TIME Drugs

Nearly 120 People Overdose on Synthetic Marijuana in 5-Day Period

Fake Pot Ban
A package of K2 , a concoction of dried herbs sprayed with chemicals Kelley McCall—AP

In less than a week, more than 100 people in Texas overdosed on a drug that is not technically banned by federal or state laws and has been designed to give users highs similar to marijuana

Almost 120 people in a five-day period in Texas overdosed on a synthetic drug that mimics the effects of marijuana.

Police believe the drug on which the victims overdosed, known as K2, came from the same Dallas supplier, News 8 reports. Some of the overdose victims had to be sedated before being treated.

Dr. James d’Etienne of Dallas’ Baylor Medical Center said that “several of [the patients] came in with similar symptoms of psychosis, altered mental status, abnormal behavior.”

K2 is designed by the chemists who create it to give users a high that is similar to weed. The effects of K2, however, are largely unknown. The substance is not listed as an illegal drug, so vendors can sell it without fear of legal repercussions, as TIME reported in an April cover story on the dramatic rise of synthetic pot’s popularity.

Police are investigating the composition of the substance connected to the rash of overdoses to determine if they were laced with other drugs.

[News 8]

TIME Crime

Philadelphia Gas Station Robbers Sell Discounted Gas to Public

A police officer involved with the investigation called the crime one of the most "bizarre" he has heard of in his career

Armed men held up a gas station in Philadelphia Monday and then sold gas to customers for a discount.

Police say the three robbers, who were posing as Hess deliverymen, fired a shot that grazed the gas station’s 18-year-old clerk and then proceeded to serve customers for several hours, CBS Philly reports. The clerk was not seriously injured.

“In my career, that’s the first time I’ve seen or heard something like this occur,” Lt. John Walker of the Philadelphia Police Department said. “Obviously they probably didn’t feel like they got enough money, so they’re going to sit there, take control of the business, offer gas at a discounted price and try to get additional money which is just bizarre.”

The clerk’s father added that his son “was told to stay quiet in the bathroom for two hours, while they were in there waiting on customers.”

Police are now seeking for the culprits, who they suspect have held up other Hess stations in the area. A Hess spokesperson said the company is cooperating with the investigation.

[CBS Philly]

TIME

Oregon Governor Performs Emergency CPR on Woman

Gov. John Kitzhaber, a former emergency room doctor, spotted a woman in need of help from his car Monday evening and stopped to assist

Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber performed emergency CPR on an unconscious woman in downtown Portland Monday.

The governor’s spokesperson Nkenge Harmon Johnson said the woman had “apparently overdosed” of heroin, CNN reports.

Kitzhaber saw the woman was in need of help when he was being driven to dinner Monday evening, and directed his driver to stop the car so he could assist her until emergency responders arrived on the scene.

Kitzhaber, a Democrat, is a former emergency room doctor and is running for a historic fourth term as Oregon’s governor.

Monday’s incident was not the first time Kitzhaber used his medical training on the campaign trail. Kitzhaber assisted a man who had a heart seizure during a 2010 gubernatorial debate.

[CNN]

TIME Education

California Schools Back Off Assignment That Seemed to Question Holocaust

California's Rialto Unified School District is under fire for a writing project that asked students to consider whether the Holocaust actually happened. The superintendent's office said the "intent of the writing prompt was to exercise the use of critical thinking skills"

+ READ ARTICLE

A California school district has promised a review of assignments it gives to students after coming under fire for a writing project that asked students to consider whether the Holocaust actually happened.

“The intent of the writing prompt was to exercise the use of critical thinking skills. There was no offensive intent in the crafting of this assignment,” the office of the superintendent of the Rialto Unified School District said in a statement Monday. “The District will provide additional review of future writing prompts in an effort to ensure appropriate subject matter.”

Several groups, including the Anti-Defamation League, contacted the school district about the Holocaust assignment to voice their objections, the Associated Press reports. The Rialto police department said the assignment even prompted death threats against the district’s interim Superintendent Mohammad Z. Islam and spokesperson Syeda Jafri.

Jafri said the district is committed to revising assignments to remove any language that suggests the Holocaust was not a real historical event.

“The Holocaust should be taught in classrooms with sensitivity and profound consideration to the victims who endured the atrocities committed,” she told the AP.

TIME Crime

Man Arrested for Allegedly Killing Infant Daughter With Punch to Face

Police say the Cincinnati man is accused of fatally punching his daughter because she would not stop crying

A Cincinnati man is in custody after allegedly killing his three-month-old daughter by punching her in the face.

Police say 24-year-old Shavale Johnson struck his daughter Asia Cathey “in a fit of frustration” Monday evening because she would not stop crying, Cincinatti.com reports. Sgt. Mike Miller said authorities are continuing to investigate the death.

Johnson is charged with endangering a child, but prosecutors say he will likely face more severe charges, including murder, once coroners determine how the child died. The baby was rushed to the hospital after her mother called 911 and was declared dead early Tuesday.

Police say Johnson confessed to punching the baby, but his sister Caress Johnson says her brother suffers from ADHD and “would say yes to anything.”

Johnson was arrested last year for an assault charge that was later dropped.

[Cincinnati.com]

TIME Crime

14-Year-Old Girl Charged With Murder in Fatal Shooting of Chicago Teen

Chicago Murder Facebook
Police stand outside a residence in Chicago after a 14-year-old girl was fatally shot and another girl wounded in the Back of the Yards neighborhood in Chicago, April 28, 2014. Richard A. Chapman—Sun-Times Media/AP

A 14-year-old girl in Chicago was charged with murder for shooting another teenage girl. The victim’s family said the confrontation escalated out of a dispute over a boy that began on Facebook. Two others, including the girl's uncle, are being held in connection to the killing

A 14-year-old girl has been charged with murder for shooting another teen girl in Chicago in a confrontation that allegedly began with a dispute over a boy on Facebook.

The unnamed suspect was charged as a juvenile in the fatal shooting of Endia Martin, NBC Chicago reports. Police say two others, including the suspect’s 24-year-old uncle, are being held in connection with the killing.

Martin, 14, was walking home from Tilden Career Academy Monday to her home on Chicago’s South Side when an argument broke out with a group of teens on the sidewalk. She was shot in the back at around 4:30 p.m. and taken to hospital, where she died, according to police. Another girl was hospitalized after getting shot in the arm but is expected to recover.

Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy told reporters Tuesday that the incident “was a fistfight that turned to a murder with the introduction of a firearm.”

Martin’s stepfather Kent Kennedy said the argument began as a Facebook feud, according to the Chicago Tribune, and says the family wants justice for what happened. “This is not going to go away. . .We are not going to rest until [the people responsible] are prosecuted to the fullest.” Kennedy also expressed remorse for what he called “senseless” violence in Chicago. “Kids are dying so young nowadays…No place in Chicago is safe for teenagers.”

Over 50 children aged 16 or younger have been shot in Chicago so far this year, according to the Tribune.

[NBC Chicago]

TIME Syria

Syria Agrees to Probe on Chlorine Gas Use

Amid growing fears from Western nations that the country won't live up to its promise to destroy its chemical weapons arsenal, Syria allows an international group to probe new allegations

The international group monitoring the elimination of Syria’s chemical weapons said Tuesday that Syria’s government has agreed to an investigation of claims that chlorine gas was used in the country’s civil war.

“The Syrian government, which has agreed to accept this mission, has undertaken to provide security in areas under its control,” the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons said in a statement.

Syria agreed last year to let international monitors oversee the destruction of its chemical weapons arsenal after the United States threatened airstrikes against the country. Chlorine, a common industrial chemical, can be deadly when used as a weapon. While Chlorine is not explicitly banned under the Chemical Weapons Convention like Sarin and VX nerve agents are, the substance is prohibited under Convention’s catch-all provision against chemical weapons use, the Christian Science Monitor reports.

Rebels say the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad used chlorine gas in attacks on rebel-held areas of the country.

The probe comes amid growing concerns on the part of the U.S. and Western allies that Syria will not live up to its commitment to destroy its chemical weapons arsenal by June 30. The United Nations says the country has eliminated more than 90 percent of its chemical weapons.

TIME Television

Arrested Development Creator Signs Up for New Netflix Series

Producer Mitchell Hurwitz emcees Simon Wiesenthal Center's 2014 Tribute Dinner at Regent Beverly Wilshire Hotel on March 18, 2014 in Beverly Hills, California Michael Kovac—WireImage/Getty Images

Mitch Hurwitz has signed a multi-year deal to not only create and produce a new show for Netflix, but to also serve as a non-writing executive producer for other projects and advise the online streaming service on comedy series development

The creator of the popular comedy series Arrested Development has agreed to create and produce a new original show for streaming service Netflix.

Under the terms of the multi-year deal, Mitch Hurwitz will also serve as a non-writing executive producer for several other projects and advise the company on comedy series development, Deadline reports.

Hurwitz began his relationship with Internet-based television service when he produced and co-directed a fourth season of his Emmy-winning show Arrested Development. The show’s prior seasons ran on Fox between 2003-2006 and won six Emmys. It’s fourth season, which was released last year on Netflix, earned three Emmy nominations.

Hurwitz said working with Netflix was “the best professional experience of my life … It is incredibly inspiring to get to produce for Netflix, a company that not only doesn’t resist change but is leaps and bounds ahead of everyone in forging it.”

Netflix released its first original series in 2012 and started competing head-to-head with traditional TV networks in 2013 with its Emmy-winning original show House of Cards.

[Deadline]

TIME celebrities

Drew Barrymore Has a Girl Named Frankie

The 39-year-old actress/member of Hollywood royalty Drew Barrymore gave birth to a daughter, Frankie, her second child with husband Will Kopelman. Barrymore’s older daughter Olive is now 19-months-old

Correction appended April 29, 2014.

Drew Barrymore welcomed her second child with husband Will Kopelman into the world Tuesday. Representatives for the couple confirmed that the baby girl is named Frankie, People reports.

“Today we are the proud parents of our second daughter, Frankie Barrymore Kopelman,” the couple said in a statement. “Olive has a new little sister, and everyone is healthy and happy!”

The 39-year-old actress had been much more forthcoming about her second pregnancy after shrouding her first pregnancy in secrecy.

“Last time I never commented on it and people just stalked me the entire time. So yes, it’s happening, it’s true,” Barrymore said in December when announcing she was pregnant again. Barrymore’s older daughter Olive is now 19-months-old.

Correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated that Barrymore is 36-years-old.

TIME Taxes

IRS Gave $1 Million in Bonuses to Employees Who Didn’t Pay Taxes

The IRS paid $1 million in bonuses to employees who owed back taxes and another $1.8 million in bonuses to workers facing disciplinary problems

The federal agency in charge of tax collection has been awarding bonuses to employees who have not been paying their taxes on time, according to a new report by J. Russell George, the Treasury inspector general for tax administration.

The report reveals that the Internal Revenue Service gave a total of $1 million in bonuses to 1,150 workers who owed back taxes between October 201o and December 2012. The IRS paid out an additional $1.8 million in bonuses to workers facing other kinds of disciplinary problems over the same period, including improper use of government credit cards, drug use, threats of violence and unemployment-benefits fraud, according to the Associated Press.

George said the bonuses don’t violate federal rules but are inconsistent with the agency’s mission to enforce tax regulations. “These awards are designed to recognize and reward IRS employees for a job well done, and that is appropriate, because the IRS should encourage good performance,” George said in a press release. “However, while not prohibited, providing awards to employees who have been disciplined for failing to pay federal taxes appears to create a conflict with the IRS’s charge of ensuring the integrity of the system of tax administration.”

Despite the apparent contradiction highlighted by bonus program, the employees of the Treasury Department, which includes the IRS, still have better tax compliance than other federal agencies. Just 1.1% of Treasury workers owed back taxes in 2011, compared with 3.2% of federal workers overall, the AP reports. The tax-delinquency rate for the general public was 8.2% that year.

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