MLK’s daughter won’t lead embattled civil rights group

For more than a year, the daughter of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. put off taking her oath as president of the landmark civil rights group co-founded by her father – and now she doesn’t want the job at all.

When the Rev. Bernice King became the first woman elected president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference in 2009, she had vowed to reinvigorate the once-proud organization by expanding the group’s reach to more women and a younger generation.

Soon after, the SCLC’s chairman and treasurer were accused of financial mismanagement, and squabbling among the group’s leaders landed the splintered factions in a courtroom. King remained largely silent as the group’s troubles escalated over the past 16 months.

King told The Associated Press that in the end, she and the group’s leaders didn’t agree on how to move forward.


Ebert will wear prosthesis for face, neck on new show

Roger Ebert is debuting a facial prosthesis along with his new public television show on film criticism, which debuted Friday.

The veteran critic, 68, was left disfigured after surgeries for a cancerous growth in his salivary gland.

He wrote on his blog that he’ll appear on his new “Ebert Presents at the Movies” in a prosthesis for his lower face and neck. Since the operations left him unable to speak, Ebert communicates through a voice in his laptop.


School investigates claims second-graders had oral sex

A second-grade teacher in Northern California was placed on leave while a school and police investigate accounts by students that classmates engaged in oral sex and stripped off some of their clothes during class, officials said Friday.

The investigation was under way at Markham Elementary School in Oakland, where the principal notified parents of the situation Thursday.

The male teacher, whose name has not been released, told investigators he did not see any of the acts that authorities suspect occurred last week. He is barred from campus until the investigation is completed.


Oklahoma joins 27 states challenging health care law

Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt has filed a legal challenge against the federal health care overhaul President Obama signed into law last year.

Pruitt’s filing Friday in U.S. District Court in Muskogee makes Oklahoma the 28th state to challenge the constitutionality of the individual mandate provision of the law.

Maine is among six states – the others are Ohio, Kansas, Wyoming, Wisconsin and Iowa – whose petition to join a federal lawsuit was accepted by a federal judge Thursday.

RENO, Nev.

Agency rejects Pickens’ plan to create mustang sanctuary

The federal Bureau of Land Management is rejecting a proposal from the wife of Texas billionaire T. Boone Pickens to create a sanctuary in Nevada for wild horses removed from public rangeland around the West.

Agency Director Bob Abbey released a statement Friday saying Madeleine Pickens’ plan wouldn’t save American taxpayers money and doesn’t include enough water and grazing area for mustangs.

She bought two ranches in northeastern Nevada last year to serve as a sanctuary to keep mustangs on the range instead of in government-funded holding facilities.