US TO REMOVE 9,000 MARINES FROM OKINAWA: WASHINGTON (AP) — About 9,000 U.S. Marines stationed on the Japanese island of Okinawa will be moved to the U.S. territory of Guam and other locations in the Asia-Pacific, including Hawaii, under a U.S.-Japan agreement announced Thursday.
The move is part of a broader arrangement designed to tamp down tensions in the U.S.-Japan defense alliance stemming in part from opposition in Okinawa to what many view as a burdensome U.S. military presence.
It also reflects a desire by the Obama administration to spread U.S. forces more widely in the Asia-Pacific region as part of a rebalancing of U.S. defense priorities in the aftermath of a decade of war in the greater Middle East.
ACLU SUES BORDER PATROL OVER TRAFFIC STOPS: SEATTLE (AP) — The American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit Thursday against the U.S. Border Patrol seeking to bar agents from making traffic stops, saying people are being pulled over and questioned for the way they look and without reasonable suspicion.
The lawsuit stems from tensions between immigrants and the expanded presence of Border Patrol agents on Washington state's Olympic Peninsula, which shares no land border with Canada.
"People are being stopped based solely on their appearance and ethnicity. This is unlawful and contrary to American values," said Matt Adams, legal director of the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project, which also joined the lawsuit. "No one in a car should be stopped and interrogated by government agents unless the law enforcement officer has a legal basis to do so."
ATTORNEY: SHOOTER HAD $200K FROM WEB DONATIONS: ORLANDO, Florida (AP) — The attorney for the shooter accused of killing an unarmed black teen says a website created to raise money for his legal defense has raised more than $200,000.
Mark O'Mara said on CNN's Anderson Cooper 360 Thursday night that he learned about the money on Wednesday and will inform a judge at a Friday hearing.
George Zimmerman, who has been charged with second-degree murder in the Feb. 26 shooting of Trayvon Martin, was released from jail this week after paying 10 percent of $150,000 bail.
O'Mara says the bail amount may have been higher if the judge knew Zimmerman had raised $200,000.
The website used to raise the money has since been shut down, but O'Mara said he'll likely start a new defense fund for Zimmerman.
JUDGE DENIES REQUEST TO RELEASE BIN LADEN PHOTOS : WASHINGTON (AP) — A federal judge Thursday denied a request to release photos and video taken of Osama bin Laden during and after a raid in which the terrorist leader was killed by U.S. commandos last year.
"The court declines plaintiff's invitation to substitute its own judgment about the national-security risks inherent in releasing these records for that of the executive-branch officials who determined that they should be classified," wrote U.S. District Judge James E. Boasberg in rejecting a lawsuit filed by Judicial Watch, a conservative watchdog group.
The group, which had sought the records under the Freedom of Information Act, filed an appeal on Thursday.
LESBIAN SCOUT LEADER OUSTED IN OHIO; PARENTS UPSET: The first-graders in Ohio Pack 109's Tiger Scouts didn't know or care their den mother was a lesbian — at least not until the Boy Scouts of America threw her out over the organization's ban on gays.
Now, parents who were aware of Jennifer Tyrrell's sexual orientation well before she took the boys on campouts and helped them carve race cars for the annual Pinewood Derby have rallied to her defense in a case that has re-ignited the debate over the Scouts' policy.
"I teach my children to judge people on their actions," said Rob Dunn, a father in Bridgeport, a village of about 2,000 across the Ohio River from Wheeling, W.Va. "Whether you agree with their lifestyle or not."
The Boy Scouts of America, whose oath calls for members to be "morally straight," maintains that as a private organization it has the right to exclude gays and atheists from its ranks.
That stance was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2000 but has led many state and local governments to deny support for the Scouts.
Male scout leaders who are gay have long been barred, but instances of women being excluded are not well-documented and probably rare. A lesbian couple in Vermont were told two years ago that they could no longer be involved with their son's Scout troop.
MAN CONVICTED OF SLITTING DOG'S THROAT: SANTA ANA (AP) — A man has been convicted of killing his dog by slitting his throat and setting fires inside his Orange County home.
Jaime Arturo Garcia pleaded guilty Thursday to arson and animal cruelty, both felonies, and a misdemeanor count of unlawfully causing a fire to a property. He also pleaded to a sentencing enhancement for the personal use of a deadly weapon.
Prosecutors say Garcia closed all the doors and windows of his Stanton home last July and set several small fires. After they burned out, he gave his 7-year-old dachshund mix various pills then used a large kitchen knife to slit the dog's throat. The dog died on Garcia's bed.