ISS crew return safely
A Soyuz space capsule carrying a three-man crew returning from a five-month mission to the International Space Station (ISS) landed safely yesterday on the steppes of Kazakhstan. Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield, American Thomas Marshburn and Russian Roman Romanenko landed as planned southeast of Dzhezkazgan at 8:31am. Rescue teams moved quickly to help the crew exit through the narrow hatch of the capsule. They were then put into reclining chairs to start adjusting to Earth’s gravity after 146 days in space.
Holmes may plead insanity
Judge Carlos Samour on Monday ruled that James Holmes, who stands accused of killing 12 people and injuring 70 in a Colorado cinema shooting on July 20 last year, could plead not guilty by insanity, but said he would not yet formally accept the change of plea. Samour set a new hearing for May 31, after which he will decide to accept or reject the insanity plea. The trial judge had entered a straight “not guilty” plea on Holmes’ behalf in March. Daniel King, Holmes’ court-appointed attorney, on Monday said the insanity plea could not be entered in March because a mental evaluation had not been completed at that time.
Maduro deploys troops
President Nicolas Maduro on Monday said his government will dispatch about 3,000 police and army troops throughout the country in a bid to stem spiraling violent crime in what authorities are calling operation Safe Homeland 2013. Troops were to fan out across what the government says are the least safe parts of the country, including the Sucre and Baruta neighborhoods of Caracas in Miranda State, where vanquished presidential challenger Henrique Capriles serves as governor. “I am not a dictator, but I have to protect Venezuela’s children,” Maduro said.
Pakistani activists honored
A Pakistani rights activist who founded an all-girls school said the Taliban was “more afraid of the books than bombs” as he and his 15-year-old daughter, Malala Yousufzai, who survived an assassination attempt by the Taliban late last year, were honored on Monday at a memorial for Oklahoma City bombing victims. Ziauddin Yousufzai decried political violence at a ceremony held to honor him and his daughter. “We share the pain. We share the suffering,” Ziauddin Yousufzai said. “We have tragedies like Boston [Marathon bombings] every day.”
Joyce Brothers passes away
Psychologist Dr Joyce Brothers, who blazed a trail decades ago in the emerging television genre of advice programming, died on Monday, longtime spokesman Sandy Brokaw said. Brothers, 85, passed away in New Jersey, Brokaw said. With a doctorate from Columbia University, Brothers became a popular presence on US airwaves who helped generations understand parenting and child psychology.
Shooting suspect named
Louisiana police on Monday identified 19-year-old Akein Scott as a suspect in the shooting of about 20 people during a Mother’s Day parade in New Orleans, saying several people identified him as the gunman captured by surveillance cameras. Police Superintendent Ronal Serpas said that officers were looking for Scott, adding that it was too early to say if he was the only shooter.
Two men held in sex cases
A school principal and a government worker have been detained on suspicion of inappropriate liaisons with six girls under the age of 14 after the men took them to separate hotels and spent a night with them. The girls — all friends in Wanning, Hainan Province — were first found absent from class on the afternoon of May 8, prompting a search by teachers, parents and police, Xinhua news agency said yesterday. Four of the girls spent the night of May 8 in a hotel with a principal, who has since been fired, Xinhua said. The government worker took the two other girls to another hotel, but the girls denied he acted inappropriately.
Senior NDRC official sacked
The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has sacked Liu Tienan (劉鐵男), deputy director of the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), Xinhua said yesterday, following a probe into graft allegations that emerged on the Internet. Xinhua said the decision to fire him “was made because of Liu’s suspected involvement in serious disciplinary violations.” Allegations against Liu, 58, surfaced when a journalist at Caijing magazine accused him of improper business dealings late last year.
Censor says job revolting
Liu Xiaozhen, a 70-year-old censor who works for the Hunan provincial government, said he was embarrassed when he first took the job. “My face turned red to my ears and my heartbeat quickened a bit,” he told Hunan Satellite Television. Watching such footage can have enormous “psychological impact,” the report said, so candidates must be married, preferably elderly and undergo a training course. Liu said there were ever more videos to review. “Viewing them makes you sick and you wouldn’t even want to take a look. But you have to watch them seriously because it is your job,” he said.
Suspected militant killed
Police have shot and killed a suspected militant after a failed attempt to bomb police in West Java’s Tasikmalaya town late on Monday. One officer was critically injured while attempting to arrest the suspect. Police said the man threw the bomb at a police post, but it failed to explode. Two traffic officers then chased the suspect and he tried to shoot them with a homemade gun that apparently jammed. He then slashed one officer’s neck and chest before the second officer shot him.
Miners trapped by cave-in
Police say at least 30 workers are trapped underground after a tunnel caved in at a giant gold and copper mine in Papuaowned by Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold of the US. Lieutenant Colonel Gede Sumerta Jaya said the accident happened yesterday morning at the Grasberg mine in Mimika district.
Drunk charges elephant
Video footage of an inebriated tourist lunging out of his car and charging a wild elephant at the Kruger National Park caused an uproar on Monday. The footage, posted on wildlife site Latest Sightings, showed the unidentified man charging toward the startled animal. With friends cheering and encouraging him, the man runs toward the elephant, falls to the ground, but gets up again and bolts in the direction of the animal. The elephant initially swings its trunk toward the man, but soon makes its escape. The man returns to his cheering friends.