Fanning the culture of hate
LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Los Angeles County sheriff on Monday criticized elected officials, sports figures and civic leaders for “fanning the flames of hatred” as America grapples with racism and police brutality, saying they instead should emphasize trust in the criminal justice system. Sheriff Alex Villanueva’s comments to The Associated Press came after the weekend ambush of two deputies who were in their parked police vehicle when a man walked up to the passenger’s side and fired multiple rounds. The deputies were struck in the head and critically wounded but both are expected to recover, Villanueva said. The gunman hasn’t been captured. The shooting occurred in Compton, one of the communities that makes up South Los Angeles, an area with a large Black population that has long been a flashpoint for racial tension and mistrust of police. Hundreds marched to the Sheriff’s Department South LA station in Compton on Saturday to protest the fatal shootings of a Black man on Aug. 31 and a Black teenager in 2018. Both were killed by deputies from the station, which also is the workplace of the deputies targeted Saturday. After that shooting, a handful of protesters gathered outside the hospital where the deputies were treated and tried to block the emergency room entrance. Videos from the scene recorded protesters shouting expletives at police and at least one yell “I hope they … die.” Villanueva said the angry rhetoric is making his deputies’ work more difficult. “They’re out there doing their job and yet we have people fanning the flames of hatred and just turning up the volume when we don’t need it. We need to be turning it down,” Villanueva said. “Particularly our elected officials and civic leaders and sports figures, they need to start emphasizing trust in the system, due process.”
Museum removes shrunken heads
LONDON (AP) — Oxford University’s Pitt Rivers Museum has removed its famous collection of shrunken heads and other human remains from display as part of a broader effort to “decolonize” its collections. The museum, known as one of the world’s leading institutions for anthropology, ethnography and archaeology, had faced charges of racism and cultural insensitivity because it continued to display the items. “Our audience research has shown that visitors often saw the museum’s displays of human remains as a testament to other cultures being ‘savage’, ‘primitive’ or ‘gruesome’,” museum director Laura Van Broekhoven said. “Rather than enabling our visitors to reach a deeper understanding of each other’s ways of being, the displays reinforced racist and stereotypical thinking that goes against the museum’s values today.” The decision comes at a time when the Black Lives Matter movement has led to a re-examination of the British Empire and the objects carried away from conquered lands. Oxford itself has been the site of such protests, where demonstrators demanded the removal of a statue of Victorian imperialist Cecil Rhodes. Some of the 130-year-old museum’s collection, including the human remains, was acquired during the expansion of the British Empire in line with a colonial mandate to collect and classify objects from all over the world.
Sally threatens Gulf Coast
WAVELAND, Miss. (AP) — Hurricane Sally, one of four storms churning simultaneously in the Atlantic, closed in on the Gulf Coast on Monday with rapidly strengthening winds of at least 100 mph (161 kph) and the potential for up to 2 feet (0.6 meters) of rain that could bring severe flooding. The storm was on a track to brush by the southeastern tip of Louisiana and then blow ashore late Tuesday or early Wednesday near the Mississippi-Alabama state line for what could be a long, slow and ruinous drenching. Storm-weary Gulf Coast residents rushed to buy bottled water and other supplies ahead of the hurricane, which powered up to a Category 2 in the afternoon. Forecasters said sustained winds could reach 110 mph (177 kph) by landfall. “This is the real deal, and it deserves your attention,” Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves wrote on Twitter, shortly after the storm was upgraded. He urged people in low-lying areas to prepare to evacuate. “Be smart. Prepare for worst. Pray for the best,” he said. Seawater and sand swept onto roads on one end of Dauphin Island off the coast of Alabama, washing away several cars, Dauphin Island Mayor Jeff Collier said. He said about a dozen people had to be evacuated by Humvee. In addition to Sally were Hurricane Paulette, which passed over a well-fortified Bermuda on Monday and was expected to peel harmlessly out into the North Atlantic; and Tropical Storms Rene, Teddy and Vicky, all of them out at sea and unlikely to threaten land this week, if at all. Rene was downgraded to a trough of low pressure Monday evening. As of late afternoon, Sally was about 145 miles (230 kilometers) southeast of Biloxi, Mississippi, moving at 6 mph (9 kph). The hurricane’s sluggish pace could give it more time to drench the Mississippi Delta with rain and storm surge.
S. Dakota AG hit man, not deer
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — South Dakota Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg reported hitting a deer with his car on Saturday night but actually killed a pedestrian whose body was not found until the next day, state investigators said Monday. Ravnsborg’s office has said he immediately called 911 after the crash on a rural stretch of U.S. Highway 14 and did not realize he had hit a man until his body was found. The Department of Public Safety issued a statement Monday that said only that Ravnsborg told the Hyde County Sheriff’s Office that he had hit a deer. Tony Mangan, a spokesman for the department, would not confirm whether Ravnsborg called 911, saying it is part of the ongoing investigation. The pedestrian, who was identified as 55-year-old Joseph Boever, was not found until Sunday morning. He had crashed his truck in that area earlier, according to relatives, and was apparently walking near the road toward it. Republican Gov. Kristi Noem had revealed Sunday that Ravnsborg was involved in a fatal crash and tasked the Department of Public Safety with investigating, but neither she nor the agency had provided any details. Ravnsborg issued a statement Sunday saying he was “shocked and filled with sorrow” but also had not provided details. His office said Monday that he had not been drinking before the crash. Ravnsborg was driving from a Republican fundraiser in Redfield to his home some 110 miles (177 kilometers) away in Pierre.
Hints of life in Venus’s clouds
Astronomers have found a potential sign of life high in the atmosphere of neighboring Venus: hints there may be bizarre microbes living in the sulfuric acid-laden clouds of the hothouse planet. Two telescopes in Hawaii and Chile spotted in the thick Venusian clouds the chemical signature of phosphine, a noxious gas that on Earth is only associated with life, according to a study in Monday’s journal Nature Astronomy. Several outside experts — and the study authors themselves — agreed this is tantalizing but said it is far from the first proof of life on another planet. They said it doesn’t satisfy the “extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence” standard established by the late Carl Sagan, who speculated about the possibility of life in the clouds of Venus in 1967. “It’s not a smoking gun,” said study co-author David Clements, an Imperial College of London astrophysicist. “It’s not even gunshot residue on the hands of your prime suspect, but there is a distinct whiff of cordite in the air which may be suggesting something.” As astronomers plan for searches for life on planets outside our solar system, a major method is to look for chemical signatures that can only be made by biological processes, called biosignatures. After three astronomers met in a bar in Hawaii, they decided to look that way at the closest planet to Earth: Venus. They searched for phosphine, which is three hydrogen atoms and a phosphorous atom. On Earth, there are only two ways phosphine can be formed, study authors said. One is in an industrial process. (The gas was produced for use as chemical warfare agent in World War I.) The other way is as part of some kind of poorly understood function in animals and microbes. Some scientists consider it a waste product, others don’t. Phosphine is found in “ooze at the bottom of ponds, the guts of some creatures like badgers and perhaps most unpleasantly associated with piles of penguin guano,” Clements said. Study co-author Sara Seager, an MIT planetary scientist, said researchers “exhaustively went through every possibility and ruled all of them out: volcanoes, lightning strikes, small meteorites falling into the atmosphere. … Not a single process we looked at could produce phosphine in high enough quantities to explain our team’s findings.” That leaves life.
‘Hotel Rwanda’ hero charged
KIGALI, Rwanda (AP) — A Rwandan court on Monday charged Paul Rusesabagina, whose story inspired the film “Hotel Rwanda,” with terrorism, complicity in murder, and forming an armed rebel group. Rusesabagina declined to respond to all 13 charges, saying some did not qualify as criminal offenses and saying that he denied the accusations when he was questioned by Rwandan investigators. Rusesabagina, 66, asked to be released on bail, citing poor health that has caused him to be taken to hospital three times in the time that he has been held in Rwanda. “I request that I am given bail and I assure the court that I will not flee from justice,” Rusesabagina said. The court said it will rule on his bail application on Thursday. Rusesabagina, credited with saving more than 1,000 lives during Rwanda’s 1994 genocide, appeared in handcuffs in Kagarama Court in the capital for a pre-trial hearing, in which the prosecution requested court permission to continue detaining him until investigations are completed. Rusesabagina was represented by Rwandan lawyers David Rugaza and Ameline Nyembo, who have been discounted as state-imposed representation by his family outside Rwanda. Neither his lawyers nor the prosecution explained the circumstances under which Rusesabagina arrived in Kigali at the end of August from Dubai. He had traveled from the U.S. to Dubai and then mysteriously appeared in Rwanda. The Rwandan court said the suspect was arrested at Kigali International Airport, contradicting the earlier police version that he was arrested through “international cooperation.”
Ice Age cave bear found
Reindeer herders in a Russian Arctic archipelago have found an immaculately preserved carcass of an Ice Age cave bear, researchers said Monday. The find, revealed by the melting permafrost, was discovered on the Lyakhovsky Islands with its teeth and even its nose intact. Previously scientists only had been able to discover the bones of cave bears that became extinct 15,000 years ago. Scientists of the North-Eastern Federal University in Yakutsk, the premier center for research into woolly mammoths and other prehistoric species, hailed the find as groundbreaking. In a statement issued by the university, researcher Lena Grigorieva emphasized that “this is the first and only find of its kind — a whole bear carcass with soft tissues.” “It is completely preserved, with all internal organs in place, including even its nose,” Grigorieva said. “This find is of great importance for the whole world.” A preliminary analysis indicated that the adult bear lived 22,000 to 39,500 years ago. “It is necessary to carry out radiocarbon analysis to determine the precise age of the bear,” the university quoted researcher Maxim Cheprasov as saying. The bear carcass was found by reindeer herders on Bolshoy Lyakhovsky Island. It is the largest of the Lyakhovsky Islands, which are part of the New Siberian Islands archipelago that lies between the Laptev Sea and the East Siberian Sea. At about the same time, a well-preserved carcass of a cave bear cub has also been found in another area in Yakutia’s mainland, the university said. It didn’t describe its condition in detail but noted that scientists are hopeful of obtaining its DNA. Recent years have seen major discoveries of mammoths, woolly rhinos, Ice Age foal, several puppies and cave lion cubs as the permafrost melts across vast areas in Russia’s region of Siberia.
Paisley, wife fight hunger
LOS ANGELES (AP) — After opening a free grocery store earlier this year, country music star Brad Paisley and his wife are expanding their efforts to fight hunger in America. Paisley and his wife, actress Kimberly Williams-Paisley, have pledged to donate 1 million nutritional meals this month. The initiative, billed as the Million Meal Donation Tour, kicked off in Detroit last week. The tour will run for two weeks, visiting food banks in 16 major cities including Los Angeles, New York, Houston, Atlanta, Miami and Nashville, Tennessee. It will end in Chicago on Sept. 21. “We’re just rallying to feed people,” Paisley said in a recent interview. The couple and their food brand, Tiller & Hatch, are working with Feeding America on the initiative. Some of the distributed meals will include artisanal pastas, hearty stews and flavorful soups. The meals will be packed in semi-trucks with about 750,000 pounds of food to feed more than 60,000 families.
Hilton ‘feels free’ after doc
NEW YORK (AP) — There’s a scene in a new documentary about Paris Hilton, where the so-called socialite is speaking with former classmates from a Utah boarding school. They joke about how on her reality series “The Simple Life,” Hilton pretended to be clueless over many things– including how to perform any sort of manual labor. One bluntly described it as “some straight-up (expletive),” as they all laughed. “I don’t think you had like a high-pitch voice back then,” was another observation. None of this is a surprise to Hilton. What’s revealed in “This is Paris,” which debuted for free Monday on Hilton’s YouTube channel, is that the ultra glam, baby-talking young woman whose standard line was “that’s hot,” was a manufactured caricature not just for fame but self-protection, too. Hilton says as a teen she got into the nightlife scene and would sneak out and go to clubs while her family lived at the Waldorf Astoria hotel in New York. Her exasperated parents sent her away to various programs to straighten out. There was an outdoor wilderness camp where Hilton and another girl tried to escape. Hilton claims they were caught and beaten in front of others as punishment. When she was 17, Hilton was finally sent to what she describes as “the worst of the worst”: Provo Canyon School in Utah. “This is the only place where it’s impossible to run away. So it’s basically like that one place that they all talk about at the other places saying, ‘If you run away or you’re bad, you’re going to be sent to Provo,'” said Hilton. She stayed at Provo for 11 months and says while there, she was abused mentally and physically, claiming staff would beat her, force her to take unknown pills, watch her shower and send her to solitary confinement without clothes as punishment. The 39-year-old says the treatment was so “traumatizing” that she suffered nightmares and insomnia for years. Hilton says when she agreed to be the subject of “This is Paris,” it was never her intention to speak about past abuses, but she opened up as she became more comfortable with director Alexandra Dean.
Relocated wolves do what they do
TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) — Gray wolves that were taken to Michigan’s Isle Royale National Park to rebuild its nearly extinct population are forming social groups, staking out territory and apparently mating — promising signs despite heavy losses from natural causes and deadly fights, scientists said Monday. They’ve also achieved a primary goal of the reintroduction initiative by reducing the park’s moose herd, which has become too big for its own good, researchers with Michigan Technological University said. “They’re having no trouble finding and preying on moose, and that’s really significant,” said wildlife ecologist Rolf Peterson, who has spent decades studying the relationship between the two species on the Lake Superior island chain. “The signs are all positive, I think.” Data from radio-transmission collars worn by transplanted wolves and images from remote cameras suggest pups were born the past two years, although the number is uncertain, researchers with the park and State University of New York said. Wolves are believed to have made their way to Isle Royale by crossing ice bridges from Minnesota or the Canadian province of Ontario in the mid-20th century. After becoming established, their numbers averaged in the 20s before declining sharply in the past decade, primarily due to inbreeding. The National Park Service announced plans in 2018 to restore the population, which had fallen to two. Crews took 19 wolves from Minnesota, Ontario and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula to the island in a series of airlifts. Some have died and at least one wandered back to the mainland. A report released Monday by the Michigan Tech research team, which tallied live wolves during low-altitude flights last winter, said 12 had been spotted. Two others that had been seen previously were unaccounted for, meaning the population could be as high as 14.
Drug may ease recovery time
A drug company says that adding an anti-inflammatory medicine to a drug already widely used for hospitalized COVID-19 patients shortens their time to recovery by an additional day. Eli Lilly announced the results Monday from a 1,000-person study sponsored by the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. The result have not yet been published or reviewed by independent scientists, but the government confirmed that Lilly’s statement was accurate. The study tested baricitinib, a pill that Indianapolis-based Lilly already sells as Olumiant to treat rheumatoid arthritis, the less common form of arthritis that occurs when a mistaken or overreacting immune system attacks joints, causing inflammation. An overactive immune system also can lead to serious problems in coronavirus patients. All study participants received remdesivir, a Gilead Scie
Man cleared of murder, rape
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — After 37 years behind bars, a Florida man was formally cleared Monday of a 1983 rape and murder that DNA evidence proved he did not commit after a long-ago trial that relied on a sketchy jailhouse informant and faulty bite mark analysis. Robert DuBoise was released from prison last month. A hearing before Hillsborough County Circuit Judge Christopher Nash resulted in an order wiping away the previous convictions and life sentence, and also removing DuBoise from the state’s sex offender registry. “This court has failed you for 37 years,” Nash said during the hearing, held remotely. “Today, it has finally succeeded.” DuBoise, 55, was convicted in the 1983 murder of 19-year-old Barbara Grams. She had been raped and beaten while walking home from her job at a Tampa mall. He was initially sentenced to death, then resentenced to life in prison. Expert testimony at Monday’s hearing showed that bite mark evidence on the victim’s left cheek used in his trial has now been determined to be unreliable — police used beeswax to take an impression of DuBoise’s teeth — and that DNA showed conclusively that he was eliminated as a suspect in the assault of Grams. The jailhouse informant’s testimony also has subsequently been discredited.
Large chunk of ice cap breaks off
COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) — An enormous chunk of Greenland’s ice cap has broken off in the far northeastern Arctic, a development that scientists say is evidence of rapid climate change. The glacier section that broke off is 110 square kilometers (42.3 square miles). It came off of the fjord called Nioghalvfjerdsfjorden, which is roughly 80 kilometers (50 miles) long and 20 kilometers (12 miles) wide, the National Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland said Monday. The glacier is at the end of the Northeast Greenland Ice Stream, where it flows off the land and into the ocean. Annual end-of-melt-season changes for the Arctic’s largest ice shelf in Northeast Greenland are measured by optical satellite imagery, the survey known as GEUS said. It shows that the area’s ice losses for the past two years each exceeded 50 square kilometers (19 square miles). The ice shelf has lost 160 square kilometers (62 square miles), an area nearly twice that of Manhattan in New York, since 1999.
3 dead, 56 saved after boat sinks
ATHENS, Greece — A smuggling boat sank off the southern Greek island of Crete on Monday, leaving three dead, while a large rescue operation managed to save 56 others from the sea, authorities said. The Greek coast guard said efforts continued deep into the evening to locate other people who might be in the water. It said it was unclear whether anybody was still missing, as the survivors were not in a position to give accurate numbers of how many had been on board when the vessel went down. The dead were listed as two children and a woman. Initially, a person claiming to be a passenger who notified authorities by phone said 16 people were on the vessel that sank 12 miles (19 kilometers) east of Crete amid high winds Monday, the coast guard said. A Greek naval frigate and an air force helicopter took part in the search, together with two coast guard boats and three merchant ships. There was no indication where the vessel sailed from, how big it was or where it had been heading to. Greece’s Aegean Sea islands are often the destination for thousands of asylum-seekers and migrants from the Mideast, Africa and Asia who cross from the nearby Turkish coast in hopes of finding a better life in the European Union. But on some occasions, smuggling gangs route yachts south of Crete to head for Italy.
SC lieutenant gov has COVID-19
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — South Carolina Lt. Gov. Pamela Evette was diagnosed with COVID-19 on Friday and is recovering in isolation with her family at home, officials said. Evette had a sore throat and headache Thursday and was tested for the virus. She has stayed at her family’s home near Greenville since noting the symptoms, said Brian Symmes, the spokesman for Gov. Henry McMaster. “She is feeling better now,” said Symmes, adding Evette plans to stay out of the public for two weeks. Evette’s positive test prompted McMaster and his wife to get COVID-19 tests, which both came back negative Sunday. It was the fifth negative test since the pandemic began for the governor and the third for his wife, Symmes said.