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With SAG win, 'Hustle' has Oscar look of 'Argo'
Written by JAKE COYLE, AP Film Writer   
Sunday, 19 January 2014 07:06

Hollywood loves a sequel, and this awards season is shaping up to be one.

Just as "Argo" emerged as the unlikely victor over "Lincoln" last year, another 1970s-set crowd-pleaser is turning into the Academy Awards favorite over a solemn historical epic about slavery.

David O. Russell's "American Hustle" took the Screen Actors Guild Awards' top honor for outstanding cast on Saturday night, beating out Steve McQueen's acclaimed "12 Years a Slave." Because actors make up the largest branch of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the SAG Awards (which last year picked "Argo") are considered one of the best indicators of the Oscars.

Just days ago, the Academy Awards nominations set up a trio of front-runners, bestowing 10 nods on "American Hustle" and "Gravity," and nine on "12 Years a Slave." But though no actor was individually honored by the guild for "American Hustle," the Abscam tale now appears to have an edge over its Oscar rivals.

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NTSB: Pilots confused by wrong airport's lights
Written by JOAN LOWY, Associated Press   
Saturday, 18 January 2014 07:37

WASHINGTON (AP) — Southwest Airlines pilots who recently landed at the wrong airport in Missouri have told investigators they were confused by the small airport's runway lights, believing it to be a larger airport in nearby Branson, the National Transportation Safety Board said Friday.

The pilots of Southwest Flight 4013 from Chicago's Midway Airport said in interviews with investigators that they had programmed the Boeing 737 flight management system for the Branson airport, NTSB said. But as they were approaching to land at night last Sunday, they first saw the airport beacon and bright runway lights of Graham Clark Downtown Airport, located in Hollister, Mo., and mistakenly identified it as the Branson airport, which is 7 miles away.

The captain had not previously landed in Branson, and the first officer had previously landed there once, and that was during the daytime, NTSB said in an update on the incident. They didn't realize until the plane touched down that they were at the wrong airport, the NTSB said.

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Court: Bloggers have First Amendment protections
Written by JEFF BARNARD, Associated Press   
Saturday, 18 January 2014 07:24

GRANTS PASS, Ore. (AP) — A federal appeals court ruled Friday that bloggers and the public have the same First Amendment protections as journalists when sued for defamation: If the issue is of public concern, plaintiffs have to prove negligence to win damages.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ordered a new trial in a defamation lawsuit brought by an Oregon bankruptcy trustee against a Montana blogger who wrote online that the court-appointed trustee criminally mishandled a bankruptcy case.

The appeals court ruled that the trustee was not a public figure, which could have invoked an even higher standard of showing the writer acted with malice, but the issue was of public concern, so the negligence standard applied.

Gregg Leslie of the Reporters Committee for the Freedom of the Press said the ruling affirms what many have long argued: Standards set by a 1974 U.S. Supreme Court ruling, Gertz v. Robert Welch Inc., apply to everyone, not just journalists.

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Horse slaughter blocked by federal law
Written by BARRY MASSEY, Associated Press   
Saturday, 18 January 2014 07:25

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The resumption of commercial horse slaughter in the U.S. was blocked Friday as President Barack Obama signed a budget measure that withholds money for required federal inspections of the slaughtering process.

Although the measure provides temporary funding for the federal government, it stops the Agriculture Department from spending money for inspections necessary for slaughterhouses to ship horse meat interstate and eventually export it to overseas consumers.

"This clear message from Washington echoes the opinions of an overwhelming number of Americans from coast to coast: horse slaughter is abhorrent and unacceptable," said Matt Bershadker, president and CEO of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

The president's action came as a New Mexico judge granted a preliminary injunction against a Roswell company from moving forward with its plans to start slaughtering horses.

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Autopsy: Nashville singer shot in back of head
Written by TRAVIS LOLLER, Associated Press   
Saturday, 18 January 2014 07:21

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — An autopsy for a Nashville-based singer-songwriter who was killed by a bar owner shows Wayne Mills was shot in the back of the head.

Bar owner Chris Ferrell has told police he shot Mills in self-defense in the pre-dawn hours of Nov. 23. Ferrell says the two got into an argument over the musician smoking a cigarette in a no-smoking area of Ferrell's Pit and Barrel bar in downtown Nashville.

Mills was brought to Vanderbilt University Medical Center at about 5:30 a.m. and died there about twelve hours later.

According to the autopsy from the Davidson County Medical Examiner's Office, Mills died from the gunshot wound, although he also had two broken ribs plus several bruises and scrapes. The report said there was no evidence the gun was fired at close range.

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