U.S. Briefs: Baltimore begins clearing bridge remains | WORLD
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U.S. Briefs: Baltimore begins clearing bridge remains

Commuters will face headaches as traffic is rerouted for years

Mike Pesoli / AP

U.S. Briefs: Baltimore begins clearing bridge remains
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Vessel traffic at the Port of Baltimore has virtually ground to a halt while crews remove the remains of the Francis Scott Key Bridge from the Patapsco River. The bridge crumpled into the water when the container ship Dali crashed into one of its columns on March 26. Six men working on the bridge at the time died. It’s unclear how long the cleanup operation will take. Baltimore is the ninth-largest port in America in terms of trade volume and ranks first for handling shipments of cars and farm equipment. Container ships headed to Baltimore likely will be diverted to other ports on the East Coast, so consumers probably won’t face a supply chain crisis. But some delays and shortages are possible. Shortly after the crash, the federal government offered $60 million in emergency funding, but the final cleanup cost is expected to exceed that. Baltimore-area commuters also will face headaches as traffic is rerouted. About 30,000 cars used the bridge every day. Experts say it will take years to rebuild. —Emma Freire


Death row inmate Alan Eugene Miller filed suit March 29, seeking to block the state from making him the second person executed by nitrogen gas. Miller’s lawsuit claims officials “botched” the nitrogen execution of Kenneth Smith on Jan. 25, causing prolonged suffering. Smith shook and convulsed for several minutes before dying. The suit says nitrogen execution violates the ban on cruel and unusual punishment. Another Alabama death row inmate, David Wilson, filed a similar lawsuit in February. Miller survived a 2022 lethal injection attempt that went awry after officials could not insert an intravenous line into his veins. Jurors convicted Miller in 1999 of shooting and killing three co-workers. —Sharon Dierberger

District of Columbia 

Two baseball fans are suing the Washington Nationals major league baseball team because they were too old to qualify for discount tickets. According to the lawsuit filed March 28, the Nationals offered a “millennial” discount to fans aged 21 to 39 to encourage more young adults to attend games. But Nick Snyder, who is 40, missed the age cutoff and said he had to buy a ticket at the regular price. Snyder and a fellow fan, 58-year-old David Coyne, say the deal amounts to age discrimination and are asking the team to extend discounts to older fans, too. Not long after the lawsuit was announced, the team ended the discount offer. A ticket to watch the Nationals’ home opener on April 1 ranged from $35 to nearly $600. —Juliana Chan Erikson

Shane and Jennifer DeGross

Shane and Jennifer DeGross Alliance Defending Freedom


A Christian couple sued state officials last month, accusing them of refusing to renew their foster care license because they will not use pronouns affirming a child’s preferred gender identity instead of their actual sex. New state regulations also require foster parents to take children to “cultural events,” including pride parades, according to lawyers with Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) who represent the couple. Shane and Jennifer DeGross were licensed foster parents for nine years before the state refused their renewal request. Their foster agency, Olive Crest, repeatedly appealed the denial. “We said that we would love and care for any child in our home,” Jennifer DeGross told Fox News. But as Christians, they could not abide by the new rules. ADF argued it isn’t the first time Washington has violated the First Amendment by excluding people of faith from the foster care system. In 2020, a federal district court ruled it unconstitutional for the state to bar citizens from helping children simply because it disagrees with their religious beliefs about sexual identity. —Addie Offereins

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After a monthslong investigation, federal and state agents on March 28 took down a sophisticated crime ring operating within Georgia’s prisons, resulting in 150 arrests and the seizure of contraband valued at over $7 ­million. “Operation Skyhawk” discovered drones were transporting drugs, weapons, and cell phones in and out of prison facilities. Raids also targeted a drone repair shop in Gwinnett County where authorities seized 50 drones. According to Gov. Brian Kemp’s office, more than 1,000 criminal charges have been filed against inmates, Georgia Department of Corrections staffers, and civilians. The corrections department fired eight employees following their arrests. Many of those arrested could face charges under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) in what could be the largest gang-related racketeering case in Georgia’s history. —Kim Henderson


On March 26, Homeland Security Investigations special agents arrested Uniontown resident Eric Tabaro Nshimiye for allegedly concealing his involvement in the 1994 Rwandan genocide that left more than 800,000 people dead. Nshimiye, 52, was a medical student at the University of Rwanda campus when significant ethnic divisions in the country spiraled into a 100-day killing spree that pitted ­members of the Hutu ethnic majority against their Tutsi neighbors. Witnesses say Nshimiye killed Tutsi men, women, and children by striking them on the head with a nail-studded club and then hacking them to death with a machete. The defendant, now a U.S. citizen, is also accused of offering false testimony in the 2019 trial of a former classmate. Neighbors describe Nshimiye, a Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. engineer and father of four, as friendly and quiet. His family released a statement calling the accusations “baseless.” —Kim Henderson


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