National briefs (8/17/12)

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FEC approves text donations

WASHINGTON -- A plea to text "donate" to 62262 (that's O-B-A-M-A) may be coming to a political ad near you.

The Federal Election Commission announced this week that it has approved legal guidance that will allow small political donations to be added to cellphone bills when a campaign supporter sends a specific text message.

The agency unanimously approved two opinions spelling out technical details of how the proposals from Republican and Democratic firms would comply with the complex requirements of campaign finance law. It was an unusually swift move from an agency that's known for foot dragging and partisan gridlock.

Whether campaigns could start soliciting text-message donations before the November elections depends on how quickly carriers can negotiate details with companies providing the service to campaigns.

Dallas plans aerial defense

DALLAS -- For the first time in more than 45 years, Dallas and its county planned Thursday to resume aerial spraying to combat the nation's worst outbreak of West Nile virus, which killed 10 people and caused at least 200 others to fall ill.

Although commonplace in other cities, the efforts are provoking a debate in the Dallas area between health officials trying to quell disease risk and people concerned about insecticidal mist drifting down from above.

Nearly half of all West Nile cases in the United States so far this year are in Texas, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. If the trend continues, 2012 will be the worst West Nile year in state history.

2 dead, 2 hurt in shootout

LAPLACE, La. -- Two sheriff's deputies in Louisiana were shot to death and two others were injured in an early morning shootout west of New Orleans, authorities said Thursday.

Five people -- both male and female -- are in custody, and two of them are hospitalized, authorities said.

They said both wounded deputies and both wounded suspects are expected to survive.

Police would not identify the suspects, say when they might do so, or give any details about the number of weapons used. No charges had been filed against them as of late Thursday afternoon.

Police said the incident started about 5:30 a.m., when a gunman opened fire for unknown reasons on a deputy working an off-duty job.

The slain deputies were identified as Brandon Nielsen, 34, and Jeremy Triche, 27. The wounded officers are Jason Triche, 30, and Michael Boyington, 33.

No trial for alleged cannibal

BALTIMORE -- Alexander Kinyua, the college student accused of killing a family friend and ingesting his heart and brain, has been declared incompetent to stand trial, according to court records.

State's Attorney Joseph I. Cassilly said in an Aug. 13 letter that prosecutors had reviewed a report from Clifton T. Perkins Hospital, Maryland's maximum-security psychiatric hospital, and agreed that Mr. Kinyua should be found incompetent to stand trial without a court hearing on the matter.

Mr. Kinyua, 21, has pleaded not criminally responsible on charges of first-degree murder and use of a dangerous weapon in connection with the May killing of Kujoe Bonsafo Agyei-Kodie, who had been staying with his family in their Joppatowne home.

The finding that Mr. Kinyua is not competent to stand trial does not mean he has been found not criminally responsible, Maryland's equivalent of an insanity finding. Instead, the court has found that he is unable to contribute to his defense, and will be treated at Perkins until he is found competent.

First couple's first kiss

CHICAGO -- She was an attorney at a big Chicago law firm. He was a Harvard Law student who landed a job there as a summer associate. He was immediately smitten. She wasn't so sure. But he won her over, and the couple sealed their budding romance with a kiss at the Baskin-Robbins ice cream shop in Hyde Park.

So goes the story of how Michelle and Barack Obama fell in love in 1989. On Wednesday, a historical marker -- a 3,000-pound granite boulder -- went up at the corner of Dorchester Avenue and 53rd Street noting the location where the couple had their first smooch.

A quote from President Barack Obama, taken from an interview published in "O, The Oprah Magazine" in February 2007, is inscribed beneath an embedded photo of the couple.

"On our first date, I treated her to the finest ice cream Baskin-Robbins had to offer, our dinner table doubling as the curb. I kissed her, and it tasted like chocolate."



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