A firefighter works at the scene of a five-alarm fire that burned for several hours in Staten Island on Thursday. The blaze at three townhouses injured 23 firefighters and 11 civilians. Two hundred firefighters were called in to fight the flames. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
Report: Brain studies need $4.5 billion

Annual funding for President Obama’s brain research initiative would quadruple the current allocation under recommendations by advisers to the project, providing a $4.5 billion investment spread over the next decade.

Obama directed an initial investment of $100 million when he announced the Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative in April 2013 to map the complex interactions between brain cells and neurological circuits. In a report released Thursday, an advisory working group recommended $400 million in funding for the National Institutes of Health for the project for each of the next five years, and $500 million annually for five years after that.

The money would help advance research goals, such as mapping the brain and understanding the biology of mental processes, as well as for new technologies and tools to understand the brain’s wiring, the group said in the report. Findings may help advance the treatment and prevention of diseases including Alzheimer’s, which affects about 5 million people in the United States, and schizophrenia, diagnosed in 2.4 million people.

— Bloomberg News

State gets delay over same-sex marriages

A federal appeals court has granted Utah’s request to delay the implementation of a ruling ordering state officials to recognize more than 1,000 same-sex marriages that were allowed immediately after the state’s ban was overturned.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit issued its decision Thursday, prolonging the uncertainty for same-sex couples who married in December.

The order was set to take effect Monday, based on a ruling in May by a federal judge who said the state’s decision to freeze benefits was harming the couples. Gov. Gary R. Herbert and state Attorney General Sean Reyes, both Republicans, filed an appeal of that ruling late Wednesday. They requested the stay Thursday.

— Associated Press

Ex-banker faces 30 years for fraud

A former Georgia bank director, who left a suicide note before vanishing for more than a year while under suspicion of embezzling $21 million, faces up to 30 years in prison after pleading guilty Thursday to U.S. fraud charges.

Aubrey Lee Price, 47, resolved federal cases out of Georgia and New York by admitting to bank, securities and wire fraud charges, and he could be ordered to pay millions of dollars in restitution and fines, prosecutors said.

Price disappeared soon before his indictment in Georgia on bank fraud in July 2012, leaving behind a written confession and a note for family and friends saying he planned to kill himself, authorities said. Sheriff’s deputies caught up with him Dec. 31 of last year, when they arrested him during a traffic stop over tinted windows.

— Reuters

Oklahoma couples need divorce education: Starting in November, Oklahoma couples with children will have to go through an education program before being allowed to divorce in the state under a new bill signed into law this week.

San Francisco cable cars running again: San Francisco’s famous cable cars were running again Thursday and service on light-rail trains and buses was almost at full strength as a three-day transit driver sickout appeared to be coming to an end.

Lawsuit for Arizona inmates gets the green light: A lawsuit on behalf of Arizona inmates that accuses the state of neglecting their health needs and misusing solitary confinement can proceed as a class-action case, potentially affecting conditions for all the state’s 30,000 prisoners, a federal appeals court ruled Thursday.

— From news services