National briefs: Group urges action for sex assaults

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WASHINGTON — U.S. military personnel who are sexually assaulted and report the crime often face retaliation, but little is done to hold wrongdoers accountable even though various disciplinary responses are available, Human Rights Watch said Monday.

The rights group said the military’s response to retaliation was often seen as ineffective, hamstrung by jurisdictional limitations or too tied to the command structure.

The group urged Congress to overhaul the whistleblower act to give military personnel the same protection as civilians. It also recommended lawmakers bar the military from charging sexual assault victims with minor misconduct disclosed in reporting an attack.

Black youth suicides surge

CHICAGO — The suicide rate among black children ages 5 to 11 has nearly doubled from 1993 to 2012, while the rate for white children has fallen, a new study has found, a pattern that seemed to suggest something troubling was happening among some of the nation’s most vulnerable citizens.

The study, published in the journal JAMA Pediatrics on Monday, found that the rate had risen so steeply among black children — to 2.54 from 1.36 per 1 million children — that it was substantially above the rate among white children by the end of the period. The rate for white children fell to 0.77 per million from 1.14.

It was the first time a national study found a higher suicide rate for blacks than for whites of any age group, researchers noted.

Anti-Muslim trailer ruling

LOS ANGELES — An anti-Muslim movie trailer that set off protests in 2012 returned to the spotlight on Monday when a federal appeals court ruled that YouTube should not have been forced to remove the crude video from its website.

An 11-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco rejected a copyright claim by Cindy Lee Garcia, an actress who appeared unwittingly, she said, in the “Innocence of Muslims” trailer. Ms. Garcia had earlier won the forced removal from YouTube of the video, which depicted the Prophet Muhammad as a bloodthirsty thug.

Gun ownership verdict

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court on Monday ruled 9-0 that convicted felons may be able to transfer their guns to someone else rather than surrendering them to authorities, siding with a former U.S. Border Patrol agent convicted on marijuana charges.

Justice Elena Kagan wrote that a federal law prohibiting felons from possessing firearms did not prevent ownership of guns from being transferred to another person.

Also in the nation …

A Texas grand jury declined on Monday to charge a suburban Dallas police officer in the fatal shooting of an unarmed Mexican national in another case that has raised questions about racial bias by U.S. police. … President Barack Obama sent his first tweet from his very own account on Twitter on Monday, quickly amassing a million followers in five hours, the latest of many efforts to amplify his message with social media. … An FBI agent’s claim that a hacker may have exploited weaknesses aboard more than a dozen commercial flights, including sending commands to a jet engine in mid-air, has sparked new worries over the safety and cybersecurity of the nation’s passenger planes.


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