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CALIFORNIA

Police clear out Occupy camp

OAKLAND — Law enforcement officers equipped with riot gear cleared out Oakland’s weeks-old anti-Wall Street encampment early Monday, arresting Occupy demonstrators and removing tents from a downtown plaza after issuing several warnings over the weekend.

Protesters appeared to put up little resistance, and officers were seen calmly leading some demonstrators away in plastic handcuffs. Warnings from authorities had been similar to those issued before officers used tear gas and beanbag projectiles to clear the encampment Oct. 25.

Officers made 32 arrests during Monday’s raid, Police Chief Howard Jordan said, adding that there were no reports of injuries to officers or protesters.

After officers blocked off the streets surrounding Frank Ogawa Plaza, some demonstrators gathered near the barricades and vowed to return. By 9 a.m., however, most had left the area.

The action came a day after police drove hundreds of anti-Wall Street demonstrators from weeks-old encampments in Portland, Ore., arresting more than 50 people.

Oakland officials stepped up calls for an end to their city’s encampment after a man was fatally shot Thursday near the plaza.

CONNECTICUT

Billboard campaign seeks Powerball winner

HARTFORD — Lottery officials are using a billboard campaign to try to find the person who bought a $254 million Powerball ticket in Connecticut.

The person who bought the ticket at an undisclosed location in Fairfield County has until April 30 to come forward and claim the prize.

The jackpot is the biggest ever in Connecticut and the 12th largest in Powerball history.

Rumors have been swirling about people who lost winning tickets, but Connecticut Lottery Corp. spokeswoman Linda Tarnowski says that, so far, nobody has contacted lottery officials to make a claim.

FLORIDA

Study: Many patients shun free heart drugs

ORLANDO — Give people free prescription drugs and many of them still won’t bother to take their medicine.

Doctors were stunned to see that happen in a major study involving heart attack survivors. The patients were offered well-established drugs to prevent a recurrence of heart trouble, including cholesterol-lowering statins and medicines that slow the heart and help it pump more effectively.

“My God, we gave these people the medicines for free and only half took it,” said one of the study’s authors, Dr. Elliott Antman of Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.

In fact, the researchers couldn’t even give the stuff away: They had trouble just signing up patients to take part in the study.

Nevertheless, Aetna Inc., the insurance company that footed the bill, thinks this approach will save money in the long run and plans to start offering certain heart drugs free to some patients. In the study, patients offered medicines at no cost suffered fewer heart problems and saved $500 on average over roughly a year.

MISSISSIPPI

Students on probation after blackface incident

HATTIESBURG — A sorority at the University of Southern Mississippi has placed six of its members on probation for dressing in blackface to depict the Huxtable family from “The Cosby Show” at a 1980s-themed costume party last week off campus.

The university and the sorority confirmed the incident Monday in statements released via the university. The students, all members of Phi Mu sorority, have not been identified publicly.

Joe Paul, vice president of student affairs, says the executive officers of Phi Mu and the women involved met Sunday with a group of black student leaders at the university.

Phi Mu national President Kris Bridges says the matter is being investigated and more disciplinary action could follow. She says the local chapter will sponsor a campuswide program on diversity appreciation.

OHIO

Struggling barber lets customers choose price

CANTON — An Ohio barber whose customers are cutting back on haircuts is trying to boost business by letting people trim prices to what they can afford.

Gregory Burnett has put a sign in the front yard of his Canton shop that reads “Times are hard” and “Pay what you can pay for a cut.”

The Repository newspaper reported that Mr. Burnett has accepted as little as $5 for haircuts normally priced at $12.

He is trying to appeal to customers such as Mike Cheek, whose visits used to be every few weeks but are now separated by months. Mr. Cheek says he sometimes lets his son or other relatives cut his hair these days, or tries to “mess with it” himself.

Mr. Burnett says his name-your-price deal helps both him and the community.

PENNSYLVANIA

Woman admits role at filthy abortion clinic

PHILADELPHIA — A woman who had no medical training but worked at what authorities describe as a filthy Philadelphia abortion clinic that performed illegal late-term abortions has pleaded guilty to conspiracy and other charges.

Tina Baldwin will testify against Dr. Kermit Gosnell, the clinic owner, who is charged with the murders of one patient and seven viable babies.

The Philadelphia Inquirer reported that Baldwin pleaded guilty Monday to participating in a corrupt organization, conspiracy and corruption of a minor.

Authorities say Baldwin’s teenage daughter assisted her in providing drugs to women undergoing abortions even though neither had any medical training.

Prosecutors have called the clinic a “house of horrors” where babies were born alive and were killed with scissors.

Five of nine other people charged in the case have pleaded guilty. Dr. Gosnell has denied any wrongdoing.

TEXAS

Man convicted of trying to help al Qaeda

HOUSTON — A Texas man accused of attempting to sneak out of the country with restricted U.S. military documents, money and equipment in order to join al Qaeda was convicted Monday of trying to help the terrorist organization.

Barry Walter Bujol Jr. was convicted of attempting to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization and aggravated identity theft. He faces up to 20 years in prison when he is sentenced.

Bujol, who is a U.S. citizen, represented himself at his trial, which was heard at his request by a judge instead of a jury. The verdict by U.S. District Judge David Hittner came after a trial that lasted less than four days.

Prosecutors said Bujol, 30, sought to join al Qaeda and to provide it with money, the military documents and GPS equipment. He was arrested in May 2010 after a two-year investigation and was taken into custody after using fake identification to sneak into a Houston port and board a ship bound for the Middle East, authorities said.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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