The body of a young stowaway was found inside a compartment near the wheel well of an Air Force cargo jet that had landed in Germany, U.S. military officials said Tuesday, triggering questions about the security of an aircraft that had made several stops in Africa.
Air Force personnel found the boy’s body Sunday night after spotting an orange cloth in a small opening by the landing gear during a detailed inspection of the C-130J aircraft when it landed at Ramstein Air Base. When they tugged on the wet cloth, they discovered it was attached to a boy in the compartment, officials said.
The Pentagon’s press secretary, Navy Rear Adm. John Kirby, said the stowaway was a black male who may have been of African origin. The plane was on a routine mission in Africa and had made stops in Senegal, Mali, Chad, Tunisia and Naval Air Station Sigonella in Sicily before arriving at Ramstein.
A senior U.S. official said Tuesday that initial indications suggest that the boy probably climbed aboard in Mali.
A stowaway aboard a military plane is a significant security breach. No Africa Command senior leaders were on the flight.
— Associated Press
A Mississippi law that would shut down the state’s only abortion clinic, forcing women to go outside the state for the procedure, is unconstitutional, a federal appeals court ruled Tuesday.
Upholding a lower court’s preliminary injunction against the law, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit ruled in a 2-to-1 decision that the law would place an undue burden on a woman’s right to seek an abortion.
The law, passed in 2012, required doctors at the state’s sole abortion clinic to have the right to admit patients to local hospitals, a standard the clinic was not able to meet. Backers of the law argued that it would not stop women from seeking an abortion in a neighboring state, but the judges ruled that Mississippi could not rely on other states to uphold its constitutional duties.
A jury awarded former Minnesota governor Jesse Ventura $1.8 million on Tuesday in his lawsuit against the estate of “American Sniper” author Chris Kyle.
On the sixth day of deliberations, the federal jury decided that the author of the 2012 book, a bestseller, defamed Ventura in its description of a bar fight in California in 2006. Kyle, regarded as the deadliest military sniper in U.S. history, wrote that he decked a man whom he later identified as Ventura after the man allegedly said the Navy SEALs “deserve to lose a few.”
Ventura testified that Kyle fabricated the passage about punching him. Kyle said in testimony videotaped before his death last year that his story was accurate.
— Associated Press
The Defense Department has taken the unusual step of overseeing a plagiarism investigation being conducted by the U.S. Army War College against Sen. John Walsh (D-Mont.), the college’s provost said Tuesday.
The department will decide whether any discipline is warranted based on the recommendations of the school’s academic review board, Provost Lance Betros said.
Normally, that decision is reserved for the school’s deputy commandant. It is extremely rare, if not unprecedented, for the Defense Department to intervene in a student misconduct case, he said.
The college referred the case to its five-member academic review board after a New York Times story last week showed Walsh used others’ work without attribution in a 2007 research paper required for a master’s degree. Walsh has until Aug. 15 to turn in any material in his defense, Betros said.
— Associated Press
Court orders Colo. county to stop gay marriage licenses: The Colorado Supreme Court on Tuesday ordered the Boulder County clerk to stop issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples while it rules on an appeal by the state’s attorney general. County clerk Hillary Hall’s office has issued licenses to almost 200 gay couples since late last month, after a Denver-based federal appeals court ruled that a same-sex marriage ban in neighboring Utah was unconstitutional. That ruling was subsequently stayed.
Oak Ridge lab drops accent training for staff: Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee said Tuesday it will not try to get Southerners on its staff to disguise their distinctive drawls. Some Southern-born employees at Oak Ridge objected to a “Southern Accent Reduction” training program, and the national science and energy laboratory, which employs more than 4,000 people in eastern Tennessee, backed down. The class, which was to meet once a week in August and September, was advertised as being designed to “give employees a more-neutral American accent, and be remembered for what you say and not how you say it.” The class was withdrawn within hours after it was announced last week, communications director David Keim said.