Thief mails back ashes
A thief with a soft-hearted streak, who inadvertently nabbed some cremated remains along with thousands of rare gems in a truck burglary in Washington state, has anonymously mailed back the ashes to their owner, police said on Wednesday. The truck owner had been golfing in a Tacoma suburb when his vehicle was broken into by a thief, who stole a briefcase filled with 3,000 prized Oregon sunstone gems, more than 30 silver and gold sunstone rings, and a bracelet with 34 multi-hued stones, Pierce County Sheriff’s spokesman Ed Troyer said.
Roth honored for advocacy
Philip Roth’s latest honor was as much for what he has done for other writers as for his own work. On Tuesday night, Roth received the PEN/Allen Foundation Literary Service Award. He was cited for such novels as Sabbath’s Theater and American Pastoral, but also for his advocacy in the 1970s and 1980s for writers in then-Czechoslovakia and other Eastern bloc countries during the Cold War. PEN is an international writers’ organization that advocates for human rights and free speech. The 80-year-old Roth spoke before hundreds gathered for the PEN Literary Gala at the Museum of Natural History in New York. Attendees included Martin Amis, Salman Rushdie and Jay McInerney.
Police officer shot dead
A police officer was killed on Tuesday when security forces clashed with opponents of a Canadian-owned gold and silver mine project, who had taken 23 officers hostage in the southeast of the country. The officer was shot in the chest and died on the spot near the mine run by Tahoe Resources in the rural town of San Rafael Las Flores, 105km southeast of Guatemala City, Interior Minister Mauricio Lopez said. Five others were wounded. The battle took place when security forces were sent in to free 23 police officers who had been taken hostage and disarmed by hundreds of townspeople the previous day. The hostages were freed. Residents fear the mine will destroy a mountain and drain their water resources.
Ambassador in shop fracas
A supermarket altercation involving the Ecuadoran ambassador to Peru has many Peruvians calling for the envoy’s expulsion. Ambassador Rodrigo Riofrio allegedly struck and kicked a Peruvian mother and daughter after accusing the two of cutting into a line. The mother said he called them “ignorant Peruvians” and made a disparaging reference to the country’s indigenous population. She told a TV channel that Riofrio hit and kicked her and her daughter on Saturday in front of dozens of witnesses. However, she did admit that her daughter had struck the first blow, slapping Riofrio’s wife in the face after she insulted her. Video taken afterwards showed Riofrio being harangued by witnesses. Ecuador’s embassy issued an apology on Monday, but said it does not accept the women’s version of events.