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A Hungarian appeals court has lowered to five years from seven the prison sentence of a Syrian man convicted of entering Hungary illegally and of complicity in throwing rocks at police during a 2015 border riot.

The case stems from rioting at the Hungary-Serbia border on Sept. 16, 2015, when dozens of police officers, migrants and some journalists were injured in clashes a day after Hungary closed the frontier, stranding hundreds of migrants.

Amnesty International said the “absurd” conviction exemplified “the erosion of the rule of law and human rights protections in Hungary.”

The appeals court in the southern city of Szeged said Thursday that Ahmed Hamed has to serve at least two-thirds of his sentence before he can be released.



The filing period has begun for a special election for the West Virginia Supreme Court.

The filing period for the unexpired seat of former Justice Menis Ketchum started Monday and runs through Aug. 21. The special election will be held concurrently with the Nov. 6 general election.

Candidates must be at least 30 years old, residents of West Virginia for at least five years and admitted to practice law for at least 10 years.

Ketchum announced his retirement last month. He had two years remaining in his term.

Last week prosecutors said Ketchum has agreed to plead guilty in federal court to one count of wire fraud stemming from the personal use of state-owned vehicles and fuel cards. He faces a plea hearing and up to 20 years in prison.


President Donald Trump’s selection of Judge Brett Kavanaugh as a new Supreme Court nominee last Monday culminates a three-decade project unparalleled in American history to install a reliable conservative majority on the nation’s highest tribunal, one that could shape the direction of the law for years to come.

“They’ve been pushing back for 30 years, and, obviously, the announcement is a big step in the right direction,” said Curt Levey, president of the Committee for Justice, a conservative activist group that’s been working toward this goal full time since 2005. “It’ll be the first time we can really say we have a conservative court, really the first time since the 1930s.”

This presumes that Trump can push Kavanaugh through a closely divided Senate heading into a midterm election season, hardly a given. More so than any nomination in a dozen years, Trump’s choice of a successor for Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, the influential swing vote retiring at the end of the month, holds the potential of changing the balance of power rather than simply replacing a like-minded justice with a younger version.

But if the president succeeds in confirming his selection, the new justice is expected to join Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel A. Alito Jr. and Neil M. Gorsuch in forming a much more consistently conservative majority than before.

That has not happened by accident. A network of activists and organizations has worked assiduously since the 1980s to reach this point, determined to avoid the disappointment they felt after Republican appointees like Earl Warren, William J. Brennan Jr., David H. Souter, Sandra Day O’Connor and Kennedy proved more moderate or liberal once they joined the court.


Two online gamers whose alleged dispute over a $1.50 Call of Duty WWII video game bet ultimately led police to fatally shoot a Kansas man not involved in the argument will make their first appearances in court Wednesday in a case of "swatting" that has drawn national attention.

Casey Viner, 18, of North College Hill, Ohio, and Shane Gaskill, 19, of Wichita, are charged with conspiracy to obstruct justice, wire fraud and other counts.

Viner allegedly became upset at Gaskill while playing the popular online game. Authorities say he then asked 25-year-old Tyler Barriss of Los Angeles to "swat" Gaskill, a form of retaliation sometimes used by gamers, who call police and make a false report to send first responders to an online opponent's address.

Barriss is accused of calling Wichita police from Los Angeles on Dec. 28 to report a shooting and kidnapping at a Wichita address. Authorities say Gaskill had provided the address to Viner and later to Barriss in a direct electronic message. But the location Gaskill gave was his old address and a police officer responding to the call fatally shot the new resident Andrew Finch, 28, after he opened the door.

Viner's defense attorney, Jim Pratt, declined comment. The attorneys for Gaskill and Barriss did not immediately respond to an email.

Viner and Gaskill have not been arrested and both were instead issued a summons to appear at Wednesday's hearing where a judge will decide whether they can remain free on bond. Both men are also likely to enter pleas, although at this stage of the proceedings the only plea a federal magistrate can accept is not guilty.

Barriss and Viner face federal charges of conspiracy to make false reports. Barriss also is charged with making false reports and hoaxes, cyberstalking, making interstate threats, making interstate threats to harm by fire and wire fraud. He will not be in court Wednesday.

A first court appearance on the federal charges has not been set for Barriss because the Sedgwick County district attorney is going forward first with his case on the state charges, said Jim Cross, spokesman for the U.S. attorney's office in Kansas.


A German court has ordered a donkey's owners to pony up 5,800 euros ($6,800) to the driver of a pricy McLaren sports car to cover damage caused when the animal chomped the backside of the vehicle.

Police said that Vitus the donkey may have mistaken the orange McLaren parked next to his enclosure as a giant carrot when he bit the back, damaging the paint and a carbon-fiber piece.

The dpa news agency reported that the state court in Giessen on Thursday sided with the car owner, who filed the suit after the donkey owner refused reimbursement for the incident last September.

At the time, Local media reported the owner of the donkey refused to pay for the damage, telling the McLaren owner he should have picked a better parking place.



Pittsburgh Pirates infielder Jung Ho Kang received a suspended two-year prison sentence for fleeing the scene after crashing a car into a guardrail while driving under the influence of alcohol.

The sentence handed down Friday by the Seoul Central District Court was a heavier punishment than the 15 million won ($13,000) fine prosecutors had sought, but still clears the 29-year-old Kang to join the Pirates for the baseball season.

"I am sorry, and I am repenting a lot," Kang said after the ruling.

Kang was previously fined twice on drunk driving-related charges in 2009 and 2011. He is in the third year of a four-year, $11 million contract he signed with Pittsburgh in 2015 after a stellar eight-year career in South Korean professional baseball.

Pirates president Frank Coonelly said in a statement Friday that the team will work to secure Kang's work visa and sit down with him before deciding whether to discipline Kang.

"We look forward to meeting with Jung Ho as soon as he is able to travel to the United States and having a serious discussion with him on this issue and how he has and will change those behaviors that led to the very serious punishment that has been levied against him in Korea," Coonelly said.

According to police, Kang didn't stop after driving a rented BMW into a guardrail at about 3 a.m. while returning to his Seoul hotel in December. The crash damaged the guardrail and the car. Police said Kang's blood alcohol level at the time of the crash would have been 0.08 percent, which is above the country's 0.05 percent legal limit.

Last summer, a 23-year-old woman said she was sexually assaulted by Kang at a hotel in Chicago. He has not been charged.

Kang had 21 home runs and 62 RBIs in 103 games in 2016 during his second season in the majors.



High above the bustling city of Honolulu, in a quiet, exclusive hillside neighborhood where some of the island's wealthiest residents live, there is an extravagant home that's not quite like the others.

The 6,000-square-foot house has a view overlooking Diamond Head, Waikiki and the Pacific Ocean, and two Tesla cars in the driveway. It's not the two electric cars that set the property apart from its swanky neighbors.

The difference is that this solar-powered home is completely energy independent.

Homeowner Henk Rogers, 61, hopes the technology he is using in his home can help make other homes across Hawaii — and the world — energy independent as well.

Rogers is famous for discovering the video game "Tetris" more than 20 years ago. He now manages the worldwide rights for the game along with his business partner, Alexey Pajitnov, who wrote the program.

"If you're going to clean up the world, first of all you have to clean your own room," Rogers said, referring to Hawaii, which has some of the highest energy costs in the nation.

Rogers will announce his new company, Blue Planet Energy Systems, on Monday. The new venture, which will sell and install battery systems for homes and businesses running on solar technology, plans to begin sales on Aug. 1. He declined to say how much the systems would cost, but said there will be a five- to seven-year return on the investment for a typical project that his company will install.

The Blue Ion system, which Rogers has been testing in his home for the last year, uses Sony lithium iron phosphate batteries, which can last for 20 years and do not require cooling, he says.

Partnering with Sony, Rogers believes the batteries can be a solution to the long-standing problem of storing the sun's energy and helping lower energy costs in Hawaii.

Sony has been developing lithium ion batteries since 1991, and the units being used in Rogers' home are top of the line.

The batteries store energy from solar panels, allowing people to use it at night without having to rely on expensive energy from the grid.

Rogers' company will sell and install the battery systems for commercial and residential use, supplying everything from the housing to the software to monitor and maintain the systems.


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