The Wider World

‘Involuntary manslaughter’ plea in fire

IMAGE from orbit of the November 2018 Camp Fire that destroyed three towns and took 85 lives (NASA photo).

PG&E pleads guilty in Camp Fire blaze

An agreement announced Monday calls for Pacific Gas & Electric to plead guilty to 84 counts of involuntary manslaughter in connection with the deaths and damage that occurred in a 2018 wildfire.

Sparks from the utility’s aging electrical grid ignited the fire that destroyed three towns in Northern California’s Butte County. PG&E will pay a $4 million fine and pay for efforts to rebuild a canal destroyed by the fire, commonly called the Camp Fire.

The blaze took the lives of 85 people and injured 17 more. It ignited on Nov. 8, 2018 and was contained on Nov. 25 after burning over 153,000 acres and destroying 18,804 buildings.

Second try at stimulus package vote fails

A $1.6 trillion economic stimulus bill aimed at alleviating the economic impact of the coronavirus crisis failed Monday morning in the U.S. Senate on a procedural vote.

The package includes aid to businesses and individuals as well as tax cuts. Democrats argued that the bill placed the interests of large corporations above that of workers. Republicans claim that the addition of unrelated issues such as environmental rules and credits is delaying action.

Negotiation on the bill is continuing and an agreement is expected later today.

Mass., Michigan say to “stay at home”

The governors of Massachusetts and Michigan on Monday (today) issued orders to residents of those states to stay at home in an effort of curb the spread of the coronavirus.

Additionally, all “non-essential” businesses will close, at least until April 7 in Massachusetts, starting on Tuesday.

In Michigan, the stay-at-home order will become effective at 12:01 a.m. on March 24 (Tuesday) and be in force for at least the next three weeks.

In Maryland, the governor has ordered all “non-essential” businesses to close by 5 p.m. today, but did not issue an order for residents to stay at home.

States can eliminate insanity defense

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Monday that states can eliminate the insanity defense for criminal defendants.

Justice Elena Kagan, a liberal, joined five conservative justices in upholding the legality of a Kansas law, which does allow defendants to use insanity to request reduced sentences.

Four other states have similar laws.

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