‘Excorcist’ moms indicted
Two Maryland women have been indicted in the stabbings of four children in what authorities say the women believed was an exorcism. Twenty-eight-year-old Zakieya Avery and 21-year-old Monifa Sanford were indicted on Thursday on two counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of Avery’s 18-month-old son and two-year-old daughter in January at a home in Germantown, Maryland, outside Washington. They were also indicted on two counts of attempted first-degree murder in an attack on Avery’s five-year-old daughter and eight-year-old son. Prosecutors have said the women told investigators they believed evil spirits moved between the bodies of the children and an exorcism was needed to drive the demons out.
Baby gorilla has surgery
Veterinarians at the San Diego Zoo have performed an operation on a newborn gorilla that was delivered by Caesarean section. The zoo says the 2kg female was born on Wednesday, but seemed to have breathing problems. On Friday morning, a team fixed a collapsed lung that probably occurred during delivery. The medical team included vets and two doctors who usually work on humans. The gorilla will be monitored around the clock as she recovers. The mother gorilla, named Imani, had never given birth. The zoo says an emergency C-section was performed because she was in distress after going into labor.
Spacey bashes Rob Ford
Toronto’s combative mayor claimed on Friday that he would not know actor Kevin Spacey “if I ran over him,” a week after the House of Cards star poked fun at Rob Ford when both appeared on a late-night talk show. Ford’s brother called the actor “an arrogant SOB.” The reason for their displeasure? Spacey cracked several jokes at the mayor’s expense when he appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live on March 2 shortly after a brief cameo by Ford. “That’s the first time I’ve had to follow a Ford,” Spacey quipped. “And one that was so banged up.” Ford has been under great pressure to resign since he admitted smoking crack last year, and several videos have emerged that showed him seemingly drunk or high. City Council stripped him of many of his powers, but does not have the authority to remove him. Undaunted, Ford has vowed to run for re-election this fall. The Ford brothers took on Spacey during their show on YouTube named after the mayor’s supporters, who he refers to as “Ford Nation.” Rob and Doug Ford complained that they were told they could not talk to, or have their picture taken with Spacey.
Russian diplomat stabbed
A Russian diplomat was stabbed on Friday in the capital following a drunken quarrel, official said. Ottawa police said they responded to an emergency call at 8:43am about a stabbing near the Russian embassy and found a 44-year-old man suffering from “stab wounds.” The victim was taken to hospital and treated for non-life-threatening injuries, while a second man was taken into custody for questioning. The Ottawa Citizen daily reported that the two men had been drinking in an apartment a few blocks from the Russian mission when an argument broke out. The diplomat was stabbed in the arm and back and fled to the lobby, where he was found by police, according to the report. The victim was reportedly drunk and belligerent with authorities, claiming initially that he had been bitten by a dog.
Jade Rabbit awakes again
China’s troubled Jade Rabbit moon rover “woke up” again early on Friday, though the mechanical troubles that have plagued it remain unfixed, the government said. The rover, called Yutu (玉兔) in Chinese, turns dormant and stops sending signals
during the lunar night, two-week periods when the part of the moon’s surface it is on rotates away from the sun and temperatures turn extremely cold. The State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defense said on its Web site that the rover “woke up” from its third such slumber at 6:42am Beijing time. Jade Rabbit experienced a “mechanical control abnormality” as the lunar night fell on Jan. 25, leading to fears in China it might never revive. To the country’s relief, it started sending signals again in the middle of last month.
Gunmen fire at checkpoint
Unidentified gunmen opened fire on an army police checkpoint on the outskirts of Cairo yesterday, killing six officers, state TV reported. A senior security source told state TV that two bombs found near the checkpoint had also been deactivated. The army blamed the attack on ousted Islamist president Mohamed Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood group, according to a military statement. There have been several militant attacks on security forces since the army overthrew Morsi in July last year and about 300 security officers have been killed. Analysts expect attacks on security forces to increase in the coming months when a presidential vote is due to take place.
Nazi soldier supporter fired
A government spokesman says the environment minister will be fired after he insisted on participating in annual commemorations of soldiers who fought in Nazi units during World War II. Einars Cilinskis, of the right-wing National Alliance, announced on Friday that he would attend today’s events in Riga, ignoring warnings from Prime Minister Laimdota Straujuma. Straujuma had called on Cabinet ministers to stay away from the March 16 events, which are expected to prompt counter-protests from members of the Russian-speaking minority. Many people consider the Waffen SS veterans as heroes who fought for independence from the Soviet Union. Russians see the march as an attempt to glorify fascism.
Air quality risk to health
Air pollution in Paris has hit health-threatening levels over 80 percent higher than in London and Berlin as a sunny spell reaches western Europe, prompting the city to curb road speeds and offer free public transport. Charges were also waived for the city’s pioneering cycle and electric car-sharing schemes this week as a visible haze hung over the streets of the capital. European Environment Agency figures for Thursday showed there was 147 micrograms of particulate matter (PM) per cubic meter of air in Paris compared with 114 in Brussels, 104 in Amsterdam, 81 in Berlin and 79.7 in London. Background pollution — the outdoor air quality experienced by the average citizen — topped the 100 maximum measurable index level in Paris on Thursday, data from pollution watchdog airqualitynow.eu showed, making it the only European capital in the “very-high” level zone. The index stood at 81 in London, 76 in Berlin and 61 in Madrid.