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Renewed Troubles

Police Forensic officers examine the scene close to the spot were a man was shot dead,  in Londonderry, Northern Ireland, Thursday, Oct. 10, 2013. Authorities blamed a resurgent Irish Republican Army faction Thursday for killing two men in separate gun attacks in Northern Ireland, the first such slayings in the British territory in nearly a year.  So-called "New IRA" militants claimed responsibility for killing Kevin Kearney, a 46-year-old Irish Catholic man, on Tuesday in a Belfast park. Police found his body floating in a lake in the park Wednesday and said he had been shot. A second man was fatally shot in his apartment Thursday in the center of Londonderry, Northern Ireland's second-largest city. IRA extremists again were suspected. (AP Photo/Peter Morrison)

Police Forensic officers examine the scene close to the spot were a man was shot dead, in Londonderry, Northern Ireland, Thursday, Oct. 10, 2013. Authorities blamed a resurgent Irish Republican Army faction Thursday for killing two men in separate gun attacks in Northern Ireland, the first such slayings in the British territory in nearly a year. So-called "New IRA" militants claimed responsibility for killing Kevin Kearney, a 46-year-old Irish Catholic man, on Tuesday in a Belfast park. Police found his body floating in a lake in the park Wednesday and said he had been shot. A second man was fatally shot in his apartment Thursday in the center of Londonderry, Northern Ireland's second-largest city. IRA extremists again were suspected. (AP Photo/Peter Morrison)

Poll: Health Care Exchange Rollout Draws Big, Gets Underwhelming Reviews

Washington — The debut of the government’s health insurance marketplaces drew a huge audience — and underwhelming reviews.

Just 7 percent of Americans say the rollout of the health exchanges has gone extremely well or very well, according to an AP-GfK poll.

The reaction was somewhat better among supporters of the new health care law, but still middling: 19 percent said the rollout went extremely well or very well.

Among the uninsured — a key audience for the health exchanges — 42 percent said they didn’t know enough to judge how well the rollout had gone, suggesting an ongoing lack of awareness about the program in its early days.

Despite the bumpy rollout, plenty of Americans are giving the system a try.

Ex-Detroit Mayor Kilpatrick Sentenced To 28 Years in Prison for Corruption

Detroit — A former Detroit mayor was sent to federal prison for nearly three decades Thursday, after offering little remorse for the widespread corruption under his watch but acknowledging he let down the troubled city during a critical period before it landed in bankruptcy.

Prosecutors argued that Kwame Kilpatrick’s “corrupt administration exacerbated the crisis” that Detroit now finds itself in. A judge agreed with the government’s recommendation that 28 years in prison was appropriate for rigging contracts, taking bribes and putting his own price on public business.

It is one of the toughest penalties doled out for public corruption in recent U.S. history and seals a dramatic fall for Kilpatrick, who was elected mayor in 2001 at age 31 and is the son of a former senior member of Congress.

While Detroit’s finances were eroding, he was getting bags of cash from city contractors, kickbacks hidden in the bra of his political fundraiser and private cross-country travel from businessmen, according to trial evidence.

Kilpatrick, 43, said he was sorry if he let down his hometown but denied ever stealing from the citizens of Detroit.

Calif. Jury Finds Toyota Not Liable
In Sudden Acceleration Incident

Los Angeles — A jury says Toyota Motor Corp. is not liable for the death of a California woman who was killed when her 2006 Camry apparently accelerated and crashed despite her efforts to stop.

Toyota spokeswoman Carly Schaffner says jurors reached their decision Thursday and concluded the vehicle’s design didn’t contribute to the death of Noriko Uno. She died in August 2009 when her car struck a telephone pole and tree. The outcome of the bellwether case could help predict whether Toyota Motor Corp. will be held responsible for sudden unintended acceleration in other cases filed in state courts.

Uno’s family was seeking $20 million in damages, claiming that the crash could have been avoided if Toyota had installed a brake override system.

The Japanese automaker blamed driver error.

2 Rabbis, 8 Others Jailed
In Alleged N.J.-N.Y. Kidnap Plot

Trenton, N.J. — Two orthodox rabbis and eight other men were arrested in an FBI sting in New Jersey and New York on charges they plotted to kidnap and torture a man to force him to grant a religious divorce.

Rabbis Mendel Epstein and Martin Wolmark charged Jewish women and their families thousands of dollars to obtain religious divorces, known as “gets,” from unwilling husbands, the FBI said.

“They didn’t do it out of religious conviction,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Joseph Gribko told a judge Thursday in a federal court hearing for the men. “They did it for money.”

Marc Agnifilo, a lawyer for Wolmark, said it’s possibly a case where religious law collides with federal statutes, where the crimes they’re accused of can be punished by life in prison.

“It’s a very complex case. The government says it’s all about money, but I don’t think that’s quite right,” Agnifilo said after the hearing, calling coercion and even violence to get husbands to grant religious divorces “an old tradition.”

Ohio Report: Autoerotic Asphyxiation Possible In Ariel Castro Death

Columbus, Ohio — Cleveland kidnapper Ariel Castro’s death by hanging in his prison cell may not have been suicide after all but an ill-fated attempt to choke himself for a sexual thrill, authorities said in a report issued Thursday.

The report also said two guards falsified logs documenting the number of times they checked on Castro before he died.

Castro, 53, was found hanging from a bedsheet Sept. 3 just weeks into a life sentence after pleading guilty in August to kidnapping three women off the streets, imprisoning them in his home for a decade and repeatedly raping and beating them.

The report, from Ohio’s prison system, raised the possibility that Castro died as a result of autoerotic asphyxiation, in which people achieve sexual satisfaction while choking themselves into unconsciousness.

Castro’s pants and underwear were around his ankles when he was found, the report said.

Pakistani Police Arrest
Ex-President Musharraf Anew

Islamabad — Just when former Pakistani president and army chief Pervez Musharraf thought he was in the clear, he was hit with a new legal challenge Thursday when police arrested him in a case involving a 2007 crackdown on a pro-Taliban mosque in Islamabad.

The arrest came hours after Musharraf submitted about $19,500 in surety bonds to the Supreme Court after being granted bail Wednesday in the last of three previous legal cases. Wednesday’s case involved the killing of separatist leader Nawab Akbar Bugti in southwestern Pakistan’s Baluchistan province. Musharraf had already been granted bail in cases stemming from the assassination of opposition politician Benazir Bhutto and the detention of deposed Supreme Court judges, which appeared to clear the way for his release from house arrest and possible departure from Pakistan.

But Muhammad Rizwan, a senior official of the Islamabad police, said Thursday: “We have put Gen. Musharraf under house arrest in a case involving a military operation on an Islamabad mosque.

“We will present him before a court (today).”

The arrest suggests there is disagreement within the Pakistan government over whether to prosecute Musharraf or let him leave the country, analysts said.

Members of Musharraf’s All Pakistan Muslim League party said he will keep fighting to clear his name.

“We are hopeful that he would be granted bail in this latest case,” said party spokesman Chaudhry Asad Mehmood. “There is no strong evidence against him.”

— Wire reports