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Supreme Court: Criminal juries must be unanimous to convict
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court has ruled juries in state criminal trials must be unanimous to convict a defendant, settling a quirk of constitutional law that had allowed divided votes to result in convictions in Louisiana and Oregon. The justices’ 6-3 vote Monday overturned the conviction of a Louisiana man serving a life sentence for killing a woman after a jury voted 10-2 to convict him in 2016. Oregon is the only other state that allows for non-unanimous convictions for some crimes. Louisiana voters changed the law for crimes committed beginning in 2019. Now the same rules will apply in all 50 states and in the federal system: Juries must vote unanimously for conviction.

Sparkling waters hide some lasting harm from 2010 oil spill
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Ten years after the nation's biggest offshore oil spill fouled its waters, the Gulf of Mexico sparkles in the sunlight and its fish are safe to eat. But scientists who have spent $500 million from BP researching effects of the Deepwater Horizon disaster have found much to be concerned about. Numbers of dolphins and whales and even insects are down since the spill, which accelerated the loss of tidal marshes. Researchers also discovered that plumes of oil fall down to sea beds like ocean snow, killing great swaths of ancient deep-sea coral. They say the recovery has been remarkable, but losses remain profound.

Businessmen: New Orleans must reopen to save its economy
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A group of local businessmen is urging government leaders to reopen New Orleans soon, underscoring the friction between shutting down the economy and curbing the spread of the coronavirus. In a full-page ad in Sunday's edition of The Times-Picayune/The New Orleans Advocate, they say “a managed return to work” on May 1 is needed to save the city's tourism industry and other businesses. Gov. John Bel Edwards on Sunday reported 29 more deaths statewide from COVID-19. That is down from a peak daily total of 129 deaths on April 14. The governor said nearly 1,750 people are hospitalized in Louisiana, down from a peak of 2,134 hospitalized patients about a week ago.
Storms rake Deep South, 1 week after deadly tornado outbreak
MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Severe storms raked a wide swath of the Deep South during the nighttime hours, and forecasters are warning of the possibility of tornadoes just a week after a deadly twister outbreak in the region. The National Weather Service said Sunday that parts of several states are under a flash flood warning because of heavy rain and thunderstorms. The agency says tornadoes are a possible threat for parts of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina. The storm threat comes a week after Easter storms pounded the Deep South, killing dozens.
Baseball to beaches: Coast is different 10 years after spill

ORANGE BEACH, Ala. (AP) — As oil spewed into the Gulf of Mexico from a blown-out BP well in 2010, residents wondered whether their home would ever be the same. A decade later, it’s not. The Deepwater Horizon disaster changed the region, with a flood of spending altering landscapes and attitudes. Many cities have new life in ways unforeseen during the “summer of oil." Money began flowing shortly after the disaster, though much came from the 2016 approval of a $20.8 billion settlement that dictated BP payments through 2031. Projects vary from a Mississippi baseball stadium, to Florida ferry service, and an Alabama hotel. Some question the use of funds for business over economic needs.
2 killed by suspected tornado as storms rake South
HEADLAND, Ala. (AP) — Two people are dead after a night of severe weather across the Deep South. Mississippi emergency managers say a possible tornado killed one person there Sunday night. And a south Alabama coroner says 61-year-old Jerry Oliver Williams of Henry County was killed when a suspected tornado hit a mobile home Sunday night. Rescuers found the man's body under the wreckage, but his wife and child weren't hurt. The deaths came as firefighters had to work through storms to contain a blaze at the main music building at the University of Alabama.
10 years after BP spill: Oil drilled deeper; rules relaxed
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Ten years ago, an oil rig explosion killed 11 workers and unleashed an environmental nightmare in the Gulf of Mexico. Now, companies are drilling in even deeper waters where the payoffs can be huge but the risks are greater. Industry leaders and government officials vow to prevent a repeat of BP’s Deepwater Horizon disaster that spilled 134 million gallons of oil, killed fish, birds and other wildlife and fouled the region’s beaches. But some scientists and environmentalists say safety practices appear to be eroding and there are worries that spill cleanup tactics have changed little since 2010.

With no school, calls drop but child abuse hasn't amid virus
HELENA, Mont. (AP) — With schools closed and teachers unable to report suspected cases of abuse, child welfare agencies have lost some of their best eyes and ears as the coronavirus pandemic strains families. States are reporting fewer calls to child abuse hotlines, not because officials believe there are fewer cases but because they’re going unreported. Agencies nationwide are asking neighbors, relatives, store workers and others to fill the reporting gaps that have emerged with school closures. Officials say child abuse and neglect are likely to increase with families facing job losses and being locked down together at home during the outbreak.

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