Supreme Court Overturns Synthetic Drug Conviction

WASHINGTON (AP) — A unanimous Supreme Court says people accused of selling synthetic drugs can’t be convicted unless prosecutors show they knew the substance was prohibited by law. The justices ruled Thursday in favor of Stephen McFadden, a New York City man convicted of supplying bath salts to a store in Virginia. Law enforcement officials consider bath salts part of a new wave of synthetic drugs that are designed to produce a high but have slight chemical modifications that keep them off state and federal banned drug lists. An appeals court ruled it was enough for a jury to find McFadden intended the bath salts for human consumption. McFadden argued that the government had to prove he knew the bath salts were similar in both chemical structure and effect to a controlled substance. Continue Reading

Nine Killed in South Carolina Church Shooting

Charleston Police Chief Greg Mullen says the suspect in a shooting that killed nine people was at a historic black church attending a meeting and stayed for almost an hour before gunfire erupted. Mullen gave the details at a Thursday morning news conference. He didn’t elaborate. At the news conference, he also identified the victims of the Wednesday church night shooting as six females and three males. He says names won’t be released until families are notified. Continue Reading

Five Irish Students Killed in Berkeley, California Balcony Collapse

Police say they received a noise complaint about a loud party about an hour before a balcony collapsed at a Berkeley, California, apartment building, killing five Irish students in the U.S. on work visas. Eight other people were injured in the incident that occurred during a 21st birthday party. Officer Byron White, a spokesman for the Berkeley Police Department, says officers had not yet responded to the complaint before the collapse at 12:41 a.m. PDT

The balcony, estimated to have been 5 feet by 10 feet, separated completely from the building and landed on a lower balcony. Continue Reading

Bird Flu Started With Wild Bird Populations, USDA Report Says

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Bird flu that’s devastated Midwestern farms likely spread by several means, including on machinery and workers, by rodents and possibly even by the wind. That’s according to a U.S. Department of Agriculture report released Monday. The agency studied genetic properties of virus samples on more than 80 turkey and chicken farms.

USDA scientists say wild birds introduced the virus onto farms, but it appears the virus spread in other ways once there. The scientists found lapses in biosecurity on farms and environmental factors likely contributed to the spread of the disease. More than 49 million birds died or were euthanized in 15 states this spring as the virus spread from the Pacific Northwest into Midwest farms. It’s the nation’s worst outbreak of bird flu. Continue Reading

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Iowa GOP Cancels Straw Poll

What would happen if you planned a huge party and none of the guests of honor agreed to show up? Iowa Republican Party leaders faced that dilemma since no one in the GOP’s huge field of presidential hopefuls had agreed to participate in the Iowa Straw Poll — so the event has been cancelled. Iowa G-O-P chairman Jeff Kaufmann met by phone with members of the party’s state central committee early Friday to cancel the event. “If you do not have candidate interest, you do not have the financial dollars to actually even break even,” Kaufmann said immediately after the decision was made. “…We set the table and they didn’t come to dinner.” Continue Reading

Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton to Visit Burlington on Sunday

Democratic Presidential Candidate and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will be in Burlington this weekend at a private event. Clinton will be visiting a “House Party” in Burlington on Sunday at around 3:15, but few specifics are available. The event is not open to the public. According to a campaign spokesperson, Clinton will make brief opening statements to the press before attending the event. It will be the second small “House Party” she’ll be attending on Sunday. Continue Reading

One More Case of Bird Flu, US to Begin Importing Eggs from Europe

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Iowa agriculture officials are reporting an additional farm infected with bird flu in Sioux County. It’s the 18th case in the county and was found in a flock of 3,800 birds of various species. An Iowa Department of Agriculture spokesman says he can’t be more specific about what type of farm is infected or what species of birds are involved. It is the 73rd case of bird flu in Iowa. The outbreak has cost the state more than 29 million birds including 24 million egg-laying chickens and 3.8 million pullets, young chickens raised to be egg layers. Continue Reading

Theater Gunman Says He Wishes Psychiatrist had Locked Him Up

CENTENNIAL, Colo. (AP) — Colorado theater gunman James Holmes has said he wishes a psychiatrist who treated him before the shootings had locked him up so the attack wouldn’t have happened. In a videotape played Tuesday for jurors, Holmes said during a court-ordered sanity evaluation that he had repeatedly asked Dr. Lynn Fenton if she was going to have police detain him, which she could do under Colorado law. Fenton did not have Holmes detained. Prosecutors have said he told Fenton he was having homicidal thoughts. Continue Reading