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Top NY court will review Bloomberg's big-soda ban

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — The state's highest court has agreed to hear New York City's appeal of a ruling that blocked Mayor Michael Bloomberg's effort to stop many eateries from selling super-sized, sugary drinks.

The Court of Appeals on Thursday granted a request by city officials to challenge a mid-level court decision that struck down the measure in August.

Arguments and a decision by the top court are expected next year.

The lower court said the city Board of Health exceeded its authority by putting a 16-ounce size limit on high-calorie soft drinks. The cap would have applied to restaurants, stadiums and many other places.

Bloomberg says obesity is a worsening public health issue, and sugary drinks are a major driver.

The American Beverage Association says it's confident the lower court decisions will be upheld.


Controversy erupts over Lhota's NY synagogue stop

NEW YORK (AP) — New York City mayoral hopeful Bill de Blasio is criticizing his opponent Joe Lhota for campaigning in a Brooklyn synagogue that would not allow women to enter.

Lhota, a Republican, was on a walking tour of the Borough Park neighborhood on Wednesday when he entered the ultra-Orthodox Shomer Shabbos synagogue.

A synagogue official then asked three women — a reporter, a Lhota campaign aide, and a member of the candidate's security team — to leave but said the men could stay.

Lhota emerged from the synagogue a minute later. He defended the synagogue's religious practices as "First Amendment constitutional rights."

De Blasio, a Democrat, said Thursday he found it "perplexing" that Lhota would go in when women were not allowed.

The election is Nov. 5.


Defense: Madoff kept employees in dark about fraud

NEW YORK (AP) — A New York defense lawyer says Bernard Madoff duped his employees just like he fooled everyone else.

Attorney Andrew James Frisch gave his opening statement Thursday to a Manhattan federal court jury hearing the first criminal trial to result from the fall of Madoff's financial empire.

Frisch says his client — Daniel Bonventre — is not guilty of fraud charges. Bonventre is on trial with four other former employees of Madoff's private investment business.

Frisch says Madoff and his right-hand man kept Bonventre and others in the dark about his secret fraud for 16 years. He says his client was director of operations at the legitimate side of Madoff's business. He says he did not know Madoff was cheating thousands of investors of billions of dollars.


Dead body found at playground next to NYC school

(Information in the following story is from: Staten Island Advance, )

NEW YORK (AP) — Authorities say a dead body has been found hanging at a playground next to a Staten Island intermediate school.

The NYPD says the gruesome discovery was made around 7:20 a.m. Thursday.

The Staten Island Advance says the body was hanging from a backstop behind home plate at the Markham Playground.

It says students from the Markham Intermediate School usually gather there before classes start.

They were ushered inside after the body was found.


Cooperator in major NYC mob case is sentenced

NEW YORK (AP) — A defendant who cooperated in a major mob investigation has been sentenced to time served for driving a getaway car after a killing.

Anthony Russo was sentenced Wednesday in Brooklyn.

According to the Daily News, Russo said in court that he's now "scared to death." He said he contemplates how he ended up in a life of crime.

Russo served 35 months for driving the getaway car in a 1993 hit on underboss Joseph Scopo. The crime occurred during a bloody civil war in the Colombo family.

Russo cooperated after what was billed as one of the biggest Mafia takedowns in FBI history.

In January 2011, authorities announced that they'd charged more than 100 suspected mobsters and associates in the Northeast with murders, extortion and other crimes spanning decades.


NY upholds emergency exemption to Miranda rights

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — New York's highest court says police can interrogate a suspect without reading their Miranda rights or providing a lawyer when they reasonably believe there's a serious, ongoing emergency.

The Court of Appeals says the exception to a defendant's rights applies even when authorities don't know for certain a crime happened.

The court on Thursday backed prosecutors' use of incriminating statements Scott Doll made after the February 2009 beating death of business partner Joseph Benaquist.

A Genesee County deputy responding to an evening 911 call about a suspicious person found him walking on a roadway.

Doll initially said wet blood on his clothes was from butchering deer.

He asked for a lawyer and declined to take authorities to the deer.

Doll, now 51, is serving 15 years to life in prison.


2 NYC rock climbers rescued from Adirondack cliff

HAGUE, N.Y. (AP) — Two rock climbers from New York City have had an outing to remember: They spent hours in the dark dangling from ropes hundreds of feet over an Adirondack lake.

State environmental conservation officials say 28-year-old Cedric Bien and 27-year-old Susannah Gue (gyoo) were descending the 700-foot-high Rogers Rock on Sunday when their rope got snagged, leaving them stuck part way down the cliff towering over the northern end of Lake George.

A camper at nearby Rogers Rock state campground alerted a caretaker around 6:30 p.m. A team of state forest rangers launched a rescue operation Sunday night, with one of them rappelling 450 feet down the cliff to reach the stranded climbers.

Bien and Gue were then lowered to the base of the cliff early Monday morning.


Martin Luther King papers to be auctioned in NYC

NEW YORK (AP) — Papers from the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., including a page from his "I Have a Dream" speech, are being auctioned in New York.

The papers are being sold Thursday by King's secretary from the late 1950s.

Maude Ballou, of Ridgeland, Miss., will use part of the proceeds to establish an education fund at Alabama State University. The 88-year-old is selling the items through the New York City office of Dallas-based Heritage Auctions.

Sandra Palomino of Heritage Auctions says that some of the more than 100 items are so rare that it's difficult to put a value on them.

They include a handwritten letter King sent to Ballou while touring India in 1959. He was there to learn about Mahatma Gandhi's campaign of nonviolent resistance.


Kennedy rocking chair goes on display in NYC

DALLAS (AP) — A rocking chair used by President John F. Kennedy in the White House is on display in New York City.

The chair is part of a collection of Kennedy memorabilia Heritage Auctions will offer Nov. 23 in Dallas. The display, which also features items including two flags from the Oval Office, went up Thursday at the auction house's New York City location, where it will remain through Oct. 30.

The collection was amassed by Dean William Rudoy, a psychologist from New Mexico. He says since this year marks the 50th anniversary of Kennedy's assassination, it seemed like the right time to sell the items to the next generation of collectors.

As an 11-year-old, Rudoy volunteered on Kennedy's 1960 presidential campaign and later worked on Robert F. Kennedy's presidential campaign.