Not for sale. A New York state senator and a city councilman were among six arrested and charged early Tuesday in a bribery scheme designed to get one of the men on the New York City mayoral ballot. State Sen. Malcolm Smith, a Democrat, allegedly paid more than $100,000 in bribes to City Councilman Daniel Halloran III, a Republican, and several Republican county leaders to secure himself a spot on the ballot. He planned to run as a Republican. Smith’s scheme came undone when he agreed with a cooperating witness and an undercover FBI agent posing as a real estate developer to pay off Republican Party leaders in New York’s five boroughs. He needed special certificates from each authorizing him to run as a Republican, even though he’s a registered Democrat.
Virus alert. Chinese officials are investigating a new outbreak of the bird flu that has already killed two people and sickened seven others. World Health Organization investigators don’t believe the new strain of the virus transmits easily between humans because no links have been found between the victims. But doctors still don’t know how the two people who died, an 87-year-old and a 27-year-old, contracted the virus. Both lived in Shanghai.
European financial woes. The unemployment rate in the eurozone rose to 12 percent at the beginning of the year, the highest rate since 1995. Economists expect that figure to rise throughout this year. The European economy has contracted for five straight quarters and is expected to continue shrinking for another three quarters at least.
Untimely death. Reality TV star Shain Gandee, 21, who led the cast of MTV’s Buckwild, was found dead in his SUV, along with two other men, late Monday. Gandee, known for his love of “mudding” and other outdoor pursuits, is reported to have taken his 1984 Ford Bronco out early Monday after drinking with friends at a bar in Sissonville, Ky., where the show is filmed. Searchers later found the vehicle, with Gandee, his uncle, and another man, half buried in a deep mud hole. Investigators have not said what caused their deaths, but noted the vehicle’s muffler was buried under the mud.
Expensive map. President Barack Obama plans to include a $100 million line item in his budget for a new brain-mapping initiative that is supposed to help scientists treat or cure Alzheimer’s and other neurological diseases. The president is comparing the initiative to the Human Genome Project and suggested it could give the country an economic boost: “Every dollar we invested to map the human genome returned $140 to our economy. Every dollar,” Obama told Congress in February.