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NATIONAL BRIEFS


WASHINGTON: When is a boat not a boat?

Not everything that floats is a boat, the Supreme Court ruled Tuesday, even if it is docked at a marina. The city of Riviera Beach, Fla., trying to evict Fane Lozman and his 60-by-12-foot floating two-story home declared it a "vessel" and used federal maritime law to win a judgment against the former Marine. The city eventually bought the floating home when it was being auctioned off to pay the debt and destroyed it. Lower federal courts upheld the action, adopting a broad definition of a vessel that included almost any structure that floats and is capable of transportation. The Supreme Court, by a 7 to 2 vote, said that was wrong in an opinion that reads as though Justice Stephen G. Breyer had a good time writing it. "Not every floating structure is a 'vessel,' " he wrote. "To state the obvious, a wooden washtub, a plastic dishpan, a swimming platform on pontoons, a large fishing net, a door taken off its hinges, or Pinocchio (when inside the whale) are not 'vessels,' even if they are 'artificial contrivances' capable of floating, moving under tow, and incidentally carrying even a fair-sized item or two when they do so."


ILLINOIS: 18 frozen heads draw suspicion

Investigators probing a shipment of 18 frozen human heads intercepted at O'Hare International Airport have determined they came from bodies donated for scientific research and were being transported for disposal, officials said Tuesday. U.S. Customs agents discovered the package, shipped from Italy. Because the shipment's paperwork was not in order, the heads were confiscated and sent to the Cook County medical examiner for safekeeping.


KENTUCKY: 2 shot dead in college parking lot

Two people were shot and killed and a teenager wounded Tuesday in the parking lot of Hazard Community & Technical College in Hazard, Ky. Two suspects were in custody.

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