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Florida congressman to resign after cocaine scandal
Written by MICHAEL J. MISHAK   
Monday, 27 January 2014 14:44

MIAMI (AP) — Facing a House ethics investigation, the Florida congressman who pleaded guilty to cocaine-possession charges last year says he will resign Monday evening, after several GOP leaders requested that he step down.

U.S. Rep. Trey Radel announced his impending resignation in a letter to House Speaker John Boehner, saying that while this year has "already been tremendously positive ... some of my struggles had serious consequences." He will step down Monday, effective at 6:30 p.m., the letter says.

Politico first reported the upcoming resignation Monday morning.

On Nov. 20, the freshman Republican pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of cocaine possession and was sentenced to a year of probation. He admitted to purchasing 3.5 grams of cocaine from an undercover officer Oct. 29 in Washington.

"While I have dealt with those issues on a personal level, it is my belief that professionally I cannot fully and effectively serve as a United States Representative to the place I love and call home, Southwest Florida," Radel wrote in the letter.

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Court: Disgraced ex-journalist can't practice law
Written by PAUL ELIAS, Associated Press   
Monday, 27 January 2014 14:37

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The California Supreme Court denied a law license on Monday to a former journalist who was caught fabricating stories for major national magazines.

The court ruled that Stephen Glass had insufficiently rehabilitated himself in the years since his misdeeds.

"Many of his efforts from the time of his exposure in 1998 until the 2010 hearing, however, seem to have been directed primarily at advancing his own well-being rather than returning something to the community," the court wrote in the unsigned ruling.

Jon Eisenberg, a lawyer for Glass, said his client "appreciates the court's consideration of his application and respects the court's decision."

Glass's ethical missteps at The New Republic and other magazines were recounted in the film "Shattered Glass" and an autobiographical novel.

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Ex-Marlboro man dies from smoking-related disease
Written by DAISY NGUYEN, Associated Press   
Monday, 27 January 2014 07:28

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Eric Lawson, who portrayed the rugged Marlboro man in cigarette ads during the late 1970s, has died. He was 72.

Lawson died Jan. 10 at his home in San Luis Obispo of respiratory failure due to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD, his wife, Susan Lawson said Sunday.

Lawson was an actor with bit parts on such TV shows as "Baretta" and "The Streets of San Francisco" when he was hired to appear in print Marlboro ads from 1978 to 1981. His other credits include "Charlie's Angels," ''Dynasty" and "Baywatch." His wife said injuries sustained on the set of a Western film ended his career in 1997.

A smoker since age 14, Lawson later appeared in an anti-smoking commercial that parodied the Marlboro man and an "Entertainment Tonight" segment to discuss the negative effects of smoking. Susan said her husband was proud of the interview, even though he was smoking at the time and continued the habit until he was diagnosed with COPD.

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Court rules for airline in pilot defamation claim
Written by MARK SHERMAN, Associated Press   
Monday, 27 January 2014 12:16

WASHINGTON (AP) — Ruling that airlines have broad immunity from lawsuits under a post-9/11 security law, the Supreme Court on Monday threw out a $1.4 million defamation judgment awarded to a pilot who was reported by his employer as mentally unstable and potentially armed.

The court was unanimous in holding that a law aimed at encouraging reports of possible security threats to the Transportation Security Administration shields airlines from defamation claims when the reports are substantially true.

"Congress wanted to ensure that air carriers and their employees would not hesitate to provide the TSA with information it needed," Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote for the court. Airlines may be held liable only for recklessly false reports, she said.

Applying that reasoning to the case of veteran pilot William Hoeper, the justices voted 6-3 to overturn a Colorado jury's verdict against Air Wisconsin, Hoeper's former employer.

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Brain-dead Texas woman taken off life support
Written by NOMAAN MERCHANT, Associated Press   
Monday, 27 January 2014 07:27

FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — A very public battle over the fate of a brain-dead, pregnant Texas woman and her fetus has ended quietly and privately, as she has been taken off life support and her family prepares for her burial.

John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth complied Sunday with a judge's order to pull any life-sustaining treatment from Marlise Munoz, who was declared brain-dead in November, but kept on machines for the sake of her fetus.

Munoz was removed from the machines shortly afterward and allowed to die. The fetus, which was at 23 weeks' gestation, was not delivered.

The hospital's decision brought an apparent end to a case that inspired debates about abortion and end-of-life decisions, as well as whether a pregnant woman who is considered legally and medically dead should be kept on life support for the sake of a fetus, per Texas law. Anti-abortion activists attended Friday's court hearing and spoke out in favor of trying to deliver the fetus.

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