Nation & World briefing

Published Sep 4, 2014 at 12:02AM

Iran nukes — A new and seemingly promising U.N. probe of allegations that Iran worked on atomic arms has stalled, diplomats say, leaving investigators not much further than where they started a decade ago and dampening U.S. hopes of reaching an overarching nuclear deal with Tehran by a November deadline. Expectations were high just two weeks ago, when chief U.N. nuclear inspector Yukiya Amano emerged from talks in Tehran with Iranian President Hasan Rouhani saying Iran had given “a firm commitment” of cooperation. But two diplomats told The Associated Press that Amano’s International Atomic Energy Agency will report no substantial progress this week.

Gay marriage defeat — A federal judge upheld Louisiana’s ban on same-sex marriages Wednesday, a rare loss for gay marriage supporters who had won more than 20 consecutive rulings overturning bans in other states. U.S. District Judge Martin Feldman said gay marriage supporters failed to prove that the ban violates equal protection or due process provisions of the U.S. Constitution, though he acknowledged his ruling won’t be the final word. “Although opinions about same-sex marriage will understandably vary among the states ... that does not mandate that Louisiana has overstepped its sovereign authority,” he wrote. Gay rights advocates said they would carry the case to the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which already has a case from Texas before it.

St. Patrick’s parade — The organizers of the New York City St. Patrick’s Day parade said Wednesday they were lifting a ban on gay groups participating in the march, ending a policy that had prompted protests, court battles and bitter debate for decades. The parade, which has been a part of the New York City landscape for more than 250 years, had faced pressure and boycotts from Mayor Bill de Blasio, Guinness and the Irish government unless the ban was scrapped.

Porch shooting — A suburban Detroit man who killed an unarmed woman on his porch instead of calling police was sentenced Wednesday to at least 17 years in prison after telling the victim’s family he would carry “guilt and sorrow forever.” Theodore Wafer, 55, had ben convicted of second-degree murder in the death of Renisha McBride, 19. Wafer, of Dearborn Heights, opened his front door and shot an extremely drunk McBride through a screen door Nov. 2. He said he was awakened by pounding before dawn and feared for his life. A jury rejected his self-defense claim.

Turmoil in Pakistan — Negotiators for thousands of protesters demonstrating outside of Pakistan’s parliament met Wednesday with politicians trying to end the crisis, but key challenges appear to remain — including their demand that the prime minster resign. Meanwhile, the military said at least 910 militants have been killed during a monthslong army offensive in northwestern Pakistan; the operation was launched in June in the North Waziristan tribal district against al-Qaida-linked foreign and local rebels, who are blamed for killing thousands during a decade of insurgency.

Casinos close; unemployment ensues — Carrying identification documents and bitterness over their sudden joblessness, hundreds of ex-casino workers began filing for unemployment Wednesday in Atlantic City, New Jersey, the first attendees at an assistance center that expects to process 5,000 newly laid-off workers over the next three days. The Showboat and Revel closed over the weekend, and by mid-September, Atlantic City — which started the year with 12 casinos — will be down to eight, and almost 8,000 people will be out of work. Trump Plaza is closing Sept. 16; the Atlantic Club shut down in January.

Ferguson update — The 18-year-old fatally shot by a suburban St. Louis police officer didn’t face any juvenile charges at the time of his death and never was charged with a serious felony such as murder, robbery or burglary, a juvenile court system lawyer said Wednesday. Those details emerged at a hearing in which two media organizations sought the release of any possible juvenile records for Michael Brown, who was shot in Ferguson, Missouri. An attorney for the Brown family called the effort to get the records “shameful” and motivated by “character assassination.” Cynthia Harcourt, the St. Louis County juvenile office’s attorney, offered the most specific public details on whether Brown faced legal trouble before his 18th birthday — a subject of intense speculation in a case that has garnered global attention. Meanwhile, the U.S. Justice Department says it will open a broad civil rights investigation into police practices in Ferguson; Brown, who is black, was unarmed.