Recently in National News Category

Two Seattle women became the first same-sex couple to receive a marriage license in King County, Wash. Thursday morning, CNN reports.

Pete-e Petersen, 85, and Jane Abbott Lighty, 77, finally legitimized their 35-year relationship thanks to Washington voters approving Referendum 74 a month ago, CNN said.

Marriage licenses for same-sex couples were issued in Washington on Thursday, and will begin being issued on Dec. 29 in Maine and Jan. 1 in Maryland, according to CNN.

However, gay couples planning to get married on Jan. 1 in Maryland will be able to get post-dated marriage licenses as early as Thursday in some counties, according to officials reported by the Washington Post.

According to an opinion issued by the state Attorney General's office, clerks can issue licenses early for couples who want to wed on New Year's Day as soons as the governor formally declares that Question 6 was passed by voters, the Post said.

Gov. Martin O'Malley plans to sign such a proclamation Thursday morning, according to the Washington Post.

Clerks in about two-thirds of the state's counties plan to issue licenses before Jan. 1, reports the Post.

Occupy Sandy: political movement turned relief effort

| No Comments

Organizers of the Occupy Wall Street movement have found new project in Occupy Sandy helping with food, supplies and transportation in storm-ravaged neighborhoods surrounding New York City, the New York Times reported on Friday.

During the past two weeks, Occupy Sandy has set up distribution sites in a pair of Brooklyn churches were people can find cooked food and a wide variety of supplies, the Times said.

The organization has put together a motor pool of borrowed vehicles to shuttle volunteers to outlying neighborhoods and have construction teams and medical committees working in affected areas, according to the Times.

Volunteers who show up to the churches undergo orientation during which the volunteering process is explained as well as the group's guiding principles. They provide sensitivity training along with door-to-door training for those going out into the neighborhoods, according to the Washington Post in a story provided by the Associated Press.

Occupy Sandy now has relief centers across the city as they partner with local community and volunteer organizations to reach out to the most desperate areas, the Post said.

Man sentenced to multiple life terms for Arizona shooting

| No Comments

Jared L Loughner was sentenced to multiple life terms of life plus 140 years in prison Thursday for killing six people, wounding 12 others and the assassination attempt of former Representative Gabby Giffords, the New York Times reports.

Loughner originally pleaded not guilty to 49 charges from the shooting spree based on a history of mental illness, but was ruled competent to stand trial in August, according to CNN.

Prosecutors agreed to a plea deal with Loughner if he pleaded guilty to 19 charges in exchange for the sentence to avoid the death penalty, but instead would face life in prison without possibility of parole, CNN said.

Loughner waived his right to address the court, but many of victims of the January 2011 shooting took the stand to give their testimony including Giffords, whose husband Mark Kelly spoke on her behalf, according to the New York Times.

"We have all come here today seeking something...resolution, closure...I came to the courtroom today seeking peace. Not just for today but for the days ahead," Pamela Simon testified.

The victims and their families approved of the plea deal, none wished to pursue the death penalty on account of Loughner's mental illness, but are satisfied he will be behind bars and unable to hurt others, CNN said.

Man sentenced to multiple life terms for Arizona shooting

| No Comments

Jared L Loughner was sentenced to multiple life terms of life plus 140 years in prison Thursday for killing six people, wounding 12 others and the assassination attempt of former Representative Gabby Giffords, the New York Times reports.

Loughner originally pleaded not guilty to 49 charges from the shooting spree based on a history of mental illness, but was ruled competent to stand trial in August, according to CNN.

Prosecutors agreed to a plea deal with Loughner if he pleaded guilty to 19 charges in exchange for the sentence to avoid the death penalty, but instead would face life in prison without possibility of parole, CNN said.

Loughner waived his right to address the court, but many of victims of the January 2011 shooting took the stand to give their testimony including Giffords, whose husband Mark Kelly spoke on her behalf, according to the New York Times.

"We have all come here today seeking something...resolution, closure...I came to the courtroom today seeking peace. Not just for today but for the days ahead," Pamela Simon testified.

The victims and their families approved of the plea deal, none wished to pursue the death penalty on account of Loughner's mental illness, but are satisfied he will be behind bars and unable to hurt others, CNN said.

In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, officials are working over time to make sure voters can make it to the polls this Tuesday, the New York Times reported on Friday.

However, the number of votes is expected to be lower in affected areas. Many states on the East Coast, including Virginia and North Carolina, canceled early voting hours this week, and some polling places may still be without power on Election Day, according to the Times.

Areas in Pennsylvania and Ohio also experienced power outages after Sandy moved inland. The Huffington Post reported that as of Thursday, 77,000 homes were still without power in Cuyahoga County, Ohio, which includes strongly Democratic Cleveland, and the number of early voters has dropped since the storm.

Officials are worried that the chaos could create legitimacy problems and will create an incentive for the candidate losing in the affected states to look for reasons to argue the results, the Times says.

Sources say the storm-related voting disruptions are unlikely to change the overall outcome of the presidential election, since the largest problem areas are expected to go for President Obama. However, the president's share of the popular vote could drop.

New iPad Mini greeted by smaller crowds

| No Comments

Apple launched its new iPad Mini Friday to less fanfare than past gadgets have received, USA Today reports.

The iPad Mini launched in the U.S. and 33 other countries, priced at $329. Although Apple fans still lined up worldwide to receive the new gadget, the lines were shorter than a usual Apple launch, USA Today said.

However, CNN reports that more than 750 people lined up outside of Apple's flagship store in downtown New York City despite the damage from Hurricane Sandy.

The lackluster response may be due to Apple's requirement to pre-order the device and arrive to pick up at a scheduled time, CNN said.

Critics see this new launch as one of the first defensive moves made by Apple playing catch up with Amazon's Kindle Fire and Google's Nexus 7, CNN reports.

US sues Bank of America over mortgage loan fraud

| No Comments

The New York Times reported that federal prosecutors sued Bank of America on Wednesday for $1 billion dollars for a mortgage scheme that defrauded the government during the financial crisis.

The Justice Department is focusing at a home loan program known as the "hustle," started by Countrywide Financial in 2007 and continued by Bank of America through 2009 after buying Countrywide, that rapidly created mortgage loans without properly checking for wrongdoings. They then sold the loans to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which were left with huge losses and left to pay for the defaulted loans, according to the Times.

According to the Washington Post, Countrywide executives were aware of how harmful the scheme was. A 2008 quality review showed that 57 percent of Hustle loans went into default.

The Post says Fannie and Freddie rely on banks' statements that the loans meet certain qualifications and don't review the loans before purchasing them. Countrywide chose to conceal the quality of the loans, according to the suit, instead of properly notifying Fannie and Freddie.

This is the first civil fraud suite brought by the Justice Department over the loans sold to Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, according to news sources.

An Austrian daredevil jumped from 128,100 feet above the Earth, breaking the record for the highest jump and also succeeded in breaking the sound barrier on Sunday, according to a CNN report.

After five years of preparation, The New York Times reports the NASA-style operation called Red Bull Stratos launched 43-year-old Felix Baumgartner up 24 miles above the Earth in a helium hot air balloon with no guarantee he would safely return to the ground.

Baumgartner, who had previously parachuted from landmarks such as the Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro, reached a speed of 833.9 mph smashing the sound barrier and about five minutes later landed safely in southeastern New Mexico.

Col. Joe Kittinger, who held the previous record falling 102,800 feet in 1960, talked Baumgartner through the whole mission, guiding him through the minor slip ups and the claustrophobia of Baumgartner's space suit.

Viewers watched a live feed of the jump breaking yet another record, reaching a peak of eight million watching at the same time. This was higher than YouTube's previous record for concurrent viewership around half a million during the 2012 Summer Olympics.

CNN reports a Texas mother who super-glued her daughter's hands to a wall and beat her over potty training issues was sentenced to 99 years in prison on Friday, according to a Dallas County felony records department district clerk.

Elizabeth Escalona, age 23, of Dallas, and mother of five, pleaded guilty in July to a charge of first-degree injury to a child, which according to the CNN article, is a crime punishable by anywhere between probation and life in prison.

Escalona's mother, Oefelia Escalona, testified that she found the child, named Jocelyn, and took her to the hospital where medical authorities noticed severe bruises to her face and head, and also a severe brain injury that lead to a temporary coma. The incident occurred in September 2011.

In the broadcast report, Escalona said on the stand that she repeatedly beat and kicked Jocelyn and that "she didn't deserve it."

Escalona will be eligible to ask for parole in 30 years, according to the Associated Press, although her attorney plans to appeal the sentence in order to get it reduced. All of Escalona's children are now in the custody of their grandmother, Oefelia Escalona.

About this Archive

This page is an archive of recent entries in the National News category.

Local News is the previous category.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.