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This Hour: Latest Alabama news, sports, business and entertainment

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Lawyer: Claims of botched circumcision are untrue

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) - Two doctors are denying claims by an Alabama man who says his penis was amputated during what was supposed to be a routine circumcision.

A lawyer for the physicians says the allegations in a lawsuit filed this week in Birmingham by Johnny Lee Banks Jr. are untrue.

The attorney, Will Axon, says the lawsuit is an attempt to damage the reputation of the physicians.

Banks and his wife filed the lawsuit this week against Drs. Vincent Michael Bivins and Alan Aikens, their medical groups and a hospital. He claims his penis was wrongly amputated during a circumcision last month.

The lawsuit accuses the defendants of medical malpractice, negligence and other wrongdoing. It seeks an unspecified amount of money.

The hospital also says the claims are without merit.


Central, southeast Alabama abnormally dry

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) - Nearly 20 percent of Alabama is experiencing abnormally dry weather, but the state remains drought-free.

The latest report from the U.S. Drought Monitor says parts of central and southeastern Alabama are drier than normal. Combined, the area makes up about 19 percent of the state.

That's worse than a year ago, when the entire state had sufficient rainfall. But federal statistics don't show any drought conditions in Alabama, and most counties are at or above normal rainfall levels.

Alabama's driest areas are around the Interstate 20 corridor including Anniston, metro Birmingham and Tuscaloosa. The Dothan area is also abnormally dry.

The picture is much worse in the Western United States. Much of the Southwest and California are gripped in a severe drought with rainfall levels far below normal.


Suit over student's death to become federal case

MOBILE, Ala. (AP) - An attorney for the family of a student shot to death by a University of South Alabama police officer says a lawsuit in the case is moving from state court to federal court.

A grand jury found that Officer Trevis Austin was justified in shooting Gil Collar. Police said he was naked and banging on a window at a campus police station Oct. 6, 2012. Austin, who went outside to investigate the sound, said Collar was acting erratically and lunged toward him. reports Mobile County Circuit Judge Robert Smith granted a request by lawyers for Collar's parents to dismiss the suit in state court.

Lawyer Ben Locklar, who represents the family, said he plans to file a federal civil rights suit. Locklar said the shooting was not justified.


Jury convicts man of killing pregnant girlfriend

PHENIX CITY, Ala. (AP) - An east Alabama jury took just minutes to convict a man of beating and strangling his pregnant girlfriend to death.

The Russell County jury on Thursday found Curtis Durall Newsome guilty of murder in the June 2013 killing of Caneya "Candy" Webb.

The Columbus Ledger-Enquirer reports ( that Newsome has said he "snapped" after learning that another man had contacted his girlfriend on Facebook.

Authorities say Newsome punched her so hard in the back of her head that she lost consciousness, then strangled her until she was dead, bound her ankles and wrists with computer cord and left her face-down in the bathtub of her Phenix City apartment.

Circuit Judge Al Johnson set Newsome's sentencing for Aug. 22.


Former astronaut Hank Hartsfield dies at 80

HOUSTON (AP) - Former astronaut Henry "Hank" Hartsfield, who logged 483 hours during three trips into space and commanded two shuttle missions, has died.

He was 80.

Hartsfield's daughter, Judy Gedies, said Friday her father died July 17 of complications following back surgery. Funeral services were set for Saturday in suburban Houston.

Hartsfield, from Birmingham, Alabama, had a physics degree from Auburn University, graduated from Air Force test pilot school and was selected for astronaut training in 1969. He earned an engineering science master's degree from the University of Tennessee in 1971.

He served on a 1972 lunar landing support crew, was pilot 10 years later for the shuttle Columbia's last test mission and commander for a Discovery flight in 1984 and Challenger in 1985. Hartsfield later worked in several NASA administrative positions.


Ala-based network expanding to West Coast

IRONDALE, Ala. (AP) - An Alabama-based religious broadcasting operation is expanding to the West Coast.

The EWTN Global Catholic Network says it's building a television production center on the campus of Christ Cathedral in Orange, California.

The network will continue operating at its headquarters in the Birmingham suburb of Irondale. But it will also use the new studio to broadcast news, inspirational stories and religious masses by the end of the year.

A statement from Eternal Word Television Network says the California studio will let to produce programming that's hard to do elsewhere, particularly for its Spanish-language services.

EWTN calls itself the world's largest religious media network. It sends TV programming to more than 230 million homes and 140 counties and has 11 different television networks in multiple languages.


Alabama city to host world horseshoe competition

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - Alabama has a ringer in Montgomery, which has won its bid to host the World Horseshoe Tournament.

City officials on Thursday announced that the tournament will be held at the Cramton Bowl Multiplex in Montgomery in July 2016.

The Montgomery Advertiser reports Montgomery was one of several cities vying for the competition, presented by the National Horseshoe Pitchers Association.

Kay McCreery, the city's special recreation programs director, said the final choice came down to Montgomery and Spokane, Washington, before Montgomery landed the event.

The 2014 tournament is taking place in Buffalo, New York.

Dawn Hathcock, vice president of the Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce's Visitors and Convention Bureau, said about 2,000 people are expected to visit for a two-week period around the time when the event is held.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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