National briefs: Measure would ‘unlock’ phones

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WASHINGTON — The House on Friday unanimously passed bipartisan legislation that would allow consumers to “unlock” their cellphones when switching providers.

The chamber’s approval comes a week after the Senate passed the bill, so it advances to the president’s desk with a few working days left before Congress’ August break. President Barack Obama applauded Congress for passing the pro-consumer legislation and is expected to sign the act into law.

Currently, most contract phones are locked to the cellular provider that sells them, and consumers must obtain permission to unlock phones — even after the phones are paid off and contracts have expired. Consequently, consumers often need to buy a new phone if they want to switch to a different carrier.

Mar­riage ban over­turned

MIAMI — A Flor­ida judge on Fri­day over­turned the state’s ban on same-sex mar­riage in a rul­ing that ap­plies to Miami-Dade County, agree­ing with a judge in an­other county who made a sim­i­lar rul­ing last week. Still, no mar­riage li­censes will be is­sued for gay cou­ples in ei­ther county any time soon to al­low for ap­peals.

The rul­ing by Cir­cuit Judge Sarah Zabel mir­rors the de­ci­sion made ear­lier by Mon­roe County Cir­cuit Judge Luis Gar­cia. Both found the con­sti­tu­tional amend­ment ap­proved by Flor­ida vot­ers in 2008 dis­crim­i­nates against gay peo­ple. They said it vi­o­lates their right to equal pro­tec­tion un­der the law guar­an­teed by the U.S. Con­sti­tu­tion’s 14th Amend­ment.

Arrest in heat death

WICHITA, Kan. — A foster parent for a 10-month-old Kansas girl who died after being left in a car in sweltering heat for more than two hours has been arrested on suspicion of aggravated child endangerment, police said Friday.

The man had picked up the child at day care and returned to his home at about 4 p.m. on Thursday with the infant and a 5-year-old foster child. The man and the older child went into the home without realizing the baby was still in the car, said Lt. Dan East of the Wichita police.

The man, 29, later saw something on TV that reminded him of the baby, Lt. East said. Police were called at 6:40 p.m. and the child was pronounced dead at the scene. Police withheld the man's name because he has not been charged, Lt. East said. The girl has also not been publicly identified. Cause of death is pending an autopsy, he said.

The temperature in Wichita was 89 degrees at the time the girl was in the car, according to the National Weather Service.

Kuwaiti may go free

WASHINGTON — A military board has cleared Fawzi Odah, a 37-year-old Kuwaiti whose father worked with U.S. troops during the 1991 Gulf War, for release from the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

The Periodic Review Board found earlier this month that Mr. Odah was a low-level al-Qaida member who would not constitute a threat. Its decision was announced Friday. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel must still approve the decision and notify Congress before Mr. Odah can be sent home. He was captured in Afghanistan near the Tora Bora Mountains in late 2001 by a Pakistani militia.

Paul courts blacks

CINCINNATI — Sen. Rand Paul on Friday declared his support for a wide range of criminal justice and voting rights reforms in his latest effort to help improve his and the Republican Party’s reputation with black voters.

Mr. Paul’s appearance at a conference of the Urban League capped a month in which the junior senator from Kentucky — a top contender for the party’s presidential nomination in 2016 — has been aggressively courting black and Democratic backing for his ideas.

— Compiled from news services


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