Kerry: US, China pledge to work together on NKorea

U.S. and Chinese leaders said Saturday that their countries are committed to finding a peaceful way to ensure a nuclear-free Korean peninsula. “We are determined to make that goal a reality,” U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said after talks with Chinese officials and before having dinner with China’s foreign policy chief, Yang Jiechi. “China and the United States must together take steps in order to achieve the goal of a denuclearized Korean peninsula. And today we agreed that further discussions to bear down very quickly with great specificity on exactly how we will accomplish this goal,” America’s top diplomat told reporters. Yang, speaking through an interpreter, said China was “firmly committed to upholding peace and stability and advancing the denuclearization process on the Korean peninsula. Continue Reading

3 found fatally shot in Topeka home, Kansas police search for person of interest

Police say three people have been found shot to death inside a home in Topeka, Kan. Topeka police Lt. Scott Gilchrist says officers and emergency medical responders arrived after getting a 911 call around 9:15 p.m. local time Friday from a woman at the home reporting that several people had been shot. He declined to give any identifying information about the three people who were found dead, including whether they lived in the house. Gilchrist tells the Topeka Capital-Journal that police were searching for a person of interest. He says the person isn’t believed to be a threat to the general public. Continue Reading

Workers at Philly abortion clinic saw few options

They say they were just doing what the boss trained them to do. But eight former employees of a run-down West Philadelphia abortion clinic now face prison time for the work they did for Dr. Kermit Gosnell. Three have pleaded guilty to third-degree murder. And Gosnell, 72, is on trial in the deaths of a patient and seven babies allegedly born alive. In testimony at the capital murder trial this past month, an unlicensed doctor and untrained aides described long, chaotic days at the clinic. Continue Reading

NWS Confirms Twisters in Six States, Three in Missouri

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — The National Weather Service has confirmed that a powerful spring storm system spawned 12 tornadoes in six states in recent days.  

Forecasters confirmed three tornadoes in Missouri, including two in the St. Louis area; three each in Arkansas and Alabama; and one each in Louisiana, Mississippi and Georgia. Emergency officials said three people were killed in the storms, which unleashed tornadoes and winds strong enough to peel the roofs from homes in the Deep South and heaped snow and ice on the Midwest, leaving thousands without power. Continue Reading

Local Districts to Get More Power over Delinquent P-S Parents

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A bill approved by the Legislature and headed to Gov. Terry Branstad would give school districts more authority in dealing with parents who enroll their children in the state’s voluntary preschool program but then fail to bring the youths to class.  

The measure would allow school districts to require that children enrolled in preschool attend regularly. School boards could designate the number of days preschoolers must attend and reprimand parents of chronically absent children. Supporters say the measure is needed because many districts have waiting lists for preschool. If parents enroll their children but don’t bring them to school, they’re still taking spots that could go to others. Continue Reading

Pope Appoints Panel of Nine for Advice on Reform

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis has named nine cardinals to advise him on running the church and reforming the Vatican bureaucracy.  

The Vatican announced Saturday the members of the advisory panel and said they would hold their first meeting Oct. 1-3. They include current Vatican officials but more importantly cardinals from Europe, the Americas, Australia and Asia. In the run-up to the conclave, a reform of the Vatican bureaucracy was a constant drumbeat, as well as calls for making the Vatican more responsive to the needs of bishops around the world. Continue Reading

Secretary Kerry Asks Chinese for Help with N. Korea

BEIJING (AP) — Secretary of State John Kerry met with top Chinese officials today, asking for Beijing’s help to cool North Korea’s recent stream of threats and aggressive rhetoric.  

Earlier, in South Korea, Kerry said an expected North Korean test of a mid-range missile would be a big mistake. As North Korea prepares the potential missile test and issues threats almost daily, the Obama administration is hoping yet again that China can force its unruly neighbor to stand down. The results from such efforts have been uneven. U.S. officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, say that if the test missile is launched and the trajectory suggests that it could be a threat to either the U.S. or allies, the military would move to shoot it down. Continue Reading

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President Proposing Higher Medicare Premiums for Higher Incomes

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama’s recently released budget proposes raising Medicare premiums for individual retirees making more than $85,000 and couples making more than $170,000.  

It would also freeze the indexing for inflation of those income thresholds, so eventually 1 in 4 retirees will have to pay more. Right now only about 1 in 20 pays the higher rate. The higher premiums surprised a retired city worker from Albuquerque, Sheila Pugach. She says she’s paying about $500 a year more in premiums for Medicare outpatient and drug coverage, all because required withdrawals from her retirement savings bumped her into a higher income bracket. Continue Reading

Another juror released from Arias murder trial

A juror was released Friday from the high-profile Jodi Arias murder trial, the second jury member to be dismissed this month. Maricopa County Superior Court officials said Juror No. 11 was excused because of health reasons. Another juror was dismissed on April 2 for misconduct for allegedly making statements that showed a bias. That leaves the jury with 11 men and six women. Continue Reading