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News Scan

California Mom Accused of Murder By Breastfeeding: Jesse McKinley of the New York Times reports Maggie Jean Wortmon, 26, was arraigned this week in a Northern California court on charges of second-degree murder, after prosecutors claimed she killed her infant son by breast-feeding him shortly after ingesting large amounts of methamphetamine.  Ben McLaughlin, a deputy district attorney in Humbolt County, acknowledged that it could be challenge to convince a jury that Wortmon had the requisite intent for murder, but said, "I think that her conduct is, or was, so intentionally reckless that it rises to the level of implied malice.  And I think that a mother who is breast-feeding using the quantity of methamphetamine she did, I think that rises to a second-degree murder charge."

California Bill Seeks to Combat Bullying: Jens Erik Gould has this story in Time magazine on a bill some lawmakers are pushing through the California legislature to combat school bullying. Dubbed "Seth's Law" in honor of a 13-year-old boy who committed suicide after he was bullied for being gay, the bill would require all public schools to put procedures in place to address incidents of bullying and to explicitly state their policies on discrimination. The bill  would also allow state officials to randomly check schools to make sure they're implementing anti-bullying policies.

Death Penalty Revival in the UK?: Rebecca Cafe of BBC News reports an internet campaign has reignited the debate on whether the UK should seek reintroduction of the death penalty. The Restore Justice campaign is calling for reintroduction of the death penalty for murderers of children and police officers, citing opinion polls that suggest 60% of the population would like it reintroduced in those circumstances. Paul Staines, who is spearheading the campaign, needs 100,000 people to support his e-petition to prompt a possible parliamentary debate on the issue. Parliament last debated the issue in 1998, rejecting it by 158 votes. "Politicians are complaining that there's a disconnect and that the public aren't engaged with them - maybe if they represented the views and the will of the voters, there wouldn't be such a big disconnect," he said.  See also the op-ed noted in Kent's post earlier today.

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