NATIONWIDE: More using seat belts

Seat belt use by Americans has bumped up another point, to 85 percent in 2010, and research released Monday estimated that if everyone had used them last year 3,688 deaths could have been avoided. The data emerged in a pair of studies by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. NHTSA estimated that seat belt use, which has increased steadily since 1994, saved 12,713 lives in 2009. The study found seat belt use higher in states with laws that allow police to stop drivers solely for not wearing them. Compliance was lower in states that required an officer to find another violation for which to stop a driver before issuing a seat belt citation.


Groups pan wiretaps plan

The Obama administration is pushing to make it easier for the government to tap into Internet and e-mail communications. But the plan has already drawn condemnation from privacy groups and communications firms may be wary of its costs and scope. Frustrated by sophisticated and often encrypted phone and e-mail technologies, U.S. officials say law enforcement needs to improve its ability to eavesdrop on conversations involving terrorism, crimes or other public safety issues. Critics worry the changes are an unnecessary invasion of privacy.


CALIFORNIA

113-degree heat in LA

A blistering fall heat wave sent temperatures to a record high of 113 degrees in downtown Los Angeles Monday, and many sought refuge at the beach. Downtown hit 113 degrees for a few minutes about 12:15 p.m., breaking the record of 112 degrees set on June 26, 1990, said Stuart Seto, a weather specialist at the National Weather Service office in Oxnard.


Disney allows headscarf

Disney is allowing a Muslim employee at its Southern California park to wear a specially designed headscarf after initially objecting to her religious head covering. The Council on American-Islamic Relations said yesterday that 22-year-old Noor Abdallah was told she couldn't wear the hijab while working as a vacation planner at a Disneyland Resort Esplanade ticket booth. Disneyland spokeswoman Suzi Brown said the park worked with Abdallah to design a covering to match her costume and meet her religious needs.


NEW JERSEY: Charged in Seton Hall death

Two men were charged Monday in the weekend shooting at an off-campus house party that left a Seton Hall University student dead and four other people wounded. One was arrested, while the second remained at large. Nicholas Welch was arrested at his home, on the same block as the house where the party was held, authorities said. A second man, 19-year-old Marcus Bascus, was being sought. Both men were charged with murder, conspiracy and weapons offenses. Police believe Welch was the shooter and that Bascus provided him with the gun. Welch was being held on $2 million bail.

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