Sex-Change Procedure Covered by Insurance for Illinois Students

University of Illinois trustees changed the student insurance plan at the Chicago campus to cover sex-change surgery. Trustees voted 6-2 to add the benefit and approved a 15% increase in the annual cost to students. Insurance will not cost $922 a year. This kind of coverage is nothing new to institutions. Trustee Patrick Fitzgerald, says other universities have adopted very similar plans. Continue Reading

Obituaries Wednesday May 29th

Marjorie Mae Timmerman, 91, of Sperry, Iowa, died at Great River Hospice House, West Burlington, Iowa on Monday afternoon, May 27, 2013.     
Born on February 26, 1922 in LeClaire, Iowa, she was the daughter of John S. and Amanda A. Seibel Hoffstetter. She married David O. Timmerman on August 4, 1956 in Iowa City, Iowa. He died on March 3, 1995.     
Marjorie was a homemaker. Continue Reading

'Glasnost' opens onstage rounds at Spelling Bee

Speller No. 1 knows her glasnost. Meghana Giri (MAY-guh-un GEER-ee) of Anniston, Ala., stepped to the microphone Wednesday morning and spelled the word often associated with the end of the Cold War, starting the first onstage round of the 86th Scripps National Spelling Bee. There are 281 youngsters competing for the title of top speller in the English language. Wednesday’s rounds will be combined with the scores from a computer test to determine the semifinalists. Continue Reading

Exonerated NY man gets master's degree

A New York man who spent 16 years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit has received a master’s degree from John Jay College of Criminal Justice. Jeffrey Deskovic (DEH’-skoh-vihch), who was freed in 2006, received his diploma at a graduation ceremony on Tuesday. Deskovic won $8.3 million for his wrongful imprisonment from New York State and Westchester County. He used some of the money to start the Jeffrey Deskovic Foundation for Justice to help other innocent people get out of prison. Deskovic was a teenager when he was charged with killing a Peekskill High School classmate. Continue Reading

Trial begins for former Marine accused of 1975 murder in Texas

The capital murder trial of a Texas man charged in a 1975 rape and strangulation began Tuesday, nearly 40 years after a 20-year-old secretary went home for lunch one fateful afternoon. The Austin American-Statesman reports that opening statements and testimony have begun in the capital murder trial of Willie Jenkins, who allegedly raped and strangled Sheryl Ann Norris. A forensic expert testified that Norris, who worked at the Crime Prevention Institute of Texas in San Marcos, had fought her attacker, kicking a hole in the wall as she struggled in a bathtub on Nov. 24, 1975. “By all accounts, Sheryl had everything going for her until that day,” Assistant Attorney General Lisa Tanner said. Continue Reading

Arizona mother fights allegations of drug smuggling from Mexico

An Arizona woman is jailed in Mexico on accusations that she tried to smuggle nearly 12 pounds of marijuana into the United States. A court hearing was held Tuesday in Nogales, Sonora, forYaniraMaldonado, a mother of seven from the Phoenix suburb of Goodyear. Maldonado, 42, and her husband said they were returning from the funeral of her aunt last Wednesday when the passenger bus they were on was stopped at a military checkpoint about 90 miles from the U.S-Mexico border. Her family said she’s a naturalized U.S. citizen who was born in Mexico. Maldonadowas arrested after soldiers inspected the bus and reported finding the marijuana underneath her seat, according to a spokeswoman for the army in the northern state of Sonora. Continue Reading

Have you been playing Monopoly wrong?

The board game Monopoly may be the closest the average Joe gets to becoming a real estate mogul – but have you been playing it wrong your entire life? A 2011 blog post that has gone viral on Twitter details a sometimes-overlooked rule in the famous game, according to Buzzfeed. If a player chooses not to buy a property after landing on it, instead of his or her turn ending, the property goes up for auction. “If you do not wish to buy the property, the Banker sells it at auction to the highest bidder,” the Monopoly rules state. “The buyer pays the Bank the amount of the bid in cash and receives the Title Deed card for that property.” Continue Reading

Democrat Hatch Looking at Run for IA Governor

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) _ Democratic Sen. Jack Hatch says he’s considering a run
for governor in 2014 and will spend the next few months raising money for a
possible bid.  
Hatch is set to hold a news conference Wednesday morning to talk about his
plans. He says he will spend the summer in an exploratory stage, raising money
and meeting voters.  
 Hatch plans to make a decision on whether to launch a formal campaign by
 Republican Gov. Terry Branstad has not announced if he will seek re-election,
though he is widely expected to do so.  
 Hatch has served in the Iowa Senate since 2003, representing Des Moines. Continue Reading

China’s Shuanghui Processor to Take Smithfield Private

Shuanghui buying Smithfield Foods for about $4.72B

NEW YORK (AP) _ Chinese meat processor Shuanghui International Holdings Ltd. has agreed to take Smithfield Foods private for approximately $4.72 billion. Shareholders of Smithfield, the world’s biggest pork producer, will receive $34 per share. This is a 31 percent premium to the Smithfield, Va., company’s closing stock price of $25.97 on Tuesday. The companies put the deal’s total value at about $7.1 billion, including debt. Continue Reading

Pakistani Taliban’s #2 Killed in Drone Attack

PESHAWAR, Pakistan (AP) _ Pakistani intelligence officials say a U.S. drone strike has killed the No. 2 commander of the Pakistani Taliban.   The militant group denies he is dead.  

Three Pakistani officials say Waliur Rehman  was among four people killed in a drone strike Wednesday morning in the North Waziristan tribal region near the border with Afghanistan. Two of the officials say their informants in the field have seen the body. The third official says there are intercepted communications between militants saying Rehman was killed. Continue Reading