Jimmy Carter returns home, will teach Sunday school

ATLANTA — President Jimmy Carter was released from Phoebe Sumter Medical Center in Georgia on Thursday and will continue to recuperate from a broken hip at home, according to information from The Carter Center.

The former president will undergo physical therapy as part of his recovery from hip replacement surgery.

He broke the hip Monday when he took a fall while preparing to go turkey hunting in south Georgia.

The Carter Center said that Carter will teach Sunday school on his regularly scheduled date this weekend at Maranatha Baptist Church.

Also, Wednesday, former First Lady Rosalynn Carter felt faint and was admitted overnight to the hospital for observation and testing. She left the hospital with President Carter Thursday morning.

Both of the Carter’s extended their thanks to the many people who sent well wishes the past few days.

— The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Former Homeland Security agent pleads guilty to stealing drug money from suspects

SAN DIEGO — A former Homeland Security Investigations agent accused of pulling over drug money-smuggling suspects and stealing the dirty cash has pleaded guilty to 17 charges in the wide-ranging investigation.

The change of plea, entered April 29, comes a week before Tyrone Cedric Duren was set to begin trial in San Diego federal court.

Duren, who started his law enforcement career as a California Highway Patrol officer, switched to HSI, where he was assigned to a squad that investigated the smuggling of drug proceeds into Mexico.

Beginning in 2010, Duren said he stopped bulk cash smugglers and seized the drug proceeds for himself, according to the plea agreement.

“I committed these offenses because I was experiencing financial pressures from the severe downturn in the real estate market and because my salary decreased substantially from when I was a member of the California Highway Patrol to when I transferred to HSI,” he admitted, according to court records.

The investigation kicked off in 2013 when authorities received a complaint from a Mexican citizen that Duren had stolen $440,000 from him during an off-the-books traffic stop on Interstate 805, according to court records.

Duren, who lived in Bonsall at the time, said he hid the stolen money by depositing the cash in amounts under $10,000 at banks, so as not to trigger a mandatory report by the banks. He also paid for large expenditures in cash and hoarded money at his home.

Duren also pleaded guilty to lying to federal investigators when asked about the allegations, as well as tax evasion.

His wife, Jennifer, pleaded guilty last year to one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud.

—S.D. Union-Tribune

Lawmakers won’t vote this year to end religious exemption from vaccination

HARTFORD, Conn. — Leaders in the Connecticut legislature said Thursday they will not vote this year on a proposal to prohibit parents from citing religion as a reason not to vaccinate their school-age children.

Lawmakers had considered eliminating the religious exemption from vaccination in the face of the nation’s worst measles outbreak in decades. They were also concerned by an uptick in religious waivers and new data that showed pockets of vulnerability, although the state’s overall vaccination rate remains high.

House Majority Leader Matt Ritter, D-Hartford, said one hang-up among lawmakers was how to deal with children already enrolled in school who had received the vaccine waivers.

“Let me be very clear, there was overwhelming support in our Caucus to remove the religious exemption,” Ritter said. “But there were real concerns over what to do for unvaccinated children who are already in school — we need a solution that minimizes upheaval to these children and maximizes the overall public health benefits. Our goal is to ensure Connecticut schools are not put at risk of an outbreak and students are not exposes to dangerous, and preventable, diseases.”

Legislators said they will ask the state Department of Health to study the issue and provide recommendations by Jan. 1 on how best to move forward.

Data from the state health department, released earlier this month, showed more than 100 public and private schools in Connecticut where the overall vaccination rate was below the 95% “herd immunity” level recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

— Hartford Courant

Moviegoer’s neck crushed by electronic footrest after he dropped keys, phone

LONDON — A young British man died after his neck was crushed by an electronic footrest while he was searching under his luxury cinema seat for dropped keys and a cellphone, a coroner’s inquest heard on Thursday.

Ateeq Rafiq, 24, became trapped in the footrest after watching a film from his “Gold Class” seat in the Vue multiplex cinema at the Star City leisure complex in the city of Birmingham in March last year, the BBC and other media reported.

Rafiq’s wife, Ayesha Sardar, and cinema staff spent 15 minutes trying to free him after the raised footrest of his seat came down “very quickly,” the broadcaster quoted Sardar as telling the first day of the inquest.

Rafiq died in hospital one week later from “catastrophic” brain injuries following a heart attack, coroner Emma Brown told jurors.

A government safety expert told the hearing that an electrical fuse had blown in the seat. The falling footrest would have pressed down on Rafiq with a force equivalent to some 750 kilograms, he was quoted as saying.

— dpa