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National news in brief

Sexual battery arrest for officer

WASHINGTON (AP) — The sexual battery arrest of the Air Force officer who led the service’s Sexual Assault Prevention and Response unit underscores how far the Defense Department has to go in addressing the plague of sexual crimes in the military, the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee said Tuesday.

Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., told a committee hearing that a Pentagon report to be released later Tuesday reportedly estimates that, on average, there are more than 70 sexual assaults involving military personnel every day.

Authorities in Arlington County, Va., said Lt. Col. Jeffrey Krusinski was charged with groping a woman in a northern Virginia parking lot on Sunday. Krusinski was removed from his post in the sexual assault unit after the Air Force learned of his arrest. He started in the post in February.

Women rescued after 10 years

CLEVELAND (AP) — The woman’s voice was frantic and breathless, and she was choking back tears. “Help me. I’m Amanda Berry,” she told a 911 dispatcher. “I’ve been kidnapped and I’ve been missing for 10 years and I’m, I’m here, I’m free now.”

Those words led police to a house near downtown Cleveland where Berry and two other women who vanished about a decade ago were found Monday, elating family members and friends who had longed to see them again.

Authorities later arrested three brothers, ages 50 to 54. One of them, Ariel Castro, owned the home.

Police Chief Michael McGrath said he thinks Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight were held in the house since they were in their teens or early 20s.

A 6-year-old also was found in the home, and Cleveland police Deputy Chief Ed Tomba said Tuesday that the girl is believed to be Berry’s daughter. He declined to say who the father was or where the child was born.

The women appeared to be in good health and were taken to a hospital to be evaluated and reunited with relatives.

N. Korea makes more threats

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — North Korea on Tuesday threatened the United States and South Korea over joint naval drills taking place this week in tense Yellow Sea waters ahead of a Washington summit by the allies’ leaders.

In a highly conditional warning, the section of the Korean People’s Army responsible for operations in North Korea’s southwest said it will hit back if any shells fall in its territory during the drills, which began Monday and will end Friday. Should the allies respond to that, the statement said, Pyongyang’s military would then strike five South Korean islands that stand along the aquatic frontline between the countries.

The area includes waters that are claimed by both countries, and is the most likely scene of any future clash between the rival Koreas.

Highest death rates in Africa

NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — More than 1 million babies die the day they are born every year, and the 14 countries with the highest rates of first-day deaths are all in Africa, according to a new report released Tuesday.

Somalia, Congo, Mali, Sierra Leone and Central African Republic are the five countries with the highest rates of such deaths, according to the report “Surviving the First Day” from the aid group Save the Children.

“Health care for mothers in sub-Saharan Africa is woefully insufficient. On average, only half the women in the region receive skilled care during birth,” the report said. “The region as a whole has only 11 doctors, nurses and midwives per 10,000 people, less than half the critical threshold of 23 generally considered necessary to deliver essential health services.”

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