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Reuters US Domestic News Summary

Updated: 05-01-2019 05:22 IST

Following is a summary of current US domestic news briefs.

Lower Mississippi River traffic closed by grounded vessel

The U.S. Coast Guard said on Friday vessel traffic was closed in the Lower Mississippi River near New Orleans, after a deep-draft vessel had grounded. New Orleans, which sits near the mouth of the Mississippi, is an important transit point for energy, metals and agriculture commodities moving to overseas and domestic markets.

Johns Hopkins, Bristol-Myers must face $1 billion syphilis infections suit

A federal judge in Maryland said The Johns Hopkins University, Bristol-Myers Squibb Co and the Rockefeller Foundation must face a $1 billion lawsuit over their roles in a 1940s U.S. government experiment that infected hundreds of Guatemalans with syphilis. In a decision on Thursday, U.S. District Judge Theodore Chuang rejected the defendants' argument that a recent Supreme Court decision shielding foreign corporations from lawsuits in U.S. courts over human rights abuses abroad also applied to domestic corporations absent Congressional authorization.

Five children among victims of deadly Florida highway crash

Five Louisiana children traveling to Disney World were among the seven people who died in Florida in a fiery crash involving two tractor-trailer trucks traveling in opposite directions, law enforcement officials and local media said on Friday. The children, who ranged in age from 8 or 9 to teenagers, were killed on Thursday afternoon in a crash that began with a northbound tractor-trailer and car colliding on I-75 near Gainesville, Florida Highway Patrol spokesman Lieutenant Patrick Riordan said.

Manson family follower recommended for parole: media

A California parole board recommended Thursday that an acolyte of cult leader and mass murderer Charles Manson be set free, media reports said. Manson follower Robert Beausoleil, 71, has served nearly half a century for a conviction in the 1969 slaying of musician Gary Hinman, who was tortured for three days before his death, previous court hearings and news accounts said.

Washington D.C. food trucks feel the bite from government shutdown

Looking out from her food truck over a sidewalk left empty in downtown Washington on Friday by the U.S. government's partial shutdown, Farida Abou Draa said she felt like crying. "My business is to make people happy, to give them something to eat, to see their smiles," said Abou Draa, 38. "There is no people to make happy today."

U.S. top court takes up politically charged electoral map disputes

The U.S. Supreme Court is giving itself another chance to make a definitive ruling on the legality of the long-established but often-criticized political practice called partisan gerrymandering in which state legislators draw electoral districts with the intent of entrenching their party in power. The high court, which failed to resolve the issue last year, on Friday agreed to hear constitutional challenges to electoral maps drawn by Republicans in North Carolina and by Democrats in Maryland. The court will hear arguments in both cases in March, with rulings due by the end of June that could have enduring political consequences nationwide.

Democrats to push shutdown halt that Trump unlikely to accept

In their first action in control of the U.S. House of Representatives, Democrats plan to adopt a bill on Thursday to end a federal shutdown without funding a Mexican border wall, trying to firmly fasten blame for the 13-day-old closure on President Donald Trump and his Republicans. Passage of the bill by the new Democratic majority was expected to occur shortly after Nancy Pelosi is elected speaker of the House, returning the liberal from San Francisco to one of Washington's most powerful posts for a second time.

Two former South Carolina police officers charged in hurricane deaths

Two former South Carolina sheriff's deputies were charged with involuntary manslaughter on Friday for the deaths of two women who drowned while being transported through floodwaters resulting from September's Hurricane Florence, court officials said. The deputies were driving two female mental health patients on Sept. 18 when they passed a barrier warning of rising waters, according to The State newspaper. Floodwaters pinned their van against a guard rail, the newspaper said. The officers managed to escape their vehicle when it began to flood but were unable to rescue the patients, the newspaper said.

JonBenet Ramsey's brother settles lawsuit with CBS: attorney

The brother of slain Colorado child beauty queen JonBenet Ramsey has settled the lawsuit he filed against CBS Corp over a documentary theorizing that he killed her, both sides said on Friday. Burke Ramsey's attorney, Lin Wood, said the case had been settled but declined to disclose the terms.

U.S. court rules for Trump on transgender military limits

A U.S. court on Friday ruled in favor of a Trump administration policy barring certain transgender people from serving in the U.S. armed forces, handing the president his first legal victory on the issue after several defeats. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit overturned a decision by a federal judge in Washington, D.C., that blocked the policy, saying it likely violates the constitutional rights of transgender recruits and service members.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)