The Arkansas state legislature on Tuesday passed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which is similar to an Indiana law that has already sparked a storm of criticism over fears it be used as a cover for discrimination — and the governor has said he'll sign it, NBC News reported. Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson told NBC affiliate KARK that the bill is meant to strike a balance between religious freedom and equal protection of the law. But sexual orientation is not covered by anti-discrimination laws in Arkansas, and legal experts have said the measure could open the door to the discrimination of gays and lesbians. Wal-Mart, which is headquartered in Arkansas, issued a statement saying that the legislation "sends the wrong message about Arkansas" and runs counter to the company's belief in "respecting differences and being inclusive of all people."
Iraq's prime minister said Tuesday that Iraqi troops had reclaimed the heart of Tikrit from ISIS militants, NBC News and The Associated Press reported. In a statement released on Twitter, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi hailed the "liberation of Tikrit" as a "historic milestone," although an official statement from his office said the troops are still advancing in an effort to control the entire city. Urban combat raged throughout the afternoon in Saddam Hussein's home city, as Iraqi army soldiers fought house-to-house to remove explosives and oust entrenched ISIS troops, The Associated Press reported.
The NYPD says its Internal Affairs Bureau is investigating a video that appears to show a police officer verbally abusing an Uber driver in an at-times xenophobic roadside tirade in the West Village Monday. Police confirmed late Tuesday afternoon that the plain-clothed man seen screaming in the now viral video is a member of the NYPD, but they did not identify him. A spokesman said the department is "aware of the incident and video and it is under review."
Former military dictator Muhammadu Buhari was elected president of Nigeria on Tuesday, becoming the first opposition candidate to win a presidential election in Africa's most populous nation, NBC News reported. President Goodluck Jonathan conceded defeat after a five-year presidential term, marking a peaceful transfer of power in a nation with a political history marred by violence. "Nobody's ambition is worth the blood of any Nigerian," Jonathan said in a statement, according to The Associated Press. "I promised the country free and fair elections. I have kept my word." The 72-year-old Buhari — who seized power in a military coup and ruled for 18 months in the 1980s — has a checkered human-rights record, but gained popular appeal by campaigning to crack down on the country's rampant corruption and fight the spread of the terrorist group Boko Haram.
Andrew Getty, the grandson of oil tycoon J. Paul Getty, died at his Hollywood Hills home Tuesday, his parents confirmed in a written statement.
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It has been 20 years since the music world lost Tejano superstar Selena, but devotion to the singer runs deep in Texas, especially on the anniversary of her death. At KNON 89.3-FM in Dallas, the requests for Selena come in daily. “If we don’t play it for a whole show, folks will call up and ask us to play some Selena,” said radio disc jockey Jesse Gonzales. Selena's death at the hands of her fan club president, Yolanda Saldivar, sent shock waves through the Latino community. Cars with ribbons and messages of mourning could be seen driving across North Texas following her death in 1995. Twenty years later, the sorrow has turned to celebration. Parties in Oak Cliff over the weekend honored her life, and the movie version of her life story played at the Texas Theatre.
A teenage boy found his parents dead with wounds from a chainsaw inside a Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, home Tuesday, police said.
The 14-year-old boy called police around 12:50 p.m. and reported he found his parents unresponsive with lacerations from a chainsaw in their home on the 1100 block of Country Lane in Lower Moreland.
Officials are investigating the death of a New Jersey man who died while in police custody Tuesday. The man, identified as Phillip White, was arrested at a home on the 100 block of Grape Street in Vineland, New Jersey around 11 a.m. Tuesday. He died shortly after while in custody. Witnesses told NBC10 officers were extremely physical with White after he was already restrained and unconscious on the street. The Cumberland County Prosecutor's Office is currently investigating the incident. A spokesperson for the office told NBC10 White was being arrested but they haven't revealed why.
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Brutus, an adopted Rottweiler whose paws were amputated as a puppy, is starting to run again — all thanks to an innovative set of prosthetic paws, NBC News reported. The 2-year-old Rottweiler suffered frostbite on his paws as a puppy when his breeder left him outside in cold weather, then suffered further when his breeder botched an at-home amputation, according to a statement from Colorado State University's James L. Voss Veterinary Teaching Hospital. Even though Brutus received surgery to mitigate the damage, his paws were gone for good, and his legs were left misaligned. But Laura Aquilina, who fostered and then adopted Brutus, raised $12,500 through a crowdfunding campaign — enough for the company OrthoPets to create new legs for Brutus. "When you improve the quality of life for a dog, you improve the quality life for the entire family," said Sasha Foster, CSU's certified canine rehabilitation therapist.
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Terri Schiavo died 10 years ago Tuesday, but the ethical questions at the center of her highly publicized U.S. Supreme Court case still resonate today, a prominent bioethicist writes at NBC News. Schiavo's legacy still has implications for right-to-die debates, says Arthur L. Caplan, a bioethics professor at New York University Langone Medical Center. Schiavo, 41, had spent nearly half her life in a vegetative state after suffering cardiac arrest in 1990, resulting in brain damage. The protracted and politically charged case surrounding her husband's plea to not keep her artificially alive spurred fierce debate before a Florida judge eventually sided with her husband and ordered that Schiavo's feeding tube be removed, thus ending her life.
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Indiana on Monday sentenced a woman to 20 years in prison for feticide and neglect of a dependent, marking the first time in U.S. history that a woman has been charged, convicted and sentenced for committing an act that causes the death of a fetus, NBC News reported. Purvi Patel was effectively sentenced 20 years on a felony neglect charge and a six-year sentence for feticide, to be served concurrently. Reproductive rights activists like Lynn Paltrow, the executive director for National Advocates for Pregnant Women, condemned Patel's sentencing, arguing that "anti-abortion laws will be used to punish pregnant woman." Prosecutors argued that Patel gave birth to a live fetus and charged her with child neglect, while Patel's attorneys contended that she panicked when she realized she was in labor.
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Amazon Prime subscribers will soon be able to order everyday products with the push of a single button, thanks to the company's upcoming Amazon Dash Button. The company is planning on introducing 250 versions of the Dash Button, one for each product — whether Gatorade, toilet paper or garbage bags. The company has designed the button to only permit one order at a time, lest the kids get ideas about ordering a year's supply of mac-and-cheese all at once. But even devoted Amazon customers will have to wait: The Dash will be free, but but right now it's "by invitation only." And even though the Dash places orders immediately, buyers will still have to wield it with some foresight — the deliveries will still take a few days (Otherwise, the next-best option is actually going to a store.) An Amazon spokesperson confirmed to The Wall Street Journal on Tuesday that the Amazon Dash Button is a real product, and not an April Fool's joke.
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President Barack Obama on Tuesday shortened the prison sentences of nearly two dozen drug convicts, including eight serving life in prison, in an act the White House said continues Obama's push to make the justice system fairer by reducing harsh sentences that were handed down under outdated guidelines. The effort could lead Obama to grant clemency more often as his second and final term in office winds down.