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Texas seizes polygamist group's secluded ranch PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by Associated Press   
Friday, 18 April 2014 06:33

ELDORADO, Texas (AP) — The secluded Texas ranch where followers of imprisoned polygamist Warren Jeffs lived in near isolation was seized by state agents on Thursday, nearly six years after FBI agents raided the property and removed hundreds of children amid child sex abuse allegations.

The Texas Department of Public Safety said its agents took possession of the Yearning For Zion Ranch near Eldorado. In a statement, DPS said only eight adults were still living on the West Texas property and agreed to leave after meeting with agents. DPS said authorities helped them vacate the ranch and take an inventory.

Jeffs is serving life in prison after being convicted in 2011 of sexually assaulting two girls he took as child brides. The ranch was owned by his Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, a radical offshoot of mainstream Mormonism whose roughly 10,000 followers believe polygamy brings exaltation in heaven. They see Jeffs as God's spokesman on earth.

The state asked a judge to allow the forfeiture, alleging that FLDS leaders financed a $1.1 million purchase of the land in 2003 through money laundering. It also cited sexual assaults committed on the property. Under Texas law, authorities can seize property that was used to commit or facilitate certain criminal conduct. A judge granted the state's request in January.

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Venture investments highest since 2001 PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by BARBARA ORTUTAY, AP Technology Writer   
Friday, 18 April 2014 06:29

NEW YORK (AP) — Funding for U.S. startup companies soared 57 percent in the first quarter to a level not seen since 2001, as venture capitalists piled more money into a growing number of deals, according to a report due out Friday.

Startup investments totaled $9.47 billion in the first three months of the year, up from $6.01 billion in the first quarter of 2013. It was the highest since the second quarter of 2001, when investments reached $11.5 billion.

There were 951 deals completed in the quarter, up from 916 in the same period a year ago.

Software companies received the most money — $4 billion. Biotech was a distant second with $1.06 billion. The last time the software sector received this much money was in the fourth quarter of 2000, right as the dot-com bubble was about to burst.

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U.S.: Forfeiture deal over Iran assets sets record PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by LARRY NEUMEISTER, Associated Press   
Friday, 18 April 2014 06:30

NEW YORK (AP) — A federal judge has approved plans to sell a 36-story Manhattan office building and other properties owned by Iran nationwide in what will be the largest terrorism-related forfeiture ever, a prosecutor said Thursday.

U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said Judge Katherine Forrest approved the deal between the U.S. government and 19 holders of more than $5 billion in terrorism-related judgments against the government of Iran, including claims brought by the estates of victims killed in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

The deal calls for the Manhattan building and other forfeited assets to be sold by the U.S. Marshals Service, with the U.S. government receiving reimbursement for litigation expenses and any costs of the sales before the rest is distributed to victims of terrorist attacks. The agreement stems from a 2008 lawsuit by the government against the building's owners.

Bharara said the settlement is an important step toward "completing what will be the largest ever terrorism-related forfeiture and providing a substantial recovery for victims of terrorism."

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GM 1Q global sales up two pct. to 2.42 million PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by Associated Press   
Thursday, 17 April 2014 15:49

DETROIT (AP) — General Motors says it sold 2.42 million cars and trucks in the first three months of the year, keeping it slightly ahead of Volkswagen in the global sales race.

The Detroit automaker says its sales grew 2 percent worldwide from January through March. The company was led by 13 percent growth in China. But sales fell 2 percent in North America.

Sales leader Toyota has yet to release first quarter numbers but says it's on the way to selling 10.1 million vehicles this year.

Volkswagen says it sold 2.4 million vehicles in the first quarter, up almost 6 percent.

Toyota finished first last year with a record 9.98 million sales. General Motors Co. finished second and VW third.


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Last Updated on Thursday, 17 April 2014 15:50
 
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