The mother of an American journalist held captive by militant group Islamic State released a video on Wednesday appealing directly to the group's leader for his release. "I am sending this message to you, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi al-Quraishi al-Hussaini, the caliph of the Islamic State. I am Shirley Sotloff. She added that her son is an "honorable man and has always tried to help the weak." Sotloff, 31, went missing in Syria last year while covering the conflict there.
By Edward McAllister ST. LOUIS (Reuters) - Authorities on Wednesday disbanded what had been a command center in Ferguson, Missouri, for law enforcement responding to sometimes violent protests over the killing of an unarmed black teenager by a white police officer. Missouri Highway Patrol Captain Ron Johnson, who has led the response, told a news conference the Highway Patrol and St. Louis County police officers would continue to patrol, but the force had been substantially reduced. "People are communicating with each other and it is already leading to change, not just in Ferguson but across our whole region," Johnson said. Boarded-up stores were the only sign of the turmoil along West Florissant Avenue in Ferguson, which had been the site of clashes between demonstrators and police that led to scores of arrests after the shooting of Michael Brown, 18, on Aug. 9.
By Joseph Ax NEW YORK (Reuters) - A federal judge signaled on Wednesday he may order the U.S. District Judge Alvin Hellerstein in New York ruled the U.S. Department of Defense had failed to show why releasing the photographs would endanger the lives of American soldiers and workers abroad. He also said former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta apparently had not considered each individual photograph before determining in late 2012 that all of them should remain secret.
DEERFIELD, Va. (AP) — An experienced pilot was missing Wednesday after the flier's F-15 fighter jet crashed in the mountains of western Virginia, shaking residents but causing no injuries on the ground, military and law enforcement officials said.
By Victoria Cavaliere NEW YORK (Reuters) - The sister of the accused Boston Marathon bombers was arrested in New York City for threatening a woman over the phone, saying she could "put a bomb on you," police said on Wednesday. Aliana Tsarnaev, 23, sister of Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev, was facing charges of aggravated harassment, a New York City Police Department spokesman said. Tsarnaev, of North Bergen, New Jersey, was accused of calling a woman in New York City's Harlem neighborhood and telling her "I have people that can go over there and put a bomb on you," the spokesman said. Her brothers are accused of killing three people and wounding more than 260 after detonating pressure-cooker bombs near the finish line of the Boston Marathon on April 15, 2013.
CINCINNATI (AP) — Personal conflict, not religion, was the driving motive behind beard- and hair-cutting attacks targeting Amish, an appeals court panel ruled Wednesday in overturning the hate-crime convictions of 16 men and women.
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A town on the Utah-Arizona border largely controlled by Warren Jeffs' polygamous sect moved closer to opening its first commercial winery, a new venture and a signal of yet another lifestyle choice that separates the sect from mainstream Mormon teachings.
PHOENIX (AP) — The accidental shooting death of a firing-range instructor by a 9-year-old girl with an Uzi has set off a powerful debate over youngsters and guns, with many people wondering what sort of parents would let a child handle a submachine gun.
Southern California cornerback Josh Shaw has admitted to lying to school officials about how he sprained his ankles last weekend, retracting his story about jumping off a balcony to save his drowning nephew.
By Dana Feldman LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A suspected serial killer linked to a spate of apparently random Los Angeles-area shootings, four of them fatal, made his first court appearance on Wednesday and was ordered held without bond until an arraignment set for next month. Alexander Hernandez, 34, said little during the brief proceeding before a Los Angeles Superior Court judge, except to reply: "Yes, sir," and "Yes," when asked if he understood his rights in having the arraignment postponed until Sept. 17.
With the news that an American was among those killed recently while fighting on the side of the terror group ISIS in Syria came the revelation that he was classmates and close friends with another young U.S. citizen who died in battle alongside a diffe..
NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. (AP) — Thundering surf spawned by a Pacific hurricane pounded the Southern California coast Wednesday, causing minor flooding in a low-lying beach town while drawing daredevil surfers and body-boarders into churning, 20-foot waves as crowds of spectators lined the shore.
OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Police officers who opened fire while disrupting a robbery at a fast-food restaurant in Omaha killed a crew member with the TV show "Cops" as well as the suspect, who was armed with a pellet gun that they thought was a real handgun, authorities said Wednesday.
KEARNS, Utah (AP) — A newborn girl was fighting for her life a day after Utah police say her mother dumped her in a neighbor's trash can, an act the woman's parents said Wednesday that she didn't fully comprehend.
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Thirteen-year-old Nicholas Dillon's screams could be heard throughout his pitch black house when the earth shook and the falling bricks hit him. His mother, who later called it the worst night of her life, couldn't get to him.
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Young people aren't the only ones who get back-to-school blues. Pooches used to months of constant playtime can get upset when their best buddies disappear with the dog days of summer.
By Amanda Orr ANGLETON Texas (Reuters) - A Texas jury on Wednesday found a father not guilty of shooting dead a suspected drunk driver who hit and killed his two sons while they pushed a truck down a country road late at night. David Barajas, 32, had been charged with murdering Jose Banda, 20, in December 2012, after he plowed into Barajas' sons David Jr., 12, and Caleb, 11, in a small town south of Houston after a night of drinking. Samuel Cammack, Barajas' attorney, told jurors there was no evidence linking his client to the crime and said the father did not leave his dying children by the side of a road to hunt down Banda.
The eldest daughter of former Gov. Bob McDonnell testified Wednesday that her parents' marriage had been troubled for many years and her mom developed "a mild obsession" with the Virginia businessman whose gifts to the family are at the heart of the McDonnells' corruption trial.
By Tim Reid LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Officials in Villa Park are considering pulling the tiny California city from Calpers, saying the monthly costs of the state's giant public pension system are crippling the municipal budget. Calpers, America's biggest public pension fund with assets of $300 billion, last provided the city with a hypothetical termination fee of nearly $3.6 million as of June 2012. "Getting out of Calpers is like getting out of jail," said Rick Barnett, mayor of Villa Park, population 5,800.
By Zachary Fagenson MIAMI (Reuters) - Two South Florida men have been sentenced to decades in prison for their role in a month-long string of armed bank robberies that crisscrossed the state, netting an undisclosed sum. District Judge Jose E. Martinez on Tuesday sentenced Anthony Isaac Johnson, 25, and Allen Demetrius Bradford, 23, to 35 years and more than 40 years, respectively. Bradford, Johnson, and six others robbed five PNC Bank locations during early summer 2013. The team used getaway drivers in stolen cars, one of which was found abandoned in Central Florida during an investigation into the group's earlier robberies.
NEW YORK (AP) — An accused ringleader of a sprawling disabilities fraud scheme admitted Wednesday he helped coach retired police officers and others to fake mental-health problems to get Social Security benefits.