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U.S. News Headlines - Yahoo! News

Compensation battle rages four years after BP's U.S. oil spill

File photo of fire boat response crews battling the blazing remnants of the offshore oil rig Deepwater Horizon off LouisianaFour years after the Deepwater Horizon spill, oil is still washing up on the long sandy beaches of Grand Isle, Louisiana, and some islanders are fed up with hearing from BP that the crisis is over. Jules Melancon, the last remaining oyster fisherman on an island dotted with colorful houses on stilts, says he has not found a single oyster alive in his leases in the area since the leak and relies on an onshore oyster nursery to make a living. The British oil major has paid out billions of dollars in compensation under a settlement experts say is unprecedented in its breadth. Some claimants are satisfied, but others are irate that BP is now challenging aspects of the settlement.



Smuggled cellphone use a growing concern for U.S. prisons

Handout photo shows mobile phones seized by Mississippi authorities at prisons across the stateBy Colleen Jenkins WINSTON-SALEM, North Carolina (Reuters) - Cellphones smuggled into prisons by corrupt guards, concealed in food containers or hurled over security fences are an increasing worry for law enforcement as prisoners use them to intimidate witnesses, direct drug deals and plan escapes. The concerns about these contraband devices came into the national spotlight this month when U.S. officials accused a member of the notorious Bloods gang serving a life sentence in North Carolina of using a mobile phone hidden in his prison cell to arrange the kidnapping of the father of a woman who prosecuted him. There are no widely available reliable figures on how many cellphones are in the hands of the 2.3 million inmates in local, state and federal prisons in the United States, but statistics point to a swift rise of the problem. In California, for instance, the number of contraband cellphones discovered by corrections staff jumped to more than 15,000 in 2011, more than 10 times the 1,400 seized in 2007.



GM could benefit, too, from an ignition-switch victims fund

A man walks past a row of General Motors vehicles at a Chevrolet dealership on Woodward Avenue in Detroit, MichiganIf General Motors Co creates a fund to compensate victims of its faulty ignition switches, an option that a top legal adviser suggested it is exploring, the company could give up strong defenses to a wave of lawsuits. By setting up a fund, GM could avert years of civil litigation and limit its financial and reputational harm. GM has retained Kenneth Feinberg, a Washington lawyer who has overseen compensation funds for victims of high-profile catastrophes like the BP Plc oil spill and the September 11, 2001, attacks. Feinberg told CNBC on Wednesday that GM is "asking me to help develop some sort of program that might be used to compensate eligible claimants." Feinberg did not return a request for comment.



AP PHOTOS: Stratocaster still a favorite at 60

An original 1954 Fender Stratocaster head stock, left, is shown next to a 2014 model, Friday, Jan. 10, 2014 at a studio in Scottsdale, Ariz. April 2014 marks the 60th anniversary of the very first Stratocaster ever sold. (AP Photo/Matt York)SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (AP) ? Jimi Hendrix made it shriek. Buddy Holly made it swing. Stevie Ray Vaughn made it snarl.



Walker's challenger doesn't focus on union rights

In this Wednesday, April 16, 2014 photo Wisconsin gubernatorial candidate Mary Burke speaks with Scott Ziolkowski, an instructor in the Physical Therapy Assistant program at Western Technical College, as she campaigns in La Crosse, Wis. Wisconsin Democrats and their allies who are trying to take out Republican Gov. Scott Walker have invested all their hopes in Burke, a Harvard-educated political newcomer whose father started Trek Bicycle when she was a teenager. (AP Photo/The La Crosse Tribune, Peter Thomson)MADISON, Wis. (AP) ? Wisconsin Democrats and their allies who are trying to take out Republican Gov. Scott Walker have invested all their hopes in Mary Burke, a Harvard-educated political newcomer whose father started Trek Bicycle when she was a teenager.



Remembering an officer slain after bombs went off

FILE - In this November 2012 file photo provided by Nicole Lynch, her brother, Sean Collier, stands in his driveway in Someville, Mass., frying a turkey for his annual kickball Thanksgiving gathering. Investigators said Collier, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology police officer, was shot to death Thursday, April 18, 2013 on the school campus in Cambridge, Mass., by Boston Marathon bombing suspects Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev in a botched attempt to obtain his gun several days after the twin explosions. Collier will be remembered on the first anniversary of his death in a ceremony at MIT Friday morning, April 18, 2014. (AP Photo/Nicole Lynch)BOSTON (AP) ? Like many other youngsters, Sean Collier wanted to be a police officer. Unlike most, he brought that dream to life ? and then died doing it, becoming a central character in one of the most gripping manhunts the nation has ever seen.



New Americans turn to goats to address food demand

In this photo taken Thursday April 10, 2014 young goats feed in the barn at the Vermont Goat Collaborative in Colchester, Vt. The project brings together refugee and immigrants seeking goat meat with dairy farmers who otherwise would discard young male goats. (AP Photo/Holly Ramer)COLCHESTER, Vt. (AP) ? A bunch of kids in a minivan are solving twin challenges in northern Vermont: refugees struggling to find the food of their homelands and farmers looking to offload unwanted livestock.



NASA's moon-orbiting robot crashes down as planned

In this artist's concept provided by NASA, the Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE) spacecraft orbits the moon. Flight controllers on Friday, April 18, 2014 confirmed that the orbiting spacecraft crashed into the back side of the moon as planned, just three days after surviving a full lunar eclipse, something it was never designed to do. (AP Photo/NASA, Dana Berry)CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) ? NASA's robotic moon explorer, LADEE, is no more.



Restitution ordered over dead, dying animals

RIVERSIDE, Calif. (AP) ? A Southern California exotic pet breeder who had 20,000 dead and dying rats and reptiles at his business has avoided jail time but was ordered to pay more than $190,000 in restitution.


Casual pot use causes brain abnormalities in the young: study

A volunteer holds a dried cannabis bud at the La Brea Collective medical marijuana dispensary in Los Angeles(This story from April 15 corrects name of researcher to Breiter, instead of Beiter, throughout story) By Alex Dobuzinskis (Reuters) - Young, casual marijuana smokers experience potentially harmful changes to their brains, with the drug altering regions of the mind related to motivation and emotion, researchers found. The study to be published on Wednesday in the Journal of Neuroscience differs from many other pot-related research projects that are focused on chronic, heavy users of cannabis. The collaborative effort between Northwestern University's medical school, Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School showed a direct correlation between the number of times users smoked and abnormalities in the brain. "What we're seeing is changes in people who are 18 to 25 in core brain regions that you never, ever want to fool around with," said co-senior study author Dr. Hans Breiter, professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Northwestern University.