Briefly

September 28, 2012 

World

Sudan, S. Sudan sign deal to ease border tension

Arch foe neighbors Sudan and South Sudan signed 10 “cooperation” agreements on Thursday meant to demilitarize the tense border, restart oil production and open a new page after decades of war and last year’s contentious split into two separate nations. Yet several of the hottest disputes were put off for later talks, signaling that one of the world’s most intractable conflicts still could flare up.

The leaders of the two nations, President Omar al-Bashir of Sudan and President Salva Kiir of South Sudan, had been meeting in the capital of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, since Sunday, trying to stave off international wrath and the threat of sanctions after blowing a United Nations deadline to reach a comprehensive end to their long-running, and sometimes bloody, dispute.

The Thursday deal paves the way for South Sudan to restart its oil production, which must be pumped north through Sudanese pipelines for export. Amid an impasse over how much South Sudan was to pay in transit fees, Sudan began confiscating South Sudan’s oil, leading South Sudan to shut down its oil industry in January. Paul Domeier

Nation

‘Sons of Anarchy’ actor suspected of killing woman

An actor whose character died a violent death on the TV drama “Sons of Anarchy” plunged to his death in a driveway after apparently killing his landlady and attacking neighbors near Hollywood, police said Thursday.

Johnny Lewis, who played Kip “Half-Sack” Epps in the FX show, is the only suspect in the death of 81-year-old Catherine Davis, according to Los Angeles police.

Authorities found them dead Wednesday morning after neighbors reported a woman screaming inside the home, Cmdr. Andrew Smith said.

The home was ransacked, glass was shattered and a dead cat was found.

Neighbors said a man had jumped a fence and assaulted a painter and homeowner next door.

The body of Lewis, 28, was found dead in the driveway. He could have jumped or fallen from the roof, garage or balcony, or tumbled down stairs from a patio area, Smith said.

It appears Davis had been beaten, Smith said. Associated Press

Judge: Curfew arrests of Occupy protesters unconstitutional

The mass arrests of Occupy Chicago demonstrators that city leaders held up as a model for how to respect protesters’ rights has been ruled unconstitutional and tossed out of court by a Cook County judge.

In a 37-page ruling issued Thursday, Associate Judge Thomas Donnelly ruled the October 2011 arrests were unconstitutional because the city routinely chooses not to enforce the curfew for events the city supports, such as the 2008 Election Night rally for President Barack Obama. The judge noted that no arrests were made at that event, even though it went well past curfew.

With the ruling, the arrests of 92 Occupy protesters on charges related to violating the curfew were thrown out. Chicago Tribune

Great White Sharks considered for endangered list

The federal government will examine whether to protect the West Coast population of great white sharks under the Endangered Species Act, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced Thursday.

Four environmental groups had filed petitions with the NOAA Fisheries Service this summer to list the West Coast population on the grounds that accidental catches, illegal fishing and the accumulation of contaminants threaten the iconic species. Research studies suggest that as few as 350 great white sharks could be swimming off the coasts of the United States and Mexico.

Craig Wingert, a regional Endangered Species Act policy adviser for NOAA, said the agency will assemble a scientific team to conduct “a comprehensive review” and will issue a final decision by June. Washington Post

NYC to round out skyline with tallest Ferris wheel

The Big Apple is getting another “biggest”: the world’s tallest Ferris wheel, part of an ambitious plan to draw New Yorkers and tourists alike to the city’s so-called “forgotten borough.”

The 625-foot-tall, $230 million New York Wheel is to grace a spot in Staten Island overlooking the Statue of Liberty and the downtown Manhattan skyline, offering a singular view as it sweeps higher than other big wheels like the Singapore Flyer, the London Eye, and a “High Roller” planned for Las Vegas.

Designed to carry 1,440 passengers at a time, it’s expected to draw 4.5 million people a year to a setting that also would include a 100-shop outlet mall and a 200-room hotel.

It will be “an attraction unlike any other in New York City – in fact, it will be, we think, unlike any other on the planet,” Mayor Michael Bloomberg said as he unveiled the plans against the backdrop of New York Harbor. While the privately financed project faces various reviews, officials hope to have the wheel turning by the end of 2015. Associated Press

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