Gangster taken to hospital
Jailed infamous mobster James “Whitey” Bulger was taken to a Boston hospital on Sunday complaining of chest pains, the Boston Globe newspaper reported. The 83-year-old Bulger, who is charged with 19 murders in the 1970s and 1980s in Boston, was arrested last year in California, where he had been living under an assumed name. The Globe, quoting local firefighters, reported that Bulger was taken early on Sunday to the Boston Medical Center. However, a hospital spokesperson said she had “no information” on a patient of that name. Bulger is accused of murdering mob rivals, potential witnesses and others who threatened him. Prosecutors have also accused him of extortion, money laundering and running guns to Northern Ireland’s IRA militants.
Boy dies in Pittsburgh Zoo
A two-year-old boy visiting Pittsburgh Zoo was killed on Sunday morning when he fell off a railing that his mother had put him on top of to view a pack of African painted dogs, which pounced on the child and mauled him, police said. It was not clear whether the boy died from the fall into the wild dog exhibit area or from the attack, said Barbara Baker, president and chief executive of the zoological park. “It was very horrific,” said police lieutenant Kevin Kraus, who added that the dogs attacked “immediately” after the boy fell. Other visitors immediately told staff members of the child’s fall, who responded along with Pittsburgh police. Zoo keepers called off some of the dogs and seven of them immediately went to a back building. Three more eventually were drawn away from the child, but the last dog was aggressive and police had to shoot the animal, officials say.
India aid to be slashed
Intensifying plans are being made to substantially cut the country’s aid budget to India on the grounds that it is difficult to justify spending ￡280 million (US$447.3 million) a year in one of the world’s fastest developing economies. Justine Greening, the international development minister, is working on the plans “as a matter of urgency” to ensure that relations with India are re-focused on trade rather than aid. Greening, who discussed his country’s annual aid budget to New Delhi with Indian officials at the World Bank recently, is due to visit the sub-continent soon. Andrew Mitchell, Greening’s predecessor, said the aid was justified because a larger number of people in India live in poverty than in sub-Saharan Africa.
Chief gives Obama backing
The country’s veteran Islamist leader Hassan al-Turabi, linked to former al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in the 1990s, hopes US President Barack Obama will win a second term today. “Obama of course,” Turabi said when asked about his US presidential preference during an interview. “He’s gentle towards the Muslims generally.” Turabi referred to Obama’s childhood spent in Muslim-majority Indonesia and his Kenyan father who was raised a Muslim. Obama uses the word “terrorism” far less than his predecessor George W. Bush, and his name is a variant of an Arabic word, Turabi said. “You know what ‘Baraka’ means in Arabic? Blessing.” Obama, a Christian, was elected the first African American US president in 2008 and is in a tight race against Republican rival Mitt Romney.