Mapuche leader sent to jail
A court sentenced a leader of the country’s Mapuche population to 18 years in jail on Friday for a fire that killed an elderly farmer and his wife. The fire in January last year was part of a wave of attacks in in the Araucania region where the indigenous Mapuche claim historic rights. The home of Werner Luchsinger, 75, and his wife Vivianne McKay burned to the ground and their charred bodies were found inside. Celestino Cordova was convicted last week for his “unequivocal participation” in the attack. The court dismissed the government’s claim that the crime was terrorist in nature, which would have carried tougher penalties than under criminal law.
Police dog’s killer jailed
A man who killed a police dog earlier this year has been sentenced to 26 months in prison. Paul Joseph Vukmanich, 27, was high on drugs and fleeing from police in October last year, when he repeatedly stabbed the dog named Quanto. Officers had set the German shepherd loose after Vukmanich was caught driving a car with stolen plates and ran away on foot. Judge Larry Anderson said Friday that Vukmanich is also banned from owning a pet for 25 years.
Mix of drugs killed Hoffman
A toxic mix of heroin and other drugs killed Oscar-winning actor Philip Seymour Hoffman, 46, New York City officials said on Friday. A spokeswoman for the New York City medical examiner said Hoffman died from a mix of heroin, cocaine, amphetamines and benzodiazepines, which are drugs such as Xanax and Valium that are widely prescribed for anxiety, trouble sleeping and other problems. His death on Feb. 2 this year was ruled an accident.
EPA moves to block mine
Environmental authorities made a rare move on Friday to block a massive copper and gold mine in Alaska before it even gets under way, in a bid to protect wild salmon. The Pebble Mine project has the potential to be one of the biggest open-pit copper mines, but once built, it could threaten the exceptionally rich sockeye salmon fishery in the Bristol Bay area, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said in a statement. “Extensive scientific study has given us ample reason to believe that the Pebble Mine would likely have significant and irreversible negative impacts on the Bristol Bay watershed and its abundant salmon fisheries,” EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy said. The EPA action could lead to an unprecedented federal ban on a mining project before the company behind it even puts in a permit request and is a victory for environmental activists, fisheries and indigenous groups who had been fighting the mining project for the past three years.
Sarcophagus lid seized
Officials have seized an ancient Roman sarcophagus lid from a New York City storage facility on behalf of Italian officials, who say it was looted from Italy decades ago. A marble statue of a reclining half-clad female is carved in the lid of the funeral box. Authorities do not know when it entered the country. Federal prosecutors said in court papers filed on Thursday the statue is believed to be one of the antiquities illegally obtained by Italian art dealer Gianfranco Becchina. Becchina was convicted in 2011 of trafficking in plundered Roman artifacts. He ran an antiquities gallery in Basel, Switzerland.