Life sentence sought for Amish leader
Federal prosecutors want a life sentence for the leader of an Amish breakaway group convicted in a series of beard- and hair-cutting attacks, saying it’s highly unlikely the attacks would have happened without his involvement.
Samuel Mullet Sr. not only orchestrated the attacks, but he also had absolute control over the members of his Amish settlement in eastern Ohio near the West Virginia panhandle, prosecutors said in court documents filed Tuesday.
One of the attacks occurred in Mesopotamia in northern Trumbull County, and others in Holmes, Carroll and Jefferson counties, the FBI said.
Mullet is due to be sentenced Friday in U.S. District Court in Cleveland along with 15 others convicted in the hair-cuttings who live in the settlement. His attorney last week asked for a sentence of 18 months to two years.
Tsunami generated by S. Pacific quake
A powerful earthquake in the South Pacific generated a tsunami today that prompted warnings to several island nations.
The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said a tsunami of 3 feet was measured in Lata wharf, in the Solomon Islands, and a 4.8-inch wave was observed in neighboring Vanuatu. No damage was immediately reported in either island nation.
The tsunami formed after a 8.0-magnitude earthquake near Lata in Temotu province, the easternmost province of the Solomons, about a three-hour flight from the capital, Honiara. The region has a population of around 30,000 people.
The tsunami warning also covered Nauru, Papua New Guinea, Tuvalu, New Caledonia, Kosrae, Fiji, Kiribati, Wallis and Futuna. A tsunami watch was in effect for American Samoa, Australia, New Zealand and eastern Indonesia.
UK lawmakers vote for gay marriage
A bill to legalize same-sex marriage in Britain cleared a major hurdle Tuesday, as lawmakers voted overwhelmingly in favor of the proposals championed by Prime Minister David Cameron.
The vote in the House of Commons — 400 to 175 in support of the proposed legislation — will be followed by more detailed parliamentary debates. The proposals also require the approval of the House of Lords before they become law.
The process could take months, but if approved, the bill is expected to take effect in 2015 and enable same-sex couples to get married in both civil and religious ceremonies, provided the religious institution consents.
Obama to visit Mideast in spring
President Barack Obama will go to Israel in the spring, the White House said Tuesday, marking his first visit to the staunch U.S. ally since becoming president. While in the region, Obama will make stops in the West Bank and Jordan.
Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu discussed the visit to Israel in late January, when Obama congratulated Netanyahu on his success in Israel’s recent election. The White House has not released the date of Obama’s trip or details about Obama’s itinerary, but Israel’s Channel 10 reported that the trip had been scheduled for March 20.
Obama’s trip to Israel, coming shortly after the start of his second term, could offer an opportunity to repair a notoriously strained relationship with Netanyahu. But the trip is almost certain to raise expectations for the type of peace initiative that eluded Obama and his foreign-policy team during his first four years in office.