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Susan Smith-Harmon

Susan Smith-Harmon

   The fate of Missouri death row inmate Herbert Smulls is in limbo.  The 56 year old is scheduled to die by lethal injection at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday.  

   On Friday, a federal appeals court in St. Louis ruled 7-3 against death row inmates arguing that the state's use of an Oklahoma compounding pharmacy to make the lethal injection drug pentobarbital without disclosing the name of the pharmacy was unconstitutional.  

   Then on Monday, a federal judge in Kansas City denied Smulls request for a 60 day stay of execution so he can continue to appeal Missouri's execution method.  His attorneys claim denying the stay violates his "due process" rights and they've appealed again.  

   Smulls has also asked Governor Jay Nixon for clemancy.  A spokesman says the governor hasn't reached a decision yet.

   Smulls was convicted of killing a Chesterfield jeweler during a 1992 robbery.

China halts poultry trading after new H7N9 cases

Tuesday, 28 January 2014 01:39 Published in National News
   BEIJING (AP) — Authorities in eastern China announced a ban Tuesday on live poultry sales following an increase in the number of people infected with the H7N9 strain of bird flu, with the busy Chinese New Year travel period already under way.
   So far this year, the virus has killed 19 people in China out of 96 infections, Feng Zijian, the deputy director of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention said Monday, according to state media. A week ago, more than 50 cases had been reported. The virus remains hard to catch and most cases have been linked to contact with poultry.
   The jump in cases comes during the 40-day travel period around Chinese New Year, a period that concerns health authorities because of the volume of people traveling in crowded trains and buses, often with live chickens aboard.
   Chinese are expected to make 3.6 billion trips as families reunite. The holiday, which officially starts Friday, also falls during the winter months when flu typically rages.
   On Tuesday, Hong Kong authorities culled 20,000 birds, mostly chickens, at a wholesale market after poultry from southern mainland China tested positive for the H7N9 virus, the first time it had been found in imported poultry in Hong Kong. They put the birds into black plastic bags and pumped in carbon dioxide to suffocate them, and closed the market for three weeks.
   Live poultry trading will be halted in cities in coastal Zhejiang province from Feb. 15, where 49 people have been infected and 12 people have died this year, according to the Zhejiang Daily, which is run by the province's propaganda department. From July, city poultry markets will be closed.
   Neighboring Shanghai will halt live poultry trading for three months starting Friday. The city has reported eight infections and four deaths this year.
   The World Health Organization says there is no evidence of sustained human-to-human transmission, but has recommended close monitoring given the holiday travel and the potentially unpredictable behavior of flu viruses.
   Over the weekend, health authorities in eastern Jiangxi province confirmed a second human case of H10N8, a new strain of bird flu known to affect humans. They said the 55-year-old woman was in critical condition. The first case was confirmed in December after a 73-year-old woman died from the virus.

STL West End fire claims two lives

Tuesday, 28 January 2014 01:27 Published in Local News

   A retired high school teacher and her adult nephew are dead after a fire destroyed their west end home Monday evening.  St. Louis Firefighters arrived around 6 p.m. to find the three-story house in the 5700 block of Bartmer Avenue fully engulfed. They were unable to reach the two people inside the burning building. 

   Relatives have identified the victims as 80 year old Dorothy Jones and her 62 year old nephew Tom McKinney.  Jones taught math and science for many years at McKinley High School.  McKinney ran a lawn service and took care of his aunt.  

   Investigators are still trying to determine what caused the fire, but relatives speculate that it may have involved a space heater.  They say the home had central heat, but Jones had trouble staying warm and was known to use a small heater.

   Fire investigators say they haven't found any working smoke detectors in the home.

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