AP News


Two whooping cranes shot in Louisiana PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by JANET McCONNAUGHEY, Associated Press   
Saturday, 08 February 2014 06:38

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Someone shot a pair of endangered whooping cranes that had been building practice nests in southwest Louisiana, killing the female and seriously injuring the male, state wildlife officials said Friday.

They were the only birds that had formed a mating bond last year, though they were too young to produce eggs, said Robert Love of the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries.

"They were some of our older birds and our best chance for having a more successful nest this year," said Love, the coastal and nongame resources division administrator.

"It's just sickening," he said.

Whooping cranes are among the world's largest and rarest birds, with only about 600 alive today — all descended from 15 that lived in coastal Texas in the 1940s. They are protected under state and federal laws.

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NATO trial prosecutor stands behind terror charges PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by MICHAEL TARM, Associated Press   
Saturday, 08 February 2014 06:36

CHICAGO (AP) — During an atmosphere two years ago when Chicago officials were warning demonstrations could turn violent at an upcoming NATO summit, the chief prosecutor chose to invoke an almost never-used Illinois law to charge several self-described anarchists with terrorism.

After jurors acquitted three activists Friday of all terrorism charges — convicting them instead of lesser arson and mob action counts — journalists asked Cook County state's attorney Anita Alvarez if, in hindsight, she regretted filing the more-serious charges.

"Absolutely not!" she said, her voice rising in a courtroom hallway. "I would bring these charges (again) tomorrow morning — with no apologies and no second-guessing."

Prosecutors had accused Brian Church, Jared Chase and Brent Vincent Betterly of plotting, in the weeks leading up to the summit, Molotov cocktail attacks on President Barack Obama's campaign office, Mayor Rahm Emanuel's home and police stations. Two undercover officers infiltrated their inner circle, and the young activists were arrested just days before the summit began.

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Reports: NSA gets under 30 percent of phone data PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by STEPHEN BRAUN, Associated Press   
Saturday, 08 February 2014 06:34

WASHINGTON (AP) — The National Security Agency collects less than 30 percent of calling data from Americans despite the agency's massive daily efforts to sweep up the bulk of U.S. phone records, two U.S. newspapers reported Friday.

Citing anonymous officials and sources, The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal both said the NSA's phone data collection has had a steep drop-off since 2006. According to the newspapers, the government has been unable to keep pace since then with a national surge in cellphone usage and dwindling landline use by American consumers.

The Post said the NSA takes in less than 30 percent of all call data; the Journal said it is about or less than 20 percent. In either case, the figures are far below the amount of phone data collected in 2006, when the government extracted nearly all of U.S. calling records, both newspapers reported. NSA officials intend to press for court authorization to broaden their coverage of cellphone providers to return the government to near-total coverage of Americans' calling data, the newspapers said.

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Court papers: Woman faked pregnancy, stole baby PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by RYAN J. FOLEY, Associated Press TODD RICHMOND, Associated Press   
Saturday, 08 February 2014 06:32

TOWN OF BELOIT, Wis. (AP) — An hour after a woman reported her newborn son missing from a Wisconsin home, police were questioning her step-sister — found with a prosthetic pregnancy belly, baby clothes and a stroller, but no baby, according to court documents.

It was more than 24 hours after Kayden Powell went missing before authorities discovered the infant, less than a week old, in a plastic storage crate outside an Iowa gas station, miraculously alive and well despite frigid temperatures.

Kristen Smith of Denver had pretended to be pregnant, went to Wisconsin and stole her step-sister's baby from his bassinet as his parents slept, court documents say. Then, as police closed in on her, she allegedly abandoned the infant, who was swaddled in blankets.

Federal prosecutors in Madison charged Smith with kidnapping Friday afternoon, hours after an Iowa police chief found Kayden.

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Obama resists pressure to act alone on immigration PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by DONNA CASSATA, Associated Press JIM KUHNHENN, Associated Press   
Saturday, 08 February 2014 06:31

WASHINGTON (AP) — For a president looking for a legacy piece of legislation, the current state of the immigration debate represents a high-wire act.

President Barack Obama could act alone to slow deportations, and probably doom any chance of a permanent and comprehensive overhaul. Yet if he shows too much patience, the opportunity to fix immigration laws as he wants could well slip away.

As Republican leaders dampen expectations for overhauling immigration laws this year, the White House is hoping that the GOP resistance is temporary and tactical, and Obama is resisting pressure from some political allies to take matters into his own hands and ease his administration's deportation record.

House Speaker John Boehner this week all but ruled out passage of immigration legislation before the fall midterm elections, saying Republicans had trouble trusting that Obama would implement all aspects of an immigration law.

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