email account of epa administrator raises concerns
House Republican leaders and a watchdog group have asked the Environmental Protection Agency to respond to allegations that Administrator Lisa Jackson has been using a secret private email account to do official business, purportedly to shield correspondence from the reach of the Freedom of Information Act. On Tuesday, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, a nonpartisan good-government group, sent a letter to EPA Inspector General Arthur Elkins Jr. requesting an investigation into a government email account Jackson has under the name Richard Windsor. The request follows a Nov. 15 letter from the House Science Committee to Jackson expressing concern about the account and suggesting it may violate the Federal Records Act and other laws, and demanding that the EPA turn over the Richard Windsor emails. But the EPA says such accounts are not secret, unusual or illegal. In a statement, it said that for at least a decade, EPA administrators "have been assigned two official, government-issued email accounts: a public account and an internal account."
Woman gets 80 years for fatal day care fire
A Texas woman was sentenced to 80 years Tuesday for her felony murder conviction in the death of a child killed in a fire at her home day care in Houston. Jessica Tata, 24, was convicted last week in connection with the death of 16-month-old Elias Castillo. Authorities say Elias was one of seven children whom Tata left unsupervised at her home while she went to a nearby store. Prosecutors say that she left a pan of oil cooking atop a stovetop burner and that this ignited the February 2011 blaze. Three other children were seriously injured.
3 men sent to prison in plot to bomb bridge
Three men were sentenced Tuesday to eight to 11½ years in prison after admitting to taking part in an unsuccessful plot to bomb a highway bridge between Cleveland and Akron with what turned out to be a dud device provided by a government informant. All three defendants — Connor Stevens, 20, Douglas Wright, 27, and Brandon Baxter, 21 — apologized in court. A fourth defendant is being sentenced today, and a fifth is undergoing a psychiatric exam.
Court ends blasphemy case against girl, 14
A Pakistani court on Tuesday dismissed charges against a Christian girl accused of desecrating the Koran, ending a case that had cast a spotlight on the country's controversial blasphemy law and renewed questions about the treatment of minorities. The Islamabad High Court concluded there was no evidence to support allegations that Rimsha Masih, 14, had ripped pages from the Koran on Aug. 16 and burned them, said one of her lawyers, Akmal Waheed Bhatti. Police have charged an imam at a mosque in her neighborhood with fabricating evidence against her.
Gunman hanged for Mumbai attack in '08
India today executed the lone surviving gunman from the 2008 terror attack on Mumbai, the Home Ministry said. Ajmal Kasab, a Pakistani citizen, was one of 10 gunmen who rampaged through the streets of India's financial capital in November 2008, killing 166 people. Kasab was hanged at a jail in Pune, a city near Mumbai, after India's president rejected his plea for mercy.