Time capsule unearthed beneath Massachusetts State House
A time capsule believed to have been buried by Revolutionary War patriot Paul Revere and former Massachusetts Governor Samuel Adams was found during routine repairs of the Massachusetts State House last week.
The container, which was about the size of a cigar box, was found in a cornerstone of the building when workers dug down to repair a water leak. Historians confirmed the time capsule was put together by Revere and Adams in 1795.
Though the condition of the containers’ contents is unknown, it is believed to contain a Paul Revere plate, coins and documents from the 1600s. It had been unearthed once before in 1855 after its discovery during emergency repairs to the State House’s foundation, but has not been seen since.
Experts have been tasked with X-raying the box to determine the condition of the historic relics inside. A public presentation on the contents is expected sometime this week.
Trial date set for Lacey Spears
The Chestnut Ridge mother accused of fatally poisoning her son with several lethal doses of sodium will face trial in January of 2015.
Lacey Spears was arrested and charged with the January 2014 poisoning death of her son Garnett, but the case was adjourned in October. It is expected to resume on January 15 with a jury selection and trial.
Prosecutors believe Spears poisoned her son on at least three occasions when she introduced lethal amounts of sodium into his feeding tube, resulting in emergency room visits. The levels were reportedly so high that they could only be deliberate.
Evidence that Spears fabricated a story about having two other children aside from Garnett and a prior engagement to a man named Blake are also expected to be used as evidence against her. Prosecutors are also expected to argue Spears has Munchausen syndrome by proxy, a rare mental disorder which compels affected women to harm their children to draw attention to themselves.
If convicted, Spears faces 25 years to life in prison.
Mass protests against Garner decision fill Manhattan
A massive, 30,000 person protest against the choke hold death of Eric Garner and the subsequent refusal by a grand jury to charge NYPD Officer Daniel Pantaleo in connection to the death proceeded in a largely peaceful fashion on Saturday, though some violence was reported.
The larger contingent of mostly peaceful protesters gathered at Washington Square Park at around 2 p.m. before marching on Sixth Avenue. After dark, groups of protesters broke away and marched on the Brooklyn Bridge. When the group began to throw materials on the roadway, police responded, only to be pelted by debris.
Two NYPD lieutenants were hospitalized when they were forced to the ground and beaten while trying to arrest a man who threw a garbage can. In another incident, another breakaway group attacked two traffic agents in their parked cruiser on Madison Avenue near East 28th Street. The group shattered the windshield but did not harm the officers inside.
Another non-violent but hostile incident occurred in Murray Hill, where another breakaway group was caught on video chanting “What do we want? Dead Cops! When do we want it? Now!” The footage was taken by a New York City resident before it was released by the Rockland County Times and eventually hit the national news.
Deputy Commissioner of Intelligence and Counter Terrorism John Miller characterized the groups as parts of a “small clique” that “deliberately seeks out violence and disorder.”
Man up for parole for 1980 murder
A former Pearl River resident convicted for a notoriously brutal local murder has been deemed eligible for an early parole after a judge reversed a 2013 rejection on technical grounds.
Richard LaBarbera, now 62, who was convicted for acting in concert with Robert McCain, 54, to rape and murder Paula Bohovesky in Pearl River on October 28, 1980 and sentenced to 25 years to life in prison, was found by Supreme Court Justice Richard Mott to be eligible for a new parole hearing. Mott reasoned that the parole board’s 2013 rejection was improper because it relied on a sodomy charge rejected by the case’s jury.
Consequently, Mott ordered a new parole hearing for LaBarbera. The parole board defended their decision, arguing their conclusion was based on the violent nature of the crime and the likelihood that LaBarbera would re-offend, not the sodomy charge alone.
The Bohovesky case and subsequent parole hearings have been a continuous flashpoint for community outrage, with Paula’s mother joining the County District Attorney and the County Legislature to voice strong opposition against LaBarbera or McCain’s releases.
Hostage situation in Australia ends with three dead
A lone gunman and two Australians were killed during a standoff with Sydney police on Tuesday after the gunman took hostages in a crowded cafe in an apparent show of support for the Islamic State.
The hostage-taker, Man Haron Monis, walked into the Lindt Chocolate Cafe with a shotgun that morning and took control of the cafe before he began to make demands to speak with Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott. During the siege, hostages were reportedly made to put their hands on the cafe’s windows and hold up an Islamic State flag to those outside the building.
Five hostages managed to escape the cafe and reach police during the siege. Police and special forces troops stormed the building 16 hours after the siege began when they began to hear gunshots ring out. After authorities tossed flashbang grenades into the cafe, they stormed in and killed Monis.
Those killed included Katrina Dawson, 38, and Tori Johnson, 34. One officer also sustained non-fatal injuries from gunfire. It is unknown whether the hostages were killed by Monis or died in the crossfire.
Monis, an asylum-seeker from Iran, reportedly had a history of extremism and violent behavior. In 2012, he was convicted for sending hate mail to the families of Australian soldiers killed in Afghanistan. An investigation is currently underway to determine why was removed from a watch list in 2009 and how he otherwise slipped past intelligence services.
U.S. to begin diplomatic talks with Cuba
Warmer relations between the U.S. and Cuba might be on the horizon according to senior U.S. officials who stated on Wednesday that talks on normalizing relations between the two countries and even opening an American embassy in Cuba have begun.
The talks began as a result of a controversial prisoner swap. The swap exchanged American USAID contractor Alan Gross-who was sentenced to 15 years in prison by Cuba’s communist government for helping to establish illegal censorship bypasses for the Cuban internet-for three members of the “Cuban Five,” a Miami-based group which had been imprisoned for espionage in 2001.
Furthermore, a deal could be struck for the release of 53 political prisoners in Cuba in exchange for eased restrictions on travel and business. However, the economic embargo on Cuba will likely remain in place.
U.S. sanctions have hobbled American-Cuban relations for five decades, prompting the island nation to form close ties with other countries with similarly chilly relations with the U.S. such as Venezuela and Iran. However, since President Barack Obama was elected to the White House, some trade and travel restrictions had been relaxed, including travel and financial blocks for Americans with family in Cuba.
Taliban militants massacre at least 141 students and teachers in Pakistan
A Taliban attack on a school in the Peshawar region of Pakistan on Tuesday resulted in at least 141 deaths, drawing intense and almost universal condemnation from Pakistanis unaffiliated with the terror group.
Authorities reported seven militants in bomb vests cut through a wire fence before attacking an auditorium where students were gathered for an exam. After the initial attack, they went from room-to-room, killing students and teachers during an eight-hour siege before they themselves were killed.
The effects of the attack, which were perpetrated in retaliation for Pakistani advances against Pakistan’s branch of the Taliban, were chronicled by images of the school which showed floors covered in blood and bullet-riddled walls where Taliban terrorists unloaded hundreds of rounds. Of the 141 killed, about 132 were children and nine were staff. Another 125 were wounded in the attack.
A three-day period of mourning was declared during which mass funerals and prayer vigils were held for victims of the attacks. Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif also declared that a moratorium on the death penalty for terrorists would end as a result of the attack.