Ark. adopts U.S.'s most restrictive abortion law GOP blocks judicial nominee Lion kills park intern-volunteer Gitmo-bound barge loses cargo
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. -- Arkansas lawmakers overrode a veto Wednesday and gave the state the most restrictive abortion law in the nation -- a near-ban on the procedure from the 12th week of pregnancy on. A day after the Republican-led state Senate voted to override Democratic Gov. Mike Beebe's veto, the GOP-controlled House voted 56-33 to do the same.
The vote comes less than a week after the Legislature overrode a veto of a separate bill banning most abortions starting in the 20th week of pregnancy. That bill took effect immediately after the final override vote The 12-week ban wouldn't take effect until this summer.
Beebe rejected both measures for the same reasons, saying they were unconstitutional and contradicted the 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling that legalized abortion until a fetus could viably survive outside the womb. A fetus is generally considered viable at 22 to 24 weeks.
The 12-week ban would prohibit abortions from the point when a fetus' heartbeat can typically be detected using an abdominal ultrasound. It includes exemptions for rape, incest, the life of the mother and highly lethal fetal disorders. The 20-week prohibition is based on the claim that a fetus can feel pain by the 20th week.
WASHINGTON -- Senate Republicans on Wednesday blocked the confirmation of federal appeals court nominee Caitlin Halligan.
A majority of senators, 51, supported Halligan's nomination, but Democrats needed 60 votes in the 100-member Senate to get it past Republican objections.
Citing her work on lawsuits against gun manufacturers and on behalf of illegal immigrants, Republicans said Halligan is too liberal to sit on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. The National Rifle Association opposed her nomination.
Democrats said the effort to block Halligan, who was first nominated to the appeals court in September 2010 to fill the seat vacated by John Roberts when he was elevated to chief justice of the Supreme Court in 2005, also is about maintaining a conservative majority on a key appellate court. There are currently four vacancies on the court, with nominees from Republican presidents holding a 4-3 majority.
DUNLAP, Calif. -- A female intern-volunteer was killed Wednesday by a lion at a private wild animal park in central California, the founder of the facility said.
Cat Haven founder and executive director Dale Anderson was crying as he read a one-sentence statement about the fatal mauling at the exotic animal zoo he has operated since 1993. The intern was attacked and killed when she entered the lion's enclosure, he said.
The male African lion, a 4-year-old male named Couscous, had been raised at Cat Haven since it was a cub, said Tanya Osegueda, a spokeswoman for Project Survival, the nonprofit that operates Cat Haven.
Investigators were trying to determine why the intern was inside the enclosure and what might have provoked the attack.
MIAMI -- All 22 shipping containers that toppled off a U.S. Navy contract barge bound for the Navy base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, have sunk to the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean, no longer presenting a seafaring hazard, the Coast Guard said Wednesday.
The tugboat Spence was towing the 91-foot-long Atlantic Trader barge from Jacksonville, Fla., to Guantanamo when the mishap occurred Monday 18 miles east of Key Biscayne, the Coast Guard said. Ten heavily loaded, less buoyant containers sank immediately. Some others, including well-sealed refrigerated containers, floated for more than a day before finally settling on the sea floor by Wednesday afternoon.
The barge was towed into Port Everglades.