Singer faces drug charges
An up-and-coming Mexican opera singer is being charged with drug trafficking after he was caught driving a car stuffed with methamphetamine in San Diego County. The district attorney’s office says 23-year-old Maximino Melchor Vazquez is charged with transportation and possession of methamphetamine with intent to sell. He is being held in jail on US$1 million bail. U-T San Diego reports the tenor from Tijuana was driving on Interstate 5 on Sept. 19 when he was pulled over and 19.9kg of meth was found in a concealed compartment in his car. Federal authorities say that quantity is worth up to US$500,000 on the street. Vazquez faces up to 14 years in prison if convicted.
Republican slams evolution
A Republican lawmaker said in videotaped remarks that evolution, embryology and the Big Bang theory are “lies straight from the pit of hell” meant to convince people that they do not need a savior. Georgia Representative Paul Broun made those comments during a speech on Sept. 27 at a sportsman’s banquet at Liberty Baptist Church in Hartwell, Georgia. Broun, a medical doctor, is running for re-election in November unopposed by Democrats. “God’s word is true,” Broun said, according to a video posted on the church’s Web site. Broun also said that he believes the Earth is about 9,000 years old and that it was made in six days. Those beliefs are held by fundamentalist Christians who believe the creation accounts in the Bible are literally true. Broun spokeswoman Meredith Griffanti said that Broun was recorded speaking off-the-record to a church group about his religious beliefs. He sits on the House of Representatives Committee on Science, Space and Technology. It seems unlikely that Broun’s remarks were supposed to be kept private. The banquet was advertised, Broun spoke before an audience and the video of his remarks was posted on the church’s Web site.
Rebels attack gas pipeline
The sole natural gas pipeline was left without maintenance services on Saturday after Shining Path rebels destroyed on the ground three helicopters belonging to the company that runs the pipeline. The aircraft were used by the company Transportadora de Gas del Peru (TGP) to dispatch maintenance workers along the pipeline in the country’s southern jungles. The Shining Path, or Sendero Luminoso in Spanish, started a war to overthrow the state in 1980, and about 70,000 people were killed in the conflict. The rebels, now too weak to pose a strategic threat to the government, went into the cocaine-trafficking business after the founders of the group were arrested in the early 1990s. The southeastern valleys where they operate contain natural gas reserves and pipelines central to the country’s energy security.
Mock cannon boat explodes
A mock cannon on a Greek tour boat exploded on Saturday, killing the captain and injuring six tourists off the island of Kos, authorities said. The Merchant Marine Ministry said the tourists from Germany, Belgium, Greece and the Netherlands — including two children, aged seven and nine — were hospitalized on the east Aegean Sea island with minor injuries. Twenty-two other passengers on board all disembarked unharmed at the island port of Mandraki. The extent of damage caused by the explosion remained unclear.