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Dec. 12, 2007

National News for Nov. 24 Dec. 12

by Miriam Ragen, Online National News Editor and Food Editor
This is not original reporting. All information has been compiled from The Washington Post. Silver Chips Online posts this news summary to provide readers with a forum for discussion.

Chehalis, WA

Dec. 6- Flooding is a major concern in the Pacific Northwest following a strong storm that ravaged the area with powerful winds and drenching rain. At least seven people have died, hundreds were forced to evacuate, 300 were rescued by helicopter and miles of the major highway were left under water as a result of the storm. The damage is expected to be in the billions, according to Washington Governor Chris Gregoire. Gregoire was looking for FEMA to examine the damage and to deliver supplies and for the president to make an emergency declaration.

Chattanooga, TN

Dec. 6- Michael Lee McCormick was acquitted after spending over 15 years on death row for being convicted of shooting and killing a woman. The jury concluded that McCormick had been lying when he confessed to the crime under police interrogation. After being released, McCormick was taken into custody again for a drug charge that happened while he had been awaiting bail.

Jena, LA

Dec. 4- Mychal Bell, one of the teenagers involved in the Jena Six controversy pleaded guilty to charges of battery. Originally Bell was accused of the attempted murder of Justin Barker in December 2006 and was tried as an adult. A jury convicted him of aggravated second-degree battery but an appeals court declared that Bell needed a new trial, this time as a juvenile. The court demands that Bell pay the court costs and an extra $935 to the Barker family, testify against the other students involved in the attack if they are on trial, participate in counseling and be reintegrated into the Jena school system. The December 2006 attack spurred national civil rights protests.

Charleston, SC

Dec. 4- The city of Charleston has arranged to pay $3,160 if they are not required to admit to any wrongdoing in a fire that killed nine firefighters. On June 18 the Sofa Super Store ignited and became the sight of the United States' largest loss of firefighters since Sept. 11, 2001. Originally the city was asked to pay $9,325 for four violations on the day of the blaze.

New Orleans, LA

Nov. 30- FEMA announced that they will close dozens of trailer parks on Dec. 1 that were set up in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. FEMA says the shut down is designed to help the residents transition to more permanent housing. The residents were given 60 days notice and are being offered rental assistance according to FEMA spokesman Ronnie Simpson.

Chicago, IL

Nov. 29- Derrick Shareef pleaded guilty to attempting and plotting to use hand grenades to assail holiday shoppers. Shareef was arrested in December 2006 on charges of planning to use weapons of mass destruction in Rockford, IL. He faces 30 years to life in prison on the sentencing date set for March 14.

Washington, D.C.

Nov. 26- Washington D.C.'s HIV/AIDS Administration released its first report since 2000 on the disease in the District. The results are causing officials to cause HIV "a modern epidemic." Over 80 percent of the reported HIV cases between 2001 and 2006 were from the black community but the disease reaches into virtually every area of the city. More than 37 percent of the cases were spread through heterosexual relationships, making the stereotype that HIV is a disease only in the homosexual community moot.

Seattle, WA

Nov. 26- The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted permission for a Seattle company to continue human testing on a gene-based arthritis treatment. The research was halted when a 36-year-old participant died this summer. The FDA concluded that the death was unrelated to the medicine.

Oklahoma City, OK
Dec. 11- Over 600,000 houses and business have lost power and 18 people have died in the Midwest as a result of an ice storm on Monday. The federal government declared a state of emergency for all of Oklohoma and a warning for sections of Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa and Illinois. The Missouri goverment declared a state emergency and put the National Guard on stand-by. According to Oklahoma Gas & Electric, the largest utility company in the state, one in three Oklahomans were left without electricity.

Birmingham, AL
Dec. 12- Hundreds of thousands of letters intended for wounded soldiers are being returned to the sender or thrown away. In response to the anthrax scare in 2001, the Pentagon and U.S. Postal Service have implemented a policy that does not deliver mail addressed to "A Wounded Soldier." This practice is designed to prevent terrorists from sending dangerous or negative messages to the armed forces. Letters addressed to specific military personnel will still be delivered.



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