Wed, 17 Dec 2014 20:48:36 -0500

Alan and Judy Gross walk through a parking garage after arriving for a news conference in WashingtonBy Daniel Trotta and Steve Holland HAVANA/WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States and Cuba agreed on Wednesday to restore diplomatic ties that Washington severed more than 50 years ago, and President Barack Obama called for an end to the long economic embargo against its old Cold War enemy. After 18 months of secret talks, Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro agreed in a phone call on Tuesday on a breakthrough prisoner exchange, the opening of embassies in each other's countries, and an easing of some restrictions on commerce. ...


Wed, 17 Dec 2014 18:13:46 -0500

City of Miami Mayor Tomás Regalado speaks with journalists in Little Havana in MiamiBy Zachary Fagenson and David Adams MIAMI (Reuters) - Some Cuban exiles responded with outrage. Others with ecstasy. News on Wednesday that the United States will restore diplomatic relations with Cuba for the first time in more than a half century divided America's 1.5-million-strong Cuban exile community and threatened to shake up the political landscape in the vital battleground state of Florida. ...


Wed, 17 Dec 2014 18:55:01 -0500

File photo of Markus Kaarma during an afternoon break in Missoula County Court in Missoula MontanaBy Lori Grannis MISSOULA, Mont. (Reuters) - A jury on Wednesday found a Montana homeowner guilty of deliberate homicide in the shooting death of a German high school exchange student who entered his garage in a case that tested the state's version of a "castle doctrine" self-defense law. Prosecutors painted Markus Kaarma as an armed aggressor who lured a non-violent would-be burglar to his death. Authorities say Diren Dede, 17, of Hamburg, was killed in April while "garage hopping" at night in Missoula in a possible search for alcohol. ...


Wed, 17 Dec 2014 21:07:49 -0500
HAVANA (Reuters) - Alan Gross, a 65-year-old U.S. foreign aid worker freed from a Cuban prison on Wednesday, was arrested in Cuba in 2009 and sentenced to 15 years for importing banned technology and trying to establish clandestine Internet service for Cuban Jews. Here are some facts about Gross: Gross was a longtime supporter of Jewish causes and a career development consultant who traveled the world on private contracts before taking his Cuba assignment. He had only once previously visited Cuba and spoke very limited Spanish. ...
Wed, 17 Dec 2014 21:03:32 -0500

A poster for the movie "The Interview" is taken down by a worker after being pulled from a display case at a Carmike Cinemas movie theater, Wednesday, Dec. 17, 2014, in Atlanta. Georgia-based Carmike Cinemas has decided to cancel its planned showings of "The Interview" in the wake of threats against theatergoers by the Sony hackers. (AP Photo/David Goldman)NEW YORK (AP) — Under the threat of terrorist attacks from hackers and with the nation's largest multiplex chains pulling the film from their screens, Sony Pictures Entertainment took the unprecedented step of canceling the Dec. 25 release of the Seth Rogen comedy "The Interview."


Wed, 17 Dec 2014 21:02:03 -0500

This photo provided by Columbia Pictures - Sony shows, from left, 1st AD Jonathan Watson, DP Brandon Trost, Evan Goldberg, and Seth Rogen on the set of Columbia Pictures' "The Interview." (AP Photo/Columbia Pictures - Sony, Ed Araquel)Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Thursday:


Wed, 17 Dec 2014 20:58:45 -0500

This undated photo provided by the American Kennel Club shows a Cirenco dell’Etna dog. On Wednesday, Dec. 17, 2014 the organization announced that the Cirenco dell’Etna will be recognized as a new AKC breed in 2015. (AP Photo/American Kennel Club)NEW YORK (AP) — A Spanish farm and fishing dog, a Sicilian rabbit-hunting breed, an Italian sheepdog with a distinctive matted coat and a rugged South African watchdog are joining the American Kennel Club pack.


Wed, 17 Dec 2014 20:56:33 -0500
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Police in Albuquerque, New Mexico, have released video of an officer who accidentally shot a man during a burglary investigation.
Wed, 17 Dec 2014 20:53:54 -0500
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Authorities have recovered $10 million worth of art — including paintings by Chagall and Diego Rivera — that were stolen in one of Los Angeles' largest art heists.
Wed, 17 Dec 2014 20:50:51 -0500

In this Nov. 27, 2012 file photo provided by James L. Berenthal, jailed American Alan Gross poses for a photo during a visit by Rabbi Elie Abadie and U.S. lawyer James L. Berenthal at Finlay military hospital as he serves a prison sentence in Havana, Cuba. AP sources: American Alan Gross released from Cuba after 5 years in prison. (AP Photo/James L. Berenthal, File)WASHINGTON (AP) — A senior Obama administration official says Cuba has released American Alan Gross, who has been imprisoned for five years.


Wed, 17 Dec 2014 20:50:34 -0500

FILE - In this Nov. 14, 2012, file photo, New England Compounding Center President, co-owner, and Director of Pharmacy Barry Cadden takes the fifth amendment option and declines to testify on Capitol Hill in Washington before the House Energy subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations hearing about the Fungal Meningitis Outbreak. Cadden was among 14 people from the Framingham, Mass., pharmaceutical company arrested at their homes Wednesday, Dec. 17, 2014. Tainted steroids manufactured by the pharmacy were blamed for a fungal meningitis outbreak that killed 64 people across the country. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)BOSTON (AP) — Mold and bacteria were in the air and on workers' gloved fingertips. Pharmacists used expired ingredients, didn't properly sterilize them and failed to test drugs for purity before sending them to hospitals and pain clinics. Employees falsified logs to make it look as if the so-called clean rooms had been disinfected.


Wed, 17 Dec 2014 20:49:50 -0500
By Daniel Wiessner ALBANY, N.Y. (Reuters) - When Governor Andrew Cuomo announced a ban on fracking in New York on Wednesday, he predicted "a ton of lawsuits" against the state. But that is unlikely as the end of a drilling boom has left the industry in no mood for a fight, industry experts and lawyers said. "I think most of the companies in the industry are disinterested in fighting," said Brad Gill, the executive director of the Independent Oil and Gas Association of New York, a trade group. ...
Wed, 17 Dec 2014 20:46:31 -0500

FILE - In this Nov. 6, 2014 file photo, Wei Seng Phua walks into federal court in Las Vegas. Phua, his son Darren Wai Kit Phua, and four others were arrested in July after federal agents raided three high-roller villas at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. Defense attorneys will ask U.S. Magistrate Judge Peggy Leen on Monday, Dec. 15, 2014, to throw out the evidence that was collected as the tainted result of an illegal FBI ruse. (AP Photo/John Locher, File)LAS VEGAS (AP) — A Nevada casino regulator told a federal judge that investigators spent hours briefing a federal prosecutor before employing a ruse to gain entry to high-roller suites at Caesars Palace and break up what prosecutors say was an illegal Internet sports gambling operation.


Wed, 17 Dec 2014 20:40:20 -0500

Robber targets Northeast Philadelphia cell phone storePolice are investigating a cell phone store robbery in Northeast Philadelphia.


Wed, 17 Dec 2014 20:37:36 -0500
NEW YORK (AP) — A U.S. official says North Korea perpetrated the unprecedented act of cyberwarfare against Sony Pictures that exposed tens of thousands of sensitive documents and escalated to threats of terrorist attacks that ultimately drove the studio to cancel all release plans for the film at the heart of the attack, "The Interview."
Wed, 17 Dec 2014 20:35:25 -0500
By Jeff Mason WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Though lawmakers from both political parties lambasted President Barack Obama on Wednesday for shifting U.S. policy on Cuba, Americans by and large are open to stronger ties with the communist-governed island, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll. Fewer than 20 percent of Americans oppose establishing U.S. diplomatic relations with Cuba, the poll of 31,000 adults showed. More than 40 percent of the respondents were in favor of rapprochement. Some 39 percent said they were not sure. ...
Wed, 17 Dec 2014 20:33:29 -0500
ST. JOHNSBURY, Vt. (AP) — A man accused with his wife of kidnapping and killing a teacher was sentenced on Wednesday to life in prison, with the judge saying they hunted their victim like prey.
Wed, 17 Dec 2014 20:29:09 -0500

Caltrans crews work to clean up a torrent of mud and rocks covering part of State Route 91 in Orange County early Wednesday, Dec. 17, 2014, in Yorba Linda, Calif. Cars and trucks were stuck for several hours, but no injuries were reported. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)LOS ANGELES (AP) — The latest in a string of storms noisily marched across Southern California on Wednesday, hurling lightning bolts, coating mountains with snow and unleashing downpours that triggered a freeway-blocking mudslide before mostly moving on.


Wed, 17 Dec 2014 20:28:45 -0500
TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) — Tucson police said Wednesday they will no longer fully enforce the state's landmark immigration law that requires local police to check the immigration status of people they encounter while enforcing other laws.
Wed, 17 Dec 2014 20:25:49 -0500
NEW YORK (AP) — The world's largest direct seller of cosmetics, Avon Products Inc., will pay $135 million to settle criminal and civil charges after its China unit pleaded guilty Wednesday to conspiring to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act by bribing officials there.
Wed, 17 Dec 2014 20:16:21 -0500

FILE - In this Oct. 13, 2004 file photo, Sony Pictures Entertainment Chairman and Chief Executive Michael Lynton is seen in Beverly Hills, Calif. In the weeks before hackers broke into Sony Pictures Entertainment, the studio suffered significant technology outages blamed on employees keeping too many old emails and hackers targeted executives to trick them into revealing their online credentials. The company’s chief executive regularly was reminded in unsecure emails from his executive assistant of his own secret passwords for his and his family’s mail, banking, travel and shopping accounts, according to a review of more than 32,000 stolen corporate emails circulating on the Internet. (AP Photo/Danny Moloshok, File)WASHINGTON (AP) — In the weeks before hackers broke into Sony Pictures Entertainment, the studio suffered significant technology outages it blamed on software flaws and incompetent technical staffers who weren't paying attention, even as hackers targeted executives to trick them into revealing their online credentials.


Wed, 17 Dec 2014 20:02:19 -0500

Heavy security surrounding the entrance of United Artists theater during premiere of the film "The Interview" in Los AngelesWASHINGTON (AP) — A U.S. official says federal investigators have now connected the Sony Pictures Entertainment Inc. hacking to North Korea and may make a statement in the near future.


Wed, 17 Dec 2014 19:55:38 -0500
By Amanda Orr HOUSTON (Reuters) - A Houston-area plumbing company owner has been getting threatening phone calls after one of his former work trucks turned up in a photograph on a Twitter feed that appears to show a militant group fighting in Syria's civil war. Jeff Oberholtzer traded in a Ford F-250 more than a year ago that bore the name of his father's 32-year old family business "Mark-1 Plumbing" in large white letters on the door as well as the company's phone number, according to local reports. ...
Wed, 17 Dec 2014 19:53:10 -0500

This undated photo provided by the Montgomery County Office of the District Attorney in Norristown, Pa., shows Bradley William Stone, 35, of Pennsburg, Pa., a suspect in six shooting deaths in Montgomery County on Monday, Dec. 15, 2014. District Attorney Risa Vetri Ferman said all of the victims have a "familial relationship" to Stone. (AP Photo/Montgomery County Office of the District Attorney)PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Former Marines who served with a man believed to have killed his ex-wife and five of her relatives said he fought constantly with her, although a Veterans Administration psychiatrist deemed him free of any suicidal or homicidal thoughts a week before the deadly rampage.


Wed, 17 Dec 2014 19:49:34 -0500

Anti-Castro activists Osvaldo Hernandez, right, and Miguel Saavedra, second from right, chant anti-Obama slogans in the Little Havana area of Miami, Wednesday, Dec. 17, 2014. Hernandez and Saavedra express their disagreement with a surprise move announced by senior Obama administration officials that could pave the way for a major shift in U.S. policy toward the communist island nation. (AP Photo/Alan Diaz)MIAMI (AP) — President Barack Obama's surprise move to re-establish ties with Cuba was applauded by the men and women in a barbershop on Calle Ocho, the heart of Miami's Cuban exile community. Waitresses stopped serving coffee at the El Pub restaurant as Obama spoke on TV. One wiped a tear from her eye as she clasped her hands, overcome with emotion at changes no one believed would come.


Wed, 17 Dec 2014 19:46:57 -0500
The murder trial of a Montana man who shot and killed 17-year-old German exchange student Diren Dede in his garage tested a state law that gives a person the right to use force or threaten to use force to protect his or her own home from unlawful entry or attack, particularly a provision known as "stand your ground." Markus Kaarma unsuccessfully invoked the law in his defense, saying he was protecting his family and property. He was convicted of deliberate homicide Wednesday. Here's a brief explanation of the law and controversy surrounding it.
Wed, 17 Dec 2014 19:44:08 -0500
HOUSTON (AP) — Houston police have charged a 38-year-old man with murder in the stabbing death of his estranged wife, whose body was found rotting in a disabled refrigerator.
Wed, 17 Dec 2014 19:44:00 -0500

Markus Kaarma during an afternoon break in Missoula County Court in Missoula MontanaMISSOULA, Mont. (AP) — A Montana man who shot and killed a German exchange student caught trespassing in his garage was convicted of deliberate homicide Wednesday despite arguing that a state "castle doctrine" law allowed him to use deadly force to protect his home and family.


Wed, 17 Dec 2014 19:42:27 -0500
By Heide Brandes OKLAHOMA CITY (Reuters) - The Oklahoma inmate put to death in a flawed April execution may have died in agonizing pain due to a troubled lethal injection mix, a medical expert on Wednesday told a U.S. court that is hearing arguments on whether to halt executions in the state. Lawyers for 21 death row Oklahoma inmates, four of whom are scheduled to be executed next year, have asked the court to halt future executions there after the flawed lethal injection of convicted murderer Clayton Lockett in April that prompted the state to set up new execution protocols. ...
Wed, 17 Dec 2014 19:34:11 -0500

File - This Oct. 9, 2014 file photo, shows an arm restraint on the gurney in the the execution chamber at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester, Okla. Attorneys for 21 death row inmates who will be in a federal court this week challenging Oklahoma's lethal injection procedure outlined their strategy in court documents that reveal grisly new details in the botched execution of an inmate in April, 2014. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki, File)OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — A doctor who examined the body of an Oklahoma inmate who died during a botched execution told a federal judge Wednesday that he is convinced the man suffered after being declared unconscious.


Wed, 17 Dec 2014 19:33:22 -0500
By Rory Carroll SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Washington Governor Jay Inslee on Wednesday laid out a plan for a carbon cap-and-trade program aimed at fighting global warming and raising $1 billion a year for state schools and public transportation initiatives, but he will first need the support of a divided state legislature. The program would place an overall limit, or cap, on the amount of carbon that large businesses and fuel distributors can emit. ...
Wed, 17 Dec 2014 19:32:35 -0500
GRANTS PASS, Ore. (AP) — A 15-year-old who shot and killed his foster father and another man at a remote Oregon cabin in 2012 never meant to kill anyone and never should have been around loaded guns due to his lack of maturity after years of abuse and other problems, a defense lawyer says.