National news briefs: 10/6/12

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Agents shot by friendly fire

PHOENIX -- The FBI said Friday a preliminary investigation has found friendly fire likely was to blame in the shootings of two border agents along the Arizona-Mexico border, shaking up the probe into an incident that re-ignited the political debate over security on the border.

The shootings Tuesday about five miles north of the border near Bisbee left one agent dead and another wounded.

"There are strong preliminary indications that the death of United States Border Patrol Agent Nicholas J. Ivie and the injury to a second agent was the result of an accidental shooting incident involving only the agents," FBI Special Agent in Charge James L. Turgal Jr. said in a statement. Mr. Turgal didn't elaborate on the agency's conclusions.

Dems win voting case

CINCINNATI -- The Obama campaign on Friday won a federal appeals court ruling that requires Ohio counties to offer the same number of early voting days to all citizens as they do to members of the U.S. military.

The U.S. Court of Appeals in Cincinnati rejected a bid by Republican Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine and Republican Secretary of State Jon Husted to overturn a lower-court order that blocked a state law ending pre-election voting three days earlier for civilians than for members of the military and state residents living overseas.

President Barack Obama's campaign and the state and national Democratic organizations had sued the state officials, arguing that the disparity was unconstitutional.

EPA seeks court review

WASHINGTON -- The Environmental Protection Agency asked Friday for a full-court review of a decision in August by a three-judge panel that threw out a rule designed to cut pollution from coal-fired power plants.

The agency, in a filing in the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington, said the judges in the 2-1 ruling striking down its cross-state air pollution rule developed "regulatory policy out of whole cloth" in violation of their role of review.

The panel sided with power companies and mining groups that challenged the measure, which caps emissions in more than two dozen states.

State police lab scandal

BOSTON -- About 300 to 500 defendants, including some "pretty dangerous people," may be released into Boston streets because of the alleged mishandling of evidence at a Massachusetts drug lab, a prosecutor said Friday.

Chemist Annie Dookhan is charged with obstruction of justice for allegedly skirting protocols and faking test results at the now-closed state drug lab. At least two dozen defendants whose cases Ms. Dookhan handled have been released, including career criminal and convicted rapist Marcus Pixley

Pixley was released on bail earlier this month but failed to show up for court Wednesday. Police in Quincy arrested him Friday; a judge doubled his bail.

School sex scandal

CAMDEN, N.J. -- Three teachers and two administrators at a New Jersey high school were arrested Thursday on charges stemming from allegations that the teachers had sexual relationships with students and that administrators covered it up.

Each of the five has been suspended from Triton High School in the Philadelphia suburb of Runnemede, and each could face at least five years in prison if convicted.

Prosecutors said the school had the proper safeguards in place to prevent such conduct but the rules were ignored.

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