World briefly 5/14


Philadelphia abortion doctor guilty of murder

PHILADELPHIA — An abortion doctor was convicted Monday of first-degree murder and could face execution in the deaths of three babies who were delivered alive and then killed with scissors at his grimy, “house of horrors” clinic.

In a case that became a grisly flashpoint in the nation’s abortion debate, Dr. Kermit Gosnell, 72, was also found guilty of involuntary manslaughter in the overdose death of an abortion patient. He was cleared in the death of a fourth baby, who prosecutors say let out a whimper before the doctor cut the spinal cord.

Gosnell, who portrayed himself as an advocate for poor and desperate women in an impoverished West Philadelphia neighborhood, appeared hopeful before the verdict was read and calm afterward.

The jury reached its verdict on its 10th day of deliberations. It will return May 21 to hear evidence on whether Gosnell should get the death penalty.

Gosnell attorney Jack McMahon called it a “very difficult case” to defend and said there was “a little bit of feeling on the defense part of what salmon must feel swimming upstream.”

Supreme Court rules in favor of Monsanto

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court gave a victory to Monsanto and other makers of patented seeds Monday, ruling they can prohibit farmers from growing a second crop from their genetically engineered seeds.

In a unanimous decision, the court said the patent for a specialized seed outlives the first planting. Otherwise, these seed patents would be “largely worthless,” said Justice Elena Kagan in explaining the decision.

Agri-business giants like Monsanto will be relieved by the ruling. They told the court they had spent huge sums of money and devoted years of effort to develop special seeds that can resist disease and grow more bountiful crops. The companies then obtained patents on these seeds, giving them an exclusive right to profit from them.

Industry lawyers said the system of innovation and profit was threatened by a bachelor farmer from Indiana who wanted to use the patented seeds without paying for them.

Vern Bowman admitted he liked Monsanto’s Roundup Ready seeds because they produce soybean plants that can tolerate weed killers sprayed on the field. Each year, Bowman bought the Monsanto seeds for his first crop of the season.

But later in the year, he turned to what the court described as a “less orthodox” approach for his second crop of the season. Rather than pay again the premium price for more Monsanto seeds, he purchased soybeans from a local grain elevator. This mixture, which came from nearby fields, contained soybeans that had been grown from Roundup Ready seeds.

New Orleans police: Progress in Mother’s Day shooting probe

NEW ORLEANS — New Orleans police hope a $10,000 reward and blurry surveillance camera images will lead to arrests in a Mother’s Day shooting that wounded 19 people and showed again how far the city has to go to shake a persistent culture of violence that belies the city’s festive image.

Angry residents said gun violence — which has flared at two other city celebrations this year — goes hand-in-hand with the city’s other deeply rooted problems such as poverty and urban blight. The investigators tasked with solving Sunday’s shooting work within an agency that’s had its own troubles rebounding from years of corruption while trying to halt violent crime.

Video released early Monday shows a crowd gathered for a boisterous second-line parade suddenly scattering. They appear to be running from a man in a white T-shirt and dark pants who runs out of the picture. Police say they hope someone will recognize him and notify investigators.

By wire sources