It May Take a Little More Work to Get into WIU in 2014

MACOMB, Ill. (AP) — Western Illinois University says it is toughening its admissions standards.  

The Macomb school announced Thursday the new standards will take effect with the fall 2014 semester. The school will increase the necessary high school grade point average and ACT composite score. Specific standards will be announced in September at Illinois Association of College Admissions Counseling conferences statewide. Continue Reading

Motorcycle cop in Hawaii helps deliver baby on freeway for second time

Honolulu police Officer Stephen Keogh jokes that he didn’t receive any training in obstetrics while in the academy, but he’s been getting a lot of practice delivering babies. Keogh, a traffic motorcycle officer with seven years on the force, delivered a baby girl during Thursday morning’s rush-hour commute on Honolulu’s H-1 freeway. It was his second delivery on the freeway: he helped with a birth last year. The 39-year-old, who is single and has no children of his own, said the latest birth was a little girl who “came out right in the front seat of that pick-up truck.” The baby’s father had pulled up behind Keogh on an east-bound, center median near the Middle Street exit, saying he didn’t think they would make it to the hospital in time. Continue Reading

Protesters rally against Air Force officer's transfer after sex assault conviction overturned

Protesters rallied outside a Tucson military base Thursday to denounce the Air Force’s decision to transfer a lieutenant colonel to Arizona after his sexual assault conviction was overturned by a commander, adding to the growing criticism of the military justice system. The 45-minute demonstration by about 50 people was led by outraged family members of Lt. Col. James Wilkerson’s accuser. They questioned why the military would transfer Wilkerson to Davis-Monthan Air Force Base on the southern edge of Tucson, where roughly half the woman’s family lives. The protest came amid a congressional uproar over the Wilkerson case, and follows heavy criticism of the military’s handling of another case involving sex-crime allegations in California. Continue Reading

California man suspected in kidnapping back in US after being detained in Mexico

A phone tip and a Superman tattoo led to the Mexico arrest and return to the U.S. of a fugitive charged with abducting and sexually assaulting a 10-year-old Los Angeles girl. Tobias Summers, 30, a fugitive for nearly a month, was arrested in a Mexican village where he had checked into a drug and alcohol treatment center, authorities said. Summers appeared in court in Los Angeles County court on Thursday, but his arraignment was postponed until May 2. He had been charged in his absence with kidnapping, burglary and nearly three dozen counts of sexual assault.

The FBI had received a phone tip Tuesday night that Summers was at the treatment center and alerted Mexican authorities, who identified him Wednesday by the Superman logo tattooed on his chest, FBI Special Agent in Charge Tim Delaney told a news conference. The girl’s family released a statement thanking and praising police and FBI agents. Continue Reading

Senate passes bill to end FAA furloughs

With flight delays mounting, the Senate approved hurry-up legislation Thursday night to end air traffic controller furloughs blamed for inconveniencing large numbers of travelers. A House vote on the measure was expected as early as Friday, with lawmakers eager to embark on a weeklong vacation. Under the legislation, the Federal Aviation Administration would gain authority to transfer up to $253 million from accounts that are flush into other programs, to “prevent reduced operations and staffing” through the Sept. 30 end of the fiscal year. In addition to restoring full staffing by controllers, Senate officials said the available funds should be ample enough to prevent the closure of small airport towers around the country. Continue Reading

US bars Castro's daugther from visiting Philadelphia

The daughter of Cuba President Raul Castro cannot visit Philadelphia to receive an award for her gay rights activism because the State Department has denied her permission to travel there, officials said Thursday. Mariela Castro had been expected to attend a conference next week on civil rights for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities sponsored by the Equality Forum, according to Malcolm Lazin, the advocacy group’s executive director. “We find it shocking that our State Department would deny freedom of speech, particularly at an international civil rights summit, to anyone, let alone the Cuban president’s daughter,” Lazin said. State Department spokesman Noel Clay said he could not comment on the case because visa records are confidential. Mariela Castro, the niece of retired leader Fidel Castro, is director of Cuba’s National Center for Sex Education. Continue Reading

Central IL Shooter’s Victims Named; Motive Unclear

MANCHESTER, Ill. (AP) — Authorities say the five people found shot to death inside a home in a tiny central Illinois community were two young brothers, their parents and their great-grandmother.  

Illinois State Police identified the victims Thursday as 1-year-old Brantley Ralston and 5-year-old Nolan Ralston. Their slain parents are 29-year-old James Roy Ralston and 23-year-old Brittney Luark, who was also pregnant. The fifth victim is Luark’s grandmother and great grandmother of the boys, 67-year-old Jo Ann Sinclair. Continue Reading

Barge Hits Mississippi River Bridge; Second Time in One Week

CARUTHERSVILLE, Mo. (AP) — For the second time in less than a week, a Mississippi River bridge has been struck by a barge.  

The latest incident on the flooded river happened Thursday morning when a barge struck the bridge at Caruthersville, Mo. The bridge carries Interstate 155 traffic between southern Missouri and Tennessee. Nichole Lawrence of the Tennessee Department of Transportation says one barge struck the bridge, forcing a temporary closure. Continue Reading

Marathon Bombers’ Father Coming to U-S; Mother Not Sure

MAKHACHKALA, Russia (AP) — The father of the Boston Marathon bombing suspects says he will leave Russia for the United States in the next day or two.  

But the suspects’ mother says she’s still thinking it over. She was charged with shoplifting while she was in the United States last summer, but says she’s been assured by lawyers that she would not be arrested. She says she wishes she’d never moved her family members to the United States, claiming that the U.S. failed to protect them. The Tsarnaev family emigrated to the U.S. a decade ago, but both parents returned to Russia last year. Continue Reading