Three people were charged with impersonating officers from a fictional police department that they invented: the Masonic Fraternal Police Department. Brandon Kiel, David Henry and Tonette Hayes claimed to be officers of a department with jurisdiction in 33 U.S. states and Mexico. Detectives believe there may be more people involved in the operation and actual officers found fraudulent identification cards, uniforms and vehicles after searching their homes and offices. No information indicates the group was practicing law enforcement duties. (CBS)
Several severe storms brought flooding and tornadoes to Kansas, Oklahoma and Nebraska on Wednesday. High winds tipped over a semi-truck, blocking the road and preventing people from administering aid to other towns. The storms are part of a larger system predicted to continue going through the region in the coming week. There have been 20 reports of tornadoes hitting farms and homes so far. Norman Regional Hospital in Oklahoma suffered minor damage and is currently on backup generators. (CNN)
A bill aimed to legalize marijuana in Texas cleared the House Criminal Jurisprudence Committee in a five to one vote Wednesday. The bill, written by Republican Senator David Simpson, would allow marijuana possession for all ages. Simpson said he wrote the bill because, although he believes marijuana use is a mistake, it is a natural product of God’s creation and therefore should not be regulated by government. If passed, the bill would go into effect in September 2015. (CBS)
The Canadian House of Commons, the lower house of the country’s parliament, approved the Anti-Terror Act (Bill C-51) on Wednesday. The act is in response to an attack on the parliament building last year. If passed by the Senate, it would give the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) the ability to operate overseas and make preventative arrests. Several Canadian citizens and organizations have voiced concern over the bill’s ambiguous language creating the potential for violations of freedom of speech and the allowance of unregulated arrests. The conservative Tory party’s majority in the House of Commons assured its passage in a 183 to 96 win. (CBC Canada)
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu decided Wednesday to form a right wing coalition government after facing mounting pressure from the Jewish Home party. Netanyahu gave his verdict 90 minutes before the midnight deadline. The coalition, which will be sworn in next week, will include right wing parties Likud, United Torah Judaism, Shas, Kulanu and the Jewish Home. The decision faces opposition from liberal groups, but passed the left-leaning parliament with a slim majority of 61 to 59. (The Guardian)
United Kingdom will hold general elections on Thursday for the 650 Westminster Member of Parliament (MP) positions. This election presented the first opportunity for British citizens to register to vote online. A total of 50 million people registered, with polling stations located in schools, community centers and parish halls, as well as pubs, a laundromat and a school bus. The 50 million registered voters will also elect officials for over 9,000 council seats across England’s 279 local authorities. (BBC)
A version of this story appeared in the May 7, 2015 issue of the Daily Nexus.