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Saturday, December 20, 2014

Nation briefs

New York
Three men and a woman were arrested with more than 350 bags of heroin on Tuesday evening in lower Manhattan, according to the New York Times. The arrests are part of an investigation into the death of actor Phillip Seymour Hoffman. Hoffman was found dead with a needle in his arm in a New York apartment on Sunday. He died of an alleged heroin overdose. None of the people arrested have been charged with selling drugs, and it has not been firmly established that they are connected with the actor’s death.

However, information that arose from an investigation into the actor’s death was what led police to the building where the arrests took place. The cause of Hoffman’s death will be determined in a matter of days by pending toxicology tests.

North Carolina
Former American Idol contestant Clay Aiken announced Wednesday that he intends to run for Congress, according to the Los Angeles Times. Aiken is running to represent North Carolina’s 2nd district. If he wins the Democratic primary, Aiken will face Republican incumbent Rep. Renee Ellmers. The candidate will run against two other Democrats in the primary. Aiken is openly gay and has one son. The singer said he wants “to help bring back, at least to my corner of North Carolina, the idea that someone can go to Washington to represent all the people.”

Texas
Suzanne Basso, 59, is scheduled to be executed by lethal injection in Texas on Wednesday night, according to the Houston Chronicle. If she is executed, she will be the 14th woman executed in the United States since 1976. Almost 1,400 men have been executed in the same time. In its history, Texas has executed four women and 505 men. Basso was sentenced to death in 1998 for torturing and killing 59-year-old Louis “Buddy” Musso. Basso allegedly lured Musso from his home in New Jersey with promises of marriage. Prosecutors claim Basso took over Musso’s Social Security benefits and made herself the beneficiary of his insurance policies.

Washington, D.C.
Conservative Republican leaders in the House decided to postpone immigration reform, according to the Associated Press. The GOP wants to wait until next year to work on the legislation. The party has the opportunity to win back the Senate this year during midterm elections. Republicans are hoping to gain six seats to beat out the Democrats’ current 55-45 advantage in the Senate. Reforming immigration legislation is a priority for President Barack Obama during his second term, AP reported. The Senate passed a bipartisan bill in June that would tighten border security and offer a path to citizenship for the approximately 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the U.S. The bill was stalled in the House.