January 3rd, 2012
UK Daily Mail
A ten-day-old baby girl died after being placed in a washing machine as it went through an entire spin cycle.
The newborn's mother Lyndsey Fiddler put her daughter into the washing machine along with a pile of laundry.
The tiny baby was inside the top loading washing machine for up to 40 minutes before being discovered.
Maggie-May Fiddler was inside the top loading washing machine for up to 40 minutes before being discovered
Police have charged Lyndsey Fiddler, pictured, with second degree manslaughter after initially arresting her on drug charges
A relative who called in to see Fiddler found her passed out and the baby, called Maggie May, missing.
She also heard a strange sound from the washing machine and when she opened the door found the crumpled body of Maggie mixed in with the clothes.
In a frantic call to emergency dispatchers 26-year-old Fiddler is heard saying :'My baby is dead.'
She can then be heard arguing with her aunt Rhonda Coshatt who is heard on the call saying: 'No I did not kill your baby, you did.'
The gruesome death in Bartlesville, Oklahoma left many of the emergency crews and police who responded to the incident in tears.
A veteran police chief, who has witnessed multiple murders and gangland shootings, said it was the most tragic crime scene he has ever investigated.
Police have charged Fiddler with second degree manslaughter after initially arresting her on drug charges.
They had been called to her flat on Thursday where they found the dead baby still inside the washing machine.
The gruesome death in Bartlesville, Oklahoma left many of the emergency crews and police who responded to the incident in tears
An investigation revealed it had gone through a full-spin cycle before she was discovered.
Bartlesville Police Chief Tom Holland said Coshatt had called in to see Fiddler, who has two other boys , to see how she was coping with her newborn daughter
Family members had been concerned about Fiddler because of her past drug use.
Earlier this year they had tried to get her parental rights revoked before the birth of her third child.
The young mother had been arrested in April for taking drugs when she was four months pregnant.
She is suspected of being hooked on crystal meth and taking the drug the night her daughter died.
Holland said Coshatt walked into a grim scene.
'The mother was asleep and she had trouble waking her and heard the washer out of balance, clanging, so went to lift the lid so it would stop and in the washing machine, saw the baby,' Holland said.
Fiddler's two other boys, aged four and three, were taken into care by social workers.
The infant's father, Benjamin Trammel, said he can't believe his girlfriend deliberately killed their daughter.
'Inside my heart, I can't believe Lyndsey would have hurt our little girl. I don't believe it in my heart to be honest with you,' Trammel said.
Paramedics had desperately tried to revive the newborn baby after she was pulled out of the washing machine, but she was already dead on arrival at hospital.
Paramedic John Houser,who worked on the baby, said: 'Terrible. I don't even know how to describe it.'
Fiddler has a long criminal history with arrests for assault, driving without a licence and not having her two older children in car seats.
Police chief Holland said the investigation in continuing with many of his men deeply affected by what they saw.
He said a veteran detective taking crime scene photos of the dead baby at the hospital had to step outside because he was overcome with emotion.
'I can assure you we’re not going to leave any stone unturned,' Holland said.
More Top Stories From the UK Daily Mail
January 3rd, 2012
Mexico's Grand Warlock predicted US President Barack Obama would fail to win re-election and two more Latin American leaders would be diagnosed with cancer, in a traditional New Year's forecast Tuesday.
The Grand Warlock, or "Brujo Mayor" in Spanish, leads a Mexican tradition of "brujeria" or sorcery centered in the southeastern city of Catemaco. The Grand Warlock, also known as Antonio Vazquez, said that Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, who claims to have beaten an unspecified cancer, would have a "terrible relapse." Argentina's President Cristina Kirchner, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, former Brazilian leader Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and Paraguay's Fernando Lugo have been diagnosed with cancer in recent years. Chavez suggested last month that the spate of cancer among leftist leaders could be a US plot. Vazquez, who sports a long grey beard, put the cancer cases down to "witchcraft" against Latin American leaders, during a Mexico City news conference giving his 25th annual predictions. Mexico's Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), which ruled for more than 70 years to 2000, would return to power with its candidate Enrique Pena Nieto winning the presidency in July, according to Vazquez, who bases his predictions on tarot card readings and observations of the stars. Vazquez, who claims to have a 75-80 percent accuracy rate, last year said the euro would weaken and recession would return to developed economies but he also predicted, incorrectly, that a Latin American leader would be assassinated.
The Grand Warlock, or "Brujo Mayor" in Spanish, leads a Mexican tradition of "brujeria" or sorcery centered in the southeastern city of Catemaco.
The Grand Warlock, also known as Antonio Vazquez, said that Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, who claims to have beaten an unspecified cancer, would have a "terrible relapse."
Argentina's President Cristina Kirchner, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, former Brazilian leader Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and Paraguay's Fernando Lugo have been diagnosed with cancer in recent years.
Chavez suggested last month that the spate of cancer among leftist leaders could be a US plot.
Vazquez, who sports a long grey beard, put the cancer cases down to "witchcraft" against Latin American leaders, during a Mexico City news conference giving his 25th annual predictions.
Mexico's Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), which ruled for more than 70 years to 2000, would return to power with its candidate Enrique Pena Nieto winning the presidency in July, according to Vazquez, who bases his predictions on tarot card readings and observations of the stars.
Vazquez, who claims to have a 75-80 percent accuracy rate, last year said the euro would weaken and recession would return to developed economies but he also predicted, incorrectly, that a Latin American leader would be assassinated.
January 3rd, 2012
The Iowa caucuses are too close to call, as early returns show Rick Santorum, Ron Paul and Mitt Romney in a dead heat for the first-in-the-nation presidential contest.
With 45 percent of precincts reporting, Santorum led with 25 percent. Romney followed with 24 percent, Paul with 22 percent. The Fox News decision desk projects that only those three candidates are in contention for the top spot.
Fox News also projects that Michele Bachmann will finish last in Tuesday's caucuses among the candidates who are competing there. Early returns show her with 6 percent. Newt Gingrich and Rick Perry are settling into the second tier, with Gingrich slightly ahead.
The results trickled in following a day of sharp-elbowed politicking.
The exchanges were characteristic of the bitter tone that pervaded the closing moments of one of history's most volatile GOP elections. With more than 40 percent of Iowans supposedly uncommitted to a candidate as of this past weekend, the campaigns approached Tuesday night's caucuses with little certainty of the outcome.
The three candidates at the top took nothing for granted, holding rallies on caucus day in a final bid to get out the vote. Gingrich, Perry and Bachmann also pressed the flesh Tuesday in a last appeal to caucus-goers.
At the 1,774 caucus sites, each candidate relied on local supporters to make his or her case before Iowans finally cast their ballots. Romney had found himself defending a narrow lead in the state -- after barely competing there for most of 2011. A win Tuesday night could help reaffirm his oft-threatened front-runner status, as the field heads next into New Hampshire, where Romney holds a decisive lead.
But Romney is not pulling away from the pack by any means. After having predicted a win the night before, caucus returns show Romney seemingly unable to break the 25 percent threshold -- which roughly has been his cap in terms of support in national polls. Romney's showing in Tuesday's caucuses appears similar to his showing in 2008, when his 25 percent haul landed him in second place behind former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee.
A second-place finish for the former Massachusetts governor on Tuesday could portend a more drawn-out and competitive process. Santorum and Paul, each looking for a come-from-behind win in the state, tussled on Tuesday as they tried to consolidate the not-Romney vote.
Paul has been claiming Santorum is a closet liberal, while Santorum and others say Paul is dangerous on foreign policy.
On Tuesday, Santorum called Paul "disgusting" after blaming his campaign for robo-calls that describe Santorum as too liberal on gun rights and abortion.
Paul, on Fox News, accused Santorum of trying to "deflect away" from the scrutiny his record is receiving. Paul claims Santorum's support for foreign aid is outside the conservative mainstream.
Elsewhere in Iowa, Gingrich continued to take a more aggressive tone after being battered with negative advertising and watching his once-lofty poll numbers plummet.
Asked in a CBS interview early Tuesday whether he thinks Romney is a liar, he said yes -- claiming the so-called "Super PACs" running ads against him are tied to Romney though he "pretends" he's not involved.
Romney suggested on Fox News that Gingrich is thin-skinned.
"If you can't stand the heat of this little kitchen, wait until the Hell's Kitchen which is coming from Barack Obama," Romney said.
And Perry, who like Gingrich once led the field in Iowa, tried to fire up the crowd Tuesday during a stop at his West Des Moines headquarters.
"It is a powerful moment in America's history, and you are on the front lines. This is Concord, this is Omaha Beach," Perry said. Despite flagging in the polls, Perry's campaign is making plans to chart a post-Iowa course. The Perry campaign confirmed to Fox News on Tuesday that it has bought TV time in South Carolina, which holds the first-in-the-South primary -- one that historically has been far more accurate at picking eventual GOP nominees than Iowa.
Romney, for his part, predicted a day earlier that he would pull off a win in Iowa. The statement marked a turnaround from his earlier campaign strategy, which all but discounted Iowa in favor of New Hampshire.
Romney told Fox News on Tuesday that he's prepared to take on President Obama.
"We created more jobs in Massachusetts than this president created in this entire country," Romney told Fox News. "We'll be comparing my record with his record, and he comes up very short."
Santorum, who unlike Romney was committed to Iowa from the start of his campaign and visited all 99 counties, said he has the essential ingredients headed into the evening's endeavor.
"Caucuses are about enthusiasm and momentum, and we certainly have enthusiasm and momentum," he said.
But Bachmann, an Iowa native, earlier claimed Iowans were quietly returning to her camp -- a claim the caucus results appeared to dispute.
Aside from former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman who is not competing in Iowa, Bachmann had performed the worst in recent caucus polling.
January 3rd, 2012
Mercury News / Lisa M. Krieger
San Francisco biologists have made a macabre discovery that might help explain the mysterious crash of honey bee populations: parasites that turn bees into zombies.
Infected bees go mad, abandoning their hive in a suicidal rush toward bright lights, according to a new study by San Francisco State University researchers.
"It's the flight of the living dead," said lead investigator and biology professor John Hafernick, also president of the California Academy of Sciences.
The parasite, a tiny fly, has been found in bees from three-quarters of the 31 surveyed hives in the Bay Area -- essentially, everywhere except Santa Clara and San Mateo counties.
In a plot line similar to a George Romero horror film, the fly deposits its eggs into the bee's abdomen, then takes over. The hapless bees walk around in circles, with no apparent sense of direction. Some are unable to even stand on their legs.
"They kept stretching them out and then falling over," Hafernick said. "It really painted a picture of something like a zombie."
The bees' demise may contribute to what's known as "Colony Collapse Disorder," a phenomenon of failing honey bee hives around the United States -- and a great concern in the agricultural community, which depends on these pollinators.
Despite six years of intense research, scientists have been unable to find a single reason for colony collapse. Increasingly, they suspect that several factors, including viruses and fungus, may be to blame.
"This is one more piece in the puzzle," said researcher and SFSU graduate student Jonathan Ivers. "But no one has come up with a coherent picture of what the puzzle even looks like."
The stakes are high, because honeybees are the primary pollinator of most nuts, vegetables and fruits. California's $1 billion-a-year almond business, for instance, is entirely dependent on the honey bees.
"The agricultural economy of California would be devastated if honey bees disappeared," Ivers said.
This creepy parasitic parable started in an unlikely place: a desk at SFSU. Three years ago, Hafernick returned from a field trip with a hungry praying mantis, so he scrounged for insects for it to eat. He found some bees under the light fixtures outside his classroom at Hensill Hall, and stuck them in a vial.
"But being an absent-minded professor," he joked, "I left them in a vial on my desk and forgot about them."
When he looked at the vial again -- a week or so later -- there was a startling sight: the dead bees were surrounded by small brown fly pupae.
"I knew that was unusual," he said. "I knew that a parasitic fly was feeding on them."
The fly's identity -- Apocephalus borealis -- was revealed through a DNA test. The same fly is known to infect wasps and bumblebees.
Ivers and fellow grad student Andrew Core gained permission from Bay Area beekeepers to set up traps at the hives, then caught 20 to 50 so-called "worker bees" en route to find food.
Infected bees were found in San Francisco, Oakland, Orinda, Walnut Creek, Concord, El Cerrito, El Sobrante, Benicia, San Rafael, Mill Valley and Larkspur. They were not found in hives in Los Gatos, Saratoga, San Jose or Mount Hamilton.
The parasitic flies even engage in mind control. Somehow they're able to hijack the bee's normal daytime behavior, turning it into a nocturnal creature. Seven days after death, little larvae emerge from the bee.
The casualties are hard on a hive in two different ways. Not only does it lose important workers -- but when these foragers are gone, younger bees inside the hive are forced to take their place. The entire labor structure of the hive goes awry.
"As you lose more and more workers, there's a tipping point, which could lead to collapse," he said.
Bees from the infected hives are often infected with a virus and a fungus -- suggesting the fly might be a vector for these pathogens.
There are other gruesome examples in the insect world of exploitation.
An Asian wasp stings a cockroach in the brain, and injects venom that controls where the roach walks. Then it lays its egg on the roach and its larvae eat it alive.
And there's an Amazonian nematode that, once inside an ant, turns the insect's abdomen the same bright hue as a tasty berry. The ant is eaten by birds, who spread baby nematodes through their poop.
While SFSU researchers are far from discovering a treatment for bees, the next step in is to expand their geographic search for infected hives.
Already, Hafernick has noticed a colony in the walls of his San Francisco house. "At night, they bounce against the windows while my wife and I are at the dinner table," he said brightly.
And they'll deploy a range of identification tools to better understand the freeloading fly. Next spring, they will glue tiny radio-frequency devices -- smaller than the head of a pin -- to the backs of bees, then track their travels. Once sick, do they re-enter the hive, infecting others?
"We don't know how big a player this is" in collapsing colonies, he said. "It could be a really important one."
January 3rd, 2012
The Christian Science Monitor
US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta is expected to announce the results of a large-scale strategic overview Thursday that will instead call for the military to be able to fight one large conventional war, and act as a “spoiler” for potential enemies in any other conflict that might crop up.
In the new military parlance, it’s the “one-plus strategy.”
IN PICTURES: Leaving Iraq
The news is expected to draw a great deal of buzz, but how important is this shift, really? And how will it impact America’s standing in the world? In practical terms, some analysts say that the “shift” has little meaning. In fact it’s less a shift, they argue, than a “no duh” announcement.
Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates addressed the subject as he rolled out the Pentagon’s 2010 Quadrennial Defense Review, the Pentagon’s strategic way forward. “For years, US defense planning and requirements were based on preparing to fight two major conventional wars at the same time.” It’s a construct, he added, “that persisted long after it was overtaken by events. The department’s leadership now recognizes that we must prepare for a much broader range of security challenges on the horizon.”
What’s more, the United States hasn’t been able to fight two ground wars simultaneously for quite some time, analysts point out. Nor would it want to, others add.
“Arguably, we already weren’t sized to fight two major wars simultaneously,” says Todd Harrison, a defense specialist at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments. “We are just adjusting our formal strategy and the way we talk about our formal strategy. We’re just going to say openly and publicly that we’re not going to plan on getting into two major wars at the same time.”
How about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan? These don’t really count, Mr. Harrison says. That’s because the Pentagon never actually had to fight them in earnest at the same time. The surge in Iraq peaked in 2008 then started declining. In Afghanistan, US troop levels reached their maximum in 2011.
Even so, perhaps proclaiming such a warfare stance isn’t a great idea, others argue. Might it, after all, provoke an aspiring world power to strike when the United States is otherwise engaged in another conflict?
That depends on exactly what it means for the United States to act as a “spoiler” in another conflict. The strategy could amount to: “We’re going to fight and win the first war, and then we’re going to spoil a second aggressor long enough to give ourselves enough time to finish the war, then build up and fight the second,” says Harrison