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Two killed, five wounded in shooting in Central California

By Laila Kearney SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - A gunman fired into a crowd during a fight outside a California taco restaurant early on Monday, killing two people and wounding five others, police said. The shooting erupted during a fight between several people that began inside the Tacos Choice restaurant in Salinas, about 100 miles south of San Francisco, and spilled outside into the parking lot, Salinas Police Commander David Shaw said.

Canada's police-reported crime rate falls again, dropping to lowest since 1972

OTTAWA - Canada's police services are once again reporting fewer crimes, a continuing trend that has cut the national crime rate to its lowest level since 1972. But the latest figures from Statistics Canada don't mean the job of fighting crime is done, says Peter MacKay, who took on his new role as federal justice minister one week ago. The police-reported crime rate fell by three per cent in 2012 compared with the previous year, Statistics Canada reported Thursday.

More protection needed for victims of crime: minister of justice

VANCOUVER - Entrenching victims' rights in legislation will help those affected by crime get on with their lives, says Canada's new justice minister. Victims "very often, sadly, feel that they are re-victimized, or feel that in fact the system is failing and doesn't meet their needs," Peter MacKay told reporters Wednesday in Vancouver before leading a round-table discussion about the Conservative government's plan for a victims' bill of rights.

Woman sexually assaulted during Seattle church service

By Elaine Porterfield SEATTLE (Reuters) - A registered sex offender has been jailed on suspicion of sexually assaulting a woman as she was in the midst of prayer during Sunday church services in Seattle, police said on Monday. The suspect was subdued inside the sanctuary by several of the victim's relatives, who restrained the man until police arrived on the scene of what officers called one of the most outrageous sexual assault cases they had ever encountered, Seattle Police spokeswoman detective Renee Witt said.

Sexual battery charge against U.S. Air Force officer changed

By Tabassum Zakaria ARLINGTON, Virginia (Reuters) - A charge of sexual battery against a U.S. Air Force officer, in a case that became a symbol of the problem of military sex crimes, was dropped on Thursday and the prosecutor instead will pursue a charge of assault and battery. Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Jeffrey Krusinski was chief of the Air Force sexual assault prevention and response branch when he was arrested in May and accused of groping a woman in a parking lot near the Pentagon.

U.S. pondering whether to charge Alberta politician with soliciting prostitutes

EDMONTON - An Alberta politician arrested in the United States should find out by the end of the week whether he'll have to return south of the border to face a charge of soliciting prostitutes. Mike Allen, member of the legislature for Fort McMurray-Wood Buffalo, was arrested Monday night by police in St. Paul, Minn., during a prostitution sting. He was in the city attending a midwestern legislative conference.

Eight suspects remain at large in Project Traveller guns and drugs probe: police

TORONTO - Police in Toronto say another arrest has been made related to last week's raids targeting a gang allegedly involved in drug and gun trafficking. Project Traveller — which began in June 2012 — was aimed at shutting down an alleged criminal organization operating in Toronto, Windsor, Ont., and Edmonton. Police say Paul Smith-Bonnick, 21, of Barrie, Ont., was charged earlier this week with counts that include trafficking in restricted weapons, and unauthorized possession of a firearm. Police say the investigation is ongoing and eight suspects remain outstanding.

Australian military embroiled in new sex scandal

The Australian military was embroiled in another sex scandal Thursday with 17 personnel, including officers, under investigation after "explicit and repugnant" emails and images demeaning women were uncovered. Army chief Lieutenant-General David Morrison said he was appalled at the revelations, which follow a government report last year detailing more than 1,000 claims of sexual or other abuse in the forces from the 1950s to the present day.

Judge accepts insanity plea in Colo. theatre shootings, says prosecutors can access notebook

CENTENNIAL, Colo. - A judge on Tuesday accepted James Holmes' plea of not guilty by reason of insanity, setting the stage for a lengthy mental evaluation of the Colorado theatre shooting suspect. The court clerk placed a written advisory of the ground rules of the plea before Holmes so he could follow it as Judge Carlos Samour Jr. read through all 18 points. When Samour asked if he had any questions, Holmes answered "no" in a clear, firm voice. Samour then accepted the plea.

Judge rejects legal challenges by accused Colorado theater gunman

By Keith Coffman DENVER (Reuters) - A Colorado judge rejected challenges on Wednesday to the state's insanity defense statute and death penalty law by accused movie theater spree gunman James Holmes, resolving a key legal hurdle in the sensational case. Lawyers for Holmes, accused of killing 12 moviegoers and wounding dozens more in a rampage last July, had argued that the state's insanity law was unconstitutional because it forces their client to cooperate with court-appointed psychiatrists.
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