Higher doses for lethal injections

Ohio is increasing the dosage of the lethal-injection drugs it uses in executions.

The state said Monday that it is boosting the amount of the two-drug combo of a sedative and painkiller “to allay any remaining concerns” after the last execution, when an inmate made repeated snorting-like gasps as he died.

The Department of Rehabilitation and Correction also said it believes that Dennis McGuire was not conscious and did not experience pain or distress during his Jan. 14 execution. The 26-minute execution was the longest since Ohio resumed capital punishment in 1999.

— Associated Press

Clergy want freedom to hold gay nuptials

A coalition of clergy members filed a novel federal lawsuit against North Carolina’s constitutional ban on gay marriage, saying it violates their religious freedom.

The clergy members said they would like to perform same-sex marriage ceremonies in their congregations but cannot because of the “unjust law.” Their attorney, Jake Sussman, says the case is the first among more than 60 marriage-equality cases before state and federal courts to cite the First Amendment’s protection of religious freedom.

Along with the Cleveland-based United Church of Christ, which has more than 1 million parishioners, a rabbi and ministers from Lutheran and Unitarian Universalist churches in the Charlotte area and same-sex couples who want to marry were listed as plaintiffs.

— From news services

Cell cloning could aid fight against diabetes

In a potential step toward new diabetes treatments, scientists used a cloning technique to make insulin-producing cells with the DNA of a diabetic woman.

The approach could someday aid treatment of the Type 1 form of the illness, which is usually diagnosed in childhood and accounts for about 5 percent of diabetes cases in the United States.

The new work is a step toward providing genetically matched replacement cells for transplant, said Dieter Egli of the New York Stem Cell Foundation Research Institute. He led the research, which was reported online Monday in the journal Nature.

— Associated Press

Officials end search for remains of mudslide victims: Officials called off the active search for remains of people killed in the March 22 mudslide in Washington state, though two bodies remain entombed in the tangled pile. So far, remains of 41 victims have been recovered from the site in Oso, about an hour northeast of Seattle.

Utah woman faces charges in deaths of six babies: A Utah woman was charged with six counts of first-degree murder in the killing of her six babies over a decade, but she cannot face the death penalty if convicted, prosecutors said. Megan Huntsman, 39, is accused of killing the babies between 1996 and 2006, before Utah law was changed in 2007 to make murder a capital offense if a victim was younger than 14.

— From news services