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Toxic Tobacco Bonds and More in Muckreads Weekly

Some of the best #MuckReads we read this week. Want to receive these by email? Sign up to get this briefing delivered to your inbox every weekend.

The 1998 tobacco settlement was supposed to net state and local governments billions for smoking prevention programs. But nine states have turned their settlement money into toxic time bombs of debt — with billion-dollar balloon payments that threaten to put the deals in default and cause taxpayers to lose out on even more future tobacco monies. —ProPublica via @cezary

DNA research may have saved this town from collapse. But who will share in its future wealth? Kannapolis, North Carolina, was crushed 11 years ago when the local textile mill shuttered, leaving 4,300 without jobs. A Los Angeles billionaire is fueling a biotech economy in its place, collecting DNA of the town's residents along the way and raising new questions about the ethics of human research. —Pacific Standard via @NECIRBU

Hospital says it unknowingly supplied drug for Louisiana execution. "We never inquire into the purpose for it. We assume it's for legitimate and noble purposes," said Ulysses Gene Thibodeaux, board member for Lake Charles Memorial Hospital. In fact, the drug, which isn't intended for lethal use, was meant for Christopher Sepulvado's execution. —The Lens via @TheLensNOLA

Wanted for arrest! Unless you crossed the county line. USA Today continues its investigation of U.S. fugitivesand finds that police often don't pursue warrants beyond their own jurisdiction. "In three states alone, confidential law enforcement databases list nearly a million fugitives who need not fear being arrested if they're found beyond the next county, let alone in the next state," the newspaper reports. —USA Today via @johnhillkirk

Cameron Todd Willingham was executed in 2004 for murdering his three young daughters. But new evidence has revived questions about Willingham's guilt and the prosecution's treatment of a jailhouse informant who implicated Willingham and later recanted his testimony. —The Marshall Project via @danielle_ivory

Did foreign automakers help Brazil's dictatorship identify "subversives"? Documents collected by a government-appointed commission investigating the military regime of the '70s and '80s include a "black list" of suspected labor activists, many of them autoworkers. —Reuters via @brianpablo10

Who's on the government's terror watch list? According to classified government documents, 40 percent have "no recognized terrorist group affiliation." The Intercept via @laura_nelson

Don't miss: The first in a four-part series on the human toll of the immigration crisis along the Texas border (The Guardian, Texas Observer); USAID's secret recruitment of Latin American youths to "identify potential social-change actors" in Cuba (AP); and the billions in spending missing from a federal transparency website (USA Today).

 

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