Extinct giant tortoise may be resurrected
LIMA - Lonesome George, the late reptile prince of the Galapagos Islands, may be dead, but scientists now say he may not be the last giant tortoise of his species after all.
Researchers say they may be able to resurrect the Pinta Island subspecies by launching a cross-breeding program with 17 other tortoises found to contain genetic material similar to that of Lonesome George, who died June 24 at the Pacific Ocean archipelago off Ecuador's coast after repeated failed efforts to reproduce.
Edwin Naula, director of the Galapagos National Park, said in a telephone interview on Thursday that the probability is high it can be accomplished.
"This is going to take about 100 to 150 years," Naula added.
Scientists took DNA samples from 1,600 tortoises on Wolf Volcano and found the similar material in 17, though their overall genetic makeup varied.
2nd man charged in mass shooting
TORONTO - A Toronto man has been charged with two counts of second-degree murder and attempted murder in connection with one of the worst mass shootings in the city's history, police said Thursday.
Staff Inspector Greg McLane said Nahom Tseigazab, 19, has also been charged with 23 counts of aggravated assault.
Numerous gunshots were fired during a July 16 barbecue for young people, killing 14-year-old Shyanne Charles and 23-year-old Joshua Yasay. Twenty-three others were sent to a hospital, including Tsegazab, who was also shot.
McLane said Tsegazab appeared in court Thursday but did not enter a plea.
Shaquan Mesquito, 18, was the first person charged in the case two weeks ago. He faces two counts of first-degree murder charges, attempted murder, and 23 counts of aggravated assault.
McLane said an altercation at the barbecue, with up to 150 people in attendance, touched off the deadly violence between rival members of the Galloway Boys and Malvern Crew gangs.
Nation swears in 1st black chief justice
BRASILIA - Brazil's Supreme Court is now headed by a black justice for the first time.
Joaquim Barbosa was sworn in on Thursday. He'd already become the only black to have served on the court when he joined it in 2003, even though more than half of the country's 192 million people identify themselves as having African descent.
He is presiding over a high-profile corruption trial involving a congressional cash-for-votes scheme. The court has convicted 25 people, including the former chief of staff of ex-President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.
Suspected trafficker caught, official says
CARACAS - Venezuela's top security official says authorities have captured an alleged Colombian drug trafficker.
Justice Minister Nestor Reverol said National Guard troops were joined by officials from the National Anti-Drug Office to catch Juan Carlos Pena Silva on the Caribbean island of Margarita.
Reverol announced the capture on Thursday through messages posted on Twitter, saying the suspect is wanted on drug trafficking charges in the United States and in neighboring Colombia.
Venezuela is a major cocaine transit country.
US resumes intelligence sharing
TEGUCIGALPA - The United States is resuming sharing of radar intelligence with Honduras after a four-month suspension.
Washington had suspended the intelligence sharing in August after the Central American nation's air force shot down two suspected drug planes in violation of agreements with Washington.
The U.S. Embassy in Honduras says the resumption came after Honduras agreed to review procedures used in such cases.
Embassy spokesman Stephen Posivak said Thursday that the decision was due to "a series of corrective measures Honduras has taken to avoid shooting down civilian aircraft," something a bilateral agreement specifically prohibits.
'Ice Lady' convicted of 2 grisly killings
VIENNA - An Austrian ice cream parlor owner has been found guilty of killing her ex-husband and a boyfriend before chopping them up with a chain saw and burying them in concrete in her shop's basement.
A Vienna court convicted the 34-year-old woman of murder Thursday and handed her a life sentence, ordering her to be held in psychiatric care, according to Austrian news agency APA.
The woman, identified only as Estibaliz C., confessed to the murders Monday, but her lawyer said she will appeal.
The woman, dubbed the "Ice Lady" by Austrian media, shot the men in 2008 and 2010, putting their body parts in a freezer before burying them in her cellar. She had told the court her ex-husband failed to leave her alone and the boyfriend cheated on her.
2 tons of pigeon poop accumulate in church
STOCKHOLM - A hatch on a Swedish church tower inadvertently left open for some three decades resulted in 2 tons of pigeon droppings amassing in the tower.
The church's property manager said the layer of droppings was 12 inches deep when it was discovered during a May inspection of the Heliga Trefaldighets Kyrka in Gavle, 105 miles north of Stockholm.
Lennart Helzenius said on Thursday that the church's staff had been shocked by the sheer number of bags of excrement cleaners were removing from the tower. He said the droppings filled 80 bags in the first round of cleaning, and then just as many in the second round.
Helzenius said the hatch probably had been left open since the 1980s.
The Associated Press