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Morning headlines: Friday, July 20, 2012

(via Flickr/Indofunk Satish)

McCaskill to launch TV ads ahead of Aug. 7 primary

For months, Missouri's Republican U.S. Senate candidates have been campaigning by criticizing Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill. McCaskill has returned the fire during campaign events. Now McCaskill says she is launching TV ads individually targeting her potential Republican competitors - Congressman Todd Akin, former state Treasurer Sarah Steelman and businessman John Brunner.

McCaskill's ads suggest Akin is too conservative, Brunner is not a reliable conservative and Steelman represents "more politics as usual."

McCaskill won't know who she will face until the Aug. 7 primary. All three Republicans have highlighted McCaskill's ties to President Barack Obama while vowing to repeal his health care law and calling for lower government spending and taxes.

Washington University suspends fraternity

A fraternity at Washington University has been suspended after a university police investigation found "significant violations."

The university said in a statement Thursday that it wouldn't comment further until the investigation is completed and reviewed by the St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney's office.  

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reportsthat the Phi chapter of Sigma Alpha Mu was recently disbanded by its national office because it hasn't done enough to deal with hazing and drug use.

Imprisoned ex-Ill. Gov. case back in court

The case of imprisoned ex-Illinois Gov. George Ryan is due back in a federal appeals court this afternoon. Ryan's lawyers continue to fight his corruption convictions on procedural grounds.

Today's scheduled arguments are just the latest in a long train of appeals from George Ryan. In April, the U.S. Supreme Court ordered an appeals court in Chicago to take another look at Ryan's corruption case. But it seems unlikely the appeals court will change its mind. It's already ruled against Ryan for taking bribes. Today's arguments will focus on a rather narrow procedural point of which the Supreme court took issue. Nonetheless, Ryan's lawyers are again asking for a new trial.

Ryan is 78-years-old and is serving time for racketeering, conspiracy, tax fraud and lying to the FBI. The former governor has already been in jail for almost five years of his six-and-a-half year sentence.

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