Transsexual runs for office
A 30-year-old rights activist is vying to become the country’s first transsexual lawmaker. Diane Rodriguez is seeking to fill a vacant congressional seat as a candidate of the leftist Rupture 25 party in the South American country’s Feb. 17 presidential and parliamentary elections. If she succeeds, the psychology student would become the first transsexual to hold public office in this socially conservative nation where 85 percent of the population identifies as Catholic. Rodriguez, whose former legal name was Luis Benedicto, says she has struggled for years due to her sexual orientation. When she came out as a teenager to her parents, they kicked her out of the house, and for a brief time she survived as a prostitute before being allowed to return home.
Navy to punish chanters
The presidency gave the navy 24 hours to punish those responsible for a sailors’ nationalist chant that got posted on YouTube and threatens to upset the country’s neighbors. The recording shows sailors chanting: “I will kill Argentines, I will gun down Bolivians, I will decapitate Peruvians.” Government spokeswoman Cecilia Perez called the footage “shameful images” on Wednesday. Navy chief Edmundo Gonzalez and Deputy Defense Minister Alfonso Vargas said those responsible would be punished. He said Chile had been “a victim of similar situations in other countries and we didn’t like it.” He added that the chant does not conform with the country’s peaceful neighborly relations.
Woman flips off judge
A woman has been jailed on contempt charges after flipping off a judge during a drug possession hearing. Miami television station NBC 6 reported that 18-year-old Penelope Soto laughed on Monday when Circuit Judge Jorge Rodriguez-Chomat asked how much her jewelry was worth as he inquired about her financial assets.
The judge told Soto to be serious and Soto said she was being serious. He set Soto’s bond at US$5,000 and said: “Bye-bye.” Soto laughed again and replied: “Adios.” He summoned her back and reset her bond at US$10,000. Soto asked whether the judge was serious and he said: “I am serious. Adios.” Soto flipped him off and blurted an expletive as she walked away. The judge summoned her again and sentenced her to 30 days in jail.
Hitchhiker becomes hero
An axe-wielding hitchhiker has become an online hit after recounting how he stopped an allegedly racist motorist, who claimed he was Jesus, from attacking a black man and other passers-by. Kai, who declined to give his full name, gave a colorful interview with a local TV station after the incident in the Californian city of Fresno. He had taken a ride with the motorist when the driver suddenly smashed the car into the back of a power company truck, pinning at least one of its black workers under the vehicle. The attacker began raving that he was Jesus, and that black people should be got rid off, witnesses said. He then grabbed a nearby woman in a bearhug, Kai said in a video with over 650,000 views on YouTube by Wednesday. “Like, a guy that big can snap a woman’s neck like a pencil stick ... So I ... ran up behind him with a hatchet ... smash, smash, suh-mash!” said Kai, demonstrating how he repeatedly hit the motorist. “I’m like, Bro, if you’re ... Jesus Christ, I’ll be the anti-Christ, man,” he added, using repeated expletives.