DA quits amid sex scandal
A Pennsylvania district attorney (DA) accused of tipping off female drug dealers and giving them lenient treatment in exchange for sex, on Wednesday resigned after he was charged with dozens of crimes. Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro told at a courthouse news conference that Bedford County District Attorney Bill Higgins manipulated women for sexual favors, calling it a betrayal of the community. Higgins “thought he was above the law and that he could get away with affording special treatment in exchange for sexual favors,” Shapiro said. One woman performed oral sex on Higgins about a month after he told a state trooper not to charge her with drug delivery and another woman claims that after she performed oral sex on Higgins, he told her that her cousin could thank her for not getting arrested, court documents said.
Coach charged over abuse
A coach who ran a club affiliated with USA Water Polo has been charged with the sexual abuse of seven underage female players during one-on-one coaching sessions, prosecutors in California said on Wednesday, the latest instance of mentors of young athletes being accused of misconduct. Bahram Hojreh, 42, pleaded not guilty to charges including sexual battery, lewd acts upon a child and sexual penetration by foreign object of a minor, according to a filing this week in Orange County Superior Court. His attorney, Ricardo Nicol, said that Hojreh never had a blemish on his record after working with hundreds of children over two decades. The alleged crimes occurred between 2014 and January, the Orange County district attorney’s office said. Four of the girls were 15 or younger, prosecutors said. Hojreh is accused of touching the girls’ breasts and genitals, penetrating them with his fingers and coercing them to touch his genitals, officials said.
‘Zombie-like’ raccoons seen
Police in Youngstown, Ohio, have received more than a dozen calls in the past three weeks about raccoons acting strangely in the daytime, WKBN-TV reported. Photographer Robert Coggeshall said he was playing with his dogs outside his home last week when one such raccoon approached them. Coggeshall said the animal would stand on its hind legs, show its teeth and fall over backward. The raccoon that Coggeshall saw and 14 others police responded to were euthanized. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources said the animals were likely suffering from distemper, not rabies. The viral disease causes coughing, tremors and seizures and leads raccoons to lose their fear of humans. Authorities are asking residents to report raccoons behaving unusually to their local police.
Jaguars dodge floodwater
Researches have found that jaguars, imperiled by hunters, ranchers and destruction of their habitat, have learned to survive at least one menace — flooding in the Amazon River basin. They take to the trees. Although they can be 2m long and weigh 90kg, the largest South American cats nimbly navigate treetops where they stay from April to July when the rainforest floor is under meters-deep water. “It shows that even as a large animal, the jaguar can withstand the flooding — feeding, breeding and raising its young in the treetops for three to four months,” said Emiliano Ramalho, the lead researcher for Project Lauarete, which is administered by the Instituto Mamiraua.
OFF BORDER ISLAND: The fisheries official disappeared from a patrol vessel wearing a life jacket and leaving behind his shoes, indicating an intentional move, Seoul said North Korean soldiers shot dead a suspected South Korean defector at sea and burned his body as a COVID-19 precaution after he was interrogated in the water over several hours, Seoul military officials said yesterday. It is the first killing of a South Korean citizen by North Korean forces for a decade, and comes with Pyongyang at high alert over the COVID-19 pandemic and inter-Korean relations at a standstill. The fisheries official disappeared from a patrol vessel near the western border island of Yeonpyeong on Monday, the official said. More than 24 hours later, North Korean forces located him in their waters and
ACADEMIC FREEDOM: One professor told her students to submit anonymized papers and not to record any online classes. Some US schools have announced similar steps Students at Oxford University specializing in the study of China are being asked to submit some papers anonymously to protect them from the possibility of retribution under the sweeping new security law introduced three months ago in Hong Kong. The anonymity ruling is to be applied in classes, and group tutorials are to be replaced by one-to-ones. Students are also to be warned that it will be viewed as a disciplinary offence if they tape classes or share them with outside groups. The Hong Kong National Security Law was imposed on June 30 by Beijing after more than a year of pro-democracy
Japan’s government yesterday urged people to seek help if they were struggling to cope, following Sunday’s death of the popular actress and Miss Sherlock star Yuko Takeuchi, 40. News of her death shocked the nation and follows other recent cases of Japanese celebrities taking their lives, with figures showing a recent rise in suicides. Takeuchi was a household name in Japan and had given birth to her second child in January. Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato did not mention a particular case, but said that some people were struggling to cope during the COVID-19 pandemic. “There has been an uptick in the number
China on Thursday lashed out at the US at a high-level UN meeting over its criticism on the COVID-19 pandemic, with its envoy declaring, “Enough is enough.” Two days after US President Donald Trump used his annual address to the General Assembly to attack China’s record, US Ambassador to the UN Kelly Craft, also took an outraged tone — after which her Chinese counterpart showed palpable anger. “I must say, enough is enough. You have created enough troubles for the world already,” Chinese Ambassador to the UN Zhang Jun (張軍) told a Security Council meeting on global governance attended through videoconference