Cheaper oil pushes down US import prices 0.5 pct.

Prices paid by U.S. importers fell last month after two straight increases, driven down by cheaper oil. Falling import prices helps keep inflation in check. The Labor Department says import prices dropped 0.5 percent in March after a 0.6 percent gain the previous month. The cost of fuel imports declined 1.9 percent. Excluding fuel, import costs fell 0.2 percent. Continue Reading

Medal of Honor soldier killed in Korean War to receive hero's burial

The remains of a soldier awarded the Medal of Honor after being killed in the Korean War will be returned to his relatives for burial with full military honors more than 62 years after his death, officials announced Wednesday. Army Lt. Col. Don C. Faith Jr., of Washington, Ind., will be buried April 17 in Arlington National Cemetery, officials from the Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office said. Faith, a veteran of World War II who continued to serve in the Army during the Korean War, was seriously injured by shrapnel on Dec. 1, 1950, and died a day later from those injuries. Continue Reading

Hawaii-based Coast Guardsman being charged with desertion

The Coast Guard is charging a Hawaii-based rescue swimmer with desertion after he went missing for three months. Spokesman Chief Warrant Officer Gene Maestas says Wednesday that Petty Officer 1st Class Russell Matthews faces three other charges including being absent without leave. The other two charges are wrongful use and possession of a controlled substance and causing the Coast Guard to conduct a search when there was no need to do so. The 36-year-old showed up at his home in mid-January more than three months after his wife reported him missing. Police found the guardsman’s car abandoned at a remote area of Oahu next to the ocean. Continue Reading

Judge in Los Angeles refuses to release 86-year-old accused in handyman's death

A judge on Wednesday refused to order the release of an 86-year-old blind man suffering from dementia who was charged with killing an apartment handyman four years ago, overruling a probate court decision that said Nattie Kennebrew should be released to his son’s custody. Judge Norman Shapiro asked Los Angeles County mental health officials to return in a month with alternative plans for supervising Kennebrew, who uses a wheelchair in addition to his other disabilities. In 2009, Kennebrew was ordered to stand trial for the shooting death of handyman Gerardo Ramos, who was fixing his sink. But Kennebrew’s attorney successfully argued his client wasn’t competent to stand trial. Kennebrew has since been held in state mental facilities. Continue Reading

DA: Teen escapee was legally drunk in Nevada crash

Prosecutors say a California juvenile detention escapee had a blood-alcohol percentage of 0.12 after a freeway a crash that killed five Southern California family members and injured two others. That’s well above the Nevada legal limit of 0.08 percent. Eighteen-year-old Jean Ervin Soriano was charged Wednesday with seven felony driving under the influence charges and two misdemeanors in the early March 30 wreck on Interstate 15 outside Las Vegas. A judge scheduled a May 15 evidence hearing. Soriano’s attorney Frank Cofer, says he’ll plead not guilty when the time comes. Continue Reading

Prosecutors seek to end myth of Utah mountain man

At first, many locals took to calling Troy James Knapp the mountain man. Even victims of his many cabin break-ins marveled over his ability to slip back into the woods and evade authorities over six years. But on Wednesday, as the trim 45-year-old whom police characterize as a reclusive survivalist made his first court appearance by grainy video feed from Sanpete County jail, a prosecutor sought to dispel Knapp’s image as some sort of folk hero. “He wants to be viewed as a gentle drifter in the forest, a romantic figure,” Brody Keisel, the county attorney, told The Associated Press. “I’m convinced he’s a criminal. Continue Reading

Firefighters freed, hostage-taking gunman killed as cops raid Georgia home

A gunman who took firefighters hostage in a Georgia housing subdivision Wednesday was killed when authorities stormed the home, freeing the four firefighters inside. SWAT teams entered the home in Suwanee, Ga., after authorities determined that the four firefighters were in immediate danger, authorities said. The gunman and offices exchanged gunfire, and the suspect was killed. One officer was shot in the hand and transferred to a local hospital, authorities said. The firefighters suffered only superficial wounds. Continue Reading

Obama Budget Contains Additional $1.8-Trillion in Deficit Reduction

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama unveils a 2014 budget today that includes an additional $1.8 trillion in deficit reduction over the next decade.  

The $3.77 trillion spending blueprint he’s sending to Congress proposes raising taxes on the wealthy and trimming benefit programs like Social Security and Medicare. But instead of moving Congress nearer a grand bargain, Obama’s proposals so far have managed to anger Republicans and Democrats alike. Obama’s Democratic allies have attacked him for pursuing cuts in Social Security and Medicare, while Republicans have rejected the president’s efforts to raise taxes further. Continue Reading

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Two Senators Reach Deal on Expanded Background Checks

WASHINGTON (AP) — A Senate aide and a lobbyist say two senators have struck a bipartisan deal on expanding background checks to more firearms purchases.  

The agreement could build support for President Barack Obama’s drive to curb gun violence. Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Republican Sen. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania planned to announce their pact Wednesday. Gun control advocates consider background checks the most effective of the proposals Congress is considering for reducing gun violence. The deal would expand the checks to cover all commercial sales, such as at gun shows and online. Continue Reading