In the Nation

Posted: June 21, 2012

Zoo animals flee floods in Minn.

DULUTH, Minn. - Residents fled their homes and animals escaped from pens at a zoo as floods fed by a steady downpour struck northeastern Minnesota, inundating Duluth, officials said Wednesday.

Police officers helped track down a polar bear that got out of its enclosure overnight at the low-lying Lake Superior Zoo, where several animals drowned.

Duluth Mayor Don Ness declared a state of emergency after a deluge of up to nine inches caused extensive damage to the port city.

There were no immediate reports of serious injuries, though an 8-year-old boy was swept about six blocks through a culvert in Duluth. The boy suffered some scrapes and bruises but was fine, St. Louis County Undersheriff Dave Phillips said, calling it a "miracle out of this whole disaster."

- AP

Woman, brother guilty in killings

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. - A Florida woman and her brother were found guilty Wednesday of orchestrating the killings of the woman's millionaire husband and his mother in a grab for the family estate.

A federal jury said Narcy Novack of Fort Lauderdale caused the savage 2009 beatings of Ben Novack Jr. in a Westchester County hotel room and Bernice Novack at her Fort Lauderdale home.

Novack and her brother, Cristobal Veliz of New York City, were convicted of charges including racketeering, domestic violence, stalking, money laundering, and witness tampering.

They were acquitted of the charge of murder in aid of racketeering, which would have carried a mandatory life sentence.

- AP

Maker insists its meats are kosher

NEW YORK - The maker of Hebrew National is standing by the kosher status of its hot dogs and other meats.

ConAgra Foods Inc. says a lawsuit that claims its products aren't really kosher is without merit. The suit claims that ConAgra, of Omaha, Neb., charges premium prices for Hebrew National meats, which it says aren't really 100 percent kosher.

The suit says employees at a third-party kosher certifier for ConAgra complained of witnessing nonkosher procedures at meat plants.

The suit, which seeks class action status, was filed by Minneapolis-based law firm Blackwell Burke on behalf of 11 consumers.

- AP

Elsewhere:

A beluga whale calf believed to have been separated from its mother during a storm has been rescued from Alaska's Bristol Bay. The calf, estimated at two to three days old when it was found Monday, was taken in by the Alaska SeaLife Center after attempts by others to encourage the calf to the open ocean failed.

Gunfire erupted outside a Houston nightclub early Wednesday, killing three people and wounding two others as hundreds of confused concertgoers hit the ground in panic, witnesses and police said. The shooting occurred in a strip mall parking lot outside the club around 3 a.m.

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