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THE NATION TODAY

NAACP names new leader for more active future

By the Associated Press  

ARLINGTON, Va. — The NAACP turned to an insider Saturday to help bring the nation’s oldest civil rights organization back to prominence. Derrick Johnson, 49, of Jackson, Miss., was hired as the NAACP’s 19th president and CEO after having served as interim leader since July and previously as vice chairman of the NAACP board of directors. Johnson said the NAACP will be much more politically active in coming years and will alter its nonprofit status so it can more effectively lobby.

CALIFORNIA

$417 million award against J&J voided

LOS ANGELES — A judge tossed out a $417 million jury award to a woman who claimed she developed ovarian cancer by using Johnson & Johnson talc-based baby powder. Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Maren Nelson on Friday granted the company’s request for a new trial, saying there were errors and jury misconduct in the previous trial. Nelson said there wasn’t convincing evidence that the company acted with malice and the award was excessive.

Lost hikers might have plotted deaths

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SANTA ANA — Friends and relatives of a couple whose bodies were found in Joshua Tree National Park on Oct. 15 say they believe the two got lost while hiking and struggled in the searing heat with little food or water before they died in a ‘‘sympathetic murder-suicide.’’ Rachel Nguyen, 20, and Joseph Orbeso, 22, had been missing for nearly three months after going for a hike in late July and failing to return.

KANSAS

Mental hospital could lose funding

TOPEKA — The federal government is threatening to cut off funding for patient care at the state mental hospital in western Kansas, saying the facility is not complying with federal rules and demanding safety-related renovations. The government is giving the state a month to correct problems at a 104-bed unit of Larned State Hospital, about 115 miles northwest of Wichita.

KENTUCKY

Prosecutor accused of organized crime

RUSSELLVILLE — A state prosecutor has pleaded not guilty to organized-crime and other charges. Gail Guiling, 64, the attorney for Logan and Todd counties, was arraigned Friday. She is charged with engaging in organized crime with 10 others in connection with the sale of stolen property.