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Violent crime in U.S. dips for fifth year running

WASHINGTON — Violent crime in the United States has declined for a fifth year in a row, the Federal Bureau of Investigation said Monday as it released preliminary annual crime statistics for 2011. In a statement, the federal law enforcement agency said the nation saw a four percent decrease in…

U.S. drone crashes in Maryland: Navy

WASHINGTON — A US Navy drone crashed in swamp land in Maryland, not far from the US capital Washington, on Monday without causing any injuries or property damage, officials said. The Global Hawk unmanned surveillance aircraft went down about 100 kilometers (60 miles) from Washington, near Bloodsworth Island, east of…

U.S. concerned over Russia crackdown

WASHINGTON — The United States on Monday voiced concern after Russian police raided the homes of top protest leaders ahead of a planned mass rally in Moscow against President Vladimir Putin. “The United States is deeply concerned by the apparent harassment of Russian political opposition figures on the eve of…

Occupy Wall Street trial begins for protesters accused of trespassing

Eight Occupy Wall Street protesters accused of trespassing on the property of a New York church in December went on trial Monday. The courtroom was packed and an overflow of Occupy supporters spilled out into the hall as a Manhattan judge heard the testimony of New York City police officers…

NYPD officer indicted for shooting death of unarmed Bronx teenager

A New York police officer who shot dead an unarmed teenager who was inside his own home has been indicted on manslaughter charges, reports say. Ramarley Graham was killed as he fled to the bathroom of his grandmother’s residence in the Bronx on February 2, prompting a wave of protest…

Gov. Scott sues Dept. of Homeland Security over database

Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) announced Monday that the state would sue the Department of Homeland Security to gain access to a database containing information on eligible voters. “The Florida’s Secretary of State office will be filing a lawsuit against the Department of Homeland Security to give us that database,”…

Atheists in Massachusetts fight ‘under God’ in Pledge of Allegiance

The American Humanist Association announced Monday that it would appeal a court ruling in Massachusetts that held the “under God” wording of the Pledge of Allegiance did not violate the state’s constitution. Massachusetts law requires public school teachers to begin each day with a recitation of the pledge. However, students…

Sen. Hatch: DOMA not motivated by ‘animus’ towards gays and lesbians

Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and ten other Senate Republicans on Monday urged the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to uphold the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). In a friend-of-the-court brief (PDF), Hatch and his colleagues asserted that Congress’s enactment of DOMA was not motivated by “animus” towards gay and…

Romney, Obama teams spar over economy comments

WASHINGTON — Rival campaigns for the White House used tit-for-tat web videos Monday to spar over the economy, with Mitt Romney’s team saying President Barack Obama’s “doing fine” remark shows he’s out of touch with middle-class voters. In the latest example of campaigns using the candidates’ own words against them,…

Sandusky labeled ‘predator’ as pedophile trial begins

BELLEFONTE, Pennsylvania — Prosecutors branded former Penn State football coach Jerry Sandusky a “systematic serial predator” at his pedophilia trial Monday, as one of his alleged victims told of being plied with gifts to lure him into sex. Sandusky, 68, accused of molesting 10 boys over a 15-year period, allegedly…

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