National News

Ex-Miss America Mund: Abortion ruling prompted US House run

Former Miss America Cara Mund says her concern about the erosion of abortion rights prompted her independent bid for the U.S. House in her home state of North Dakota. Mund is running against the odds in the deeply conservative state, but says the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to overturn the constitutional right to abortion was “just a moment where I knew we need more women in office.” The 28-year-old recent Harvard Law School graduate announced her candidacy Saturday. Her run comes as North Dakota’s only abortion clinic in Fargo is preparing to relocate across the border to Minnesota.

Sesame Place to train workers on diversity after lawsuit

A Sesame Street-themed park has announced the implementation of diversity and inclusion training for its employees. The announcement Tuesday follows a $25 million class-action lawsuit alleging multiple incidents of discrimination after outcry sparked from a viral video of a costumed character snubbing two 6-year-old Black girls during a parade at Sesame Place in Pennsylvania. The park, which is operated by SeaWorld Parks, says in the statement that all employees will be mandated to participate in training created to address bias, promote inclusion and prevent discrimination by the end of September. An attorney says the family of one of the 6-year-olds is expected to meet with the SeaWorld CEO on Thursday.

In Mississippi, a trespasser, a killing and DEA meddling

Records show U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration brass intervened in the first hours after a veteran agent in Mississippi was accused of fatally shooting a mentally ill neighbor. The agent never faced trial and is now back on the job.

Soldier's assault suit against officers can proceed to trial

A federal judge says a U.S. Army lieutenant can go to trial against police officers in Virginia whose traffic stop drew national attention and outrage. Caron Nazario was pepper-sprayed, struck and handcuffed in the town of Windsor after driving slowly to a well-lit service station a mile down the road. Judge Roderick Young ruled Nazario can present a jury with his claims of false imprisonment, assault and battery and illegal search under Virginia law. But the judge says federal immunity laws shield the officers from claims that their treatment of the Black and Hispanic soldier violated the U.S. Constitution.

Run, Laal, run: Aamir Khan stars in Indian 'Forrest Gump'

Indian actor Aamir Khan enjoyed “Forrest Gump” so much that he’s starring in a Hindi remake of the iconic film. Nearly 30 years after the original's release, Khan is taking on the role of the titular character “Laal Singh Chaddha.” Khan says he's been a longtime fan of ”Forrest Gump." It took a decade for him to get the movie rights, and big changes were made to root “Laal Singh Chaddha” in Indian history and culture. “Forrest Gump″ was released in 1994 and went on to sweep the Oscars, taking six trophies including best picture and best actor for Tom Hanks.

Alan Tudyk infuses 'Resident Alien' with the art of clowning

Alan Tudyk owes his teachers more than a few measly apples. As a student, he received sound career guidance from those who recognized his nascent talent. The result: The world lost an aspiring hotel manager and gained a versatile supporting actor, now a leading man on “Resident Alien.” Tudyk plays an emotionally conflicted alien invader on the science-fiction dramady, returning at 10 p.m. EDT Wednesday for the back half of its second season on the Syfy channel. “Resident Alien” creator Chris Sheridan says Tydyk is not only very funny in the role of the alien visitor but brings humanity to it and makes Harry someone to root for.

Man who performed illegal autopsies can't work in Kansas

A Kansas man convicted of performing illegal autopsies has been fined more than $700,000 and is permanently banned from doing business in the state. Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt said Wednesday that a Shawnee County District Court judge ordered 42-year-old Shawn Parcells to pay $254,762 in restitution to 82 consumers related to the private autopsy service in Wabaunsee County. He also was ordered to pay thousands more in penalties and fines to other entities or for violating Kansas laws. Parcells was convicted in November of six criminal charges related to autopsies in Wabaunsee County. He also pleaded guilty in May to one federal wire fraud charge.

Wisconsin woman in Slender Man attack drops release request

One of two Wisconsin women who were sent to a state mental health facility after a 2014 stabbing attack on a sixth-grade classmate that they claimed was to appease the horror character Slender Man has withdrawn her petition for release. In June, 20-year-old Morgan Geyser asked a Waukesha County judge to order her release as he did last year for her co-defendant, Anissa Weier. The judge appointed three doctors to evaluate Geyser’s mental state. After receiving one doctor’s report, Geyser and her attorney sent a letter to the judge Tuesday asking that the petition be withdrawn. Payton Leutner survived after suffering 19 stab wounds.

What's next for Alex Jones after $49M Sandy Hook verdict?

The nearly $50 million defamation verdict against Alex Jones for his years of lies about the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre is not a final reckoning. Jones’ attorneys plan to appeal to lower the price tag a Texas jury last week put on his false claim that the shooting that killed 20 students and six teachers in Newtown, Connecticut, was a hoax. The conspiracy theorist faces bankruptcy and other defamation lawsuits. And Jones' courtroom conduct in the trial to resolve a suit filed by the parents of one of the child victims has exposed the Infowars host to new legal perils.

Young Gaza artist was among those killed in Israeli strikes

A 22-year-old Palestinian woman who had retreated into her artistic pursuits during Gaza's past wars was among the first people killed by Israeli strikes in the latest round of violence. Shrapnel tore through her bedroom during Israel’s surprise opening salvo last Friday, hours before militants fired any rockets. Her drawings, mostly black and white portraits of relatives, some killed in previous rounds of fighting in Gaza, can be seen in the room where she died. The Palestinian Health Ministry says at least 47 Palestinians were killed, including 16 children, during the three days of heavy fighting between Israel and the Islamic Jihad militant group. Israel says it made every effort to spare civilians.

Serena's Legacy: Plenty of wins, plenty of stands on issues

Serena Williams is famous for her 23 Grand Slam singles titles. That is more than any other tennis player accumulated in the sport's professional era, which began in 1968. But mere numbers can't capture everything Williams has represented during a distinguished career that began when she was a teenager in the 1990s and is remarkable for not just the successes but also the longevity, including a record 10 major championships after turning 30. What Williams has done without a racket in her hand is also rather noteworthy, whether it was her off-court interests or her stands on key issues in tennis and society at large.

School dean who shot student pleads guilty to federal charge

A former Boston high school dean already in prison for shooting a student he recruited to deal drugs has pleaded guilty to a federal gang-related charge. Shaun Harrison pleaded guilty in Boston federal court on Tuesday to a count of racketeering conspiracy more than two years after he was indicted alongside dozens of other Latin Kings members, leaders and associates. Harrison was convicted in state court in 2018 of assault and other charges, and sentenced to up to 26 years in prison for shooting a 17-year-old student in the back of the head after a dispute over slumping drug sales. The bullet broke the teen’s jawbone and just missed his carotid artery, and he survived.

Nebraska woman charged with helping daughter have abortion

A Nebraska woman has been charged with helping her teenage daughter have an abortion. The charges come after investigators obtained Facebook messages in which the mother and daughter discussed using medication to end the approximately 24-week pregnancy. Nebraska law prohibits abortion after 20 weeks. Prosecutors charged 41-year-old Jessica Burgess with helping her then 17-year-old daughter end her pregnancy and then burning and burying the fetus. Madison County Attorney Joseph Smith says he's never had a case involving an illegal abortion in his 32 years as the prosecutor.

Abrams tests positive for COVID-19, has mild symptoms

Democratic Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams has COVID-19. Abrams campaign spokesperson Alex Floyd says Abrams tested positive for the respiratory illness Wednesday morning after giving a public speech on the economy Tuesday night in Atlanta. Floyd says Abrams tests daily for COVID-19 and had tested negative on Monday and Tuesday. The Abrams campaign requires visitors to its campaign headquarters to wear masks and take a rapid test for COVID-19. Floyd says Abrams is fully vaccinated and boosted and has mild symptoms. He says Abrams is isolating at home and looks forward to resuming her travel schedule as soon as possible.

Social media offers parents more controls. But do they help?

As concerns about social media’s harmful effects on teens continue to rise, platforms from Snapchat to TikTok to Instagram are bolting on new features designed to make their services safer and more age appropriate. But the changes rarely address the elephant in the the room — the algorithms pushing endless content that can drag anyone, not just teens, into harmful rabbit holes. Snapchat, for instance, just added new controls that let parents see who their teens are messaging, though not what they're saying. Even if it works — and kids  opt in — it's still one more constantly evolving feature for parents to master.

Governor, AG stand by reactions to motorcycle crash verdict

The New Hampshire Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers is denouncing comments by Gov. Chris Sununu and his attorney general after a jury acquitted a truck driver in the death of seven motorcyclists, but both men are standing by their statements. Jurors on Tuesday found 26-year-old Volodymyr Zhukovskyy, innocent of manslaughter, negligent homicide and reckless conduct. The charges stemmed from a 2019 crash that killed seven members of the Jarheads Motorcycle Club. Both Sununu and Attorney General John Formella criticized the verdict, with Sununu calling it a tragedy. Defense lawyers called the comments irresponsible and said they could deter future jury service.

What Medicare Part A’s belly-up date means for you

At its current pace, Medicare’s Hospital Insurance trust fund will run out of money in 2028, according to the latest Medicare trustees report. That’s a two-year extension on the previous estimate, but experts say it’s still not good news, and the government needs to stop twiddling its thumbs. If Medicare exhausts its Part A reserves, hospital insurance spending will be cut by 10% starting as soon as 2029. Shoring up Medicare could mean doing things like shifting some benefits from Part A to Part B, revamping Medicare prescription drug coverage, reducing payments to providers or moving some money over from other parts of the government’s budget.