Combined briefs package


Abortion clinic gets license reprieve

A federal judge on Monday temporarily blocked Mississippi from revoking the license of the state’s only abortion clinic. U.S. District Judge Daniel P. Jordan III extended an injunction he issued several months ago. It blocks the state from closing the clinic while it tries to fulfill a 2012 state law. The law requires all OB-GYNs who do abortions at Jackson Women’s Health Organization to have privileges to admit patients to a local hospital. Jordan’s ruling said the state cannot close the clinic while it still has a federal lawsuit pending to challenge the 2012 law.


Displaced quake victims down to 320,050

The number of people still displaced by Haiti’s earthquake more than three years ago is down to 320,050, the International Organization of Migration said Monday. The estimate marks a 79 percent decrease since the number of people living in tent camps peaked at 1.5 million a few months after the January 2010 disaster. The International Organization of Migration’s report also gave details on camp departures in the past three months. It said about 60 percent of the estimated 27,230 Haitians who left in the January-March period were helped by a program of the government and aid groups that provides year-long rent subsidies to camp residents.


Pair charged in ‘snuffing’ plot

A police official at a Massachusetts veterans hospital and a former New York City high school librarian were charged in a plot to kidnap, rape, torture and kill women, children and infants, authorities said Monday. Authorities said in court papers filed in U.S. District Court in Manhattan that Robert Christopher Asch, 61, and Richard Meltz, 65, conspired since the spring of 2011 to attack multiple victims, including the relatives of an unidentified co-conspirator who claimed in Internet communications that he wanted to solicit individuals to kidnap, rape and kill his wife, his sister-in-law and her children, and his stepdaughter. A criminal complaint said the men referred to the planned killings in communications as the “snuffing” of women, children and infants.


Judge acquits ex-drug czar linked to cartel

Mexican judge has acquitted a former drug czar who was charged with organized crime after he allegedly accepted $450,000 to leak details of police operations against members of the Pacific cartel, an alliance once headed by the Sinaloa drug cartel. Noe Ramirez was detained in 2008 as part of then President Felipe Calderon’s sweeping effort to weed out corrupt officials. Mexico’s Federal Judiciary Council said in a statement that a federal judge acquitted Ramirez on Monday after determining the main witness in the case lied and prosecutors might have fabricated evidence.


U.K. to knight former U.S. senator

Former Sen. Richard Lugar is being knighted on orders from the Queen of England, joining a select list of Americans to receive the distinction. The Indiana Republican, who this year left the Senate after serving 36 years, will receive the rank of honorary Knight Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire during a ceremony today at the British Embassy in Washington. Lugar will not be known as “sir” Lugar — only royal subjects can carry that title.


Opium cultivation up for third year

For the third year in a row, opium cultivation has increased across Afghanistan, reversing earlier drops stemming from a decade-long international and Afghan government effort to combat the drug trade, according to a U.N. report released Monday. The report’s findings raised concerns among international law enforcement officials that if the trend continued, opium would be the country’s major economic activity after the departure of foreign military forces in 2014, leading to the specter of what one referred to as “the world’s first true narco-state.” Afghanistan is already the world’s largest producer of opium, and last year accounted for 75 percent of the world’s heroin supply.


Suspect in tourist robbery arrested

Police arrested one of four suspects being sought for the armed robbery of about 55 sightseers from a cruise ship last week. Authorities said four masked men armed with homemade shotguns and pistols held up the passengers from Celebrity Cruise line’s Eclipse vessel as they toured a botanical garden. No one was hurt in the Friday robbery. Detectives said the tourists were robbed of money, jewelry, cameras and cellphones.


Man killed by blast ‘seemed paranoid’

A man who was killed when a homemade explosive blew up at his home was an eccentric who bicycled around his neighborhood dispensing anti-government conspiracy pamphlets, neighbors said Monday. “He definitely seemed paranoid about things and people,” Donna Swift said. “It was getting more extreme.” Kevin Harris, 52, was killed Sunday by a homemade explosive device, but it was not immediately clear whether the blast was an accident or a suicide, police Lt. Bryan Glass said. Two other explosive devices were found in the man’s house and detonated.