NATION: Man indicted on murder charge in child's death

Man indicted on murder charge in child’s death

NEW YORK — A man was indicted by a grand jury Wednesday on murder and kidnapping charges in the killing and dismemberment of an 8-year-old boy who was abducted off a Brooklyn street last week.

Levi Aron was indicted on a total of eight counts. Prosecutors allege he lured Leiby Kletzky to his home after the little boy got lost while walking home from a day camp and asked him for help.

Detectives later found the boy’s severed feet, wrapped in plastic, in Aron’s freezer, as well as a cutting board and three bloody carving knives. The rest of the boy’s body was discovered in bags inside a red suitcase in a trash bin.

Obama would OK stopgap if debt deal is reached

WASHINGTON — Running out of time, President Barack Obama softened his stand and signaled Wednesday he would back a short-term deal to prevent a disastrous financial default on Aug. 2, but only if a larger and still elusive deficit-cutting agreement was essentially in place. He called lawmakers to the White House in a scramble to find enough votes from both Republicans and his own party.

The president, pushing for a big compromise that would cut the nation’s budget deficit and extend the government’s tapped-out borrowing power, had threatened to veto any stopgap expansion of the nation’s debt limit. He even challenged House Majority Leader Eric Cantor not to call his bluff about it in one confrontational moment last week.

NYC mobster Vinny Gorgeous gets 2nd life term

NEW YORK — A federal judge sentenced a notorious New York mobster who’s already serving life behind bars to a second life term on Wednesday, saying he wanted to send a message that there’s nothing ‘‘romantic or redeeming about organized crime.’’

A life sentence for Vincent ‘‘Vinny Gorgeous’’ Basciano became mandatory last month after a jury decided to spare him death during the penalty phase of a trial in Brooklyn.

The same jurors had found the former acting boss of the Bonanno crime family guilty of murder, racketeering, conspiracy and other charges alleging he ordered a gangland hit while taking control of the family.

Jury: US gov’t right to seize 1933 gold coins

PHILADELPHIA — A jury has decided the U.S. government rightfully seized a set of rare 1933 gold coins from a Philadelphia family.

The verdict Wednesday caps an unusual civil case that combined history, coin collecting and whether the $20 ‘‘double eagles’’ legally left the U.S. Mint.

Prosecutors say the coins never circulated when the country went off the gold standard — and were therefore stolen.

But 81-year-old Joan Langbord argues that her late father, a jeweler, could have acquired them legally.

The trial judge will rule on ‘‘ownership’’ of the coins later this year.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Jacqueline Romero says the coins belong to the American people. Authorities hope they’ll someday go on display.

Minn. shutdown ends, bringing relief, frustration

ST. PAUL, Minn. — Minnesota’s state government shutdown ended Wednesday after 20 days, millions in lost revenue and frustration on the part of residents and politicians.

The stoppage made the state a national example of political dysfunction, a small-scale mirror of the dispute in Washington over whether to raise the debt ceiling. But while federal lawmakers appeared close to a deal to slash spending, no such progress was made in Minnesota, where the budget was widely panned for just putting the problems off until later.

Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton pushed for months to raise taxes on the state’s richest residents to provide more money for social services, while Republicans adopted a ‘‘live within our means’’ motto. In the end, the state will spend more by delaying aid to schools and borrowing against future payments from a legal settlement with tobacco companies.

Army shooting suspect fires his lead attorney

FORT HOOD, Texas — The Army psychiatrist charged in the Fort Hood shooting rampage unexpectedly severed ties with his lead attorney Wednesday, eight months before the military trial at which he faces the death penalty.

Maj. Nidal Hasan confirmed during his arraignment that he dropped his civilian attorney.