Wave of blasts
kills at least 61
A barrage of car bomb and suicide bomb blasts rocked Baghdad and two northern Iraqi communities Thursday, killing at least 61 people during a major holiday period and extending a relentless wave of bloodshed gripping the country.
The bulk of the blasts struck in mainly Shiite Muslim parts of the Iraqi capital shortly after nightfall, sending ambulances racing through the streets with sirens blaring. Authorities reported nine car bomb explosions across Baghdad, including one near a playground that killed two children.
It was the deadliest day in Iraq since Oct. 5, when a suicide bombing targeting Shiite pilgrims and other attacks left at least 75 dead.
limit chapel visits
The head of the Vatican Museums has warned he will be forced to limit the number of visitors to the Sistine Chapel if its new air conditioning and air purification systems don’t significantly reduce pollution levels.
Antonio Paolucci told a conference Thursday that he was confident the new system, which is expected to be operational at the end of 2014, would curb the dust, humidity and carbon dioxide that are dulling Michelangelo’s frescoed masterpiece.
But if the new system doesn’t work, he says he would be forced to impose the “painful” solution of limiting visitors.
Cops: Grandma had
kid plant drugs
A Texas woman has been arrested on allegations that she had her 9-year-old granddaughter plant drugs in her son-in-law’s car in Arizona so she could gain fulltime custody of the child.
Gilbert police say 58-year-old SanJuanita Carbajal was arrested Wednesday on suspicion of child abuse.
Authorities say Carbajal has limited custody of her granddaughter. Her hometown wasn’t immediately available.
Police suspect she gave the child several packets containing 4 grams of cocaine and told her where to put them in her father’s vehicle.
Carbajal also allegedly told her granddaughter to tell people about the drugs at her elementary school and show one of the baggies to a teacher.
Authorities used a test kit to determine the substance was cocaine.
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla.
Hiccup Girl is
denied new trial
A Pinellas-Pasco Circuit Judge has denied a woman’s motion for a new trial after she was found guilty of first-degree murder.
The Tampa Bay Times reported Jennifer Mee’s lawyers claimed the judge erred in matters of jury instructions and said new evidence had surfaced about a key witness. According to the judge’s order Thursday, “the defense could not produce a single witness or piece of evidence to support the allegations.”
Mee became nationally known as a high school student when she suffered bouts of hiccups that lasted weeks at a time. In 2010, she and two roommates were arrested and charged with the first-degree murder of Shannon Griffin.
Police said Mee lured Griffin to a home, where her roommates planned to rob him. Instead, Griffin was shot and killed.