Pope: Priests in Holy Year can absolve 'sin of abortion' VATICAN CITY (AP) - Pope Francis declared on Tuesday he is allowing all priests in the church's upcoming Year of Mercy to absolve women of the "sin of abortion" if they repent with a "contrite heart," saying he is acutely aware some feel they have no choice but to abort. Reflecting his papacy's central theme of mercy, Francis said in letter published by the Vatican that he has met many women bearing "the scar of this agonizing" decision to abort. He said God's forgiveness cannot be denied to those who repent, and therefore he is giving all priests the power to absolve the sin in the Holy Year of Mercy running Dec. 8, 2015 until Nov. 20, 2016.
Federal judge orders Kentucky clerk and her staff to court MOREHEAD, Ky. (AP) - A county clerk in Kentucky who has invoked "God's authority" and is defying the U.S. Supreme Court by refusing to license same-sex marriage has been summoned along with her entire staff to explain to a federal judge why she should not face stiff fines or jail time. U.S. District Judge David Bunning moved swiftly Tuesday after a lesbian couple asked him to find Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis in contempt. Davis told several couples and a crowd of supporters and protesters that her religious beliefs prevent her from sanctioning gay marriage, and then retreated again, closing her office door and blinds to the raucous scene outside.
Key Democrat: Senate will uphold Obama on Iran nuke deal BALTIMORE (AP) - A key Democrat predicted Tuesday that there will be enough votes in the Senate by week's end to uphold an expected veto by President Barack Obama of a resolution disapproving the Iran nuclear deal. Sen. Ben Cardin of Maryland, the top Democrat on the Foreign Relations Committee, told students at Johns Hopkins University that he remains undecided. But he said the numbers are close to favoring the president when Congress votes later this month on GOP legislation disapproving of the deal.
Clinton, aides stressed protecting State Dept info in email WASHINGTON (AP) - Hillary Rodham Clinton and her aides at the State Department were acutely aware of the need to protect sensitive information when discussing international affairs over email and other forms of unsecure electronic communication, according to the latest batch of messages released by the agency from Clinton's tenure as secretary of state. The State Department made public roughly 7,121 pages of Clinton's emails late Monday night, including 125 emails that were censored prior to their release because they contain information now deemed classified. The vast majority concerned mundane matters of daily life at any workplace: phone messages, relays of schedules and forwards of news articles.
California to end unlimited isolation for most gang leaders SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) - California on Tuesday agreed to end its unlimited isolation of imprisoned gang leaders, restricting a practice that once kept hundreds of inmates in notorious segregation units for a decade or longer. No other state keeps so many inmates segregated for so long, according to the Center for Constitutional Rights. The New York City-based nonprofit center represents inmates in a class-action federal lawsuit settled Tuesday on behalf of nearly 3,000 inmates held in segregation statewide.
Thai prime minister says bombing suspect arrested at border BANGKOK (AP) - Thai authorities arrested a man they believe is part of a group responsible for a deadly bombing at a shrine in central Bangkok two weeks ago, the prime minister announced Tuesday. He said the suspect resembles a yellow-shirted man in a surveillance video who police say planted the bomb. "It would be great if he were (the bomber). Then we will know who they are, where they came from, who's behind this," Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha told reporters.
Investigators: Georgia officer likely shot by other officers ATLANTA (AP) - Police officers who arrived at the wrong metro Atlanta home for a report of suspicious activity shot the man who lives there, killed his dog and "likely" shot a fellow officer, leaving him seriously wounded, authorities said Tuesday. The bloody misunderstanding began when DeKalb County police received a report of a possible burglary. Officers were sent in the dark to a neighborhood in southeast Atlanta where many of the single-story homes look similar.
Study: Midlife obesity may spur risk for earlier Alzheimer's WASHINGTON (AP) - One more reason to watch the waistline: New research says people's weight in middle age may influence not just whether they go on to develop Alzheimer's disease, but when. Obesity in midlife has long been suspected of increasing the risk of Alzheimer's. Researchers at the National Institutes of Health took a closer look and reported Tuesday that being overweight or obese at age 50 may affect the age, years later, when Alzheimer's strikes. Among those who eventually got sick, more midlife pounds meant an earlier onset of disease.
Taiwan swipe card with porn star image sells out in 4 hours TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) - A special edition swipe card for Taiwan's mass transit featuring the clothed image of a Japanese porn star sold out within hours overnight via a telephone hotline, despite a storm of opposition. Taiwan's EasyCard Corp. said on its website that it sold its full run of 15,000 card sets by 4:18 a.m. Tuesday after phone orders started at midnight.