U.S. says ‘disappointed’ by Palestinian unity deal

The United States said on Wednesday it was let down by a unity pact agreed to between the Gaza-based Islamist group Hamas and President Mahmoud Abbas' Palestine Liberation Organization and added it could make peace efforts difficult. "The timing was troubling, and we were certainly disappointed in the announcement," State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki told a regular news briefing. "This could seriously complicate our efforts - not just our efforts but the efforts of the parties to extend their negotiations." The leaders of a U.S. House of Representatives appropriations subcommittee that oversees foreign said the Palestinians' agreement with Hamas could jeopardize funds they receive from the U.S. government. The United States, Israel and the European Union view Hamas as a terrorist … [Read more...]

High court nixes $3.4M award to child porn victim

FILE - This Oct. 13, 2013 file photo shows Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy speaking in Philadelphia. The Supreme Court on Wednesday said a federal law limits how much money victims of child pornography can recover from people who viewed their images online, throwing out a nearly $3.4 million judgment in favor of a woman whose childhood rape has been widely seen on the Internet. Kennedy said for the court that federal judges should exercise discretion in awarding restitution. The case involved a woman known in court papers by the pseudonym

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court on Wednesday rejected a plea to make it easier for victims of child pornography to collect money from people who view their images online, throwing out a nearly $3.4 million judgment in favor of a woman whose childhood rape has been widely seen on the Internet. Two dissenting justices said Congress should change the law to benefit victims. … [Read more...]

High court tosses $3.4M award to child porn victim

FILE - This Dec. 19, 2013, file photo shows a view of the Supreme Court from near the top of the Capitol Dome on Capitol Hill, in Washington. The Supreme Court is hearing arguments in a case that asks whether a victim of child pornography can seek millions of dollars from a defendant who had just two images of her on his computer. The woman known only as Amy is trying to persuade the justices in arguments on Jan. 22, 2014, that people convicted of possessing child pornography should be held liable for the entire cost of the harm their victims suffer, including in psychiatric care, lost income and legal fees. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court on Wednesday rejected a plea to make it easier for victims of child pornography to collect money from people who view their images online, throwing out a nearly $3.4 million judgment in favor of a woman whose childhood rape has been widely seen on the Internet. Two dissenting justices said Congress should change the law to benefit victims. … [Read more...]

GM said it has shipped thousands of replacement ignition switches

An employee yawns as he walks among General Motors' new Chinese-made cars at a parking lot in Shenyang, Liaoning province

GM is under investigation by U.S. safety regulators, Congress and the U.S. Department of Justice for why it did not catch the faulty part for over a decade. GM said on Wednesday that owners of 2008-2011 models subject to the recall, which has affected 2.6 million vehicles, will receive a letter in early May confirming their inclusion in the recall. Another letter alerting them when replacement parts are available will follow. The Detroit company did not provide a more detailed number of how many of the parts have been shipped, but said the kits include ignition switches, ignition cylinders and key sets. … [Read more...]

Texas’ Republican Candidate for Governor Is Ginning Up a Bundy-Style Land Fight

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott — who is running for governor in November — wrote a letter to the Bureau of Land Management blasting a (possible) move to make (up to) 90,000 acres of Texas federal property. It's a situation that is tangentially similar to the politically potent dispute between the government and rancher Cliven Bundy in Nevada, so it bears repeating: Abbott is running for governor in November. The government — in the form of the BLM — has fined Bundy about $1 million over the years for his refusal to accept grazing limits established for environmental protection. Nevada Sen. Dean Heller called Bundy and those who came to back him up (some of them armed) "patriots." (Sen. Harry Reid called them "domestic terrorists.") … [Read more...]