Combined briefs

**** OHIO: Please do not use the Kepler brief; it moved as a separate for you. thanks. ****

ARIZONA

Jurors find Jodi Arias eligible for death penalty

The same jury that convicted Jodi Arias of murder one week ago took about three hours Wednesday to determine that the former waitress is eligible for the death penalty in the stabbing and shooting death of her one-time lover five years ago. The decision came after a day of testimony in the “aggravation” phase of the trial, during which prosecutor Juan Martinez hoped to prove the killing in a Phoenix suburb was committed in an especially cruel manner. The trial now moves into the final phase, scheduled to start this morning, in which prosecutors will call the victim’s family and other witnesses in an effort to convince the panel Arias should face the ultimate punishment.

CALIFORNIA

NASA telescope’s planet-hunting days may be over

NASA’s planet-hunting Kepler telescope is broken, potentially jeopardizing the search for other worlds where life could exist outside our solar system. NASA said the spacecraft lost the second of four wheels that control its orientation in space. With only two working wheels left, it can’t point at stars with the same precision. In orbit around the sun, 40 million miles from Earth, Kepler is too far away to send astronauts on a repair mission, so engineers on the ground will try to restart Kepler’s broken wheel or find a workaround in the next several weeks. Kepler is managed by the NASA Ames Research Center in Northern California.

WEST BANK

Palestinians mark their 1948 displacement

Tens of thousands of Palestinians marked the 65th anniversary of their mass displacement during the war over Israel’s 1948 creation, marching in the streets and in some parts of the West Bank clashing with Israeli security forces. Every May 15, Palestinians hold rallies to commemorate the “nakba,” or “catastrophe” — the term they use to describe the displacement, when hundreds of thousands of Palestinians fled or were driven from their homes during the fighting. Across the West Bank on Wednesday, sirens wailed at noon for 65 seconds. Thousands marched in Ramallah from the grave of the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat to the city center.

NORTH DAKOTA

Challenges begin to toughest U.S. abortion laws

Activists on Wednesday filed the first legal challenge to recently approved abortion laws that would make the rural state of North Dakota the most restrictive in the country for women to terminate their pregnancies. North Dakota’s only abortion clinic, backed by the New York-based Center for Reproductive Rights, said it filed a lawsuit in state court that challenges a law that requires doctors who perform abortions to obtain hospital-admitting privileges. Officials with the Red River Women’s Clinic argue the law, scheduled to take effect Aug. 1, could effectively make abortion illegal in North Dakota.

VATICAN CITY

Scottish cardinal to atone for sexual misconduct

The Vatican on Wednesday ordered a disgraced Scottish cardinal to leave Scotland for several months to pray and atone for sexual misconduct, issuing a rare public sanction against a “prince of the church” and the first such punishment meted out by Pope Francis. Cardinal Keith O’Brien resigned as archbishop of St. Andrews and Edinburgh and recused himself from the March conclave that elected Francis pope after a newspaper reported unnamed priests’ allegations that he acted inappropriately toward them. O’Brien subsequently acknowledged he had engaged in unspecified sexual misbehavior. He apologized and promised to stay out of the church’s public life.

NIGERIA

Army deploys to northeast to fight rebels

Nigeria rumbled to a war footing Wednesday as soldiers and equipment moved into its northeastern states as part of an emergency military campaign against Islamic extremists waging a bloody insurgency. In the past two days, journalists and witnesses have seen armored tanks and soldiers moving through major roads and cities in Adamawa, Borno and Yobe states. Those states, crossing an arid region of some 60,000 square miles, are now under a state of emergency declared Tuesday night by President Goodluck Jonathan. The presidential order allows the military to arrest anyone at will and raid any building suspected of housing extremists.

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