Washington, D.C.

Librarian of Congress says he'll retire

James Billington, the 13th librarian of Congress who has served since 1987, announced that he will retire at the end of the year. Billington, a Russian scholar appointed by Ronald Reagan, said, "Leading this great institution alongside all of you for nearly three decades has been the honor and joy of my 42 years of public service." Billington is credited with bringing the library into a global audience through a digitization effort. However, a recent report found the organization's current technology lacking.

No plan for aftermath of court ruling

The Obama administration's top health care official said that if the Supreme Court stopped the payment of health insurance subsidies to millions of Americans, it would be up to Congress and state officials to devise a solution. Sylvia Mathews Burwell, the secretary of health and human services, said that there is no contingency plan to deal with the chaos that could result if the court strikes down subsidies in the pending case.


Murder charge dropped in pregnancy case

A prosecutor dropped a murder charge against a 23-year-old woman whose arrest after taking pills to end her pregnancy baffled even abortion opponents. Dougherty County District Attorney Greg Edwards said he had dismissed a malice murder charge against 23-year-old Kenlissia Jones, who spent about three days in jail before she was released. Georgia has prohibited the prosecution of women for feticide or for performing illegal abortions in cases involving their own pregnancies.


U.S. civilian killed in rocket attack

A civilian employee of the Defense Department was killed this week during a rocket attack on Bagram Air Base, north of Kabul. The employee was identified as Krissie K. Davis, 54, of Talladega, Ala. She worked for the Defense Logistics Agency, an arm of the Pentagon that has been managing the withdrawal of wartime equipment in Afghanistan as the U.S. role in the 14-year war winds down. The lethal rocket attack occurred Monday.


Execution carried out despite mercy pleas

Prison authorities executed a Christian man who human rights groups say was tortured by police into confessing to a murder while he was still a teenager. The execution took place despite pleas for mercy from rights activists and religious leaders. Pakistan lifted a moratorium on the death penalty in December after at least 150 people were killed in an attack on an army school. Aftab Bahadur, 37, was convicted of killing a woman and her two children in 1992 during an alleged robbery attempt.

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