Terror suspect autistic
A New Yorker caught boarding a plane on his way to Yemen to fight with an al-Qaeda affiliate is a teenager who was diagnosed with autism and did not understand the gravity of what he was doing, his attorney said. Justin Kaliebe, 18, pleaded guilty in a secret federal court proceeding in February to a charge of attempting to provide material support to a terrorist organization. He was ordered to undergo a psychiatric evaluation before he is sentenced on Sept. 27. His condition could be considered in determining his sentence. He faces up to 30 years in prison. Kaliebe, who converted to Islam about three years ago, apparently was swept up in the New York Police Department’s (NYPD) ongoing investigation into the activities of Muslims throughout the region. Counterterrorism agents and NYPD officers intercepted him on Jan. 21 as he tried to board a flight to Oman on his way to Yemen.
Elephants move to Monaco
Two elephants saved from euthanasia after a public outcry on Thursday left a zoo in Lyon for their new home at a ranch belonging to Monaco’s royal family. Princess Stephanie looked on as Baby and Nepal, who had been ordered killed over suspected tuberculosis, were loaded into containers and lifted onto a truck for the eight-hour journey to the principality. The princess has agreed to host the two elephants, aged 42 and 43, at the royal family’s Roc Agel ranch in the Alpes-Maritimes region. The elephants were to be put down in December, when municipal officials in Lyon decided they had almost certainly been infected with TB and warned they could be a threat to the health of other animals and visitors to the Tete d’Or zoo in the city. Authorities later lifted the threat of execution after an outcry that saw film-star-turned-animal-rights campaigner Brigitte Bardot threaten to quit the country for Russia if they were killed.
‘Dead’ candidate elected
A man who was allegedly certified as dead almost three years ago has won a race for mayor in the southern state of Oaxaca. Leninguer Raymundo Carballido Morales won the election in the small town of San Agustin Amatengo by just 11 votes on Sunday as the candidate of a coalition of conservative and leftist parties. However, prosecutors are now investigating whether Carballido Morales faked his own death in 2010 to escape arrest in connection with the gang rape of a woman in 2004. Carballido Morales campaigned in the election, appearing in public events and giving interviews to reporters. However, two days before the vote, the Tiempo de Oaxaca daily reported that the candidate’s lawyer had delivered a forged death certificate to authorities in 2010. The document, which was certified by a doctor, declared that Carballido Morales had died of “natural causes” following a diabetic coma, the newspaper said.
Troops kill 13 gunmen
Authorities say soldiers killed 13 gunmen in a clash on Thursday in the town of Sombrerete in the northern state of Zacatecas. The soldiers also seized several automatic rifles and vehicles, state prosecutors’ spokesman Jorge Flores said. Zacatecas Attorney General Arturo Nahle told Milenio Television a gunman survived and told authorities he belongs to the Gulf drug cartel. Zacatecas has seen an increase in drug violence after the brutal Zetas drug cartel split from the Gulf cartel in 2010 and began pushing west from their home base in the northeast.