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U.S. downgraded to flawed democracy for the first time

US falls from full to flawed democracyThe United States of America is now a more imperfect union.

The Democracy Index has downgraded the U.S. from a full democracy to a flawed one, marking the first time the nation has fallen into the lower ranking.

Other flawed democracies include Botswana, India, Japan and Ghana, while much of Western Europe stayed in the full democracy category.

Americans’ growing distrust in their government, elected officials and the media prompted the demotion, the Economist Intelligence Unit — the UK-based economic firm that produces the annual index — wrote in a Wednesday report.

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Drug lord Joaquin 'El Chapo' Guzman extradited to US

El chapo extradited to USMexico's government extradited drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman to the United States where he is wanted on drug trafficking and other charges.

Guzman landed in New York late on Thursday to face federal narcotics trafficking and other charges.

A US law enforcement official told The Associated Press news agency that Guzman arrived following a flight from the Mexican border town Ciudad Juarez.

Guzman is expected to appear in a federal court in Brooklyn on Friday.

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Report says Chicago police violated civil rights for years

Chicago police reportChicago police have violated the constitutional rights of residents for years, permitting racial bias against blacks, using excessive force and shooting people who did not pose immediate threats, the Justice Department announced Friday after a yearlong investigation.

Officers endangered civilians, caused avoidable injuries and deaths and eroded community trust that is "the cornerstone of public safety," said Vanita Gupta, head of the Justice Department's civil rights division.

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Former NFL player Carpenter dies aged 39

Keion Carpenter- Former NFL safety and philanthropist Keion Carpenter died on Thursday morning at the age of 39, one day after collapsing on a run while on holiday in Miami, a family spokesman said.

Cousin Jamila Smith told the Baltimore Sun that Carpenter had an accident while playing with his son.

"They were running to the car when (Carpenter) slipped, fell, hit his head and slipped into a coma. It was just a freak accident," she said. "He was always healthy; he went to the doctor, ate well and worked out."

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More than half of Florida death row inmates may be resentenced

Florida death row sentencesMore than 200 inmates on Florida's death row may be entitled to new sentencing hearings after the state's Supreme Court issued two rulings that recodify how the death penalty is applied in convictions.

The Florida Supreme Court issued rulings Thursday that solidify death penalties for inmates sentenced before June 2002 while offering a chance for more than half the inmates on death row to potentially be resentenced to life in prison.

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Hardee’s, Carl’s Jr. CEO Tapped as Labor Secretary

Trump pick for Dept. of Labor headPresident-elect Donald Trump will reportedly tap Andy Puzder, chief executive of the company that owns the Hardee's and Carl's Jr. franchises, to be the next secretary of labor.

Puzder, a proponent of free-market economics, was one of Trump's staunchest advocates in the business community during the election.

Trump has not officially announced Puzder's nomination, but the Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg have reported based on anonymous sources that it will be announced as early as Thursday. The fast-food magnate has long rumored to be the top candidate for the Cabinet post.

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3 Resorts Reported Destroyed by Tennessee Wildfires

Tennessee wildfiresMore than 100 structures in the city of Gatlinburg, Tennessee, have been damaged, Mayor Mike Warner said Tuesday morning. More than 150 other structures have been damaged or destroyed in other parts of Sevier County, county Mayor Larry Waters told reporters at a news conference.

Warner, the Gatlinburg mayor, says he believes that his house is among those lost.

"But things can be rebuilt. Our downtown's intact, and that's really great for our economy" and the city's future, Warner said. "We will rebuild, and we will remain the premier resort community that we are. ... It will be OK."

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