Independent journalist Pete Santilli will wait for trial on charges he conspired to occupy the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in jail, despite arguments that he was there only to report the news.

     With California mired in a relentless drought, the state's legislative analyst encouraged lawmakers Friday to increase drought-relief spending and adopt a scientific approach to future droughts fueled by climate change.

     The Marshal's Office in two towns on the Arizona-Utah border failed to investigate claims of child abuse or timely complete reports, an expert witness for the Justice Department testified Thursday during a religious discrimination trial.

     Back in the days before our newspapers were owned by three competing corporations (Bad Inc., Worse Corp., and the Worst LLC) I used to edit the damn things.
     Hemingway said journalism was a great education for a writer, "if you get out in time."
     News editors get so much information so fast: We get so hardened to the daily slaughter of innocents that the dead people barely matter anymore. It's not a question of what the news is - it's just a question of where to play it.
     Of course we care. But if we cared even a little too much, we'd be useless - to our bosses, and to you.
     As a newspaper editor, I took my pleasures where I could. I invented weather. On orders from the publisher, I wrote a gardening column - until the publisher read it.
     Much of a news editor's job is fitting things in: Cut this story here; fit that one in there. Three inches on the latest idiocy from Kansas.
     All newspapers buy packaged "news features" to cram into a box on Page A2: Celebrity News, though they call it something else. "What You Need to Know Today," perhaps. Oh, I beg your pardon, I believe that's a new feature from The New York Times.
     My favorite part of posting the box on A2 was editing "Today in History," from The Associated Press.
     It's a great feature, though meaningless. It gives you a look at history, though Feb. 5 has nothing to do with it.
     I wished could comment on Today in History back then, though I didn't have the time, and it would have been pointless anyway. But now that I have the time:
     On Feb. 5, 1849, the University of Wisconsin-Madison's first class met at the Madison Female Academy.
     Isn't that a great name for a college? The Female Academy? U.S. teachers were abominably paid, prohibited from getting married, leaving their homes after dark or smoking until high schools were set up in the early 20th century. A shortage of female teachers forced us to hire men. So we started paying teachers better. A little bit better.
     On Feb. 5, 1885, King Leopold II of Belgium established the Congo as his personal possession.
     Cool, huh! So Leopold was a king and a corporation at once! Plus, he was in charge of the taxes! Eat your hearts out, Koch brothers!
     On Feb. 5, 1900, the United States and the United Kingdom signed a treaty for the Panama Canal.
     Wow! And Panama belonged to Colombia, which didn't have to sign anything at all! Talk about "government efficiencies"!
     On Feb. 5, 1917, Congress passed the Immigration Act of 1917, over President Woodrow Wilson's veto. Also known as the Asiatic Barred Zone Act, it forbade immigration from China and Southeast Asia.
     Since Chinese immigrants had finished building our railroads, we deported tens thousands of them to Mexico, which is why Chinese restaurants in Mexicali and Calexico are excellent to this day.
     On Feb. 5, 1958, the Air Force lost a hydrogen bomb off the coast of Savannah, Ga. It's never been found.
     Heaven help us if the terrorists get it.
     And let us never forget that thanks to an act of Congress, Feb. 5 is National Weatherperson's Day.
     Happy day, Weatherpersons!

     The woman who says she can alibi the subject of the podcast "Serial" insisted Thursday that Adnan Syed did not influence her account.

     A fundamental philosophical difference over how California courts should operate is expected to come to a head in San Francisco on Monday. The line of contention runs between those who would seek to centralize parts of the vast court system and those who defend the independence of California's local trial courts.

     Following a 12-year court battle, the Department of Defense on Friday released nearly 200 new photographs documenting prisoners wounded by torture at Abu Ghraib, prompting immediate calls for criminal investigation.

     The United Nations on Friday called for the release of WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange, blasting five-plus years of "indefinite procrastination" by the governments of the United Kingdom and Sweden. 

     In a close 6-5 vote, the Colorado House Judiciary committee passed a bill that would allow terminally ill patients the right to end their own lives.

     Background checks on five prospective Rhode Island judges revealed over a dozen run-ins with the law by one nominee, a former state lawmaker, newly released public records show.

     A former Oklahoma judge was sentenced to 10 years in prison after pleading guilty Friday to embezzling from clients when he was an attorney.

     A federal judge said a woman is not entitled to compensation for time spent entering a single CAPTCHA word to verify her identity when opening a Google email account. 

     Getting closer to cracking a 48-year-old heist of thousands of paintings, the Art Recovery Group announced the return of a missing Parisian street scene by Antoine Blanchard to a New York gallery.

     Nashville District Attorney Glenn Funk accuses TV reporter Phil Williams and his employer Scripps Media of falsely reporting that he solicited a bribe and blackmailed a criminal defendant. 

     Exonerated of murder after 22 years in prison, a father of 10 sued Chicago and 11 police officers, claiming they beat him into a false confession, fabricated evidence and paid a witness to falsely testify against him in court. 

     Two Atlanta men claim in court they were wrongly tossed from the city's police academy after being forced to spend extended periods in isolation and later, being abused by superiors. 

     A federal judge refused to sideline the prosecution of Libyan militant for the 2012 attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi attack over concerns about his arrival in the court's jurisdiction. 

     A 21-year-old Kansas man faces 30 years in federal prison after pleading guilty in an ISIL-inspired plot to blow up a U.S. military base. 

     The Department of Housing and Urban Development is considering new regulations that would require public housing agencies to identify people and families who become "over income" and should be evicted from subsidized housing.

     Moody's need not face civil claims that read like a "Homeric 'Catalogue of Ships' for the 2008 financial crisis," a federal judge said Thursday. 

     Attorneys for an anti-abortion activist who turned himself in Thursday to face charges for using a fake ID to enter a Planned Parenthood clinic vowed to reject a plea offer.

     Venture capitalists at American Growth Funding II and a registered broker-dealer lied to investors from whom they raised $8.6 million, securities regulators claim in a federal complaint. 

     Visual Concepts, 2K Games and Take-Two Interactive Software face a federal complaint over the wildly popular "NBA2K," for reproducing the copyrighted tattoo art on the athletes depicted in the video game. 

     Soon after Rhode Island's attorney general pushed for more regulation of daily fantasy sports-betting Thursday, the website DraftKings voiced support for the move. 

     The Ninth Circuit on Friday vacated the sentence of a man who lied under oath about tipping off Hells Angels gang members about a police raid on their motorcycle shop. 

     A criminal defense expert testified Friday that the attorney for Adnan Syed - convicted for the 1999 murder of his ex-girlfriend - made a grave mistake by failing to investigate a potential alibi witness.

     Arizona cannot execute the man behind a 1980 rape and murder, who was severely intellectually disabled at the time of the attack, the Ninth Circuit ruled. 

     American Apparel's ousted CEO Dov Charney should be ordered to testify about his support for a union organizing textile workers at company warehouses, the National Labor Relations Board said Thursday. 

     A Republican judge in Dallas County is facing criticism for refusing to perform same-sex marriages, citing his religious freedom under a controversial advisory opinion from Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton.

     HSBC Bank has agreed to pay $470 million for accusations of wrongful mortgage origination, servicing and foreclosures, the government said Friday.

     Bank Julius Baer of Switzerland will pay $547 million to the United States by Tuesday for knowingly helping U.S. citizens dodge their taxes for years, in a deferred prosecution agreement with the Department of Justice.

     The head of South American-based LAN Airlines settled charges about money that changed hands amid the airline's union headache in Argentina. 

     A California woman who has kept the same job since 2008 says she has been receiving inaccurate wage statements in the past year that misidentify her employer as Jacobsen Cos.


     Stephanie Germain Productions sued BK Productions, BRK Distribution and Bradley Krevoy in Superior Court, claiming they owe Germain an accounting and money for co-producing the movie and TV series based on the Hannah Swensen Mystery books, aka the "Murder, She Baked" movies.

     Baker Hughes falsely classifies directional drillers for gas and oil as independent contractors to stiff them for overtime, a class action claims in Federal Court. 

     SciClone Pharmaceuticals, of California, will pay $12.8 million in disgorgement and penalties for paying bribes to get business in China, its primary market, the SEC said in a settled complaint. 

     Health officials in Colombia reported the first deaths connected to the Zika virus, after three infected people in Colombia died from a disease that attacks the nervous system researchers believe is linked to Zika.

     One person is dead, and three others have been injured by a mammoth crane that fell from a building in the Tribeca section of New York and crashed to the snow-covered street below Friday morning.

     A federal judge refused to hand a diplomat the "get out of jail free card" of immunity for his alleged role in a $1.3 million bribery scheme involving a Chinese billionaire and former U.N. president. 

     Lawyers are three times more likely to become problem drinkers than the rest of the population, a joint study by the American Bar Association and Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation found. 

     Lab-grown neural networks can replace damaged brain connections and be delivered with minimal disruption to tissue, new research shows.

     Emails released to show who knew what, when, in Michigan about Flint's water crisis show state officials knew nearly a year ago about the link between the contamination and a spike in Legionnaires' disease.

     A federal judge ordered the Justice Department to explain why it withheld certain surveillance records and to submit unredacted versions for a private assessment of whether they can be released. 

     An environmental group wants U.S. regulators to shed light on why they approved a new Dow Agrosciences herbicide fueled by ingredients for Agent Orange. 

     A seafood traceability program proposed Friday does not go far enough, conservation organizations say.

     An Ohio seminary student who was arrested by federal authorities on suspicion of trying to buy Mexican children will remain behind bars until his arraignment later this month. 

     Vague rules for shipping horse semen unfairly disqualified foals from New York's harness-racing program, a breeder claims in court. 

     The Wisconsin Supreme Court fought Thursday over open-records laws covering unsubstantiated misconduct allegations against public servants.