School to remove Gen. Lee's flags
Washington and Lee University expressed regret Tuesday for the school's past ownership of slaves and promised to remove Confederate flags from the main chamber of its Lee Chapel after a group of black students protested that the historic Virginia school was unwelcoming to minorities. President Kenneth Ruscio's announcement was a surprising move for the small, private liberal arts college in Lexington, Va., which has long celebrated its Southern heritage. Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee served as the university's president after the Civil War, his crypt is beneath the chapel, and the school has gingerly addressed its ties to the Confederacy and its having profited from the possession and sale of slaves. The Confederate banners — battle flags that Lee's army flew as it fought Union forces — had adorned the campus chapel that bears Lee's name since 1930, and university officials said they were a nod to history and not a message intended to offend anyone. Others, however, see the flags as hate symbols representative of slavery, racism and grievous times in the nation's history.
200,000 pain pills stolen over years
The head pharmacist at a major New York hospital was charged Tuesday with stealing about 200,000 oxycodone pills — with a street value of $5.6 million — by requisitioning them from his own pharmacy for phantom research projects, New York's special narcotics prosecutor said. The pharmacist, Anthony D'Alessandro, 47, began stealing the pills in 2009 from Mount Sinai Beth Israel, then known as Beth Israel Medical Center, and continued taking them in escalating quantities, even after he was reported to hospital officials by an anonymous tip, prosecutors said.
Prison health care spending is down
States are spending slightly less on prisoner health care after nearly a decade of steady increases, according to a report released Tuesday. The report from the Pew Charitable Trusts found that in most states, prison health care spending peaked at $8.2 billion in 2009 after nearly a decade of dramatic increases. But by 2011 that total had dropped slightly to $7.7 billion, partly because prison populations decreased.