Nation roundup for April 19


Worker testifies in abortion case

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — A whistle-blowing worker testified Thursday that she saw more than 14 babies born alive at a Philadelphia abortion clinic, capping a month of prosecution evidence in her former boss’s capital murder trial.

Prosecutors chose Kareema Cross as their final witness before resting their case against Dr. Kermit Gosnell. Cross said she saw more than 10 babies breathe, with their chests moving up and down.

“I thought they were breathing,” testified Cross, 28. “He would say they’re not really breathing.”

Cross also described seeing three babies move, one after being born in a toilet, and heard a fourth give a “soft whine.” Gosnell explained the movements as a last reflex amid the death process, she said.

Under defense questioning, Cross said she had seen a baby move after its neck had been snipped, and after it had been given a drug meant to stop its heart. Defense attorney Jack McMahon challenged her on the statement and will no doubt pursue it when he asks a judge Monday to dismiss the charges for lack of evidence.

Gosnell, 72, is charged with killing seven babies allegedly born alive, and with causing the 2009 overdose death of a patient. McMahon denies that there were any live births at the Women’s Medical Society and blames the 41-year-old refugee’s death on preexisting medical conditions.

Wall Street slips on weak earnings

NEW YORK (AP) — Disappointing earnings from a range of companies pushed the stock market lower on Thursday, giving major indexes their third loss this week.

The stock prices of Morgan Stanley, UnitedHealth Group and others sank after they turned in weaker quarterly results. Prices of commodities held steady following a wild couple of days. Government bond yields remained near their lowest point of the year as investors sought safety.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 index lost 10.40 points to close at 1,541.61, a decline of 0.7 percent.

Compared with the steep drops earlier this week, the losses on Thursday looked tame. The S&P 500 lost 2 percent on Monday, its worst day of the year, when a slowdown in China’s economic growth set off a rout in prices for gold, oil and other commodities and pummeled the stocks of companies that make them. After reaching a record high a week ago, the index has now slumped 3 percent.

One reason behind the market’s sudden turn might simply be that investors wanted to take some of their winnings off the table, said Joseph Tanious, global market strategist at J.P. Morgan Funds.At the start of April, the S&P 500 was already up 10 percent for 2013, more than investors can expect to get in most years.

House passes cybersecurity bill

WASHINGTON (AP) — Pro-business legislation aimed at helping companies fend off sophisticated foreign hackers sailed through the House on Thursday despite a White House veto threat and an outcry from privacy advocates and civil liberties groups that say it leaves Americans vulnerable to spying by the military.

The House vote, 288-127, puts the spotlight on the Senate, which hasn’t taken up the issue and is consumed with other high-profile issues such as gun control and immigration. The lack of enthusiasm in the Senate and objections by the White House mean that the legislation is in limbo despite an aggressive push by lobbyists representing nearly every corner of industry.

But supporters said they were gaining momentum: Despite the White House veto threat 92 Democrats voted for the measure, compared to only 42 for a similar bill last year.

The Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, or CISPA, is widely backed by industry groups that say businesses are struggling to defend themselves against aggressive and sophisticated attacks from hackers in China, Russia and Eastern Europe.

ABC’s Roberts hospitalized again

NEW YORK (AP) — Robin Roberts spent two days in the hospital fighting off an infection as part of her recuperation from a rare blood disease, and is off “Good Morning America” this week to rest.

The ABC News morning show host said she felt ill last week while on vacation and was told to return to New York and go to the hospital. She’s home now, and posted on Facebook Thursday that she’s feeling much better.

Roberts underwent a bone marrow transplant in September to treat MDS, a blood and bone marrow disease. She was off work for five months before returning to the network morning show on a part-time basis in February.

She’s generally worked three days a week, occasionally four. At the beginning of her return, ABC kept a potential fill-in on call at the studio in case she was feeling too ill to continue.

the network said.

Roberts said doctors told her that her setback did not occur because she was working or doing too much.

“It’s extremely common, post-bone marrow transplant, to have complications,” she wrote. “I’m blessed that mine have not been severe.”

She said she planned to be back on the top-rated network morning show next week.

Roberts also wrote that her heart goes out to Boston residents.

“It saddens me that I haven’t been able to join my colleagues in covering this important story,” she said.

 

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