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Associated Press

Posted on January 25, 2014 at 9:00 AM

Updated Saturday, Jan 25 at 9:00 AM

BRAIN DEAD-PREGNANCY

Judge: Remove life support for pregnant woman

FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — A judge has ordered a Texas hospital to remove life support for a pregnant, brain-dead woman.

Judge R. H. Wallace Jr. issued the ruling Friday in the case of Marlise Munoz. John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth has been keeping Munoz on life support against her family's wishes.

Munoz was 14 weeks pregnant when her husband found her unconscious Nov. 26, possibly due to a blood clot.

Erick Munoz says he and his wife are paramedics who were clear that they didn't want life support in this type of situation. His attorney argued that keeping the woman alive would set a dangerous precedent.

But John Peter Smith Hospital had argued that it had to protect the life of the unborn child.

WALL STREET

Dow drops 318 points on fears of slower growth

NEW YORK (AP) — The U.S. stock market is swooning as investors fear slower global economic growth.

The Dow Jones industrial average dropped 318 points, nearly 2 percent, to close at 15,879 Friday, its worst drop since last June.

The Dow is down almost 500 points over the past two days as investors pull out of stocks and emerging markets and stash money in safer assets like bonds.

The Standard & Poor's 500 index fell 38 points, or 2.1 percent, to 1,790. The Nasdaq composite fell 90 points, or 2.2 percent, to 4,128.

Small-company stocks fell even more than the rest of the market as investors shunned risk. The Russell 2000 plunged 28 points, or 2.4 percent, to 1,144.

Bond prices rose. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 2.73 percent.

US-SAM'S-CLUB-LAYOFFS

Wal-Mart's Sam's Club to cut 2,300 workers

NEW YORK (AP) — Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is eliminating 2,300 workers at its Sam's Club division as it reduces the ranks of middle managers in a bid to be more nimble.

The layoffs, which cut 2 percent of the membership club's employee count of about 116,000, mark the largest since 2010 when the Sam's Club unit laid off 10,000 workers as it moved to outsource food demonstrations at its stores.

Bill Durling, a spokesman at Sam's Club, says that a little less than half of the cuts were aimed at salaried assistant managers. It is also eliminating some hourly workers.

The cuts come as Sam's Club strives to compete with Costco Wholesale Corp. and online players like Amazon.com's Prime membership service.

Wal-Mart is based in Bentonville, Ark.

SYRIA-PEACE TALKS

UN: Syrian govt, opposition to meet in 'same room'

GENEVA (AP) — They've met separately with a U.N. mediator for two days -- and now, the two sides in Syria's civil war are going to meet face-to-face.

The mediator says delegations from the Syrian government and the Western-backed opposition will be "in the same room" Saturday in Switzerland for the first time ever.

The mediator is trying to find a path to peace -- or at least a measure of common ground -- after three years of civil war that left at least 130,000 people dead.

FATHER-SON DEATHS

NEW: Vt. mother held in psychiatric ward freed by judge

BURLINGTON, Vt. (AP) — A Vermont woman held against her will for more than five weeks at a psychiatric ward after her estranged husband killed their son and then hanged himself has been ordered released by a judge.

The Burlington Free Press reports (http://bfpne.ws/1jMHYKp) that Vermont Superior Court Judge Kevin Griffin ordered that 48-year-old Christina Schumacher be allowed to leave Fletcher Allen Health Care in Burlington. She has been at the hospital since Dec. 19, a day after 14-year-old Gunnar Schumacher and 49-year-old Ludwig Schumacher were found dead in an Essex apartment.

Griffin says he disagreed with a doctor's assessment before Schumacher arrived for a regular appointment the day after the murder-suicide that she needed to admit herself or be taken into custody.

It was unclear whether Schumacher had left the facility Friday.

PERU-FORCED STERILIZATIONS

NEW: Fujimori spared prosecution in sterilization case

LIMA, Peru (AP) — Peruvian prosecutors have decided not to file criminal charges against former President Alberto Fujimori or any of his ministers over a 1990s sterilization program that hundreds of women complained was coercive.

Prosecutors said in a statement Friday that the inquiry against Fujimori and more than 20 other former high-ranking officials in the case had been shelved.

More than 2,000 women have formally complained of being forcibly sterilized under the program.

Fujimori is now in prison for corruption and authorizing death squads. He claims the sterilizations were voluntary. But women say they were deceived, threatened and bribed to meet quotas.

At the urging of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, prosecutors in 2011 re-opened a criminal investigation into the program, which sterilized more than 300,000 women, mostly poor, illiterate Indians.

NUCLEAR MISSTEPS

Hagel says 'something is wrong' with nuke force

WASHINGTON (AP) — Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel says "something is wrong" inside the Air Force's nuclear missile corps.

Hagel told reporters Friday that he is confident the problems will get fixed and that the nation's arsenal of nuclear weapons will remain safe and secure. He said he will convene a high-level meeting soon to probe the problems.

Hagel was commenting on the Air Force's dual investigations of drug use and exam cheating within its nuclear missile force, as well as a series of disclosures last year by The Associated Press about security lapses, leadership failures and other problems among those who operate and protect the Minuteman 3 missile force.

Citing a "cultural" problem for the nuclear force, Hagel said that over the years, oversight of the nuclear force has waned.

CHEMICAL SPILL

W.Va. official: Spill company knew of 2nd chemical

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — An environmental official says the company in the West Virginia water crisis immediately knew a second chemical leaked from its plant into the river, telling its workers in an email.

However, Freedom Industries did not let state government officials know about the second chemical, which was discovered in later testing. State environmental department official Mike Dorsey says most company employees also did not skim far enough to see the information.

Dorsey made the remarks Thursday on MetroNews radio, explaining the 12-day delay in the second chemical's disclosure.

A chemical used to clean coal spilled from the tank into the Elk River Jan. 9. About 300,000 people were without water for days. Freedom told environmental officials Tuesday that a second, less toxic chemical also was mixed in the tank.

A call to Freedom Industries was not immediately returned Friday.

SEPT 11-MUSEUM

NYC 9/11 museum opens to public in May

NEW YORK (AP) — Officials at the National 9/11 Memorial in New York say the long-delayed museum dedicated to victims of the terror attack will open to the public in mid-May.

Memorial foundation president Joe Daniels said Friday that the cavernous, underground museum at the World Trade Center is now in its final months of construction.

Tickets will go on sale in March following years of delays for the project.

The board that oversees the museum and memorial set an admission charge this week of $24 for most adults.

That is similar to the suggested donation to enter other New York City museums. But some critics say it is too high a price for the average family.

Daniels says the museum might consider charging less if there were federal funding for operations.

US-FEDERAL-COURTS-CYBER

Federal courts hit by cyberattack

WASHINGTON (AP) — Unknown cyberattackers have hit the federal court system, making it difficult for the public to access cases and making it impossible in some instances for lawyers to file documents.

Karen Redmond, a spokeswoman for the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts, said the denial of service attack affected an unknown number of courts around the country.

The courts posted an online advisory saying the system was experiencing network connectivity issues and adding that users may have trouble connecting to various court sites.

The advisory said that engineers are investigating the problem and working to restore full functionality as soon as possible and apologizing for any inconvenience.

Redmond said court employees noticed the problem late Friday afternoon.

CALIFORNIA HIGH-SPEED RAIL

Calif. high court asked about high-speed rail case

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Gov. Jerry Brown's administration is petitioning the California Supreme Court to overturn two lower-court rulings that have stalled progress on the state's high-speed rail project, one of the nation's most expensive public works projects.

A petition filed late Friday seeks an expedited review and asks the court to overturn two decisions that prevented the state from selling $8.6 billion in voter-approved bonds. The lower-court rulings also require the high-speed rail authority to write a new financing plan.

The governor, the rail authority and the state treasurer argue that the rulings prevent California from quickly starting construction on the $68 billion project. They also say it could hurt California's ability to finance other voter-approved projects.

A judge last year sided with opponents who claimed the state failed to comply with the promises made to voters when they approved Proposition 1A in 2008.

BKN-KNICKS-ANTHONY-RECORD

Anthony sets Knicks, MSG records with 62 points

NEW YORK (AP) — Carmelo Anthony has scored a Knicks-record 62 points, most at the current Madison Square Garden, in New York's game against the Charlotte Bobcats on Friday night.

Anthony set the records when he banked in a short jumper with 7:24 remaining, giving the Knicks a 109-72 lead. He broke Bernard King's team mark of 60 points and passed Kobe Bryant's building record of 61, set five years ago.

Anthony shot 23 of 35 from the field, including a make when he took off from midcourt at the halftime buzzer, and grabbed 13 rebounds.

He passed Kevin Durant's 54 points for most in the NBA this season.

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