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Dartmouth College bans hard alcohol as part of reforms

Dartmouth College is banning hard alcohol on campus and threatening to disband organizations that don't shape up as part of efforts to "root out extreme behavior," the school's president announced Thursday amid controversies enveloping universities across the nation.

Dartmouth President Philip Hanlon announced the plan in a speech Thursday morning after a school committee had studied campus issues for months. The plan includes banning hard alcohol for students on campus, implementing a four-year sexual-violence-prevention program and creating new residential communities.

"Colleges and universities across the country face the issues I’ve detailed today," Hanlon said. "We are not alone in facing them. But we will take the lead in saying, 'No more.'"

The Ivy League school is one of 95 that is under federal investigation in connection with its handling of sexual harassment and violence, according to the Associated Press. Last year, Dartmouth adopted a zero-tolerance sexual-assault...

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Two years after deadly Indianapolis explosion, fourth suspect arrested

Prosecutors in Indiana say a fourth suspect has been arrested in relation to a 2012 explosion that ripped through an Indianapolis neighborhood, leveling homes and killing two people.

Gary Lee Thompson, 44, was arrested Wednesday and is being held on suspicion of two counts of murder and a felony charge of arson, according to records from the Marion County Sheriff’s Office.

He is expected to be charged Thursday.

Prosecutors did not say how Thompson was connected to the blast or to three other defendants who, prosecutors say, intentionally blew up a house as part of a plot to collect on insurance money.

Monserrate Shirley, who owned the house, her boyfriend Mark Leonard and his older brother Bob Leonard each face two counts of murder, a count of conspiracy to commit arson and multiple counts of arson.

Shirley, 49, agreed last week to plead guilty to two felony counts of conspiracy to commit arson, according to Peg McLeish, a spokeswoman for the Marion County prosecutor’s office. In...

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No retrial for Detroit officer who killed 7-year-old, prosecutor says

Prosecutors will not seek to retry a Detroit police officer who accidentally shot and killed a 7-year-old girl during a 2010 raid, ending a years-long legal battle that has featured two mistrials.

In a statement issued Wednesday, Wayne County prosecutor Kym L. Worthy said she had informed relatives of Aiyana Stanley-Jones that she would not seek a third trial for Officer Joseph Weekley, who has been accused of involuntary manslaughter and reckless use of his firearm.

Worthy blamed the decision on an October ruling by Judge Cynthia Gray Hathaway, who dismissed the manslaughter charge against Weekley during the 2014 trial. She declared a mistrial days later when a Wayne County jury deadlocked: Seven of the 12 members voted to acquit Weekley of the reckless discharge offense, the only remaining charge on the indictment.

Weekley was first prosecuted in 2013, but a jury could not reach a verdict in that trial either. Worthy said her office would move to dismiss all charges Friday.


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Deadly Maryland fire began with electrical glitch, Christmas tree

The Maryland house fire that claimed six lives this month was the result of an electrical malfunction that set fire to a 15-foot-tall Christmas tree at the center of the sprawling mansion, officials said Wednesday.

Anne Arundel County Fire Chief Allan Graves told reporters that an electrical malfunction in one of the home's larger rooms sparked a fire that quickly spread to nearby furniture and the Christmas tree, feeding the blaze that ultimately killed Donald and Sandra Pyle and four of their grandchildren Jan. 19.

“The thoughts and prayers of an entire county go out to the Pyle and Boone families," County Executive Steven Schuh said.

The area where the fire started, a massive alcove with 19-foot-high ceilings known as the great room, was connected to the areas of the home where the victims were sleeping when the blaze began, according to Bill McMullan, special agent in charge of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives' Baltimore office.

Capt. Russ Davies, spokesman...

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Broken traffic cameras gave Washington drivers an unintended reprieve

Rarely has a government screwup been greeted with such glee. It turns out many of the District of Columbia's ubiquitous speed cameras -- which have dinged so many motorists with $100 fines for driving 36 mph -- were broken for much of last year.

City officials had previously attributed a drop in traffic camera revenue of more than 50% to safer driving. But it turns out broken camera batteries were more to blame.

The revelation, reported this week by the Washington Post and local media, came at a City Council meeting. 

But the hole left in the district’s budget may be the most revealing aspect of the camera failure. The city took in $34 million in camera fines during the last fiscal year. That was down from $75 million in 2013, according to the Post.

City officials have long insisted the traffic cameras were intended to save lives, not raise cash. But cities that use cameras to fine drivers have come to depend on the funds to plug potholes and make up other budget gaps.


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Maker of drone that crashed on White House grounds to stop flights over D.C.

The manufacturer of the drone that crashed on the White House grounds earlier this week plans to install software in its devices that would prevent them from flying in Washington.

DJI, the China-based company that manufactures the quad-copter found at the White House, will install software in the coming weeks that will disable several models of its drones from flying over a 15.5-mile radius that spans downtown Washington, it said in a statement.

The restriction is part of a planned extension of the company's no-fly zone system that prohibits flight near airports and other locations where such flights are restricted by local authorities, the company said in a statement released Wednesday.

“With the unmanned aerial systems community growing on a daily basis, we feel it is important to provide pilots additional tools to help them fly safely and responsibly,” said Michael Perry, DJI’s company spokesperson. “We will continue cooperating with regulators and lawmakers to ensure the skies stay...

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