1-year-old killed, 6 family members hospitalized in golf cart mishap, say NC cops

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A 1-year-old North Carolina boy was killed and six members of his family were hospitalized after their golf cart struck a pot hole and spun out of control on an Iredell County road, says the North Carolina State Highway Patrol.

Kipton Jester, 1, of Denver, was pronounced dead at Lake Norman Regional Medical Center, according to a press release.

Master Trooper Jeffrey Swagger said the 911 call came about 5:40 p.m. Sunday and the accident took place on Pintail Run Lane, north of the Trump National Golf Club on Lake Norman. The area is about 35 miles north of Charlotte.

Swagger identified the driver as Andrew Jester, 33, of Mooresville.

A golf cart was traveling north on Pintail Run Lane when it struck a pothole,” Swagger said in a release.

“This caused a mechanical malfunction in the steering and the golf cart overturned. There were three adults and four children on the golf cart. All occupants were family members.”

— The Charlotte Observer

Baltimore police union draws online criticism calling youths ‘criminals’ after incident

BALTIMORE — The union representing the Baltimore Police Department’s rank-and-file officers stirred controversy on social media by calling some youths “criminals” after officers arrested several people while responding to a large gathering at the Inner Harbor.

The Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 3 wrote late Saturday on Twitter that while some officers were responding to a crowd of rowdy young people, they should “Protect each other and don’t fall into the trap they are only kids.”

“Some are criminals!” wrote the union president, Sgt. Mike Mancuso. “Keep the current polices and Consent Decree in mind. If ordered to arrest put the name of the on-scene Commander in all reporting.

The FOP tweeted six hours after police were first called to the Inner Harbor when the crowd gathered. Mancuso did not return calls for comment Sunday.

In a Facebook post, the American Civil Liberties Union of Maryland responded that Mancuso’s statement was “UNACCEPTABLE!”

“We know that trust between community members and the police has been broken for a long time,” the organization wrote.

— The Baltimore Sun

Effort to ban death penalty for those with intellectual disabilities falls short in Texas

A move to ban the death penalty for defendants with intellectual disabilities that would bring Texas in line with a February U.S. Supreme Court order failed to get final vote before the end of the legislative session after lawmakers couldn’t agree on the process for determining intellectual disability.

The Senate version of House Bill 1139, authored by Rep. Senfronia Thompson, D-Houston, removed language prescribing a hearing to determine intellectual disability before the trial. The court ruled in February that the Texas criminal courts’ patchwork fix was insufficient.

Removing the hearing defeated the entire purpose of the bill, Thompson told the American-Statesman.

Thompson has pushed for the bill since 2003, but it passed the House for the first time this session, largely because of the court order.

— Austin American-Statesman

More than half of e-cig users want to quit, study finds

Finding a way to wean America’s 42.1 million adult smokers from their deadly habit is one of the great challenges in public health. But a new study offers hope that a trick proposed two decades ago — dialing back the nicotine that smokers get from their cigarettes — might help many quit, and steer others toward less dangerous means of feeding their addiction.

The new research, published Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine, also offers reassurance that smokers restricted to very low nicotine cigarettes will not smoke more, nor inhale more deeply, to get the same addictive hit.

In an unusual clinical trial, longtime smokers who were assigned to smoke cigarettes with less than 15% of the nicotine in standard cigarettes saw their tobacco dependence drop by as much as 20% after six weeks.

Smokers getting their usual dose of nicotine did not reduce the number of cigarettes they smoked daily. But those who got low-nicotine cigarettes smoked 23% and 33% fewer cigarettes daily, with “minimal evidence of withdrawal-related discomfort,” the researchers reported.

The fear that slashing cigarettes’ nicotine content would drive smokers into more dangerous habits has long discouraged U.S. health officials from rallying behind proposals to limit the amount of the chemical in combustible tobacco products.

That reluctance may be coming to an end.

A sweeping reduction of nicotine in smoked tobacco is “the most promising regulatory policy option” available for preventing the premature deaths of at least 20 million smokers, University of Wisconsin tobacco researchers Timothy Baker and Dr. Michael Fiore wrote in a commentary published with the study.

— Los Angeles Times

Austria’s Kurz forced from office, loses no time to prepare comeback

VIENNA — Austria’s conservative leader Sebastian Kurz was ousted as chancellor in a no-confidence vote in parliament on Monday, but launched his re-election campaign just hours later.

“I am still here,” Kurz told a crowd of fans and cheering People’s Party officials that were bussed to Vienna.

The far right and leftist parties that voted against him had nothing to offer except a wish to get rid of him, Kurz charged.

“They cannot stop the change that we have started,” he said.

The move by the Social Democrats (SPOe), far-right Freedom Party (FPOe) and leftist Jetzt (Now) pushed Austria into uncharted political waters: It was the first successful no-confidence vote in the country’s post-World War II history.

President Alexander Alexander Van der Bellen is set to appoint a cabinet of experts to govern until early elections, which are expected to take place in September.

Kurz’s ousting came in the wake of Austria’s current crisis surrounding populist FPOe leader Heinz-Christian Strache, who was secretly recorded in 2017 on Ibiza as he offered infrastructure and media deals to a woman posing as a wealthy donor with Russian ties.

— dpa