- Associated Press - Thursday, December 18, 2014
Competency hearings set in Slender Man stabbing

MADISON, Wis. (AP) - Two Wisconsin girls accused of trying to kill a classmate to please the fictional character Slender Man will go before a judge considering their competency to stand trial.

Defense attorneys are challenging findings from state doctors that the girls are fit to stand trial on attempted homicide charges. Waukesha County Circuit Judge Michael Bohren is scheduled to hold back-to-back hearings for both girls on Thursday.

Court documents say the girls plotted for months to kill their friend before they attacked her in May in a Waukesha park. The victim was stabbed 19 times but survived.

All three girls were 12 at the time. The Associated Press is not naming the alleged attackers because their attorneys have said they will seek to have the cases moved to juvenile court.

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EPA begins Oshkosh ricin decontamination

OSHKOSH, Wis. (AP) - Federal authorities have begun cleaning up contamination at the home of a University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh student accused of making ricin.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has taken the lead role in the cleanup, with support from the Wisconsin National Guard.

Oshkosh Northwestern Media (https://oshko.sh/1DQ2ozFhttps://oshko.sh/1DQ2ozF ) reports trucks and trailers lined the west side of the street Wednesday morning while about a dozen people, some outfitted in hazmat suits, tested the residence for the presence of the deadly toxin.

Twenty-one-year-old Kyle Allen Smith was arrested Oct. 31 after Oshkosh Police and the FBI executed a search warrant at his off-campus house. Smith has pleaded not guilty to federal charges that he possessed ricin and developed the toxin for use as a weapon.

The cleanup is expected to last through midday Thursday.

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Information from: Oshkosh Northwestern Media, https://www.thenorthwestern.comhttps://www.thenorthwestern.com

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Baldwin hails thaw in US-Cuba relations

WASHINGTON (AP) - U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin is hailing the move to restore diplomatic relations between the United States and Cuba.

Baldwin calls President Barack Obama’s announcement that the U.S. is re-establishing diplomatic relations with Cuba “a historic and positive step forward.”

The Wisconsin Democrat says more than a half-century of U.S. policy to isolate Cuba “has not achieved our national security objectives,” but has “created hardship” for the Cuban people and “failed to weaken the Cuban regime.”

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Walker calls change in Cuban relations ‘bad idea’

MADISON, Wis. (AP) - Republican Gov. Scott Walker said Wednesday that he thinks normalization of relations with Cuba is a “bad idea.”

Walker commented after being asked about the Obama administration’s announcement that it was restoring diplomatic relations with Cuba after more than a half-century of discord. Obama declared an end to America’s “outdated approach” to dealing with the island.

But Walker, who is considering a run for president in 2016, wasn’t convinced.

“I don’t think there’s been any noticeable change toward making that a more free or prosperous country,” Walker said. “There’s a reason why we had the policy in the first place. I haven’t seen solid enough evidence to make me believe there’s been a noticeable change to change the policy this country’s had through administrations in both parties.”

Walker told reporters that without sanctions on Cuba “it opens the doors to problems.”

“Changing relations with Cuba right now without them showing a noticeable change in what kind of freedoms they’re willing to put in place is a problem,” Walker said. “No matter who the president is, no matter what party is in charge, consistently in the past we’ve said if you want to have a more normal relationship with the United States you need to show that you’re committed to the same freedoms and rights we have here in the United States.”

The normalization announcement followed more than a year of secret talks between the U.S. and Cuba. Setting the stage for the diplomatic breakthrough, Cuba released Alan Gross, an American who’d been imprisoned for five years, and a Cuban who had spied for the U.S. In exchange, three Cubans jailed in Florida were released by the U.S.


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