First Drip (12/23/14): Abortion ultrasound law overturned, more



The North Carolina abortion law that requires physicians show patients an ultrasound of their baby is a violation of the doctors' First Amendment, says a federal appeals court. The law, which was passed in 2011 despite a veto by then-governor Bev Perdue, has been struck down.

A Baltimore judge declared a mistrial in the second trial of Michael Maurice Johnson, the man accused of killing Phylicia Barnes of Monroe. "The Baltimore Sun reported that the judge declared the mistrial because prosecutors played a wiretap conversation which was supposed to be withheld."

A new poet laureate has been named in North Carolina. In a stark contrast to the governor's previous choice in July (Valerie Macon, who self-published two books), Shelby Stephenson was chosen by a panel of literary experts. He's won numerous literary awards, including being inducted into the N.C. Literary Hall of Fame.

After President Obama announced the move to "normalize" relations with Cuba, some authorities have been pushing for the country to hand over "America's most-wanted woman, Joanne Chesimard," who killed a New Jersey state trooper in the '70s. Cuba's Foreign Ministry's head of North American affairs suggests that probably won't happen. "Every nation has sovereign and legitimate rights to grant political asylum to people it considers to have been persecuted," she told the AP.

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