Ricin like that mailed is relatively easy to make

Ricin like that mailed is relatively easy to make


The ricin mailed to the president and a U.S. senator is relatively easy to make but generally can’t be used to target a large number of people, experts say.

A Mississippi man, Paul Kevin Curtis, 45, has been charged with mailing letters laced with the naturally occurring toxin to President Barack Obama and U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker. Authorities say he sent a third threatening letter to a Mississippi judge, though that letter is still being tested for the presence of ricin. Curtis has denied making the ricin and mailing the letters.

A Senate official said Thursday that the ricin was not weaponized, meaning it wasn’t in a form that could easily enter the body.

China’s Sichuan hit by earthquake


A powerful earthquake jolted China’s Sichuan province today, in the same area where a devastating quake struck five years ago.

The Chinese government’s seismological bureau and state-run television said there were no initial reports of casualties in the quake, which hit shortly after 8 a.m. near the town of Linqiong.

The bureau initially measured the quake at magnitude-7, while the U.S. Geological Survey recorded it at 6.6-magnitude, powerful enough to cause severe damage. Its depth was shallow, less than 8 miles, which could magnify the impact.

The Xinhua News Agency said that the quake rattled buildings in the provincial capital of Chengdu, 70 miles to the east.

The epicenter lies along the same Longmenshan fault where the devastating 7.9-magnitude quake struck in May 2008, leaving more than 90,000 people dead or missing and presumed dead.

Colo. prosecutors make case for death


Prosecutors in the deadly Colorado theater shootings say that if suspect James Holmes is convicted, they will argue he should be executed because one of the victims was a child and because the attack was an ambush.

Prosecutors filed a court document Friday listing aggravating factors they plan to raise in a possible death-penalty phase of the trial if the jury convicts Holmes of murder and attempted murder.

Holmes is charged with killing 12 people and injuring 70 in the July 20 shootings. Prosecutors announced three weeks ago they would seek the death penalty.

Also Friday, Holmes’ lawyers again suggested they might challenge the constitutionality of state laws on the death penalty and insanity pleas. They say overlapping elements of the laws could violate the Constitution.

Associated Press

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