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FORT HOOD, Texas (AP) - The Army psychiatrist on trial for the 2009 shooting rampage at Fort Hood says the deadly attack was provoked by American soldiers being deployed to "engage in an illegal war."

Maj. Nidal Hasan told a military judge on Wednesday that the shooting wasn't in the heat of passion. He says jurors shouldn't have the option of convicting him of voluntary manslaughter.

Hasan is accused of killing 13 people and wounding more than 30 others at the Texas Army post in the deadliest mass shooting ever on a U.S. military base. If convicted, he could face the death penalty.

Hasan is acting as his own attorney, and his statements marked one of the rare moments that he's spoken during the 12-day trial.

Jurors were not in the courtroom at the time.

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St. Louis County Police have officially charged a South County school teacher with sexual assault.

Forty seven year old James Wilder III was arrested at Sperreng Middle School on Tuesday and charged Wednesday with six counts of second-degree sodomy for crimes that prosecutors say occurred between August 1996 and September 1997.

The alleged victim, who was 16 years old at the time, came forward this summer with the allegations. In Missouri, if a victim of a sexual crime is younger than 18, prosecution must start within 30 years after the victim reaches age 18. Wilder is being held in the St. Louis County jail on a $50,000 cash-only bond. 

Wednesday, 21 August 2013 15:35
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BLOOMINGTON, Ill. (AP) - An agricultural economics research company says last summer's low water on the Mississippi River cut the cash price farmers received for their corn by an average of 45 cents a bushel.

The Illinois Corn Marketing Board said Tuesday the study by Informa Economics of Memphis, Tenn., found that shipping corn by rail rather than barge cost an extra 45 cents a bushel. The board said money collected from farmers in Illinois and other states helped pay for the study.

Corn Marketing Board Chairman Larry Hasheider said last year's strong corn prices helped cushion farmers against the extra cost. He said that in another year the expense might have been more painful.

The 2012 drought lowered river levels and hindered shipping for an extended period.

Wednesday, 21 August 2013 14:35
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CHICAGO (AP) - Illinois is building an 800-person army of temporary workers to help people sign up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act.

The "in-person counselor" jobs are located in every corner of the state, and range from a $9-an-hour part-time evening job in Clinton County to a $45,000-a-year project coordinator position in Chicago.

The workers will help consumers apply for coverage, answer questions and explain differences between the insurance policies offered on the new online marketplace.

Applications for the jobs are being collected online and anyone hired will get three days of training about health insurance, enrollment rules and other complicated aspects of the health law. Illinois must act quickly to be ready for Oct. 1, the first day of enrollment for the law's new insurance opportunities.

Wednesday, 21 August 2013 14:27
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