Cult leader found dead
A Chilean cult leader who allegedly burned a newborn baby alive to stave off apocalypse before fleeing to Peru was found dead on Wednesday in an apparent suicide, authorities told local media. Ramon Castillo, the 36-year-old leader of a doomsday sect, was accused of throwing a three-day-old baby girl — possibly his daughter — into a bonfire in November because he believed she was the antichrist, regional media said. Castillo’s body was discovered in an abandoned house in the historic city of Cusco, a popular tourist destination near the Incan ruins of Machu Picchu, authorities told reporters. Police believe he hanged himself.
Chris Kelly dead at 34
Chris Kelly, half of the 1990s kid rap duo Kris Kross who made one of the decade’s most memorable songs with the frenetic Jump, has died. Authorities said they were investigating his death as a possible drug overdose. Investigator Betty Honey of the Fulton County Medical Examiner’s office said the 34-year-old Kelly was pronounced dead at about 5pm on Wednesday at the south campus of the Atlanta Medical Center. An official cause of death is pending an autopsy. Kelly, known as “Mac Daddy,” and Chris Smith, known as “Daddy Mac,” were introduced to the music world in 1992. The duo wore their clothes backward as a gimmick, but they won over fans with their raps.
Human traffickers charged
Federal prosecutors have charged 13 people in a sex slave ring they say forced young Mexican women into prostitution in New York and New Jersey. The authorities said some of the women were delivered to farms in New Jersey, where each would have sex with up to 25 farm workers a day. They said others worked in brothels located in dingy apartments in poor neighborhoods. Court papers say customers paid US$30 for 15 minutes of sex and the women would get US$15, but were usually forced to give it to traffickers who had smuggled them into the country. Some of the defendants were scheduled to appear in federal court in Manhattan on Wednesday.
‘Star Wars’ in Navajo
The nation’s largest Native American tribe is seeking to dub the classic 1977 movie Star Wars in Navajo as a way to help preserve its traditional language. Fluent Navajo speakers have been invited for a casting call in Window Rock in northern Arizona today and tomorrow to dub the roles of Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, Princess Leia and others, tribal officials said.
Air crash victims named
A cargo plane company has released the names of seven people killed when one of its planes crashed in Afghanistan, and investigators are trying to discover why it went down right after takeoff. Orlando, Florida-based National Air Cargo says six of the seven victims killed in Monday’s crash on the grounds of Bagram Air Base were from Michigan and one was from Kentucky. All were US citizens. The Boeing 747-400 was destined for Dubai in the United Arab Emirates. The Afghan Ministry of Transportation and Commercial Aviation is leading the investigation. The US’ National Transportation Safety Board is also investigating the crash alongside the ministry. The Federal Aviation Administration and Boeing also are participating in the probe. NATO is discounting Taliban claims of responsibility for the crash.
Huge bull kills owner
A bull has gored a 40-year-old man to death just a month after attacking his father and breaking the older man’s ribs, police and a report said on Wednesday. Owner Rikiya Tomi was set upon as he tried to show the huge animal to friends on the southern islet of Tokunoshima, broadcaster NHK said. The 1,100kg beast speared him in the chest as he tried to entice it from the ring. He was confirmed dead at a hospital two hours later, police said. Tokunoshima, a small island off the southern Kyushu coast, is famed for its bull-on-bull fights.
Two charged after spy dies
Two prisoners have been charged with the murder of an Indian man jailed for espionage, officials said yesterday. Sarabjit Singh, who was sentenced 16 years ago over deadly bombings, died in the early hours of yesterday from injuries suffered in an attack on Saturday. “We have added a murder clause to the police complaint,” said Tariq Mehmood, a police official at Lahore’s Kot Lakhpat police station. Police say Singh was hit with bricks and other blunt objects by two inmates, who have been identified only by their single names, Aamir and Mudasir.
‘Found’ US soldier a fraud
A man who claimed in a widely publicized documentary to be a US soldier, missing since his helicopter was shot down during the Vietnam War, is actually Vietnamese, the US said yesterday. Unclaimed, directed by Michael Jorgensen, which has generated an explosion of interest since its premiere this week, purports to have discovered US serviceman John Robertson — alive, well and living in the communist nation. However, a US Department of Defense statement said the man — who appeared on film in an emotional “reunion” with Robertson’s sister — has been DNA tested and found to be a Vietnamese citizen.
Mental health law enacted
A new law has taken effect prohibiting people from being committed to mental hospitals without their consent in an attempt to prevent “forced detentions,” state-run media said yesterday. The nation’s first mental health law comes after right groups accused authorities of locking up hundreds of thousands of people in psychiatric hospitals each year, often as a form of punishment for dissidents. The new regulation, which took effect on Wednesday, “aims to stop mental hospitals from admitting patients against their will, a practice that previously triggered public outrage amid accusations of forced detentions,” the Global Times said. It “requires Chinese psychiatric facilities to gain consent from mentally ill patients before taking them in for treatment.” Mental hospitals will also have to obtain patients’ permission to administer treatment and respect their requests to be discharged.
Bird flu death toll rises to 25
The death toll from the H7N9 bird flu virus has risen to 25, state media said yesterday after a man died in Hunan Province. The 55-year-old surnamed Jiao died on Wednesday morning after receiving medical treatment, state news agency Xinhua said, citing local authorities. More than 120 people have been diagnosed with the virus since it was first reported in late March, with most cases confined to the east of the country. The only one reported outside the country has been in Taiwan, although the victim was infected in China.