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Briefs

Bogus sign interpreter had been accused of murder

– South Africa’s government was confronted Friday with a new and chilling allegation about the bogus sign language interpreter at Nelson Mandela’s memorial: He was reportedly accused of murder 10 years ago.

Officials said they were investigating the revelation by the national eNCA TV news station. But they were unable, or unwilling, to explain why a man who says he is schizophrenic with violent tendencies was allowed to get within arm’s length of President Barack Obama and other world leaders.

Investigators probing Thamsanqa Jantjie “will compile a comprehensive report,” said Phumla Williams, the top government spokeswoman. She did not say how long the investigation would take but said details would not be released until it was completed.

“We are not going to sweep it under the carpet,” Williams said. “We want to own up if there is a mistake, but we don’t want to be dishonest” to Jantjie.

Court lifts ban on horse slaughter

A federal appeals court removed a temporary ban on domestic horse slaughter, clearing the way for companies in New Mexico, Missouri and Iowa to open while an appeal of a lawsuit by animal protection groups proceeds.

The 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver lifted the emergency injunction it issued in November after the Humane Society of the United States and others appealed the ruling of a federal judge in Albuquerque. The judge said the U.S. Department of Agriculture followed proper procedure in issuing permits to Valley Meat Co. in Roswell, N.M., Rains Natural Meats of Gallatin, Mo., and Responsible Transportation in Sigourney, Iowa.

The appeals court said the groups had “failed to meet their burden for an injunction pending appeal.”

Christie appointee resigns amid probe

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie announced the resignation Friday of one of his top appointees amid an escalating probe into whether Christie loyalists deliberately created traffic jams at a bridge into New York City in an act of political retribution. The governor denied the lane closings were politically motivated.

The resignation of Bill Baroni, deputy executive director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, came a day after a state lawmaker issued seven subpoenas to Baroni and other agency officials, and a day after the Democratic National Committee had tried to link the controversy to Christie, a potential 2016 Republican presidential candidate.

Boulders crush house, occupants

Several boulders as large as a delivery van fell hundreds of feet, destroying a house and killing a middle-aged couple in a small Utah town outside Zion National Park, the mayor said.

Rockville Mayor Dan McGuire described a gruesome scene with rescuers finally reaching the bodies early Friday. He said nearby houses remain in danger.

McGuire said the $380,000 house was “totally flattened” Thursday.

The Utah Highway Patrol took geologists to the top of the cliff by helicopter to examine the dangers.

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