National briefs: Mother charged in babies' deaths

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PROVO, Utah -- Prosecutors Monday charged a Utah mother with six counts of murder in the choking and suffocation deaths of her babies within minutes of their births. Their tiny bodies were found stuffed into cardboard boxes hidden in the garage of her home in Pleasant Grove, Utah, just south of Salt Lake City.

Megan Huntsman, 39, who has three daughters and whose family members said she lived a troubled life, faces a life sentence on each count if she is convicted.

Ms. Huntsman was arrested April 12 after her estranged husband found an infant's corpse in a box as he cleaned out the garage of the home they had once shared. He called the police, who then discovered six more bodies, a court affidavit states.

FBI boss: Report hate crime

WASHINGTON -- Mourning three recent killings outside Jewish sites in suburban Kansas City, Mo., by "a madman with a warped view of what America should look like," FBI director James Comey called Monday for stronger reporting of hate crimes and increased education to help prevent them.

"We must continue to impress upon our state and local counterparts in every jurisdiction the need to track and report hate crime," Mr. Comey said.

He made the comments in a speech to a national conference of the Anti-Defamation League, a Jewish group on which he heaped praise for helping to train tens of thousands of law enforcement officers about civil rights laws and hate crimes. He also credited the league for "tracking and exposing domestic and international terrorist threats."

Detroit has deal with unions

DETROIT -- Detroit has reached a new five-year collective-bargaining deal with some of its unions, officials announced Monday. The deal, with representatives for about 3,500 of the city's 10,000 current workers, adds to a growing list of pacts with retirees, pension fund leaders and several financial creditors and appears likely to move the city closer to a plan to emerge from bankruptcy.

In federal court here Monday, Judge Steven W. Rhodes praised settlements struck so far as "extraordinary and unprecedented in the history of bankruptcy."

Marriage ban challenged

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- A group of Charlotte-area ministers has helped launch the country's first faith-based challenge to a same-sex marriage ban, claiming in a lawsuit filed Monday that North Carolina's laws block them from practicing their religion.

The local religious leaders, who include a rabbi, are joined by colleagues from Asheville and Raleigh along with a national denomination, the United Church of Christ. All of them support the rights of same-sex couples to marry.

They say state prohibitions, including a constitutional amendment passed by voters in 2012, violate their First Amendment right of freedom of religion.

Ex-Blue Angels leader resigns

SAN DIEGO -- The former commander of the U.S. Navy's Blue Angels, under investigation for alleged sexual harassment, has resigned as president of the San Diego-based Tailhook Association.

Capt. Gregory McWherter resigned from the position he has held with the private, nonprofit group since September.

Capt. McWherter wants to distance the group from the investigation, which has led to him being relieved from duty as executive officer of Naval Base Coronado, Tailhook officials said Monday.

Capt. McWherter was relieved of duty at Coronado as the investigation continues into allegations of "lewd speech, inappropriate comments and sexually explicit humor" and pornography, the Navy said.

-- Compiled from news services


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