Minister targets police
Police were on Saturday urged to report corruption in their ranks seen as part of the violent crime crisis, after a former beauty queen was slain. Minister of the Interior Miguel Rodriguez gave out his cellular number during an address and asked police to call him to report corruption. “New police will always have some great superiors, well-prepared ones. But they also are going to get some bad eggs. Report them fearlessly because their [corruption] undermines police authority for the Venezuelan people,” Rodriguez said in an address carried on state TV. “Just give me the information right away, and we will rip the head off that immoral police superior.”
Kimmel stays: White House
The White House has responded to a petition calling for an apology and the removal of Jimmy Kimmel’s TV show by saying the comedian cannot be forced off the air. More than 105,000 people signed the petition on the White House Web site. It followed a broadcast in October last year of ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Live featuring a segment in which Kimmel spoke to young children about US government debt owed to China. One boy said: “Kill everyone in China,” when Kimmel asked how the US should repay the Asian power. In its response, the White House said that ABC and Kimmel have apologized, and that the TV network has removed the segment from future broadcasts and its online platforms. The White House also said that the constitution protects free speech, even when it is offensive.
Rhino-hunt auction panned
A permit to hunt an endangered African black rhino sold for US$350,000 at a Dallas auction held to raise money for conservation efforts, but was criticized by wildlife advocates. Steve Wagner, a spokesman for the Dallas Safari Club, which sponsored the closed-door event on Saturday, confirmed the sale of the permit for a hunt in the African nation of Namibia. Dallas Safari Club executive director Ben Carter has defended the auction, saying all money raised will go toward protecting the species. He also said the rhino that the winner will be allowed to hunt is old, male and nonbreeding — and that the animal was likely to be targeted for removal anyway because it was becoming aggressive and threatening other wildlife. The auction drew howls from critics, including wildlife and animal rights groups, and the FBI said it was investigating death threats against members of the club.
Cat survives in pipe
A cat that spent at least three winter days in a northwest Ohio drainpipe has been rescued after initially refusing attempts to lure it out with tuna, the classic call of “here, kitty, kitty,” and even a cellphone app that meowed. The Courier newspaper reports a resident in Findlay heard the cat’s cries on Wednesday last week. Groundskeepers at a school cut through the pipe on Friday to free the orange cat, which was muddy, emaciated and hypothermic. The male cat has been named Piper. It has a broken leg and other injuries signaling it has had a rough time lately. However, things are looking up, with a number of people volunteering to adopt if it goes unclaimed. One veterinarian assessed the cat this way: “If they truly have nine lives, he probably has three left.”
Abe called military maniac
The nation yesterday lashed out at Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe for seeking to revise Tokyo’s pacifist post-World War II constitution, calling him a “militarist maniac.” In a New Year comment, Abe said Japan’s constitution could be amended by 2020, days after his visit to Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo enraged Asian neighbors. The shrine is seen as a brutal reminder of Japan’s war-time aggression and failure to repent for its history. The Workers’ Party of Korea newspaper, the Rodong Sinmun, yesterday said in an editorial: “What Abe said was dangerous outbursts, which brought to light the true colors of a militarist maniac.” Accusing Abe of seeking to “bring back the era ... when the Japanese imperialists could dominate Asia,” the paper claimed that Tokyo was taking the path of “self-destruction.”