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Report: Colts to Sign WR Duron Carter

Report: Colts to Sign WR Duron CarterTom Cammett/Diamond Images/Getty Images(INDIANAPOLIS, In.) -- The Indianapolis Colts are in the final stages of signing wide receiver Duron Carter, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter. The 6'5" Carter is the son of Hall of Fame wide receiver Cris Carter,...

Red Sox, Rangers Complete Pitching Swap

Red Sox, Rangers Complete Pitching Swap

Major League Baseball(NEW YORK) -- The Boston Red Sox and Texas Rangers have swapped pitchers struggling to find their role.

Rangers vice president of communications John Blake announced via Twitter Tuesday that Boston has sent right-hander Anthony Ranaudo to Texas in exchange for left-hander Robbie Ross, Jr.

Ranaudo, 25, displayed fantastic play in Triple A, compiling a 14-4 record in 2014 with a 2.61 ERA and 111 strikeouts over 138 innings pitched. He made his Major League debut last season, but struggled to find the same groove as his ERA ballooned to 4.81 in 39.1 innings of work.

Ross, 25, struggled last season after a transition from the bullpen to the starting rotation. Posting a 6.20 ERA in 78.1 innings, Ross failed to find a role in the Rangers injury-riddled rotation.  He will likely resume his role as a left-handed reliever with Boston, a role he excelled in during the 2012 and 2013 seasons. In his career, he has a 53.8 percent ground ball rate.

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Massachusetts Nuclear Plant Shut Down During Winter Storm

Massachusetts Nuclear Plant Shut Down During Winter Storm

Photo by David L Ryan/The Boston Globe via Getty Images(PLYMOUTH, Mass.) -- The Pilgrim Nuclear Power Plant in Plymouth was shut down early Tuesday morning as a result of the strong winter storm that swept through the Northeast.The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Committee said on its website Tuesday that the plant experienced an automatic shutdown after one of the site's offsite power lines was deenergized due to weather concerns and a second was tripped early Tuesday morning. At that point, at about 4 a.m., the reactor was shut down. A third, less powerful, offsite power line remains available, but the primary source of power -- for safety systems -- are the plant's emergency diesel generators. The exact cause of the loss of the second offsite power line is still under investigation.Messages posted to the plant's Twitter account explained that it is in "safe, stable shutdown" and "has enough fuel onsite to operate our emergency generators for 10 days." More fuel can also be delivered as needed. The plant says it is in stable condition and there is no threat to the safety of workers or the public.

 

Status Update (1/2): Pilgrim remains in safe, stable shutdown and using emergency onsite diesel generators to run our safety systems

— Pilgrim Nuclear (@PilgrimNuclear) January 27, 2015

 

 

Status Update (2/2): Pilgrim has enough fuel onsite to operate our emergency generators for 10 days.More fuel can be delivered as needed.

— Pilgrim Nuclear (@PilgrimNuclear) January 27, 2015

 

 

NOTE: As backup, the plant has additional standby power available from an offsitte power line and another onsite emergency generator

— Pilgrim Nuclear (@PilgrimNuclear) January 27, 2015

 

 

Plant conditions are stable and there is no threat to the safety of plant workers or the public. All systems worked as designed.

— Pilgrim Nuclear (@PilgrimNuclear) January 27, 2015

 

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WVU Student Who Died in Fraternity Pledging Had Blood Alcohol Six Times Legal Limit

WVU Student Who Died in Fraternity Pledging Had Blood Alcohol Six Times Legal Limit

pixelpup/iStock/Thinkstock(MORGANTOWN, W.Va.) -- A West Virginia University student who died during a fraternity pledge event had a blood-alcohol level of more than six times the legal limit, well above what health officials consider lethal, police said Tuesday.Nolan Burch, 18, of Williamsville, N.Y., died Nov. 14, after suffering a "catastrophic medical emergency" during a pledging ceremony at Kappa Sigma fraternity, police said.Burch and 19 other fraternity pledges were taking part in an initiation function known as "Big-Little," Morgantown Police Chief Ed Preston said in a statement released Tuesday.Burch and the others were taken to a room in the fraternity where they were blindfolded and then taken to another house where they were presented to the "Big," a senior member or alumnus of Kappa Sigma, and given a bottle of liquor, Preston said.After he drank a large quantity of alcohol, Burch was taken back to the fraternity house, where he was so intoxicated he was laid on a table, the police chief said.Later that night, a fraternity member noticed that Burch's face was blue and tried to wake him, but it was found that he had no pulse, Preston said.While some fraternity members performed CPR, a call was placed to 911. He later died at a Morgantown hospital. A report from the medical examiner is still pending, the police chief said.Subsequent tests revealed that his blood-alcohol level was 0.493, Preston said.The day after Burch's death, the school put a moratorium on Greek activity on the campus."And while some events such as chapter meetings, philanthropic activities and educational programming are allowed, the ban remains in place for social activities with the exception of alcohol free/dry events, pending approval of plans," WVU officials, the WVU InterFraternity Council, the WVU Pan-Hellenic Council and the WVU National Pan-Hellenic Council said in a joint statement released Tuesday evening.

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Surveillance Video Shows Moment Man Allegedly Hit Pregnant Girlfriend With Car

Surveillance Video Shows Moment Man Allegedly Hit Pregnant Girlfriend With Car

welcomia/iStock/Thinkstock(PASCO COUNTY, Fla.) -- Surveillance footage released by Florida police shows the terrifying moment a pregnant woman was struck by a car driven by her boyfriend, according to police.Justin Colby, 33, was arrested on charges of attempted homicide after he allegedly hit his pregnant girlfriend, Crystal Noordhuizen, with his car on Monday.Noordhuizen, about seven months pregnant, suffered minor injuries and was recovering at an area hospital, according to a police spokesman.She told police she had been fighting with Colby, her live-in boyfriend, when she decided to leave their home, according to the arrest report from the Pasco County Sheriff's Office in Pasco County, Florida.Officials from the Pasco Sheriff's Department said video of the incident shows Noordhuizen being hit by a car they said was driven by Colby.Noordhuizen told police she was waiting across the street for a ride when Colby reportedly called to her and said, “Are you ready for your abortion date?” according to the police report.Colby then allegedly drove his car onto the sidewalk where Noordhuizen was standing, striking her before he hit a nearby pole.He was arrested a short time after the crash and was being held at the Pasco County Jail on charges of attempted murder and attempted murder of an unborn child.Public defenders for Colby did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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E. Coli Found in Winnipeg, Boil Water Advisory Issued

E. Coli Found in Winnipeg, Boil Water Advisory Issued

Tomjac80/iStock/Thinkstock(WINNIPEG, Manitoba) -- Health officials instituted a boil water advisory for the city of Winnipeg on Tuesday after two clusters of E. coli were located.Officials at the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority say that no source for the contamination was located as of Tuesday afternoon. Still, residents east of the Red River were being urged to boil all water used for drinking, ice making, food and beverage preparation and teeth brushing. Officials say the advisory was issued as a precautionary measure.The WRHA expects additional information to be available on Wednesday.

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GoDaddy Yanks Super Bowl Ad After Animal Rights Complaints

GoDaddy Yanks Super Bowl Ad After Animal Rights Complaints

Credit: Tom Pennington / Contributor/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- That was fast. Internet giant GoDaddy released its Super Bowl ad online Tuesday, then said it won't be using it, after howls of discontent from dog advocates over the spot, which featured NASCAR's Danica Patrick and a golden retriever.In the 30-second ad, a golden retriever puppy falls out of a truck but finds its way home. Unfortunately for the pooch, its owner went on GoDaddy.com to make a website to sell the dog.Animal lovers didn't get the joke, though. They pointed out that dogs sold often come from puppy mills, and set up the hashtag #GoDaddyPuppy to rally critics.GoDaddy CEO Blake Irving went on Twitter to say "we will not air" the ad.

 

Loud and clear, we heard you. @Blakei on changing course with this year’s Super Bowl Ad: https://t.co/gzduFypdEi

— GoDaddy (@GoDaddy) January 27, 2015

But don't worry about the dog.While shooting the Super Bowl commercial with Patrick, GoDaddy employees fell in love with the pup, later named Buddy by GoDaddy followers on social media, and the company adopted it."As our Chief Companion Officer, Buddy will be interacting with customers, mostly small business owners who are looking for relaxation and a reprieve from their hectic workday," GoDaddy Chief Marketing Officer Barb Rechterman said in a news release. "We're already booking time with customers ... and our own employees are lining up to meet the little guy. All you have to do is look at him and 'bam,' your stress level goes down and your mood goes up."

 

 

That's a wrap with sweet little Buddy for the @godaddy Super Bowl spot! He's a keeper! pic.twitter.com/GqOQl1i3SH

— Danica Patrick (@DanicaPatrick) December 13, 2014

 

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UN Says 3,000 Child Soldiers in South Sudan to Be Released

UN Says 3,000 Child Soldiers in South Sudan to Be Released

PeterHermesFurian/iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The United Nations says that 3,000 child soldiers in South Sudan are to be freed thanks to the United Nations Children's Fund.According to a U.N. statement, the first group of 280 children were released on Tuesday at the village of Gumuruk. Ranging from 11 to 17 years old, the children were recruited by the South Sudan Democratic Army Cobra Faction and have been fighting for up to four years. Many of them have never attended school, the U.N. says.The U.N. further claims that 12,000 children have been recruited and used as soldiers by armed groups in South Sudan in the last year."These children have been forced to do and see things no child should ever experience," UNICEF South Sudan Representative Jonathan Veitch said. "The release of thousands of children requires a massive response to provide the support and protection these children need to begin rebuilding their lives."The children being released by Cobra Faction will be supported with basic health care, protection, food, water and clothing.

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Study: ‘Targeted’ Biopsy May Help Detect High-Risk Prostate Cancer Early

Study: ‘Targeted’ Biopsy May Help Detect High-Risk Prostate Cancer Early

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Researchers at the National Institutes of Health have found a new method that may help detect high-risk prostate cancer early.According to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, researchers looked at 1,000 men with either elevated test results or suspicious results from rectal examinations with an MRI to identify suspicious areas of prostate cancer. The patients were then biopsied twice, including once with a standard biopsy method and once with a new "targeted" method.The results of the study determined that the "targeted" method may be better for differentiating between low-, intermediate- and high-risk cancers. The procedure for the "targeted" biopsy is the same as the standard biopsy, researchers say, making procedural risks more tolerable. Nonetheless, the study did not follow the participants for an extended period of time, making it impossible to determine the predictability of "targeted" biopsies for long-term outcomes, such as recurrence and mortality.

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Sugary Drinks Could Be Linked to Earlier Onset of Menstruation

Sugary Drinks Could Be Linked to Earlier Onset of Menstruation

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Researchers at Harvard Medical School say that sugary drinks may be linked to the earlier onset of menstruation.According to a study published in the journal Human Reproduction, researchers surveyed girls between the ages of 9 and 14 who had not yet begun to have their periods, to calculate the amount of sugary drinks they consumed. They found that girls who drank more than 1.5 sugary drinks each day had their first periods about 2.7 months earlier, on average, than those girls who drank two or fewer sugary drinks each week.Researchers say the results of the study held up even when accounting for other factors, such as ethnicity and BMI, which are believed to affect the onset of menstruation. Earlier onset of menstruation has been linked to health risks including an increased lifetime risk of breast cancer.The study shows only a link, not a cause, between consumption of sugary drinks and early menstruation. Researchers note that girls who drank more sugary drinks may also have other dietary habits contributing to the results of the study.

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Scoreboard Roundup – 1/27/15

Scoreboard Roundup – 1/27/15

Hemera/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Men's Top 25 College Basketball: (14) VCU 72 (17-3) - George Washington 48 (16-5)

(17) West Virginia 65 (17-3) - Kansas State 59 (12-9)

Xavier 66 (14-7) - (21) Georgetown 53 (14-6)

NBA: Toronto Raptors 104 (30-15) - Indiana Pacers 88 (16-31)

Cleveland Cavaliers 103 (26-20) - Detroit Pistons 95 (17-29)

Milwaukee Bucks 109 (23-22) - Miami Heat 102 (20-25)

NHL:  Columbus Blue Jackets 4 (21-22-3, 45pts) - Washington Capitals 3 (24-14-9, 57pts)

Pittsburgh Penguins 5 (27-12-8, 62pts) - Winnipeg Jets 3 (26-15-8, 60pts)

New York Islanders 4 (32-14-1, 65pts) - New York Rangers 1 (27-14-4, 58pts)

Philadelphia Flyers 4 (20-22-7, 47pts) - Arizona Coyotes 3 (16-25-6, 38pts) - SO

Carolina Hurricanes 4 (17-25-5, 39pts) - Tampa Bay Lightning 2 (30-15-4, 64pts)

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Obama to Propose Doubling Funding to Fight Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria

Obama to Propose Doubling Funding to Fight Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza(WASHINGTON) -- The White House said on Tuesday that President Obama plans to propose legislation that would double the funding to fight antibiotic-resistant bacteria."Antibiotic resistance is one of the most pressing public health issues facing the world today," the White House said in a statement, noting that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates about two million Americans fall ill and 23,000 die each year due to antibiotic-resistant bacteria. "Antibiotic resistance," the administration concludes, "limits our ability to quickly and reliably treat bacterial infections, and the rise of resistance could hamper our ability to perform a range of modern medical procedures from joint replacements to organ transplants, the safety of which depends on our ability to treat bacterial infections that can arise as post-surgical complications."The president's 2016 budget will therefore include $1.2 billion in funding to combat and prevent antibiotic resistance. That money will go towards strengthening risk assessment, surveillance and reporting, as well as driving research innovation.The CDC estimates that antibiotic resistance accounts for $20 billion in excess direct health care costs and up to $35 billion in lost productivity due to hospitalization and sick days.

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Demand for Apple Products at ‘All-Time High,’ CEO Tim Cook Says

Demand for Apple Products at ‘All-Time High,’ CEO Tim Cook Says

Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Apple Inc. announced Tuesday that it beat Wall St. expectations by a huge margin, selling a record 74.5 million iPhones in the three months ending December 27. Apple stock rallied more than 5 percent in the aftermarket, after news of the company's "highest-ever" revenue and earnings.“We’d like to thank our customers for an incredible quarter, which saw demand for Apple products soar to an all-time high,” said Apple CEO Tim Cook said in a statement. “Our revenue grew 30 percent over last year to $74.6 billion, and the execution by our teams to achieve these results was simply phenomenal.”At the close of trading in New York Tuesday, Apple stock had fallen 3.5 percent to $109.14 a share.The company, based in Cupertino, California, reported net profit of $18 billion in its first quarter, compared with $13.1 billion in the same period last year. It reported revenue of $74.6 billion compared with $57.6 billion in the same period a year ago. International sales accounted for 65 percent of the quarter’s revenue.In the last quarter, Apple sold:- 74,468,000 iPhones- 21,419,000 iPads- 5,519,000 MacsNow Apple’s iPhone business is bigger than Google and Microsoft’s phone businesses combined.Earlier this month, Apple announced that the first week of January set a new record for billings from its App Store with customers spending nearly half a billion dollars on apps and in-app purchases.New Year’s Day 2015 was the single biggest day in App Store sales history, the company said. App Store developers have earned $25 billion from the sale of apps and games, the company said on Jan. 8.

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Mormon Church Announces Conditional Support for LGBT Rights

Mormon Church Announces Conditional Support for LGBT Rights

Stock Photo of the Spires of the Salt Lake Temple. Photo Credit: Andriy Kravchenko/iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints said Tuesday that it would support legislation that would provide protections for LGBT people in areas including housing and employment.In the announcement, the church said it would support that legislation "while ensuring that religious freedom was not compromised." The announcement was made at a news conference featuring three members of the governing Twelve Apostles and one female leader of the church. The call was made for a "fairness for all" approach -- one "that balances religious freedom protections with reasonable safeguards for LGBT people." In 2009, the church supported Salt Lake City ordinances protecting housing and employment rights for LGBT people. Tuesday's announcement broadened that position, saying that the church would now support similar ordinances across the state of Utah and the country, "as long as there was a balanced approach to protect constitutional religious exercise and conscience.""We are at our best as fellow citizens when the push-pull of different viewpoints, freely and thoroughly aired in national debate, leads ultimately to compromise and resolution and we move on as a nation, stronger than before," said Sister Neill Marriott. According to a release from the church, the appeal is not a change in doctrine, but represents "a desire to bring people together, to encourage mutually respectful dialogue in what has become a highly polarized national debate.""In this approach," the church said, "neither side may get all that they want. We must all learn to live with others who do not share the same beliefs or values."

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Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy Among Actresses Possibly Cast for All-Female ‘Ghostbusters’

Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy Among Actresses Possibly Cast for All-Female ‘Ghostbusters’

Universal(NEW YORK) -- Now you know who to call.Just three months after making it official that he would be directing the new Ghostbusters with an all-female cast, Paul Feig on Tuesday tweeted out a picture of four very funny ladies -- Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, and Saturday Night Live stars Leslie Jones and Kate McKinnon.

 

pic.twitter.com/LBtv2YXfv6

— Paul Feig (@paulfeig) January 27, 2015

The news comes after Feig, who directed Bridesmaids, tweeted in October, "It's official. I'm making a new Ghostbusters & writing it with @katiedippold & yes, it will star hilarious women. That's who I'm gonna call."

 

 

It's official. I'm making a new Ghostbusters & writing it with @katiedippold & yes, it will star hilarious women. That's who I'm gonna call.

— Paul Feig (@paulfeig) October 8, 2014

McCarthy and Wiig both famously worked with Feig on his 2011 hit Bridesmaids.The original Ghostbusters starred Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis, Ernie Hudson and Bill Murray.

 

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Defendants in Vanderbilt Rape Trial Found Guilty on All Counts

Defendants in Vanderbilt Rape Trial Found Guilty on All Counts

iStock/Thinkstock(NASHVILLE, Tenn.) -- A jury has found the defendants in the Vanderbilt rape trial guilty.After just a few hours of deliberation, the jury returned a guilty verdict on all seven charges against Cory Batey and all nine charges against Brandon Vandenburg.Vandenburg and Batey, along with two other former football players for Vanderbilt University, were accused of raping an unconscious student in a dorm room at the university in June 2013. Attorneys in the case gave their closing arguments this week after 10 days of testimony.

The two other players, Brandon Banks and Jaborian McKenzie, also face charges of rape and sexual battery, but have not yet gone to trial. All pleaded not guilty.

Batey and Vandenburg were each found guilty Tuesday on four counts of aggravated rape, one count of attempted aggravated rape and two counts of aggravated sexual battery.

According to prosecutors, the four players, who have since been kicked off the team, laughed at the victim before they allegedly assaulted her. Vandenburg allegedly recorded the assault on his phone and was additionally found guilty on one count of tampering with evidence and one count of unlawful photography. Prosecutors claim Vandenburg sent pictures and video of the attack to his friends, and later searched online how to delete photos so the police can't find them.Prosecutors then accused the former players of texting each other about the alleged attack, trying to cover it up.

Vandenburg and Batey had their bond revoked, and the two are expected to be sentenced in March.

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Benghazi Committee Chair Trey Gowdy: Hillary Clinton ‘Needs to Be Talked To’

Benghazi Committee Chair Trey Gowdy: Hillary Clinton ‘Needs to Be Talked To’

State Dept photo(WASHINGTON) -- Rep. Trey Gowdy, chairman of the House Select Committee on Benghazi, said Tuesday he still intended to summon former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to testify as part of the investigation into the 2012 attack on the U.S. diplomatic compound in Libya that killed four Americans.“Every witness who has relevant information needs to be talked to,” Gowdy told reporters after a committee meeting Tuesday.If he didn’t call Clinton before the committee, Gowdy said, it would be “an incomplete investigation.”The House Select Committee on Benghazi is charged with delivering the final word on the attack, which has been the subject of an intense political battle.Several previous congressional investigations into the attack have found no wrongdoing by U.S. officials, but that has done little to cool the partisan acrimony surrounding the incident on whether the State Department under Clinton’s direction did enough to prevent the attack.Clinton, who is believed to be moving closer to announcing her bid for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination, has said she would testify. But Democrats believe she should have already been called and worry that a delay could interfere with her presidential campaign.Her testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in January 2013 has become a soundtrack for Republican opposition to her candidacy. Her supporters fear another round of testimony would only inflame the partisan debate over the Benghazi attack.Gowdy told reporters Tuesday that he has been unable to get documents from the State Department pertaining to the attack, which has delayed his call for Clinton to testify. He said the government has been dragging its feet in releasing emails and other documents.“I am willing to do it sooner rather than later,” said Gowdy, a South Carolina Republican. “What I am not willing to do is do it in a vacuum where I don’t have access to the documents.”Rep. Elijah Cummings, the ranking Democrat on the committee, downplayed the criticism over the release of documents. He said Clinton has been willing to testify.“If the committee wants her to come she is willing to come,” Cummings, D-Md., told reporters. “So if the excuse is that the State Department documents haven’t gotten there, it makes no sense.”

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Army Says Still No Decision on Bowe Bergdahl’s Fate

Army Says Still No Decision on Bowe Bergdahl’s Fate

ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- No decision has been made about Bowe Bergdahl's future, military officials said Tuesday, as an Army general continues to review the circumstances surrounding his 2009 disappearance that led to five years in Taliban captivity.Since his return to the U.S. last year, the Army has investigated whether Bergdahl willfully left his remote outpost in eastern Afghanistan and whether he should face disciplinary action.A months-long investigation headed by Major General Kenneth Dahl concluded in early October and was then forwarded to Army leaders at the Pentagon.In late December, the investigation and its recommendations were forwarded to General Mark Milley, who heads U.S. Army Forces Command, for his review of the matter.It will be Milley who will decide if Bergdahl should face disciplinary action. If warranted, disciplinary action could take the form of either a court-martial or some form of non-judicial punishment. Milley may also decide that no punishment is warranted in Bergdahl’s case.The Army issued a statement Tuesday denying media reports that said Bergdahl would be charged with desertion, possibly as early as next week.Major General Ronald Lewis, the head of Army public affairs, labeled the reports as "patently false.""To be clear, there have been no actions or decisions on the Sergeant Bergdahl investigation," Lewis said.The investigation remains with Milley, "who will determine appropriate action -- which ranges from no further action to convening a court-martial," Lewis added."There is no timeline to make that decision and General Milley is not being put under pressure to make a decision either way," Rear Admiral John Kirby said at a Pentagon briefing Tuesday.Kirby, the Pentagon press secretary, said Milley "is going to be given the time he needs to decide how this case ought to be disposed."Milley is "still very much in a deliberative process here of working his way through the investigation that General Dahl did. And has come to no conclusions and he has made no decisions," Kirby added.Bergdahl remains an active-duty soldier assigned to Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, Texas, until his case is resolved.

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Latest Report Indicates 64 Measles Cases Linked to Disneyland

Latest Report Indicates 64 Measles Cases Linked to Disneyland

David McNew/Getty Images(SACRAMENTO, Calif.) -- The latest update from the California Department of Public Health notes 64 cases of measles linked to an outbreak at California's Disneyland.The latest tally includes 50 cases in California with epidemiologic links to Disneyland, as well as 13 in other U.S. states and one in Mexico. The states affected by the outbreak thus far include Arizona, Colorado, Nebraska, Oregon, Utah and Washington.Thirty-seven of the 50 measles cases in California are among patients over the age of 5, despite the fact that the first dose of the MMR vaccine is recommended for children between 12 and 15 months old. Health officials are urging parents to vaccinate their children.Despite the fact that measles has been eradicated in the United States since 2000, outbreaks still occur overseas, and international travelers can bring the disease with them, in particular to locations where travelers and tourists may go -- including theme parks and airports.

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Lawyers for Billionaire Sex Offender Linked to Prince Andrew Scandal Ask Judge to Keep Documents Sealed

Lawyers for Billionaire Sex Offender Linked to Prince Andrew Scandal Ask Judge to Keep Documents Sealed

iStock/Thinkstock(LONDON) -- Attorneys for convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein claim in a new court filing that the billionaire financier will be "irreparably harmed" if emails and letters his lawyers sent to federal prosecutors during plea negotiations are made public, and they're asking a judge to order that the correspondence remain sealed.Epstein's legal brief, filed in U.S. District Court in Florida late Monday by attorneys Roy Black and Martin Weinberg, represents his first formal statements since explosive allegations emerged last month that he had forced a then-17-year-old girl to have sex with Britain's Prince Andrew and other powerful men.Epstein's court filing is peppered with references to "the gossip media" and "grocery store tabloids," and contains thinly-veiled accusations that the lawyers for recognized victims of Epstein's alleged sexual crimes are feeding a media frenzy."This is a widely watched and reported case," the court motion states. "Mr. Epstein and a host of other individuals have been the subject of the most outlandish and offensive attacks, allegations, and plain inventions."Virginia Roberts, 31, recently reignited worldwide interest in Epstein's controversial non-prosecution agreement when she claimed in court documents that Epstein had kept her for sex for years as a teenager, and -- in turn -- trafficked her for sex with a host of his prominent associates, including three times with Prince Andrew, the middle son of Queen Elizabeth II, and at least six times with longtime Harvard legal professor Alan Dershowitz.In an affidavit filed last week, Roberts offered to appear before the court for sworn testimony and vowed to "pursue all reasonable and legitimate means to have criminal charges brought against these powerful men for the crimes they have committed against me and other girls."Both the prince and Dershowitz have strenuously denied the allegations."Every single word in her affidavit about me is a deliberate and categorical lie," Dershowitz told ABC News in an interview last week, and he also filed a sworn declaration in court asserting that he had never even met Roberts.Dershowitz said he wants Roberts to come forward with dates and times on their alleged encounters so he can use his travel records to prove his innocence, he said. "She picked on the wrong innocent person, because I have the will, the determination and the resources to fight back and prove that what she's saying is false," he said.Buckingham Palace issued a strongly worded statement on behalf of the prince, categorically denying Roberts' allegations as "false and without foundation." And then the prince himself, speaking last week before an audience at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, referred vaguely to the "events that have taken place in the last few weeks," before saying that he wished to "reiterate and reaffirm the statements" already made by the Palace.Roberts made her claims in court as she seeks to join a case filed by two other women against the U.S. government. Those women contend that the deal with Epstein violated their rights as crime victims to be consulted and treated with fairness in the administration of justice. Epstein is not a party to the case but has been permitted to intervene on a limited basis to argue motions that affect him directly.The government has opposed Roberts' entry into the case, which was first filed in July 2008 as an emergency motion to stop the deal from taking place without their input. Unbeknownst at the time to the victims, the agreement had already been signed nine months earlier. The government asserts that Roberts waited far too long before seeking to join the lawsuit.Epstein, an enigmatic financier who has palatial homes in Florida, New York, New Mexico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, was the subject of wide-ranging state and federal investigations, beginning in 2005, looking into claims that he had illegal sexual contact with dozens of minor girls at his Palm Beach mansion and elsewhere. By mid-2007, he was facing a potential federal indictment for alleged sex crimes involving nearly three dozen teenage girls. If charged and convicted, he could have faced 10 years to life in prison.Instead, Epstein entered into the unusual and, at the time, confidential non-prosecution agreement with the federal government that resulted in him pleading guilty to two comparatively minor sex crimes in a Florida state court. He pleaded guilty to a count of solicitation of a prostitute and a count of solicitation of a prostitute who is a minor. He served 13 months in jail and must now register as a sex offender for the rest of his life -- in any state where he owns a home.Dershowitz was among a group of prominent attorneys who helped Epstein secure the deal, which also granted federal immunity to any possible co-conspirators who may have assisted Epstein in the commission of the alleged crimes. The deal also required Epstein to pay the costs of a private attorney to assist the alleged victims who wished to negotiate financial settlements without litigation.Roberts' attorneys have alleged that Epstein used his wealth and influence with prominent people to secure the favorable deal.Kenneth Marra, the federal district court judge overseeing the case brought by the victims, has already ruled that the government had an obligation to inform Epstein's victims about the deal, but has reserved judgment about whether the government failed to meet its obligations until a more complete factual record is developed. Marra has indicated that, if he finds the government violated the victims' rights, one possible remedy he would consider is a rescission of Epstein's deal.The plaintiffs' attorneys, Bradley Edwards and former federal judge Paul Cassell, have long argued that the correspondence between Epstein's attorneys and federal prosecutors is "central to this lawsuit" and argued in a motion filed late Monday night that sealing it "would prevent the public from learning about matters of considerable public concern."When reached by ABC News, Cassell declined to comment on Epstein's allegations that the victims' attorneys were engaged in a "frolic with the media."Last fall, Judge Marra unsealed a small portion of the correspondence from Epstein's attorneys that had been kept under seal for several months after being filed. One excerpt -- a one-line email from an Epstein attorney sent just as the terms of the non-prosecution deal were being finalized -- reads simply: "Please do whatever you can to keep this from becoming public."Marra has not set a hearing date, and it is unclear when he might rule. If he were to side with the plaintiffs, the immediate effect could be the unsealing of a 23-page letter written in part by Dershowitz and sent to federal prosecutors two months before the agreement was signed. That letter was filed under seal by the plaintiffs last week.

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