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   ST. LOUIS (AP) - A federal judge on Thursday granted a preliminary injunction against Missouri's law requiring a state license to serve as a navigator to help consumers sign up for coverage through the new health insurance marketplace.
   An attorney for the St. Louis-based plaintiffs calls the ruling by U.S. District Judge Ortrie Smith a "huge victory." 
   A new state law requires insurance counselors to receive at least 30 hours of training and pay a small fee in order to help online shoppers negotiate the federal insurance exchange. Missouri's Republican-led Legislature opted against setting up a state-run exchange.
   The lawsuit filed in November said the requirements conflict with the federal Affordable Care Act.
 
Friday, 24 January 2014 03:37
Published in Local News
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NEW YORK (AP) -- St. Louis defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk scored the tiebreaking power-play goal early in the third period, and the Blues got the best of the New York Rangers again in a 2-1 victory on Thursday night.
 
Alexander Steen also had a goal for the Blues before leaving late in the second period with a lower-body injury. David Backes had two assists, and Jaroslav Halak made 34 saves in beating New York's Henrik Lundqvist in a matchup of Olympic goalies.
 
New York's Rick Nash scored his sixth goal in four games - netting at least one in each - but Shattenkirk took advantage of Nash's slashing penalty, scoring 9 seconds into the power play at 3:09.
 
Lundqvist made 23 saves in his return from a one-game absence caused by the flu. He allowed fewer than three goals for the seventh straight game, but still couldn't find a way to stop the Blues - the only NHL team he has never beaten (0-4).
 
St. Louis swept the two-game season series and has won seven of the past eight meetings. The Blues, beaten 7-1 at New Jersey on Tuesday, have earned points in eight straight visits to Madison Square Garden.
 
The Rangers got even late in the second period on Nash's team-leading 17th goal. Derek Stepan sent a pass from behind the net out to Nash, who stepped into a slap shot from the dot in the left circle and ripped a drive past Halak with 1:43 left.
 
New York continued to pressure the Blues for the remainder of the period and drew its second power play of the night in the closing seconds. The Rangers outshot the Blues 28-18 through 40 minutes.
 
Lundqvist was steady in his return. He seemed a bit off on his timing at certain points, but made several good saves after the Rangers fell behind.
 
Steen gave the Blues an early 1-0 lead with his 26th goal. A pass from Jaden Schwartz hit Steen's right skate in front of the crease, caromed off Lundqvist's stick and skate and trickled in behind him at 8:38. The goal was briefly reviewed by video replay, and it was determined that the puck wasn't kicked into the net.
 
It was the fifth straight goal allowed by the Rangers since they had a 3-1 lead over the Islanders in the second period on Tuesday in a 5-3 loss. A late power-play goal was the winner in that one, too.
 
Steen struggled to get to the bench in the second after going hard into the boards, but he was back soon after on the power play. He skated off for good with 2:57 left.
 
NOTES: Nash has 21 goals and 40 points in 50 games versus the Blues. ... Steen has 14 career points against the Rangers and 12 in the past seven games - including six goals. ... Schwartz played in his 100th NHL game. The Blues will attend the White Out for Mandi game at Yale University on Friday, an event in memory of Schwartz's sister - a former hockey player at Yale who died of leukemia in 2011. ... Blues C Maxim Lapierre was activated from the injured list after missing five games due to a lower body injury. ... Newly acquired D Kevin Klein made his Rangers debut. ... St. Louis C Derek Roy was a healthy scratch.
Thursday, 23 January 2014 22:37
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NEW YORK (AP) - More than 30 years after hooded gunmen pulled a $6 million airport heist dramatized in the hit Martin Scorsese movie "Goodfellas," an elderly reputed mobster was arrested at his New York City home on Thursday and charged in the robbery and a 1969 murder.
 
   Vincent Asaro, 78, was named along with his son, Jerome, and three other defendants in wide-ranging indictment alleging murder, robbery, extortion, arson and other crimes from the late 1960s through last year. The Asaros, both identified as captains in the Bonanno organized crime family, pleaded not guilty through their attorneys and were ordered held without bail at a brief appearance in federal court in Brooklyn.
 
   The elder Asaro's attorney, Gerald McMahon, told reporters outside court that his client was framed by shady turncoat gangsters, including former Bonanno boss Joseph Massino - the highest-ranking member of the city's five organized crime families to break the mob's vow of silence.
 
   Massino "is one of the worst witnesses I've ever seen," McMahon said. He added that Asaro had given him "marching orders" that "there will be no plea and he will walk out the door a free man."
 
   A lawyer for Jerome Asaro declined comment.
 
   The indictment accused Vincent Asaro of helping to direct the Dec. 11, 1978, Lufthansa Airlines heist at Kennedy airport - one of the largest cash thefts in American history.
 
   The gunmen looted a vault in the airline's cargo terminal and stole about $5 million in untraceable U.S. currency that was being returned to the United States from Germany, along with about $1 million in jewelry. The cash was never found.
 
   According to court papers, an unidentified mob associate who pleaded guilty and became a cooperating witness told investigators that he participated in the robbery at the direction of Asaro. The theft was hatched by James "Jimmy the Gent" Burke, a late Lucchese crime family associate who was close to Asaro, who told the bandits that he had a "score" that would make them rich, the papers say.
 
   Each robber was supposed to be paid $750,000, but the cooperating witness said "most did not receive their share, either because they were killed first or it was never given to them," according to the court papers.
 
   The papers say the cooperator wore a wire and recorded a conversation he had with Asaro in 2011 in which the pair discussed being slighted.
 
   "We never got our right money, what we were supposed to get," Asaro said, according to the court papers. "Jimmy Burke kept everything."
 
   In addition to the heist, the elder Asaro was charged in the 1969 murder of Paul Katz, whose remains were found last year during an FBI dig at a house once occupied by Burke. According to the cooperating witness, Asaro and Burke were business partners in Robert's Lounge, the papers say. The saloon was described by a fellow Lucchese associate of Burke, the late Henry Hill, as Burke's private cemetery.
 
   "Jimmy buried over a dozen bodies ... under the bocce courts," Hill wrote in his book, "A Goodfella's Guide to New York."
 
   Katz once owned a warehouse where mobsters stored stolen goods, according to the court papers. After a raid at the warehouse, Asaro and Burke began to suspect Katz was a law enforcement informant.
 
   Asaro told the cooperator that Burke "had killed Katz with a dog chain because they believed he was a `rat,"' the papers say.
 
   The cooperator told investigators that Asaro and Burke brought Katz's body to a vacant home in Queens where it was concealed beneath a cement floor. In the 1980s, Burke ordered the cooperator to dig up the remains and move them to another location.
 
   Burke inspired Robert De Niro's character in "Goodfellas," which was based on Nicholas Pileggi's book "Wiseguy" and told the story of Hill's time in the mob and subsequent cooperation with law enforcement.
 
   Massino was convicted in 2004 on charges he had a hand in multiple gangland murders, including the execution of a mobster who vouched for FBI undercover agent Donnie Brasco - a story that was also turned into a movie.
 
   In July, Massino saw his life prison sentence reduced to time served after prosecutors praised his work as a government cooperator.
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OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) - An autopsy has revealed that a San Francisco Bay Area transit officer who was shot and killed by a fellow officer died of a single gunshot wound to the chest.
 
   The results of the autopsy on Bay Area Rapid Transit police Sgt. Tom Smith were released Thursday by the Alameda County Sheriff's Office.
 
   Smith was wearing a bulletproof vest, but Sheriff's spokesman J.D. Nelson said the bullet struck an area that was not covered.
 
   The 42-year-old Smith was shot Tuesday while authorities searched a one-bedroom apartment in Dublin for items stolen during an armed holdup at a train station in Oakland.
   Investigators are trying to determine whether the officer's gun discharged accidentally or he mistook Smith for someone else.
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