National meth lab busts up in 2011

Posted Feb. 22, 2012, at 8:22 p.m.
Last modified Feb. 22, 2012, at 8:51 p.m.

ST. LOUIS — Methamphetamine lab seizures rose nationally again in 2011, further evidence the powerfully addictive and dangerous drug is maintaining a tight grip on the nation’s heartland, according to an Associated Press survey of the nation’s top meth-producing states.

Missouri regained the top national spot for lab seizures in 2011 with 2,096, the AP confirmed through the survey that also found Tennessee was second with 1,687, followed by Indiana with 1,437, Kentucky with 1,188 and Oklahoma with 902.

The total for Missouri lines up with preliminary numbers AP obtained this week from the Drug Enforcement Administration, whose data appeared to show meth lab seizures remained about even during the past two years. But the totals for each of the other states surveyed by AP reveal the numbers are higher than the federal data.

Combined, the numbers indicate nationwide meth lab seizures rose at least 8.3 percent in 2011 compared with 2010.

Report: Crime at US public schools on the decline

MIAMI — Violent crime at the nation’s schools is declining, and students and schools are reporting less bullying and gang activity.

But new government data report an increase in cyber bullying and youth suicides.

The number of violent deaths declined to 33 in the 2009-10 school year, the lowest number on record since the agencies began collecting data in 1992, according to data released by the U.S. Department of Education and the Department of Justice on Wednesday. In the previous school year, there were 38 such deaths.

Thefts and nonfatal violent crimes declined from 1.2 million in 2008 to 828,000 in 2010.

8-year-old critical after Wash. school shooting

BREMERTON, Wash. — A third-grade student was in critical condition at Seattle’s Harborview Medical Center after being shot in the abdomen Wednesday at a Bremerton elementary school.

According to Bremerton police, an 8-year-old girl was shot by another third-grade student at Armin Jahr Elementary School just before school let out. A boy has been detained by police as a suspect.

The girl was identified as Amina Bowman. Her grandmother, Cindy Kocer, told local news station KING-TV that her family expects Amina to be OK but is asking the community for prayers.

Bremerton police Lt. Peter Fisher wouldn’t release information about the alleged shooter and didn’t address whether police believe the shooting was intentional or accidental.

Scientist admits taking, leaking think-tank papers

WASHINGTON — Ethicists are criticizing a prominent scientist for misrepresenting himself to obtain and then leak sensitive documents from a conservative think tank that campaigns against mainstream global warming science.

Peter Gleick, president of a California water research institute and winner of a MacArthur genius grant, admitted Monday night in a blog posting that he pretended to be a board member to get fundraising, budget and other documents from the Heartland Institute in Chicago. He said he then sent the documents to the media.

Gleick not only is prominent as an advocate of mainstream global warming science, writing articles for the popular press, but he chaired a scientific society’s ethics panel as well. Last week, before revealing his document theft, he resigned as ethics committee chairman of the American Geophysical Union.

At least 49 die in commuter train crash in Buenos Aires

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina — A commuter train slammed into a retaining barrier in a central Buenos Aires train station during peak rush hour Wednesday morning, killing at least 49 people and injuring 675, federal police officials said.

Many of the train’s cars pancaked or jumped the tracks, killing passengers and commuters waiting to board at Once station. The cause of the accident was not immediately determined, but officials speculated that brake failure or human error may have sent the train out of control.

Police spokesman Nestor Rodriguez said the train was traveling about 15 mph when it hit the barrier and that the toll could have been much higher had it been moving faster.

Man’s childhood comic collection fetches $3.5M

DALLAS — Billy Wright plunked down dime after dime for comic books while growing up in the late 1930s and early 1940s, caring for the collection he started around the age of 9 until his death more than half a century later. On Wednesday, most of that collection sold for a whopping $3.5 million.

Wright’s 345 comics, nearly all of which were published from 1936 through 1941, included many of the most prized issues ever, including Detective Comics No. 27, which features the debut of Batman, and Action Comics No. 1, in which Superman’s first appears.

Experts say Wright’s collection, which included 44 of The Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide’s top 100 issues from comics’ golden age, was remarkable for its number of rare issues, but also because it was compiled by a single person in childhood who kept it in good condition until his death in 1994 at age 66.

“This really has its place in the history of great comic book collections,” said Lon Allen, the managing director of comics for Dallas-based Heritage Auctions, which oversaw the auction in New York City.

The copy of Detective Comics No. 27, from 1939, drew the highest bid Wednesday, selling for $523,000, including a buyer’s premium, Allen said. Wright’s Action Comics No. 1, from 1938, sold for about $299,000; Batman No. 1, from 1940, sold for about $275,000; and Captain America No. 2, a 1941 issue with Adolf Hitler on the cover, sold for about $114,000.

There were 227 of the collection’s comic books sold on Wednesday for $3,466,264. The remaining comics, which are of lesser value, will be sold in online auctions Friday and Sunday and are expected to fetch about $100,000.

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