Custom Dress Worn by Lupita Nyong’o at Oscars Stolen

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Los Angeles sheriff’s detectives are investigating the theft of a $150,000 pearl-adorned dress worn by actress Lupita Nyong’o at Sunday’s Academy Awards. Sheriff’s Sgt. Richard Bowman says the dress was reported stolen from a West Hollywood hotel around 11:20 p.m. Wednesday. The ivory Calvin Klein dress featured 6,000 pearls of various sizes. Detectives are reviewing whether security footage is available that would aid the investigation. Continue Reading

NY Transit Officials Review Safety After Train-Car Collision

NEW YORK (AP) — The chairman of New York’s transportation agency says officials are reviewing safety practices at railroad crossings after an SUV drove onto the tracks and collided with a commuter train. Metropolitan Transportation Authority Chairman Thomas Prendergast said Wednesday the agency is partnering with a nonprofit that educates the public about the dangers at railroad crossings. The crossing where the crash occurred in the Westchester County community of Valhalla has no barrier between the street and the tracks. Prendergast said such crossings present safety issues. He said it would cost millions to build an overpass or tunnel at the many street-level crossings on the Metro-North Railroad and the Long Island Rail Road. Continue Reading

Without Hate Crime, US Limited in Prosecuting Zimmerman

MIAMI (AP) — The Justice Department’s decision to not prosecute a civilian neighborhood-watch volunteer for a hate crime in the shooting death of an unarmed black teenager isn’t necessarily a harbinger of how it will rule in two other high-profile deaths of unarmed black men at the hands of police. Legal experts say that’s because the standards used to gauge the existence of a hate crime committed by civilians are different from those used to measure the behavior of police officers. Because George Zimmerman was not a police officer, the experts say, the Justice Department could only prosecute him for fatally shooting teenager Trayvon Martin nearly three years ago if it had sufficient evidence the killing was motivated by racial bias or hatred. The department determined there was insufficient evidence to prove that. Continue Reading

Congress Sends Keystone Bill to Obama, who Plans to Veto it

WASHINGTON (AP) — House Speaker John Boehner says Congress is sending President Barack Obama legislation to build the Keystone XL pipeline on Tuesday. The White House is indicating Obama will quickly veto it in private over Republican lawmakers’ urging that he sign it. It would be the third veto of Obama’s presidency. Republicans may try to override Obama’s veto, but have yet to show they can muster the two-thirds majority in both chambers that they would need. First proposed in 2008, the pipeline would connect Canada’s tar sands to Gulf Coast refineries. Continue Reading

Arias won’t Address Jury as Sentencing Retrial Nears End

PHOENIX (AP) — Convicted murderer Jodi Arias has declined to address a jury considering whether to sentence her to life in prison or death in the killing of her former boyfriend. Arias said Monday that she wanted to make comments to jurors but insisted the courtroom be cleared. She said she wouldn’t make any remarks if she could be seen and heard from a remote viewing room. Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Sherry Stephens said an appeals court has forbidden Arias from making such closed-door comments. Lawyers are scheduled to make closing arguments Tuesday in the proceeding that began in mid-October and has dragged on months longer than expected. Continue Reading

Man Runs from Home as Train Derails Nearby, Engulfs Property

ANSTED, W.Va. (AP) — A West Virginia man is thankful to be alive after fleeing his home seconds before it was destroyed by an oil train that left the tracks. Morris Bounds Sr. says he only had a second to look and ran from his home in his socks during a snowstorm last week. The 68-year-old retired machinist tells The Associated Press that it could have been far worse. His wife was in the hospital and he says she wouldn’t have made it out of the house in time. Continue Reading

Alaska Becomes 3rd State with Legal Marijuana

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — Smoking, growing and possessing marijuana becomes legal in America’s wildest state Tuesday, thanks to a voter initiative aimed at clearing away 40 years of conflicting laws and court rulings. Making Alaska the third state to legalize recreational marijuana was the goal of a coalition including libertarians, rugged individualists and small-government Republicans who prize the privacy rights enshrined in the state’s constitution. But when they voted 52-48 percent last November to legalize marijuana use by adults in private places, they left many of the details to lawmakers and regulators to sort out. Meanwhile, Alaska Native leaders worry that legalization will bring new temptations to communities already confronting high rates of drug and alcohol abuse, domestic violence and suicide. Continue Reading

Dozens Gather for Vigil for Ohio boy Fatally Shot by Police

CLEVELAND (AP) — Groups in northeast Ohio gathered for a protest and evening vigil to honor the 12-year-old boy who was holding a pellet gun when he was fatally shot by police three months ago. WKYC-TV reports dozens attended the snowy candlelight vigil held Sunday for 12-year-old Tamir Rice near the Cleveland recreation center where he was fatally wounded. Tamir had a pellet gun when police responded to a Nov. 22 call about someone with a firearm near the center. About a dozen protesters temporarily blocked traffic outside a police station before the vigil. Continue Reading

Prosecutors Rebut ‘American Sniper’ Suspect Insanity Defense

STEPHENVILLE, Texas (AP) — Prosecutors are scheduled to continue their rebuttal against the defense of the ex-Marine charged with killing famed Navy SEAL and “American Sniper” author Chris Kyle. The trial of Eddie Ray Routh is expected to resume Monday in Stephenville, though sleet and cold temperatures in North Texas could force a delay. Routh’s attorneys presented their case last week, arguing Routh was legally insane when he shot Kyle and friend Chad Littlefield two years ago. Prosecutors then called two mental health experts who argued that while he used alcohol and marijuana, Routh was legally responsible. The jury could receive the case later this week. Continue Reading