- - Wednesday, September 5, 2012

DALLAS — Health officials say it’s the worst year ever for West Nile in Texas, which has seen more than half of the country’s deaths from the virus this year.

Texas Department of State Health Services Commissioner David Lakey said Wednesday that at least 40 people have died from the virus in Texas. The state has recorded at least 495 cases of neuroinvasive West Nile, the most serious form of the illness.

That’s already worse than in all of 2003, when Texas had 439 neuroinvasive cases and 40 deaths.

Federal officials say there have been at least 87 deaths nationwide this year.

Dr. Lakey said numbers are expected to increase through mid-October, but that there are indications August marked the peak, especially in the hard-hit North Texas area that includes Dallas and Fort Worth.


Padilla to be resentenced Dec. 3 in terror case

MIAMI — Convicted terrorism plotter Jose Padilla will be resentenced in December after an appeals court concluded that his current 17-year prison term was far too lenient for a trained al Qaeda soldier and former violent gang member.

U.S. District Judge Marcia Cooke on Wednesday set a Dec. 3 date for resentencing. Prosecutors previously sought the maximum life sentence for Padilla but declined to say whether they would do so again.

Padilla, a 41-year-old U.S. citizen and Muslim convert, was convicted in 2007 along with two others of terrorism support and conspiracy charges. Prior to his indictment in Miami, Padilla was held at a Navy brig for more than three years without charge as an enemy combatant.

When Judge Cooke sentenced Padilla in 2008, she gave him credit for his time in the brig and allowed other sentencing discounts totaling about 12 years below the 30-year minimum for his convictions. The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals sided with the Justice Department in concluding Judge Cooke committed several errors in not adding years for Padilla’s training at an al Qaeda camp in Afghanistan and accounting for his 17 prior arrests.

The U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear Padilla’s appeal of that ruling.


Girl, 7, recovers from bubonic plague

DENVER — The parents of 7-year-old Sierra Jane Downing thought she had the flu when she felt sick days after camping in southwest Colorado.

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