Morning headlines: Friday, November 4, 2011
Mo. officials revise number of E. coli cases in St. Louis
The number of E. coli cases in the St. Louis area is now at 24, as Missouri health officials continue looking for the source. The state Department of Health and Senior Services reported Thursday it had confirmed two more cases but also ruled out four cases previously thought to have been connected to the St. Louis outbreak.
No deaths or life-threatening illnesses have been reported since the first cases were reported last week in St. Louis city and St. Louis, Jefferson and St. Charles counties in Missouri and St. Clair County, Illinois. Investigators have been testing items taken from supermarket salad bars during their search for the source of the outbreak.
Somalian refugee in St. Louis pleads guilty to funding terrorism
A refugee from Somalia who worked as an airport cab driver in St. Louis has pleaded guilty to funding terrorism in Somalia. The U.S. Attorney's office in St. Louis says 31-year-old Mohamud Abdi Yusuf entered the guilty plea Thursday, admitting that he raised nearly $6,000 for al-Shabaab, which was trying to overthrow the provisional government in Somalia.
The U.S. government named al-Shabaab a terrorist organization in 2008. Yusuf admitted to soliciting money and coordinating the transfer of the money to al-Shabaab. The case was the first post-Sept. 11, 2001, international terrorism case in federal court in St. Louis. Sentencing is Jan. 31, and Yusuf faces up to 15 years in prison.
Akin files legislation that would track health problems related to burn pits
New legislation could help track the health problems of military veterans exposed to toxins from burn pits while in Iraq or Afghanistan. A bill filed Thursday in the U.S. House by Missouri Republican Todd Akin would direct the Department of Veterans Affairs to create a registry for people who may have been exposed to toxic chemicals and fumes caused by burn pits.
Akin says outdoor fires were used to dispose of trash and human waste, particularly in the earlier years of the wars. Some veterans who attended a Washington, D.C., news conference hosted by Akin said they have experienced respiratory problems and other health issues that they believe are related to the burn pits.