NYC, Orthodox Jews in Talks Over Ritual After Herpes Cases

NEW YORK (AP) — New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration is negotiating with a group of ultra-Orthodox Jews over how to regulate an age-old circumcision ritual while still preserving religious freedom. In this so-called oral suction, the circumciser sucks the blood from the infant’s cut. Health officials have linked the rite to 17 cases of herpes in babies since 2000. Two died and two others suffered brain damage. Rabbi A. Romi Cohn says he’s had no infections after performing 35,000 circumcisions. Continue Reading

Girls Describe Stabbing Classmate in Interrogation Video

WAUKESHA, Wis. (AP) — Police interrogation video of two Wisconsin girls accused of nearly killing a classmate to please a fictional character shows them describing their calculated plan to kill their friend. WISN-TV obtained the 9-hour videotaped interrogation of the girls, ages 12 and 13. One of the girls wipes away tears as she explains how they hoped to please Slender Man by killing their friend in a Waukesha park. She says they told their 12-year-old victim, Peyton Leutner, they were going to get help, but that they really planned to run away and let her die. Continue Reading

Woman whose Baby Boy Missing Ruled Competent to Stand Trial

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — A 25-year-old Lansing-area woman whose baby boy is missing and presumed dead has been found competent to stand trial in the 2013 death of her baby daughter. The Lansing State Journal says a psychologist at Michigan’s Center for Forensic Psychiatry, however, hasn’t given an opinion about 25-year-old Melissa Mitin’s mental state when prosecutors say she killed her newborn girl by putting her face down in a wastebasket. An opinion regarding criminal responsibility is expected to be made within three to four weeks. Mitin’s attorney, Frank Reynolds, said at a hearing Thursday in Ingham County Circuit Court that he will rely on his own experts, as well. Continue Reading

Plea Deal Coming in Fatal Punch of Referee

DETROIT (AP) — A lawyer for a soccer player charged in the one-punch killing of a referee during a game says his client has agreed to a plea deal with prosecutors in which he would serve 8-15 years in prison. Attorney Cyril Hall told The Associated Press he expects Bassel Saad to plead guilty to involuntary manslaughter during a hearing Friday in Detroit. A message was left Friday with the prosecutor. Saad’s trial had been scheduled to begin Monday. The 36-year-old auto mechanic from Dearborn is charged with second-degree murder. Continue Reading

Court: Not Disclosing HIV Before Sex is a Misdemeanor

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — New York’s highest court says an HIV-positive man who told a partner that they could safely have unprotected sex should face a misdemeanor reckless endangerment charge, not a felony. The Court of Appeals says Terrance Williams didn’t expose his partner “out of any malevolent desire” to give him the virus that causes AIDS, though his partner got sick. The court majority called Williams’ 2010 conduct “reckless, selfish and reprehensible.” But it also says the Syracuse man didn’t show “depraved indifference” necessary to support the felony. The four judges declined to decide whether HIV infection no longer “creates a grave and unjustifiable risk of death” because of advances in medical treatment. Continue Reading

sweetcorn

USDA Now Calling for Record Corn, Soybean Harvests

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The nation’s corn and soybean farmers will harvest by far the largest crops ever this year, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said Thursday in a new report. Bigger crops have been expected this year as adequate rain and cool temperatures made for favorable growing conditions, but the new estimates far surpass previous records. Corn farmers are expected to harvest nearly 14.4 billion bushels of corn, up from last year’s 13.9 billion bushel record. The 171.7 bushels per acre yield is significantly higher than the previous record set in 2009 of 164.7 bushels per acre. Record yields will be set in 18 states, the USDA said. Continue Reading

mosquito

Mosquito Virus has made it to Iowa

Iowa has its first confirmed case of the mosquito-borne Chikungunya virus, state public health officials said Wednesday, removing Iowa from the list of six U.S. states that had not reported a case of the disease. Iowa Department of Public Health, said a central Iowa adult male in the 18-40 age range who recently returned from a trip to the Caribbean became ill with the mosquito-borne Chikungunya (pronounced chik-en-gun-ye) virus. He was not hospitalized and is recovering. Continue Reading

bats

Bats Invading Iowa Homes

Many Iowans are finding unwelcome visitors in their houses, and it’s not out-of-town relatives arriving early for the Labor Day weekend. Mark Langan, at the Humane Society office in Omaha/Council Bluffs, explains… “We’ve had over 100 calls for bats in people’s houses this week,” Langan says. “Every year, about this time, our calls increase.” Typically, the furry winged creatures start making surprise appearances in our homes in late summer and early fall. Continue Reading

baby

Iowa’s Most Popular Baby Names for 2013

The list of the most popular names for babies born in Iowa last year has been released. Data from the U.S. Social Security Administration shows Emma remained the top girl’s name in Iowa in 2013. Emma has claimed the top spot three years in a row and seven times in the past decade. Rounding out the top five for girl’s names last year: Harper, Sophia, Olivia, and Ava. On the boy’s side, Liam was the most popular boy’s name for the second year in a row. Continue Reading