- Eight years on the lam, escaped zoo flamingo living large in Texas
An African flamingo that escaped a Wichita, Kansas, zoo eight years ago has been spotted living with a companion cavorting in the Gulf of Mexico, some 670 miles to the south. The five-foot tall bird, more white than pink and still wearing a leg band bearing its zoo-assigned number, 492, was seen last week in an inlet off Port Lavaca, Texas, by birder Neil Hayward, who described the sighting in a blog. The sighting didn't surprise Scott Newland, curator of birds for the Sedgwick County Zoo in Wichita, which the bird departed in 2005. Apparently seeking warm weather, the bird has spent most of his escape around Texas and Louisiana, Newland said, citing reports from bird-watchers.
- Alligators and Crocodiles Use Tools to Hunt, in a First
New research shows that alligators and crocodiles can use small sticks to attract birds looking for nesting materials. The behavior has so far been observed among American alligators in Louisiana, as well as mugger crocodiles (also known as marsh crocodiles) in India. Alligators only engaged in this trickery during the nesting season and in areas where birds nested, said Vladimir Dinets, a behavioral ecologist at the University of Tennessee Knoxville. "What's really remarkable — they are not only using lures, but they are timing it to just when the birds they want to capture are nesting and looking for sticks to use," said Gordon Burghardt, an ethologist (animal behaviorist) and comparative psychologist specializing in reptiles at UT-Knoxville.
- Texas actress wanted to frame husband, not kill president: prosecutor
By Lisa Bose McDermott TEXARKANA, Texas (Reuters) - The Texas actress who admitted making toxins to send to President Barack Obama and the mayor of New York was more intent on framing her husband than in killing prominent politicians, a federal prosecutor said on Thursday. Shannon Guess Richardson, 36, pleaded guilty in federal court in Texarkana on Tuesday to making the toxic agent ricin that was sent in letters in May to Obama, Mayor Michael Bloomberg and a gun control advocate. She set up an elaborate scheme to set up Mr. Richardson," U.S. Attorney Malcolm Bales said in an interview with Reuters. Richardson told Shreveport, Louisiana police on May 30 that her husband, Nathan Richardson, was carrying out a plot to mail the toxin to Obama and Bloomberg.
- Teen sentenced for 'WWE-style' killing
A 13-year-old Louisiana boy has been sentenced to three years in a secure juvenile facility for killing his 5-year-old half-sister by performing pro-style wrestling moves on her, a court spokeswoman told CNN Wednesday.
- Passenger awakes to find himself locked in plane
HOUSTON (AP) — The captain of an oil platform supply boat in the Gulf of Mexico is no stranger to bumps and other movement while he sleeps. So when Tom Wagner nodded off on a flight from Louisiana to Houston, it was no surprise that the landing bounce didn't wake him.
- Over 225,000 without power in Texas after ice storms
(Reuters) - Over 225,000 homes and businesses in the Texas and other U.S. South Central states had no electricity Friday morning following severe ice storms starting Thursday night, according to local power companies. Oncor, the biggest power distributor in Texas, was the hardest hit utility with almost 200,000 customers without power. Oncor is a unit of privately-held power holding company Energy Future Holdings. Other hard hit states include Arkansas and Louisiana. ...
- Italian court moves to expel former Ku Klux Klan leader
An Italian court has ruled in favor of the expulsion of ex-Ku Klux Klan leader and former Louisiana politician David Duke from Italy, where he had been living for a year and a half, local police said on Thursday. Duke, 63, moved to the Valle di Cadore mountain village after being granted a visa to study and write there by the Italian embassy in Malta, said Luciano Meneghetti, deputy police chief in the northern Italian province of Belluno. Italian police subsequently found that Switzerland had issued in 2009 a travel and residence ban against Duke valid throughout the entire Schengen area, a group of 26 European countries that have abolished internal border controls. Duke had tried to fight an initial request to leave Italy by lodging an appeal with the Belluno administrative court.
- Seattle Football Fans Rock the House — and the Earth
Rowdy fans stomping and roaring when the Seattle Seahawks scored a touchdown last night (Dec. 2) shook the football stadium so hard that a nearby seismometer registered an "earthquake." It's not the first time the seismometer, which monitors earthquakes, picked up ground-shaking vibrations from Seahawks fans. A 1988 showdown between Louisiana State University and Auburn University also registered on LSU's local seismometer, leading ESPN to dub it the "Earthquake Game." This Monday night, with a Guinness World Record for loudest recorded crowd noise on the line, a seismologist from the Pacific Northwest Seismic Network watched the Earth shake in real time, with the game on one screen and the seismometer readings on another.
- U.S. EPA names scientific ombudsman to fight secrecy claims
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) named a scientific ombudsman on Monday to fight back against accusations by Republican lawmakers of being opaque in its scientific findings and not allowing outside parties to review them. The agency tapped Francesca Grifo to be its first "scientific integrity official." Grifo is formerly the director of the scientific integrity program at the Union of Concerned Scientists and a director of the Center for Environmental Research at Columbia University. The agency has for years been criticized by Republican lawmakers who accused the EPA of using "secret science" to justify what the lawmakers see as over regulation that crimps economic growth and costs jobs. David Vitter of Louisiana, the ranking Republican on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, was unimpressed by Grifo's appointment.
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