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South Africa to research mood-lifting plant

JOHANNESBURG — For hundreds of years, indigenous South Africans have chewed a plant they say reduces stress, relieves hunger, sedates and elevates moods. Now they have a license to study it, and plan to sell it worldwide. Researchers say the plant, called sceletium tortuosum, has great potential.

Bias crime charges weighed after New Jersey teen’s suicide

PISCATAWAY, N.J. — As prosecutors consider filing bias-crime charges against two college freshmen accused of streaming online video of a classmate’s sexual encounter with another man, a huge divide has emerged between those who support the suspects and those who want to see them punished.

Mighty rains deluge cars, close roads in Northeast

LEVITTOWN, N.Y. — Torrential downpours from a faded tropical storm inundated the Northeast on Friday, forcing evacuations, toppling trees, cutting power to thousands and washing out roads during a snarled morning commute. Water pooled so deeply in a Philadelphia suburb that a car literally floated on top of another car. The storm that killed five people in North Carolina on Thursday soaked a great swath of the Northeast by the Friday morning commute, including New York City and Philadelphia.