Rio police seize favelas
Police seized three Rio de Janeiro shantytowns from drug traffickers on Monday and hoisted the national and state flags atop one of them as part of a drive to reassert authority three months before Pope Francis is to visit the city. About 400 officers backed by armor punched their way into Cerro-Cora, as well as the neighboring favelas of Guararapes and Vila Candida. Colonel Frederico Caldas told reporters that 190 members of a specially trained Police Pacification Unit would be deployed in Cerro-Cora a month from now.
Wales abuse probe widens
Investigators into claims of past abuse at 18 children’s homes in Wales on Monday said they uncovered evidence of “serious criminal offenses” carried out by 84 suspects between 1963 and 1992. Seventy-six new claimants have come forward, making a total of 140 allegations of offenses against boys and girls aged between seven and 19. The independent Operation Pallial investigation said claimants had identified 75 male and nine female suspects. “Offenders quite rightly should have to look over their shoulders for the rest of their lives,” North Wales Chief Constable Mark Polin said. “If you believe the passage of time will reduce the resolve of Operation Pallial or any police force to identify people who are still alive and to bring them to justice, you are sorely mistaken.”
Teacher in sex case paroled
A former New Jersey County Teacher of the Year who admits having sex with a 15-year-old student from her honors English class has been spared prison time. A judge in Newark on Monday sentenced 33-year-old Erica DePalo to lifetime parole supervision. DePalo will also have to forfeit her teaching certificate and register as a sex offender. Prosecutors say the Montclair resident had a short sexual relationship with a boy at West Orange High School. DaPalo pleaded guilty in February to child endangerment. She was initially charged with aggravated sexual assault and faced up to 10 years in prison.
Official’s daughter probed
President Enrique Pena Nieto has ordered an investigation into the closure of a restaurant after it denied the daughter of the head of national consumer watchdog PROFECO a table. Andrea Benitez, the daughter of PROFECO head Humberto Benitez Trevino, is reported to have reacted angrily when she was told by staff at the Maximo Bistrot in Mexico City last week she would have to wait for a table. She reportedly threatened the restaurant with closure, citing her father’s position. PROFECO inspectors arrived at the bistro later that day and closed it down. The episode sparked an outcry on Twitter and Humberto Benitez Trevino apologized on the site on Sunday, saying his daughter’s behavior was “inappropriate.”
Pediatricians get a hand
Doctors have discovered a surefire, low-cost way to distract children admitted for emergency care: inflate a rubber glove, pop out its fingers in a spiky hairdo and draw a smiley face on it. Writing in the Emergency Medicine Journal, physicians at Dublin’s Tallaght Hospital say their puppet trick had proven so popular with young patients that they decided to put it to a scientific test. Trialled on 149 pediatric patients aged between two and eight, one version of the glove called the “Jedward,” after the quiffs of Irish pop duo John and Edward Grimes, was the favorite. Only 13 children refused a puppet.