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2-year-old boy accidentally shoots, kills mother with concealed gun

A 2-year-old boy fatally shot her 29-year-old mother at a Wal-Mart in northern Idaho in what is being called a tragic accident.

Authorities say the boy had reached into the purse of his mother, Veronica Rutledge, and grabbed her concealed gun, which fired and struck Rutledge. She had been shopping with the boy and her three other children, according to the Associated Press.

Rutledge was employed at the Idaho National Laboratory, according to a local newspaper, an agency that supports the U.S. Department of Energy in the area of nuclear and energy research. She had a legal concealed weapons permit.

The young child was sitting in a shopping cart when he reached into his mother’s purse at around 10:20 a.m. on Tuesday and grabbed the small-caliber handgun. She was dead at the scene when police arrived, according to the report.

Rutledge’s father-in-law described her as a “beautiful, young, loving mother,” according to the AP, and she was “not the least bit irresponsible.”

Rutledge’s husband was not at the store during the incident, and he arrived shortly after the woman had been shot. The children were taken to a relative’s house, according to the report.

The shooting happened at a Wal-Mart in Hayden, which is about 40 miles northeast of Spokane, Washington. The incident prompted the store to close for the day, and Wal-Mart issued a statement calling the shooting a “very sad and tragic accident.” The company pledged to work with police to investigate the incident.

It isn’t the first time there has been a tragedy involving a young child and a gun this year in the United States. In neighboring Washington state last month, a 3-year-old boy seriously injured himself when he accidentally fired a gun in a home about 30 miles north of Seattle. And in April, a 2-year-old boy killed his 11-year-old sister while they played with a gun in a home in Philadelphia.

Hayden is a small, conservative town with just 9,000 residents that sits in the northern portion of the state of Idaho. State lawmakers had recently passed legislation that would allow concealed weapons on the campuses of colleges and universities, although it banned guns in dormitories or buildings that can hold more than 1,000 people.

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NYPD displays their own brand of protest, allowing arrest rate to drop 66%

Arrests have fallen 66% since the deaths of two New York officers. Low level and traffic offense arrests have plummeted 90% since the tragedy.

New York City was shaken after officers Liu Wenjin and Raphael Ramos were shot in their squad car by a lone gunman who later killed himself. The shooting amplified the already tense relations between police officers and civilians after protests over the police brutality deaths of Eric Garner and Michael Brown.

After the deaths of the officers, tensions also grew between New York mayor Bill de Blasio and the NYPD. de Blasio’s comments about police brutality against African-Americans have been blasted by New York cops and anti-police. At the funeral of one of the officers, cops turned their backs when de Blasio spoke.

In response to the impasse, the police union president, Pat Lynch, called for fewer arrests. The call from the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association chief comes partially in concern for officers’ safety. The decline in arrests could also be part of a work stoppage meant to spite de Blasio.

The union president was reportedly quoted as saying ” the rules are made by them to hurt you. Well now, we’ll use those rules to protect us.” A spokesman for Lynch denied that he is deliberately instigating a work stoppage.

de Blasio is attempting to mend the strained relationship between City Hall and the NYPD. He recently met with police officers in an attempt to work together. The mayor said he wants to begin “building a productive dialogue and identifying ways to move forward together”.

Lynch exercised more caution about the meeting and the mayor’s conciliatory message. “Our thought here tonight is actions speak louder than words and time will tell,” he said.

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Lawyers for Boston bombing suspect continue to stall, request yet another delay

Defense lawyers for Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev yet again asked a judge on Monday to delay the trial, claiming that still more time is needed to prepare.

“Only adequate preparation makes a fair trial possible,” defense lawyers wrote in response to prosecution’s opposition to yet another a trial delay. “But we face a situation where Mr. Tsarnaev is being afforded substantially less time to prepare than the vast majority of defendants in federal capital cases.”

Jury selection is currently scheduled to begin January 5th, but the defense team requested for the trial to be postponed until September.

The defense claimed that the overwhelming amount of evidence requires a delay, noting that more than 19,000 pages of documents as well as spreadsheets and audio files were received just this month.

In addition, the lawyers said that the prosecution has not handed over everything that had been requested, including information that they believe may show that Tsarnaev was under the influence of his older brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, who was killed during a shootout with police days after the bombing.

However, prosecutors had previously said everything required of them had been handed over to the lawyers.

In response, the defense criticized the statements. “The government’s arguments are largely comprised of generalizations that cannot withstand scrutiny and other statements that are simply wrong,” they wrote in the motion filed Monday.

Tsarnaev’s lawyers are attempting to move the trial out of Massachusetts due to intense media coverage surrounding the case. A filing on Monday noted that the marathon bombing aftermath was named as the top Massachusetts news story of 2014.

“The report corroborates the defense analysis showing that intense pretrial publicity has continued unabated,” the defense said.

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Hundreds of cops turn their backs on Mayor Bill de Blasio during eulogy of fallen officer

Mayor Bill de Blasio’s eulogy of a fallen officer was greeted by the backs of hundreds of police officers during the funeral held outside a Queens, N.Y. church.

De Blasio had come to honor Officer Rafael Ramos, who was ambushed along with another officer by a man who expressed anger at recent police slayings of unarmed black individuals. The police union pointed their finger at de Blasio for sympathizing with protesters, with the head of the most powerful union saying that the mayor had “blood on his hands.”

De Blasio’s remarks were broadcast on TV monitors outside the Christ Tabernacle Church, and offered condolences to teh Ramos family during his speech. The funeral was attended by 25,000 police officers from around the nation, stretching six city blocks, according to Fox News.

The uprising against de Blasio began when he arrived at a hospital after the shooting, and reports indicated that many police officers turned their backs on the mayor to show disrespect. Patrick Lynch, head of the police union, later issued an angry statement blaming the mayor for the shooting.

De Blasio attempted to calm the situation by asking demonstrators to halt protests until the situation settled down, and announced the arrest of a seventh person for allegedly making threats against the police after the shooting.

There wasn’t any reaction from the officers outside the church when the mayor arrived about a half hour before the start of the funeral, although one retired officer held up a sign reading “God Bless the NYPD. Dump de BLasio.”

However, as he began eulogizing, hundreds of officers turned their backs on the mayor.

De Blasio said the city was “grieving and grieving for so many reasons” because of the shooting, “but the most personal is that we lost such a good man.”

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Amazon’s new Prime service a big hit with consumers for Christmas

EBay’s loss is online giant Amazon’s gain as the company announced on Dec. 26 that this recent Christmas shopping season it signed up 10 million new members to its Prime service, which costs $99 a year. EBay discontinued their Now delivery service earlier this year.

CNET reported on Dec. 26 that Amazon’s Prime’s two-day shipping was likely the big draw for customers — particularly last-minute shoppers — but Amazon is also touting other Kindle perks such as e-book and video rentals, and even its one-hour delivery service, Amazon Now, which debuted last week in Manhattan, New York.

“We are working hard to make Prime even better and expanding the recently launched Prime Now to additional cities in 2015,” Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos said in a press release, without mentioning specific cities. He added that Amazon customers ordered more than 10 times as many items with the company’s same-day delivery over the same period in 2013.

CNET reported that almost 60 percent of Amazon customers shopped this season using a mobile device. And Cyber Monday once again was Amazon’s peak mobile shopping day, as other consumer fan-favorites were large screen television’s from Samsung and LG Electronics, and laptops from Asus, HP and Acer.

As for its customers’ gift lists, Amazon said that its own Fire TV Stick, Fire HD 6 and Fire HD 7 were among the most wished-for items on the site this holiday season. Amazon Fire TV was the best-selling streaming media box, and the Fire TV Stick is now the fastest-selling Amazon device ever.

 

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Body of 4-year-old autistic boy found in S.C. pond after going missing Christmas Eve

Authorities have found the body of a 4-year-old boy with autism in a South Carolina pond in South Carolina after he had gone missing on Christmas Eve.

Police found Jayden Morrison in Little River, which is northeast of Myrtle Beach, on Friday. It took search dogs, dive teams, and volunteers a couple days to find the boy since disappearing from his grandmother’s house on Wednesday evening, according to the Associated Press.

His family was from New York and had been visiting his grandmother, Carolyn Sumpter. The three children had been left at home while their mother, Tabatha Morrison, went out shopping. Minutes later, Sumpter noticed that the front door was open and the boy was nowhere to be found.

About 150 volunteers participated in the search on Friday. The area has many lakes and retention ponds and is near the coast.

Autistic children often wander, according to the National Autism Association, and they are commonly noncommunicative, often failing to respond if their names are called.

His body was found in one of the many man-made ponds in the area. The boy’s mother said in an interview that it was “every mother’s nightmare,” according to the New York Times.

Morrison said she had stepped out to get some presents for the kids and had left the boy with his twin brother, Jordan, and his 3-year-old sister, Kelsey, along with their 70-year-old grandmother. Sumpter often cared for the children while the mother worked at home in New York, according to the report.

The door was unlocked, but this was not uncommon for the family in New York, according to the report, and they had never worried about Jayden wandering.

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Surprise: Scientists discover that a 300-million-year-old fish could see in color

A new study has found that an ancient fossilized fish eye indicates that color vision has been around for 300 million years.

The fish eye, which came from an era where Earth consisted of just one continent, contained “rod” and “cone” eye cells, which are used for sensing light. The fish comes from the “spiny shark” family that predated dinosaurs, according to an Agence France-Presse report.

Scientists have known that vision has been around for at least 520 million years, but this is the earliest evidence of eyes that can sense color.

It is rare for scientists to find eye remains at all as they decay after just a couple months after death, but the eye was discovered extremely well preserved along with many other fossils in the Hamilton Quarry in Kansas.

The extinct fish archaeologists extracted is known as Acanthodes bridgei, which was the oldest known vertebrate to have a jaw.

That fish died out 250 million years ago in an extinction event that killed off 90 percent of species. It lived in shallow, brackish water and sported fins with spines.

The specimen discovered at the quarry had some of the original eye color and shape, as well as light-absorbing pigment in the retina, according to the report.

A thin coating of phosphate had preserved the remains, allowing scientists to analyze the tissue and make teh discovery. The cones and rods, combined with light-absorbing pigments, suggest that hte fish could see in low light with its highly sensitive rod cells, using its cone cells to see in the day. Since cone cells can respond to light at certain wavelengths, the fish probably could see in certain colors.

However, scientists noted that more work is needed to verify this theory.

The fish come from the Acanthodes family of spiny sharks, with fossils found in Europe, North America, and Australia. Acanthodes were relatively large compared to other spiny sharks at up to a foot long. It did not have any teeth and was likely a filter feeder that consumed plankton as whales do.

It featured pectoral and pelvic fins that had a spine, as well as anal and dorsal fins for a total of six spines, which is less than other species.

Acanthodians share similarities to both bony fish and cartilaginous fish, meaning that classifying them has been difficult for scientists. A study has suggested that the family may be an ancestor to all cartilaginous and bony fish.

One study even suggests that the fish was an ancestor to humankind. Scientists believe that the fish was a common ancestor of all jawed vertebrates on Earth, which would include humankind.

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Global warming is killing off coral reefs in the Pacific through bleaching, scientists warn

Scientists say global warming is to blame for the worst-ever bleaching of coral near the Marshall Islands and reefs across the northern Pacific.

An El Nino weather pattern had been developing in recent months, which raised ocean temperatures and stressed coral reefs — a bleaching event that has been happening since September, according to an Agence France-Presse report.

The problem is widespread in the northern Pacific, stretch from Guam to the Northern Marianas Islands to Hawaii to the Marshall Islands, according to researchers.

Coral bleaching happens when photosynthesising algae that the reefs feed on disappears, causing the coral to die. It happens naturally, but this is the worst case scientists say they’ve ever seen.

Typically, bleaching happens on very hot days in pools of water with low circulation, such as low tides on reef flats. However, greenhouse gas emissions are causing temperatures to rise and make it a global problem, researchers say.

Karl Fellenius, a Majuro-based marine scientist with the University of Hawaii, said sea surface temperatures have been nearly a full degree Celsius higher than normal for months, which he said may not seem like a lot but can have a tremendous impact on coral reefs.

The last big bleaching event happened in 1997, Fellenius said, due to a strong El Nino system that impact a quarter of the coral reefs on the planet.

This most recent incident affects about 75 percent of smaller corals and 25 percent of larger ones, he estimated. And the coral may not recover as it is becoming covered with algae.

The World Meteorological Organization stated during UN climate talks in Lima, Peru, that 2014 was the warmest year on record, blaming it on man-made climate change.

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Drive-by shooter targets firefighters in Florida: authorities

A Jacksonville, Fla. firefighter was injured in a drive-by shooting as they fueled up their fire truck at the station, police say.

The shooters apparently targeted the firefighters that were fueling up their fire struck behind Fire Station 28 at around 7:35 p.m. Tuesday evening, according to Jacksonville.com.

Police say the vehicle drove by and five or six shots were fired, striking a firefighter in the arm with a bullet that ricocheted. They did not have a description of the vehicle or the occupants.

The firefighter was treated at the scene and did not have to go to the hospital.

Jacksonville Mayor Alvin Brown said in a statement that the attacks were “cowardly” and that he would do everything in his power to respond to the situation. Police don’t have any indication it is at all connected to the recent execution of two police officers in New York City or protests against the decisions by grand juries not to indict cops involved in the Michael Brown or Eric Garner deaths.

Randy Wyse, who is president of the Jacksonville Association of Firefighters, said fire stations have been targeted before, but it is not something that firefighters “expect to encounter,” he said according to the report.

The sheriff’s office will investigate the incident.

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Suspect in grisly Pennsylvania killing rampage committed suicide, police say

A Pennsylvania man who authorities believe killed his ex-wife and five relatives earlier this month died from taking drugs after the murders, according to the coroner.

Police and prosecutors in Montgomery County said in a statement that the coroner found that 35-year-old Bradley Stone, an Iraq War veteran, had passed of “combined drug intoxication” and are ruling it a suicide. They believe he took an antidepressant and anti-psychotic medications, according to the Associated Press.

Authorities found Stone’s body in the woods about a half mile from the home he lived in in Pennsburg, which is situated about 30 miles from Philadelphia. The body was discovered on Dec. 16, the day after police say he went on a 90-minute killing spree in the dawn areas at three homes in three towns. He spared his two young daughters but killed his ex-wife as well his ex-wife’s mother, grandmother, sister, brother-in-law, and 14-year-old niece. A 17-year-old nephew survived with a skull fracture and other injuries — he had barricaded himself in the third floor of a home when the shootings began.

Police found a machete and an axe covered with blood near Stone’s body, as well as two medicine bottles. The death was attributed to Trazodone, which is an antidepressant, Risperidone, which is an antipsychotic, and mCPP, which is used for psychiatric research.

Stone had a troubled history with frequent calls to the police during a five-year custody battle with his ex-wife. His body had a deep stab wound in the upper thigh and some superficial cuts.

He was not allowed to have firearms after an October 2013 incident in which he was arrested on drunken driving charges. However, he told a military psychologist that he didn’t have any weapons last month, police said.

A total of 17 home visits had been made by probation and parole officers over the past year. None of them had found he owned weapons or violated his parole.