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MINDENMINES, Mo. (AP) - A homely bird with a rather unappetizing diet will get its due when a southwest Missouri state park celebrates International Vulture Awareness Day.

The Carthage Press reports the staff at Prairie State Park in western Barton County has planned several activities for Saturday's observance, most of them aimed at children.

Vulture Awareness Day was started by bird conservation groups in England and South Africa. It's now observed by zoos, wildlife centers and other organizations around the world.

Prairie State Park specialist Dana Hoisington says vultures help keep the environment healthy by feasting on dead animals that other carnivores are unable to eat.

Along with vulture-related projects, park employees hope to attract a real vulture or two Saturday by placing a ripe carcass a careful distance from the visitors' center.

Thursday, 05 September 2013 16:26
Published in Local News
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NEW YORK (AP) - Three people participating in a New York City protest against Walmart have been taken into police custody.

About 20 employees, former employees and supporters gathered Thursday outside a Manhattan building where a member of the company's board of directors has an office. They delivered a petition calling for improved working conditions and reinstatement of workers they say were fired for engaging in labor activities.

Police say one man and two women were charged with disorderly conduct for blocking the entrance to the building and trespassing.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is based in Bentonville, Ark. It calls the New York protest "a show" put on by union activists from other states. It says in a statement the "vast majority" of its workers don't share the opinions of the protesters.

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CHICAGO (AP) - A federal judge has sentenced a longtime fugitive to nine years in prison for leading what was one of the world's largest heroin networks, extending from Thailand to Chicago.

In imposing a sentence on Musiliu Balogun Thursday, Judge James Holderman said the harm caused by trafficking "has been momentous."

Moments earlier, the 53-year-old from Ogun, Nigeria, bowed to the judge and said in a brief statement, "I sincerely apologize for all the pain I have caused."

Balogun had faced life sentence, but a plea deal following his extradition from Holland this year meant the maximum term was nine years.

Balogun's sentencing highlights a seismic shift in how heroin gets to the U.S. When Balogun trafficked heroin in the `90s, most came from Asia. Now, most comes through Mexico.

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CHICAGO (AP) - The president of the Illinois Chamber of Commerce is retiring next year.

Chamber chairman Ray Drake says Douglas Whitley announced his retirement plans at the chamber board's quarterly meeting on Thursday. Whitley has had the position for 12 years and says he will leave the chamber in June. Whitley is 63.

Drake says the chamber's board will embark on a nationwide search to replace Whitley. Drake says Whitley has given the board enough time to find a new president and prepare before next year's election for Illinois governor.

Thursday, 05 September 2013 15:31
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