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  • North Carolina judge rules voter ID, tax cap amendments unconstitutional

    North Carolina judge rules voter ID, tax cap amendments unconstitutional“An illegally constituted General Assembly does not represent the people of North Carolina and is therefore not empowered to pass legislation that would amend the state’s constitution,” he wrote. “We’re thrilled the court has made clear that our state’s core foundational document can only be amended when all people of North Carolina are properly represented,” said Kym Hunter, an attorney at the Southern Environmental Law Center that represented the North Carolina NAACP and Clean Air Carolina. Republican State Senate leader Phil Berger said his party is duty-bound to appeal the decision.




  • R&B crooner R. Kelly charged with sexually assaulting teenage girls

    R&B crooner R. Kelly charged with sexually assaulting teenage girlsGrammy-winning R&B singer R. Kelly was charged in Chicago on Friday with the aggravated sexual assault of four people, including three teenage girls, following years of accusations against the performer. Kelly, 52, was charged in a 10-count Cook County Circuit Court indictment handed down two months after the debut of a six-hour documentary series on the Lifetime television network in which multiple women accused him of sexual misconduct and abuse. The R&B superstar, whose real name is Robert Sylvester Kelly, surrendered to Chicago police on Friday evening, the Hollywood trade publication Variety reported.




  • Trump administration bans abortion referrals at U.S.-funded clinics

    Trump administration bans abortion referrals at U.S.-funded clinicsThe Trump administration said on Friday that taxpayer-funded family planning clinics which primarily serve low-income Americans will no longer be able to refer patients for abortions, a move that critics vowed to challenge in court. The new regulation was announced by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services as part of Title X, a government family planning program that serves about 4 million people. The program currently subsidizes health centers such as those run by the non-profit Planned Parenthood, which provides contraception, health screenings and abortions.




  • Patriots owner Robert Kraft charged in Florida prostitution sting

    Patriots owner Robert Kraft charged in Florida prostitution stingKraft, 77, a billionaire businessman who built the Patriots into the National Football League's most dominant franchise, was swept up in a police sting targeting sex-trafficking in day spas and massage parlors in several Florida counties. Kraft, who lives in Massachusetts but owns property in Palm Beach, Florida, is accused of visiting Orchids of Asia Day Spa in Jupiter, Florida, on two separate occasions to solicit sex. Authorities have video evidence depicting the acts in question after installing hidden cameras inside the spa, police officials said, adding that Kraft had been dropped off by a driver.




  • Grand jury examining whether Zinke lied to investigators: Washington Post

    Grand jury examining whether Zinke lied to investigators: Washington PostThe Post said the deliberations were focused on Zinke's refusal to grant a petition by two Native American tribes, the Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan, to operate a commercial casino in East Windsor, Connecticut. In response to the tribes' efforts, competing casino operator MGM Resorts International, which opposed the planned casino, launched a lobbying campaign, The Post said. The tribes alleged that Zinke refused the petition under political pressure.




  • NASA clears SpaceX test flight to space station

    NASA clears SpaceX test flight to space stationThe approval cleared a key hurdle for SpaceX in its quest to help NASA revive America's human spaceflight program, stalled since space shuttle missions came to an end in 2011. NASA has awarded SpaceX $2.6 billion, and aerospace rival Boeing Co $4.2 billion to build separate rocket and capsule launch systems to carry U.S. astronauts to and from the space station, an orbital research laboratory that flies 250 miles (402 km) above Earth. "Following a full day of briefings and discussion, NASA and SpaceX are proceeding with plans to conduct the first uncrewed test flight of the Crew Dragon on a mission to the International Space Station," NASA said in a statement announcing its decision.




  • Singer R. Kelly charged with sexually abusing teenage girls

    Singer R. Kelly charged with sexually abusing teenage girlsGrammy-winning singer R. Kelly was charged on Friday with criminal sexual abuse of at least three teenagers under age 17, the local state's attorney said, following years of allegations against the 52-year-old R&B singer. Cook County State's Attorney Kimberly Foxx, at a news conference in Chicago announcing the charges, said Kelly was expected to appear in court on Saturday for a bond hearing on the 10 counts he was charged with under a grand jury indictment. At least two of the alleged victims were girls, while the gender of the other two was not clear from the court documents.




  • Florida mayor jailed, 'lucky he's not dead' after allegedly shooting at deputies

    Florida mayor jailed, 'lucky he's not dead' after allegedly shooting at deputiesAfter Port Richey Mayor Dale Massad refused to open the front door when sheriff's deputies tried to execute a search warrant, SWAT team members forced it open and were met with gun fire, Pasco County Sheriff Chris Nocco said. "He shot at our members, he's lucky he's not dead," Nocco told reporters hours after the brief standoff in which no one was injured. Authorities said they had a "strong suspicion" Massad, 68, was on drugs when he fired two rounds from a .40 caliber handgun.




  • U.S. Senators launch bipartisan probe into rising insulin prices

    U.S. Senators launch bipartisan probe into rising insulin pricesRepublican Senator Chuck Grassley, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, and Senator Ron Wyden, the committee's top Democrat, sent letters to the heads of Eli Lilly and Co, Novo Nordisk A/S and Sanofi SA, the long-time leading manufacturers of insulin. Eli Lilly's Humalog, for instance, rose from $35 to $234 per dose between 2001 and 2015, a 585 percent increase, they wrote. Insulin has been available since the early 20th century.




  • Patriots owner Robert Kraft charged in Florida prostitution sting

    Patriots owner Robert Kraft charged in Florida prostitution stingKraft, 77, a billionaire businessman who built the Patriots into the National Football League's most dominant franchise, was swept up in a police sting targeting sex-trafficking in day spas and massage parlors in several Florida counties. Kraft, who lives in Massachusetts but owns property in Palm Beach, Florida, is accused of visiting Orchids of Asia Day Spa in Jupiter, Florida, on two separate occasions to solicit sex.




  • Record-setting snowstorm buries parts of Arizona

    Record-setting snowstorm buries parts of ArizonaAccuWeather predicted two to four feet (61 cm to 122 cm) of new snow would pile up in the higher elevations of Arizona, New Mexico and Colorado on Friday and warned of whiteout conditions on roads. As of early Friday, the Arizona Department of Transportation had closed nine major sections of road due to weather and crashes, including one part of Interstate 17. By mid-morning, the snow had caused more than 30 flight delays and two cancellations at Tucson International Airport, according to the flight tracking web site flightaware.com.




  • 'El Chapo' to seek new trial after juror admits breaking rules

    'El Chapo' to seek new trial after juror admits breaking rulesConvicted Mexican drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman intends to seek a new trial after one of the jurors who convicted him told Vice News that jurors read media about the case despite the judge's instructions not to, a lawyer for Guzman said in a court filing on Friday. "Mr. Guzman intends to file motion for a new trial based on the disclosures in the article and to request an evidentiary hearing to determine the extent of the misconduct," lawyer Eduardo Balarezo said in a letter to U.S. District Judge Brian Cogan, who presided over the trial in Brooklyn federal court. Guzman was found guilty on Feb. 12 of running a continuing criminal enterprise as leader of Mexico's Sinaloa Cartel, along with drug trafficking, weapons and money laundering conspiracy charges.




  • California couple plead guilty to torturing their 13 children

    California couple plead guilty to torturing their 13 childrenDavid Turpin, 57, and his wife Louise Turpin, 50, who were arraigned in Riverside County Superior Court, made the plea as part of a deal with prosecutors to serve sentences of 25 years to life in prison, Riverside County District Attorney Michael Hestrin said. The children, whose ages now range from 3 to 30, are in the care of child and adult protection agencies.




  • U.S. judge will not block Amazon-Berkshire-JPMorgan health venture's new hire

    U.S. judge will not block Amazon-Berkshire-JPMorgan health venture's new hireA federal judge on Friday declined to block a UnitedHealth Group Inc unit's former executive from working at a new healthcare venture launched by Amazon.com Inc, Berkshire Hathaway Inc and JPMorgan Chase & Co. The decision by U.S. District Judge Mark Wolf in Boston came in a lawsuit closely watched in the industry for clues about the future plans of the venture, which was announced in January 2018 with a goal of lowering healthcare costs. UnitedHealth's Optum unit had sought a court order blocking David Smith from working at the venture, saying he could share trade secrets that would give it a competitive advantage.




  • New pipelines drain West Texas crude stocks to four-month low

    New pipelines drain West Texas crude stocks to four-month lowCrude inventories in West Texas dropped this week to the lowest in four months after a converted pipeline began transporting crude from the nation's biggest shale oil field to the U.S. Gulf Coast, data from market intelligence provider Genscape showed. The drop in storage in the Permian Basin is another sign that new pipelines out of the region have begun to alleviate a crude bottleneck that depressed local crude prices as production overwhelmed pipeline capacity and filled storage tanks. Crude inventories in the Permian Basin fell to 15 million barrels in the week to Feb. 19, the lowest since October and down from a record 22 million barrels in November.




  • U.S. Coast Guard officer accused of terror plot could face more charges

    U.S. Coast Guard officer accused of terror plot could face more chargesA U.S. Coast Guard lieutenant accused of amassing a cache of weapons and plotting to attack Democratic politicians and journalists was ordered held for two weeks on Thursday while federal prosecutors consider charging him with more crimes. Chris Hasson, 49, appeared in a burgundy jumpsuit but did not speak during a brief hearing in federal court in Greenbelt, Maryland. "There is an intent to murder innocent civilians," U.S. Attorney Jennifer Sykes told Judge Charles Day.




  • U.S. farmers receive $7.7 billion in trade aid to date: USDA

    U.S. farmers receive $7.7 billion in trade aid to date: USDAWASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Department of Agriculture has paid out $7.7 billion so far to farmers, William Northey, Undersecretary for Farm Production and Conservation, said on Friday, in aid designed to offset the negative impact of tariff imposition.




  • War memorial or religious symbol? Cross fight reaches U.S. high court

    War memorial or religious symbol? Cross fight reaches U.S. high courtThere was nothing about it that made me think it was anything other than a Christian cross," Edwords, 70, said in an interview. Edwords and two other plaintiffs filed a 2014 lawsuit challenging the cross as a violation of the U.S. Constitution's Establishment Clause, which prohibits the government from establishing an official religion and bars governmental actions favoring one religion over another. While the Establishment Clause's scope is a matter of dispute, most Supreme Court experts predict the challenge to the Peace Cross will fail, with the justices potentially setting a new precedent allowing greater government involvement in religious expression.




  • U.S. judge weighs expanding lawsuit over family separations to cover more children

    U.S. judge weighs expanding lawsuit over family separations to cover more childrenThe Office of Inspector General at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) said in a report published earlier this year that the agency had identified many more children in addition to the 2,737 included as part of the class action lawsuit challenging family separations brought by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) last year. In response to the lawsuit, Sabraw ordered the families identified through a court process to be reunited with their children.




  • Prosecutors violated Victims Rights Act in deal for Florida financier: judge

    Prosecutors violated Victims Rights Act in deal for Florida financier: judgeA 2007 agreement by U.S. federal prosecutors not to charge Florida financier Jeffrey Epstein with sex trafficking of minors violated the legal rights of Epstein's alleged victims by keeping them in the dark, a federal judge ruled on Thursday. U.S. District Judge Kenneth Marra in West Palm Beach, Florida, ruled the prosecutors violated the federal Crime Victims' Rights Act by not letting more than 30 identified victims know of the deal so they would have a chance to oppose it. Under his deal, Epstein pleaded guilty to a lesser Florida state felony prostitution charge and served 13 months in prison.




  • Latest teachers strike launched in Oakland, California

    Latest teachers strike launched in Oakland, CaliforniaThe Oakland Unified School District vowed to keep schools open during the strike, saying it will use central office employees, principals and temporary emergency teachers to conduct classes for the district's 37,000 students. The teachers' chief demands include a 12 percent pay raise, reductions in class sizes and the hiring of more support staff such as nurses, school psychologists and guidance counselors. The union also is opposing a plan presented by Oakland's school superintendent in November to close as many as 24 of the district's schools.




  • Trump, adult children urge dismissal of marketing scam lawsuit

    Trump, adult children urge dismissal of marketing scam lawsuitU.S. President Donald Trump and his adult children on Thursday urged a federal judge to dismiss a racketeering lawsuit accusing them of using the family name to promote sham marketing opportunities to vulnerable, financially struggling investors. Calling the lawsuit "implausible," the Trump family said in a filing in federal court in Manhattan that the four plaintiffs failed to prove there was fraud or intent to cause harm, or that any statements by Donald Trump caused losses. The lawsuit said the Trumps deliberately conned victims into believing Donald Trump stood behind the investments and thought they would pay off, when the real goal was to enrich themselves.




  • North Carolina orders new U.S. House election after 'tainted' vote

    North Carolina orders new U.S. House election after 'tainted' voteThe bipartisan board's 5-0 decision came after Republican candidate Mark Harris, confronted by days of evidence that an operative for his campaign orchestrated a ballot fraud scheme, called for a new vote in the state's 9th Congressional District. Elections Board Chairman Bob Cordle said "the corruption" and "absolute mess" with absentee ballots had cast doubt on the entire contest.




  • Secret U.S. prosecutors' deal violated Epstein victims' rights: judge

    Secret U.S. prosecutors' deal violated Epstein victims' rights: judgeA 2007 agreement by U.S. federal prosecutors not to charge Florida financier Jeffrey Epstein with sex trafficking of minors violated the legal rights of Epstein's alleged victims by keeping them in the dark, a federal judge ruled on Thursday. U.S. District Judge Kenneth Marra in West Palm Beach, Florida, ruled the prosecutors violated the federal Crime Victims' Rights Act by not letting more than 30 identified victims know of the deal so they would have a chance to oppose it.




  • Trump, adult children urge dismissal of marketing scam lawsuit

    Trump, adult children urge dismissal of marketing scam lawsuitU.S. President Donald Trump and his adult children on Thursday urged a federal judge to dismiss a racketeering lawsuit accusing them of using the family name to promote sham marketing opportunities to vulnerable, financially struggling investors. Calling the lawsuit "implausible," the Trump family said in a filing in federal court in Manhattan that the four plaintiffs failed to prove there was fraud or intent to cause harm, or that any statements by Donald Trump caused losses. The lawsuit said the Trumps deliberately conned victims into believing Donald Trump stood behind the investments and thought they would pay off, when the real goal was to enrich themselves.




  • Latest teachers strike launched in Oakland, California

    Latest teachers strike launched in Oakland, CaliforniaThe Oakland Unified School District vowed to keep schools open during the strike, saying it will use central office employees, principals and temporary emergency teachers to conduct classes for the district's 37,000 students. The teachers' chief demands include a 12 percent pay raise, reductions in class sizes and the hiring of more support staff such as nurses, school psychologists and guidance counselors. The union also is opposing a plan presented by Oakland's school superintendent in November to close as many as 24 of the district's schools.




  • North Carolina elections board orders new U.S. House election

    North Carolina elections board orders new U.S. House electionThe bipartisan board's 5-0 decision came after Republican candidate Mark Harris requested a new vote, telling the panel that evidence of possible ballot fraud had undermined confidence in the election. In the televised hearing, board Chairman Bob Cordle said "the corruption" and "absolute mess" with the election's absentee ballots had cast doubt on the fairness of the contest.




  • U.S. Coast Guard officer accused of terror plot could face more charges

    U.S. Coast Guard officer accused of terror plot could face more chargesA U.S. Coast Guard lieutenant accused of amassing a cache of weapons and plotting to attack Democratic politicians and journalists was ordered held for two weeks on Thursday while federal prosecutors consider charging him with more crimes. Chris Hasson, 49, appeared in a burgundy jumpsuit but did not speak during a brief hearing in federal court in Greenbelt, Maryland. "There is an intent to murder innocent civilians," U.S. Attorney Jennifer Sykes told Judge Charles Day.




  • Army landlords agree to expand tenant rights, curb fees in latest reform after Reuters reports

    Army landlords agree to expand tenant rights, curb fees in latest reform after Reuters reportsExecutives from seven real estate companies, which manage some 87,000 Army housing units at more than 40 bases, pledged a series of reforms following a Pentagon meeting earlier this week with the Army’s three senior leaders – Secretary Mark Esper, Chief of Staff Mark Milley and Sergeant Major Daniel Dailey. In one story, the news agency described how military families lack basic tenant protections in disputes with their landlords over vermin, mold and other hazards. Local inspectors generally lack enforcement authority on military bases, and base command staff said they had limited power to intervene under the companies’ 50-year contracts.




  • Catalyst Pharmaceuticals defends $375,000 drug price after Bernie Sanders rebuke

    Catalyst Pharmaceuticals defends $375,000 drug price after Bernie Sanders rebukeSanders, a vocal critic of high drug prices, had written to Florida-based Catalyst earlier this month, asking it to justify its price for Firdapse, a medication for a rare neuromuscular disease that affects about one in 100,000 people in the United States. It was also one of the campaign promises made by President Donald Trump in the 2016 elections. Last month, the Trump administration proposed a rule to overhaul the industry's system of rebates, or discounts, while Sanders unveiled legislation aimed at lowering drug prices.




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