‘Stand Your Ground’ law to get hearings

Florida lawmakers will hold hearings this fall on the state’s “Stand Your Ground” self-defense law, which has become a lightning rod for criticism following the acquittal of George Zimmerman in the shooting death of unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin.

The announcement Friday by Will Weatherford, the speaker of Florida’s House of Representatives, marked the biggest concession yet by the state’s Republican leaders to demands for a review of the law, which allows people in fear of serious injury to use deadly force to defend themselves rather than retreat.

Since Zimmerman’s acquittal July 13, Martin’s grieving parents, backed by African American civic leaders, students and political figures, including President Obama and Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr., have all said the law needs to be re-examined.

— Reuters

60 lose jobs in new screening process

Sixty people have been removed from jobs as military recruiters, drill instructors and victims counselors as a result of screenings ordered following a jump in the number of sexual assaults in the U.S. armed forces, officials said Friday.

The Army said 55 people had been suspended from their positions since screenings ordered by Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel began last month. The move came a week after the Pentagon issued an annual report showing a 37 percent jump in cases of unwanted sexual contact in the military.

The 60 people were removed for a variety of reasons, ranging from alcohol-related concerns to unwanted sexual contact to other conduct that raised questions about their suitability for the jobs, officials said.

— Reuters