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Deadline looms for western states to cut Colorado River use

Seven Western U.S. states face a deadline from the federal government to come up with a plan to use substantially less Colorado River water in 2023. The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation is expected to publish hydrology projections on Tuesday that will trigger agreed-upon cuts for states relying on the river. States face the threat of proposing additional cuts or having them mandated by the federal government. Prolonged drought, climate change and overuse are jeopardizing the water supply that more than 40 million people rely on. States acknowledge painful cuts are needed, but are stubbornly clinging to the water they were allocated a century ago.

Thao, Kueng say they rejected plea deal in Floyd killing

Two former Minneapolis police officers charged in George Floyd’s killing told a judge that they have rejected plea deals that would have resulted in three-year sentences. The statements from Tou Thao and J. Alexander Kueng on Monday at a brief hearing in Minneapolis set the stage for trial in October. The pair are charged with aiding and abetting both second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in Floyd’s death. They and Thomas Lane were working with Derek Chauvin when he pinned Floyd’s neck with his knee for more than nine minutes as the 46-year-old Black man said he couldn’t breathe and eventually grew still. Thao said “it would be lying” for him to accept a plea deal.

Starbucks asks labor board to halt union votes temporarily

Starbucks is asking the National Labor Relations Board to suspend all union elections at its U.S. stores. The request came Monday in response to a board employee's allegations that regional NLRB officials improperly coordinated with union organizers. In a letter sent to the board chairman, Starbucks said an unnamed career NLRB official told the company about the activity, which happened in the board's St. Louis office in the spring while it was overseeing an election at a Starbucks store in Overland Park, Kansas. The labor board says it doesn't comment on open cases. More than 220 U.S. Starbucks stores have voted to unionize since late last year. The company opposes unionization.

R Kelly jury selection underway for trial fixing allegations

Jury selection is underway at R. Kelly’s federal trial in his hometown of Chicago. The R&B singer faces charges that he rigged his 2008 state child pornography trial by threatening and paying off a girl who he allegedly filmed himself having sex with when he was around 30 and she was no older than 14. Jurors acquitted Kelly on all charges in that 2008 trial. Some explained later that they felt they had no choice because the girl did not testify. The woman is now in her 30s and referred to in filings only as “Minor 1.” She'll be the government’s star witness in the upcoming federal trial. Jury selection started Monday and could continue into Tuesday.

Kansas hasn't started hand count of vote for abortion rights

Kansas hasn't started a statewide hand recount of this month’s decisive vote in favor of abortion rights. The Kansas secretary of state's office is waiting until the abortion opponents seeking it can show they can cover $229,000 in projected costs for the recount. The state’s elections director gave a western Kansas woman until 5 p.m. Monday to provide cash, a valid check or a credit card with a sufficient balance. The recount request came from Melissa Leavitt, of Colby. However, Wichita anti-abortion activist Mark Gietzen pledged to help pay for the recount. Voters on Aug. 2 overwhelmingly rejected a proposed amendment to the state constitution that would have allowed the Republican-controlled Legislature to further restrict or ban abortion.

Jury hears from key informant in Gov. Whitmer kidnap plot

A crucial informant is on the witness stand in the trial of two men charged with scheming to kidnap the Michigan governor in 2020. Jurors heard Adam Fox declare, “That's it!” when he drove past Gretchen Whitmer's vacation home in 2020. Dan Chappel was driving the pickup truck and secretly recording conversations. Fox and Barry Croft Jr. are on trial for the second time on conspiracy charges. A jury in federal court in western Michigan couldn’t reach a unanimous verdict last April but acquitted two other men. Fox, Croft and four other men were arrested in October 2020, just weeks before the presidential election. The government said they were making plans to get money for an explosive.

Michael Cox sworn in as Boston police commissioner

A Boston police veteran who was brutally beaten by fellow officers while chasing a suspect and fought against efforts to cover up his assault has been sworn in as commissioner of the police department. After taking the oath Monday during a ceremony at City Hall Plaza, Michael Cox thanked his family and friends who supported him through the incident that he said changed his life forever but does not define him. Mayor Michelle Wu called Cox a leader that Boston “deserves.” Cox most recently served as police chief in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

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