Nation Briefs

Powerball jackpot builds to $325M, fourth largest

DES MOINES, Iowa – Black Friday shoppers in many cities briefly detoured into lottery retailers, drawn off task by the prospects of winning a $325 million Powerball jackpot – the fourth-largest in the game’s history.

Chicago resident Clyde Gadlin, 65, emerged from the bustle of holiday shoppers on Chicago’s Michigan Avenue, to stop in at a 7-Eleven to buy his daily batch of Lottery tickets, including Powerball.

For him, the game is a chance to dream – a single winner’s cash payout would be nearly $213 million before taxes – and he tries not to let the long odds burst his bubble.

Lottery officials say they’re unsure what effect Thanksgiving and beginning of Christmas shopping season will have on sales, which normally pick up in the days before high-dollar drawings.

Washington, D.C. on pace for fewer than 100 killings

WASHINGTON – The crack epidemic that began in the 1980s ushered in a wave of bloodletting in the nation’s capital and a death toll that ticked upward daily. Dead bodies, sometimes several a night, had homicide detectives hustling between crime scenes and earned Washington unwelcome monikers such as the nation’s “murder capital.” At the time, some feared the murder rate might ascend to more frightening heights.

But after approaching nearly 500 slayings a year in the early 1990s, the annual rate has gradually declined to the point that the city is now on the verge of a once-unthinkable milestone. The number of 2012 killings in the District of Columbia stands at 78 and is on pace to finish lower than 100 for the first time since 1963, police records show.

The drop reflects a downward trend in violent crime nationwide and is in line with declining homicides in other big cities. Though killings have risen in Chicago, New York City officials say homicides dropped to 515 last year from more than 2,200 in 1990. Houston totaled reported 198 homicides last year, down from 457 in 1985, while Los Angeles police reported fewer than 300 last year after ending 1992 with about 1,100. Across the country, violent crime reported by police to the FBI fell by 3.8 percent last year from 2010.

Associated Press

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