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Snake-handling Kentucky pastor dies from snake bite
Written by Associated Press   
Monday, 17 February 2014 07:12

MIDDLESBORO, Ky. (AP) — A snake-handling pastor who appeared on the National Geographic television reality show "Snake Salvation" has died after being bitten by a snake during a weekend church service in Kentucky.

Jamie Coots was handling a rattlesnake at his Full Gospel Tabernacle in Jesus Name Church in Middlesboro when he was bitten on the hand Saturday night, another preacher, Cody Winn, told WBIR-TV (http://on.wbir.com/1cLrs8A ). After the bite, Coots dropped the snakes, but then picked them back up and continued on. Within minutes, Winn said Coots headed to the bathroom.

"He had one of the rattlers in his hand, he came over and he was standing beside me. It was plain view, it just turned its head and bit him in the back of the hand ... within a second," Winn said.

When an ambulance arrived at the church at 8:30 p.m. Saturday, they were told Coots had gone home, the Middlesboro Police Department said in a statement. Contacted at his house, Coots refused medical treatment.

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Reporting based on NSA leaks wins Polk Award
Written by Associated Press   
Monday, 17 February 2014 07:05

NEW YORK (AP) — Four journalists who reported on the extent of the National Security Agency's secret surveillance based on documents leaked by Edward Snowden are among the winners of the 65th annual George Polk Awards in Journalism.

Glenn Greenwald, Ewen MacAskill and Laura Poitras of The Guardian and Barton Gellman of The Washington Post will receive the award for national security reporting for stories based on secret documents leaked by Snowden, a former intelligence analyst.

The awards were announced Sunday by Long Island University.

Journalists who wrote about massive traffic jams caused by bridge lane closures in New Jersey, a catastrophic garment factory collapse in Bangladesh and the struggles of a homeless family in Brooklyn also will be among those honored.

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John Henson, son of Muppets creator, dies in N.Y.
Written by Associated Press   
Sunday, 16 February 2014 07:15

SAUGERTIES, N.Y. (AP) — Puppeteer John Henson, the son of the late Muppets creator Jim Henson, has died in New York. He was 48.

Cheryl Henson says her brother died of a "massive heart attack" at his home in Saugerties on Friday. She says it happened after he had been building an igloo in the snow with his daughter.

Henson followed in his famous father's footsteps as a puppeteer, performing as Sweetums the ogre in several films, including "Muppet Treasure Island" and "It's a Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie."

Cheryl said her brother also made appearances in the original Coca-Cola Polar Bear suit. She described him as an "artist who also loved working the land."

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Ohio lawmakers weigh forced mental illness treatment
Written by ANDREW WELSH-HUGGINS, AP Legal Affairs Writer   
Sunday, 16 February 2014 07:36

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — More people with severe mental illness could receive court-ordered outpatient treatment and get it sooner under bills before Ohio lawmakers.

The legislation clarifies that such treatment is an option that judges can consider for patients along with hospitalization.

The proposals also set out more behaviors a patient must exhibit to receive court-ordered treatment, such as being unlikely to live safely in the community without supervision.

Increasing such options protects the mentally ill in need of treatment as well as their families, supporters say.

"If somebody has a history of hurting themselves or threatening someone else, a family member could get them help before they require hospitalization or they're picked up by police and taken to jail or, in the worst-case scenario, end up dead," said Betsy Johnson, associate executive director of the National Alliance on Mental Illness of Ohio.

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Florida man guilty of lesser counts in music shooting
Written by DEREK KINNER, Associated Press   
Sunday, 16 February 2014 07:13

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — A Florida jury's inability to agree on a murder charge will give prosecutors and defense attorneys fodder for their next moves in the case of a teen fatally shot after an argument over loud music.

Michael Dunn, a 47-year-old software developer, was convicted Saturday of attempted murder for shooting into a carful of teenagers after the argument but jurors couldn't agree on the most serious charge of first-degree murder. A mistrial was declared on the murder charge.

State Attorney Angela Corey said her office would consider seeking a retrial of Dunn on a first-degree murder charge.

Meanwhile, defense attorney Cory Strolla said he plans to appeal based on several issues, including how the jury could reach guilty verdicts on four counts and deadlock on another.

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