Third woman accuses Mayor Filner; Silversea Cruise Line fails inspection; Alabama abortion law gets blocked

7/26/2013, midnight
National news briefs for the week of July 22, 2013.
Mitch McConnell


A federal judge has issued a temporary restraining order that blocks Alabama from enforcing a key portion of a new abortion law that requires doctors at an abortion clinic to have admitting privileges at a local hospital. U.S. District Judge Myron H. Thompson’s ruling on Tuesday puts on hold what is considered the lynchpin of Alabama’s new abortion law, which is considered one of the toughest in the nation. Thompson barred the state from enforcing that portion of the law until March 2014, a month after oral arguments are scheduled in a lawsuit brought against the state’s attorney general by Planned Parenthood. The state has argued the measure is designed to protect the health of a patient. The plaintiffs call it medically unnecessary due to the safety of abortion procedures and said enforcement of the section will force them to shut down. Thompson’s order comes just days after federal judges in Wisconsin and North Dakota blocked those states from enforcing new abortion laws.


A surprise inspection of a Silversea Cruise Line ship by the Centers for Disease Control has resulted in a failing grade for one of the plushest cruise ships afloat. According to a report by the CDC’s Vessel Sanitation Program, the cruise ship Silver Shadow was cited repeatedly for using an “organized effort” to remove 15 trolleys of food from the ship’s galley to individual crew cabins to “avoid inspection.” The snap inspection of the Silver Shadow on June 17 in Skagway, Alaska, was conducted after an anonymous crew member sent still photographs to the CDC showing meat in crew cabin sinks and trays of food in the corridors in the hallways outside those cabins. It resulted in a failing grade of 82 for the Silver Shadow. Any grade less than 84 is considered “less than satisfactory,” according to the Vessel Sanitation Program website.


The longtime boyfriend of a female corrections officer at the Arizona State Prison Complex in Winslow said she was brutally attacked by two prisoners while escorting more than 50 unrestrained inmates by herself. The officer, identified only as Officer Benavidez, is hospitalized after recently undergoing facial reconstructive surgery after the attack. Benavidez’s boyfriend of 20 years, Bill, only wanted to use his first name for fear of retaliation. He said there is no doubt in his mind the two men who attacked her were trying to kill her. “Officers found a hit list with her and four other people’s names on it,” Bill said. Bill told CBS 5 News on Friday that a phone, as well as drugs, were confiscated from an inmate on a tip that came from Benavidez, a six-year law enforcement veteran. A few hours later, prison officials confirmed two men attacked Benavidez while more than 50 other inmates watched.


San Diego Mayor Bob Filner.


A third woman—a school psychologist in San Diego—came forward Wednesday, alleging that she was sexually harassed in April 2009 by San Diego Mayor Bob Filner. Morgan Rose told CNN she met Filner—then a congressman—at a Southern California restaurant to talk about her nonprofit organization. Rose said that Filner tried to kiss her at least four times during that meeting. In recent days, Rose has called the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department tip line set up for those alleging wrongdoing by Filner. Phone calls made Wednesday by CNN to the mayor’s office and lawyer Cory Briggs —who spearheaded the original complaints against Filner—were not immediately returned. Filner has been battling allegations of sexual harassment for several weeks, but none of the women leveling those claims came forward before his former spokeswoman, Irene McCormack Jackson, sued him for sexual harassment Monday.