April 16, 2011 in Nation/World

In brief: Firefighter killed in Texas blaze

 

Graham, Texas – Wildfires sweeping across hundreds of thousands of acres in Texas have killed a firefighter, forced hundreds of evacuations and destroyed dozens of homes.

Fire officials said late Friday that the blazes spanned about 655 square miles of parched grasslands.

A 20,000-acre fire destroyed about 30 homes as it burned around Possum Kingdom Lake, a popular recreation spot about 120 miles west of Dallas.

Eastland firefighter Gregory M. Simmons died while battling a separate 3,000-acre blaze.

Conservative judge wins re-election

Madison, Wis. – A conservative state Supreme Court justice overcame efforts to tie him to Wisconsin’s polarizing governor and survived a near-upset in a race that drew national attention after a fierce fight over union rights.

County tallies finalized Friday showed Justice David Prosser defeated little-known challenger JoAnne Kloppenburg by 7,316 votes. State election officials said they will wait to declare an official winner until the deadline for Kloppenburg to seek a recount passes.

Although the race was officially nonpartisan, Democrats tried to link Prosser, a 12-year court veteran and former Republican Assembly speaker, to Republican Gov. Scott Walker and a divisive new law stripping public employees of most of their union rights.

Mom played game while son drowned

Greeley, Colo. – A northern Colorado woman who was playing a game on Facebook while her 13-month-old baby drowned in a bathtub was sentenced Friday to 10 years in prison.

Shannon Johnson, 34, of Fort Lupton, cried as District Judge Thomas Quammen told her he didn’t think she was a bad person or that she killed her son on purpose. But, he added, that doesn’t mean her action wasn’t criminal.

“You left this little boy in a bathtub so you could entertain yourself on the computer by playing games,” Quammen said.

Johnson pleaded guilty in March to negligently causing the death of her child.

Father sentenced for ‘honor killing’

Phoenix – An Iraqi immigrant was sentenced Friday to 34  1/2 years in an Arizona prison for running over and killing his 20-year-old daughter because she became too Westernized.

Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Roland Steinle told Faleh Hassan Almaleki that forgiveness is the core of all religion, but the judge said he was struck by Almaleki’s apparent lack of remorse for killing Noor Almaleki.

The case caused outrage nationwide after prosecutors deemed it an “honor killing” because Faleh Almaleki had said his daughter dishonored his family.

Defense attorneys called the death an accident.


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