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By Joseph Ax NEW YORK (Reuters) - A federal judge on Thursday reluctantly struck down New York's limits on donations to independent political action committees as unconstitutional, potentially ushering in a new era of "super PACs" in state campaigns. District Judge Paul Crotty said the statutes could not survive First Amendment scrutiny in light of recent landmark Supreme Court decisions that have lessened restrictions on big-money political donors. "I think there is a risk of quid pro quo corruption, but the Supreme Court has not recognized it," he said during a hearing in Manhattan federal court. "We know what the Supreme Court has held, whether we like it or not, and I'm bound to follow it." The New York laws had limited the amount of money individual donors could contribute to independent political committees, known as super PACs, that operate separately from a candidate's campaign.
By Kevin Murphy and Carey Gillam OLATHE, Kansas (Reuters) - The white supremacist charged with killing three people at two Jewish facilities near Kansas City on Passover Sunday appeared in a Kansas courtroom on Thursday and was granted a month-long delay in the proceedings against him. Frazier Glenn Cross Jr., 73, also known as Glenn Miller, was wearing an orange jumpsuit, with hands and feet shackled. Johnson County District Judge Thomas Kelly Ryan agreed to a request by Cross's attorney to set the next hearing for May 29, when scheduling details for a trial will be discussed. Authorities have said he could face the death penalty in the April 13 shooting death of 14-year-old Reat Underwood, and his grandfather William Corporon, 69, outside a Jewish community center in the Kansas City suburb of Overland Park, Kansas.
By Toni Clarke WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Food and Drug Administration proposed rules on Thursday that would ban the sale of e-cigarettes to anyone under 18, but would not restrict flavored products, online sales or advertising, which public health advocates say attract children. Bonnie Herzog, an analyst at Wells Fargo, said the proposal is "positive for industry." But public health advocates lamented the fact that the proposal does not take aim at e-cigarette advertising or sweetly-flavored products, which they say risk introducing a new generation of young people to conventional cigarettes when little is known about the long-term health impact of the electronic devices. "It's very disappointing because they don't do anything to rein in the wild-west marketing that is targeting kids," said Stanton Glantz, a professor at the Center of Tobacco Control Research and Education at the University of California, San Francisco. FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg said at a briefing on Wednesday that the proposal represented the first "foundational" step toward broader restrictions if scientific evidence shows they are needed to protect public health.
PEORIA, Ill. (AP) ? No charges will be filed over a fake Twitter account that purported to be a central Illinois mayor's lewd thoughts on sex and drugs.
UNITED NATIONS (AP) ? The U.N. secretary-general is warning that the 3-year-old conflict in Syria poses a serious threat to the stability of neighboring Lebanon, as refugees stream into the small country and weapons and fighters are transferred out.
SEATTLE (AP) ? A federal agency is weighing whether to protect endangered orcas in the waters off the West Coast.
A former executive of Parker ITR Srl pleaded guilty on Thursday to conspiring to rig bids for marine hose and was sentenced to two years in prison, the U.S. Justice Department said on Thursday. Romano Pisciotti, who is Italian, had been flown into the United States from Germany in early April in the first extradition on charges of breaking antitrust law, the department said. Marine hose is used to move oil between storage facilities and tankers. Five companies - Parker ITR, Bridgestone Corp, Trelleborg, Dunlop Marine and Oil Ltd, and Manuli Rubber Industries SpA, a Florida subsidiary of Manuli SpA - have pleaded guilty to price-fixing in the marine hose industry, the department said.
LOS ANGELES (AP) ? The widow and two children of a security screener killed in an attack at Los Angeles International Airport last year have filed a $25 million claim against the city of Los Angeles.
By David Adams MIAMI (Reuters) - A Miami judge on Thursday ordered a rare hearing to hear new evidence in the 1987 conviction of Krishna Maharaj, a British businessman who was found guilty in a grisly double-homicide at a downtown Miami hotel that his defense team blames on Colombian drug traffickers. Judge William Thomas cited new evidence presented by the defense implicating another person and perjured testimony by state witnesses, as well as the failure of prosecutors to turn over evidence that could potentially have exonerated Maharaj at trial.
MILWAUKEE (AP) ? The federal government is backing off proposed regulations that brewers say would add to their costs without improving the safety of grain used to feed livestock.