Following is a summary of current US domestic news briefs.
George Zimmerman, who fatally shot Trayvon Martin, sues Martin family in Florida
Former Florida volunteer community watchman George Zimmerman, whose 2012 killing of unarmed black teen Trayvon Martin drew attention across the United States, sued Martin's family and lawyers on Wednesday, saying they used a fake witness against him. Zimmerman is seeking at least $100 million in damages from Martin's parents, state prosecutors and two women, who are accused in a Polk County, Florida, lawsuit of helping provide false statements to investigators and during the trial, according to court papers.
Transgender teen charged in fatal school shooting will be tried as an adult
A transgender teenager who told police that he and a friend opened fire at a suburban Denver high school to exact revenge on classmates who bullied him should be tried on murder charges as an adult, a judge ruled on Wednesday. Alec McKinney, 16, was ordered along with Devon Erickson, 19, to stand trial on first-degree murder, attempted murder and weapons charges in the May 7 shooting rampage at the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) School in Highlands Ranch, Colorado, in which one student was killed and eight others wounded.
Biden says he would consider Harris for vice presidential slot
A day after U.S. Senator Kamala Harris ended her 2020 presidential bid, former Vice President Joe Biden, a leading contender for the Democratic nomination, said on Wednesday he would consider her as a potential running mate. Biden, with whom Harris clashed during a Democratic debate earlier this year, praised her after a campaign event in Ames, Iowa.
Bye-bye, birdie: Study finds North American birds getting smaller
Since 1978, researchers have scooped up and measured tens of thousands of birds that died after crashing into buildings in Chicago during spring and fall migrations. Their work has documented what might be called the incredible shrinking bird. A study published on Wednesday involving 70,716 birds killed from 1978 through 2016 in such collisions in the third-largest U.S. city found that their average body sizes steadily declined over that time, though their wingspans increased.
Trump administration moves to remove 700,000 people from food stamps
The Trump administration said on Wednesday it will make it harder for states to keep residents in the U.S. food stamp program in a move that is projected to end benefits for nearly 700,000 people. President Donald Trump has argued that many Americans receiving food stamps through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, known as SNAP, do not need it given the strong economy and low unemployment. The program provides free food to 36 million Americans.
Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter released from hospital
Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter was released from a Georgia hospital on Wednesday where he had been undergoing treatment for a urinary tract infection, his spokeswoman said. "He said he looks forward to further rest and recovery at home in Plains, Georgia. He and Mrs. Carter wish everyone peace and joy this holiday season," Deanna Congileo, Carter's press secretary at the Carter Center in Atlanta, said in a statement.
Former UAW official pleads guilty to accepting kickbacks
Former United Auto Workers vice president Joseph Ashton pleaded guilty on Wednesday to conspiracy to commit money laundering and wire fraud as part of a wide-ranging federal corruption probe into the union. Ashton, a former General Motors Co board member, was charged last month with conspiring with other union officials to receive "hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes and kickbacks" according to documents filed in U.S. District Court in Detroit.
NASA's probe soaring near sun reveals surprises about solar wind
Troves of new data from a NASA probe's close encounters with the sun are giving scientists unique insight about the solar wind and space weather more generally as the spacecraft zooms through the outermost part of the star's atmosphere. Researchers on Wednesday described the first published findings from the Parker Solar Probe, a spacecraft launched in 2018 to journey closer to the sun than any other human-made object. The findings, offering fresh details about how the sun spawns space weather, are reshaping astronomers' understanding of violent solar wind that can hamper satellites and electronics on Earth.
2020 U.S. census plagued by hacking threats, cost overruns
In 2016, the U.S. Census Bureau faced a pivotal choice in its plan to digitize the nation’s once-a-decade population count: build a system for collecting and processing data in-house, or buy one from an outside contractor. The bureau chose Pegasystems Inc, reasoning that outsourcing would be cheaper and more effective.
Hospital groups file lawsuit to block Trump's price transparency rule
(Reuters) - U.S. hospital groups have challenged the Trump administration's rule that requires them to be more transparent about prices they charge patients for healthcare services, according to a lawsuit filed on Wednesday. The plaintiffs, including the nonprofit American Hospital Association (AHA), are looking to block the rule issued last month that mandates hospitals to publish pricing information of their services on the internet.