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2 die, dozens hurt when Asiana Airlines jetliner crashed in San Fran

Written by  |  Tuesday, 09 July 2013 21:33  |  Published in US NEWS


SAN FRANCISCO, July 6 (UPI) -- An Asiana Airlines flight from Seoul crashed and burned in San Francisco Saturday. At least two people died and dozens were injured, officials said.

One passenger, Elliott Stone, told CNN he thought the Boeing 777, carrying 307 passengers and crew, approached the airport "a little high [then came] down a little sharp" as it approached San Francisco International Airport shortly before 11:30 a.m. PDT.

"All of a sudden, boom, the back end just hit and flies up into the air and everyone's head goes up the ceiling," said Stone, who added he leaped from the plane rather than use the stairs or an evacuation slide.

Confusion over the fate of those on board Flight 214 ended about 7:45 p.m PDT when San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee said everyone on board had been accounted for. Earlier, the city's fire chief had said more than 60 were unaccounted for, a number that was later reduced to one.

Obama, others slam ruling on Voting Rights Act

Written by  |  Tuesday, 09 July 2013 20:39  |  Published in US NEWS

WASHINGTON, June 25 (UPI) -- President Barack Obama criticized the U.S. Supreme Court decision striking down a key provision of the Voting Rights Act but the ruling drew praise elsewhere.

The provision, Section 4, identifies all or parts of 16 states, mainly in the South with a history of discrimination. A separate provision, Section 5, not struck down by the Supreme Court, forces those states to get permission -- or "preclearance" -- from the U.S. Justice Department or a three-judge federal panel in Washington to make any changes, no matter how innocuous, in how people vote in their jurisdictions. The ruling said conditions had changed and the restrictions were no longer fair.

But without the identifying the parts of the country affected, the "preclearance" requirement is meaningless.

South Carolina's attorney general praised the decision. South Carolina challenged the Voting Rights Act provisions when they were adopted in 1965.

Prop 8 proponents go back to court to try to stop same-sex marriages

Written by  |  Tuesday, 09 July 2013 20:25  |  Published in US NEWS

 LOS ANGELES, June 29 (UPI) -- Opponents of same-sex marriage in California went back to the U.S. Supreme Court Saturday to try to stop an appellate ruling opening the way for gays to marry.

The Proposition 8 Legal Defense Fund said in a release issued in Sacramento it had filed an emergency petition with the nation's highest court requesting it stop what it called the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeal's premature move to require same-sex marriage licenses in California weeks before the Supreme Court's decision even goes into effect.

Former Congressman William Gray dies

Written by  |  Tuesday, 09 July 2013 20:18  |  Published in US NEWS

WASHINGTON, July 2 (UPI) -- Former Democratic U.S. Rep. William H. Gray III, a legend in Philadelphia politics, died Monday in London, his office announced.

He was 71, and no cause of death was available, the Philadelphia inquirer said.

Expert: Evidence suggests Martin was atop Zimmerman during shooting

Written by  |  Tuesday, 09 July 2013 19:56  |  Published in US NEWS


SANFORD, Fla., July 9 (UPI) -- A gunshot expert testified in George Zimmerman's murder trial Tuesday that evidence suggests Trayvon Martin was atop George Zimmerman when Martin was shot.

Forensic pathologist and former San Antonio chief medical officer Dr. Vincent Di Maio said in the Sanford, Fla., trial the physical evidence in the case suggests Zimmerman's gun was in contact with Martin's clothing when the shot was fired, and that his clothes were two to four inches from his skin.

Police testify Trayvon's father said taped screams were not his son's

Written by  |  Tuesday, 09 July 2013 19:47  |  Published in US NEWS


SANFORD, Fla., July 8 (UPI) -- Trayvon Martin's father said screams heard in a taped 911 call were not those of his son, witnesses said in George Zimmerman's murder trial in Florida Monday.

Who made the screams, Zimmerman, the self-acknowledged shooter, or Trayvon, the 17-year-old victim, in the seconds before Trayvon was fatally wounded, has been a point of contention in the second-degree murder case in Sanford. Zimmerman maintains he killed the youth in self-defense after encountering him in a gated community the night of Feb. 26, 2012.

Prosecution rests in Zimmerman trial

Written by  |  Tuesday, 09 July 2013 19:39  |  Published in US NEWS


SANFORD, Fla., July 5 (UPI) -- The prosecution Friday rested its case in the Sanford, Fla., trial of George Zimmerman, accused of murder in the shooting death of unarmed teen Trayvon Martin.


Circuit Judge Debra Nelson rejected a defense motion for a directed verdict of acquittal, opening the way for Zimmerman's attorneys to begin presenting their case with Zimmerman's mother as the first witness.

Veteran D.C. officer cleared of threatening first lady

Written by  |  Tuesday, 09 July 2013 19:04  |  Published in US NEWS

WASHINGTON, July 9 (UPI) -- A veteran Washington police officer has been cleared of threatening first lady Michelle Obama but suspended for unbecoming conduct, his lawyer said.

Christopher Picciano, a member of Washington's elite presidential motorcade detail, was accused of saying he wanted to kill the first lady, The Washington Post reported.

Obama set to nominate Comey to head FBI

Written by  |  Thursday, 20 June 2013 16:31  |  Published in US NEWS

WASHINGTON, June 20 (UPI) -- U.S. President Barack Obama plans to nominate a former prosecutor and Bush administration official as FBI director, a White House official told Politico.

An administration official also told The Hill newspaper James Comey will be nominated Friday. The selection was first reported in May.

If confirmed by the U.S. Senate, Comey would replace Robert Mueller, who became FBI director in September 2001. Though FBI directors are limited to a 10-year term, the Senate extended Mueller's term by an additional two years at Obama's request.

Study: Hands-free in cars doesn't mean risk-free

Written by  |  Wednesday, 12 June 2013 15:44  |  Published in US NEWS

 SALT LAKE CITY, June 12 (UPI) -- Using hands-free devices to talk, text or email while driving is distracting and risky, contrary to common beliefs, a University of Utah study said Wednesday.

 The study, conducted for the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, confirmed previous research suggesting talking on a hands-free cellphone was just as distracting as using a hand-held phone while driving, a university release said.

"Our research shows that hands-free is not risk-free," lead study author David Strayer, a University of Utah psychology professor, said.

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(C) 2013 Theodore Myles