Common abortion procedure outlawed
Republican Gov. Sam Brownback signed legislation making Kansas the first state to ban a common second-trimester abortion procedure that critics describe as dismembering a fetus. Brownback signed the measure in a private ceremony at the governor's residence. The new law, which takes effect July 1, bans the dilation and evacuation procedure. The method is commonly used in second-trimester abortions nationwide and in about 9 percent of the abortions in Kansas. Abortion-rights supporters say the method is sometimes the safest for a woman terminating her pregnancy.
Accident causes Mississippi backup
A three-mile stretch of the Mississippi River between New Orleans and Baton Rouge was limited to one-way traffic upriver a day after a ship broke free of its mooring and hit two other vessels, the U.S. Coast Guard said. Petty Officer Carlos Vega said the one-way traffic would continue until the three vessel involved are inspected. The Coast Guard had closed several miles of river near Convent after the Privocean — a 751-foot bulk carrier — broke free, drifted and struck a 98-foot towing vessel, the Texas. The Texas took on water and grounded on a riverbank.
Workers injured in construction fall
Four construction workers were injured in Manhattan when they fell while doing demolition work and were struck by debris. The workers were taken to Bellevue Hospital Center. They were working near an open stairway on the mezzanine level of the building, which is undergoing a gut renovation, when the accident occurred. As the workers fell, a chandelier collapsed and so did part of a heavy marble banister. The workers were listed in very serious condition.
IRS opened fewer inquiries in 2014
The Internal Revenue Service opened 19 percent fewer criminal investigations in fiscal 2014 than in the previous year, reflecting a decrease in budget and staffing. IRS agents initiated 4,297 investigations in 2014 compared to 5,314 in fiscal 2013, according to an annual report by the Criminal Investigation Division. The agency builds cases involving tax fraud, identity theft, questionable refunds, money laundering and other crimes. Republicans in Congress have cut the IRS budget since taking control of the House of Representatives in 2011, even as the agency has assumed more responsibilities. The agency recommended 3,478 prosecutions, a decrease of 20 percent, and secured 3,110 convictions, down 6 percent, in the year that ended Sept. 30. The 2015 IRS budget is $10.9 billion, more than $1 billion below its peak spending level in 2010.
White police officer charged with murder
A white police officer was charged with murder after a video surfaced showing him fatally shooting an apparently unarmed black man in the back while he ran away. The officer, Michael T. Slager, had said he feared for his life because the man took his stun gun in a scuffle after a traffic stop Saturday. A video, however, showed the officer firing eight times as the man fled. The shooting unfolded after Slager stopped a Mercedes-Benz with a broken taillight, according to police reports. The driver, Walter L. Scott, 50, ran away, and Slager chased him into a grassy lot that abuts a muffler shop. He fired his Taser, an electronic stun gun, but it did not stop Scott, according to police reports. State officials and the U.S. Justice Department are reviewing the case.
Loggers cutting rare trees are shot, killed
Indian police and forestry officials fatally shot 20 loggers whom they suspected of illegally cutting down endangered red sandalwood trees, whose wood can be sold in China and Japan for hundreds of thousands of dollars a ton. Government officials offered varying explanations for the killings, which were condemned by activists and political figures as an excessive use of force. A police official said that a team of law enforcement officers intercepted "a large group of smugglers," demanded that they surrender, and the loggers "retaliated with firearms and axes," wounding six officers. The police then opened fire. A different account came from a forestry official who said that the loggers were armed only with axes and that no police officials had been hurt.
Car bombs kill, injure dozens near Aleppo
A pair of car bombs targeted two rebel bases north of the Syrian city of Aleppo, killing and wounding dozens. The attacks targeted compounds belonging to Islamic opposition groups in the countryside north of Aleppo, a strategic stretch of territory because of its proximity to Turkey.
Detentions without trials are revived
Three years after abolishing detention without trial, the government revived the practice with the passage into law of a highly contentious antiterrorism bill that opposition leaders fear could be used against government critics. The bill was passed after more than 10 hours of debate in Parliament. The government has sought to justify the law as necessary to combat the threat of terrorism on Malaysian soil. Critics say the law is a further slide toward authoritarianism.