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Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Judge: 3 Penn State ex-officials to stand trial

Judge: 3 Penn State ex-officials to stand trial 

AP Photo
Former Penn State president Graham Spanier, left, exits the Dauphin County Courthouse, Monday, July 29, 2013, in Harrisburg, Pa. Spanier faces charges in the child sex abuse scandal involving former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky.
 
HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) -- Penn State's ex-president and two former top school administrators were ordered Tuesday to stand trial on charges accusing them of a cover-up in the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal.


Prosecutors showed enough evidence during a two-day preliminary hearing to warrant a trial for ex-President Graham Spanier, former vice president Gary Schultz and ex-athletic director Tim Curley, District Judge William Wenner concluded.

Wenner called it "a tragic day for Penn State University."

The men engaged in a "conspiracy of silence," the lead state prosecutor, Bruce Beemer, said during his closing argument. They covered up their failure to tell police about a 2001 allegation that Sandusky was molesting a boy in a university locker room shower, even after they were aware that police investigated complaints about Sandusky showering with boys in 1998, Beemer said.

The key testimony centered on a series of emails among the three defendants that discussed the 1998 and 2001 cases and the testimony of Mike McQueary, a former team assistant and quarterback who said he had immediately told Schultz, Curley and the late longtime football coach Joe Paterno that he had seen Sandusky molesting a boy in the shower in 2001.

Sandusky, a defensive coordinator under Paterno until his retirement in 1999, was convicted last year of 45 counts of child sexual abuse. He maintains his innocence and is appealing a 30- to 60-year state prison term.

Anthony Lubrano, a Penn State trustee who watched the two days of testimony, said he had not expected Wenner to throw out the case, given the low level of evidence necessary to send the case to trial. However, he said, "if you get an unbiased jury (at a trial), it'll be hard to get those charges to stick."

Spanier testified to a grand jury that he was unaware of the 1998 investigation while Curley and Schultz testified that McQueary reported only that Sandusky and the boy were engaged in naked, inappropriate horseplay that made him uncomfortable. Once the defendants became aware of an investigation into Sandusky in 2010 or 2011, they did nothing to stop it, obstruct it or hide evidence, their lawyers said.

"What was reported was not a report of any activity that was sexual in nature," Spanier told the grand jury in testimony read aloud in court Tuesday. "I know better than to jump to conclusions about things like that."
The three were charged with perjury, obstruction, endangering the welfare of children, failure to properly report suspected abuse and conspiracy. Those charges include allegations of hiding evidence from investigators and lying to the grand jury.

Penn State and the Paterno family declined to comment.

Curley and Schultz were initially charged in November 2011, when Sandusky was arrested, and accused of perjury and failure to properly report the incident.

Spanier was forced out as president at that time. A year later, he was charged with covering up a complaint about Sandusky while additional charges were filed against Curley and Schultz. Spanier remains a faculty member on administrative leave.

Paterno was fired and died in January 2012.
 

Appeals court: NYC's big-soda ban unconstitutional

Appeals court: NYC's big-soda ban unconstitutional 

AP Photo
FILE - In this March 12, 2013 file photo, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg looks at a 64oz cup, as Lucky's Cafe owner Greg Anagnostopoulos, left, stands behind him. An appeals court ruled Tuesday, July 30, 2013 that New York City's Board of Health exceeded its legal authority and acted unconstitutionally when it tried to put a size limit on soft drinks served in city restaurants.

NEW YORK (AP) -- New York City's crackdown on big, sugary sodas is staying on ice.


A mid-level state appeals court ruled Tuesday that the city's Board of Health exceeded its legal authority when it voted last year to put a 16-ounce size limit on high-calorie soft drinks served in restaurants, theaters, stadiums, sidewalk food carts and many other places.

In a unanimous opinion, a four-judge panel of the state Supreme Court Appellate Division said that while the board has the power to ban "inherently harmful" foodstuffs from being served to the public, sweetened beverages don't fall into that category. Soda consumption is not necessarily harmful when done in moderation, the court wrote, and therefore "cannot be classified as a health hazard per se."

The panel didn't address whether the size limit would have infringed on personal liberties, but said that in adopting it, the health board improperly assumed broad lawmaking powers given only to legislative bodies, like the City Council.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg, the driving force behind the regulation, promised a quick appeal.

"Today's decision is a temporary setback, and we plan to appeal this decision as we continue the fight against the obesity epidemic," he said in a statement.

The American Beverage Association, which had been among the groups challenging the rule, applauded the ruling, which was the second to find that the Board of Health had overstepped its authority. A similar lower court ruling in March kept the regulation from taking effect.

"With this ruling behind us, we look forward to collaborating with city leaders on solutions that will have a meaningful and lasting impact on the people of New York City," said Beverage Association spokesman Christopher Gindlesperger.

New York's effort to cap soda portions has drawn praise from health experts lauding it as a groundbreaking step in America's war on extra weight and ridicule from late-night TV hosts ribbing the mayor as a nutrition nanny.

The drinks limit follows other Bloomberg efforts to nudge New Yorkers into better diets. His administration has forced chain restaurants to post calorie counts on menus, barred artificial trans fats from restaurant fare and challenged food manufacturers to use less salt.

Bloomberg and city Health Commissioner Thomas Farley saw soft drinks as a sensible next front in a necessary fight: reining in an obesity rate that rose from 18 to 24 percent of adults in the city within a decade. 

Studies have tied heavy consumption of sugary drinks to weight gain. A 20-ounce Coke packs more calories than a McDonald's hamburger. Diabetes, linked to excessive sugar intake, is now among the leading causes of death in New York.

Bloomberg leaves office at the end of the year, and it is unclear whether his successor will continue the legal fight. Only one candidate, Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, supports the ban. City Council President Christine Quinn, another candidate, has said she believes the city has the right to impose the ban, but wouldn't have done it herself. All the other leading candidates oppose it.

Many city residents view the drink limits as well-intentioned but too big of a reach into private conduct.

"Obesity is a big problem in our society, and that's where all the impetus for this comes from," said Francesca Delavega, 26, who moved to the city three years ago from Minnesota. "But I think people in New York also like being able to do whatever they want. And that's kind of one of the things we're known for."

Writing for the appeals panel, Justice Dianne T. Renwick did leave a slight crack in the door for some type of restriction on beverage sizes.

Nothing in the decision, she wrote, is intended to "express an opinion on the wisdom of the soda consumption restrictions, provided that they are enacted by the government body with the authority to do so."
 

Monday, July 29, 2013

Donovan McNabb Retires An Eagle, #5 To Be Retired

Donovan McNabb Retires An Eagle, #5 To Be Retired













   
Philadelphia, PA (CBS) —He’s known as “5” and it’s a number that won’t be worn again by another
Eagle.

It will be his, always his, Donovan McNabb’s number. His former teammates were there for him at the NovaCare Complex on Monday, like he was there for them throughout his career.

Donovan McNabb made it official today by retiring as an Eagle—and Eagles’ owner Jeffrey Lurie made it official saying the team will retire McNabb’s No. 5 when the Birds host Andy Reid’s Kansas City Chiefs on the nationally televised September 19 game.

For full story go to:  http://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/

8 Injured In Row Home Explosion In South Philadelphia


8 Injured In Row Home Explosion In South Philadelphia











PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Eight people, including three children, were injured following a row home explosion and collapse in Philadelphia Monday morning.

The incident happened at about 11 a.m. in the 400 block of Daly Street in South Philadelphia.

For full story go to:  http://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/

Star Witness Testifies at Hearing For Three Penn State Officials Snared in Sandusky Scandal


Star Witness Testifies at Hearing For Three Penn State Officials Snared in Sandusky Scandal

(Graham Spanier, in file photo. Credit: Hunter Martin/ Getty Images)
(Graham Spanier, in file photo. Credit: Hunter Martin/ Getty Images)

HARRISBURG, Pa. (CBS) — Former Penn State assistant football coach Mike McQueary was the leadoff witness this morning as a preliminary hearing began in the case of three former top Penn State administrators charged with covering up the Jerry Sandusky child sexual abuse scandal.

As he did at a proceeding in December 2011, McQueary testified that he witnessed a sexual incident in 2001 involving Sandusky and a boy in the Penn State football showers.

For full story go to:  http://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/

Friday, July 26, 2013

Phila. SRC Restores A Few Cut Items In Preparation For Start of School Year


Phila. SRC Restores A Few Cut Items In Preparation For Start of School Year
 










PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Some music, sports, and secretaries previously eliminated in the Philadelphia school district’s “doomsday” budget are being restored, in time for the start of classes on September 9th.

Schools superintendent William Hite says he has identified $33 million that the district can spend now to restore itinerant music teachers, fall sports, and at least one secretary per school.

For full story go to: http://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/

Man Charged For Texting Threats To Employees At Burlington County College

Man Charged For Texting Threats To Employees At Burlington County College
 
(Credit: Burlington County Prosecutor's Office)
 Burlington County Prosecutor’s Office
 
MOUNT HOLLY, N.J. (AP) — Police have charged a Mount Holly man with sending threatening text messages to employees at a New Jersey college.

The Burlington County Prosecutor’s office says 19-year-old Jared P. Eversmeyer was charged Thursday with six counts of making terroristic threats.

For full story go to:  http://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Haverford College Turns To Goat Power To Clear Unwanted Vegetation

Haverford College Turns To Goat Power To Clear Unwanted Vegetation

(Rented goats are eating unwanted underbrush at Haverford College.  Credit: John McDevitt)
Rented goats are eating unwanted underbrush at Haverford College.

HAVERFORD, Pa. (CBS) — A Main Line college is using an  environmentally friendly way to control invasive vegetation.

No chemicals and no manpower — just 28 goats gobbling up all sorts of vegetation in a one-acre section of a wooded, hilly area on the campus of Haverford College.


The animals are being rented from Brian Knox of Eco-Goats, in Maryland.

For full story go to:  http://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/

$21,000 Reward Offered In Camden Grocery Store Murder

$21,000 Reward Offered In Camden Grocery Store Murder

CAMDEN, N.J., (CBS) – Authorities hope a new cash reward will help generate leads in the 2011 shooting death of Cramer Hill bodega owner Miguel Almonte.

Police say on the night of December 5, 2011 Almonte was at his Bernard Grocery Store on N. 27th Street in Camden when at least three masked individuals entered demanding money.

For full story go to:  http://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/

Striking back against court's Voting Rights ruling

Striking back against court's Voting Rights ruling

AP Photo
Attorney General Eric Holder speaks at the National Urban League annual conference, Thursday, July 25, 2013, in Philadelphia. Holder announced Thursday the Justice Department is opening a new front in the battle for voting rights in response to a Supreme Court ruling that dealt a major setback to voter protections.

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Obama administration opened an aggressive new front in the battle over voter protection Thursday, singling out Texas for legal action and promising broader efforts to come after last month's Supreme Court ruling that wiped out a major provision of the Voting Rights Act.


It was the administration's first legal response to counter the justices' 5-4 decision, but Attorney General Eric Holder pledged that "it will not be our last."

In a speech to the National Urban League in Philadelphia, Holder called the Voting Rights Act "the cornerstone of modern civil rights law" and said that "we cannot allow the slow unraveling of the progress that so many, throughout history, have sacrificed so much to achieve."

Texas Republicans suggested the administration effort was more about politics.

"This decision has nothing to do with protecting voting rights and everything to do with advancing a partisan political agenda," Sen John Cornyn said after Holder's speech.

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott said the Obama administration seemed to be "sowing racial divide" and accused the administration of joining Texas Democrats with an eye on the 2014 elections. Abbott is running for governor.

The Supreme Court, on June 25, threw out the most powerful part of the Voting Rights Act, whose enactment in 1965 marked a major turning point in black Americans' struggle for equal rights and political power.

Holder said the first Justice Department move would be to ask a federal court in San Antonio to require advance approval for voting changes in Texas, a state riven with political battles, from redistricting to voter ID requirements.

"Even as Congress considers updates to the Voting Rights Act in light of the court's ruling, we plan, in the meantime, to fully utilize the law's remaining sections to ensure that the voting rights of all American citizens are protected," Holder said.

The Justice Department is asking that a preapproval requirement in Texas apply for 10 years and "beyond 10 years in the event of further discriminatory acts," the department said in a court filing in San Antonio.

The separate provision of the Voting Rights Act that Holder is invoking may be a difficult tool for the Obama administration to use.

A handful of jurisdictions have been subjected to advance approval of election changes through the Civil Rights Act provision it is relying on, but a court first must find that a state or local government engaged in intentional discrimination under the Constitution's 14th or 15th amendments, or the jurisdiction has to admit to discrimination. Unlike in other parts of the voting law, the discriminatory effect of an action is not enough to trigger the so-called bail-in provision.

In the Texas case, the department is not directly intervening but is filing what's known as a statement of interest in support of private groups that have filed suit.

"The fact that intervention in Texas is the Department of Justice's first action to protect voting rights" following the Supreme Court decision "speaks volumes about the seriousness of Texas' actions," said state Rep. Trey Martinez Fischer, a Democrat from San Antonio and chairman of the Mexican American Legislative Caucus, which is a plaintiff in the San Antonio case.

North Carolina may become another target for the administration's initiative.

On Wednesday, the Republican-dominated North Carolina Senate gave preliminary approval to sweeping election law changes, including a requirement that voters present photo Identification at the polls and a shortening of early voting by a week.

In Texas, Holder said, there is a history of "pervasive voting-related discrimination against racial minorities."

Based on evidence of intentional racial discrimination presented last year in a redistricting case, "we believe that the state of Texas should be required to go through a preclearance process whenever it changes its voting laws and practices," said Holder.

In its filing in San Antonio, the Justice Department said that "in every redistricting cycle since 1970, courts have similarly found that one or more of Texas' statewide redistricting plans violated the voting guarantees of the Constitution or provisions of the Voting Rights Act."

A three-judge panel in San Antonio has been looking at Texas voting maps for state and congressional redistricting since 2011, when the court threw out boundaries drawn by a then-GOP supermajority in the statehouse.

An ensuing legal battle between the state and a coalition of minority rights groups upset the 2012 elections in Texas, delaying party primaries that ultimately used temporary maps drawn by the court.

Under the direction of GOP Gov. Rick Perry last month, the Legislature ratified those interim maps as permanent over the objection of Democrats, who still contend the maps are biased and underrepresent minorities.

On Thursday, Perry called the Obama administration's actions an "end-run around the Supreme Court."

Last year, a federal court in Washington, D.C., found that Texas lawmakers had intentionally discriminated against minorities in drawing political maps and that the state's voter ID law would disenfranchise minority voters. But the Supreme Court decision throwing out part of the Voting Rights Act removed the power of that court to stop those measures from going into effect.

Minority groups asked the three-judge panel in San Antonio last month to adopt the findings of the District of Columbia court and require Texas to submit all proposed voting-law changes for prior court review. Holder's announcement places the Justice Department on the San Antonio minority groups' side.

Last month, the Supreme Court effectively gutted the part of the Voting Rights Act under which all or parts of 15 mainly Southern states had been required to submit all voting changes for approval from Washington before they could take effect.

The decision, written by Chief Justice John Roberts, said it was no longer fair to subject those jurisdictions to strict federal monitoring based on data that was at least 40 years old. Such extraordinary intrusion on state power to conduct elections could be justified only by current conditions, Roberts said.

"There is no denying, however, that the conditions that originally justified these measures no longer characterize voting in the covered jurisdictions," the chief justice said.
 

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

State To Get Its Turn In Pa. Voter ID Trial

State To Get Its Turn In Pa. Voter ID Trial
 
(A sign outside a Penndot office advertises the availability of voter ID cards which the law, later delayed, would have required on Election Day.  File photo by John Ostapkovich)
A sign outside a Penndot office advertises the availability
of voter ID cards which the law, later delayed, would have
required on Election Day.
 
HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — It’s the state’s turn to make its case that Pennsylvania’s voter identification law conforms to the state constitution.

Lawyers in the 8-day-old Commonwealth Court trial are to begin presenting witnesses Wednesday.

For full story go to:  http://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/

2 Teens Swept Away In Neshaminy Creek Identified

2 Teens Swept Away In Neshaminy Creek Identified 











TREVOSE, Pa. (CBS) – The search continues for two missing teens who were last seen swimming with a friend in Neshaminy Creek Tuesday night. That friend made it to shore, but his friends were swept away and the families of the two missing teenagers are trying to hold on to hope as they face a harsh reality .

It’s been 20 hours since anyone last saw 18-year-old Dan Tadrzynski and Perry Krewson of Bensalem Township. The search began shortly after police got the call around 10:30 p.m. Tuesday and it has been on-going, though officials did have to scale back the search in the water of the creek, as it was just too dangerous.

For full story go to: http://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/

By George! Britain's little prince gets a name

By George! Britain's little prince gets a name 

AP Photo
Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge, carries her new born son, the Prince of Cambridge, who was born on Monday. into public view for the first time. outside the Lindo Wing of St. Mary's Hospital, in London, Tuesday, July 23, 2013. The boy will be third in line to the British throne.
 
LONDON (AP) -- The little prince was in need of a name, and now, by George, he's got one.


Make that three: George Alexander Louis.

The announcement Wednesday that Prince William and his wife, Kate, had selected a moniker steeped in British history came as royal officials said the new parents were seeking quiet family time away from the flashbulbs and frenzy that accompanied the birth of their first child.

While the news put to rest intense speculation over what name the couple would choose, the extreme interest around it illustrated how the 2-day-old future heir is already on his way to a lifetime of fanfare and public glare.

Kensington Palace said William and Kate were "delighted to announce" their son's name, adding that the baby will be known as "His Royal Highness Prince George of Cambridge."

The name George - borne by six kings - befits the boy now third in line to the British throne and was a favorite among British bookmakers, evoking the steadfastness of the queen's father, George VI, who rallied the nation during World War II.

Alexander is a name shared by three medieval Scottish kings, and Louis could be a tribute to Lord Louis Mountbatten, uncle to the queen's husband, Prince Philip, and the last British viceroy of India before it gained independence in 1947. William's father, Prince Charles, was close to Mountbatten, who was assassinated by the Irish Republican Army in 1979.

The announcement of the name, just two days after the baby's birth, was quick by royal standards. Queen Elizabeth II and Philip took a month before settling on the name Charles for the Prince of Wales. Charles and Princess Diana took a week before settling on William's four names.

While a king usually rules under his given name, precedent shows that the prince is not hidebound by George. The first name of George VI was actually Albert, but he picked his fourth name to use as sovereign in honor of his father, George V.

For now, palace officials say, William and Kate are spending "private and quiet time for them to get to know their son." Some of their discussions may revolve around how to shield him from the media.

The young prince's relationship with the media appeared to get off to a good start - an encouraging sign for a royal family that has had tense moments with the press.

The baby slept through his first photo op Tuesday outside London's St. Mary's Hospital, while his parents beamed as they chatted easily with reporters.

"I thought, `Is this an Oscar-winning performance?'" said Ingrid Seward, editor-in-chief of Majesty magazine. "But I think they were so genuinely overjoyed that they wanted to show off the baby."

After leaving the hospital, the couple introduced their son to his uncle, Prince Harry, and to great-grandmother Queen Elizabeth II, who was keen to see the baby before she starts her annual summer vacation in Scotland later this week.

Then they headed to see Kate's parents in their village near London - pretty much like any regular family.

There has been so much royal drama in the last few decades that it's easy to forget William had, by royal standards, a relatively normal childhood.

His parents' troubled marriage may have ended in divorce, but Charles and Diana were devoted parents who tried to spend as much time as possible with their children, albeit with an assist from nannies. While the queen was sometimes away on official tours for months at a time when her children were young, Charles and Diana took William along on a tour to Australia when he was just 9 months old.

The queen was educated at home, in keeping with royal tradition. But she sent her own children to boarding schools, and Charles and Diana did the same with William and Harry - choosing Eton, one of the most prestigious boys' schools in the country.

"William's childhood was normal by upper-middle-class standards - private schools, expensive holidays, McDonald's in a smart part of town as opposed to a grotty part of town," said royal historian Robert Lacey. 

"I think, really, one is going to see more of the same."

Lacey said Kate's middle-class background will also help ensure her son gets a broader world view than some of his royal predecessors. The baby's maternal grandparents, Carole and Michael Middleton, are self-made millionaires who run a party-planning business from the village of Bucklebury, west of London.

"From Buckingham Palace to Bucklebury - these are the two elements that will be in this child's upbringing," Lacey said.

Lacey noted that on Kate's side the baby prince had "a grandfather who started off dispatching aircraft from Heathrow Airport and a grandmother who started out as a flight attendant and grew up on a council estate, who came from coal-mining stock in Durham" in northern England.

"That is all funneling through," he said.

William's childhood normality was possible because the palace struck a deal with the media: privacy in exchange for a number of agreed-upon photo opportunities at birthdays and during school holidays.

Seward said Kate and William will try to arrange a similar deal for their son. "When they have got time to think, they will have to do some kind of deal with the press," she said. "In return for some really beautiful photographs, they will be left alone."

British media adhered to the agreement while William and Harry were children. But once they reached adulthood, all bets were off. Photos soon appeared of Prince Harry on drunken nights out, or wearing a Nazi outfit to a costume party. Tabloid reporters were also secretly hacking the mobile phone voice mails of royal aides to get scoops.

The revelation of the scale of that illegal eavesdropping - on celebrities, politicians and crime victims, as well as the royals - horrified the British public and chastened the rambunctious press, although that may be a temporary state of affairs.

Palace officials still have some sway over newspaper editors. When they complained about photos of William and Kate walking on a beach near their home in Wales, British newspapers did not run them.

The foreign media is much harder to control, as the palace learned when an Italian magazine ran topless pictures of Kate taken during a holiday in France.

Still, Lacey points out, the media scrutiny can cut both ways.

This baby will be the first future monarch to grow up in the era of Twitter, Facebook and other social media, giving him "an incredible insight into how the country and population he is supposed to represent live and breathe," Lacey said.

"In the Middle Ages, we have legends of idealistic princes who would dress in ordinary clothes and go out into the streets of town after dark to see how their subjects lived. The electronic media, for all their hazards, do offer this new dimension to an heir."

While Kate and William get to know little George away from the media frenzy that surrounded his birth, there is one royal appearance on the horizon: The new parents are expected to soon choose a photographer for the baby's first official portrait.
 

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

UPDATE: Missing Teen Brothers Found In Hatfield Township

UPDATE: Missing Teen Brothers Found In Hatfield Township

(credit: Hatfield Township Police Department)

HATFIELD Twp., Pa., (CBS) – Police in Hatfield Township, Montgomery County have located two teenaged brothers who apparently ran away from home on two separate days over the weekend.

Hatfield Township Police say they was contacted by a concerned citizen after she observed 14-year-old Chadd Seward and his 15-year-old brother Mark walking along Line Lexington Road.

For full story go to:  http://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/

Monday, July 22, 2013

1 Dead, 1 Injured In Shootout With Philadelphia Police


1 Dead, 1 Injured In Shootout With Philadelphia Police
 
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — One suspect was killed and another is in critical condition after a shootout with police in Philadelphia Monday afternoon.

Investigators say both suspects were wanted in connection with several recent homicides in Philadelphia.
The incident happened at about 1:15 p.m. in the 6600 block of Musgrave Street in the city’s Germantown section.

For full story go to:  http://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/

Dennis Farina, star of 'Law & Order,' dead at 69

Dennis Farina, star of 'Law & Order,' dead at 69 

AP Photo
FILE - In this Jan. 25, 2012 file photo, Dennis Farina arrives at the premiere for the HBO television series "Luck" in Los Angeles. Farina died suddenly on Monday, July 22, 2013, in Scottsdale, AZriz., after suffering a blood clot in his lung. He was 69.

NEW YORK (AP) -- Dennis Farina, a onetime Chicago cop who as a popular character actor played a TV cop on "Law & Order" during his wide-ranging career, has died.


Death came Monday morning in a Scottsdale, Ariz., hospital after Farina suffered a blood clot in his lung, according to his publicist, Lori De Waal. He was 69.

For three decades, Farina was a character actor who displayed remarkable dexterity, charm and toughness, making effective use of his craggy face, husky frame, ivory smile and ample mustache. He could be as dapper as Fred Astaire and as full of threat as Clint Eastwood. His gift has been described as wry, tough-guy panache, and audiences loved him for it.

"Sometimes you can take those dramatic roles and maybe interject a little humor into them, and I think the reverse also works," Farina said in a 2007 interview with The Associated Press. "One of the funny things in life to me is a guy who takes himself very seriously."

Farina's many films include "Saving Private Ryan," (1998), "Out Of Sight" (1998), "Midnight Run" (1988), "Manhunter" (1986), and his breakout and perhaps most beloved film, "Get Shorty" (1995), a comedic romp where he played a Miami mob boss.

He recently completed shooting a comedy film, "Lucky Stiff."

Among his numerous TV roles was Detective Joe Fontana on "Law & Order" during the 2004-06 seasons, replacing longtime cast member Jerry Orbach in the ensemble.

"Law & Order" executive producer Dick Wolf said he was "stunned and saddened to hear about Dennis' unexpected passing this morning. The `Law & Order' family extends sympathy and condolences to his family."

Also on TV, Farina was a regular in the star-studded though short-lived 2011-12 HBO horse-track drama "Luck."

He starred in the 1980s cult favorite "Crime Story," and his stylish private-eye drama "Buddy Faro" (1998) was warmly received if little-watched. He followed that up with a 2002 sitcom flop, "The In-Laws."

Last season he guest-starred on the Fox comedy "New Girl."

A veteran of the Chicago theater, Farina appeared in Joseph Mantegna's "Bleacher Bums" and "Streamers," directed by Terry Kinney, among other productions.

Born Feb. 29, 1944, Farina was raised in a working-class neighborhood of Chicago, the seventh child of Italian immigrants.

After three years in the U.S. Army, he served with the Chicago Police Department for 18 years, both as a uniformed officer (he was there for the 1968 Chicago riots) and a burglary detective, before he found his way into acting as he neared his forties.

His first film was the 1981 action drama "Thief," directed by Michael Mann - a future collaborator on numerous projects as recently as "Luck" - whom he had met through a mutual friend.

In "Thief" he landed a small role as a criminal henchman, and, while not initially planning a career change, found the film world "very interesting," as he told the AP in 2004, and concluded it could be a great sideline. (At the time, he was supplementing his cop's salary by working as a security guard.)

"I remember going to the set that day and being intrigued by the whole thing. I liked it. And everybody was extremely nice to me," he recalled, while cautioning, "If the people were rude and didn't treat me right, things could have gone the other way."

He continued to work as a detective while taking occasional dramatic roles, and even took a leave of absence from the Chicago police to star in "Crime Story," before he made the full-time acting plunge.

"If I'm characterized as a character actor, that's fine with me," he said in 2007. "Whatever they want to call me is fine. In the kind of roles I do, you can do them and walk away from it and have a really nice time."

Farina is survived by three sons, six grandchildren and his longtime partner, Marianne Cahill.
 

Dubai pardons woman at center of rape dispute

Dubai pardons woman at center of rape dispute 

AP Photo
Norwegian Marte Deborah Dalelv, 24, arrives at the Norwegian Seaman's Club in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Monday, July 22, 2013. Dalelv at the center of a Dubai rape claim dispute said Sunday that officials have dropped her 16-month sentence for having sex outside marriage and she is free to leave the country.

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) -- With her passport back in hand, a Norwegian woman at the center of a Dubai rape claim dispute said Monday that officials dropped her 16-month sentence for having sex outside marriage in the latest clash between the city's Islamic-based legal codes and its international branding as a Western-friendly haven.

Dubai authorities hope the pardon of the 24-year-old woman will allow them to sidestep another potentially embarrassing blow to the city's heavily promoted image as a forward-looking model of luxury, excess and cross-cultural understanding.

"I am very, very happy," Marte Deborah Dalelv told The Associated Press after she was cleared by the order of Dubai's ruler. "I am overjoyed."

But the case points to wider issues embedded in the rapid rise of Gulf centers such as Dubai and Qatar's capital of Doha, host for the 2022 World Cup. These cities' cosmopolitan ambitions often find themselves at odds with the tug of traditional views on sex and alcohol.

Both alcohol consumption without a proper license and sex outside marriage are outlawed, but the rules are difficult to enforce and generally only become an issue if authorities are alerted. Most foreign residents and visitors coast through Dubai's tolerant lifestyle. Women in full Islamic coverings shop alongside others in miniskirts, and liquor flows at resorts and restaurants. Yet once authorities determine a legal line has been crossed, it's often difficult and bewildering for the suspects.

Nowhere in the region are the two sides more in potential conflict than Dubai, where the expatriate workforce outnumbers locals 5-to-1 and millions of tourists arrive each year with high-end fun on their minds.

Dalelv, in Dubai for a business meeting, said she told police in March that she was raped by a co-worker after a night that included cocktails. She was held in custody for four days and sentenced last week for illicit sex outside marriage and alcohol consumption.

The alleged attacker, identified as a 33-year-old Sudanese man, was charged with the same offenses and received a 13-month sentence. He also cleared by a pardon, according to Dalelv.

Rape prosecutions are complicated in the United Arab Emirates because - as in some other countries influenced by Islamic law - conviction requires either a confession or the testimony of adult male witnesses.

In a twist that often shocks Western observers, allegations of rape can boomerang into illegal sex charges for the accuser. In 2008, an Australian woman said she was jailed for eight months after claiming she was gang-raped at a UAE hotel.

The fears of sex-outside-marriage charges also lead some single domestic workers in the UAE to abandon their babies or seek back-room abortions.

Other, less serious, cases have also shed light on the tensions in Dubai between cosmopolitan modernity and Muslim legal codes and tribal traditions. In 2009, a British couple was sentenced to one month each in prison after an Emirati woman claimed they engaged in an overly passionate kiss. Motorists have been convicted for a rude gesture in a moment of road rage.

"I have my passport back. I am pardoned," said Dalelv, who worked for an interior design firm in Qatar. "I am free."

There was no immediate word from Dubai officials, including whether the pardon was linked to traditions of clemency during the current Islamic holy month of Ramadan.

"I have my life back," added Dalelv. "This is a great day."

Her mother, Evelyn Dalelv, told the AP from Norway she is "incredibly happy" at the outcome, but thinks her daughter would consider returning to the Middle East after further study in interior design.

"Luckily, she is going back to study in Oslo in the autumn," she said.

A statement Saturday from Dalelv's Qatar-based employer, Al Mana Interiors, said she was dismissed from her job after she "ceased communications" with the company following the alleged rape. But Thomas Lundgren, owner of The ONE, the Dubai-based company that franchises Al Mana, was quoted Monday by Arabianbusiness.com as saying that the firing was "a mistake" and said she can return if she wants.

In Norway, Foreign Minister Espen Barth Eide posted a Twitter message: "Marte is released! Thanks to everyone who signed up to help."

Barth Eide told the Norwegian news agency NTB that international media attention and Norway's diplomatic measures helped Dalelv, who was free on appeal with her next court hearing scheduled for early September. Norway also reminded the United Arab Emirates of obligations under U.N. accords to seriously investigate claims of violence against women.

"The United Arab Emirates and Dubai is a rapidly changing society. This decision won't only affect Marte Dalelv, who can travel home now if she wishes to, but also serve as a wake-up call regarding the legal situation in many other countries," Barth Eide was quoted as saying.

Norway's Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg wrote on Twitter: "Happy that Marte has been pardoned and that she is a free woman again."

Dalelv said she planned to leave the UAE soon, but first wanted "to thank some very special people," including local groups that supported her. She had been staying at a Norwegian-linked aid center.

The AP does not identify the names of alleged sexual assault victims, but Dalelv went public voluntarily to talk to media.

In an interview with the AP last week, she recalled that she fled to the hotel lobby and asked for the police to be called after the alleged attack. The hotel staff asked if she was sure she wanted to involve the police, Dalelv said.

"Of course I want to call the police," she said. "That is the natural reaction where I am from."

Norway's foreign minister said he and other "very high level" Norwegian officials had been in daily contact with counterparts in the United Arab Emirates since the verdict against Dalelv.

"We have made very clear what we think about this verdict and what we think about the fact that one is charged and sentenced when one starts out by reporting alleged abuse," Barth Eide said.

In London, a rights group monitoring UAE affairs urged authorities to change laws to "ensure victims are protected, feel comfortable reporting crimes and are able to fairly pursue justice."

"While we are pleased that Marte can now return home to Norway, her pardon still suggests that she was somehow guilty of a crime," said Rori Donaghy, a spokesman for the Emirates Center for Human Rights. 

"Until laws are reformed, victims of sexual violence in the UAE will continue to suffer in this way and we will likely see more cases such as this one."

Wis. man who killed neighbor teen gets life term

Wis. man who killed neighbor teen gets life term
AP Photo
FILE - This combination of file photo shows Particia Larry, right, on June 2, 2012, in MIlwaukee, holding a picture of her son son Darius Simmons, and John Henry Spooner, left, in a photo provided by the Milwaukee County Sheriff's Department. Spooner, who shot fatally shot Simmons, his teenage neighbor, was sentenced to life in prison Monday, July 22, 2013, with no chance of parole.
 
MILWAUKEE (AP) -- A 76-year-old Milwaukee man who said he was seeking justice when he shot and killed his teen neighbor after accusing the boy of burglary was sentenced Monday to life in prison with no chance of parole.


John H. Spooner, who was convicted last week of first-degree intentional homicide, acknowledged shooting 13-year-old Darius Simmons in the chest last year while the teen's mother watched.

The conviction carried a mandatory sentence of life in prison, although Judge Jeffrey Wagner had the option to allow for the possibility of parole. He rejected that option, meaning Spooner - who has lung cancer and other physical ailments - will die in prison.

Some of Spooner's shotguns were stolen in a break-in at his home in May 2012, and he told the jury he suspected Darius as the thief. Footage from Spooner's own surveillance cameras two days later showed him confronting Darius on the sidewalk, pointing a gun at the boy's chest and firing from a few feet away. Darius turned and fled, and then collapsed and died in the street moments later as his mother cradled him in her arms.

Police searched the boy's home later that day and didn't find the weapons.

Darius' mother, Patricia Larry, has a wrongful-death lawsuit pending against Spooner. After jurors rejected Spooner's insanity plea on Friday she told reporters "justice was served."

Spooner never denied shooting the boy. He testified, against his attorney's advice, that he killed Darius because he really wanted his guns back. He also acknowledged wanting to kill the teen's brother when the older boy ran to Darius' aid as he lay dying in the street. But Spooner said he didn't shoot the brother because he didn't want to hit any of the others who had gathered around.

When prosecutor Mark Williams suggested Spooner killed Darius for revenge, Spooner replied, "I wouldn't call it revenge. I would call it justice."

Defense attorney Franklyn Gimbel conceded from the outset of the one-week trial that Spooner killed the boy. He argued that the homicide might have been reckless but not intentional, because Spooner didn't mean for the shot to be fatal. The jury deliberated for about an hour before rejecting that argument.

That verdict set the stage for a second phase of the trial to determine whether he was mentally competent at the time. A doctor retained by the defense testified that Spooner had anger issues that caused him to periodically detach from reality. Williams argued that Spooner just had anger issues and aggressive impulses.
 

Ohio man charged with murder after 3 bodies found

Ohio man charged with murder after 3 bodies found 

AP Photo
Michael Madison glances at court-appointed attorney Marlene Rideenour during his arraignment in East Cleveland on Monday, July 22, 2013. Madison has been charged with aggravated murder in the deaths of three women found in garbage bags in the city over the weekend.
 
EAST CLEVELAND, Ohio (AP) -- An Ohio man possibly influenced by a serial killer was charged Monday with aggravated murder after three bodies wrapped in trash bags were found in suburban Cleveland.


A call to police Friday led authorities to a home and a standoff with the man, who was eventually taken into custody, East Cleveland Mayor Gary Norton said.

Michael Madison, 35, was charged with three counts each of aggravated murder and kidnapping. He didn't enter a plea at a brief court appearance where bail was set at $6 million. He also waived his right to a preliminary hearing.

Police and volunteers scoured about 40 empty homes Sunday until their search was suspended, with no immediate plans to resume.

Authorities said they had identified only one of the victims, Angela Deskins, who was believed to be 38 years old. The other two bodies were too badly decomposed to identify. The medical examiner also said he couldn't determine at this time a cause of death because of the bodies' conditions.

Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner Thomas Gilson said fingerprints, dental records and DNA genetic material would be used to try to identify the other two victims. One had numerous tattoos, including the left thumb, left forearm, left thigh and left breast.

At some point, Gilson said, his office might seek DNA samples from relatives of missing women who might be victims.

Ali Bilal, 31, of East Cleveland, sitting in the neighborhood where the bodies were found, said he knew Deskins casually and called her friendly and nice to be around.

"I knew her as a nice person. We spoke here and there, she used to come over and talk to my brother," he said. "For the most part, she was a sweetheart, real nice conversation, pretty much a good person to talk to, good person to be around."

He wasn't familiar with her personal life.

The mayor has said the suspect indicated he might have been influenced by the earlier case of a Cleveland serial killer convicted in the deaths of 11 women.

Norton thanked law enforcement agencies for their help. Without it, he said, "We might not have accomplished the apprehension of a suspect who we believe if left on the street just one day longer may have put the lives of others in danger."

The first body was found in a garage Friday. Two others were found Saturday - one in a backyard and the other in the basement of a vacant house. The bodies, all women, were found about 100 to 200 yards apart, and authorities say the victims were killed in the previous six to 10 days.

The charges read in court specified a wider time frame for the alleged crimes - days or months before the bodies were found. The mayor and police chief left a news conference without taking questions on the timing of the alleged crimes.

Each body was wrapped in a plastic bag in the fetal position. "It didn't look like a person could actually fit in the bag," said East Cleveland Police Chief Ralph Spotts.

Police and volunteers spent all day Sunday searching for more evidence, until their search was suspended, Spotts said. Norton said Monday that no additional bodies were found, but Spotts stressed that the investigation remained open.

It's the third recent high-profile case in the Cleveland area that involves missing women.

In May, three women who separately vanished about a decade ago were found captive in a run-down house. Ariel Castro, a former school bus driver, has been charged with nearly 1,000 counts of kidnap, rape and other crimes and has pleaded not guilty.

Castro is accused of repeatedly restraining the women, sometimes chaining them to a pole in a basement, to a bedroom heater or inside a van. The charges say one of the women tried to escape and he assaulted her with a vacuum cord around her neck. He also fathered a daughter with one captive, authorities said.

In 2009, Anthony Sowell was arrested after a woman escaped from his house and said she had been raped there. Police found the mostly nude bodies of 11 women throughout the home.

Sowell's victims ranged in age from 24 to 52, all were recovering or current drug addicts and most died of strangulation; some had been decapitated, and others were so badly decomposed that coroners couldn't say with certainty how they died.

He was found guilty in 2011 and sentenced to death.
 

Saturday, July 20, 2013

New Castle County Man 1st Delaware Heat Death Of Year

New Castle County Man 1st Delaware Heat Death Of Year
 
(Credit: Thinkstock) 
 
NEW CASTLE, Del. (AP) — Health officials in Delaware say a New Castle County man who was found unresponsive Wednesday is the state’s first heat-related death of the year.

The Delaware Department of Health and Social Services said Saturday that the Medical Examiner’s Office ruled the man’s death an accident and said heat exposure contributed to his death. The Medical Examiner’s

Office said the man had an underlying medical condition.

For full story go to:  http://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/

Hundreds Attend ‘Justice For Trayvon’ Rally In Center City

Hundreds Attend ‘Justice For Trayvon’ Rally In Center City












PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A rally was held outside of the federal courthouse in Center City Saturday afternoon to urge the Justice Department to file civil rights charges against George Zimmerman, who was acquitted of murder in the shooting death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin.

Another rally to support Trayvon Martin was held in North Philadelphia at the Bright Hope Baptist Church on 12th street at the same time; two events with one message.

For full story go to:  http://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/

Superman is coming back _ this time with Batman

Superman is coming back _ this time with Batman 

AP Photo
This film publicity image released by Warner Bros. Pictures shows Henry Cavill as Superman in "Man of Steel."

SAN DIEGO (AP) -- Superman is coming back, and he'll have a caped co-star.

"Man of Steel" director Zack Snyder made a surprise appearance at Comic-Con on Saturday to announce he is making another Superman film and it will include Batman - the first time the two superheroes will be united on the big screen.

He declined to reveal many details, saying the script is just being written. He then invited an actor onstage to read a passage to hint at the story line.

"I am the man who beat you," read Harry Lennox, before an image of the Superman logo, backed by the Batman symbol, flashed on the screen.

Warner Bros. confirmed the first-ever pairing in a statement.

Snyder reimagined Superman in his June blockbuster "Man of Steel," starring Henry Cavill and Amy Adams. The film has grossed more than $630 million worldwide.

Cavill and Adams will appear in the sequel, Warner Bros. said.

Reaction to the news stunned Twitter and left fans at Comic-Con giddy.

"Personally, I love him," said Claudia Gomez, who was wearing a Batman T-shirt while her niece, Ana, wore a Superman shirt.

Gomez, who traveled to Comic-Con from Mexico City, said the pairing of both heroes left her optimistic about a new Superman film.

Benjamin Ha, who dressed as Superman to his wife's Wonder Woman, said bringing the two superheroes together will yield fireworks.

"They're both alpha males," he said.

Production is set to begin next year and the film is expected to be released in the summer of 2015.

No signs Washington to come to Detroit's rescue

No signs Washington to come to Detroit's rescue 

AP Photo
The Detroit skyline rises behind the Monument to Joe Louis, also known as "The Fist," Thursday, July 18, 2013. State-appointed emergency manager Kevyn Orr asked a federal judge permission to place Detroit into Chapter 9 bankruptcy protection.
 
WASHINGTON (AP) -- During the bleakest days of the Great Recession, Congress agreed in bipartisan votes to bail out two of Detroit's biggest businesses, General Motors and Chrysler.


Today, however, there seems little appetite from either Democrats or Republicans in Washington for a federal rescue of the birthplace of the automobile industry. Detroit now stands as the largest American city ever to file for bankruptcy protection.

Such a bailout would be huge, perhaps as much as $20 billion. Federal resources are strained, with the national debt at $16.7 trillion and the federal government struggling under the constraints of automatic spending cuts that took effect in March.

President Barack Obama has had a hard enough time getting his present proposals though Congress, where Democrats hold a narrow majority in the Senate and Republicans are in firm control of the House.

"I think it would be a waste of the president's time to even propose it. His plate is so full and throwing Detroit into the mix is the last thing in the world he'd want," said Ross Baker, a political science professor at Rutgers University who specializes in Congress. "I think the era of big government bailouts is over."

Political leaders in Washington haven't pushed for a bailout of Detroit, which was the nation's fourth-largest city in the 1950s but since has had a declining population, accelerated by hard times for the auto industry during and right after the punishing 2008-2009 recession.

Congress is still in near-gridlock territory. Opportunities for spending vast sums of money on a bailout for Detroit seem severely limited. The White House is taking a wait-and-see approach, but clearly exhibiting little enthusiasm for another big bailout.

"Can we help Detroit? We don't know," Vice President Joe Biden said in a response to a reporter's question about a possible federal rescue. Presidential spokesman Jay Carney, when asked directly if a bailout was a possibility, appeared to rule out such assistance.

"We will, of course, as we would with any city in this country, work with that city and have policy discussions with leaders in the city, and make suggestions and offer assistance where we can," Carney said. "But on the issue of insolvency ... that's something that local leaders and creditors are going to have to resolve. But we will be partners in an effort to assist the city and the state as they move forward."

Local leaders aren't pushing for a federal bailout after the city filed for Chapter 9 bankruptcy protection Thursday, and Republican Gov. Rick Snyder isn't, either.

"People should not expect bailouts at either the federal or the state level," Snyder said in an interview with The Associated Press. "We've been very diligent about this. We want to be a supportive partner at the state level. I believe the federal government does (too)."

Detroit's bankruptcy could last at least through summer or fall 2014, when Snyder is expected to ask voters 
for another term.

"I deeply respect the citizens of Detroit," he said. "They along with the other 9 million people in our state hired me to do this job. They're my customers. This was a tough step, a difficult decision, but it's the right decision."

Members of Michigan's congressional delegation aren't clamoring just yet for a federal bailout. "We just need to step back and think about it," said Rep. Sander Levin, D-Mich.

The city's emergency manager, Kevyn Orr, says that for now, Detroit will stay open, bills will be paid and city services provided.

But the bankruptcy case could take years to resolve. Ahead of the filing, the city's two pension funds sued to block a bankruptcy. Bankruptcy could change pension and retiree benefits, which are guaranteed under state law. The impact on current city workers is unclear.

President Gerald Ford, after threatening in 1975 to veto any bill that would bail out New York City, went along with a $2.3 billion rescue loan that had strings attached.

More recently, the federal government threw a financial lifeline to both General Motors and Chrysler (the Ford Motor Company didn't request the aid) and acted to protect major Wall Street and banking institutions from insolvency. Federal stimulus spending and rescue loans started in the final year of the George W. Bush administration and extended through the Obama presidency.

Now, with the economy slowly recovering, most of the direct government anti-recession aid has ended although the Federal Reserve continues to provide financial stimulus by keeping short-term interest rates extremely low while buying $85 billion a month in government and mortgage bonds to keep mortgage and other long-term rates low.

"The chances of a federal bailout are remote" given partisan gridlock in Washington, said Bruce Katz, a former official with the Department of Housing and Urban Development who now is director of the 
metropolitan policy program for the Washington-based Brookings Institution.

"But I don't think the federal government is off the hook," Katz said. "It is a substantial investor in Detroit. 

Whether it's community development block grants or federal contracts or assistance to nongovernmental recipients, there's a substantial amount of federal money that goes into Detroit. There's a role for the federal government. And it needs to make its resources more flexible than today and align them with the priorities of Detroit."

"A lot of this could be done administratively, but in the end it will have to have some congressional engagement. This is almost like a Hurricane Sandy situation," Katz said.

Norman Ornstein, an expert on Congress with the American Enterprise Institute, said that "despite the great success with the bailout of the auto industry," such rescues by the government "are going to be hard to come by in the future."

As to extending a helping hand for Detroit, Ornstein said it would be hard to get any federal aid package past House Republicans, "who I just can't imagine have any interest in doing anything for Detroit." The city is heavily Democratic.
 

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