Salt Lake City: Firing squad to execute serial murderer
A serial killer who asked to be executed by firing squad without the traditional hood over his head will be granted his wish, the state Supreme Court ruled Friday.
Roberto Arguelles made the unusual request after he was convicted in 1997 of sexually assaulting and killing three teenage girls and a woman in her 40s.
A court gave its approval, but the execution was delayed after Arguelles attempted to hang himself with a prison laundry bag.
Arguelles underwent a psychiatric evaluation following the suicide attempt. As required by state law, his case was appealed to the state Supreme Court, which ruled Friday that the firing squad execution could go forward.
The execution date was expected to be set soon by a lower court.
Utah is the only state in which death row inmates can elect to die by firing squad.
Washington, D.C.: Irradiated meat allowed in schools
Schools will be allowed for the first time to serve children meat that has been sterilized through irradiation, the Agriculture Department said Friday.
Irradiation sterilizes food by using low levels of gamma rays or electrons to kill foodborne bacteria and parasites, such as harmful E. coli and salmonella.
The government began allowing companies to sell irradiated meat to the public in 1999, but it was prohibited in the school lunch program. The farm bill approved in May changed that, said Alisa Harrison, spokeswoman for the Agriculture Department.
Schools can buy irradiated meat by the end of the year, if they want, she said, emphasizing that it is optional.
The meat industry has been urging the agency to carry out the measure, saying it will make products safer.
Washington, D.C.: 'Push-button' bugle may be tapped for funerals
The Pentagon, chronically short of musicians to play taps at military funerals, is going to test the use of a new "push-button" bugle that can be operated by an honor guard member.
A small digital audio device inserted into the bell of the bugle plays a rendition of taps that the Pentagon says is "virtually indistinguishable" from a live bugler. The person using the bugle merely pushes a button and holds the bugle to his or her lips.
"In addition to the very high quality sound, it provides a dignified 'visual' of a bugler playing taps, something families tell us they want," said John M. Molino, a deputy assistant secretary of defense who announced the innovation Thursday.
The Pentagon has been struggling for years to cope with its shortage of musicians for funerals. Families of honorably discharged veterans are entitled to a two-person uniformed funeral honor guard, the folding and presentation of the U.S. flag and a rendition of taps.