July 30, 2013 |
LONDON -- Ireland's first law authorizing abortion under certain conditions was signed into law Tuesday after a bruising debate in the predominantly Roman Catholic country over whether it risked opening the doors to abortion on demand. President Michael D. Higgins' office confirmed that he had signed the Protection of Life during Pregnancy Bill, despite speculation that he might send the controversial measure to the Irish Supreme Court to examine its constitutionality. Higgins' signature came 2½ weeks after a marathon session by lawmakers, who exhaustively discussed and parsed every word of the bill before approving it on a vote of 127-31 . The lopsided tally belied the divisiveness of the debate over abortion in one of the last Western European nations to forbid widespread practice of it. The new law does not permit women to terminate their pregnancies under any circumstance; rather it allows abortions only when two doctors certify that a mother's life would be at “real and substantial risk” if she continues to carry the child.
July 28, 2013 |
If you are itching to switch on your iPad or Kindle reader while your plane taxis for takeoff, you are going to have to wait at least a little longer. A panel assembled by the Federal Aviation Administration to consider relaxing the rules on using portable electronic devices on airplanes has asked for more time to come up with its recommendations. The panel - made up of representatives from airlines, aircraft builders and electronics firms, as well as pilots, flight attendants and others - was scheduled to produce a recommendation by Wednesday.
July 25, 2013 |
Residents of Newtown, Conn., have approved spending $750,000 as a first step toward building a new elementary school to replace the one that was the scene of one of the nation's worst gun attacks on children. At a town meeting on Wednesday night, about 200 people approved spending the state funds on preparatory work toward building the new school on land where the former Sandy Hook Elementary School sits, abandoned since the massacre on Dec. 14. The town meeting lasted about seven minutes, and no one spoke against spending the money, according to the News-Times of Danbury.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
July 24, 2013 |
The Los Angeles City Council approved a plan Wednesday that would radically alter the Hollywood skyline despite warnings from state officials that the project site may lie on a major earthquake fault line. The 13-0 vote in favor of the Hollywood Millennium project allows New York-based developer Millennium Partners to build two skyscrapers and more than 1 million square feet of office, hotel and retail space on several vacant parking lots surrounding the iconic Capitol Records building.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
July 23, 2013 |
With Los Angeles County government's revenue on the mend, the Board of Supervisors approved the first pay hike in five years for sheriff's deputies and probation officers. The agreements, which the board passed unanimously and without discussion, will provide a 6% raise in three increments of 2% between this month and January 2015 for more than 9,000 sworn personnel in the Sheriff's Department and more than 4,000 in probation. The board approved a similar pay hike for county firefighters, lifeguards and investigators with the public defender's office last month and also agreed last month to lift a hiring freeze that had been in place for all departments.
July 20, 2013 |
JERUSALEM - As part of a U.S.-backed proposal to restart peace talks, Israel has agreed to release an unspecified number of Palestinian prisoners, but will not freeze settlement construction in the West Bank, a top Israeli official said Saturday. The comments came a day after U.S. Secretary of State John F. Kerry announced that he was close to a formalizing an agreement to bring Israelis and Palestinians back to the negotiating table for the first time in three years. Though Kerry pleaded with both sides to keep the details of the pending agreement confidential and allow him to be the only source of information, both sides scrambled Saturday to put their own spin on the deal. Since Kerry has declined to release specifics about what he says he brokered on Friday, the conflicting claims could not be confirmed.
July 17, 2013 |
LONDON -- Queen Elizabeth II gave final approval Wednesday to Britain's controversial same-sex marriage bill, bestowing her royal assent as is common to all new laws. The measure passed its final legislative hurdle on Tuesday when the House of Commons approved the bill allowing same-sex couples to marry in religious and civil ceremonies. The announcement in the House of Commons of the queen's action prompted cheers from lawmakers. Previously, gay and lesbian couples could enter into "civil partnerships" in Britain that carry almost the same rights as marriage.
July 16, 2013 |
James B. Comey Jr., President Obama's nominee to head the Federal Bureau of Investigation, has an ideal resume for the position - he served as a federal prosecutor and deputy attorney general - and the fact that he served in a Republican administration adds a desirable aspect of bipartisanship to the nomination. Although the FBI director is a presidential appointee, Congress has decided that he should be more insulated from politics than the typical executive branch official. That's why the director serves a 10-year term that overlaps presidential administrations.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
July 12, 2013 |
Beach bonfires in Los Angeles and Orange counties will be regulated for the first time under restrictions approved Friday by air quality authorities. The regulations establish buffer zones and other spacing requirements to protect beachfront homes from the fine particle pollution arising from wood burned in the region's 765 beach fire rings. The requirements will allow most fire rings to remain but will almost certainly require the removal or relocation of all 60 in Newport Beach, where the dispute began earlier this year.
July 11, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - The cluck may be running out on California's egg law. The House on Thursday approved a bill that would prevent California from requiring that eggs imported into the state be produced under standards ensuring that hens can spread their wings. The measure is included in a Repulican-drafted farm bill that passed on a largely party-line vote of 216-208 after heated debate. It now goes to House-Senate negotiators who will work to reconcile differences between their bills.