small town news
March 12, 2014
Flickr CC by: Felinest

An Australian town is sick of being treated as a scratching post, so it has voted to permanently ban cats from roaming around. In the town Shire of Yarra Ranges, the newly approved "24-hour cat curfew" mandates that cats can't ever leave their owner's property to go do cat things outside of their home.

The bill was overwhelmingly supported by the 300 people who voted, with 60 percent in favor of a 24-hour ban. Cats will have the next six months to skittishly walk by strangers and claw at their neighbor's garbage cans before the new law is enforced. Jordan Valinsky

9:07 p.m. ET

The city of North Charleston, South Carolina, has reached a $6.5 million settlement with the family of Walter Scott, a black man who was shot and killed by a white police officer in April.

The settlement was approved Thursday by the city council, USA Today reports. A bystander captured on video Officer Michael Slager shooting Scott, 50, in the back as he ran away after being pulled over in his car. Scott died at the scene, and Slager was arrested and charged with murder after the footage was released. North Charleston Mayor R. Keith Summey said that since the shooting, police officers have been outfitted with body cameras. "As a result of this tragedy, important issues have been discussed not only in North Charleston, but around the country," Summey said. "Citizens have become engaged in the process and government officials are listening." Catherine Garcia

it's not always about you donald
8:32 p.m. ET
Isaac Brekken/Getty Images

You may think you know why Kevin McCarthy dropped his bid to become House speaker, but Donald Trump is here to tell you it's all because of him.

During a campaign event in Las Vegas on Thursday, Trump announced: "They're giving me a lot of credit for that because I said you really need someone very, very tough and very smart. You know, smart goes with tough. I know tough people that aren't smart. That's the worst. We need smart, we need tough, we need the whole package."

Last week during an appearance on Morning Joe, the Republican presidential candidate said he didn't know if McCarthy was "someone that's very tough and that can negotiate with the Democrats." The position, he added, needs to go to somebody "that's a very, very tough, smart, cunning person." Catherine Garcia

death penalty
7:37 p.m. ET
Joe Raedle/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Officials with the Oklahoma Corrections Department used bottles labeled potassium acetate during an execution in January, violating protocol, state records show.

Convicted killer Charles Frederick Warner was given a lethal injection on Jan. 15, and officials were supposed to use potassium chloride to stop his heart, The Oklahoman reports. On Sept. 30, officials received the same incorrect drug ahead of convicted murderer Richard Glossip's scheduled lethal injection, and a stay was granted by Gov. Mary Fallin (R) after the mix-up was discovered.

An investigation was launched by Attorney General Scott Pruitt (R) into Glossip's scheduled execution, and he confirmed on Wednesday it will also look into drug mistakes. "I want to assure the public that our investigation will be full, fair, and complete and includes not only actions on Sept. 30, but any and all actions prior, relevant to the use of potassium acetate and potassium chloride," he said. Fallin said Wednesday that "until we have complete confidence in the system, we will delay any further executions." Catherine Garcia

6:47 p.m. ET

Paul Prudhomme, the influential Louisiana chef who made Cajun and Creole cooking popular across the country, died Thursday. He was 75.

Born in 1940 near Opelousas, Louisiana, Prudhomme was the 13th child in his family, and started cooking at the age of seven in a kitchen without electricity. Prudhomme opened his first restaurant at the age of 17, Big Daddy O's Patio, outside of Opelousas, Louisiana, and in 1975 became the first non-European chef at Commander's Palace in New Orleans. He introduced Cajun food there, which, says, was "almost unheard of in New Orleans at the time." In 1979, he opened K-Paul's Louisiana Kitchen along with his future wife, K Hinrichs, and patrons would wait hours for his blackened redfish and sweet potato pecan pie.

Prudhomme's popularity spread across the country as food writers began to come to New Orleans to pay him a visit. He wrote numerous cookbooks, including Chef Paul Prudhomme's Louisiana Kitchen, opened pop-up restaurants in New York City and San Francisco, gave a demonstration at the Cordon Bleu cooking school in Paris, and started Magic Seasonings Blends, sold in all 50 states and 30 countries. Food writer Craig Claiborne said in 1988 that Prudhomme "has had the greatest influence on American cooking, in cultivating the public interest in American food, of anybody I know. ... People said, 'There must be more to Southern cooking,' and he opened up the floodgates to the whole field of Southern cooking." He is survived by wife Lori Prudhomme. His first wife, K Hinrichs, died in 1992. Catherine Garcia

Should you stay or should you go
4:22 p.m. ET
Alex Wong/Getty Images

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) saw numerous signs that becoming speaker of the House just wasn't meant to be. There was the Benghazi gaffe about Hillary Clinton and the impossible demands of the House Freedom Caucus. But perhaps his biggest red flag was the comment from "a lot of friends that were really supportive that said, 'Why do you want to do it during this time? This time will be the worst time. They're going to eat you and chew you up,'" McCarthy recounted in an interview with Politico, shortly after he abruptly announced Thursday that he was dropping out of the speakership race.

Although many thought McCarthy could gather the requisite 218 votes to become speaker, he knew that he "was never going to be able to get 247," he said, referring to the total tally of Republicans in the House. And, Politico reports, he wondered if he could be an effective speaker with "essentially the bare minimum" of support.

McCarthy said he wasn't so sure. "The conference is an odd place," McCarthy said. "Sometimes you gotta hit the bottom to be able to come back. This gives us a real fresh start — a new start gives a fresh start. Having a fresh face brings the conference together."

Read the full story over at Politico. Becca Stanek

4:20 p.m. ET

Choreographer Ryan Heffington has a talent for putting together some unusual, breathtaking dances — remember the video for Sia's "Chandelier"? This time, Emma Stone is Heffington's leading lady in the music video for "Anna," by Arcade Fire's Win Butler.

Filmed on the supposedly haunted Queen Mary ocean liner, Billboard reports that the music video was partly inspired by stories of the Lady in White, "a young and beautiful woman who, it has been reported, likes to dance to unheard music in the Queens Salon." While you really need the sound on for the full effect, Stone's performance is mesmerizing just about any way you look at it. Watch it in full below. Jeva Lange

a sob story
3:05 p.m. ET

Everyone had just finished saying the Pledge when House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) stood up and announced he would be withdrawing his bid for speaker of the House — a decision that has thrown a wrench into the plans of the confused and scattered GOP Congressional leadership. In fact, McCarthy's announcement came as such a surprise that Rep. Tom Rooney (R-Fla.) said some members were actually sobbing afterward. "The person next to me was crying," Rooney told The Hill.

Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) had the same story for The Washington Post's Robert Costa:

Likewise, Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-Kan.) told The Hill that fans of McCarthy's were in shock. "They lined up to give him a hug," Huelskamp said. "I saw tears in eyes. It's the strangest thing I've seen in a long time." Jeva Lange

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