The U.S. Justice Department has announced that it will not be prosecuting Wall Street firm Goldman Sachs or its employees following an investigation into financial fraud. A Senate panel had been investigating allegations that the firm marketed four sets of risky mortgage securities without informing their clients that the securities were risky.

 

 

George Zimmerman, accused of murder by state prosecutors in Trayvon Martin’s fatal shooting, will be seeking a hearing aimed at getting the charges dismissed by a judge before the case even goes to trial, his attorney announced on Thursday in a widely anticipated move. Legal analysts say that, based on Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” self-defense law and available evidence, Zimmerman has a good chance at success. An attorney for Martin’s family, however, vehemently disagreed.

Under state law, a defendant asserting self-defense may request a hearing with a judge to get the charges thrown out before the case actually makes it to a jury trial. Still, the burden is much steeper. In a regular trial, prosecutors must prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. But in a “Stand Your Ground” hearing, Zimmerman and his defense team will have to convince the judge that the evidence in the case points to justified self-defense.

Phoenix pastor Michael Salman is currently serving a 60 day sentence in a Maricopa County, Arizona jail for violating his probation by holding religious services on his property, which is said to be in violation of zoning and building codes.

Salman, a husband and father of six children, is an ordained pastor at the Church of God in Christ and a founder of Harvest Christian Fellowship. In 2010, Salman was found guilty of nearly 70 Class 1 misdemeanors involving code violations in his home where he held church services, including not having lighted emergency exits, and not having fire doors or sprinklers. He appealed his convictions but the court upheld them.

Congressional investigators probing the Obama administration’s deadly “Fast and Furious” gun-running scheme concluded that senior Justice Department figures and five top officials with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) were responsible for the tragic program, according to the first segment of an official report. All of the ATF figures still work for the agency.

The Central Intelligence Agency’s involvement in drug trafficking is back in the media spotlight after a spokesman for the violence-plagued Mexican state of Chihuahua became the latest high-profile individual to accuse the CIA, which has been linked to narcotics trafficking for decades, of ongoing efforts to “manage the drug trade.” The infamous American spy agency refused to comment.

In a recent interview, Chihuahua state spokesman Guillermo Terrazas Villanueva told Al Jazeera that the CIA and other international “security” outfits "don't fight drug traffickers." Instead, Villanueva argued, they try to control and manage the illegal drug market for their own benefit.