Retail Sales Increase 1.1 Percent In March For Biggest Surge Since 2012

WASHINGTON (UPI) — Americans upped their spending in March, as retail sales for the month increased by 1.1 percent, helping the economy recover from a dull start to the year.

Retail sales rose by 1.1 percent, higher than the 0.9 percent increase estimated by 78 economists polled by Bloomberg. The Commerce department said that the reading — a seasonally adjusted $433.9 billion — was the best seen since September 2012 and higher than November’s figure, after which harsh winter weather affected the shopping season and consumer spending.

February’s retail sales were also revised to a 0.7 gain over January, up from 0.3 percent initially reported.

Consumer spending accounts for two-thirds of the U.S economy’s output, and as such, strong economic growth is heavily dependent on consumer spending. Sales were weak in December and January on account of harsh winter weather, but March’s retail spending was up 3.8 percent from thew same period last year.

Ten of the 13 major retail segments showed healthy growth last month, with auto sales leading the way. Motor vehicle purchase gains were higher than September 2012 levels, and sales at department and general merchandise stores jumped the most since before the financial crisis.

“The biggest driver here is the jump in auto sales, but beyond that we are seeing some more widespread improvement in consumer activity,” said Russell Price, senior economist at Ameriprise Financial Inc. in Detroit.

Sales at automobile dealers climbed 3.1 percent after rising 2.5 percent in February. Apart from department store purchases, Americans spent more at furniture, building-supply and sporting-goods outlets. Internet sales were up and Americans dined out a lot more.

New Congressional Report Presses For E-Cigarette Regulation

WASHINGTON (UPI) — A new Congressional report released Monday says concerns highlight the need to regulate the fast-growing electronic cigarette market.

The Democrats’ report, “Gateway to Addiction? A Survey of Popular Electronic Cigarette Manufacturers and Marketing to Youth,” surveyed eight e-cigarette companies. Lawmakers describe the different flavors and marketing that appeal to young people and the lack of age restrictions and warning labels, saying the companies prey on children just as traditional tobacco companies once did.

A law was passed in 2009 giving the Food and Drug Administration authority to regulate tobacco products but they have yet to do so with e-cigarettes. The FDA regulation proposal was submitted to the Office of Management and Budget in October, and is still under review.

Syria, Rebels Blame Each Other For Alleged Poison Gas Attack

DAMASCUS, Syria (UPI) — Both sides in the Syrian civil war blamed each other for a reported poison gas attack in the central province of Hama.

Pro-opposition accounts of heavy fighting Saturday between Syrian and rebel groups reported a chemical strike in the agricultural village of Kfar Zeita, north of the provincial capital, Hama. State-run television claimed the rebel faction Al Nusra Front, which is aligned with al-Qaida, unleashed toxic gas in the village.

State television said two people were killed and more than 100 injured.

Reports of chemical gas deployment in the three-year war are regularly alleged by both sides, and chemical warfare reports have become a part of the propaganda efforts of both sides. The inaccessibility of battlefields to journalists makes it difficult to corroborate statements or obtain evidence.

The most notorious incident occurred Aug. 21, 2013, when hundreds of people, a United Nations investigation concluded, died when a chemical nerve agent was released in a Damascus suburb.

Obama Hosts Easter Prayer Breakfast, Chooses Openly Gay Bishop To Lead Prayer

WASHINGTON (UPI) — President Barack Obama hosted 150 Christian leaders for the fifth annual Easter Prayer Breakfast Monday.

The breakfast marks the beginning of Holy Week at the White House, a tradition started by the Obama Administration in 2010 to celebrate the life and death of Jesus Christ.

“I want to thank you for your ministries, for your good works, for the marching you do for justice, and dignity and inclusion,” Obama told the gathered leaders, before closing with the facetious prayer, “Lord fill my mouth with worthwhile stuff and nudge me when I’ve said enough.”

The President then joked, “The Almighty is nudging me,” before sitting down.

Pastor Joel Hunter offered the opening prayer, and the sermon was delivered by Reverend Otis Moss, who replaced the controversial Jeremiah Wright at Chicago’s Trinity United Church of Christ. Carlos Whittaker, a Christian singer/songwriter performed.

Then, in an unplanned move, Obama called on Gene Robinson, the first openly gay Episcopal bishop, to lead the closing prayer.

Robinson shared his surprise by tweeting “OMG” along with a picture of the President:

POTUS “preaches” at the Easter prayer breakfast. Then, out of the blue, asks ME to close with prayer. OMG! #privilege pic.twitter.com/P1wzYCQNMf— Bishop Gene Robinson (@BishopGRobinson) April 14, 2014

In addition to celebrating Easter with inclusion, the president and first lady will also host a Seder at the White House on Tuesday, to celebrate the Jewish holiday of Passover.

General Rejects Clemency Appeal For Manning In Leak Of Classified Documents

WASHINGTON (UPI) — A general has refused to reduce the sentence on the former U.S. Army intelligence analyst convicted as Bradley Manning of leaking classified documents.

The Pentagon said Monday that Maj. Gen. Jeffrey Buchanan approved the 35-year sentence, rejecting a request for clemency. Manning, who now goes by the name Chelsea and has asked to be regarded as female, is being held at the U.S. Military Disciplinary Barracks at Fort Leavenworth.

Manning was convicted by a military judge of leaking 250,000 diplomatic cables and 500,000 military documents to WikiLeaks while serving in Iraq. Published material from his leaks is credited with helping kickstart the Arab Spring demonstrations since it included U.S. cables giving an unflattering picture of former Tunisian President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.

Col. Denise Lind acquitted Manning of aiding the enemy but found him guilty of most other charges and sentenced him to 35 years.

Nancy Hollander, Manning’s lawyer, said she had not expected much from the automatic military appeal process. She said she plans to continue appeals.

President Barack Obama has said he will not make any decision on executive clemency until Manning’s appeals are exhausted, a process that could outlast his Presidency.

Manning is seeking court approval of the name change in Kansas.

Pentagon: Russian Attack Aircraft Made ‘Provocative And Unprofessional’ Passes Near American Destroyer In Black Sea

WASHINGTON (UPI) — The U.S. Department of Defense said Monday that a Russian attack aircraft made 12 passes near the USS Donald Cook while in international waters in the Black Sea on Saturday.

Pentagon spokesman Army Col. Steve Warren called the incident “provocative and unprofessional,” and added that “these continued acts of provocation and unprofessionalism do nothing to de-escalate the situation in Ukraine, which we called on the Russians to do.”

At the time of the incident on Saturday, two Russian aircraft were present, although only one repeatedly flew near the American destroyer. The aircraft varied its altitude from near sea level to about 2,000 feet. The Russian aircraft never overflew the USS Donald Cook and the American destroyed was never in danger, said Warren.

“The aircraft did not respond to multiple queries and warnings from Donald Cook, and the event ended without incident after approximately 90 minutes … This provocative and unprofessional Russian action is inconsistent with international protocols and previous agreements on the professional interaction between our militaries.”

“The Donald Cook is more than capable of defending itself against two Su-24s,” the Pentagon spokesman stated.

The USS Donald Cook, an Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer, arrived in the Black Sea on April 10. On Monday, the destroyed was making a port of call in Constanta, Romania.

U.N. Report: Russia Rigged Crimea Vote

UNITED NATIONS (UPI) — The U.S.-based news magazine Foreign Policy said a United Nations draft report on human rights in Ukraine indicates Russia compromised the Crimean referendum in March, the Russian news agency RIA Novosti reported Monday.

The report, written by Ivan Simonovic, U.N. Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights, alleges the Russian government repressed dissent and anti-Russian sentiment in the days prior to the Mar. 16 election, effectively rigging it in favor of a vote approving Russia’s annexation of Crimea.

Russia claimed 97 percent of voters favored the annexation.

“The delegation met with sources who claimed there had been alleged cases of non-Ukrainian citizens participating in the referendum, as well as individuals voting numerous times in different locations,” an excerpt of the report said.

Simonovic did not conclude the results would have been different had the alleged vote irregularities not occurred.

A finalized version of the report will be released during an Apr. 15 presentation to the U.N. Security Council.

Although denounced in the West, the referendum was consistent with international law and thus must be recognized as legitimate, the Russian government has maintained.

3 Dead After Shootings At Jewish Centers In Kansas

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (UPI) — Shootings at two facilities, a Jewish community center and a retirement home, killed three people and critically injured a 14-year-old boy in the Kansas City-area on Sunday.

The first shooting occurred outside Jewish Community Center of Greater Kansas City in Overland Park, while the second took place at the Village Shalom Retirement Community in nearby Leawood.

Two unidentified victims were shot in a car in the parking lot of the community center, while another died at the hospital.

Police arrested the suspected gunman outside Overland Park’s Valley Park Elementary School at 2:45 p.m. on Sunday afternoon. He reportedly shouted “Heil Hitler” as they apprehended him.

“It’s too early in the investigation to try to label it,” Overland Park Police Chief John Douglass said in a news conference. “We know it’s a vicious act of violence. Obviously, at two Jewish facilities, one might make that assumption, but we’re going to have to know more about it.”

“Our hearts go out to the families who have suffered loss on this tragic day,” the Jewish Community Center said in a statement. “Our heartfelt gratitude as well to all those in Kansas City and around the world who have expressed sympathy, concern and support.”

Multiple events were scheduled at the community center when the shootings occurred — high school students auditioning for “KC SuperStar” and drama rehearsals.

Scientists Offer New Method For Prioritizing The Conservation Of Endangered Birds

SHEFFIELD, England (UPI) — Ornithologists have developed a list of 600 birds from around the world that are all at risk of extinction. Now more than ever, the scientists say, humans need to get serious about protecting these vulnerable species and conserving their shrinking habitats.

But with so many threatened species, how do we choose which one to save first? Unfortunately, indecision often translates to inaction. That’s why scientists have prioritized this new list.

To promote a more decisive and proactive approach to avian conservation, the scientists — including a number of leading ornithologists from the University of Sheffield — developed a different approach to bird conservation by ranking the species according to evolutionary uniqueness.

At the top are the most genetically-isolated and unusual birds, which evolved earlier or had fewer surviving relatives. Species that emerged more recently and have a larger array of common relatives move to the bottom of the list.

“Not all species are evolutionarily equal — some have few close relatives that share their DNA,” explained Dr. Gavin Thomas, an evolutionary biologist at Sheffield’s’s Department of Animal and Plant Sciences. “These species are irreplaceable. If they are driven to extinction, millions of years or evolutionary history goes with them.”

According to the new list, the top ten birds most worth saving are, in order of most unique and endangered to least: giant ibis, New Caledonian Owlet-nightjar, California condor, kakapo, kagu, Bengal florican, forest owlet, Philippine eagle, Christmas Island frigatebird, and Sumatran ground-cuckoo.

Scientists May Have Spotted The First Exomoon

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (UPI) — NASA-funded researchers think they may have spotted an “exomoon,” a moon orbiting a planet outside our solar system. Though they may never know for sure.

The astronomers say it’s near impossible to confirm what they saw, but they say the sort-of-sighting may help them find other exomoons in the future.

“We won’t have a chance to observe the exomoon candidate again,” said David Bennett, a researcher at the University of Notre Dame. “But we can expect more unexpected finds like this.”

The momentary sighting was part of a project led by the joint Japan-New Zealand-American Microlensing Observations in Astrophysics (MOA) and the Probing Lensing Anomalies NETwork (PLANET) programs. Their research on the subject is detailed in the latest edition of the Astrophysical Journal.

Astronomers with these research teams will continue trying to find other exomoons.

Astronomers are able to spot the moons orbiting Jupiter because of their relative closeness to Earth. However, picking out the faint glow of a tiny sphere in a solar system several light years away is exceedingly difficult.

They do so by looking for the proper ratio of light — the differing glows of a star, alien planet, and accompanying moon. But with so many stars and orbiting objects spread out across our galaxy and beyond, defining the relationship between some of these luminous spheres remains tough. Complicating matters is the fact that astronomers need all three cosmological objects visible at once, the light from the foreign star hitting its obedient, orbiting planet, and that light reflecting off the planet and onto its moon.

The process of searching for this relationship between sun, planet and moon — and the specific ratio of light, emitted and reflected — is called the lensing system.

Because astronomers don’t know exactly where and when to look, they must scan thousands of data points collected by NASA’s Spitzer and Kepler space telescopes looking from the proper ratios — for a lensing event. And even if they find a possible match, they then must undertake that also near-impossible task of determining how large and how far away these objects are.

So far, astronomers have catalogued 1,700 alien planets. But the search for the first alien moon continues.

Still, scientists like Bennet are hopefully the new lensing system technique will get them closer to finding a verifiable exomoon.

Green Tomatoes May Help Maintain Strong Muscles

IOWA CITY, Iowa (UPI) — Tomatidine, a compound found in green tomatoes, not only boosts muscle growth and strength, it protects against muscle wasting caused by illness, injury or aging.

Dr. Christopher Adams of the University of Iowa said muscle atrophy, or muscle wasting, caused by aging, injury, cancer and heart failure makes people weak and fatigued, prohibits physical activity and predisposes people to falls and fractures.

Muscle atrophy affects more 50 million Americans annually, including 30 million elderly.

Muscle atrophy causes many problems for patients, their families, and the healthcare system in general. Exercise helps, but it’s not enough and not possible those who are ill or injured, Adams said.

Using the systems biology tool the Connectivity Map, the research team identified tomatidine and discovered it stimulated growth of cultured human muscle cells.

The research team found healthy mice given supplements containing tomatidine grew bigger muscles, became stronger and exercised longer, but the mice did not gain body weight.

“Green tomatoes are safe to eat in moderation. But we don’t know how many green tomatoes a person would need to eat to get a dose of tomatidine similar to what we gave the mice,” Adams said in a statement. “We also don’t know if such a dose of tomatidine will be safe for people, or if it will have the same effect in people as it does in mice.”

The findings were published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry.

Facebook To Make The News Feed Less ‘Spammy,’ Punish Pages That Ask For ‘Likes’

MENLO PARK, Calif. (UPI) — Facebook will target pages that coerce users for shares or likes, which users have complained are “spammy” posts they don’t want to see.

The company said it was coming down on pages that share the same link or photo over and over again, links that are click-bait and posts that use deceptive language to to trick people into clicking on “spammy links.” Facebook hopes to give the right content to the right users, so that these “spammy” posts do not distract them from the “stories that are important and relevant to them.”

“These stories lead to a less enjoyable experience of Facebook since they drown out content from friends and Pages that people really care about,” the company said.

Facebook said that many publishers aren’t trying to game the system and will in fact see an uptick in News Feed distribution, as there will be more space for quality content. But publishers who relied on underhanded tactics to speed their posts will see their distribution fall.

Facebook will have to be careful about implementing these plans, as marketers haven’t been too happy with the regular changes Facebook has been making to their system. Facebook will have to ensure its algorithm doesn’t inadvertently start blocking content from legitimate publishers.

Facebook has been grappling with slow user growth and while pages and businesses are important to them financially, it appears they will want to ensure a cleaner and better user experience.

Amazon To Pay Warehouse Employees $5,000 To Quit

SEATTLE (UPI) — Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, in a letter to investors, spoke of a new initiative to offer employees up to $5,000 to quit, to ensure Amazon only retains people who really want to work there.

The “Pay to Quit” program will be ensure the company retains employees committed to working at Amazon, even as the company continues to add more workers and new warehouses, or as Amazon likes to call them “fulfillment centers.”

“The goal is to encourage folks to take a moment and think about what they really want,” Bezos wrote in the letter. “In the long-run, an employee staying somewhere they don’t want to be isn’t healthy for the employee or the company.”

Amazon said the idea came from Zappos, the online footwear and clothing retailer Amazon purchased in 2009.

Bezos said the offer will be made under the headline “Please Don’t Take This Offer,” and will offer to pay its employees once a year to quit. Employees will be offered $2,000 to quit and that amount will be increased by $1,000 every year until it reaches $5,000.

“We hope they don’t take the offer; we want them to stay,” Bezos wrote.

Amazon is in the process of adding fulfillment centers to reduce shipping times to customers. At the end of last year, Amazon had 96 warehouses employing 117,300 full-time and part-time employees, up almost 33 percent from employment levels a year earlier.

Scientists Predict Quiet Atlantic This Year With Only Three Hurricanes

FORT COLLINS, Colo. (UPI) — El Niño, the upwelling of warm water in the Pacific, will damp down the Atlantic hurricane season this year, with only nine named storms, researchers say.

Philip Klotzbach and William Gray of the tropical meteorology project at Colorado State University predicted Thursday that only three of the storms will grow into hurricanes and only one of those will be category 3 or higher. On average, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says there have been just more than 12 tropical storms in the years between 1982 and 2010 and 6.4 hurricanes.

The hurricane season runs from June 1 to Nov. 30, although tropical storms occasionally arrive earlier or later.

Of course, hurricane prediction is far from an exact science. Last year, forecasters predicted nine hurricanes, and only two developed, while a year earlier there were more than twice as many as predicted.

“The tropical Atlantic has … cooled over the past several months, and the chances of a moderate to strong El Niño event this summer and fall appear to be quite high,” Klotzbach said. “Historical data indicate fewer storms form in these conditions.”

Klotzbach and Gray said people living in coastal areas should still be on the alert since all it takes is one hurricane to wreak havoc.

NOAA said that since 1982 the number of tropical storms in a season has ranged from four to 28 and the number of hurricanes from two to 15. Tropical storms have sustained winds of at least 39 mph and are considered hurricanes when sustained winds reach 74 mph.

Some Atlantic hurricanes head north, remaining hundreds of miles from land. Others head east into the Caribbean or Gulf of Mexico or make landfall along the east coast of the United States, and a few have hit the British Isles and northern Europe as severe storms after losing their tropical characteristics.

Crimea Approves New Constitution

SIMFEROPOL, Russia (UPI) — The parliament of Crimea overwhelmingly voted in favor of adopting a new constitution as a Russian republic Friday.

The text of the constitution was approved in the Crimea State Council with 88 of 100 deputies signaling their support in an extraordinary session. The vote signifies the council considers Crimea a part of the Russian Federation.

The main provisions of the new constitution are similar to articles in the Russian Constitution.

Crimea declared its independence from Ukraine in March and entered a treaty to join Russia, contravening a 1954 treaty by which Crimea was made a part of Ukraine. The treaty of reunification with Russia was approved by the Russian president and parliament immediately after a referendum of Crimean citizens indicated a willingness to join Russia.

The vote is the latest move in integrating Crimea into the Russian Federation’s constitution and economy. A full integration is expected by December.

At the end of the session, council members stood for the Russian national anthem.

Rand Paul: ‘I Want All Pilots To Be Armed’

WASHINGTON (UPI) — Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) says that he would like to see “100 percent” of pilots armed in order to prevent another terrorist attack like 9/11.

“I think that you should be allowed to have weapons on military bases. I’m for allowing those who have concealed carry, at the very least, have their weapons on base. But also I’m concerned about what is the most cost-effective way of preventing another 9/11. I want all pilots to be armed. The president has zeroed this out of his budget. He’s advocated for getting rid of the program,” said Paul on Fox News. “I have a bill to streamline this and the goal of my bill is to have 100 percent of American pilots armed.”

Paul confronted former Homeland Security Secretary Secretary Janet Napalitano last April about the program reduction and she responded to him during 2013 Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee hearing.

“Well, I’ll tell you the reason why we zeroed it out, Senator, and that is — and it goes to a lot of the changes in the budget, we’re moving to risk-based. And an FFDO program is not risk-based. It’s just happenstance, where you happen to have a pilot on board that went through the training or not. We’re offering the training to air carriers if they want their pilots covered. But we would rather stick with the FAMS [Federal Air Marshal Service], who are portion-based on risk.”

There have been incidents where pilots firearms have accidentally fired in the cockpit, causing safety concerns about arming pilots.

U.S. Sentencing Commission Votes To Cut Terms For Drug Crimes

WASHINGTON (UPI) — The U.S. Sentencing Commission has voted to cut the terms recommended for most Federal drug crimes.

At a public meeting Thursday, the commission approved new guidelines that officials said would mean shorter terms for about 70 percent of offenders. Generally, the changes would reduce mandatory minimums suggested for various quantities of drugs for crimes not involving the use of violence or firearms.

Recent polls have shown increasing public support for treatment rather than prison for those convicted of drug possession. An increasing number of States have legalized marijuana for medical purposes and two, Colorado and Washington, have done so for recreational use.

“We have given careful consideration to public safety in making this decision today and will continue to monitor drug sentences to determine whether any additional modifications are needed,” said Chairwoman Patti B. Saris, the chief U.S. district judge in Massachusetts.

Congress can vote the new guidelines down. Otherwise, they will take effect Nov. 1.

Attorney General Eric Holder, who testified in favor of shorter sentences, said the vote “represents a milestone in our effort to reshape the criminal justice system’s approach to dealing with drug offenses. This reduction in the federal sentencing guidelines, while modest, sends a strong message about the need to reserve the harshest penalties for the most serious crimes.”

The commission received about 20,000 letters during the public comment period, with members of Congress and judges weighing in on the issue, Saris said.

The commission voted to increase terms for large marijuana growers trespassing on public or private land. Saris said the operations spread “chemicals like herbicides, pesticides and rodenticides which can cause damage to land, enter the water table, and poison wildlife.”

Satellite Photos Show Russian Troops Massed On Ukraine Border

BRUSSELS (UPI) — NATO satellite photos show over 40,000 Russian troops, and military equipment including tanks and aircraft, massed along the Russian border with Ukraine, NATO said.

Release of the photographs Thursday in Brussels came after repeated assurances from Moscow the troop build-up is no cause for alarm.

President Barack Obama conferred with German Chancellor Angela Merkel by phone Thursday before each publicly urged Russia to remove its army from the Ukrainian border, the White House said.

The satellite intelligence comes after pro-Russian protesters seized government buildings in the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk and demanded a referendum on joining the Russian Federation. Surveys in Donetsk, however, indicated residents had little interest in annexation by Russia.

A survey conducted Mar. 26 to 29 in conjunction with Donetsk National University showed fewer than 27 percent of respondents approved of the building seizures and only 4.7 percent sought separation from Ukraine. Similarly, a Gallup survey, conducted with the International Republican Institute and released last week, found only four percent of respondents favored secession.

6-year-old Leaves Hillary Clinton Speechless

PORTLAND, Ore. (UPI) — Hillary Clinton was left speechless at a speaking event in Portland Tuesday when a 6-year-old girl asked her a question about her plans for 2016.

“In 2016, would you prefer to be called Madam President or Mrs. President?” the Glencoe elementary student asked through a moderator.

Clinton laughed, told the moderator it was a good question, and then left the stage. The question of whether she will run in 2016 has been asked many times, until she finally said she is “thinking about it.” But it took a little twist on the question from a precocious elementary school student to leave her without an answer.

Canadian Dentist To Use John Lennon’s Tooth To Clone Baby From Dead Beatle’s DNA

RED DEER, Alberta (UPI) — All you need is love — and maybe an old tooth…

During an episode of “Dead Famous DNA” on Channel 4 in England, Canadian dentist Dr. Michael Zuk revealed that he plans on using DNA from one of John Lennon’s teeth to make a clone baby that he can raise as his own.

“If there is enough DNA to sequence it, it could be basically genetic real estate,” Zuk said. “My goal is to own John Lennon’s DNA.”

Zuk purchased Lennon’s molar for $33,000 when it was put up for auction about three years ago.

The doctor believes that owning the tooth grants him the rights to Lennon’s DNA.

“I think I can, because of the laws,” Dr. Zuk said. “Depends on where you do these things. If it can’t be done in one country, you can do these things in another. To have John Lennon’s DNA sequence outside of the family protection to me, and full access to it, is worth millions.”

He even has a plan about how to make sure the test-tube baby becomes a success.

“He would still be his exact duplicate but you know, hopefully keep him away from drugs and cigarettes, that kind of thing,” Zuk said. “But you know, guitar lessons wouldn’t hurt anyone right?”

California Teen Who Sold Pot Brownies For Prom Dress Cash Now Facing Deportation

YUBA CITY , Calif. (UPI) — A California teen was so determined to raise money for a prom dress that she enlisted the help of a minor to help her sell brownies that were laced with pot.

Unfortunately for Saira Munoz, she got caught and was taken out of River Valley High School in handcuffs.

In addition to being sentenced to four years probation for employing a minor to sell marijuana, the Yuba City teenager is now in danger of being deported back to Mexico.

“People make mistakes,” Carlos Robles, a friend of Munoz, told CBS Sacramento. “I was hurt, because she got arrested, and nobody wanted to see somebody we cared about go away. There’s people that deserve to be deported, and she just wasn’t one of them. There’s people that do way worse.”

Munoz came to the United States with temporary permission in 2000, and immigration officials are still reviewing her case after being alerted by the Sutter County Probation Department.

“It’s too much trouble to deport somebody for that,” student James Steerstold told Fox 40.

“She should not be deported for making weed brownies. I know lots of students who do that,” said student Dursimrim Kalar.

Conjoined Twins Shivanath And Shivram Sahu In India ‘Don’t Wish To Get Separated’

RAIPUR , India, (UPI) — This gives new meaning to the phrase “joined at the hip.”

Doctors have told 12-year-old conjoined twins Shivanath and Shivram Sahu that it would be possible to separate them, but the two boys, who share two legs and four arms, are saying they’d rather stick together.

The boys share a stomach but possess their own independent lungs, hearts and brains.

“We don’t wish to get separated. We will stay like this even when we grow old. We want to live as we are,” Shivram said, the Daily Mail reported.

In addition to learning physical skills, the twins are also near the top of the class at their school.

“We have taught ourselves everything. We ride to school on a bicycle and playing cricket is no problem,” Shivanath said.

The boys’ father, Raj Kumar, has every intention of honoring their wishes.

“God has created them like this so they have to walk like they do. They will remain like this. I don’t want anything else,” said the 45-year-old. “Even if doctors say so, I won’t get my children separated. I have no interest in money. I’m the one who will work hard to nourish them. I don’t need any help.”

Rescuers Cut Hole In Obese Florida Man’s Home To Rescue Him After Fall

PALM SPRINGS, Fla. (UPI) — A special Palm Beach County Fire Rescue team, the “Bariatric Unit,” was called upon on Wednesday to rescue an obese man who had fallen in his home and was unable to move.

In order to rescue the man, who was reportedly several hundred pounds overweight, the special unit had to cut a hole in his home and take him away on a special stretcher.

“There’s no way I or the neighbor could get him out,” said friend Don Estess. “He may not be happy that they cut a hole in the back of his house. But they had to get him out. It’s just that simple.”

The Bariatric Unit is equipped to handle patients that weigh up to 1,000 pounds.

“Most times it’s a matter of calming the person and letting them know, this is what we do,” Bariatric Unit team leader Mark Tenn told WPTV.

“It seems as though we have been running more and more calls. Just off the top of my head. It seems as though we run one per month and it seems to be increasing.”