PHILADELPHIA – Demonstrators in the United States and other countries protested Saturday against the natural-gas drilling process known as fracking that they say threatens public health and the environment.
Participants in the Global Frackdown campaign posted photos on social media websites showing mostly small groups.
But organizer Mark Schlosberg said Saturday afternoon he thought the protests were going well and he pointed to photos showing larger demonstrations in South Africa and France as well as higher turnouts in cities in California, Colorado and New York.
US spy freed after years in prison dies
Edwin P. Wilson, a former CIA operative who was branded a traitor and convicted of shipping arms to Libya but whose conviction was overturned after he spent two decades in prison, has died in Seattle. He was 84.
Wilson, who set up front companies abroad for the CIA and posed as a rich American businessman, was convicted in 1983 for shipping 20 tons of C-4 plastic explosives to Libya. At trial, he said he did it to ingratiate himself with the Libyan government at the CIA’s request.
A federal judge threw out that conviction in 2003, saying the government failed to correct information about Wilson’s service to the CIA that it admitted internally was false.
DeLay patient as appeal crawls ahead
Former U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay – still waiting to learn his legal fate since being convicted nearly two years ago for his role in a scheme to influence Texas elections – is praying for vindication but also preparing for the possibility of imprisonment.
DeLay’s three-year prison sentence has been on hold as his case has made its way through the appellate process.
For both DeLay and his critics, the process has been frustratingly slow.
I don’t like living under this cloud. But I’m not angry about it. I even pray for the prosecution and my enemies, the former Houston-area congressman told The Associated Press in an interview.
But DeLay, and his attorney, Brian Wice, will finally get a chance to make their case next month, arguing the once-powerful Republican leader did nothing wrong and is the victim of a political vendetta, a claim that prosecutors deny.
Alaska tourist town recovers from flood
Floodwaters receded Saturday from much of the Alaska tourist town of Talkeetna, giving residents a chance to begin cleaning the muddy mess left behind – but officials warned that the danger hadn’t passed and advised that people boil their water.
Talkeetna is the last stop for climbers heading to Mount McKinley, North America’s tallest mountain. It also has an eclectic population and has long been purported to be the inspiration for the Alaska town in the TV series, Northern Exposure.
Longtime residents told the Anchorage Daily News that flooding was the worst in more than 30 years.
Syrian rebel group moves out of Turkey
The leaders of the rebel Free Syrian Army said Saturday they moved their command center from Turkey to Syria with the aim of uniting rebels and speeding up the fall of President Bashar Assad’s regime.
Brig. Gen. Mustafa al-Sheikh, who heads the FSA’s Military Council, told The Associated Press that the group made the move last week. He would not say where the new headquarters is located or give other details.
The FSA is the most prominent of the rebel groups trying to topple Assad, though its authority over networks of fighters in Syria is limited. Its commanders have been criticized for being based in Turkey while thousands are killed inside Syria.
Opposition snubs Belarus elections
Belarus is holding parliamentary elections today without the main opposition parties, which boycotted the vote because of complaints over the detention of political prisoners and opportunities for election fraud.
The election must fill 110 seats in parliament, which long has been reduced to a rubber stamp by authoritarian President Alexander Lukashenko. Lukashenko’s landslide win in 2010 triggered a massive protest that authorities brutally suppressed, and any rallies after the parliamentary vote would be certain to draw a similar harsh response.
Con man pretended to be pilot in Italy
Italian police describe it as a real-life sequel to Catch Me If You Can, the hit movie starring Leonardo DiCaprio in the true story about an ingenious con artist masquerading as a commercial airline pilot.
An unemployed 32-year-old Italian man was stopped at Turin’s Caselle airport on suspicion he successfully used false IDs, a cap and uniform to convince a crew he was a pilot and let him fly for free inside the cockpit aboard a commercial flight from Munich, Germany, to Turin, Carabinieri paramilitary police said Saturday.
Police said two real pilots flew the Air Dolomiti plane on the flight in April. The man, who wasn’t identified, didn’t touch the controls while in the cockpit. Police caught up with the man at the Turin airport terminal Wednesday after tailing him for months and receiving a tip.
Fix for Zimbabwe sewers? 1-2-3 flush
City authorities in Zimbabwe’s second-largest city said Saturday they were appealing to homeowners to flush their toilets at a specified time as a way to unblock sewers after days of severe water rationing.
Bulawayo City Council has asked its more than 1 million residents to flush their toilets at precisely 7:30 p.m. when water supplies are restored. City officials say synchronized flushing is needed to clear waste that would have accumulated in sanitary facilities that will have been affected by days of water outages.
Bulawayo’s two main supply dams have been drying up because of drought conditions prevailing in the arid, southwestern part of Zimbabwe, raising fears of worsening water shortages before the rainy season starts in November.