CHICAGO — Embattled Illinois Sen. Roland Burris said Friday he won’t run for a full term in 2010, making official the end of a short Senate career clouded by questions about his appointment by disgraced former Gov. Rod Blagojevich. Burris, the only black U.S. senator, said he was bowing out of the 2010 race because of the burden of raising money to pay for a campaign. “I was called to choose between spending my time raising funds, or spending my time raising issues for my state. I believe that the business of the people of the state of Illinois should always come first,” said Burris, who complained political campaigns have gotten too expensive.
5 years for gun near Obama
A judge on Friday gave a five-year prison sentence to a 31-year-old man convicted of having a gun outside President Barack Obama’s Chicago home in September. Omhari Sengstacke was convicted last month of two counts of aggravated unlawful use of a weapon. He was arrested in September after repeatedly trying to pass security barriers near Obama’s home, saying he wanted to talk to Obama about a job. Police found a handgun and a bulletproof vest in Sengstacke’s car.
D.C.: Bank robbery statistics
The FBI’s annual report on bank robberies shows that the feds recovered only a small portion of stolen loot and identified just 40 percent of the perpetrators in the 6,700 bank heists last year. Of the $61.6 million in cash stolen, only about 19 percent — $8.9 million — was recovered. Although the report does not reveal the arrest rate, it does show that just 3,342 of the 8,393 crooks known to be involved in the robberies were identified. Of those identified, 43 percent were determined to be narcotics users and 19 percent had previously been convicted of a bank-related crime.
Idaho: Military flyover flap
Idaho Lt. Gov. Brad Little said Friday military officials made a mistake by denying a flyover at the annual God and Country Family Festival in Nampa earlier this month. The U.S. Department of Defense cited a policy not to allow military flyovers at events with a religious theme when it didn’t allow planes to buzz the event in Nampa on July 1. “This is political correctness run amok,” Little said. He said he wondered if other events would be excluded from fly-bys if participants sang “God Bless America.”
New Jersey: Chocolate death
Camden officials said a cocoa processing center was operating illegally when a worker fell into a vat of melting chocolate and died. The city cited Lyons &Sons Inc. for not having a business license after Vincent Smith died Wednesday. Authorities said the 29-year-old was hit by a mixing paddle. The Food and Drug Administration is monitoring the plant to make sure chocolate that came into contact with the victim does not get shipped.
Brazil: Airbus search ends
Two ships using U.S. listening devices to search for the black boxes of an Air France Airbus A330 airliner were ending their hunt Friday, an American commander said. A French nuclear submarine, however, will continue to look. The commander of American military forces supporting the effort, said one ship towing a U.S. Navy listening device had already stopped searching. “The last ship will be departing the search area (Friday),” he said.
Somalia: Prisoners beheaded
Islamist fighters on Friday beheaded seven prisoners accused of abandoning the Muslim faith and spying for the government in the largest mass execution since the Islamists were pushed from power two and a half years ago. The public killings in Baidoa followed weeks of fierce fighting as the Islamists try to seize Somalia’s capital, Mogadishu, amid mounting concerns about the influx of hundreds of foreign fighters to the failed state.
Sweden: Britney irks photogs
Four major Swedish newspapers have threatened to boycott a Britney Spears concert in Stockholm because of restrictions imposed on their photographers. Spears is scheduled to perform on July 13. Dagens Nyheter, Svenska Dagbladet, Expressen and Aftonbladet said they won’t send photographers to the show unless Spears agrees to scrap certain conditions on how the images can be used. The contract bars the papers from reselling the pictures and from publishing them more than 30 days after the concert.
From Herald news services