Tip led to academic’s arrest
A former University of Southern California professor accused of sex crimes involving two children was deported from Mexico after a Mexican recognized his picture in a newspaper and informed the US embassy, the FBI said on Wednesday. Walter Lee Williams, 64, was scheduled to appear in a Los Angeles federal courtroom yesterday to face charges of sexual exploitation of children and traveling abroad for the purpose of engaging in sexual acts with children. He had been placed on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list on Monday and was captured late on Tuesday in Playa del Carmen. The tipster is eligible for a US$100,000 reward.
Cat nurses orphaned puppy
A cat caring for four newborn kittens is nursing an orphaned week-old pit bull puppy in Cleveland, Ohio. Sharon Harvey of the Cleveland Animal Protective League on Wednesday said that Lurlene the cat welcomed Noland the puppy to her “unusual little family.” The puppy was dropped off at the animal shelter last week when he was a day old. The puppy will grow faster, so the shelter says it may have to come up with another feeding idea in several weeks until Noland is ready for adoption.
Group attack university
A group of masked assailants has attacked the Central University of Venezuela in Caracas, torching two buses and seriously damaging its rectory building. Amalio Belmonte, the school’s secretary-general, says about 20 people invaded the campus and shot firearms into the air on Wednesday afternoon. They set one bus on fire near the entrance to a study center and another outside the ground floor of the offices of the rectory, he said. Belmonte believes the attack was revenge for student protests that since June 7 have been demanding pay raises for professors and more funds for the university.
Vaccinations prove effective
A vaccine for human papillomavirus (HVP), a sexually transmitted infection that can cause cervical cancer, is proving so successful that a top disease specialist is pushing to inoculate an entire generation of teenage girls. Cases of certain HPV strains have plunged 56 percent among females 14 years old to 19 years old since the first vaccine, Merck & Co’s Gardasil, was introduced in 2006, according to an article in the Journal of Infectious Diseases on Wednesday. The shot is 82 percent effective against the virus that can cause cervical cancer if at least one of the three doses is given. “These are striking results and they should be a wake-up call that we need to increase vaccinations,” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director Thomas Frieden told reporters on a conference call. “It is possible to protect a generation from cancer and we have to do it.”
Mother ‘forced to beat girl’
A mentally disabled mother whom authorities said was enslaved for two years along with her daughter spent time in jail this year after pleading guilty to beating the girl, but her attorney told a judge that her captors forced her to do it. Court records show that a child-endangering complaint was filed against the woman in October last year, just a day after she was charged with shoplifting and asked to be jailed because three people had been mean to her. Beginning in early 2011, the three suspects forced the mother to cooperate with them by threats and physical abuse, federal prosecutors said.
Two Muslims convicted
A court has found two Muslim women guilty of sparking a recent outbreak of sectarian violence, one of them by bumping into a Buddhist novice monk. Myint Thein of the pro-government National Unity Party, who attended their trial, said on Wednesday the two women in the central township of Okkan were convicted of “insulting religion.” Both were sentenced to two years in prison with hard labor. The verdicts may be seen as offering support for contentions by human rights groups that the court system is biased in favor of the Buddhist majority. Although the vast majority of victims of the violence have been Muslims, most of those convicted have also been Muslims.
Children taught from space
Astronauts struck floating martial arts poses, twirled gyroscopes and manipulated wobbling globes of water during a lecture yesterday from the country’s orbiting space station as part of efforts to popularize the space program among young people. Wang Yaping (王亞平) demonstrated principles of weightlessness and took questions live from among the 330 grade-school children gathered at a Beijing auditorium during the 51-minute class from aboard the Tiangong 1 space station. Her fellow crewmembers Nie Haisheng (聶海勝) and Zhang Xiaoguang (張曉光) answered questions about living, working and staying fit in space. During one playful moment, Nie adopted the mythical cross-legged lotus position familiar to all fans of Chinese martial arts films. “In space, we’re all kung fu masters,” Wang said. Wang injected droplets into an increasingly larger suspended ball of water, drawing exclamations of “wow” and applause from the students, another 60 million of whom were watching the broadcast in their classrooms.
Thief finds corpse, gives in
A terrified burglar handed himself in after breaking into a darkened house and bumping into a hanging corpse, waking neighbors with his blood-curdling screams, police said yesterday. The would-be thief was arrested when he called police in the early hours of Wednesday to report his gruesome encounter in the North Island town of Hamilton, the New Zealand Herald reported. Inspector Greg Nicholls said he believed it would prompt the burglar to mend his ways. “I’m hopeful that this might be a career-changing moment for that burglar,” he told the newspaper. Nicholls said the death of the man found hanging would be investigated.
Dotcom slams ‘massacre’
Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom yesterday condemned a Dutch company’s decision to delete millions of files belonging to users of his defunct Web site, calling it “the largest data massacre in the history of the Internet.” “Millions of personal #Megaupload files, petabytes of pictures, backups, personal & business property forever destroyed,” the Internet tycoon tweeted after revealing that Leaseweb had deleted files belonging to Megaupload customers in Europe from its servers. The fate of Megaupload data has been uncertain since January last year, when US authorities shut down the file-sharing site and directed the country’s police to arrest Dotcom for alleged online piracy. Dotcom says most of the data was legitimate, non-copyright material such as personal photographs and business documents that should be returned to users. However, it is stored on rented servers owned by hosting companies such as Haarlem-based Leaseweb, which said it could not hold the data indefinitely with no payment.