American Scene: Justice wants full-court review of cigarette warnings

In response to a disappointing ruling on the government’s plan to put graphic warnings and pictures on cigarette packages, the Justice Department filed papers Tuesday asking for a full-court review.

In August, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia upheld a lower-court ruling that said the graphic warnings and labels proposed by the Food and Drug Administration were not constitutional or scientifically justified.

In its new petition, the Justice Department asked the full appellate court to rehear the case.

The plaintiffs, which include R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., argue that the government is illegally trying to force them to “rebrand” and advocate against their own products.

The government, backed by groups including the American Academy of Pediatrics, says its warnings are “indisputably accurate” and graphic and text warnings on cigarette packages are necessary to communicate the health dangers of smoking, especially to youth.

NEW MEXICO

Sky diver cancels try at supersonic jump

ROSWELL — Extreme athlete Felix Baumgartner canceled his planned death-defying 23-mile free fall Tuesday because of high winds. It was the second time this week he was forced to postpone his quest to be the first supersonic sky diver.

The former military parachutist from Austria planned to ride a pressurized capsule carried aloft by a 55-story, ultrathin helium balloon into the stratosphere, and then jump in a specially designed suit.

But winds and delays from a lost radio and problems with the capsule contributed to the decision shortly after 11:30 a.m. to abort the mission. Because the balloon is so delicate, it could only take flight if winds were 2 mph or below.

Mr. Baumgartner said he will try again.

FLORIDA

FAMU hazing defendant enters no contest plea

ORLANDO — The first of more than a dozen defendants charged in the hazing death of a Florida A&M drum major entered a plea of no contest Tuesday to third-degree felony hazing.

A judge didn’t impose a conviction on Brian Jones, 23, of Parrish, Fla., who switched his plea from not guilty. Jones isn’t admitting or denying guilt in the no-contest plea.

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