The week at a glance...United States

United States

Los Angeles

Witness to baseball beating dies: A key witness in the brutal beating of San Francisco Giants fan Bryan Stow died this week under unusual circumstances. According to law-enforcement sources, Matthew Lee died after eating a salad containing nuts, which are believed to have caused a fatal allergic reaction. A coroner has yet to determine the exact cause of death. Lee was with Stow when two men punched Stow to the ground on opening day at Dodger Stadium and then kicked him repeatedly. The attack left Stow, a Santa Cruz paramedic, partially paralyzed and unable to speak. It’s unclear how Lee’s death will affect the case against Stow’s alleged attackers, Marvin Norwood, 29, and Louie Sanchez, 30, who were charged last month with mayhem, assault, and battery. Law-enforcement sources told the Los Angeles Times that Lee was an important witness, but that they also had physical evidence, as well as reports from other eyewitnesses.

Birmingham, Ala.

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Immigration law challenged: Alabama’s new immigration law, considered the toughest in the nation, was challenged this week by the Obama administration. The law makes it a crime to knowingly transport or shelter an illegal immigrant, requires schools to report the immigration status of students, and calls for employers to use a system called E-Verify to determine the immigration status of workers. State Rep. Micky Hammon, the law’s sponsor, said he acted because “the Obama administration and the federal bureaucrats have turned a blind eye toward the immigration issue.” Joyce Vance, U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Alabama, said, “To put it in terms we relate to here in Alabama, you can only have one quarterback in a football game. In immigration, the federal government is the quarterback.”

Washington, D.C.

Giffords returns: Seven months after she was shot in the head, Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords this week returned to Congress to vote on the debt-ceiling deal. The Democrat was greeted with thunderous applause and emotional hugs from members of both sides of the House. Her hair still close cropped from brain surgery, Giffords smiled, mouthed “thank you” several times, and, using her left hand, waved to the audience. In a statement, the congresswoman said she felt the urge to go back to work as the default loomed. “I had to be here for this vote,” she said. “I could not take the chance that my absence could crash our economy.” Giffords has been undergoing intensive rehabilitation since she was gunned down at a constituent event in January, but still has trouble communicating complex thoughts. She has not yet decided whether to run for re-election in 2012.

Washington, D.C.

FAA shutdown: The Federal Aviation Administration will remain in a partial shutdown until Labor Day or beyond, stranded by the U.S. Senate’s inability to agree on terms for its temporary financing. When Congress emptied out for summer recess, more than 4,000 FAA employees had been furloughed without pay and tens of thousands of construction workers idled, as airport repair projects around the country were put on hold. Airport inspectors have been working without pay, charging travel expenses to their personal credit cards, in order to keep airports operating safely. Air traffic controllers and airplane inspectors, who are paid from separate accounts, have continued on the job. “No safety issues will be compromised,” said Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “Flying is safe.” The Senate has held up agency finances over two contentious issues: federal assistance to underused rural airports and unionization rules for transportation workers. If the stalemate continues through the end of August, the government could lose roughly $1 billion in tax revenues on airline ticket sales.

Rockaway, N.J.

Dunkin’ Donuts sex sting: A Dunkin’ Donuts worker was arrested this week after she was caught selling sex along with Munchkins and coffee. Detective Sgt. Kyle Schwarzmann told the Parsippany, N.J., Daily Record that he had launched an investigation of Melissa Redmond, 29, after an anonymous tipster revealed her off-menu offerings. “She was a nighttime employee,” he said, “supposedly a very good one.” During the six-week operation—aptly code-named “Extra Sugar”—police watched as Redmond propositioned customers via the Rockaway outlet’s drive-through window before joining her johns in the parking lot. Redmond was eventually nabbed after she approached an undercover police officer with a list of discounted sexual services.

Stewartstown, N.H.

Girl’s body found: The body of missing 11-year-old Celina Cass was recovered this week from the Connecticut River, a quarter mile from the family home she’d shared with her sister, mother, and stepfather. “We have brought Celina home,’’ said New Hampshire Assistant Attorney General Jane Young. “But not the way we wanted to bring her home.” Young added that investigators were treating the death as suspicious due to the condition of the body, but refused to elaborate. “I can’t see why someone would want to do that to my daughter,” said Cass’s biological father, Adam Laro. “She was very kind in spirit.” Cass was last seen in her bedroom, playing on her computer, on the night of July 25. When her parents went to wake her the next morning, she was gone. But police found no evidence that Cass had run away or been abducted. “We just want answers,” said Cass’s 21-year-old half brother, Adam.

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