Republicans in chaos as favorite quits House leadership race
By Susan Cornwell and Andy Sullivan WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Republicans in Washington faced a sudden leadership vacuum on Thursday when the front-runner to take control of the House of Representatives, Kevin McCarthy, dropped out of the race in a surprise that raised concerns about the party's ability to govern effectively. Representative McCarthy, the No. 2 House Republican, had been expected to win Thursday's contest for the nomination to succeed retiring Speaker John Boehner despite opposition from more conservative lawmakers who have called for a confrontational approach toward Democratic President Barack Obama's agenda. Instead, lacking the mandate he thought he needed to be an effective speaker, McCarthy stunned his colleagues by bowing out.
France train attack hero Stone stabbed in California
By Sharon Bernstein SACRAMENTO, Calif. (Reuters) - U.S. Air Force airman Spencer Stone, one of the three Americans who thwarted an August train attack in France, was stabbed several times during a fight outside a Sacramento bar early on Thursday and was hospitalized in serious condition, police said. The fight was not related to Stone's role in taking down the gunman on a train headed to Paris and there was no connection to terrorism, Sacramento Deputy Police Chief Ken Bernard told a news conference. Stone's assailant, who has not been caught, is not believed to have known Stone's identity, Bernard said.
New York board says officer used excessive force to arrest ex-tennis star
One officer involved in the arrest of ex-tennis star James Blake, who was body-slammed outside a New York City hotel last month in a case of mistaken identity, used excessive force and another abused his authority, a police watchdog group has found. The Civilian Complaint Review Board, in a letter to Blake dated Tuesday and obtained by Reuters on Thursday, said it had investigated and substantiated Blake's allegations that Officer James Frascatore used excessive force and Detective Daniel Herzog abused his authority by authorizing the bogus arrest on Sept. 9. Blake, 35, who is black, was on his way to a corporate appearance at the U.S. Open when he was thrown to the ground and handcuffed by Frascatore, who is white.
Base: Man who crashed car at Fort Meade hid in a storm drain
BALTIMORE (AP) ? A man who crashed a stolen car into a fence at a Maryland Army installation Wednesday night and hid overnight in a storm drain was arrested almost immediately after he emerged from hiding Thursday morning, authorities said.
The Latest: National Guard asks residents to heed warnings
Judge schedules pretrial hearing in Freddie Gray cases
BALTIMORE (AP) ? A judge in Baltimore will hold a hearing next week to determine the admissibility of statements made to investigators by police officers charged in connection with Freddie Gray's death.
Lawsuit wants plans mandated for dealing with big oil spills
TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) ? An environmental group sued the federal government Thursday, contending it gives pipeline owners and operators a free pass on developing legally required plans for dealing with oil spills into lakes, rivers and other inland waterways.
Collision course with a hurricane: How doomed U.S. ship met its end
By Edward McAllister and David Adams NEW YORK/MIAMI (Reuters) - The ill-fated U.S.-flagged El Faro cargo ship sunk by Hurricane Joaquin was sailing at near full speed into the center of the storm before it lost propulsion amid mountainous waves and brutal winds, according to ship tracking data. The data on Thomson Reuters Eikon raises questions about the ship owner's assertion that the vessel's captain had chosen a "sound plan" to pass around Joaquin "with a margin of comfort" but was then thwarted by engineering problems. After reviewing the data, Klaus Luhta, a former ship's officer and chief of staff at the International Organization of Masters, Mates, and Pilots, went silent for a moment as he contemplated what has been called the worst cargo shipping disaster involving a U.S.-flagged vessel in more than 30 years.
Satellite images show scale of NKorea's anniversary parade
WASHINGTON (AP) ? Satellite imagery shows North Korea has erected a tented city and mobilized hundreds of trucks and armored vehicles in preparation for a massive military parade marking the 70th anniversary of the ruling party.
American hero who stopped train attack in France stabbed in California
Airman 1st Class Spencer Stone, who helped stop a terror attack on a French train over the summer, was stabbed and seriously wounded Thursday in a fight outside a bar - the latest tragedy to befall him and his buddies since they returned home as heroes.