Review Category : National News

Boston Marathon Bombing Suspect Denied Trial Change

Federal Bureau of Investigation(BOSTON) — There will be no delay in the trial of the surviving Boston Marathon bombing suspect.

A judge in Boston on Wednesday turned down Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s request to delay the start of his trial or move it out of Massachusetts.

The defense has argued it needs more time to review all the evidence and that an impartial jury would be impossible to find in Massachusetts because of all the publicity.

Jury selection is set to begin Monday.

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Idaho Woman Shot by Son at Walmart Remembered as Scientist, Loving Mom

Daniel Aguilar/Getty Images(HAYDEN, Idaho) — The young woman who was accidentally shot and killed by her 2-year-old son with her own gun is remembered as a loving mom and a scientist who was a star student at her rural high school in Idaho.

Veronica Rutledge, who police say died after her toddler removed a concealed handgun from her purse at Walmart and shot her, worked at the Idaho National Laboratory.

Rutledge, who lived in Blackfoot, Idaho, died at the Hayden store Tuesday. She grew up about an hour away in St. Maries, where she was the valedictorian of her class at Kootenai High School, according to ABC News affiliate KXLY-TV.

She graduated from North Idaho College with a chemistry degree in 2010, according to a commencement program, and has since been listed as a researcher or author on multiple scientific papers.

“The lab is very saddened by this tragic event and we offer our deepest sympathies to the family,” Nicole Stricker of the Idaho National Laboratory told ABC News in a statement.

Rutledge and her husband, Colt Rutledge, married in 2009. Facebook photos show her in hunting gear or posing outside or with her son, as friends and family members posted mournful messages.

Police said her son was sitting in a shopping cart in the electronics section of the Walmart when he removed the gun from her purse and fired the weapon just once, killing his mother instantly.

Walmart called the woman’s death a “very sad and tragic incident” and said it is working with the Kootenai County Sheriff’s Office to investigate the incident.

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‘Bae,’ ‘Foodie’ on List of ‘Banished’ Words for 2015

ABC News(NEW YORK) — Do you grimace when you hear someone call a significant other “bae,” or throw out the word “takeaway” in a meeting? Do you gnash your teeth when someone describes himself or herself as a “foodie” or take credit for “curating” something that’s not in a museum?

You’re not alone.

Those are offenders that have made the list of 12 “banished” words and phrases issued by Lake Superior State University in Michigan.

The list, released on Wednesday, was created from more than 2,000 submissions from members of the public who take issue with certain words and believe they should be banned, Thomas Pink, LSSU’s director of public relations, told ABC News in an interview.

“It just seems that language always strikes a nerve with people,” he said.

This is the university’s 40th annual list of words that are highlighted for misuse, overuse or uselessness, according to a release from LSSU.

The 12 words that made the final list were selected by a university committee.

“We do look at which words and phrases get the most nominations, but a word or phrase does not have to get a lot of nominations for it to make the list if everybody agrees on it, and since it’s lighthearted we all try to look for things that would make people laugh,” Pink said.

The banishment is by no means official. Dictionaries aren’t changed, but the publication of the list is definitely noticed, Pink said.

In one case in the 1990s, an Arizona State Supreme Court justice pinned that year’s list on a bulletin board in his office and forbade any attorneys who had business with him from using the words, Pink said.

Entries to the university’s website came with reasons supporting detractors’ disdain for the word.

Blan Wright, of Sugar Hill, Georgia, wrote of “bae”: “The most annoying term of affection to show up in years. Also, the concept ‘before anybody else,’ developed AFTER the word became popular. Reason enough for it to be banned.”

Below are the eight other vexing words or phrases on this year’s list along with nominees’ reasons for banning them:

  • Hack — “Suddenly things that once would have been called ‘tips’ are now being called ‘hacks.’ It can’t be because the one word is shorter or easier to say; and the actual accepted meanings of ‘hack’ have nothing to do with suggestions for doing tasks better or more efficiently — quite the opposite, really.” – Sharla Hulsey, Sac City, Iowa.
  • Polar vortex — “Wasn’t it called ‘winter’ just a few years ago?” — Dawn Farrell, Kanata, Ontario, Canada
  • Skill set — “Why use two words when one will do? We already have a perfectly good word in ‘skills’ (ending with an s, not a z).” – Chip Lupo, Columbia, South Carolina
  • Swag –“Whether it’s a ‘free gift’ (banished in 1988) or droopy clothing, this word is neither useful nor fancy.” – Jeff Drake, Saint Albans, West Virginia
  • Friend-raising — “A horrible word that conflates the real meaning of friendship with usually hidden motivations to get at the other person’s pockets.” – Mary Been, Sidnaw, Michigan
  • Cra-cra (or “cray cray,” a term which means “crazy.”) — “I’m sick of hearing myself say this! Must be banned!” – Roxanne Werly, Traverse City, Michigan
  • Enhanced interrogation — “A shameful euphemism for torture.” – David Bristol, Byron Center, Michigan
  • -Nation — “Although a devout Wisconsin sports fan, I do not belong to Packer-Nation, Badger-Nation, Phoenix-Nation, or Brewer-Nation. Further, I am not aware of any team or mascot that has the carrying capacity to be a nation.” – Kelly Frawley, Waunakee, Wisconsin

Among the proscribed words on last year’s LSSU list were “selfie,” “twerking” and “hashtag.”

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Family Raises Slain Intruder’s History of Sleepwalking

Spencer Crandall, seen in this 2012 booking photo, was arrested for trespassing on Dec. 3, 2012. (Denton County Jail)(DALLAS) — No one may ever know what was going through the mind of a Texas man who was shot dead the morning after Christmas on a neighbor’s porch, but his relatives say they have a clue: He may have been sleepwalking.

Spencer Crandall, 31, was ringing the bell and banging on the door of his neighbor’s home at 4 a.m. until the homeowner and his female partner came outside to find Crandall attempting to climb over their privacy fence, Wise County Sheriff David Walker said Wednesday.

The homeowner retrieved a firearm from his house, not aware that Crandall was his neighbor. After a brief altercation, a physical struggle ensued between both individuals, which eventually led to Crandall’s trying to enter the front door, authorities say.

“He [the homeowner] told Mr. Crandall he was armed, ‘This is not your house.’ He was still trying to get in, at that point the homeowner fired one round and striked Mr. Crandall to the chest,” Walker told ABC News.

The woman’s 14-year-old daughter called 911 and the Wise County EMS and Fire Department responded. Crandall was found dead at the scene, authorities said.

Crandall’s wife, Amanda Crandall, was out of town in Mississippi during the incident. Walker said the Crandall family told investigators Spencer Crandall had a history of sleepwalking, which relatives say may help explain his behavior that morning.

“We may not ever know why he was trying to get into the house,” he added.

Investigators are awaiting autopsy and toxicology results from the Dallas County Medical Examiner’s office. The incident is still under investigation, and no charges have been filed against the homeowner.

Crandall’s funeral is being held Wednesday and relatives are unavailable to comment.

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Family Raises Slain Intruder’s History of Sleepwalking

Spencer Crandall, seen in this 2012 booking photo, was arrested for trespassing on Dec. 3, 2012. (Denton County Jail)(DALLAS) — No one may ever know what was going through the mind of a Texas man who was shot dead the morning after Christmas on a neighbor’s porch, but his relatives say they have a clue: He may have been sleepwalking.

Spencer Crandall, 31, was ringing the bell and banging on the door of his neighbor’s home at 4 a.m. until the homeowner and his female partner came outside to find Crandall attempting to climb over their privacy fence, Wise County Sheriff David Walker said Wednesday.

The homeowner retrieved a firearm from his house, not aware that Crandall was his neighbor. After a brief altercation, a physical struggle ensued between both individuals, which eventually led to Crandall’s trying to enter the front door, authorities say.

“He [the homeowner] told Mr. Crandall he was armed, ‘This is not your house.’ He was still trying to get in, at that point the homeowner fired one round and striked Mr. Crandall to the chest,” Walker told ABC News.

The woman’s 14-year-old daughter called 911 and the Wise County EMS and Fire Department responded. Crandall was found dead at the scene, authorities said.

Crandall’s wife, Amanda Crandall, was out of town in Mississippi during the incident. Walker said the Crandall family told investigators Spencer Crandall had a history of sleepwalking, which relatives say may help explain his behavior that morning.

“We may not ever know why he was trying to get into the house,” he added.

Investigators are awaiting autopsy and toxicology results from the Dallas County Medical Examiner’s office. The incident is still under investigation, and no charges have been filed against the homeowner.

Crandall’s funeral is being held Wednesday and relatives are unavailable to comment.

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Protests Prompt Increased Security Ahead of New Year’s Eve Parties

tom hall/iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Increased police patrols and extra National Guard troops have been called in to New York in preparation for any protests that may interrupt Wednesday night’s New Year’s Eve celebrations.

Though there has been no formal announcement about planned protests in New York City, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said that the National Guard will have an “increased presence” throughout the city, in train stations including Penn Station and PATH terminals as well as JFK and LaGuardia airports.

“New Year’s Eve is a time of celebration for New Yorkers, and an increased security presence will help ensure that tonight remains a safe and festive time for all,” Cuomo said in a statement.

Increased security is a regular occurrence around New Years, with an estimated 1,000,000 people expected to flood Times Square ahead of the ball drop, but tensions are heightened this year after two police officers were fatally shot in Brooklyn on Dec. 20.

Cuomo did not specify exactly how many guardsmen will be in New York City but did say that one unit, the 22-member 24th Civil Support Team, will continue their regular support of the New York Police Department to deal with chemical, biological or radiological hazards.

The NYPD has assessed 70 threats made against police officers after the Brooklyn shooting, which led to 16 arrests.

New York is not the only city that is bracing for protests against police brutality during Wednesday evening’s celebrations.

Officials in Boston have urged activists to postpone a planned “die-in” protest, saying that the city’s family-friendly “First Night” event is not an appropriate venue to express their concerns.

Unusually cold weather could also cause problems for event organizers across the country, as strong winds could lead to cancelled fireworks in Las Vegas as they could send debris into the crowds.

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Protests Prompt Increased Security Ahead of New Year’s Eve Parties

tom hall/iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Increased police patrols and extra National Guard troops have been called in to New York in preparation for any protests that may interrupt Wednesday night’s New Year’s Eve celebrations.

Though there has been no formal announcement about planned protests in New York City, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said that the National Guard will have an “increased presence” throughout the city, in train stations including Penn Station and PATH terminals as well as JFK and LaGuardia airports.

“New Year’s Eve is a time of celebration for New Yorkers, and an increased security presence will help ensure that tonight remains a safe and festive time for all,” Cuomo said in a statement.

Increased security is a regular occurrence around New Years, with an estimated 1,000,000 people expected to flood Times Square ahead of the ball drop, but tensions are heightened this year after two police officers were fatally shot in Brooklyn on Dec. 20.

Cuomo did not specify exactly how many guardsmen will be in New York City but did say that one unit, the 22-member 24th Civil Support Team, will continue their regular support of the New York Police Department to deal with chemical, biological or radiological hazards.

The NYPD has assessed 70 threats made against police officers after the Brooklyn shooting, which led to 16 arrests.

New York is not the only city that is bracing for protests against police brutality during Wednesday evening’s celebrations.

Officials in Boston have urged activists to postpone a planned “die-in” protest, saying that the city’s family-friendly “First Night” event is not an appropriate venue to express their concerns.

Unusually cold weather could also cause problems for event organizers across the country, as strong winds could lead to cancelled fireworks in Las Vegas as they could send debris into the crowds.

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5-Day-Old Baby Gorilla Debuts at San Diego Zoo Cradled in Mom’s Arms

San Diego Zoo(SAN DIEGO) — A late Christmas present arrived at the San Diego Zoo on Dec. 26.

A 5-day-old baby gorilla made his public debut on Tuesday, already bringing in big crowds who can’t wait to see his adorable little self.

The yet-to-be named newborn has been hanging out with his mom, Jessica, 34, around the clock since being born. Jessica has been bringing him to a heated glassed-in viewing area where visitors can see her cradling and nursing the youngster.

“Mom has been doing really great,” Nerissa Foland, senior keeper at the zoo, said in a statement. “She’s holding her baby and pats the baby all the time. The other troop members have been curious. They come over and inspect the baby, but he’s pretty much staying with Mom at this point, since he’s so new.”

The fuzzy little guy’s father is Paul Donn, 25, who has previously sired three offspring, but this is his first baby with Jessica.

It’s safe to say this sweet baby will be ringing in the New Year with lots of love and affection from his mom, who seems to adore having him cradled in her arms as much as possible.

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Transgender Teen’s Reported Suicide Note Makes Dramatic Appeal

Kings Local School District(CINCINNATI) — A note reportedly left by an Ohio teen asking that her death expose the problems transgender people suffer has been cited by an Ohio official and has prompted police to investigate the death as a suicide and to determine if there was a link to the note.

Cincinnati City Councilman Chris Seelbach posted a long note on his Facebook page, a note that was reportedly left behind by Leelah Alcorn, who was born Joshua Alcorn. It reportedly had been scheduled to post on Tumblr after the teen died.

Alcorn, 17, according to police, died Sunday after being hit by a tractor trailer in a suburb of Cincinnati. Officers from the Ohio Highway Patrol told ABC News they are investigating the death as a suicide and looking into the note.

Calls to Alcorn’s family by ABC News at their home were not immediately returned. According to ABC News affiliate WCPO-TV in Cincinnati, Alcorn’s mother Carla Alcorn posted that Alcorn was killed while out for a walk.

“My sweet 16-year-old son, Joshua Ryan Alcorn went home to heaven this morning,” wrote Carla Alcorn on Facebook, according to WCPO. “He was out for an early morning walk and was hit by a truck. Thank you for the messages and kindness and concern you have sent our way. Please continue to keep us in your prayers.”

The note by Leelah Alcorn was originally posted on the teen’s Tumblr page, reported to be run by Alcorn, according to both WCPO and Seelbach.

Seelbach told ABC News that as a gay elected representative, he felt it was important to draw attention to the story.

“Some very sad news to share,” wrote Seelbach of Alcorn’s death in a post. “It has come to light that this person likely committed suicide because she was transgender.”

In the note, Alcorn details the difficulty she said she faced growing up.

“The life I would’ve lived isn’t worth living in…because I’m transgender,” read a portion of the post. “I could go into detail explaining why I feel that way, but this note is probably going to be lengthy enough as it is. To put it simply, I feel like a girl trapped in a boy’s body, and I’ve felt that way ever since I was 4.”

The note reportedly written by Alcorn detailed her experience coming out as gay and wrote that her peers and school were receptive, but that her parents were not. She said she was taken to Christian therapists, who did not help her overcome her depression.

“After 10 years of confusion I finally understood who I was. I immediately told my mom, and she reacted extremely negatively, telling me that it was a phase, that I would never truly be a girl, that God doesn’t make mistakes, that I am wrong,” the note states.

“The only way I will rest in peace is if one day transgender people aren’t treated the way I was,” reads the post. “They’re treated like humans, with valid feelings and human rights. Gender needs to be taught about in schools, the earlier the better. My death needs to mean something.”

Seelbach said he had talked to some of Alcorn’s friends and her family’s pastor after hearing about the story. He told ABC News that they all said Alcorn has expressed similar sentiments as those posted in the note.

“It’s an incredibly difficult and horrible situation that a 17-year-old would feel the best alternative is to step in front of a semi,” Seelbach told ABC News. “It shows how far we need to come on transgender issues.”

Seelbach said he wants to focus on Alcorn’s wishes and hoped to do more work on transgender issues.

“What we should be focusing on is how this happened and how we can stop this ever happening again,” he said.

More than 50 percent of transgender teens will make at least one suicide attempt before turning 20, according to the Youth Suicide Prevention Program.

A Facebook group called “Justice for Leelah Alcorn” has already gained nearly 6,000 likes.

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US Warns of Threats to Media from Sony Hackers

dan_alto/iStock Editorial/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — Federal authorities predict even more private and potentially embarrassing information from inside Sony Pictures could be made public now that the movie company has released its controversial film The Interview, and news outlets covering the story could become the next victim of a major cyber-attack.

That’s the assessment of a joint intelligence bulletin issued last week by the FBI and Department of Homeland Security to law enforcement agencies across the country.

The bulletin lays out much of what the public already knows: threats against Sony in late November if it released The Interview, the massive cyber-hack of Sony days later, the subsequent threat of a 9/11-style attack on theaters showing the film, and then Sony’s hesitation in releasing the film.

But the bulletin also discloses that threats from the alleged Sony hackers, calling themselves “Guardians of Peace,” have “extended to…a news media organization…and may extend to other such organizations in the near future.”

On Dec. 20, “Guardians of Peace” posted messages online “that specifically taunted the FBI and [the unidentified news organization] for the ‘quality’ of their investigations and implied an additional threat,” reads the bulletin.

While the bulletin says there is no “specific credible information” to indicate any type of “physical threat,” and notes “that hacking groups have historically made exaggerated threat statements,” the bulletin urges law enforcement “to remain vigilant.”

“[T]he potential remains for [Guardians of Peace] or copycat actors to make renewed cyber and/or implied physical threats, to identify new targets, or execute physical attacks if the movie is again scheduled for release,” according to the bulletin, first reported by the website The Intercept and confirmed by ABC News.

In addition, the bulletin predicts “Guardians of Peace” will “likely continue to release portions of proprietary data and email stolen from [Sony] to keep pressure on [the company], possibly to get the company to withhold further distribution of the movie, destroy all copies of the film or publicly apologize for its production of The Interview,” which depicts the fictional assassination of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

In the face of skeptics increasingly voicing their own theories about who is responsible for the Sony hack, the FBI is firmly standing by its announcement two weeks ago blaming North Korea.

“There is no credible information to indicate” otherwise, and the FBI’s conclusion is based on intelligence gathered by the U.S. government and foreign governments, according to an FBI spokesman. Anyone without the proper security clearances would not have access to that intelligence.

As ABC News reported two weeks ago, federal authorities believe an individual or small group stationed outside North Korea — but acting at the behest of the North Korean regime — may have punched the computer keys that launched the attack.

The North Korean government has denied any role in the cyber-attack on Sony, calling it “wild speculation.” Still, the North Korean government has described the attack as a “righteous deed.”

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