TICKETS ON SALE FOR LADY LIBERTY'S JULY 4 OPENING: NEW YORK (AP) — The Statue of Liberty is reopening July 4 after Superstorm Sandy flooded the island where it stands.
The statue has been closed since Sandy struck the region on Oct. 29 and damaged much of Liberty Island's infrastructure. The statue itself is on higher ground and was not damaged.
Ferry tickets to visit the island on July 4 or later may be purchased online or by phone. Tickets to the statue's crown are only available by reservation.
A spokeswoman for the National Park Service says the nearby Ellis Island Immigration Museum will be partially open on July 4. She says officials have not determined how much of Ellis Island can be open to visitors.
Sandy brought 8 feet of water to Liberty Island, destroying boilers and electrical systems.
PA. ABORTION CLINIC JURY FOCUSES ON MURDER CHARGE: PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Jurors are set to return for more deliberations in the murder trial of a Philadelphia abortion provider.
Dr. Kermit Gosnell is charged in the deaths of four babies and a patient. The jury has been deliberating for about eight days and left Thursday without a verdict.
The panel must also weigh about 250 lesser charges, including racketeering, conspiracy and alleged violations of Pennsylvania abortion law. Prosecutors say Gosnell routinely performed illegal, third-term abortions and failed to counsel women 24 hours in advance.
Jurors reheard several hours of testimony Thursday from a former clinic worker who admits snipping the neck of a baby born into a toilet. That suggests they have been working on one of the five murder charges.
ZIMMERMAN WANTS TRAYVON MARTIN JURORS SEQUESTERED: SANFORD, Fla. (AP) — The neighborhood watch volunteer charged with fatally shooting 17-year-old Trayvon Martin wants the jury at his trial to be sequestered and for panelists to be able to inspect the crime scene.
Zimmerman's attorney filed a motion Thursday asking that jurors be kept in isolation during the trial and that their names and other personal information remain confidential because of the immense attention the case has received.
Defense attorney Mark O'Mara also asks that the jurors be allowed to inspect the gated community in Sanford, Fla., where Zimmerman fatally shot Martin during a confrontation last year.
O'Mara says the field trip will allow jurors to determine the reliability of witnesses.
SENATE OKS HONOR FOR BIRMINGHAM BOMBING VICTIMS: WASHINGTON (AP) — Four victims of a deadly Alabama church bombing at the height of the civil rights movement are now just a presidential signature away from receiving Congress' highest civilian honor.
The Senate on Thursday approved by voice vote a measure that would posthumously award the Congressional Gold Medal to Addie Mae Collins, Carole Robertson, Cynthia Wesley and Denise McNair. The Senate approval of the measure comes after the House in April voted 420-0 to award the medal to the girls. It now goes to President Barack Obama for signature.
Collins, Robertson and Wesley, 14 at the time of their deaths, and McNair, who was 11, were killed when a bomb planted by white supremacists exploded at the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham on Sept. 15, 1963. Twenty-two others were injured when the massive explosion blew a hole through a wall in the church, shattering most of its windows.
DEATH PENALTY SOUGHT IN LAS VEGAS SHOOTING, CRASH : LAS VEGAS (AP) — Prosecutors will seek the death penalty for a self-described pimp accused of opening fire at a man he argued with on the Las Vegas Strip, sparking a fiery crash that killed three people in February.
Clark County District Attorney Steve Wolfson said Thursday he agreed with a recommendation from a panel of prosecutors to seek the death penalty for Ammar Asim Faruq Harris.
"Based upon the facts of this case and Mr. Harris' background — his propensity for violence — we wanted to give the jury the option to have the death penalty," Wolfson said.
Harris, 27, was arrested in Los Angeles a week after the Feb. 21 shooting and crash. He is jailed in Las Vegas.
The pre-dawn shooting and crash killed the driver of a Maserati sports car and two people in a taxi.
NTSB INVESTIGATING HONOLULU HELICOPTER CRASH: HONOLULU (AP) — The president of a helicopter company whose small copter crash-landed on a downtown Honolulu street praised the pilot Thursday, while the National Transportation Safety Board leads an investigation.
No one was badly hurt when the two-seater helicopter lost power, forcing the crash landing Wednesday afternoon. The NTSB is not sending anyone to the crash site but will be investigating remotely, with help from local authorities and the Federal Aviation Administration, NTSB spokesman Keith Holloway said.
CALIF LAWMAKERS MOVE TO PUNISH HOAX 911 'SWATTING' : SACRAMENTO (AP) — Legislation approved by the state Senate on Thursday would force pranksters who make hoax 911 calls like the ones used to target celebrities pay for the cost of police responding to the fake emergencies.
The practice is commonly known as 'swatting' because police often respond to what appears to be a dire emergency by mobilizing their Special Weapons and Tactics teams.
The trend started in other states but has been increasingly used in the Los Angeles area to target celebrities in an effort to draw publicity, said Sen. Ted Lieu, D-Torrance.
Callers earlier this year falsely reported violence or intruders at the homes of Tom Cruise, Justin Bieber, Ashton Kutcher, Chris Brown and other stars.
"This is becoming a phenomenon," said Sen. Steve Knight, R-Palmdale. "We have a lot of celebrities.... 'Swatting' these people seems to be the way to get into the news."
Lieu said such calls are expensive, disruptive and dangerous.
"It's a massive drain of law enforcement resources," he told fellow senators. "You can imagine how you might cause injury or death .... You have all these officers with guns drawn going to that home."
His SB333 would require that the pranksters pay costs that Lieu says can top $10,000. If the culprit is a minor, his or her parents would be responsible for reimbursing law enforcement.