By Warren Strobel and Mark Hosenball WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Even for a freelance journalist covering the tumult in the Arab world, Steven Sotloff's travels seemed nonstop. In December, he was in northern Syria, writing about the lives of destitute, displaced Syrians and the war, according to his published reports and his communications with colleagues and editors. It's pretty bad here," he e-mailed another journalist. "I've been sleeping at a front, hiding from tanks the past few nights, drinking rain water." In August 2013, telling colleagues he understood the dangers, Sotloff returned to Syria, slipping across the border from Turkey.
Circuit Court of Appeals in New York was the first appellate court to hear arguments on whether the National Security Agency (NSA) program is lawful, in a lawsuit brought by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) challenging the gathering of so-called metadata. Judge Gerard Lynch, one of three judges who heard the arguments, said it was "hard for me to imagine" Congress had envisioned such a sweeping effort when it passed an expansion of anti-terrorism powers known as the Patriot Act after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Stuart Delery, a lawyer for the Justice Department, told Lynch in response that Congress was fully informed when it voted to reauthorize the Patriot Act twice.
By Karen Pierog DETROIT (Reuters) - Detroit will not recover, and it may not survive as a major city if its debts are not significantly reduced during bankruptcy, a city attorney told a federal judge at the start of a critical phase of the case on Tuesday. As Detroit's state-appointed emergency manager Kevyn Orr looked on in the courtroom, Bruce Bennett, an attorney for the city, sought to convince Judge Steven Rhodes that Detroit's 1,034-page plan to adjust $18 billion of debt would save the city. "There is no doubt, your honor, that progress has been made, but Detroit is still a city in distress," said Bennett, an attorney with the Jones Day law firm, in his opening statement. The plan is aimed at reducing Detroit's debt by about $7 billion and reinvesting as much as $1.7 billion in the city, according to Bennett.
By David Schwartz PHOENIX (Reuters) - A 9-year-old girl who fatally shot a gun range instructor with an Uzi submachine gun last week told her mother immediately afterward that the weapon was too much for her to handle and had hurt her shoulder, a sheriff's report released on Tuesday said. The girl's family also did not realize right away that the instructor, 39-year-old Charles Vacca, had been struck by a round from the gun, according to the Mohave County Sheriff's Office report. Vacca had been showing the girl how to fire an Uzi at the Arizona Last Stop gun range in White Hills last week when the recoil caused her to lose control of the high-powered weapon, the sheriff's office has said. Vacca was struck by at least one bullet and later died, in an accident that touched off debate over the wisdom of giving children access to high-powered firearms, even in a controlled setting such as a gun range.