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Susan Smith-Harmon

Susan Smith-Harmon

Egypt sentences 529 Morsi supporters to death

Monday, 24 March 2014 03:17 Published in National News
   CAIRO (AP) - A court in southern Egyptian has convicted 529 supporters of ousted Islamist President Mohammed Morsi, sentencing them to death on charges of murdering a policeman and attacking police.
   The court in Minya issued its ruling on Monday after only two sessions in which the defendants' lawyers complained they had no chance to present their case.
   Those convicted are part of a group of 545 defendants on trial for the killing of a police officer, attempted killing of two others, attacking a police station and other acts of violence.
   More than 150 suspects stood trial, the others were tried in absentia. Sixteen were acquitted.
   The defendants were arrested after violent demonstrations that were a backlash for the police crackdown in August on pro-Morsi sit-ins in Cairo that killed hundreds of people.

Reform group wants to change remapping process

Monday, 24 March 2014 02:56 Published in Local News
   CHICAGO (AP) - A reform group wants to put the issue of how Illinois draws political boundaries on November's ballot.
   The (Carbondale) Southern Illinoisan reports that the Yes! for Independent Maps campaign has proposed creating a bipartisan commission to draw districts, which would take the power away from lawmakers. The campaign needs to collect roughly 300,000 signatures before May 4, but organizers say they hope to get more.
   The remapping process has been under heavy scrutiny.
   Every decade, Illinois redraws political maps based on population. However, questions have been raised about lawmaker involvement, including criticism that the process is used to protect incumbents.
   Democrats led the remap in 2011 because they control both chambers and the governor's office. But Republicans sued and federal judges characterized the remap as a "blatant political move."
 

   After months of requesting that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers take the lead in resolving the issues surrounding two landfills in Bridgeton, it looks as though local residents will get at least part of what they've been demanding.  EPA officials announced Friday that the Corps of Engineers will help construct an isolation barrier between an underground fire at the Bridgeton Landfill and radioactive materials in the adjacent West Lake Landfill.

   Last week, Attorney General Chris Koster had urged the EPA to move quickly on the barrier.  

   The radioactive waste was dumped illegally in North County about 40 years ago.  Environmental groups and residents have been calling for the Army Corps to take over the cleanup.  Those calls became more urgent in recent months as the risk of the fire spreading became known. 

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