Daily Dispatches
Punxsutawney Phil
Associated Press/Photo by Keith Srakocic, File
Punxsutawney Phil

Midday Roundup: Ohio prosecutors seek pelt of rodent who predicted early spring

Newsworthy

More military mourning. An active duty Marine killed two fellow training officers before turning the gun on himself late Thursday in a double murder-suicide that has rocked Virginia’s Quantico Marine base, 35 miles south of Washington. One of the murdered Marines was a man and the other was a woman. Both victims and the killer were staffers at the Marines’ Officer Candidate School. Military officials have not released the names of the dead or speculated about a possible motive for the killings.

Remembering man’s depravity. President Barack Obama ended his visit to Israel with a trip to Bethlehem, where he toured the Church of the Nativity. He also stopped at the Yad Vashem memorial to victims of the Holocaust. “We could come here a thousand times, and each time our hearts would break,” he said. “For here we see the depravity to which man can sink.”

Final chapter. Nigerian author Chinua Achebe, best known for his 1952 debut novel Things Fall Apart, died this week, his agent announced Friday. Achebe, who was 82, was considered a preeminent African writer, although he spent much of his adult life in America. Things Fall Apart is considered one of the most important novels of the 20th century and is hailed as the starting point for postcolonial, indigenous African fiction. It sold more than 80 million copies worldwide and has been translated into more than 50 languages.

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Slip of the tongue? Ohio Gov. John Kasich said Wednesday he favored civil unions, but his support was short lived. Kasich told an Ohio television station he believed same-sex couples should be able to form legal unions to protect their assets, referring to the relationships as civil unions. But the next day, his spokesman said the Republican governor really didn’t mean civil unions when he said civil unions. Kasich meant to say he recognizes the right of same-sex couples to enter private contracts to manage health and financial issues, the spokesman said. Kasich remains opposed to both civil unions and gay “marriage.”

Death to the groundhog! Poor Punxsutawney Phil. Millions of snow-weary northerners rely on him for an accurate prediction about the end of winter on Groundhog Day. When he gets it wrong, the grumbling across the plains hints at mob violence with snow shovels and ice picks. In what appears to be an attempt to assuage the angry crowds, Ohio prosecutors have “indicted” the groundhog over this year’s erroneous call for an early spring. In his filing, Butler County prosecutor Mike Gmoser said Phil “did purposely, and with prior calculation and design, cause the people to believe that spring would come early.” Gmoser is calling for the death penalty. He’d better look out for PETA. But seriously, perhaps it’s time to admit that people expect too much of Punxsutawney Phil. He is just a rodent, after all.

Leigh Jones
Leigh Jones

Leigh lives in Atlanta and is the managing editor of WORLD's website.

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