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Morning Headlines: Tuesday, April 24, 2012

(via Flickr/IndofunkSatish)

US Chamber of Commerce weighs in on Missouri's GOP Senate primary

The US Chamber of Commerce has made an endorsement in the three-way Republican Senate primary in Missouri.

The chamber on Tuesday backed former Vi-Jon chairman John Brunner, saying his private sector experience in cutting spending and balancing budgets provides the best contrast with Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill.

Brunner is running against former state treasurer Sarah Steelman and US Rep. Todd Akin for the chance to challenge McCaskill in November. As an incumbent Congressman, Akin has received the Chamber's "spirit of enterprise" award.

Brunner has trailed Steelman and Akin in polls of the race. And he's lagged in outside fundraising as well - putting more than $2 million of his own money into the race.

Regardless of who wins the August primary, the Chamber says it plans to remain active against McCaskill in the state in November.

St. Louis County revises policy on Muslim head scarves in its jail

The St. Louis County jail has adopted a new policy that will allow Muslim women to wear a religious head scarf while in custody.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch says the new policy came out of a meeting between jail officials and a local Muslim advocacy group, the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

CAIR was upset over a January incident in which a 23-year-old Muslim woman was forced to remove the scarf, known as a hijab in front of male guards and inmates. Muslim women traditionally wear the scarf when they are in the presence of men other than their husbands or other close male relatives.

The new policy will allow a woman to have her hijab searched by a female guard in a private room, and be allowed to wear the scarf while she is processed. Jail officials are still working on a policy for longer-term inmates.

Clay Waller charged in death of his wife

The husband of a southeast Missouri woman who disappeared last June has been charged with her murder.

Prosecutors in Cape Girardeau County on Monday filed first degree murder charges against Clay Waller in the disappearance of his wife, Jacque.   She went missing shortly after meeting with Clay Waller to finalize their divorce.

Jacque Waller's body has never been found. But prosecutor Morley Swingle says he can still get a conviction.

"There have been over 300 cases nationwide where murder convictions have been affirmed without a body," Swingle said. "There's also a case in Columbia (Mo.) last year, in 2011, where a murder conviction was affirmed in a case where there was no body. So it's not unheard of."

A judge set bond for Clay Waller at $1 million. He's currently serving a five-year federal sentence for making threatening comments online.

Waller's attorney would not comment on the new state charges.

KRCU's Jacob McCleland contributed reporting.

Burying beetles to return to Missouri

The St. Louis Zoo is set to reintroduce into the wild a colorful beetle last seen in the state in the 1970s.

The Zoo, along with the US Fish and Wildlife Service will today announce their plans to re-introduce about 600 American burying beetles in southwest Missouri sometime in June.

The beetle has been declared endangered – they’re being bred at the Zoo’s Center for American Burying Beetle Conservation.

Hear Veronique LaCapra's 2010 piece on the Center.

Rachel is the justice correspondent at St. Louis Public Radio.