On Thursday, a federal grand jury indicted FedEx, accusing the shipping company of knowingly delivering controlled substances from illegal pharmacies.
"FedEx is accused of conspiring to distribute prescription drugs to people who never met with doctors — a violation of the Controlled Substances Act," NPR's Carrie Johnson said. According to USA Today, the indictment stated that FedEx knew for more than 10 years that these pharmacies used their services, having been warned by the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Food and Drug Administration, and members of Congress. The company went ahead and set up special credit policies for the pharmacies so money wouldn’t be lost if the sites were shut down.
The indictment also shared stories from FedEx employees in Virginia, Tennessee, and Kentucky, who told their managers they did not feel safe delivering packages of pills to parking lots, vacant homes, and schools, where carloads of people waited. On several occasions, drivers reported being stopped by people on the side of the road, looking for pills.
In a statement, Patrick Fitzgerald, senior vice president of marketing and communications for FedEx, said, that there was no way the company could know the contents of all 10 million packages that are delivered every day. "We are a transportation company — we are not law enforcement," he said. "We have no interest in violating the privacy of our customers. We continue to stand ready and willing to support and assist law enforcement. We cannot, however, do the job of law enforcement ourselves."
Representatives from FedEx will appear in court July 29. Catherine Garcia
Japan defeated England 2-1 in Wednesday's Women's World Cup semi-final, and will play the United States Sunday during the final game in Vancouver. In the 92nd minute, England defender Laura Bassett accidentally sent the ball into the England net, CNN reports. Japan is the defending champion, and Sunday's game will be a rematch against the United States. In 2011, after a 2-2 tie, Japan beat the U.S. in the penalty kick shootout, 3-1. Catherine Garcia
At the Episcopal General Convention in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, Episcopalians voted to allow religious weddings for gay couples.
Many dioceses allowed priests to perform civil same-sex weddings, but the law was officially changed with Wednesday's vote, The Associated Press reports. Under the new rule, gender-specific language is removed from church laws on marriage, with "the couple" replacing "husband and wife." Clergy members can also decline to perform same-sex ceremonies.
On Tuesday, the House of Bishops approved the resolution 129-26, with five abstaining, and it was overwhelmingly passed by the House of Deputies, the voting body of lay people and clergy, Wednesday. The Very Rev. Brian Baker of Sacramento said the House of Bishops prayed and debated the issue for five hours before their vote. "We have learned to not only care for, but care about one another," he told AP. "That mutual care was present in the conversations we had. Some people disagreed, some people disagreed deeply, but we prayed and we listened and we came up with compromises that we believe make room and leave no one behind." Catherine Garcia
A man was killed by a robot earlier this week at one of Volkswagen's German production plants.
The 22-year-old died Monday at the Baunatel plant about 62 miles north of Frankfurt, Volkswagen spokesman Heiko Hillwig said. The man was setting up the stationary robot with another team member when it grabbed and crushed him against a metal plate. Hillwig said the initial investigation points to human error as opposed to a problem with the robot, which is programmed to do different production tasks. The robot ordinarily operated in an area of the plant where it grabbed auto parts and manipulated them, The Associated Press reports.
A German news agency, dpa, is reporting that prosecutors are considering whether to press charges, and if so, against whom. The other contractor who was at the scene was not injured. Catherine Garcia
The Baltimore Police Department will install video cameras inside all of its vans, more than two months after the death of Freddie Gray.
Gray died in April, one week after he sustained severe injuries in the back of a police van. There was a camera inside the van, but it was meant for surveillance and wasn't working, Time reports. Gray's death sparked riots across Baltimore, and in addition to adding the cameras to record inside the vans, the Baltimore Police Department plans to review its riot gear, since some failed to work during the protests. By 2019, the department also plans to outfit every officer with a body camera. Catherine Garcia
In California, residential water use dropped a whopping 28.9 percent in May, the State Resource Control Board said Wednesday.
That was a major increase over the 13.6 percent water savings in April, compared to April 2013. "My first response is almost disbelief," Mark Gold of UCLA's Institute of the Environment and Sustainability told the Los Angeles Times. "It is such an incredible number. These results are beyond encouraging; they're heartening. They make you realize that as a whole, people in urban areas are making the sacrifices necessary to get through this unprecedented drought."
On April 1, Gov. Jerry Brown (D) ordered a mandatory 25 percent cut in urban water use due to the drought. "The numbers tell us that more Californians are stepping up to help us make their communities more water secure, which is welcome news in the face of this dire drought," State Water Board Chairwoman Felicia Marcus said in a statement. "That said, we need all Californians to step up — and keep it up — as if we don’t know when it will rain and snow again, because we don't. If the drought continues beyond this year, we'll all be glad we did." Catherine Garcia
A man swimming off Ocracoke Island in North Carolina was pulled underwater by a gray shark on Wednesday and bit several times, authorities said.
The 68-year-old was in waist-deep water about 30 feet from the beach when a gray shark between 6 to 7 feet long pulled him under and bit his rib cage, hands, lower left leg, and hip, Reuters reports. The man was with his adult son, who was not injured. He was able to swim to shore, the Cape Hatteras National Seashore Park Service said on Facebook, and was stabilized on the beach before being flown to a hospital.
The incident follows two attacks Saturday off North Carolina's Outer Banks, and back to back attacks June 14 within two miles of each other on Oak Island. Catherine Garcia
"Smoke weed every Wednesday" could become a new mantra for members of Indiana's First Church of Cannabis, which held its first formal service today.
Indiana made waves a few months ago when it passed a controversial version of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), banning state and local laws that could "substantially burden" religious freedom. Critics of RFRA were concerned it would permit discrimination against the LGBT community, using religion as justification. Though the legislation was later amended to prevent such occurrences, Bill Levin, founder and "Grand Poobah and Minister of Love," created the First Church of Cannabis as a way to test the law.
"Of course I'm going to test this law," said Levin, a religious smoker himself, in an interview with U.S. News. "We're building a church with the cornerstone of love, the way religions are supposed to be built.”
In the middle of Wednesday afternoon, when plenty of attendees apparently had time on their hands, the church held its first-ever service. The proceedings had many things a regular church-goer would expect — including a performance of "Amazing Grace", a collection, and even a sermon — though there were, of course, some eccentric flourishes (church leaders took shots of "Kool Aid" at one point).
— MichaelAnthonyAdams (@MichaelAdams317) July 1, 2015
— michelle pemberton (@MichelleRocket) July 1, 2015
— Matt McCutcheon (@matt_mccutcheon) July 1, 2015
The service is going longer than planned so it really is just like real church.
— Abdul-Hakim Shabazz (@AttyAbdul) July 1, 2015