WORLD DIGEST || Ohio executes killer who stabbed man he met in bar


Ohio executes killer who stabbed man he met in bar

LUCASVILLE

A weeping inmate apologized for choking and fatally stabbing a man he met in a bar in 1985 moments before he was put to death Wednesday in the first Ohio execution in nearly a year.

The execution of Robert Van Hook by lethal injection was carried out at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility with three members of the victim's family watching on the other side of a viewing window.

During the execution, Van Hook, crying, told his victim's sister, brother and brother-in-law, "I'm very sorry for taking your brother away from you."

Van Hook, 58, had no remaining appeals, and Republican Gov. John Kasich rejected his request for clemency without comment.

Ohio chemical plant explodes, wide area evacuated in Akron

AKRON

An Ohio chemical manufacturing plant has exploded and caught fire, prompting authorities to evacuate a large area around it.

Emerald Performance Materials says it evacuated the plant in Akron and notified the fire department after the Wednesday afternoon explosion. It says the cause of the blast is unknown and first-responders are on the scene investigating. It says all employees have been accounted for, and there have been no reported injuries.

No one was inside the plant at the time of the explosion, which shook the area.

Tale of sex, deception emerges about suspected agent

WASHINGTON

A 29-year-old gun-rights activist suspected of being a covert Russian agent was likely in contact with Kremlin operatives while living in the United States, prosecutors said Wednesday in court papers that also accused her of using sex and deception to forge influential connections.

The woman, Maria Butina, was observed by the FBI dining privately with a Russian diplomat suspected of being an intelligence operative in the weeks before the envoy's departure from the U.S. last March, prosecutors say. She also had contact information for people who investigators believe were employees of Russia's Federal Security Services, or FSB, the successor intelligence agency to the KGB.

The allegations, made in court filings aimed at persuading a judge to keep Butina in custody, add to the portrait of a Russian woman who the Justice Department says worked covertly to establish back-channel lines of communication to the Kremlin and infiltrate U.S. political organizations, including the National Rifle Association, and gather intelligence for a senior Russian official to whom she reported.

Police: 2 kids suffer bites in possible shark attacks

ISLIP, N.Y.

Two children were bitten in the leg in the waters off New York's Fire Island on Wednesday in possible shark attacks, prompting beach closings, authorities said.

Suffolk County police said they were investigating the separate incidents, which occurred less than 5 miles apart at Sailors Haven and Atlantique beaches. Both beaches were temporarily closed.

A 13-year-old boy was bitten while on a boogie board at Atlantique beach and was treated at a hospital, according to Town of Islip spokeswoman Caroline Smith. EMTs at the scene removed a tooth from the boy's leg.

At Sailors Haven beach, a 12-year-old girl suffered bite marks "consistent with a large fish" while wading, said Elizabeth Rogers, a spokeswoman for Fire Island National Seashore, which runs the beach.

Associated Press

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