Freezing temperatures kill 65 zoo animals in Mexico


An icy cold front that swept through northern Mexico over the weekend left 65 zoo animals dead,  Monday.

Parrots, crocodiles and peacocks were among the victims of temperatures that dropped as low as 5 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 15 degrees Celsius) early Saturday morning at the Chihuahua Zoo in the city of Aldama, about an hour north of Chihuahua.

The alarming number of deaths, which represents about 10% of all of the zoo's animals, was the result of several compounding factors, owner Alberto Hernandez said.

First, the temperature dropped unexpectedly, and the area's civil protection agency did not send out an advisory for the extremely cold weather, Hernandez said. So zookeepers did not take extra precautions before leaving work Friday night.

Second, the inclement weather knocked out electricity to the zoo, causing the heaters and heating lamps throughout the location to cease working, he said. Without electricity, the night watchmen turned on the gas lines.

"They turned on the gas heaters and left it at that, but they didn't know that the gas lines had frozen," Hernandez said.

It wasn't until 6 o'clock the next morning, when an emergency generator was turned on, that zoo officials became aware of the devastation.

What they found was a menagerie of dead animals: one Capuchin monkey, 14 parrots and parakeets, 12 snakes, three crocodiles, five iguanas, 10 peacocks, and 20 hens.

"There were lots of factors that led to this accident happening," Hernandez said. "We are accustomed to extreme weather, but nothing like this."

The Capuchin monkey, named Botitas, or Little Boots, was just 6 months old and had been born at the zoo. His parents, including his father, Boots, had been brought from Central America.

The zoo was left with no more crocodiles following the losses. The three crocodiles that died were originally from the Mexican state of Sinaloa.

The zoo faced other challenges. Frozen water pipes meant that hoses couldn't be used to fill animals' food bowls. Warm water had to be brought in from outside, Hernandez said. Additional workers were brought in to care for the caged animals that required the most help.

They were also able to save other animals from dying of hypothermia. Two other monkeys were freezing, but were saved, Hernandez said. A stallion was also recovering from the cold.

Electricity was not restored until Sunday, he said. Nonetheless, the zoo opened for business as usual Monday, though Hernandez said he expected an economic hit from the loss of the animals.

"It's impossible to be prepared for something so unpredictable," he said.

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PA Corrections Department Releases 2009 Annual Statistical Report

PA Corrections Department Releases 2009 Annual Statistical Report

PR Newswire

HARRISBURG, Pa., Feb. 3, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Department of Corrections today released its 2009 annual statistical report, according to John E. Wetzel, acting Secretary of Corrections.

"This report provides a statistical overview of inmates admitted to, incarcerated in and released from correctional facilities in 2009," Wetzel said. "The Department of Corrections has published annual statistical reports for many decades to document the various aspects of the state prison system's inmate population."

Highlights of the 2009 report include:

  • On Dec. 31, 2009, the DOC's inmate population was 51,587 – a 4.4 percent increase from 1999.
  • There were no breach escapes in 2009.
  • More than half of the 2009 new court commitments were sentenced to a minimum sentence of two years or less.
  • Ninety-six percent of new court commitments received a maximum sentence of 10 years or less.
  • The average age of inmates serving life sentences in 2009 was 44 years.
  • The average time served for inmates released in 2009 was 50.2 months.

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February 1, 2011

CONTACT: Erin Duggan 212-335-9400

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., today announced the indictment and arraignment of RENATO SEABRA, 21, in Manhattan Supreme Court on one count of Murder in the Second Degree [1] in connection with the death of Carlos Castro. The indictment alleges that SEABRA intentionally murdered his victim.

According to documents filed in court, SEABRA traveled to New York City with the victim from their native Portugal on December 29, 2010. Castro had been staying at the Hotel InterContinental on West 44th Street in Manhattan. On January 7, 2010, a hotel employee discovered the victim unclothed on the floor of his hotel room, with visible injuries. The defendant was not present.

Emergency medical personnel at the scene pronounced the victim dead at 7:18 p.m. The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner of the City of New York ruled that the cause of death was blunt injuries to the head and neck compression, and the manner of death was homicide.

Assistant District Attorney Maxine Rosenthal, Senior Counsel for Trial Bureau 80, is prosecuting this case under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Kerry O’Connell, Chief of Trial Bureau 80, and Executive Assistant District Attorney Karen Friedman Agnifilo, Chief of the Trial Division. Members of the NYPD's Midtown North Precinct assisted in the investigation, including Lieutenant James West and Detective John Mongiello.


Defendant Information:

RENATO SEABRA, D.O.B. 09/10/1989
Cantanhede, Portgual


  • Murder in the Second Degree, a class A felony, one count
A class A felony is punishable by up to 25 years to life in prison.

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World Muslim Population Grows

WASHINGTON, Jan. 27, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The world's Muslim population is expected to increase by about 35% in the next 20 years, rising from 1.6 billion in 2010 to 2.2 billion by 2030, according to a new, comprehensive report released today by the Pew Research Center's Forum on Religion & Public Life on the size, distribution and growth of the Muslim population. The study is part of the Pew-Templeton Global Religious Futures project, an effort funded by The Pew Charitable Trusts and the John Templeton Foundation to analyze religious change and its impact on societies around the world.

Over the next two decades, the worldwide Muslim population is forecast to grow at about twice the rate of the non-Muslim population ? an average annual growth rate of 1.5% for Muslims compared with 0.7% for non-Muslims. If current trends continue, Muslims will make up 26.4% of the world's total projected population of 8.3 billion in 2030, up from 23.4% of the estimated 2010 world population of 6.9 billion.

However, while the global Muslim population is predicted to grow at a faster rate than the non-Muslim population, it is also expected to grow at a slower pace in the next 20 years than it did in the previous two decades. From 1990 to 2010, the global Muslim population increased at an average annual rate of 2.2%; for the period from 2010 to 2030, the rate of growth is projected to be 1.5%.

These are among the key findings of The Future of the Global Muslim Population, which seeks to provide up-to-date estimates of the number of Muslims around the world in 2010 and to project the growth of the Muslim population from 2010 to 2030.

The full report, which includes an executive summary, interactive maps and sortable data tables, is available on the Pew Forum's website.

The Pew Research Center's Forum on Religion & Public Life conducts surveys, demographic analyses and other social science research on important aspects of religion and public life in the U.S. and around the world. As part of the Washington-based Pew Research Center, a nonpartisan, nonadvocacy organization, the Pew Forum does not take positions on any of the issues it covers or on policy debates.

SOURCE Pew Research Center's Forum on Religion & Public Life

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HIV-Positive Airman in Kansas Sentenced to 8 Years



Tech Sergeant David Gutierrez, an HIV-positive airman at McConnell Air Force Base in Kansas, was found guilty and sentenced to eight years in military prison, The Associated Press (AP) reports. Gutierrez was accused of having unprotected sex with multiple partners without telling them he was HIV positive. A court martial convicted him on seven counts of aggravated assault and violating his commander’s order to notify sexual partners about his HIV status and to use condoms. Gutierrez was also convicted of indecent acts for having sex in front of others and eight counts of adultery. He originally faced 53 years in prison.

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Craigslist was a hit list


All four of the corpses found near a Long Island beach in December were young prostitutes who advertised their services on the Internet and were likely slain by a serial killer, authorities said yesterday.

After identifying one of the bodies as a Maine hooker last week, officials revealed that the three other skeletons found wrapped in burlap bags at Gilgo Beach were all Craigslist escorts who were killed shortly after meeting their slayer for sexual trysts.

Using DNA evidence, the victims were identified as Maureen Brainard-Barnes, 25, of Norwich, Conn.; Amber Lynn Costello, 27, of North Babylon; and Melissa Barthelemy, 24, of Buffalo.

Megan Waterman, 22, of Maine, was identified last week.

The killer's last known victim, Costello, went missing from North Babylon only five months ago on Sept. 2. Waterman was last seen at a Hauppauge Holiday Inn on June 6 of last year, Barthelemy went missing from The Bronx on July 12, 2009, and Brainard-Barnes vanished from Manhattan in July 2007.

"I think it fits within the known definition of what a serial killer would be," said Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota, adding that more than one culprit could be involved.

Barthelemy, who moved from Buffalo to New York to become a stripper and prostitute, was reported missing on July 18, 2009. The NYPD confirmed that her mother and sister received calls from her daughter's cellphone just days after she went missing.

"Do you know what your sister does for a living?" the male caller asked, according to Barthelemy's mother. "Your sister's a whore, don't be like your sister."

Barthelemy's mother said her daughter first traveled to New York with her rapper boyfriend and decided to stay. She promised she would use the money earned from her stripping and prostitution to one day return to Buffalo.

Waterman traveled to Hauppauge last June with her boyfriend and pimp, Akeem Cruz, 20, of Brooklyn, and vanished after leaving the hotel. Cruz is currently in prison in Maine on a drug rap.

Norwich cops said that Brainard-Barnes left her Connecticut home for New York City on July 12, 2007, and has not been heard from since.

Originally published by SELIM ALGAR and JOHN DOYLE.

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"Sexting" May Lead to Criminal Consequences

December 05, 2010 /24-7PressRelease/ -- The latest gossip, according to RadarOnline, is that the Tony Parker and Eva Longoria-Parker divorce stemmed from a lengthy "sexting" relationship Tony had with a former teammate's wife, Erin Barry. It is likely that Parker will join the ranks of other celebrities, such as Tiger Woods and Brett Favre, who have been enveloped in drama-filled sexting scandals.

Sexting, by all practical evaluations, has gained mainstream attention with these high-profile incidents. "Sexting" is the texting of sexually explicit or scandalous messages and pictures. For many seeking to cheat on a spouse or significant other, sexting provides a discreet way to communicate with another person.

While the internal conflict caused by sexting in these relationships is great, as evidenced by the Parker-Longoria and Woods-Nordegren divorces, another large concern regarding sexting should be the legal consequences for sexting. Unknowingly opening a sexually explicit photo from an underage woman or man can lead to child pornography charges. Sexting a non-consenting person may lead to harassment allegations. These are just two examples of how sexting can create criminal charges.

The legal implications of explicit sexting may also entrap teens. According to a 2009 survey by the National Campaign to Support Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, 20 percent of teens admit to sexting.

Prosecutors Use Texts in Criminal Prosecution

When a person is suspected of criminal activity, North Carolina police may seek a search warrant. Cell phones and cell phone records can often provide police with a wealth of information about a suspect, including evidence to be used in a criminal prosecution.

While those who send or receive "sext" messages often believe that their communications are private, if the police have suspicion that illegal acts are occurring, a search warrant may permit the police to search the phone and phone records.

Throughout the country, suspects often learn the hard way that text messages can be used in criminal prosecutions for sex crimes. According to the North Carolina News & Observer, the following examples are just a handful of the hundreds of cases throughout the U.S. that involve sexting:
- An 18-year-old man was convicted of distributing obscene materials in Iowa when he sent a 14-year-old girl a picture of his genitals.
- An 18-year-old man was charged with distributing child pornography after he sent a nude photo of his 16-year old girlfriend to dozens of people.
- A 14-year old girl was charged with possession and distribution of child pornography in New Jersey after posting sexually explicit photos on MySpace.
Anyone who sends or receives sexually explicit photos or messages from an underage teen, has reason to be concerned. A child pornography charge can lead to a lifetime on the sex offender registry, in addition to jail time, fines and serious reputation damage.

Sexting is a dangerous gamble. With the advancements of modern technology, it is not known how far beyond the intended recipient a text message will go. Tony Parker, Tiger Woods and Brett Favre are only celebrity examples of the reputation damage sexting can cause. In all circumstances, it is urged that sexting be avoided because of the large criminal consequences that may be triggered after one single explicit text message.

Contact a Criminal Defense Attorney

If you have been arrested for a sex crime as a result of explicit text messages or social networking posts, contact a skilled Raleigh criminal defense attorney . A criminal defense lawyer will fight on your behalf and aggressively protect your rights.

Article provided by Roberts Law Group, PLLC
Visit us at www.robertslawteam.com

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How far does public sex go who gets away with it and who doesn’t?

Stories by people who have watched and lived and now write about their own experiences.

Theaters that allow people to have sex with one another...pay ten dollars and have sex right there in front of everyone. I wonder if I can go to a bar and have sex right there in the open? What’s the difference we all would be over 21?  

Will I get arrested? HOW DO THESE PLACES GET AWAY WITH SUCH ACTS AND NO ONE CARES but other people get arrested for the same sexual acts in similar places. Why do laws apply only to some? Why do law officials ignore blatant offenders and establishments that let these acts go on and make money from it?

Who is affected by this just the offenders or is it their family spouses kids. Is this one of the ways AIDS gets passed on and people just continue to lie about their activities?  


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New Jersey Man Sentenced for Cyberstalking

Department of Justice Press Release
white spacer
For Immediate Release
January 18, 2011
United States Attorney's Office Eastern District of Pennsylvania
Contact: (215) 861-8200

New Jersey Man Sentenced for Cyberstalking

PHILADELPHIA—Matthew Bean, 20, of Bergenfield, New Jersey, was sentenced today to 45 days in prison and five years probation for a case of cyberbullying that included sending sexually explicit photos of another person to that person's school on January 26, 2009 and posting them on his own online page. The defendant took part in a web chat about the victim and the photos that included references, by others, to shaming the victim into possibly committing suicide. Bean pleaded guilty to stalking on September 15, 2010.

In addition to the prison time, U.S. District Court Judge Anita Brody ordered Bean to post a message on the pertinent chat board to let people know that cyberbullying is a crime and that law enforcement will pursue those who commit it, serve five years of supervised release, and pay a fine of $2,000.

"Technology has created new avenues for crime including many that target or involve children," said Memeger. "Today's sentence sends a message that we take crimes like cyberbullying and cyberstalking very seriously. People who attempt to harm others using the internet cannot hide in cyber space. Law enforcement will find them and seek to hold them accountable."

"We cannot, in 2011, underestimate the impact of bullying when it is enhanced by cyber means. Gone are the days of the proverbial "playground bully," as that playground has now expanded exponentially via the Internet," said Special Agent-in-Charge George C. Venizelos of the Philadelphia Division of the FBI. "The relative perceived anonymity of the Internet appears to empower individuals to say and do things they would not do in person."

This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Michael L. Levy.

According to a report by the Office of Justice Program's Bureau of Justice Statistics, during a 12-month period, an estimated 3.4 million persons age 18 or older were victims of stalking. The study measured behaviors such as unwanted phone calls, sending unsolicited or unwanted letters or e-mails, following or spying on the victim, showing up at places without a legitimate reason, waiting at places for the victim, leaving unwanted items, presents or flowers and posting information or spreading rumors about the victim on the Internet, in a public place, or by word of mouth. Additional findings included that approximately one in four stalking victims reported some form of cyberstalking such as e-mail (83 percent); 30 percent of victims are stalked by a current or former intimate partner; females are nearly three times more likely to be victims of this crime; and nearly three in four stalking victims knew the offender in some capacity.

President Obama designated January as National Stalking Awareness Month. The Department of Justice commemorated this designation today as a means to help raise awareness about the signs and consequences of this crime. Resources and information related to stalking awareness month are located at www.ovw.usdoj.gov and the Stalking Resource Center's National Stalking Awareness Month website at www.stalkingawarenessmonth.org.

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Army reserve component suicides rising

Army reserve component suicides rising

By Alexandra Hemmerly-Brown Army News Service

Click photo for screen-resolution image
Gen. Peter W. Chiarelli, vice chief of staff of the Army, speaks to Army leaders about suicide prevention during an Army leader's forum at the Pentagon, Sept. 8, 2010. (Photo credit Alexandra Hemmerly-Brown, Army News Service)
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WASHINGTON (9/9/10) -- While active-duty Army suicides are trending downward, reserve-component suicides appear to be on the rise -- a fact that worries leaders as the Army observes Suicide Prevention Month.

"We're seeing a really disturbing increase in reserve-component suicides," said Gen. Peter W. Chiarelli, vice chief of staff of the Army at a Pentagon Army leader's forum. "I don't totally understand it, but we're working hard to try and get at it."

According to a recently-released study, more Soldiers died in fiscal year 2009 as a result of high-risk behavior than in combat. The Health Promotion, Risk Reduction, and Suicide Prevention report was a 15-month study by the Army's Suicide Prevention Task Force on understanding the increasing rate of suicides among troops.

The report found a rise in high-risk behavior throughout the Army, an increase in prescription antidepressants, amphetamines and narcotics, and a boom in Soldiers seeking behavioral-health care.

The total number of suspected suicides across the Army in fiscal year 2009 was 239 with 1,713 known attempts. At press time, the current number of potential suicides in 2010 stands at 169 -- nine less active-duty deaths than during the same period last year.

Also, for the second year, the Army suicide rate has surpassed the national average with about 22 per 100,000 versus 19 per 100,000 across America.

"Suicide prevention is much more than thwarting that last final act of desperation," wrote Col. Chris Philbrick, the director of the Army Suicide Prevention Task Force in a press release. "It is increasing awareness and education in order to preclude members of the Army Family from ever getting to the point where suicide might be considered an alternative to asking for help."

The Army is engaged in a suicide-prevention campaign called "Shoulder to Shoulder: I will never quit on life." Part of the campaign is a new 15-minute training video which features candid interviews of Soldiers and Family members who have battled with suicide.

The Army has also partnered with the National Institute of Mental Health in a five-year, $50-million research program to better understand why Soldiers are ending their lives.

Brig. Gen. Colleen McGuire, the provost marshal general of the Army -- who was responsible last year for heading up the Army Suicide Prevention Task Force -- noted that suicide is not just an Army problem: about 32,000 people in the U.S. commit suicide each year, the third leading cause of death.

While Army leaders and mental-health professionals haven't been able to pinpoint exactly why suicide rates have spiked dramatically since 2001, McGuire said much of the cause may lie in nearly 10 years of war and transitional stress.

Transitions, such as re-locating to a new unit and base, deploying, coming home from deployments and the breakdown of relationships are all life changes that are hard on Soldiers, she said.

"Transitions are huge on individuals," echoed Chiarelli, who added that a Soldier in his or her first year in the Army is more likely to commit suicide than at any time.

In fact, 79 percent of Soldiers who commit suicide have either never deployed or been on only one deployment, Chiarelli said.

However, McGuire sees the decrease in active-duty suicides as a success, and links the push in suicide-prevention training and awareness to the downshift in numbers.

"I think all of it is helping ... the professional products, the emphasis on leadership, the resources that are available, the entire campaign has had an effect," she said.

McGuire said she would like all leaders to put an emphasis on Soldier accountability and focus on the basics of leadership.

"Soldiers need to understand that they are responsible for themselves and they need to abide by Army values and integrate them fully in everything they do," McGuire said.

She urged troops to take extra time to know their fellow Soldiers personally and be vigilant for the signs and symptoms of depression and suicide.

"If we truly are living by the warrior ethos, we really will look after each other," McGuire said. "We can't look after each other if we aren't also looking after ourselves. If we find that we need help, we need to seek it."

(Editor's note: If you or someone you know is considering suicide, call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or visit www.armyg1.army.mil/hr/suicide).

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Twenty years ago there was a resurgence in the abuse of LSD, a hallucinogen that first became popular in the late 1960’s. This odorless and colorless drug, also known as acid, has a high potential for abuse. While its primary effect is to give users a dramatic change in their visual perception, it also can result in extreme changes in mood, a distorted view of objects, sounds, touch and their own body image. Their ability to make sound judgments is also impaired, and the likelihood of experiencing extreme anxiety and depression is greatly increased. Hallucinogens, from LSD to PCP to Ecstasy, continue to be dangerous and illegal drugs of concern today.

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