US economy grew 2.4 percent in first quarter

The U.S. economy grew at a modest 2.4 percent annual rate from January through March, slightly slower than initially estimated. Consumer spending was stronger than first thought, but businesses restocked more slowly and state and local government spending cuts were deeper. The Commerce Department says economic growth in the first quarter was only marginally below the 2.5 percent rate originally estimated. That’s still much faster than the 0.4 percent growth during the October-December quarter. Economists believe growth is slowing to around a 2 percent rate in the April-June quarter, as the economy adjusts to federal spending cuts, higher taxes and further global weakness. Continue Reading

Man who knew Boston bombing suspect was reportedly unarmed when shot

A Chechen man who was fatally shot by an FBI agent last week during questioning about one of the Boston bombing suspects was reportedly unarmed. One law enforcement official who spoke on condition of anonymity told the Washington Post on Wednesday that Ibragim Todashev, 27, lunged at an agent and overturned a table prior to being shot. The official said Todashev did not have a gun or a knife, echoing a second law enforcement official with knowledge of the ongoing investigation. At the time of the May 22 shooting, Todashev was being interviewed about his possible connection to a triple murder in Waltham, Mass., on Sept. 11, 2011. Continue Reading

Woman arrested after calling police on her pimp

A woman has been charged with prostitution in Connecticut after calling police to complain about how she was being treated by a pimp. Police say they did not find the pimp when they arrived at a Super 8 Motel in West Haven on Sunday, but they did find 35-year-old Jennifer Lowery with a man they describe as a customer. Police charged Lowery with prostitution and 60-year-old Ricard Burford of New Haven with patronizing a prostitute. Police say Lowery told them she thought it would take police longer to show up, so she decided to conduct some business while waiting. Attempts to reach the pair for comment Thursday morning were unsuccessful. Continue Reading

American soldier to plead guilty to Afghan massacre, sources tell AP

Staff Sgt. Robert Bales was “crazed” and “broken” when he slipped away from his remote southern Afghanistan outpost and attacked mud-walled compounds in two slumbering villages nearby. Next week, Bales will recount what happened next — the slaughter of 16 villagers in one of the worst atrocities of the Afghanistan war. He’ll give specific details in open court as he pleads guilty to the massacre to avoid being put to death. His attorney, John Henry Browne, told The Associated Press that although his client’s state of mind should be considered in sentencing, it didn’t rise to the level of a legal insanity defense. Continue Reading

IA Dog Shooter Gets Probation, 2-Year Suspended Sentence

 ATLANTIC, Iowa (AP) _ A 57-year-old western Iowa man who fatally shot a dog has
been given a year of probation and a two-year suspended prison sentence.  
 Station KJAN  reports that Charles Cutler, of Marne, was sentenced on Tuesday. He was convicted in April of misdemeanor animal abuse.  
 Authorities say Cutler used a shotgun to blast a 1-year-old chocolate Labrador
retriever named Wrigley. The dog belonged to Stacey Ernat, a teacher from Denver
who had stopped in Marne with her boyfriend to visit her boyfriend’s brother on
Dec. Continue Reading

10 Years After Striking, Chicago Hotel Workers are Back

CHICAGO (AP) _ Workers at a downtown Chicago hotel are making an
“unconditional” offer to return to work after spending nearly a decade walking
a picket line.  
Hotel attorney Peter Andjelkovich says he didn’t know the
offer was coming until union president Henry Tamarin gave him a letter Wednesday
saying that the Congress Hotel’s striking workers had decided to abandon their
walkout.  
 He says if the hotel accepts the deal, the workers would return under the terms
of the contract that expired a year before the June 2003 strike.  
 If the union’s offer is accepted, many questions remain. That includes how many
of the 130 workers on a list of striking employees are still available to return
and how many jobs remain after the hotel hired replacement workers. Continue Reading

Semi Trailer Hits MiniVan in Upstate N-Y; Seven Dead

 TRUXTON, N.Y. (AP) _ Authorities say the seven people killed in upstate New
York when their minivan was hit by a trailer include four young children and
three adults in their early 20s.  
Cortland County Coroner Whitney Meeker tells The Associated Press Thursday
morning that all seven victims, including four children under 10, were local
residents.  
 They were killed and a man was injured when their van was hit by a trailer that
broke away from a truck on Route 13 around 6 p.m. Wednesday in the rural town of
Truxton, about 25 miles south of Syracuse.  
 Meeker says the children were from two different families, including one from
Truxton.  
     Authorities haven’t released the victims’ names. Continue Reading

Syrian Opposition Won’t Participate in Peace Talks

 BEIRUT (AP) _ Syria’s main Western-backed opposition group says it will not
participate in U.S.-Russian sponsored peace talks while the regime is carrying
out massacres in Syria.  
 Thursday’s announcement came at the end of weeklong opposition talks in
Istanbul to try and forge a united view on whether to take part in the peace
conference expected to take place in Geneva next month.  
 A spokesman for the Syrian National Coalition, Khalid Saleh, says an
“international conference on a political solution to the situation in Syria has
no meaning in light of the massacres that are taking place.” Continue Reading