By Patricia Zengerle and Roberta Rampton WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Barack Obama warned on Friday that surveillance powers used to prevent attacks on Americans could lapse at midnight on Sunday unless "a handful of senators" stop standing in the way of reform legislation. Obama said he had told Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and other senators that he expects them to act swiftly on a bill passed by the House of Representatives that would renew certain powers and reform the bulk collection of telephone data. "I don't want us to be in a situation in which for a certain period of time, those authorities go away and suddenly we're dark and heaven forbid we've got a problem," Obama told reporters in the Oval Office.
By Lisa Maria Garza and Jim Forsyth DALLAS (Reuters) - U.S. President Barack Obama signed a disaster declaration late on Friday for areas in Texas hammered by severe weather that killed at least 21 people, caused massive flooding and prompted evacuations this week. Storms that battered North Texas on Thursday and Friday added more runoff to swollen rivers and prompted hundreds of calls for help in Dallas, where some areas saw up to seven inches (17.8 cm) of rain. "Communities across the State of Texas have experienced devastating destruction, injury and – most tragically – loss of life due to the major and unceasing severe weather system that has been impacting our state for weeks," said Governor Greg Abbott, who has declared 70 counties disaster areas.
By Phil Stewart WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. military said on Friday it discovered even more suspected shipments of live anthrax than previously thought, both in the United States and abroad, and ordered a sweeping review of practices meant to inactivate the bacteria. The Pentagon said a total of 11 states, two more than it first acknowledged, received "suspect samples," as did Australia and South Korea. It had previously only identified a foreign shipment to a U.S. air base south of Seoul.
Barnard College's Board of Trustees is expected to vote next week on a formal policy governing admission of transgender students. The vote at the Manhattan campus follows those at a number of women's colleges across the country over the past year. The policies, which all acknowledge changing norms regarding gender, differ in their breadth. Here's a look at some of them:
NEW YORK (AP) — On a recent bright spring morning, students admitted to the Barnard College Class of 2019 gathered on campus. As blue-and-white balloons fluttered in the breeze, the prospective freshmen attended panels and lunched on the lawn, chatting animatedly with current students.
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — An Alabama inmate who has spent almost 30 years on death row for a murder he denies committing has an unusual supporter in his bid for freedom: A state judge who represented the man's co-defendant while working as a defense lawyer.
By Michael Georgy CAIRO (Reuters) - An Egyptian-American jailed in Egypt for nearly two years for involvement in the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood has been released and is headed for the United States, his family said on Saturday. Mohamed Soltan was among thousands detained after Islamist president Mohamed Mursi was toppled in 2013 by the military under Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who is now president. "After extensive efforts, the U.S. Government has successfully secured Mohamed’s deportation back home to the U.S., mercifully concluding this dark chapter for Mohamed and our family." The family has run a campaign to free her 27-year-old brother, who had been on hunger strike in detention and has appeared emaciated in photographs.
UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The boys said they approached the French soldiers because they were hungry. Some were so young they didn't quite understand the acts the soldiers demanded in return. One boy, 8 or 9 years old, said he did it several times to the same soldier, "until one day an older kid saw him and told him what he was doing was bad."
FREEPORT, Maine (AP) — A former teacher who travels the country to document the final resting places of poets is looking forward to calling attention to African-American poets on a tour of the South and elsewhere.
WIMBERLEY, Texas (AP) — A handful of volunteers trudged along the muddy and brush-filled banks of the Blanco River in Central Texas, searching for a group of people still missing days after the vacation house where they were staying was swept away in a massive flood.
By Warren Strobel and Mark Hosenball WASHINGTON (Reuters) - At 3:59 p.m. EDT on Sunday, the National Security Agency and telecommunications companies will begin mothballing a once-secret system that collected Americans' bulk telephone records, shutting down computers and sealing off warehouses of digital data. If the U.S. Congress fails to act, key provisions of the USA Patriot Act will lapse in a watershed moment in the post-Sept. 11, 2001, era. Intrusive government powers, created and wielded in the name of preventing another mass-casualty terrorist attack, would be at least partly scaled back, proponents and critics of the surveillance say.
(Reuters) - An Ohio prosecutor on Friday asked a state appeals court to correct legal errors made by a judge who found a Cleveland officer not guilty in the shooting deaths of an unarmed black man and woman after a high-speed car chase in 2012. Timothy McGinty of the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor's Office filed the motion highlighting "egregious" mistakes in Judge John O'Donnell's ruling last Saturday that cleared officer Michael Brelo in the shooting deaths of Malissa Williams and Timothy Russell. McGinty said in the document that prosecutors could not contest Brelo's acquittal but maintained that O'Donnell's errors needed to be remedied.
"Justice was not served today. Cody Devine did not deserve to die for being in the wrong place at the wrong time." — The Rev. Howard Dotson after Wayne Burgarello was acquitted of murder in Nevada in the latest case nationally testing the boundaries of stand-your-ground self-defense laws.
RENO, Nev. (AP) — Accused of murder for confronting two unarmed trespassers with a deadly barrage of gunfire, Wayne Burgarello walked out of a Nevada courthouse a free man after the jury found him not guilty of all charges in the latest of a series of cases nationally testing the boundaries of stand-your-ground self-defense laws.
PORT WASHINGTON, Wis. (AP) — TV actor Dustin Diamond was convicted Friday of two misdemeanors stemming from a barroom fight, but a Wisconsin jury cleared the former "Saved by the Bell" actor of the most serious felony charge.