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National digest: New York state police investigate abduction of 2 Amish sisters

Police investigate abduction of sisters

Two Amish sisters were abducted from their roadside farm stand near New York’s border with Canada, and a massive hunt to find them was underway on Thursday, the St. Lawrence County Sheriff’s Office said.

Dozens of law enforcement officers, including U.S. Border Patrol agents and New York State Park Police, and volunteer firefighters manned road-checks and canvassed motorists after the girls vanished at 7:20 p.m Wednesday from their vegetable stand off Mount Alone Road in Oswegatchie, about 10 miles from the Canada border, Sheriff’s Deputy Shawn Wells said.

An Amber Alert was issued for the girls, who wore bonnets and aprons over dark-blue dresses as their religion requires. They live in a rural area of an Amish community and were identified as Fannie Miller, 12, and Delila Miller, 6.

Witnesses who flooded a police line with tips identified a white four-door sedan as a suspicious vehicle, a spokesman for the sheriff’s department said.

— Reuters

Lawyers for ‘Whitey’ Bulger file appeal

Lawyers for former Boston mobster James “Whitey” Bulger on Thursday filed a formal appeal of his sweeping 2013 racketeering conviction on charges of committing or ordering 11 murders in the 1970s and 1980s.

A judge at the U.S. District Court in Boston who heard his trial committed a “constitutional error” by refusing Bulger’s request to argue that he had been granted immunity for his crimes by corrupt Justice Department officials, the attorneys said in court papers.

Bulger, 84, is serving a sentence of two life terms plus five years for what a U.S. District judge called his “unfathomable” crimes while running Boston’s “Winter Hill” crime gang.

Bulger had wanted to argue that he was immune to prosecution as a result of a deal with corrupt Justice Department officials in Boston, but U.S. District Judge Denise Casper forbade him from making such a claim at trial. Bulger never took the stand during proceedings.

— Reuters

Tweets prompt man to lower Arabic flag

A New Jersey man took down a black flag with Arabic letters he’s been flying outside his home for 10 years after complaints arose on Twitter about its association with Islamist militants.

Mark Dunaway told News 12 New Jersey that the flag basically says: “There is only one God. It is Allah. And the Prophet Muhammad is his messenger.”

Dunaway said the Twitter comments were the first time he had ever heard complaints about the flag. He said his flag has nothing to do with the Islamic State group, which has adopted the banner as it fights in Iraq.

Some commenters on Twitter threatened to burn the flag. A Garwood police officer told Dunaway about the tweets on Wednesday. Dunaway said the officer told him he could keep flying the flag and to call him if he had problems. Dunaway instead replaced it with an American flag in the colors of the San Diego Chargers.

— Associated Press

3 arrested in armed robbery of casino

Three more people have been arrested in the armed robbery of the Caesars Atlantic City casino after a confrontation in which a Delaware trooper was shot, New Jersey State Police said Thursday.

A total of eight people, including a security guard, are now charged in the $181,000 casino heist that took place on the morning of July 21, police said in a statement.

Authorities said two masked men entered Caesars Atlantic City and robbed security personnel at gunpoint of two plastic boxes full of cash. The men fled in a dark sedan, police said.

The most recent apprehensions follow the July arrests of five others accused in the daring daytime theft.

— Reuters

Teacher arrested for being drunk in class

A drunk Arizona math teacher arrived at her high school by taxi and hit the bottle again once she was in the classroom, where she yelled at her students before one of the pupils alerted administrators, authorities said Thursday.

Kathleen Jardine, 57, a teacher at Poston Butte High School, faces one count of public consumption of alcohol stemming from the incident Wednesday in the community about 35 miles southeast of Phoenix, said Sgt. Pat Ramirez, a spokesman for the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office.

A school security officer who went to retrieve Jardine’s purse found half a bottle of vodka, an empty single-size bottle of white wine and a half-empty bottle of an orange drink, police added.

Jardine’s blood alcohol level was 0.205 when tested, which would be considered “super extreme” if she were to drive under the influence of that much alcohol, police said.

This is not the first time Jardine was drunk in the classroom, as she was fired for such behavior while teaching in New Mexico in 2011, Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu said.

— Reuters

The Freddie Gray case

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The South Carolina GOP primary and the Nevada Democratic caucuses are next on Feb. 20. Get caught up on the race.
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