Reuters US Domestic News Summary

Following is a summary of current US domestic news briefs.

Two murder suspects captured at Mexico border after escaping California jail

Two murder suspects were captured at the U.S.-Mexican border while attempting to walk back into the United States on Wednesday, three days after escaping from a California jail hundreds of miles to the north, police said. U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents took Santos Fonseca, 21, and Jonathan Salazar, 20, into custody near Tijuana, Monterey County Sheriff’s Office spokesman John Thornburg said at a news briefing.

Senate leader McConnell backs bill to protect coal miner pensions

Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell joined a bipartisan group of senators on Wednesday in introducing a bill to secure the pensions for nearly 90,000 retired coal miners as a recent wave of coal company bankruptcies threatens the solvency of the federal pension fund. The Bipartisan American Miners Act, co-sponsored by McConnell, of Kentucky, and West Virginia Senators Joe Manchin, a Democrat, and Shelly Moore Capito, a Republican, would transfer funds from the federal abandoned mine lands program to avert insolvency of the United Mineworkers of America pension plan.

Trump's 'conscience' rule for healthcare workers struck down by U.S. judge

A federal judge on Wednesday voided a White House-backed rule making it easier for doctors, nurses and other healthcare providers to avoid performing abortions and other medical services on religious or moral grounds. U.S. District Judge Paul Engelmayer in Manhattan said the "conscience" rule was unconstitutionally coercive because it would let the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) withhold billions of dollars of funding from hospitals, clinics, universities and other healthcare providers that did not comply.

Keystone pipeline spill hardens landowner opposition to proposed expansion

A big oil spill from the Keystone Pipeline in North Dakota last week has hardened opposition to the controversial Keystone XL expansion among landowners along its route, who say they hope to use the incident to help block or stall the project in court. Operator TC Energy Corp is in the process of securing land easements for Keystone XL from scores of reluctant landowners in Nebraska, one of the final obstacles to a project linking Canada’s oil fields to U.S. refineries that has been delayed for over a decade by environmental opposition.

Kansas City voters: Street name wrong way to honor Martin Luther King Jr

Voters in Kansas City, Missouri, have reversed a decision by city leaders to name a street after slain civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr, in a contest both sides characterized as being sparked by citizen disenfranchisement, not racial prejudice. Unofficial results from the city's election board showed more than 65% of voters in Tuesday's balloting approved restoring the name of the 10-mile (16 km) street to "The Paseo," the name it has had since the late 19th century.

Family tells how 13-year-old boy hid siblings in Mexico massacre

After watching gunmen shoot dead his mother and two brothers, 13-year-old Devin Langford hid six surviving siblings in nearby bushes and walked for miles in a rugged expanse of northern Mexico to get help. The harrowing account was given by members of three Mexican-American Mormon families that suffered a brutal attack by suspected drug cartel hitmen on Monday which claimed the lives of three women and six children and sparked outrage and condemnation in the United States.

California reveals Facebook probe, says social media company stonewalling investigation

California revealed for the first time an 18-month investigation into Facebook Inc's privacy practices and accused the social media giant on Wednesday of hampering the probe by failing to turn over emails from Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg. The revelation is the latest bad news for Facebook, which is already facing an investigation by 47 U.S. states over concerns the company engaged in anti-competitive practices, put consumer data at risk and pushed up advertising prices.

After Democratic legislative gains, Virginia governor vows new gun-control push

Virginia Governor Ralph Northam's push for new gun control laws after the May massacre of 12 people in Virginia Beach flopped when the Republican-controlled state legislature acquiesced to his call for a July special session but left without a vote. But Northam saw new hope on Wednesday for his gun measures after voters flipped control of both chambers of the statehouse to his fellow Democrats for the first time in a quarter century.

Apple rolls out health records on iPhones for U.S. military veterans

Apple Inc on Wednesday said that U.S. military veterans who use its iOS devices and get medical care from the Veterans Health Administration will be able to access their health records on the devices. The Department of Veterans Affairs runs the largest integrated healthcare system in the United States, with 9 million veterans enrolled and more than 1,200 facilities. Apple began working with the department this summer to allow access to health records from the system on iPhones and other Apple mobile devices running its iOS operating system.

U.S. Supreme Court justices seek compromise in Hawaii water pollution case

U.S. Supreme Court justices across the political spectrum appeared to be searching for a compromise on Wednesday as they considered an important environmental case from Hawaii that could limit the scope of a landmark federal law aimed at curbing water pollution. The case focuses on whether a wastewater treatment plant in Maui County should be subject to anti-pollution provisions in the 1972 Clean Water Act. The nine justices engaged in a lively, sometimes combative, hourlong argument in an appeal the county of a lower court ruling siding with the Hawaii Wildlife Fund and other environmental groups that accused local officials of violating that law.