MEMPHIS (AP) — FedEx says one of its pilots was detained in China after an item was found in his luggage before he boarded a commercial flight.

The company said the pilot was later released, and it is working with Chinese authorities to understand what happened at the airport in Guangzhou, in southern China.

The Wall Street Journal reported that former U.S. Air Force pilot Todd A. Hohn was detained on Sept. 12 after pellets used in replica air guns were found in his checked bag. The paper cited people familiar with the incident.

The newspaper said Chinese authorities allege that Hohn was illegally carrying ammunition, and they have started a criminal investigation.

“We are working with the appropriate authorities to gain a better understanding of the facts,” a FedEx spokesman said in a statement sent to The Associated Press.

FedEx, headquartered in Memphis, said the pilot was later released, although the company spokesman said she did not know where he is now. The Journal reported that Hohn was moved to a hotel and told that he can’t leave mainland China until the investigation is over.

FedEx declined to comment further. It would not say whether the incident has affected its schedule in Asia.

State attorney general 

appeals change in sentence

NASHVILLE — Tennessee’s attorney general is appealing the decision of a criminal court judge to convert a death row inmate’s sentence to life in prison.

Attorney General Herbert Slatery filed the appeal on Friday.

In a news release, Slatery said reducing Abu-Ali Abdur’Rahman’s death sentence “circumvented established legal procedures.”

Abdur’Rahman was within eight months of his scheduled execution when he signed an agreement with prosecutors on Aug. 28 to change his sentence.

The agreement came after Abdur’Rahman, who is black, petitioned to reopen his case. He presented evidence that prosecutors at his trial treated black potential jurors differently from white potential jurors.

Slatery said in his news release that Abdur’Rahman’s objections to his trial have been thoroughly litigated during the past 30 years.


Abortion wait period 

law faces court arguments

NASHVILLE — Four years after Tennessee passed a law requiring a 48-hour waiting period for women seeking abortions, abortion clinics are getting a chance to argue against it in court.

Beginning today, attorneys for five of the state’s seven abortion clinics will try to prove that the law harms the women it is supposed to help.

They must establish that the law, which requires women to make two separate trips to the abortion clinic, imposes an undue burden on Tennessee women. It’s a subjective standard that has caused some waiting period laws to be struck down and others upheld, depending on the specific circumstances of the state.

Twenty-seven states currently require a waiting period between counseling and an abortion, according to the Guttmacher Institute, a research group that supports abortion rights. 

Tennessee is one of 14 states where pre-abortion counseling must take place in person, meaning a woman must make two separate trips to the clinic.

The U.S. Supreme Court has not yet said whether it will hear an appeal.


Titans incident leads

to ban on pyrotechnics

NEW YORK — The NFL has banned any on-field pyrotechnics and “flame effects” at any league or team events, including games, in the wake of an incident at Sept. 15’s game at Nissan Stadium in Nashville.

A league spokesman said the matter was being reviewed and the prohibition would last at least through the review.

Equipment used for pyrotechnics during pregame festivities burst into flames in the north end zone about five minutes before kickoff between the Titans and Colts. 

Workers quickly started putting out the fire near the 5-yard line on the sideline near the Titans’ locker room.

The show went on as workers extinguished the flames as Taj George, wife of Eddie George and a member of the group Sisters With Voices (SWV) sang the national anthem.

The Titans, who lost to the Colts in that game, put out a statement last Sunday:

“Following the pregame introductions today, there was a mechanical failure by one of the pyrotechnic devices which resulted in a fire. The vendor will be required by the state of Tennessee to undergo an inspection for the defective device and the others that were used to determine the final cause. The field staff acted quickly to extinguish the fire, which resulted in no injuries and minor field damage.”

Woman stops for gas, 

finds stranger in her trunk

MILLERSVILLE— Authorities say a Kentucky woman who stopped for gas while driving through Tennessee noticed her trunk wasn’t closed all the way — and then found a stranger inside of it.

Police in Millersville said the stowaway leaped out and fled on foot when the driver told her she was calling police.

The driver said the woman seemed injured, so officers initially were concerned that she might have been escaping from an assault or kidnapping back in Kentucky.

But they ruled that out after officers found the woman and reviewed surveillance video. Spokesman Ronnie Ward with the police in Bowling Green, Ky., said detectives learned the woman had been injured while running through some woods and willingly climbed into the unsuspecting woman’s trunk.

State plans service projects, 

hikes for Public Lands Day

NASHVILLE — The Tennessee State Parks are celebrating National Public Lands Day with a variety of volunteer projects and hikes.

According to a news release, planned service projects include cleanups, trail maintenance and removing invasive species. Some of the activities qualify for the community service requirement in the Tennessee Promise program.

National Public Lands Day is always the fourth Saturday in September.

Projects will include trail construction at Cumberland Trail State Park; water quality testing at Warriors’ Path State Park; a hike at Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park; a bike trail groundbreaking at Edgar Evins State Park; playground upgrades at Mousetail Landing State Park; and trail cleanup at Meeman-Shelby Forest State Park.

A complete list of projects is available at the state parks’ website.

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