- - Friday, April 2, 2010

CALIFORNIA

31 face charges in meth ring bust

LOS ANGELES — Authorities say 31 people face drug conspiracy charges for helping bring large amounts of methamphetamine into the U.S. from Mexico.

A federal criminal complaint says the Don Chuy drug ring funneled meth into California and Washington using vehicle batteries equipped with hidden compartments.

Authorities have seized about 90 pounds of meth worth more than $5 million as well as 8 kilograms of cocaine.

Ten people were arrested during raids Thursday in California.

The suspected ringleader, Jesus Marquez-Marquez, was believed to be in Mexico and has not yet been arrested.

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA

Levels may mean panda pregnant

Scientists at the National Zoo in Washington have detected rising hormone levels in the zoo’s female giant panda, indicating that she could be pregnant.

The rising levels mean Mei Xiang could either give birth in 40 to 50 days or come to the end of a false pregnancy. She was artificially inseminated in January.

Reproductive biologist Janine Brown says zoo keepers remain “hopeful, but cautious” that Mei Xiang is pregnant. Ms. Brown says the panda’s hormone levels and behavior sometimes indicate she is pregnant when she’s not.

Veterinarians are conducting weekly ultrasound scans to look for a fetus. So far, they haven’t seen any indication of one, but it’s still too early. Panda fetuses don’t start developing until the last weeks of a gestation period.

FLORIDA

Tuskegee Airman Jenkins dies at 85

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