Child dies after swallowing colored liquid laundry packet

A 7-month-old Florida boy has died after swallowing a candy-colored liquid laundry packet, raising concerns about the access that young children have to the increasingly popular products.

The Florida Poison Information Center said the boy’s death may be the first in the U.S. involving young children who were exposed to chemicals in concentrated laundry packets since May 2012, when the center first received an exposure report. The center said it has received almost 300 exposure reports so far this year.

The American Association of Poison Control Centers said national data for this year had not yet been compiled, but that this kind of poisoning death had not been reported in prior years.

The boy was taken from a shelter for abused women to the hospital Friday afternoon “in some distress” and pronounced dead about an hour later, said Kissimmee Police spokesman Capt. Warren Shepard. Florida Department of Children and Families said it had prior history with the family of the boy, Michael Williams, but officials declined comment.


Scores of federal judges say budget cuts a public threat

A letter signed by the chief judges of 87 federal courts warns that budget cuts threaten the quality of the nation’s judiciary system and public safety.

The letter was sent Thursday to Vice President Joe Biden in his role as president of the U.S. Senate. It cites a recent request by the New York public defender’s office to postpone the trial of Osama bin Laden’s son-in-law because of staff cutbacks.

The judges said years of flat funding followed by March sequestration cuts have had a devastating impact on all courts.

The judges said cuts in probation services have reduced the monitoring of criminal defendants to crisis levels. They said that in turn hinders crime deterrence, detection and response and allows more drugs and illegal weapons into communities.


FBI searches office, removes files at sheriff’s department

FBI agents have spent several hours searching the Philadelphia sheriff’s office, removing files and other items as part of an undisclosed investigation.

FBI spokeswoman Carrie Adamowski confirmed that agents searched the office near City Hall. Adamowski said she can’t comment on the nature of the investigation.

The sheriff’s office handles real-estate foreclosures, warrants, inmate transportation and courthouse security.

The office’s phone rang unanswered after business hours Thursday. No officials from the office could be reached for comment.


Solar panels finally installed on residence of first family

A promise to help power the first family’s residence with the sun is finally seeing the light of day.

Solar panels have begun to be installed on the White House’s roof, the first time solar power will be used for a president’s living quarters. The work makes good on a nearly three-year-old promise by the Obama administration to have panels on the White House by the spring of 2011.

President Jimmy Carter and President George W. Bush both employed solar power, but never for the residence itself. Carter’s panels were taken down by President Ronald Reagan.

A White House official would not disclose the share of the residence’s power that solar would provide, citing security concerns. The official would say only that the panels were American-made.


Officials find no hint of fire before fatal UPS plane crash

Federal officials have found no evidence of a pre-crash fire or engine failure aboard a UPS plane that went down in Alabama, killing two pilots.

National Transportation Safety Board member Robert Sumwalt said the plane was trying to land on the Birmingham airport’s shorter runway early Wednesday because the longer one was closed for maintenance.

Sumwalt also said at a news conference Thursday that investigators expect to be able to recover good data from two flight recorders taken from the wreckage earlier in the day.

The plane slammed into a hillside just short of the runway.


Police on duty at Hempfest — to give out bags of Doritos

They’re calling it “Operation Orange Fingers.” Really.

Seattle police will hand out bags of Doritos at Hempfest on Saturday.

Police department spokesman Sgt. Sean Whitcomb confirmed the unusual duty, saying he and other officers will distribute 1-ounce bags of nacho-cheese chips with educational information affixed to them about the state’s new recreational pot law that allows adults to possess up to an ounce of weed. The bags also will contain a label with a link to the department’s “Marijwhatnow” FAQ.

Police are having some fun with the assignment.

“Please ignore maliciously false reports that we’re giving out Bugles at @seattlehempfest. We would never, ever do that,” the department tweeted Wednesday.

— From news service reports

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