From Readers: Real spring weather is back

With the cooler temperatures, reader John Hall knows summer isn't quite here yet.

Sharion Louise Shern enjoyed animals and farming

Sharion Louise Shern, age 77, of Clark died Wednesday, April 4, 2012.

Sharion Louise Shern, Oct. 27, 1934 — April 4, 2012, of Clark

FROM READERS: April flowers, English cocker spaniels and terrapins

John Hall frequently photographs his mid-Missouri surroundings, and he has been sharing his images with the Missourian for several years.

WORLD NEWS IN BRIEF: Ex-Soviet arms seller sentenced, attack in Syria lessens hope for peace

The Russian Merchant of Death is sentenced to 25 years in prison on terrorism charges; Syrian forces attack the outskirts of the nation's capitol; Encyclopedia Britannica finds new life in its print edition; Sky News admits reporters hacked email accounts to serve the public interest.

Syrian assault undermines hopes for cease-fire

Syrian forces launched a devastating attack on rebel forces on the outskirts of the nation's capital Thursday. The attack further diminished hopes that violence would end even though both sides agreed to a cease-fire for later this month.

New York judge gives ex-Soviet arms dealer 25 years

Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout was sentenced to 25 years in prison on terrorism charges Thursday. Federal prosecutors had sought a life sentence for Bout, known as the Merchant of Death, and claimed that the arms dealer was involved in harming Americans.

A bold move in the small world of college chess

In the intense world of college chess, it is not uncommon for a coach to jump to another school, taking along all of the elite team members.

Mo. Senate OKs requiring more work to earn tenure

Under new legislation endorsed by the state Senate, teachers in Missouri public schools would need to work longer before getting tenure..

Missouri Senate panel backs social service cuts to restore blind benefits

To restore money to the blind benefits program, a Senate committee has backed cuts to the state's foster care system, offices that determine eligibility for social services benefits and staff training money in the Department of Social Services.

U.S. growth of distant suburbs falls to historic low

New census estimates as of July 2011 highlight a shift in population trends following an extended housing bust and renewed spike in oil prices. The annual rate of growth in cities and surrounding urban areas has surpassed that of exurbs for the first time in at least 20 years.

Lavish temple marks milestone for Mormons in Missouri

The temple located near Kansas City will be open to the public for two weeks before it is dedicated. After the dedication, only Latter-day Saints may enter.

UK's Sky News: We hacked in the public interest

Sky News, a British satellite news channel, said Thursday that some of its reporters hacked emails on two occasions in the public interest. Sky News is a part of Rupert Murdoch's media empire, parts of which have come under scrutiny and investigation for hacking by journalists.

Britannica's halt of print edition triggers sales

Encyclopedia Britannica is seeing renewed interest in its print edition after the company announced it was discontinuing the edition last month. Despite an increase in sales, Britannica is not reconsidering the discontinuation.

Judge: 3,200-year-old mummy mask can stay in Missouri

The St. Louis Art Museum is allowed to keep the funeral mask of Lady Ka-Nefer-Nefer, after Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities was unable to prove that the artifact was stolen.

Judge won't dismiss charges against Kansas City bishop, diocese

The judge refused to dismiss misdemeanor charges against a Kansas City diocese and Bishop Robert Finn, who is the highest-ranking U.S. Roman Catholic official criminally charged with shielding an abusive priest.

Urban Metropolitan Development sues Joplin School District over demolition

Urban Metropolitan Development — the construction company hired to demolish three Joplin schools after last year's tornado — filed a lawsuit against the school district, claiming it is owed more than $500,000.

Missouri House passes school transportation measure

The legislation would allow students to attend a school in another district if it is at least 5 miles closer than the school they are assigned to in their own.

Painkiller sales soar around U.S., fuel addiction

Increasing distribution of oxycodone and hydrocodone — two of the most common opioids in painkillers — is leading to a new wave of addiction among patients and users in the U.S.

Missouri judge strikes down payday loan initiative

Ballot limiting interest rates on payday loans has been struck down by Cole County Circuit Judge Dan Green.