Beware of dogs: police
Authorities in rural Los Angeles County were warning people to be on the lookout for four pit bulls suspected of killing a 63-year-old jogger on Thursday. Sheriff’s Lieutenant John Corina told reporters that a woman in a car saw the dogs attacking the female jogger on Thursday morning. The witness called police and honked her horn to try to get the dogs to stop. “When the first deputy on scene saw one dog still attacking the woman, he tried to chase the dog away,” Corina said. “The dog ran off into the desert, then turned around and attacked the deputy, the deputy fired a round at the dog and tried to kill the dog, and the dog took off into the desert.” The woman died while she was in an ambulance on the way to a hospital, county animal control spokeswoman Evelina Villa said. The coroner’s office was investigating to determine the cause of death. Sheriff’s officials were alerting people in the area to watch for the four tan-colored dogs, and they were using a helicopter to search for them. It was unclear whether the dogs had collars or owners. “In these areas, you might have a situation where people dump animals out in rural areas,” said John Mlynar, a spokesman for the nearby city of Palmdale. He added that he had never heard of an attack like Thursday’s.
Man survives hanging
A man condemned to the gallows for murdering a policeman was pardoned by the victim’s family and his life saved only moments after he was hanged, the Mehr news agency reported on Thursday. Relatives “cried out their pardon after the murderer had already been hanging for a few seconds” the agency said, publishing a photo of people grabbing the man and holding him until they could remove the noose from around his neck. The aborted execution took place in Mashhad. Under Iranian law, the family of a victim is entitled to pardon a criminal and save him from execution. In such cases, a murderer must pay blood money currently set at US$36,000 and serve a prison sentence.
Modern astronomy adopted
Muslim leaders have agreed to end almost 1,400 years of Islamic tradition and use modern astronomy to determine the start of the holy month of Ramadan and other Islamic holidays. The French Muslim Council voted on Thursday to start using astronomical calculations to set the date rather than relying on the naked eye to sight the new crescent moon. Ramadan traditionally begins the morning after the sighting, which has in the past been delayed by a day or even two by weather. Council president Mohammad Moussaoui said the old method played havoc with French Muslims’ schedules for work, school and festivities.