Bobby Allyn | Connecticut Public Radio
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Bobby Allyn

A nonprofit group in Philadelphia is fighting in court to be allowed to open the first facility in the country for people to use illegal opioids under medical supervision. The group, called Safehouse, has the backing of local government, yet faces a legal challenge from federal prosecutors.

The idea of supervised injection sites is to offer people a space where they can use drugs under the supervision of trained medical staff, who are prepared with the overdose-reversal drug naloxone. Such sites supply clean needles and other supplies, but users bring their own drugs.

After months of threats, federal prosecutors in Philadelphia launched a legal challenge on Wednesday against the nonprofit Safehouse, which is hoping to open what could be the nation's first site where people with opioid addiction can use drugs under medical supervision.

The longest government shutdown in U.S. history has some of the country's poorest residents worried about how they are going to stay fed.

In Pennsylvania, no place has more trouble keeping food on the table than the city of Reading, population 88,000, about an hour outside Philadelphia. Nearly half of all households there receive food stamps, the highest rate in the state.

The human toll of that statistic can be found everywhere, including among the people lining up for a monthly food pantry operated by St. James Chapel Church of God.

More than two weeks after the nation's worst fire in a century erupted in Northern California, crews are still trying to find hundreds of people.

The Camp Fire has claimed at least 85 lives and, as of Sunday, is 100 percent contained. But now dozens of disaster workers from across the country are coming to the town of Paradise to help out with the search mission.

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The Department of Justice has launched an investigation of child sex abuse within Pennsylvania's Roman Catholic Church, sending subpoenas to dioceses across the state seeking private files and records to explore the possibility that priests and bishops violated federal law in cases that go back decades, NPR has learned.

In Philadelphia, a battle between local officials and the Trump administration is heating up.

In defiance of threats from the Justice Department, public health advocates in Philadelphia have launched a nonprofit to run a facility to allow people to use illegal drugs under medical supervision. It is the most concrete step yet the city has taken toward eventually opening a so-called supervised injection site.

The non-profit, called Safehouse, was formed after a political heavyweight, former Pennsylvania governor, Ed Rendell, joined the board.

As the Senate remains in a pitched battle over the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh, the Supreme Court on Monday will begin its new term with far less fanfare.

The high court is launching its nine-month term evenly divided — with four conservative and four liberal justices — as an F.B.I. investigation into sexual misconduct allegations lodged against Kavanaugh delays a full Senate vote on the nomination. Kavanaugh was nominated to fill the vacancy created by the retirement this past summer of Justice Anthony Kennedy, who often cast the pivotal swing vote on cases.

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Updated at 5 p.m. ET

Editor's note: This story contains a graphic description of sexual assault.

A Montgomery County, Pa., judge sentenced disgraced comedian Bill Cosby to three to 10 years in state prison Tuesday, saying that the words of Cosby's main accuser Andrea Constand that the entertainer took her "beautiful, young spirit and crushed it" helped him reach his decision.

"It is time for justice, Mr. Cosby," said Montgomery County Judge Steven O'Neill. "This has all circled back to you."

A top Justice Department official is putting cities considering medically-supervised drug injection facilities on notice: If you open one, prepare for swift and aggressive legal action.

With record numbers of fatal overdoses, several cities are working on plans to launch facilities where people can inject illegal drugs with staff on hand to help them if they overdose. Now, however, the Trump administration is vowing a major crackdown.

Ryen Aleman had headphones on and a controller in his hand, playing the popular football video game Madden NFL at a tournament in Jacksonville, Fla., when there were loud pops behind him. Other competitors began bolting out of the room. Something was wrong, he thought. When he realized the jarring sound was gunfire, Aleman told his video game opponent and instructed him to follow his lead.

"Let's crawl down. Let's crawl to the restroom," he said.

Hurricane Lane, now downgraded to a tropical storm, is expected to continue to dump heavy rain in Hawaii on Saturday, as officials warn of flash flooding that could inundate homes and roadways after already pouring more than 3 feet of rain across the island.

Dozens of residents have been forced to evacuate their homes over the past two days, wading through waist-high water, and sometimes spreading brush fires, to safety, while thousands of others remain in shelters.

In court documents released this week, internal emails from the Department of Homeland Security show that federal officials tried to prove countries were becoming safer, even when that was not the case, in order to justify ending Temporary Protected Status for hundreds of thousands of people fleeing war or natural disasters.