NEW YORK

Medical examiner rules

Epstein death a suicide

New York City's medical examiner ruled Jeffrey Epstein's death a suicide Friday, confirming after nearly a week of speculation that the financier faced with sex trafficking charges hanged himself in his jail cell.

Epstein, 66, was found dead at the Metropolitan Correctional Center on Aug. 10, touching off outrage that such a high-profile prisoner could have gone unwatched at the federal lockup.

Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Barbara Sampson said in a statement that she made the suicide determination "after careful review of all investigative information, including complete autopsy findings."

 

CEDAR RAPIDS, IOWA

Leader of biggest organic

food fraud gets 10 years

A judge on Friday sentenced the mastermind of the largest known organic food fraud scheme in U.S. history to 10 years in prison, saying he cheated thousands of customers into buying products they didn't want.

U.S. District Judge C.J. Williams said Randy Constant orchestrated a massive fraud that did "extreme and incalculable damage" to consumers and shook public confidence in the nation's organic food industry.

Williams said that, between 2010 and 2017, consumers nationwide were fooled into paying extra to buy products ranging from eggs to steak that they believed were better for the environment and their own health. Instead, they unwittingly purchased food that relied on farming practices, including the use of chemical pesticides to grow crops, that they opposed.

 

SALT LAKE CITY

Mormons issue warning

coffee still prohibited

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has issued a warning to members that coffee is prohibited no matter how fancy the name, that vaping is banned despite the alluring flavors and that marijuana is outlawed unless prescribed by "competent" doctors.

The new guidance in the August issue of a church youth magazine does not include fundamental changes to the religion's strict health code, but the clarifications are significant.

 

SAN FRANCISCO

Court declines again to

halt family planning rules

A U.S. appeals court has declined once again to immediately halt new Trump administration rules that bar taxpayer-funded clinics from referring patients for abortions.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals late Friday rejected a request from more than 20 states, Planned Parenthood and the American Medical Association to block the rules from taking effect while the case proceeds.

A three-judge panel and an 11-judge panel have already said the rules can take effect while the administration appeals lower court rulings that blocked them. Oral arguments are next month.

 

NEW YORK

Police seek man in rice

cooker bomb scare

Three abandoned devices that looked like pressure cookers caused an evacuation of a major New York City subway station and closed off an intersection in another part of town Friday morning before police determined the objects were not explosives.

Police were looking to talk to a man seen on surveillance video taking two of the objects — which police identified as rice cookers — out of a shopping cart and placing them in a subway station in lower Manhattan.

But police stressed that so far, it wasn't clear whether he was trying to frighten people or merely throwing the objects away.

 

WEST PALM BEACH, FLA.

Vacation home invaded

by vomiting vultures

A New York couple's luxurious vacation house in Florida has been taken over by dozens of black vultures that are vomiting and defecating everywhere.

The family can't even visit the $702,000 home they purchased this year in West Palm Beach, the Palm Beach Post reports.

Siobhan Casimano described the smell as "like a thousand rotting corpses."

The vultures have destroyed screen enclosures and have overtaken the pool and barbecue. The few times the family has visited, they've had to park their car in the garage to avoid the birds pecking at them.

 

The Associated Press