely rebounded in the second-quarter from a winter-induced slump at the start of the year and will probably continue to gather momentum through the rest of 2014.

Rare tornado touches down outside Boston, no deaths reported

BOSTON - Police and emergency crews in the city of Revere, Massachusetts, outside Boston scrambled to clean up after a rare tornado touched down on Monday, downing power lines, damaging homes and overturning at least one car.

Florida support for medical marijuana stays near 90 percent: poll

ORLANDO Fla. - Support for legalizing medical marijuana in Florida is holding steady at 88 percent despite weeks of vigorous campaigning by opponents ahead of a November referendum on the issue, a poll released on Monday showed.

U.S. surveillance programs threaten freedom of press, report says

WASHINGTON - U.S. surveillance programs are making it more difficult for government officials to speak to the press anonymously, two rights groups said on Monday.

U.S. lawmakers expand probe of federal biolab mishaps

WASHINGTON - U.S. lawmakers on Monday said they were expanding their investigation of federal biosecurity lapses including problems at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that led to the mishandling of anthrax and bird flu pathogens.

Foreign buyers fuel concerns amid Miami luxury condo boom

MIAMI - As construction cranes crowd the coastline and developers strive to lure wealthy international buyers with brand name towers and lavish amenities, there are signs Miami’s latest condo boom has begun to slow and a possible oversupply could temper record prices.

Man found dead trapped between elevator and shaft wall in NYC

NEW YORK - A man was found dead trapped between the outside of an elevator and the wall of the elevator shaft in a New York City apartment building on Monday morning, police said.

Tanker with Iraqi Kurdish crude cleared to unload cargo off Texas

HOUSTON - A tanker carrying crude oil from Iraqi Kurdistan was cleared by the U.S. Coast Guard to unload its cargo at sea off Texas on Sunday as a State Department official signaled Washington would not intervene to block delivery of the controversial crude.

Suspect in Pennsylvania hospital shooting charged with murder

- A man suspected of opening fire in a Philadelphia-area hospital and shooting dead a case worker before exchanging gunshots with a doctor has been charged with murder, prosecutors said on Sunday.

Dozens of ill Keith Urban fans treated at concert near Boston

BOSTON - Forty-six music fans were treated for mostly alcohol-related medical problems at Australian country singer Keith Urban's concert outside Boston on Saturday night, local officials said.

Tentative agreement reached on U.S. veterans' funding bill

WASHINGTON - A tentative agreement has been reached by the chairmen of the U.S. Senate and House veterans committees on legislation aimed at resolving the Veterans Affairs healthcare crisis, their spokesmen said on Sunday.

Family of five found shot dead in Maine home: police

BOSTON - Five members of a family, including three children, were found shot dead at their southern Maine home on Sunday, with a gun located near one of the bodies and no outside involvement suspected, a police spokesman said.

One dead after lightning strikes crowd at California beach

- One man died and at least eight people were injured on Sunday in a lightning strike during a rare thunderstorm at Venice Beach in Los Angeles, officials said.

Man killed, daughter hurt in Florida beach plane crash

- A man was killed and his daughter injured on Sunday when a small plane crash-landed on a Florida beach, the Sarasota County Sheriff's Office said.

Tanker carrying Iraqi Kurdish oil anchored off Texas port

HOUSTON - A tanker carrying crude oil from Iraqi Kurdistan was anchored near the Port of Galveston, Texas, and must undergo a routine safety inspection by the U.S. Coast Guard on Sunday before it can unload its cargo, an official said.

Two injured after cable snaps on Ohio amusement park ride

- A cable on a large swing ride at an Ohio amusement park snapped and struck two riders as the swing was in motion, injuring them, a park spokesman said on Sunday.

New York Times Square Spider-Man charged with punching police officer

- A street performer dressed as Spider-Man in New York City's Times Square was arrested after punching a police officer who scolded him for demanding more money from a couple he had posed with for a picture, police said on Sunday.

Gary, Indiana, begins knocking down eyesore high-rise hotel

CHICAGO - The demolition of the tallest, ugliest building in Gary, Indiana - an abandoned 14-story hotel which has been a prominent symbol of decay in this troubled steel town - began on Saturday, said city spokeswoman Chelsea Whittington.

New York Times backs sending federal marijuana ban up in smoke

- The New York Times editorial board on Saturday endorsed a repeal of the federal ban on marijuana, becoming the largest paper in the nation to back the idea as it compared the U.S. government's stance on America's most widely used illicit drug to the prohibition on alcohol from 1920 to 1933.

U.S. doctor contracts Ebola in Liberia

DAKAR - A 33-year-old American doctor working for a relief organization in Liberia's capital has tested positive for the tropical disease Ebola, according to a statement from Samaritan's Purse.

California wildfire near Sacramento forces hundreds to flee

- A wildfire forced the evacuation of more than 500 homes and about 1,200 residents in a rural area east of the California state capital Sacramento on Saturday, a day after the blaze broke out, fire officials said.

Federal judge rules DC ban on handguns unconstitutional

WASHINGTON - A federal judge on Saturday overturned Washington D.C.'s ban on carrying handguns outside the home, saying it was unconstitutional.

Two guns found at home of accused Philadelphia hospital shooter

- Two additional guns have been found at the home of the man accused of opening fire this week inside a Philadelphia-area hospital, shooting dead a case worker and exchanging gunshots with a doctor, officials said on Saturday.

Pool, phones, yoga: world intrudes on Amish now home in Ohio after prison

BERGHOLZ Ohio - Amish farmer Raymond Miller developed a taste for Mountain Dew soda, got his GED, and wonders if he should get a pool table after learning to play in prison.

Gary, Indiana, to knock down eyesore high-rise hotel

CHICAGO - The demolition of the tallest, ugliest building in Gary, Indiana - an abandoned 14-story hotel which has been a prominent symbol of decay in this troubled steel town - will begin on Saturday.

Widow of NYC man who died in police custody says he was not violent

NEW YORK - The family of a man who died after being put in a choke hold by a New York City police officer remembered him on Saturday as being peaceful but constantly harassed by law enforcement.

FBI found bomb-making cache in Tucson rampage gunman's home: LA Times

- Jared Lee Loughner, who killed six people and shot former Arizona lawmaker Gabrielle Giffords in a 2011 rampage, kept bomb-making components in a safe in his bedroom, the Los Angeles Times reported on Friday.

Wildfire managers tap military for aid in U.S. West

SALMON Idaho - Wildfire managers have turned to the U.S. Department of Defense for immediate access to two military C-130 aircraft retrofitted to carry retardant, boosting their forces to face the largest blaze in Washington state history.

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

MIAMI - A state judge struck down Florida's gay marriage ban on Friday in the latest in a string of legal gay-rights victories that have nonetheless been put on hold for resolution by higher courts.

California burglary suspect may face murder charge in shooting by homeowner

LOS ANGELES - A Southern California burglary suspect faces possible murder charges in the fatal shooting of his alleged accomplice, even though she was gunned down by the elderly man they had just robbed as she pleaded she was pregnant, police said Friday.Ed Winter, assistant chief of the Los Angeles County Coroner's Office, said on Friday that an autopsy had determined that the woman, Andrea Miller, 28, was not pregnant at the time of her death.

Alaska quake knocks out some communication, does little damage

JUNEAU Alaska - An earthquake with a magnitude of 5.9 struck the coast of Alaska early on Friday, shaking people awake in the capital Juneau and cutting off some communications in the southeast part of the state, officials said.

Lead-lined glove tied to New Mexico radiation leak: lawmaker

- A radiation leak that indefinitely shut down a nuclear waste dump in New Mexico was likely caused by a container of radioactive materials improperly packaged with a lead-lined glove at Los Alamos National Laboratory, a state lawmaker said on Friday.

Texas rolls out security surge for its border with Mexico

DALLAS - Texas has launched a law enforcement surge to crack down on drug and human trafficking from Mexico in a move that comes as the state is about to deploy as many as 1,000 National Guard troops to the border, officials said on Friday.

Former WWE champ nabs suspected burglar in Arizona

PHOENIX - A hapless burglar in Arizona learned a hard lesson when he broke into the Phoenix home of former World Wrestling Entertainment heavyweight champion Daniel Bryan, police said on Friday.

Suspended California lawmaker Leland Yee faces new conspiracy charges

LOS ANGELES - A federal grand jury has returned conspiracy charges against California State Senator Leland Yee, adding to the suspended lawmaker's legal woes after he was indicted earlier this year for corruption and taking part in a scheme to traffic guns.

Alaska Supreme Court says same-sex couples entitled to death benefits

JUNEAU Alaska - Same-sex couples in Alaska should be eligible to receive death benefits when a partner dies despite a state ban on gay marriage, the Alaska Supreme Court ruled on Friday in its second decision in four months to favor granting benefits to gay couples.

U.S. fighter jets escort Canadian plane home over passenger threat

- Two U.S. F16 fighter jets were scrambled to escort a Panama City-bound flight from Canada back to Toronto on Friday after a man on the plane apparently threatened to blow up the aircraft, authorities said.

Former WWE champ nabs suspected burglar in Arizona

PHOENIX - A hapless burglar in Arizona learned a hard lesson when he broke into the Phoenix home of former World Wrestling Entertainment heavyweight champion Daniel Bryan, police said on Friday.

Gunman in fatal Philadelphia-area hospital shooting had 39 more bullets

MEDIA Pa. - The accused gunman in a fatal shooting at a Philadelphia-area hospital opened fire after arguing about signs prohibiting guns at his psychiatrist's office and had a cache of 39 more bullets when he was tackled by two men, a prosecutor said on Friday.

Canadian plane escorted by U.S. F-16s after passenger threat

TORONTO - A Canadian charter plane bound for Panama was escorted by U.S. fighter jets back to Toronto, where a passenger was removed by police after allegedly threatening the safety of the flight, police said on Friday.

Accused accomplice of California burglar shot dead may face murder charge

LOS ANGELES - A Southern California burglary suspect faces possible murder charges in the fatal shooting of his accused accomplice even though she was actually gunned down by the elderly man they had just robbed as she pleaded she was pregnant, police said on Friday.

U.S. appeals court backs Florida law in 'Docs v. Glocks' case

- A U.S. appeals court ruled on Friday in favor of a Florida law that bars doctors from asking patients about gun ownership, overturning a decision in the so-called "Docs v. Glocks" case by a lower court that had struck it down.

New Hampshire town gripped by mystery of girl's disappearance

CONWAY N.H. - Elation over the sudden return of a teenager who went missing for nine months from a small town in New Hampshire's White Mountains is giving way to critical questions from residents about why and how she had vanished.

Jury in defamation case by Jesse Ventura to reconvene next week

ST PAUL Minn. - The jury in the defamation lawsuit brought by former Minnesota governor and pro wrestler Jesse Ventura will reconvene next week after it adjourned on Friday without reaching a verdict following four days of deliberations.

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

MIAMI - A state judge in Florida on Friday struck down the state's prohibition on same-sex marriages, saying it violated the due process and equal protection clauses of the U.S. Constitution, but immediately stayed the ruling pending appeal.

NYC fare beater pleads guilty, faces 25 years, in police shooting

NEW YORK - A man who shot a New York City police officer trying to apprehend him for not paying the fare on a city bus faces 25 years in prison under a plea deal reached on Friday, prosecutors said.

One Kuwaiti inmate to stay at Guantanamo, second goes home: panel

WASHINGTON - A Kuwaiti man with links to al Qaeda will remain at the Guantanamo Bay prison, while a second is cleared for transfer home, a U.S. national security panel said on Friday.

Chinese grad student found beaten to death near USC campus

LOS ANGELES - A Chinese graduate student at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles has been found dead in his off-campus apartment after being assaulted late at night on his way home, police and university officials said.

Colorado deputies end dramatic crime spree captured on camera

DENVER - Sheriff's deputies in Colorado ended a two-hour crime spree by a couple suspected of carjacking when a lone officer tackled a gun-toting man following a dramatic pursuit that was caught on camera.

Kansas man arrested after baby girl dies in hot car

- A foster parent for a 10-month-old Kansas girl who died after being left in a car in sweltering heat for more than two hours has been arrested on suspicion of aggravated child endangerment, police said on Friday.

Two children killed, three people injured in Philadelphia carjacking

- Two children were killed and three people were critically injured on Friday when a hijacked vehicle went out of control at a North Philadelphia intersection and struck people standing on a sidewalk, police said.

Task force to investigate Ohio State band's 'sexualized culture'

CLEVELAND - An independent task force will look into culture and sex discrimination in the running of Ohio State University's famous marching band after its director was fired for failing to address alleged sexual harassment of its members, the university said on Friday.

Frenchman gets two years in U.S. prison for role in Guinea mine scandal

- A former adviser to mining giant BSG Resources was sentenced in New York federal court on Friday to two years in prison for obstructing a criminal probe in connection with a bribery investigation in Guinea.

Former Bear Stearns chairman Greenberg dead at 86

NEW YORK - Alan "Ace" Greenberg, the former chairman and chief executive officer of Bear Stearns Cos Inc, died on Friday at the age of 86 after a bout with cancer.

Dallas politician charged by FBI with taking bribes

AUSTIN Texas - Dallas County Commissioner and outspoken minority rights community leader John Wiley Price was arrested on Friday by the Federal Bureau of Investigations on graft charges that included taking bribes.

Car plows into Maryland restaurant, seven hurt: police

- A car plowed into a lunchtime crowd outside a Baltimore barbecue restaurant on Friday, injuring seven people, police said.

Troubled U.S. executions raise questions about doctors in death chamber

AUSTIN Texas - Troubled lethal injections in Oklahoma and Arizona have raised questions whether medical personnel are skilled enough to humanely put an inmate to death, and if things go wrong, expert enough to revive one if an order is given.

Ambac says has final deal with bankrupt Detroit over bonds

- Ambac Assurance Corp said on Friday its final settlement in Detroit's bankruptcy case over the treatment of limited-tax general obligation bonds that it insured for the city would result in a 34 percent recovery, plus another possible 19 percent from a litigation reserve.

Dallas man exonerated for rape after being cleared by DNA tests

DALLAS - A 57-year-old Texas man who spent 12 years in prison for rape was exonerated on Friday, with legal experts saying his case marked the first time someone has been cleared of a crime by DNA testing that was not requested by the convicted person.

Ride-sharing service Lyft reaches deal to allow New York City launch

NEW YORK - Lyft Inc has signed an agreement with New York authorities that will allow the ride-sharing service to launch in New York City with commercial drivers, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced on Friday.

Widow of NY man who died in police custody seeks federal probe

NEW YORK - The widow and other relatives of Eric Garner, who died last week soon after a New York police officer put him in a choke hold, met with federal prosecutors on Friday to ask for a civil-rights investigation.

White House aide says Republicans might try for Obama impeachment

WASHINGTON - A top White House adviser said on Friday Republicans might try to impeach President Barack Obama over his go-it-alone immigration strategy, as Obama prepared to talk about the U.S. border crisis with Central American presidents.

House report blasts Eisenhower Memorial as 'five-star folly,' cites costs

WASHINGTON - The troubled Eisenhower Memorial designed by celebrity architect Frank Gehry is a "five-star folly" plagued by rising costs, construction delays and design problems, congressional investigators said on Friday.

Massachusetts judge won't toss murder charge against ex-NFL player

BOSTON - A Massachusetts judge refused to toss out murder and firearms charges against ex-New England Patriots star Aaron Hernandez in last summer's killing of a semi-professional soccer player.

Thousands rally in Massachusetts for return of ousted Market Basket CEO

TEWKSBURY Mass. - Thousands of people joined a rally on Friday calling for family-owned New England supermarket chain Market Basket to reinstate its former chief executive.

Landlords say San Francisco anti-eviction law unconstitutional

SAN FRANCISCO - (This story corrects to show family lives in duplex but wants to take possession of entire building in paragraph four)

Kansas top court overturns death sentences in 'Wichita Massacre'

CHICAGO - The Kansas Supreme Court on Friday overturned death sentences for two brothers convicted in the 2000 execution-style murder of four people on a snowy soccer field in Wichita, ruling that the trial judge erred in refusing to conduct separate penalty phases for the two men.

Judge denies bid for new trial in 'Fatal Vision' murder case

WINSTON-SALEM N.C. - An Army doctor whose conviction for the 1970 murders of his pregnant wife and two daughters prompted the bestseller "Fatal Vision" and a television mini-series has failed to convince a U.S. judge he deserves another trial.

Corinthian faces uphill struggle to sell Everest colleges

- It took a cryptic message on her college login page to alert Stephenie Wickiser to the plight of the company that owns her online university.

Moderate quake strikes Alaska coast but little damage seen

JUNEAU Alaska - An earthquake with a magnitude of 5.9 struck on the coast of Alaska early on Friday, shaking people awake in the state capital city of Juneau but causing little, if any, damage, officials said.

U.S. meat, seafood prices rising on drought and disease: USDA

WASHINGTON - Overall U.S. food inflation will remain near the historic norm in 2014, even as prices for meat and seafood are pushed higher by disease and widespread drought, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said on Friday.

Exclusive: Exxon weighs expansion of Beaumont, Texas, refinery - sources

HOUSTON - Exxon Mobil Corp <XOM.N > is weighing a possible multibillion-dollar expansion of its 344,600 barrel-per-day (bpd) Beaumont, Texas, refinery that could make it the nation’s largest by 2020, according to sources familiar with the company’s deliberations.

FBI investigates Ford engineer after listening devices found: report

DETROIT - A 43-year-old former Ford Motor Co engineer is being investigated by the FBI after listening devices were found in meeting rooms at company offices, the Detroit News reported on Friday.

Federal inspector to examine Alaska tour train derailment site

JUNEAU Alaska - A federal inspector has been sent to examine the Alaska site where a tourism train derailed this week, leaving 19 people with minor injuries, a U.S. Transportation Department spokesman said on Thursday.

Colorado appeals court denies bid to block gay marriages in Boulder County

DENVER - A Colorado appeals court on Thursday denied a motion by the state's top lawyer seeking to block a county clerk from issuing same-sex marriage licenses until the long-running legal battle is resolved by higher courts.

Arizona killer was given two doses of drugs in drawn-out execution

PHOENIX - Arizona executioners had to administer at least two full doses of a two-drug lethal injection cocktail to a convicted killer before he finally succumbed nearly two hours after his execution began, the state's assistant attorney general said on Thursday.

Alabama man claims penis was amputated by mistake

- An Alabama man who went in to a hospital last month for a circumcision awoke after surgery to find his penis had been amputated, his lawyer said on Thursday.

Navajo president calls slayings of two Native men a hate crime

ALBUQUERQUE N.M. - The president of the Navajo Nation condemned the beating deaths of two Native American homeless men in New Mexico as a hate crime, and called on Thursday for a federal investigation into slayings that police have blamed on three teenagers.

Groundwater levels drop in Southwestern U.S. in ongoing drought

- Underground stores of water in the southwestern United States have receded dramatically amid ongoing drought that has parched states from Oklahoma to the Pacific Coast and is costing California billions in lost crops and jobs, a new study shows.

Indiana man charged in killing of police officer

GARY Ind. - A 25-year-old Indiana man was charged on Thursday in the fatal shooting of a Gary, Indiana, police officer in his patrol car earlier this month, city officials said.

Notorious drug smuggling ship towed to Seattle for scrapping

SEATTLE - A freighter seized off the coast of Washington state nearly four decades ago in one of the largest marijuana busts in the region's history was moved to Seattle on Thursday and will eventually be scrapped, local officials said.

Suspect in 1992 slaying of Illinois teen arrested in California

LOS ANGELES - An elderly California man, long suspected in the unsolved killing of a Chicago-area youth 22 years ago, has been arrested in Los Angeles on a murder warrant from Illinois prosecutors, a spokeswoman for the Cook County state's attorney said on Thursday.

Website lets donors pay Detroit residents' overdue water bills

DETROIT - Widespread water shutoffs in Detroit have led to the creation of a website that allows donors to anonymously pay the overdue bills of residents in the bankrupt city, a site organizer said on Thursday.

Milwaukee barber sentenced for role in Stradivarius violin theft

MILWAUKEE - A Milwaukee barber received a 3-1/2-year prison sentence on Thursday for supplying a stun gun used in the theft of a 300-year-old Stradivarius violin from a concert violinist.

Police puzzled by dolls left on porches in California city

LOS ANGELES - Police said on Thursday they were investigating porcelain dolls that had been left on the doorsteps of at least eight homes in a Southern California beach city that homeowners said bore a resemblance their daughters.

California attorney general asks lawyers to help immigrant children

SACRAMENTO Calif. - California's attorney general has personally asked several major law firms to provide pro bono services to unaccompanied immigrant children flooding the U.S. border with Mexico, a signal that California views the growing crisis as a humanitarian issue.

NY woman accused of murder after neighbor's dismembered body found

NEW YORK - A Brooklyn woman faces murder charges in the killing of her neighbor whose dismembered body was discovered in New York near sites where other severed human limbs were found this month, police said on Thursday.

Storm kills three, injures 20 at Virginia campground

WASHINGTON - A likely tornado tore through an eastern Virginia campground on Thursday, killing up to three people and injuring as many as 20 as it overturned vehicles and downed trees, officials said.

BNSF train carrying North Dakota oil derails in Seattle

- A Burlington Northern Santa Fe train carrying crude oil derailed as it left a railyard in north Seattle on Thursday, but there were no reports of a spill or injuries, BNSF said in a statement.

Minnesota man asked to leave Southwest flight after critical tweet

(Story refiled to correct typographical error on third paragraph)

Too few U.S. youth getting vaccine for sexually transmitted virus: CDC

ATLANTA - More U.S. adolescents are receiving vaccines against the sexually transmitted virus that causes cervical and other types of cancer but vaccination rates for the infection remain too low, federal health officials said on Thursday.

New arrest videos add to scrutiny of N.Y. police use of choke holds

NEW YORK - Relatives of Eric Garner, who died soon after New York police put him in a choke hold, will ask federal prosecutors this week for an investigation as new videos emerged of a second recent case of police apparently using the banned hold on another man.

Excommunicated Mormon feminist appeals ejection from faith

SALT LAKE CITY - A Mormon feminist excommunicated from her religion after advocating for the ordination of women has appealed the ejection in a letter to the same panel of male church leaders who decided to oust her from the largely patriarchal faith.

Kennedy cousin tries to stop tapes being played in murder retrial

STAMFORD Conn. - Michael Skakel, a Kennedy cousin awaiting retrial after serving 11 years in prison for the murder of a teenage girl in Connecticut, wants to stop incriminating audiotapes from being used again as evidence, according to court filings on Wednesday.

100 years on, World War One resonates at Kansas City museum

KANSAS CITY Mo. - As far as Joan Barkley Wells is concerned, there isn't much reason for calling World War One a forgotten war.

Mother, daughter die of burns from Philadelphia food truck blast

PHILADELPHIA - A mother and daughter have died from burns they suffered when a propane tank exploded in the family's food truck in Philadelphia earlier this month, authorities said on Thursday.

Judge doubts Florida election maps can be fixed by November

TALLAHASSEE - A judge who ruled Florida’s new congressional districts were unconstitutional earlier this month expressed doubt Thursday that he can postpone next month’s primary election for a quick fix of the political boundaries.

Landlords say San Francisco anti-eviction law unconstitutional

SAN FRANCISCO - A San Francisco law requiring landlords to pay large sums of money to tenants before removing a property from the rental market was challenged in federal court on Thursday amid rising tensions between renters and landlords in the expensive city.

Top Dallas official bets political future by opening arms to immigrants

DALLAS - Images of protesters trying to stop buses loaded with illegal immigrants may dominate the news, but in the heart of Texas, one county judge is taking on friends and foes by trying to find shelter for child migrants flooding across the U.S. border.

California man says he shot fleeing intruder who said she was pregnant

LOS ANGELES - An 80-year-old California man who told a television station he shot to death a fleeing intruder even though she begged for her life and said she was pregnant was under investigation by police on Thursday in connection with the slaying.

Police seek five young adults in Brooklyn Bridge flag case: media

NEW YORK - New York police are looking for five young adults in connection with the mysterious white flags that fluttered atop the Brooklyn Bridge on Tuesday morning, baffling onlookers below, local media reported on Thursday.

Sanity exam of accused Colorado theater gunman can be filmed: judge

DENVER - A second psychiatric examination of accused Colorado theater gunman James Holmes, who says he was insane when he shot dead 12 moviegoers two years ago, can be recorded on video, a judge overseeing the case ruled on Thursday.

Former Massachusetts probation official found guilty in corruption case

BOSTON - A former director of Massachusetts' probation commission was found guilty on Thursday of running the agency as a corrupt political patronage operation, offering jobs in return for favors from state legislators.

Effort to force vote to repeal Seattle minimum wage increase fails

SEATTLE - A Seattle business group said it has fallen short of the number of signatures needed to force a November vote seeking to repeal a municipal ordinance that raises the city's minimum wage to $15 per hour.

One dead, one wounded by gunman at Pennsylvania hospital

- A gunman opened fire inside a Pennsylvania psychiatric facility on Thursday, killing a woman and wounding a doctor who apparently shot back and critically wounded his attacker, authorities said.

Canada board welcomes U.S. oil-by-rail ideas, says danger remains

OTTAWA - The Transportation Safety Board of Canada welcomed on Thursday proposed U.S. regulations for oil-by-rail tankers but cautioned of persistent danger until tank cars built before 2011 stop carrying oil and other flammable liquids.

Maryland seeks to lure anglers to join 'Frankenfish' battle

ANNAPOLIS Md. - Maryland officials are hoping that the prospect of landing a record fish will enlist anglers in the battle against the northern snakehead, a voracious newcomer dubbed "Frankenfish."

Milwaukee barber sentenced for role in Stradivarius violin theft

MILWAUKEE - A Milwaukee barber received a 3-1/2-year prison sentence on Thursday for supplying a stun gun used in the theft of a 300-year-old Stradivarius violin from a concert violinist.

Website lets donors pay Detroit residents' overdue water bills

DETROIT - Widespread water shutoffs in Detroit have led to the creation of a website that allows donors to anonymously pay the overdue bills of residents in the bankrupt city, a site organizer said on Thursday.

Senior U.S. lawmaker: Myanmar must reform before more sanctions easing

WASHINGTON - Jade and rubies from Myanmar will remain banned from the United States unless the Asian nation moves to end a provision in its constitution that bars opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi from running for president, a senior U.S. senator said on Thursday.

Senior U.S. Homeland Security cyber official Larry Zelvin to retire

BOSTON - Larry Zelvin, the head of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's center for countering cyber threats, is retiring next month after a government career of nearly 30 years during which he advised U.S. businesses on fighting hostile hackers.

Lawyers demand outside probe of two-hour Arizona execution

PHOENIX - Lawyers for a convicted double-murderer whose lethal injection in Arizona dragged on for two hours, while witnesses watched him gasping for breath and attorneys scrambled to halt the process, have called for an outside review of the "horrifically botched execution."

For Californians, higher costs dampen support for clean energy

BERKELEY Calif. - An overwhelming majority of California residents support the state's mandate for reducing heat-trapping greenhouse gas emissions, so long as they do not bear the higher costs of cleaner energy themselves, a new public opinion poll shows.

U.S. health insurers to pay $330 million in premium rebates

- U.S. health insurers will send out about $330 million in rebates to employers and individuals this summer under President Barack Obama's healthcare law, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services said on Thursday.

Preachers rail at police in funeral for NYC man who died in custody

NEW YORK - Preacher after preacher stepped up to the pulpit at a sweltering Brooklyn church on Wednesday to express fury at the city's police force during the funeral of Eric Garner, who died soon after police put him in a banned chokehold.

Colorado theater gunman's lawyers challenge firearms analysis

DENVER - Lawyers defending accused theater gunman James Holmes challenged the reliability of firearms analysis on Wednesday, despite conceding that their client was solely responsible for the 2012 massacre that killed 12 moviegoers.

U.S. judge strikes down Colorado's gay marriage ban, stays ruling

DENVER - A federal judge ruled on Wednesday that Colorado's ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional, but stayed his ruling until the issue is decided by a higher court.

Republican Paul Ryan to renew U.S. poverty debate with grant plan

WASHINGTON - Republican Representative Paul Ryan will probably spark a new round of arguments over how to fight poverty in America on Thursday as he introduces a sweeping plan to replace long-standing social safety net programs with new block grants for states and communities.

African Americans disproportionately cited for public pot use in Seattle -police

SEATTLE - African Americans in Seattle were ticketed disproportionately to their population for unlawfully using marijuana in public places during the first half of 2014, according to a report released on Wednesday by the city's police department.

San Francisco approves soda tax for November ballot

SAN FRANCISCO - San Francisco city leaders have approved a measure for the November ballot that would place a two-cents-per-ounce municipal tax on sodas and other sugary beverages, hoping to become the first major city to successfully impose such a levy.

Lack of immigration reform slows U.S.-Mexico economic growth: Mexican official

SACRAMENTO Calif. - The growing network of cross-border ties with Mexico, including trade equaling $1 million every minute, is threatened by the lack of progress toward immigration reform in the United States, Mexico's foreign secretary said on Wednesday.

Arizona inmate takes nearly two hours to die in execution

PHOENIX - An Arizona inmate took almost two hours to die by lethal injection and his lawyers said he "gasped and snorted" before succumbing in the latest botched execution to raise questions about the death penalty in the United States.

U.S. says Chinese man pleads guilty in military technology sting

WASHINGTON - A 28-year-old Chinese man pleaded guilty on Wednesday of attempting to smuggle military technology obtained from undercover U.S. agents out of the United States to China, the U.S. Justice Department said.

U.S. judge knocks down Colorado's gay marriage ban, stays ruling

DENVER - A federal judge ruled on Wednesday that Colorado's ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional, but temporarily stayed his ruling until the issue is decided by a higher court.

Exploding shooting targets banned from 12 U.S. national forests

SALMON Idaho - Federal land managers on Wednesday banned exploding targets used by shooting enthusiasts from 12 national forests in four Western U.S. states, saying the devices could spark wildfires and are a threat to public safety.

Army defends job cut notices to U.S. captains in Afghanistan

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Army on Wednesday defended its decision to notify 87 captains deployed overseas, including 48 in Afghanistan, that they were losing their jobs, would be transferred home and had nine months to organize their departure from the service.

Arizona inmate takes nearly two hours to die in execution

PHOENIX - An Arizona death row inmate took almost two hours to die after his execution by lethal injection began on Wednesday, the state's attorney general said.

Massachusetts bill limiting protests at abortion clinics goes to governor

BOSTON - A bill to limit demonstrations around Massachusetts abortion clinics passed the state's House of Representatives on Wednesday and headed to Governor Deval Patrick.

Exploding shooting targets banned from 12 U.S. national forests

SALMON Idaho - Federal land managers on Wednesday banned exploding targets used by shooting enthusiasts from 12 national forests in four Western U.S. states, saying the devices could spark wildfires and are a threat to public safety.

Funeral to be held for NYC man who died after police chokehold

NEW YORK - Family members gathered on Wednesday evening for the funeral of Eric Garner, who died shortly after police put him in a banned chokehold as they arrested him in New York City where the death has sparked outrage and a promise to reform police training.

Two New Hampshire police officers fired after roughing up teen

- The town manager of Seabrook, New Hampshire, fired two police officers on Wednesday for roughing up a man at the town's police station, an incident that drew scrutiny after surveillance footage of the incident was posted online earlier this year.

Newark, N.J., schools probed after claims of race discrimination

NEWARK N.J. - The U.S. Department of Education said on Wednesday it was investigating complaints that a plan to reorganize public schools in Newark, New Jersey, discriminates against black students.

Senior U.S. Homeland Security cyber official Larry Zelvin to retire

BOSTON - Larry Zelvin, the head of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's center for countering cyber threats, is retiring next month after a government career of nearly 30 years during which he advised U.S. businesses on fighting hostile hackers.

Kennedy cousin tries to stop tapes being played in murder retrial

STAMFORD Conn. - Michael Skakel, a Kennedy cousin awaiting retrial after serving 11 years in prison for the murder of a teenage girl in Connecticut, wants to stop incriminating audiotapes from being used again as evidence, according to court filings on Wednesday.

Over 10 million U.S. adults gain coverage under Obamacare: study

WASHINGTON - An estimated 10.3 million American adults have gained health coverage since Obamacare enrollment began last October, with the biggest gains among young adults and Hispanics, according to a study published on Wednesday.

Jury still undecided in defamation case brought by Jesse Ventura

ST PAUL Minn. - A jury deliberated for a second day on Wednesday without reaching a verdict in a defamation lawsuit brought by former Minnesota governor Jesse Ventura alleging his reputation was sullied by claims in a former Navy SEAL's book about his involvement in a bar fight.

Jury still undecided in defamation case brought by Jesse Ventura

ST PAUL Minn. - A jury deliberated for a second day on Wednesday without reaching a verdict in a defamation lawsuit brought by former Minnesota governor Jesse Ventura alleging his reputation was sullied by claims in a former Navy SEAL's book about his involvement in a bar fight.

Wisconsin governor race remains in a dead heat despite probe -poll

MILWAUKEE - Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, who is seeking re-election in November, has not seen any significant drop in his support since the release of documents on a probe into possible illegal campaign financing, a poll showed on Wednesday.

Firefighters hold line in Washington as experts warn of more fires

SEATTLE - Firefighters were holding the line on Wednesday against the largest wildfire in Washington state's history, as scientists warned that such blazes across the Western United States were becoming hotter, larger and more dangerous.

Libyan al Qaeda suspect's legal defense financed by foreign government

NEW YORK - A foreign government is paying for the criminal defense of alleged senior al Qaeda militant Anas al-Liby, his defense lawyer told a U.S. judge on Wednesday.

California lawmaker's bribery trial postponed until he leaves office

- California state Senator Ron Calderon's trial on bribery charges has been delayed until after he leaves office this year.

Exclusive: Obama sends team to Texas to assess need for National Guard deployment

SAN FRANCISCO - President Barack Obama has sent a team to Texas to assess whether a U.S. National Guard deployment would help to handle an immigration crisis at the Mexican border, White House officials told Reuters on Wednesday, having so far resisted Republican calls for such a move.

Indiana teen dead, dad missing after crash ends world flight bid

CHICAGO - A teenager from Plainfield, Indiana, who was trying to fly around the world in 30 days, is dead and his father is missing after their small plane crashed on Tuesday night near American Samoa, an official told Reuters on Wednesday.

Women charged with financing Somali group al Shabaab -U.S. prosecutors

WASHINGTON - Three women were arrested on Wednesday on charges of conspiring to raise money for Somali insurgent group al Shabaab, the Justice Department said.

Former Nazi guard dies in Pennsylvania just before extradition approved

- A former Nazi concentration camp guard died hours before a judge on Wednesday ordered his extradition to Germany, where he faced charges of aiding and abetting the deaths of 216,000 Jews.

U.S. boosts Iraq surveillance flights to 50 daily from one monthly

WASHINGTON - The United States has boosted the number of surveillance flights over Iraq to nearly 50 a day from one a month as it faces Sunni Islamist militants who control swaths of Iraqi territory, a top State Department official said on Wednesday.

Arkansas air base on lockdown due to 'suspicious individual'

LITTLE ROCK Ark - The Little Rock Air Force Base in Arkansas was on lockdown on Wednesday due to a suspicious individual, the military base said in a Facebook post.

Arkansas air base on lockdown due to 'suspicious individual'

LITTLE ROCK Ark - The Little Rock Air Force Base in Arkansas was on lockdown on Wednesday due to a suspicious individual, the military base said in a Facebook post.

Six indicted in New York for involvement in StubHub cyber fraud

New York - Six people were indicted in New York for involvement in a global cybercrime ring that took over more than 1,000 accounts of eBay Inc's StubHub online ticket reselling service, according to a statement released by the office of Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr.

Lawsuit challenges Louisiana governor's plan to ditch Common Core

NEW ORLEANS - A group of charter schools, teachers and parents filed suit on Tuesday against Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, asserting that he overstepped his authority and has sown chaos by moving last month to ditch the Common Core education standards for teaching English and math which he helped usher in four years ago.

Massachusetts teenager charged in October killing in court on assault charge

BOSTON - A Massachusetts teenager accused of raping and murdering a teacher at his former high school appeared in a Boston court on Wednesday to face charges of stalking and attacking a female staffer at the detention center where he is awaiting trial.

Exclusive: CDC says lab director behind anthrax mishap resigns

WASHINGTON - The director of a government bioterror lab behind the potential exposure of workers to live anthrax has resigned, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Wednesday.

NJ man guilty of murdering 'messy' ex-wife found wearing pig mask

MORRISTOWN N.J. - A jury convicted a New Jersey man of murder on Wednesday in the killing of his ex-wife, who he called a messy housekeeper and whose body was found stabbed 84 times and wearing a pig mask.

Arizona execution to proceed after lethal-injection challenge failed

PHOENIX - A convicted double-murderer was due to be executed by lethal injection in Arizona on Wednesday after his defense team failed in its legal bid to force the state to disclose greater details about how he will be put to death.

Last victim of deadly Washington mudslide believed found

- Search teams in Washington State have found the remains of a person thought to be the last victim of a mudslide that buried an entire community in March and killed 43 people, county authorities said.

Opening statements to begin for Michigan man accused in teen's death

- Opening statements are set to begin on Wednesday in the trial of a white suburban Detroit homeowner charged with killing a black teenager with a shotgun blast to the face after she knocked on his door seeking help early one November morning.

U.S. scientists urge 'national vision' to curb coastal risks in report

- A group of top scientists has called for a fundamental change to how the United States deals with risks to its Atlantic and Gulf coasts from storms and climate change in a National Research Council report released Wednesday.

Jury reconvenes in defamation case brought by Jesse Ventura

ST PAUL Minn. - A jury reconvened Wednesday in a defamation lawsuit brought by former Minnesota governor, Jesse Ventura, alleging his reputation was sullied by claims in a former Navy SEAL's book about his involvement in a bar fight.

Denver Broncos owner Pat Bowlen, battling Alzheimer's, steps down

DENVER - Denver Broncos owner Pat Bowlen is stepping down as he battles Alzheimer's disease, the National Football League team said on Wednesday, adding that it was saddened he could no longer take part in the club's daily operations.

Kansas man charged with murder after girl dies in police chase

- A man accused of kidnapping a 5-year-old Kansas girl, who was found dead after a police chase, was charged on Wednesday with first-degree felony murder in the child's death, authorities said.

U.S. proposes new rules for moving crude oil by rail

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Department of Transportation on Wednesday proposed an overhaul of safety standards for transporting crude oil and ethanol by rail, after a number of explosive accidents over the past year.

New York Governor Cuomo's office intervened in corruption probe -NY Times

NEW YORK - New York Governor Andrew Cuomo's office meddled with a commission he created to root out corruption in state politics, pushing back whenever it focused on groups tied to Cuomo, the New York Times reported on Wednesday.

More U.S. teens' report using human growth hormone, group says

WASHINGTON - U.S. teenagers' reported use of synthetic human growth hormone more than doubled between 2012 to 2013 as they sought to improve athletic performance and appearance, a survey by anti-drug advocates found.

U.S., European airlines halt flights to Israel due to instability

- Air carriers in the United States and Europe on Tuesday halted flights to Tel Aviv after warnings from governmental agencies in an effort to ensure passenger safety as turmoil in Israel and the region intensified.

NYC police training to be overhauled after custody death

NEW YORK - All New York City police officers are expected to undergo retraining in the wake of a man's death on a city sidewalk shortly after he was placed in a chokehold by officers, Bill Bratton, the police commissioner, said on Tuesday.

Business executive wins Georgia Republican runoff in U.S. Senate race

ATLANTA - Campaigning as an outsider who would shake up Washington, a former Fortune 500 chief executive defeated an 11-term congressman in a Georgia runoff election on Tuesday between two Republicans seeking to fill an open U.S. Senate seat.

StubHub was victim of cyber fraud ring; arrests to be announced

SEATTLE/BOSTON - eBay Inc's StubHub online ticket resale service said it was the victim of a massive international cyber fraud ring, the details of which authorities plan to disclose on Wednesday as they announce arrests in the case.

San Diego-area community rejects shelter for undocumented migrants

ESCONDIDO Calif. - A San Diego suburb took center stage in the nation's acrimonious immigration debate on Tuesday as planning commissioners there rejected a proposal to open a temporary shelter for Central American children caught illegally crossing the U.S. border.

Colorado judge sets new December 8 trial date in theater massacre case

CENTENNIAL Colo. - Jury selection in the much-delayed trial of accused movie theater gunman James Holmes will begin on Dec. 8, a Colorado judge said on Tuesday, dismissing objections by the defense who said they needed more time.

NYC police training to be overhauled after custody death

NEW YORK - All New York City police officers are expected to undergo retraining in the wake of a man's death on a city sidewalk shortly after he was placed in a chokehold by officers, Bill Bratton, the police commissioner, said on Tuesday.

Sleep in train station, go to jail under San Francisco crackdown

SAN FRANCISCO - Transit police on San Francisco's BART commuter rail line on Tuesday stepped up efforts to discourage homeless people from sleeping in stations, issuing warnings that could eventually lead to a trip to jail.

U.S. Supreme Court lifts stay of execution for Arizona inmate

PHOENIX - The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday vacated a stay of execution for an Arizona inmate who had sued the state demanding more information about the drugs that will be used in the lethal injection procedure he faces.

Oklahoma teen accused of sexually abusing children in Kenya

OKLAHOMA CITY - An Oklahoma teenager is charged with traveling to Kenya to sexually abuse children at a missionary children's home in the East African country, prosecutors said on Tuesday.

Big California raid targets marijuana grown on tribal land

SAN FRANCISCO - California authorities have launched a major raid to seize marijuana grown on and around a Northern California Indian reservation, joining with tribal authorities to combat illegal grow operations on native lands, authorities said on Tuesday.

Texas woman found guilty of starving stepson to death

DALLAS - A Texas woman was found guilty on Tuesday of starving her 10-year-old stepson to death and then dumping his body in a creek bed.

Obama administration to unveil stricter fuel regulations for trains: WSJ

- The administration of U.S. President Barack Obama is expected to announce new regulations related to more stringent safety standards on trains carrying flammable fuels on Wednesday, the Wall Street Journal reported citing a source on Capitol Hill familiar with the process.

NYC police training to be overhauled after custody death

NEW YORK - All New York City police officers are expected to undergo retraining in the wake of a man's death on a city sidewalk shortly after he was placed in a chokehold by officers, Bill Bratton, the police commissioner, said on Tuesday.

Firefighters advance on biggest wildfire on record in Washington state

SEATTLE - Firefighters gained ground on Tuesday against the largest wildfire in Washington state's history but the massive blaze that has destroyed 200 homes continued to threaten some communities and forced a fresh round of evacuations.

Obama government looks to satisfy religious groups on Obamacare

WASHINGTON - The Obama administration is developing a method for religious organizations opposed to contraception coverage under the Affordable Care Act to opt out of providing the coverage in their health plans without filling out a form.

U.S. announces arrests in border crackdown on human smuggling

WASHINGTON - U.S. officials have made almost 200 arrests and seized more than $625,000 in illicit profits in a month-long crackdown on human smuggling in response to an influx of illegal immigration into Texas, the Department of Homeland Security said on Tuesday.

Hundreds of postal workers protest at Chicago Staples over outsourcing

CHICAGO - Hundreds of postal workers from around the country protested outside a Staples store in downtown Chicago on Tuesday over a program that allows postal services to be sold at more than 80 Staples retail outlets.

Donut capers stymie police in Oregon

PORTLAND Ore. - Police in a Portland suburb have a sticky situation on their hands: for more than a month, mysterious vandals have been smearing pastries on cars, depositing donuts in lawns and leaving cakes strewn about the streets.

Paterno's son and other ex-coach sue Penn State for lost careers

HARRISBURG Pa. - Two former assistant football coaches at Penn State University, including the son of disgraced former head coach Joe Paterno, are suing the school for actions they say wrecked their careers in the wake of the child sex-abuse scandal.

Ohio man sentenced to 30 years for enslaving woman, child

CLEVELAND Ohio - An Ohio man convicted of enslaving a mentally disabled woman and her young daughter for nearly two years was sentenced to 30 years in federal prison Tuesday, according to a federal prosecutor's office.

Jury to weigh murder in pig mask stabbing of 'messy' ex-wife

MORRISTOWN N.J. - A prosecutor on Tuesday held up the rubber pig mask found on the face of a woman stabbed 84 times and told the jury in the murder trial of the victim's ex-husband it showed his contempt for the woman he called a messy housekeeper.

NY judge throws out lawsuit by Empire State Building investors

NEW YORK - A New York state judge has thrown out a lawsuit in which longtime investors in the Empire State Building claimed they were shortchanged out of hundreds of millions of dollars by the real estate magnates who took the iconic skyscraper public last October.

Groups file complaint against Texas city that banned refugee housing

- Immigration rights groups filed a federal complaint on Tuesday against a Texas city they said violated civil rights laws by placing a ban on housing and processing facilities for Central Americans seeking refugee status after fleeing violence at home.

San Antonio makes history as it names black woman mayor

SAN ANTONIO - San Antonio's city council elected Ivy Taylor the new mayor of the seventh most populous U.S. city, making the Yale graduate the first African American to hold the post.

Fourth bacterial infection death reported at South Carolina hospital

CHARLESTON S.C. - A patient who contracted a rare bacterial infection during surgery at a South Carolina hospital died last week, bringing the total deaths to four since the outbreak was first suspected in May, a hospital spokeswoman said on Tuesday.

Thieves steal air conditioners from rural Tennessee churches

NASHVILLE Tenn. - Thieves have been stealing central air conditioning units from rural Tennessee churches during a scorching summer heat wave, and they'll face hell fire for eternity if they're not caught here on earth, a church official said on Tuesday.

Miami restaurant, survivor of desegregation and riots, to close

MIAMI - After more than half a century, Jumbo's, famous for its fried shrimp and conch, and one of the first Miami restaurants to desegregate in the late 1960s, is closing this week as the site is sold to a developer of affordable housing.

Maryland parents charged with locking autistic adult sons in basement

ANNAPOLIS Md. - Police in Maryland have charged a couple with abuse after discovering their 22-year-old twin autistic sons had been locked in a dark, bare basement room for six years, according to police and court records.Police found the men in a room with no furniture or lights, one comforter on a tile floor, and a small window, and noticed an "overwhelming smell of urine coming from the room," said charging documents filed in Montgomery County District Court

North Carolina teenager accused of hiding buried baby's death

WINSTON-SALEM N.C. - The North Carolina teenager whose baby girl's body was found buried in her family's yard last month was arrested on Tuesday on a felony charge of concealing or failing to report the death, sheriff's officials said.

Montana top court sanctions judge for 30-day rape sentence

- The Montana Supreme Court on Tuesday censured a judge and suspended him for 31 days for improperly suggesting a 14-year-old girl was culpable in her rape and unlawfully sentencing the former teacher convicted of the crime to just a month in jail.

Oregon recreational pot initiative qualifies for November ballot

- An initiative seeking to legalize, tax and regulate recreational marijuana in Oregon has qualified for the November ballot, the state said on its website on Tuesday.

In chokehold death, NY police tactics clash with moves to mend relations

NEW YORK - When Bill Bratton returned in January for a second stint as New York City's police commissioner, he often invoked two priorities - to mend relations with black and Latino citizens and to keep serious crime down with the same methods he used in the 1990s.

Helicopter crashes near Washington state community hit by mudslide

SEATTLE - A helicopter crashed on Monday near a Washington state community in the Cascade foothills still reeling from a damaging mudslide, apparently injuring the pilot, according to authorities and media reports.

Most victims of fiery California bus crash died of smoke inhalation

- Most of the 10 people killed in a fiery crash of a bus full of college hopefuls in Northern California survived the initial impact and died of smoke inhalation from flames that engulfed the vehicle, the county coroner said on Tuesday.

Maine governor bemoans move of eight child immigrants to his state

BOSTON - Maine Governor Paul LePage blasted the White House on Tuesday for placing in his state eight children who tried to cross the border illegally.

Driver rescued in Oregon after 12 hours trapped with corpse

SEATTLE - A driver who spent 12 hours trapped in the wreckage of her car with the corpse of a passenger who died after their vehicle tumbled down an embankment was rescued after a hitchhiker in Oregon heard her cries for help, authorities said on Tuesday.

Mysterious white flags replace U.S. stars and stripes on Brooklyn Bridge

NEW YORK - New Yorkers awoke to find two white flags hung in place of the American flags that traditionally flutter atop the Brooklyn Bridge on Tuesday morning, baffling city officials, police and onlookers.

Man arrested in bomb hoax at Louisiana university

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

Father posts photo of sexually abused son online in donation plea

- A Florida father who severely beat an 18-year-old man he said he caught sexually assaulting his son posted the child's photo on a fundraising website to solicit donations for the boy's recovery, police said on Tuesday.

San Diego-area community expected to reject illegal immigrant shelter

SAN DIEGO - A Southern California city could find itself at the center of a nationwide debate over illegal immigration on Tuesday evening when officials there are expected to reject a bid by the U.S. government to open a shelter for unaccompanied migrant children.

Manhunt on for armed bandits in $181,000 heist at Atlantic City casino

AVON-BY-THE-SEA N.J. - A manhunt was underway on Tuesday for masked bandits who reportedly stole roughly $181,000 in an armed robbery at Caesar's Atlantic City casino in New Jersey, police said.

Georgia voters to pick Republican U.S. Senate nominee after long fight

ATLANTA - A drawn-out fight between an 11-term congressman and a former Fortune 500 chief executive in a key U.S. Senate race is due to be decided by Georgia's Republican voters on Tuesday.

Three injured when home explodes north of Houston

HOUSTON - Three people were critically burned when a house exploded near a city north of Houston on Tuesday, with the blast felt for miles, officials said.

Wawona Packing recalls fruit over listeria concerns

WASHINGTON - Wawona Packing Co is recalling fresh Sweet 2 Eat brand peaches, plums, nectarines and pluots because of potential contamination by listeria contamination, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said.

Delta, US Airways halt flights to Israel due to instability

- U.S. air carriers Delta Air Lines and US Airways, a unit of American Airlines Group, on Tuesday said they have halted flights to Israel to ensure passenger safety.

Court deals blow to Obama health law by limiting subsidies

WASHINGTON - A U.S. federal judicial panel on Tuesday dealt a potentially devastating blow to President Barack Obama's healthcare law, throwing out a provision that provides millions of Americans with subsidies for private health insurance.

Defense lawyer says Ventura seeking attention with defamation suit

ST PAUL Minn. - Former Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura's defamation case is aimed at keeping the name of the fading star in the headlines at the expense of an ex-Navy SEAL who served his country with honor, defense lawyers said on Tuesday.

Feds: Police misconduct rampant in Newark, N.J., city OKs monitor

NEWARK N.J. - Federal investigators found police repeatedly violated civil rights in New Jersey's largest city, Newark, and recommended an independent monitor to oversee changes, the U.S. Justice Department announced on Tuesday.

'Slenderman' attack victim receives Purple Heart from an anonymous well wisher

MILWAUKEE - A Wisconsin girl stabbed 19 times in a murder plot allegedly hatched by two classmates to win favor with a fictional Internet character, has been sent a prestigious Purple Heart medal by an anonymous well-wisher, the victim's family said on Tuesday.

'Slenderman' attack victim receives Purple Heart from an anonymous well wisher

MILWAUKEE - A Wisconsin girl stabbed 19 times in a murder plot allegedly hatched by two classmates to win favor with a fictional Internet character, has been sent a prestigious Purple Heart medal by an anonymous well-wisher, the victim's family said on Tuesday.

Race for North Dakota's agriculture commissioner is all about oil

TOWNER North Dakota - North Dakota's biggest oil producers have picked a side and put money into an obscure election for the state's agriculture commissioner, hoping to ward off a rising Democratic challenger who could limit development of new wells and pipelines.

U.S. judge dismisses Republican lawsuit over Obamacare subsidy for Congress

MILWAUKEE - A federal judge has thrown out a U.S. Senator's legal challenge to a part of President Barack Obama's healthcare law that grants health insurance subsidies for members of Congress and their staffs.

Wave of migrant children threatens to swamp U.S. immigration courts

WASHINGTON - A deluge of Central American children pouring into the United States threatens to burst the seams of already overstuffed immigration courts, and President Barack Obama's steps to ease the crisis are likely to make matters worse rather than better for some, U.S. officials and immigration lawyers said.

After 13-year struggle, U.S. faces counter-terror fatigue: panel

WASHINGTON - After 13 years of struggle, Americans are showing a growing public fatigue and waning sense of urgency over terrorism, an attitude that threatens U.S. security, members of the panel that investigated the Sept. 11 attacks said in a report on Tuesday.

Detroit workers, retirees vote in favor of city's debt plan

- Detroit's city workers and retirees voted in favor of the city's debt adjustment plan, according to voting results filed late on Monday in U.S. Bankruptcy Court, in what should clear the way for the final stage of the city's historic bankruptcy case.

Colorado county clerk 'reluctantly' halts same-sex marriage licenses

DENVER - A Colorado county clerk who issued nearly three dozen same-sex marriage licenses agreed on Monday to halt the practice after the state's highest court ordered another clerk to stop issuing the permits to gay couples.

Alaska Army National Guard soldier attacked by bear near base

JUNEAU Alaska - An Alaska Army National Guard soldier was attacked by a brown bear while training in the woods near Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in Anchorage, the second bear attack on a soldier from the base in two months, officials said on Monday.

Activists say arrests made in protest at Utah tar sands mine project

SALT LAKE CITY - Sheriff's deputies in Utah arrested nearly two dozen environmental protesters who chained themselves to fences and construction equipment on Monday at a tar sands mining project in the remote Book Cliffs mountains, an activist group said.

Suspect charged over fatal California bank robbery shootout

STOCKTON Calif. - A suspect in a California bank heist in which heavily armed robbers took hostages and engaged police in a running gun battle during a high-speed chase last week was charged with murder on Monday for the deaths of a hostage and two suspected fellow robbers.

Texas governor to deploy 1,000 National Guard troops to border

AUSTIN Texas - Texas Governor Rick Perry said on Monday he planned to send 1,000 Texas National Guard troops to the Mexican border to boost security during an influx of illegal immigration by children, a move that could increase pressure on President Barack Obama.

Philadelphia Eagles player arrested in shoving of Arizona officer

PHOENIX - A Philadelphia Eagles football player was arrested in Arizona on suspicion of felony aggravated assault for allegedly pushing a police officer probing a bar fight, authorities said on Monday.

Kansas police arrest suspect in girl's death

- A man accused of kidnapping a 5-year-old Kansas girl who died in a shootout between police and her alleged abductor was arrested in a hospital on Monday on suspicion of charges including first-degree murder and aggravated kidnapping, authorities said.

New Mexico teens charged with beating two homeless men to death

ALBUQUERQUE N.M. - Prosecutors have charged three New Mexico teens with murder for allegedly beating to death two homeless men whose bodies were so badly disfigured they have yet to be identified, police and the Albuquerque District Attorney's Office said.

Traps set after reports of giant snake on New Jersey's Lake Hopatcong

- In a scene that could open the film "Snakes on a Jet Ski," New Jersey animal control workers have set traps to snare a reported 20-foot-long serpent slithering through the waters of Lake Hopatcong.

Lawyers for Mississippi death-row inmate want conviction overturned

JACKSON Miss. - Attorneys for a Mississippi death-row inmate who was tried six times for the same killings told the state Supreme Court on Monday that his most recent trial was unfair and his conviction should be overturned.

Boy found starved in Pennsylvania home, authorities say

PITTSBURGH - The mother and grandparents of a Pennsylvania boy, who authorities say was starved nearly to death, are facing criminal charges, according to court documents.

Obama says there's more than one 'authentic way of being black'

WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama told a group of young black, Hispanic, Native American and Asian men on Monday that they need be proud of their backgrounds and draw strength from their cultures, but ignore people who accuse them of "acting white."

Black and white are the new orange at a county jail in Michigan

- Black and white are the new orange in a Michigan county where the sheriff has made a wardrobe change for jail inmates after a TV series brought new popularity to the vibrant color associated with prisoners.

Missing New Hampshire teenager reunited with mother after nine months

MANCHESTER N.H. - A New Hampshire teenager who disappeared nine months ago, prompting her mother to launch a nationwide search, has returned home, state officials said on Monday, offering no details on what prompted her disappearance.

Colombia growers see Miami cafe helping revive Juan Valdez brand

MIAMI - Colombian coffee growers, long represented by a fictional farmer named Juan Valdez with a mustache and wide-brimmed hat, opened a namesake coffee shop in downtown Miami on Monday, hoping to re-establish the brand in the high-end U.S. coffee market.

Donated skulls in Washington state lead to more human remains

SEATTLE - Authorities in Washington state were looking for a person who donated three human skulls to a thrift store last month, and said on Monday their pleas for information had instead prompted the handover of yet more human remains.

Two men charged with strangling elderly Philadelphia couple

- Two men have been charged with strangling to death an elderly couple at their Philadelphia home after being hired to do work around the house, police said on Monday.

At least four dead in truck-car crash south of Chicago

CHICAGO - At least four people were dead and three more were airlifted to hospitals after a multi-vehicle crash on I-55, a major truck route between St. Louis and Chicago, Illinois State Police said on Monday.

Bail set as elderly former Nazi guard falls ill in Pennsylvania

- A former Nazi concentration camp guard awaiting extradition to Germany was granted bail on Monday, set at $100,000, after his serious medical condition worsened while in jail, according to court documents.

Prisoner scales fence to escape Oregon jail

PORTLAND Ore. - A man awaiting trial for theft managed to escape an Oregon jail after he was let outside as part of a work crew, fled across the jail parking lot and jumped a fence in the latest in a string of Oregon prisoner escapes, authorities said on Monday.

U.S. court denies bid to reconsider stay of Arizona execution

PHOENIX - A federal appeals court on Monday rejected a bid by Arizona to remove a block that stops the state executing a double murderer until he is provided with more information about the drugs to be used to put him to death.

Texas man arrested for posing as veterinarian

HOUSTON - A 26-year-old Houston man has been arrested for practicing veterinary medicine without a license after he dispensed medicine and performed makeshift treatments on at least 50 animals, police said on Monday.

Israel blocks subpoena in terrorism case over Florida teen's death

NEW YORK - Israel persuaded a U.S. judge not to require a key witness to testify in a case where Bank of China Ltd is accused of supporting terrorism by Palestinian militants, including the 2006 death of an American teenager in a suicide bombing.

Johns Hopkins Hospital settles lawsuit with women filmed by doctor

- Johns Hopkins Hospital has agreed to pay $190 million to thousands of women who were secretly filmed by a doctor during gynecological exams.

Washington state wildfire claims first fatality, weather improving

SEATTLE - Cooler weather and lower winds aided firefighters on Monday as they battled a week-old wildfire in Washington state that has destroyed up to 150 homes, scorched a wide swath of wilderness east of the Cascade Mountains and left one person dead.

Facebook 'selfie' leads to shoplifting arrest in Illinois: police

CHICAGO - An Illinois woman made police work easy when she allegedly stole a colorful, leopard-pattern dress from a small boutique, then posted a picture of herself wearing it on Facebook, police said on Monday.

Want to buy a bridge? Pennsylvania still has 11 for sale

HARRISBURG Pa. - Buying a bridge is not on most to-do lists, but anyone seeking a historic span need look no further than the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, which has 11 of them for sale.

New York environment regulators seek summer shutdown at Indian Point

- New York state environmental regulators are proposing shutting the giant Indian Point nuclear power plant to protect fish in the Hudson River during summer months, when demand for electricity for air-conditioning is greatest.

Texas governor to deploy 1,000 National Guard troops to border: reports

AUSTIN Texas - Texas Governor Rick Perry was expected to announce plans on Monday to send 1,000 Texas National Guard troops to the Mexican border to boost security, according to local media, a move that could pile pressure on U.S. President Barack Obama.

Obama signs order barring federal discrimination against gays

WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama signed an executive order on Monday barring federal contractors from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.

High chance of cyclone near Lesser Antilles: NHC

- An area of low pressure located east of the Lesser Antilles now has a high, or 70 percent, chance of becoming a tropical cyclone during the next 48 hours, the U.S. National Hurricane Center (NHC) said in its latest advisory on Monday.

Friend of accused Boston bomber found guilty of obstructing justice

BOSTON - A U.S. jury on Monday found a friend of the accused Boston Marathon bomber guilty of obstructing the investigation into the deadly blasts by removing a backpack containing fireworks shells from the suspect's dorm room.

N.Y. immigration groups to close over alleged fraud

- Two of the largest non-profit immigration service groups in the United States will shut down after being accused of defrauding thousands of clients, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said on Monday.

Ohio infant attacked and killed by dog

CLEVELAND - An autopsy was under way on an Ohio infant who died this weekend after being attacked by a relative’s dog, a coroner’s office said Monday.

Florida police probe death of four-year-old thrown from car

TAMPA Fla. - A Florida boy found in the middle of a street in Tampa has died, and authorities are investigating how the child came to be thrown from a car, city police said on Monday.

Jury selection due for Michigan man accused of killing black teen

- Jury selection was expected to begin on Monday for a white suburban Detroit homeowner charged with killing a black teenager with a shotgun blast to the face after she knocked on his door seeking help early one November morning.

Gay couple challenges legal halt to gay marriage in Florida Keys

MIAMI - A gay couple hoping to marry in the Florida Keys filed an emergency petition on Monday to reinstate a judge's ruling which struck down the state's gay marriage ban.

New York City settles case of inmate death for $2.75 million: NYT

NEW YORK - New York City has agreed to pay $2.75 million to settle a lawsuit regarding the death of a prisoner at a city jail whose death was ruled a homicide, the New York Times reported on Monday.

Massachusetts mayor in flap with conservatives on gay rights

BOSTON - (This story corrects July 17 story to make clear that article ran on TheBlaze.com but was not authored by Glenn Beck; changes "discrimination" to "orientation" in 2nd paragraph)

In Clippers court case, octogenarian lawyer relishes the ruckus

LOS ANGELES - With the $2-billion sale of pro basketball's Los Angeles Clippers at stake and the team's irascible owner refusing to bless the record deal his estranged wife brokered, Bert Fields can hardly keep a smile from his face.

Forty-five years after Apollo landing, U.S. debates next lunar step

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. - Forty-five years after the first Apollo lunar landing, the United States remains divided about the moon's role in future human space exploration.

CN train derailment in Wisconsin forces people to move to safer sites

- A Canadian National Railway train derailed in Wisconsin on Sunday night, spurring local residents to move to safer locations, according to the railway and media reports.

Four dead in Arizona small plane crash

- Four people were killed on Sunday when a small plane crashed in rugged territory near the popular Arizona resort town of Sedona, authorities said.

Oil-by-rail fight in Washington threatens California gasoline prices

VANCOUVER Washington - C