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MISSOURI: Canadian boy treated in U.S.

A 15-month-old boy at the center of an end-of-life debate left the St. Louis hospital that treated him after doctors in his native Canada refused, doctors and family friends said. Joseph Maraachli left Cardinal Glennon Children's Medical Center Thursday and flew with his parents and 7-year-old brother back to Canada, one month after receiving a tracheotomy. The Rev. Frank Pavone of New York City-based Priests for Life, which lobbies against euthanasia and abortion rights, paid for Joseph's transfer to St. Louis. Known as Baby Joseph, the child has the progressive neurological disease Leigh Syndrome. Doctors in Canada had refused to perform the tracheotomy, saying it was futile because the disease is terminal; an Ontario court decided doctors could remove the child's breathing tube. St. Louis doctors declined to predict whether the procedure will extend Joseph's life but his family believes it could add months.

ILLINOIS: Ex-guv back in court

Rod Blagojevich got a look Thursday at the first big challenge facing him at his retrial on corruption charges: Finding jurors who haven't heard about the ousted governor's case and haven't decided he's guilty. In a first day of jury questioning by U.S. District Judge James Zagel, potential panelists said they believed politicians take bribes and that they view politics as dirty. One wrote in his pretrial questionnaire that Blagojevich was "lucky that he wasn't convicted." Zagel declined to eliminate him from the jury pool, saying he accepted the man's assurance that he could be fair.

TEXAS: Gains made on wildfire

Firefighters made more progress Thursday in containing a wildfire that's charred nearly 150 square miles in three North Texas counties, but it's unclear when residents will be allowed to return to the Possum Kingdom Lake area, Palo Pinto County Sheriff Ira Mercer said. Fire has destroyed about 160 of the community's 3,000 homes. It is one of several fires burning in the drought-stricken state.


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