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Oklahoma unable to buy lethal injection drugs for upcoming execution

Execution drugOklahoma was not able to obtain the drugs needed to conduct an execution scheduled for this week, but the state aims to buy alternative chemicals for the lethal injection by the time the death sentence is carried out on Thursday, officials said Monday.

Several states, including Oklahoma, have had difficulty obtaining the chemicals traditionally used for lethal injections after some pharmaceutical companies clamped down on sales due to opposition to capital punishment. As a result, some states are turning to less regulated drugs for lethal injection — drugs that critics say lack purity and can cause undue suffering.


2 die in news helicopter crash at KOMO-TV

helicopter crash seattleAt least two people were killed his morning when a KOMO-TV helicopter crashed onto a street outside Fisher Plaza, just south of the Space Needle.

The two who died were aboard the helicopter, according to the Seattle Fire Department.  KOMO-TV identified one of those killed as Bill Strothman, 62, a longtime station photographer who now works as a contractor for KOMO. The station identified the second victim as the pilot, Gary Pfitzner, 59, also a contractor.


Latinos become California's largest demographic though political clout lags

Latinos become CA majorityIt is a demographic milestone signalling the changing face of America: this month, Latinos will overtake whites to become California’s largest racial/ethnic group.

They will officially make up 39% of the country’s most populous state, edging past the 38.8% who are white non-Hispanic, and dwarfing the Asian American and African American communities.

Demographic ascendance is producing a fast growing ethnic voting bloc nationwide. The Latino electorate, which cast ballots in record numbers in the 2012 presidential election, is expected to double within a generation. “An awakened giant”, declared the Pew Research Center.


GM recalls another 1.5 million vehicles, to take $300 million charge

GM recallGeneral Motors Co announced three more recalls on Monday, related to airbag deployment and other issues, and said it would take a $300 million charge primarily to cover the costs related to these actions as well as the previous recall for faulty ignition switches.

The No. 1 U.S. automaker, which will take the charge in the first quarter, did not provide a breakdown of how much was related to the ignition-switch recall of more than 1.6 million older-model vehicles that has hurt the company's reputation since it was announced last month.


Guinness pulls out of NY St. Patrick's day parade

Guinness pulls parade supportGuinness joined with other major corporations Sunday in pulling its support from the annual New York City St. Patrick's Day Parade over bans preventing LGBT organizations from openly marching.

"Guinness has a strong history of supporting diversity and being an advocate for equality for all," the beer maker said in a statement. "We were hopeful that the policy of exclusion would be reversed for this year’s parade. As this has not come to pass, Guinness has withdrawn its participation. We will continue to work with community leaders to ensure that future parades have an inclusionary policy."


Earthquake strongly felt across Los Angeles

LA earthquakeA pre-dawn earthquake rolled across the Los Angeles basin on Monday, rattling residents from the San Fernando Valley to Long Beach.

The quake's magnitude was 4.4 and it was centered 15 miles west-northwest of the downtown civic center, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.  Los Angeles police and fire officials said there were no immediate reports of damage.

"It rocked and rolled for about 10 or 12 seconds. I'm surprised nothing fell off the walls or broke — and nothing did — but it was quite a shaker," said Brian Bland, a retired AP Radio correspondent who lives in suburban Santa Monica.


Comedian David Brenner, 'Tonight' favorite, dies

david brennerDavid Brenner, the gangly, toothy-grinned "Tonight Show" favorite whose brand of observational comedy became a staple for other standup comedians, including Jerry Seinfeld and Paul Reiser, died Saturday. He was 78.

Brenner, who had been fighting cancer, died peacefully at his home in New York City with his family at his side, according to Jeff Abraham, his friend and publicist.

"David Brenner was a huge star when I met him and he took me under his wing. To me, historically, he was the godfather of hip, observational comedy," comedian Richard Lewis said in a statement. "He mentored me from day one. ... His passing leaves a hole in my life that can never be replaced."


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