Second prison officer arrested
A second prison worker was arrested and charged on Wednesday over the escape of two convicted killers weeks ago from a maximum-security New York State jail. Richard Matt, 49, and David Sweat, 35, used power tools to cut their way out of their cells at the Clinton Correctional Facility before dawn on June 6. Corrections officer Gene Palmer, 57, was charged with promoting prison contraband, two counts of tampering with evidence and one count of official misconduct, New York State Police Major Charles Guess said in a statement. Palmer allegedly helped smuggle tools and other banned items hidden in frozen hamburger meat, said Clinton County District Attorney Andrew Wylie, according to ABC News.
Gay couples’ kids fine: study
Scientists agree that children raised by same-sex couples are no worse off than children raised by parents of the opposite sex, according to a new study co-authored by a University of Oregon professor. The new research, which looked at 19,000 studies and articles related to same-sex parenting from 1977 to 2013, was released last week, and comes as the US Supreme Court is set to rule by the end of this month on whether same-sex marriage is legal. “Consensus is overwhelming in terms of there being no difference in children who are raised by same-sex or different-sex parents,” University of Oregon sociology professor Ryan Light said on Tuesday. The studies showed some disagreement among scientists on the outcome of same-sex parenting in the 1980s, but it largely subsided in the 1990s, and a clear consensus had formed by 2000 that there is no difference between same-sex and different-sex parenting in the psychological, behavioral or educational outcomes of children, Light said.
Fossil worm had eyes, teeth
Nature has produced many oddities, but an ancient creature resembling a prickly sea worm is one of the few to have left scientists so baffled they were unable to distinguish its head from its the rear. The organism, called hallucigenia sparsa, was once one of the world’s most common creatures, but its unearthly appearance has led it to be regarded as an evolutionary misfit — not least because this basic anatomical question has remained unresolved. Now the discovery of a pair of simple eyes and a ring of needle-like teeth, has finally confirmed which way around the animal faced. The worm, which was around 35mm long, lived in the oceans about 505 million years ago during the Cambrian explosion when most major animal groups first appear in the fossil record. Early descriptions in the 1970s suggested that it walked on its spikes with a row of waving tentacles on its back. However, scientists later concluded that they had the creature upside down and it is now clear that they also had front and back confused. Researchers in England and Canada reported the new results in the journal Nature on Wednesday.
The history of twerking
Twerking has been admitted to the venerable Oxford English Dictionary — and lexicographers said its origins go back almost 200 years. The dictionary now describes twerking as dancing “in a sexually provocative manner, using thrusting movements of the bottom and hips while in a low, squatting stance.” It had previously listed the word, but then to refer to a twisting or jerking movement or twitch. Researchers found it had been used with that meaning already in 1820.
Apartment fire kills 13
An early morning fire yesterday killed 13 people in a seven-story apartment buildingin Zhengzhou, the capital of Henan Province, state broadcaster China Central Television (CCTV) said. The fire erupted on the ground level, but did not spread far on a rainy night, CCTV reported. It said the deaths occurred on the top floor, meaning the victims likely died from carbon monoxide poisoning. Multiple people were hospitalized with burn injuries, the broadcaster said, and the Zhengzhou No. 1 People’s Hospital confirmed that four people were under urgent medical treatment for burn injuries. CCTV said the cause of the fire was not known. Many apartments in the country are not properly maintained, and haphazard remodeling projects have left behind safety hazards, such as improper wiring, bad ventilation and the removal of supporting struts.
Hoverboard comes to life
The future is here already — or at least the one imagined for Marty McFly — with a carmaker unveiling a real, working hoverboard, like that used in the Back to the Future film franchise. Toyota’s luxury car brand Lexus says it has created a prototype that glides frictionlessly just above the ground with technology similar to that used in so-called maglev trains. A teaser video posted online appears to show the hoverboard floating, although the sequence ends before a skateboarder actually begins to ride it. While the hoverboard Michael J. Fox’s character rides in Back to the Future II floats above anything — except water — the Lexus model requires magnets to be embedded in the ground, limiting its range to special tracks.
Murder plot leader executed
A man who robbed and killed a woman after plotting the crime with accomplices he met online was executed yesterday. The execution brings to 12 the total number of death sentences carried out since Prime Minister Shinzo Abe took power in 2012. Tsukasa Kanda, 44, was hanged for killing 31-year-old Rie Isogai in Nagoya in 2007. He met his two accomplices via a mobile phone-based web service and the three of them together devised a plan to target a random woman victim. The men kidnapped Isogai from a Nagoya street and suffocated her by wrapping her head and neck with a plastic bag, adhesive tape and rope, before battering her head with a hammer, according to Ministry of Justice records. Kanda’s accomplices are serving life sentences. Kanda did not appeal his death sentence after the original district court ruling Japan and the US are the only major industrial nations that continue to have capital punishment.
Flash floods kill seven
A disaster official says flash floods triggered by a tropical storm have killed seven people and left four others missing in the north. Tran Viet Phuong in Son La Province yesterday said that authorities are still searching for the four missing, including a four-year-old boy whose house was washed away. Flash floods washed away more than 20 houses in the province, he said. Tropical Storm Kujira, which slammed northern coast on Wednesday, has now dissipated, according to the national weather forecasters. The storm has dumped up to 20cm of rain on many parts of northern region over the past two days.
An Australian university student who has never visited China and has only a modest social media following would seem an unlikely target for the Chinese government. However, when a Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman personally denounced Drew Pavlou at a news conference, it was just the next phase in an extraordinary campaign against the 21-year-old that has fueled concerns over China’s targeting of critics overseas. Pavlou first placed himself in the superpower’s sights when in July last year he organized a small sit-in at the University of Queensland, where he studies, to protest against various Chinese government policies. Since then, the Global
BEFORE WINTER COMES: Snow cuts off roads into Ladakh for four months or more each year, so the crunch is on to get food, tents and high-altitude equipment to Leh From deploying mules to large transport aircraft, the Indian military has activated its entire logistics network to transport supplies to thousands of troops for a harsh winter along a bitterly disputed Himalayan border with China. In the past few months, one of India’s biggest military logistics exercises in years has brought vast quantities of ammunition, equipment, fuel, winter supplies and food into Ladakh, a region bordering Tibet that India administers as a union territory, officials said. The move was triggered by a border standoff with China in the snow deserts of Ladakh that began in May and escalated in June into hand-to-hand
Since her personal telephone number was posted online, Hong Kong democracy advocate and Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions chairperson Carol Ng has received menacing calls from strangers and been bombarded with messages calling her a “cockroach.” She is not alone. A sophisticated and shady Web site called HK Leaks has ramped up its “doxxing” — where people’s personal details are published online — of Hong Kong democracy advocates, targeting those it says have broken Hong Kong’s National Security Law. Promoted by groups linked to the Chinese Chinese Communist Party and hosted on Russia-based servers, HK Leaks has become the most prominent “doxxing”
A Malaysian student whose cellphone was stolen while he was sleeping has tracked down the culprit: a monkey who took photo and video selfies with the device before abandoning it. Zackrydz Rodzi, 20, on Wednesday said that his mobile phone was missing from his bedroom when he woke up on Saturday. He found the phone’s casing under his bed, but there was no sign of robbery in his house in Johor state. JUNGLE When his father saw a monkey the next day, he searched in the jungle behind his house. Using his brother’s cellphone to call his own device, he found it covered