EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

January 15, 2014

Boy, 12, shoots two classmates


The Eagle-Tribune

---- — ROSWELL, N.M. (AP) — A 12-year-old New Mexico boy drew a shotgun from a band-instrument case and shot and wounded two classmates at his middle school Tuesday morning before a teacher talked him into dropping the weapon and he was taken into custody, officials and witnesses said.

Gov. Susana Martinez says a boy was critically injured and a girl was in serious condition following the shooting at Berrendo Middle School in Roswell.

The students were in the gym, where she said they typically hang out before classes start during cold and inclement weather. The 12-year-old pulled a shotgun and opened fire there at about 8 a.m.

But he was “quickly stopped by one staff member who walked right up to him and asked him to set down the firearm, which he did,” Martinez said.

Officials at University Medical Center in Lubbock, Texas, say an 11-year-old boy was flown there in critical condition and a 13-year-old girl was en route in serious condition. Information from nurses treating the boy indicates he was the shooter’s target, hospital spokesman Eric Finley said. There was some confusion about the boy’s age, but Finley said his parents told the hospital he is 11.

NSA reforms slammed as unnecessary, counterproductive

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. judiciary told Congress on Tuesday it opposes the idea of having an independent privacy advocate on the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, while members of Congress lauded the idea at a Capitol Hill hearing.

Speaking for the entire U.S. judiciary, U.S. District Judge John D. Bates sent a letter to the Senate Intelligence Committee saying that appointing an independent advocate to the secret surveillance court is unnecessary and possibly counterproductive, and he slammed other key reforms as adding too heavy a caseload to the secret court’s work. In FISA court hearings, judges only hear from the government seeking a spy warrant.

Bates said opening the proceeding to an advocate for privacy in general — who would never meet the suspect or be able to defend the charges against him — wouldn’t create the kind of back and forth seen in open criminal or civil court proceedings.

“Given the nature of FISA proceedings, the participation of an advocate would neither create a truly adversarial process nor constructively assist the courts in assessing the facts,” he wrote.

Clashes kill 11 onfirst day of Egypt’sconstitutional vote

CAIRO (AP) — A referendum on a new constitution laid bare the sharp divisions in Egypt six months after the military removed the elected Islamist president. Pro-army voters lined up Tuesday outside polling stations, singing patriotic songs, kissing images of Egypt’s top officer and sharing their upbeat hopes for their troubled nation.

Despite heavy security, 11 people were killed in sporadic violence, with protesters burning tires and pelting police with rocks and firebombs to create just enough danger to keep many voters at home.

The two-day balloting will likely pave the way for a possible presidential run by the nation’s top general after he ousted Islamist President Mohammed Morsi last July, setting off a fierce crackdown on Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood.

It’s also a key milestone in a military-backed political roadmap toward new elections for a president and a parliament after the coup, which has left Egypt sharply divided between Brotherhood supporters in one camp, and the military, security forces in the other, as well as a large segment of a population exacerbated by three years of turmoil.

Christie apologizes again for politicalpayback plot

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — Faced with a widening political scandal that threatens to undermine his second term and a possible 2016 presidential run, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie apologized again Tuesday, saying his administration “let down the people we are entrusted to serve” but that the issue doesn’t define his team or the state.

On the eve of his second term, the governor opened his annual State of the State address by touching only briefly on the apparent political payback plot.

“The last week has certainly tested this administration,” he said. “Mistakes were clearly made. And as a result, we let down the people we are entrusted to serve. I know our citizens deserve better.”

He received tempered applause after he went on, saying, “This administration and this Legislature will not allow the work that needs to be done to improve the people’s lives in Jersey to be delayed.”

The issue broke wide open last week with the release of documents showing Christie aides and appointees orchestrated lane closings that caused massive gridlock on local roads, delayed emergency vehicles and school buses for hours and infuriated commuters. Democrats believe the scheme was retaliation against a Democratic mayor who did not endorse Christie.

French president admits to problems in private life, blasts tabloid

PARIS (AP) — French President Francois Hollande conceded Tuesday that he is going through “painful moments” with his companion, who was hospitalized after a magazine reported that he is secretly having an affair with a movie actress.

But the Socialist Hollande, who has some of the lowest approval ratings of a French leader, sidestepped specifics about his personal life and tried to devote his annual presidential news conference to his plan for reviving France’s struggling economy.

Hollande’s partner, journalist Valerie Trierweiler, has been hospitalized since Friday, when the tabloid-style magazine Closer published photos it said proved Hollande’s liaison with actress Julie Gayet around the corner from the presidential Elysee Palace.

Hollande said Trierweiler “is resting” but insisted at the packed news conference that it was not the place to discuss the issue.

He did not deny or confirm the Closer report, which has become a setback for Holland, whose announcement Tuesday of economic measures meant to encourage hiring was nearly overshadowed by the scandal.

Husband of pregnant, brain-dead Texas woman sues hospital that’s keeping her on life support

DALLAS (AP) — The fate of a brain-dead, pregnant Texas woman and her fetus likely will be decided in a courtroom after the woman’s husband sued the hospital keeping her on life support against his wishes.

Erick Munoz filed a lawsuit in state district court in Fort Worth, where his wife, Marlise Munoz, has been on life support since he found her unconscious in their North Texas home on Nov. 26. She was 14 weeks pregnant at the time. Her family says the exact cause of her condition isn’t known, though a blood clot is a possibility.

Erick and Marlise Munoz, both paramedics, had seen life and death up close and he previously told The Associated Press that his wife was clear with him: If she fell into a condition like this, pull life support and let her die.

John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth, however, has refused to take Marlise Munoz off machines, citing a state law the hospital says requires it to continue treating a pregnant patient.

Munoz’s lawsuit says that law doesn’t apply because Marlise Munoz is legally and medically dead. The condition of her fetus is unclear.

Federal judge strikes Oklahoma same-sex marriage ban; ruling on hold pending appeal

TULSA, Okla. (AP) — A federal judge on Tuesday struck down Oklahoma’s gay marriage ban, ruling that it violates the U.S. Constitution.

U.S. District Judge Terrence Kern handed down the ruling in a lawsuit filed by two same-sex couples. Kern immediately stayed his ruling pending appeals, meaning gay marriages won’t happen in Oklahoma right away.

The gay couples had sued for the right to marry and to have a marriage from another jurisdiction recognized in Oklahoma.

Kern ruled on a constitutional amendment approved by Oklahoma voters in 2004 that says marriage in the state shall consist only of the union of one man and one woman. He said the measure violates the U.S. Constitution’s equal protection clause by precluding same-sex couples from receiving an Oklahoma marriage license.

Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt’s office did not immediately have a comment on the ruling.

Judge denies preliminary approval of NFL concussion settlement, fears $765M may not be enough

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — A federal judge is slowing down the proposed $765 million settlement of NFL concussion claims, questioning if there’s enough money to cover 20,000 retired players.

U.S. District Judge Anita B. Brody denied preliminary approval of the plan Tuesday because she’s worried the money could run out sooner than expected. She also raised concerns that anyone who gets concussion damages from the NFL would be barred from suing the NCAA or other amateur football leagues.

“I am primarily concerned that not all retired NFL football players who ultimately receive a qualifying diagnosis or their (families) ... will be paid,” Brody wrote in a 12-page opinion issued Tuesday.

The proposed settlement, negotiated over several months, is designed to last at least 65 years.

The awards would vary based on an ex-player’s age and diagnosis. A younger retiree with Lou Gehrig’s disease would get $5 million, those with serious dementia cases would get $3 million and an 80-year-old with early dementia would get $25,000. Retirees without symptoms would get baseline screening, and follow-up care if needed.