Zoos Urged to Weigh
Welfare of Their Elephants
The Humane Society of the United States is asking zoos and circuses around the country to reexamine their captive elephant programs in light of the Detroit Zoo's decision this week to send its remaining two elephants to an elephant sanctuary.
"There's no excuse any more for having elephants in circuses, and it should be a long-term goal of zoos to consider what is best for the welfare of these animals," Wayne Pacelle, the society's CEO-designate, said yesterday.
Society officials said elephants in the wild travel up to 30 miles a day, have large home ranges and form strong social bonds with other elephants. "Even the best captive settings, like the exhibit in Detroit, can't come close to providing an enriching, stimulating environment for elephants," Pacelle said.
There are 300 to 600 elephants in U.S. zoos and circuses, according to the society.
Basketball Player Faces
New Manslaughter Trial
SOMERVILLE, N.J. -- Former NBA star Jayson Williams will be retried on reckless manslaughter charges in the death of a limousine driver two years ago, a prosecutor said.
The announcement, which was expected by the victim's family and legal experts, came less than a month after a jury delivered a mixed verdict in Williams's trial. It deadlocked on the reckless manslaughter charge.
The judge set a tentative trial date for Jan. 10, 2005.
* LOS ANGELES -- At least 75 California teachers helped students cheat on standardized exams since a new testing program began five years ago, according to a Los Angeles Times report citing state documents. The teachers were among more than 200 investigated in California for possible cheating on the statewide exam. State education officials say the numbers of proven cases is small in a state with more than 200,000 teachers.
* NEW YORK -- A jeweler killed in a brazen shooting on a busy New York sidewalk was facing federal trial along with his father on charges they helped Colombian drug dealers launder money, officials said. A gunman dressed in black shot Eduard Nektalov once in the back of the head and twice in the back on Thursday before disappearing into a crowd in midtown Manhattan's Diamond District. The motive was unclear, police said.
* GALLOWAY, Ohio -- A sailor wanted in the disappearance of his roommate, also a sailor, surrendered to the FBI, three days after authorities found the body of a woman in Massachusetts matching the roommate's description. Jarred Swartzmiller, 21, was taken into custody Thursday at FBI headquarters in Columbus on a charge of unlawful flight to avoid prosecution, agent Kevin Horan said. Authorities believe a partially burned, half-naked body found Monday in Hatfield, Mass., may be that of Swartzmiller's roommate, Laura Anne Skinner, 21. The two lived in Virginia Beach and were assigned to the USS Theodore Roosevelt.
* SAVANNAH, Ga. -- State officials said fishing violations may be partly to blame for the deaths of 71 sea turtles found since last week, and officials were increasing boat patrols along the coast. The patrols will target shrimp fishers in federal waters, three to 20 miles offshore. Fishermen can be fined up to $10,000 for failing to use turtle excluder devices.
-- From News Services and Staff Reports