Police raid cannabis factory
Police have found a flourishing cannabis factory in an abandoned metro tunnel built beneath Rome during the Benito Mussolini era, a police officer said on Tuesday. Police raided the tunnel, which is 1km long and was officially a mushroom farm, on Saturday after detecting the pungent odor of marijuana around its entrance last week. The tunnel is close to the Italian central bank’s vaults in southeastern Rome. Video footage released by the police showed thriving marijuana plants stretching along the last section of the 4,000km2 tunnel, along with stacks of bags filled with cannabis next to weighing and processing equipment. Italy’s financial police said they had confiscated 340kg of the drug worth an estimated 3 million euros (US$3.7 million). The 57 year-old owner of the farm has been arrested.
Serial killer suspect arrested
A man suspected in a string of grisly rapes and murders that gave a community the moniker “village of death” has been arrested, the Daily Dispatch said yesterday. Bulelani Mabhayi, 39, was arrested on Sunday after an elderly woman was found hacked to death the night before in the Eastern Cape village of Tholeni, the paper reported. He is being charged with a string of unresolved rapes and murders in the village, where 19 women have been slain since 2009, a police spokesman said. Police took Mabhayi to the village, where he pointed out the homes of his suspected victims, police said. Residents said they were relieved but still scared. “We don’t know if he was the only one committing these crimes or not,” resident Nowinile Mayekiso said.
Animals meet the press
It wasn’t just another political dog-and-pony show. Mexico’s leftist presidential candidate brought a pig, a sheep and chickens to a news conference on Tuesday. Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador says the animals were given to voters by the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) in exchange for votes. Lopez Obrador has filed court appeals against election results showing he finished 6.6 percentage points behind the PRI’s candidate. The pig was the most vocal of the group. The sheep quietly munched on grass placed on the floor of Lopez Obrador’s headquarters, while the chicken and some turkeys pecked aimlessly. Lopez Obrador’s supporters say the PRI also handed out gift cards and household goods during the campaign, accusations the PRI denies.
‘Frozen Dumbo’ a success
Scientists have succeeded for the first time in impregnating an elephant with frozen sperm, ultrasound pictures presented by Vienna’s Schoenbrunn Zoo showed on Tuesday. The scan shows a 10.6cm long, five-month-old fetus with its trunk, legs, tail, eyes and ears clearly discernible. The fetus, which was scanned in April, is due to be born to 26-year-old African elephant Tonga in or around August next year after a pregnancy of about 630 days, the zoo said. Elephants have been impregnated with fresh or refrigerated sperm in the past in an effort to protect endangered species, but frozen sperm can be transported further, and allows the female elephant to be inseminated at her most fertile time. The sperm was taken from a sedated wild elephant in South Africa using electroejaculation in the project known internally as “Operation Frozen Dumbo,” a zoo spokeswoman said. It took eight months to clear customs on its way to France due to lack of an established procedure for such wares.