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Only in America
March 30, 2013

An Ohio prosecutor sought the death penalty for Punxsutawney Phil, saying the famous groundhog misled millions of people by predicting an early spring. "Punxsutawney Phil has let us down," said Michael Gmoser. "I awoke this morning to a snowstorm, low temperatures, and howling wind." Gmoser dropped the suit after Phil's handlers took responsibility for the error. Samantha Rollins

closing time
10:27 p.m. ET

A Civil War-era facility at the Baltimore City Detention Center that critics say should have been "condemned decades ago" will finally be shut down, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) announced Thursday.

The governor considers the Men's Detention Center, which houses 750 pretrial inmates, a "black eye" and "embarrassment" to the state. The inmates will be moved to other detention centers, officials said, but the women's jail, central booking facility, and other pretrial buildings will stay open. By closing the facility, Maryland will save between $10 million and $15 million annually "without compromising detainees' access to legal protections," Stephen T. Moyer, secretary of public safety and correctional services, said.

In 2013, federal prosecutors charged several people, including corrections officers, with letting a gang operate a drug-trafficking and money laundering ring from inside the facility, The Washington Post reports. Hogan said it "makes no sense to keep this deplorable facility open. ... The practice of continuously dumping hard-earned taxpayer money into this disastrous facility will not continue under my watch," and pinned the center's woes on previous administrations, who "ignored" what was going on.

Democratic state lawmakers and union officials criticized Hogan for not discussing the shutdown with them before it was announced. Advocates like David Fathi, director of the ACLU's National Prison Project, told the Post it's a move in the right direction, but won't solve a host of other problems. "This critical step...will have no impact on the dangerous physical conditions and shockingly deficient medical and mental health care in the jail facilities that will remain open," he said. Catherine Garcia

public health
9:25 p.m. ET

In New York City, two people have died in a Legionnaires' disease outbreak, with 31 cases reported in the South Bronx since mid-July.

In the Bronx, water cooling towers at Lincoln Medical and Mental Health Center and a commercial complex have tested positive for the disease, Capital New York reports. Legionnaires' disease is a respiratory bacterial infection that is not transmitted from person to person but rather through water mist from showers, cooling towers, and air conditioning. A 1976 outbreak in Philadelphia, which mostly affected people attending an American Legion convention, led to its name. Symptoms include fever, chills, and a cough, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control says that most people recover, but five to 30 percent of those who come down with the disease die.

Officials will test the water from other potential sources in the area, CNN reports, but Dr. Mary Bassett, commissioner of the New York City Health Department, said the city's water supply "does not pose a risk, so people should continue to feel confident in drinking tap water to stay cool during this period of hot weather." Mayor Bill de Blasio recommends that those who have symptoms get tested, but assured the public that most New Yorkers are not at risk Catherine Garcia

you got ghosted
7:58 p.m. ET

ISIS fighters looking for love were instead taught a lesson in catfishing by three women in Chechnya.

The women have been arrested on charges of fraud after tricking the fighters into sending them money for plane tickets they never planned to purchase, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. One woman said she was contacted on social media by a militant in Syria, who asked her to come join him as a "jihadi bride." She said she didn't have enough money to get there, so he sent her 10,000 rubles ($167). Instead of buying a one-way ticket, she blocked him, kept the money, and moved onto two other targets (adding 35,000 rubles, or $585, to her coffers).

The woman told Russia's Life News that she actually was contemplating going to Syria, but decided against it because "a lot of people I know have gone, but it did not end well for any of them." All three are facing a maximum of six years in jail if convicted. Catherine Garcia

scary
6:46 p.m. ET

On Thursday, six people were stabbed at the annual gay pride parade in Jerusalem, and two are believed to be in serious condition.

The suspect, Yishai Shlissel, is in police custody, Mashable reports. He is the same man who stabbed three people at the gay pride parade in 2005, and was convicted of attempted murder. He was sentenced to 12 years in prison, but served 10 and was released three weeks ago.

Calling the attack a "most grave incident," Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel would "mete out justice to those responsible for the act. In the state of Israel, freedom of choice of the individual is one of the basic values. We must ensure that in Israel every man and woman will live in security whichever way they choose to live." Before the event, organizers told Haaretz they expected about 5,000 people to attend the parade. Because of threats from protesters, there were several police officers on the scene. Catherine Garcia

'first world problems?'
3:37 p.m. ET
Adam Bettcher/Stringer/Getty Images

The death of Cecil the lion — an animal supposedly beloved by the people of Zimbabwe — had many people in the capital city of Harare scratching their heads over the uproar in America.

"You are saying that all this noise is about a dead lion? Lions are killed all the time in this country," a used-clothes hawker on the streets of Harare told Reuters. "What's so special about this one?"

"It's so cruel, but I don't understand the whole fuss, there are so many pressing issues in Zimbabwe — we have water shortages, no electricity, and no jobs — yet people are making noise about a lion?" another resident of Harare, Eunice Vhunise, told The Chicago Tribune. "I saw Cecil once when I visited the game park. I will probably miss him. But honestly the attention is just too much."

Even the acting information minister of Zimbabwe, Prisca Mupfumira, was confused.

"What lion?" he said when asked for a comment. Jeva Lange

RBG and BIG
3:31 p.m. ET
Mandel Ngan/Getty Images

When Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg first heard her nickname, Notorious RBG, she had no idea where it came from.

"I will admit that I had to be told by my law clerks, what's this Notorious," Ginsburg confessed last July. Since then, Ginsburg has been studying up on the legendary late rapper Notorious B.I.G., and she proudly showed off what she learned Wednesday night at a Duke University School of Law event. The hip-hop artist has more in common with the Supreme Court justice than one would think, she said: "Both of us were born and raised in Brooklyn," Ginsburg told the audience. Becca Stanek

where are they now?
3:18 p.m. ET
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Former major league baseball DH Jose Canseco plans to dress like a woman in an attempt at solidarity with Caitlyn Jenner. Canseco's performance will be documented in his internet reality show, Spend a Day with Jose, and TMZ reports that the former Bash Brother will be golfing, playing softball, and going bowling "as a woman" for the seven days his project lasts.

"Move over, Caitlyn," Canseco — who is not transgender — tweeted Thursday morning.

It appears Canseco is, at least, well-intentioned: "In the beginning, I didn't understand [Jenner's transition], so I was kind of, like, against it," he told the New York Daily News. "Once I watched it more and more, and realized what it really entailed, what he was going through, I started supporting him." Jeva Lange

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