OHIO

State blocked from Parenthood action

A federal judge in Ohio has temporarily blocked state officials from taking legal action against Planned Parenthood to enforce a rule governing the disposal of fetal tissue.

The order, issued Monday by Judge Edmund Sargus Jr., comes in a dispute over how Planned Parenthood handles fetal tissue.

Planned Parenthood is suing Ohio's health director. The group claims the state's health department changed the interpretation of the disposal rule without notice and then unfairly targeted its three affiliates that provide abortions.

Sargus' order is effective until Jan. 11. He set a Jan. 4 hearing in the case.

The lawsuit follows the state attorney general's investigation into Planned Parenthood, which criticized the facilities for disposing of fetal remains in landfills. - AP
NEW MEXICO

Ex-official sentenced to 30 days in jail

Former New Mexico Secretary of State Dianna Duran was sentenced Monday to 30 days in jail for siphoning money from her election account to fuel a gambling addiction in a case that has led to calls for an overhaul of the state's campaign finance and ethics laws.

Duran pleaded guilty in October to felony embezzlement and money laundering charges and four misdemeanor counts while resigning from office under an agreement with state prosecutors.

She also was ordered to pay nearly $14,000 in restitution and serve five years of probation. Prosecutors had recommended probation. - AP

ILLINOIS

In IS plot, guilty plea from ex-guardsman

A former Illinois National Guard soldier pleaded guilty Monday to charges alleging he conspired to provide material support to the Islamic State group.

Hasan Edmonds, 23, of Aurora, Ill., pleaded guilty to one count of conspiring to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization and one count of attempting to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization.

The pleas in Chicago federal court came one week after his cousin, Jonas Edmonds, 30, of Aurora, pleaded guilty to similar charges.

Hasan Edmonds is to be sentenced March 18 and faces up to 30 years in prison. Jonas Edmonds is to be sentenced Jan. 27 and faces up to 23 years in prison. Both men are U.S. citizens. - AP

CALIFORNIA

Deadly fire's

cause is sought

Investigators on Monday worked to uncover what ignited a fire at an abandoned home in central California that trapped a group of squatters, killing five people and critically injuring another who tried to flee out the only open window.

Firefighters found the six victims in one of the bedrooms, where it appeared they were trying to smash a window to escape the flames and thick smoke engulfing the boarded-up home in Fresno on Sunday.
- AP