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Tuesday, 17 December 2013 09:48 Published in Local News
ST. LOUIS (AP) - The American Civil Liberties Union is suing a small southeast Missouri town after police allegedly threatened to arrest a homeless couple for holding a sign asking for help.
The ACLU filed suit Monday on behalf of the homeless couple, Edward Gillespie and Brandalyn Orchard. The suit filed in U.S. District Court in Cape Girardeau names the city of Miner and two unidentified police officers.
The lawsuit claims that in late September, Gillespie and Orchard were holding a sign that read, "Traveling. Anything helps. God bless." A Miner officer told them to leave.
The ACLU says the officer later showed copies of city ordinances related to vagrancy, begging and loitering. A second officer arrived and the couple was told to leave town or face arrest.
A Miner police spokesman declined comment.
Tuesday, 17 December 2013 09:47 Published in Local News
URBANA, Ill. (AP) - No injuries were reported after a suspected natural gas explosion in an unoccupied building on the University of Illinois campus.
The Champaign News-Gazette reports Tuesday morning's fire in Urbana was reported around 6 a.m.
The building was once a doctor's office and the former University Faculty Assistance Building.
Urbana Fire Chief Brian Nightlinger told the newspaper that authorities believe a natural gas leak sparked the explosion and subsequent fire that shot flames into the sky.
He says investigators will plan to disassemble the rest of the building to reach debris that's burning inside.
Tuesday, 17 December 2013 09:45 Published in National News
VATICAN CITY (AP) - Four homeless people have helped Pope Francis celebrate his 77th birthday at the Vatican.
They live nearby and were invited to attend the morning Mass which Francis celebrates daily at the Vatican hotel where he lives. One of the men held his dog as he was presented to Francis after Mass. The Vatican said Francis invited his household help to join him in a "family-like" atmosphere, and he spoke of them one by one during his homily.
After Mass, all ate breakfast with Francis at the hotel.
Francis already blew out the candles on his birthday cake, presented to him on Saturday by children at the Vatican.
Another present awaits him. His favorite Argentine soccer team, San Lorenzo, will give him a replica of their championship trophy.