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At least 14 injured in Fresno gas pipeline explosion

fresno gas explosionA gas pipeline explosion near Fresno injured at least 14 people and shut down a section of Highway 99 for several hours Friday afternoon, the Fresno Fire Department said.

Traffic going north and south on Highway 99 was halted by the explosion at about 2:30 p.m. Southbound lanes on Highway 99 were reopened at about 3:30 p.m. Friday, but northbound lanes remained closed.


IBM voices strong opposition to proposed Louisiana religious freedom bill

Louisiana GovernorIBM voiced "strong opposition" to Louisiana's proposed religious freedom bill, asking Gov. Bobby Jindal to work with state lawmakers to ensure the legislation is not discriminatory.

IBM vice president James Driesse said such a bill would create a hostile environment for the tech company's employees and prospective employees.

"IBM has made significant investments in Louisiana including most recently a technology services delivery center in Baton Rouge, creating new jobs for Louisiana workers. We located the center in Baton Rouge because we believe Louisiana has great talent and would continue to be a rich source of such talent," Driesse said.


Alabama sets free death row inmate for 2nd time this month

Ziegler freed in AlabamaFor nearly 15 years, he was scheduled to be executed. Thursday, William Ziegler was released from prison -- a free man.

His return to society was the culmination of an exhaustive appeals process and what amounted to a legal long-shot -- and it was the second such occurrence in the state of Alabama in the last two weeks.

Ziegler, convicted in the 2000 murder of Russell Allen Baker, was freed Thursday. On April 3, Anthony Ray Hinton got his freedom after spending 30 years on death row for the murders of two fast food workers in 1985. In both cases, significant legal faults were discovered and judges sprung them from custody.


Owner of mining claim urges armed supporters to stand down

Gold mine claimerA man who owns a gold-mining claim on federal land in southwestern Oregon asked for help defending it after U.S. authorities ordered him to stop work, but he is now telling his armed supporters to back off.

Rick Barclay said Thursday that he hoped to prevent his fight with federal regulators from turning into the kind of high-profile standoff at a Nevada ranch last year.

He initially called in a local chapter of constitutional activists known as the Oath Keepers because he thought the U.S. Bureau of Land Management would seize the equipment on his mining claim outside Grants Pass. The agency had served an order to stop work at the mine after finding it lacked the necessary paperwork.


Killer Tulsa Cop’s Gun Training ‘Faked’

Tulsa killer deputy cop Supervisors at the Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office were ordered to falsify a reserve deputy’s training records, giving him credit for field training he never took and firearms certifications he should not have received, sources told the Tulsa World.

At least three of reserve deputy Robert Bates’ supervisors were transferred after refusing to sign off on his state-required training, multiple sources speaking on condition of anonymity told the World.


Ex-drug officer says he stole cash, planted drugs many times

Philadelphia Police departmentA disgraced ex-police officer testifying against his drug squad colleagues acknowledged Tuesday that he stole drug money, planted evidence and lied on police paperwork too many times to count.

Jeffrey Walker told jurors that the Philadelphia Police Department drug squad targeted white "college-boy ... khaki-pants types" who were "easy to intimidate."

That matches the description of some of the drug dealers who have testified at the six-week police corruption trial that the squad stole as much as $110,000 at a time during violent, no-warrant raids.


Small aircraft lands on US Capitol lawn

aircraft pn Capitol awnA small aircraft known as a gyrocopter has landed on the west lawn of the US Capitol building.  The operator of the aircraft has been arrested by Capitol police.

The Tampa Bay Times tells the BBC the driver is Doug Hughes, a Florida post man who wanted to deliver a message about campaign finance reform to Congress.

The airspace around the Capitol and White House in Washington DC is restricted to official aircraft.


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