Benghazi Chairman: State Dept. Blocking Clinton Testimony

WASHINGTON (AP) — The chairman of the House committee investigating the 2012 attacks in Benghazi, Libya, says he can’t set a date for Hillary Rodham Clinton’s testimony because the State Department has not produced the needed documents. Republican Trey Gowdy of South Carolina wrote a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry on Thursday complaining about the department’s delay in providing emails and other documents the committee requested. Gowdy says his panel must have a complete record before it can question Clinton, a former secretary of state and current Democratic presidential candidate. Gowdy said the committee requested the documents more than six months ago. Gowdy had initially called for Clinton to testify next week on the attacks that killed four Americans, including the U.S. ambassador to Libya. Continue Reading

Amtrak Service to Return to Northwest Corridor Following Deadly Crash

Amtrak’s top official says limited Northeast Corridor service will be restored Monday with full service returning by Tuesday. President and CEO Joseph Boardman spoke Thursday at the site where a train traveling at more than twice the speed limit flew off the tracks, killing eight people and injuring more than 200. Boardman also said a technology that could have prevented the crash will be installed throughout the Northeast Corridor by the end of the year. The technology known as positive train control has been installed on much of the corridor but not on the sharp curve in Philadelphia where the train derailed. Congress had set the end of the year as the deadline for PTC to be installed on all train tracks. Continue Reading

Corn and Soybean Crop Expected to Be Smaller This Year

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The government says farmers are expected to grow 13.6 billion bushels of corn this year, about 4 percent less than last year’s record crop. The estimate released Tuesday by the U.S. Department of Agriculture assumes an average per-acre yield of nearly 167 bushels an acre, down from last year’s record 171 bushels. Soybean farmers are expected to grow nearly 3.85 billion bushels, down 3 percent from last year’s record crop. The soybean per-acre yield is projected at 46 bushels per acre, down 1.8 bushels from last year’s record. The USDA says farmers have started well this growing season with 75 percent of the corn crop planted, ahead of the five-year average of 57 percent. Continue Reading

George Zimmerman Shot in Florida

LAKE MARY, Fla. (AP) — A shooting incident involving George Zimmerman is the latest in a series of run-ins the former neighborhood watch volunteer has had with the law, random strangers and his ex-wife since he was acquitted of murder charges two years ago in the death of Trayvon Martin. Police say Zimmerman flagged down an officer to report Monday’s shooting in Lake Mary, Florida, and that a man with whom Zimmerman was involved in a road-rage encounter earlier this year also called 911 to report it. Police spokeswoman officer Bianca Gillett says no charges were filed immediately against the man, whom she identified as Matthew Apperson. Last September, Apperson said Zimmerman threatened to kill him during a road confrontation. Continue Reading

Synthetic Marijuana Leads to Nationwide Spike in Hospitalizations

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — A powerful and potentially harmful chemical compound has been found in synthetic marijuana tested in several states that saw a huge spike in the number of people hospitalized because of the drug last month. Recent tests have turned up a synthetic cannabinoid that mimics the effects of the main psychoactive ingredient in marijuana. Officials say it’s one of several cannabinoids that can cause severe health problems including seizures, elevated blood pressure and death. Dr. Steven Marcus of the New Jersey Poison Information and Education System has been monitoring the recent hospitalizations spike. Continue Reading

Alligator Causes Fatal Wreck in New Orleans

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — New Orleans police say an alligator crossing Interstate 10 caused a fatal two-vehicle crash. Police say a van was eastbound near an exit early Friday when the driver tried to avoid the alligator. Investigators say a car rear-ended the van. Police say the driver of the car was killed and a passenger was taken to the hospital. The driver of the van is being treated for injuries at a nearby hospital. Continue Reading

Small Planes Crashed into Atlanta Runway

ATLANTA (AP) — A small plane has crashed into Interstate 285 after taking off from an Atlanta-area airport. The crash happened Friday morning after the Piper PA-32 departed from DeKalb Peachtree Airport. Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Kathleen Bergen says authorities have not yet confirmed how many people were onboard. The condition of the pilot and any passengers was not immediately clear. The cause remains under investigation. Continue Reading

Fatal Germanwings Flight’s Co-Pilot Tried Controlled Descent on Earlier Flight

PARIS (AP) — French air accident investigators say that the co-pilot on Germanwings Flight 4525 tried a controlled descent on another flight that morning. The BEA investigation agency said in a report Wednesday that co-pilot Andreas Lubitz repeatedly set the plane into a descent, then brought it back up again on a flight on the same A320 jet from Duesseldorf to Barcelona. The report says the pilot appeared to have left the cockpit during that flight as well. Prosecutors say Lubitz intentionally crashed the plane on its return flight from Barcelona to Duesseldorf on March 24, killing all 150 on board. Continue Reading

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6 Baltimore Police Officers Charged in Death of Freddie Gray

BALTIMORE (AP) — Baltimore’s top prosecutor announced criminal charges Friday against all six officers suspended after a man suffered a fatal spinal injury in police custody. The announcement came after nearly two weeks of growing anger over Freddie Gray’s death, and only hours after she received the results of a police investigation. State’s Attorney Marilyn J. Mosby announced the stiffest charge — second-degree depraved heart murder — against the driver of the police van. Other officers faced charges of involuntary manslaughter, assault and illegal arrest. Mosby said the switchblade officers accused Gray of illegally carrying clipped inside his pants pocket was in fact a legal knife, and no justification for his arrest. Continue Reading