BOSTON – Massachusetts Republican Scott Brown changed course and demanded he be sworn in to replace the late Sen. Edward M. Kennedy today, an accelerated timetable that conservatives had been clamoring for and one that Democrats quickly accepted – and had already been moving to accommodate.
Brown said he wanted to be present for unspecified votes, and his swearing-in would give the GOP 41 votes in the Senate – the precise number it needs to sustain a filibuster of Democratic initiatives.
Jim Manley, a spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, said he expected a ceremony at 5 p.m. today.
The demand reversed Brown’s earlier declaration that he did not want to be sworn in until Feb. 11, a grace period he said he needed to hire a staff and prepare for his new responsibilities.
Pepper link proved in salmonella illness
PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Tests have shown that the same strain of salmonella that sickened more than 200 people in at least 42 states has been found in black pepper, but it’s not clear if it’s the only source of the outbreak.
Department of Health spokeswoman Annemarie Beardsworth said Wednesday that the results “strongly suggest” that black pepper is to blame for at least some of the illnesses.
Black pepper was used to coat salami at Daniele Inc., a meat company in Burrillville, R.I. The company recalled more than 1 million pounds of salami last month after many of those who got sick reported they ate it. But Beardsworth says about half the people sickened didn’t eat any salami.
Crash into casino kills 2, injures 10
LAS VEGAS – Two casino patrons were killed and nine injured Wednesday in the southern Nevada resort town of Laughlin when a driver smashed through the glass doors of the Edgewater Hotel and Casino and plowed into several banks of slot machines.
The 70-year-old male driver, who suffered minor injuries, possibly suffered a “medical episode” when he shot through a red light and raced toward the Edgewater valet area about 9:30 a.m., authorities said.
Authorities also are looking into whether the driver’s 2007 silver Pontiac Vibe malfunctioned, said Officer Jacinto Rivera of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police, which polices most of Clark County.
Alcohol has been ruled out as a factor in the crash.
Joe Magliarditi, the casino’s chief operating officer, was told the driver’s speed topped 60 mph and that he made no obvious effort to stop. The vehicle halted at least 35 feet inside the casino. The body of one woman was found behind the vehicle, the other in front. Authorities said the driver had a Washington state license and plates.