Teen thought he would die in Alaska bear attack

Posted July 25, 2011, at 9:14 p.m.
Last modified July 26, 2011, at 1 p.m.

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — A grizzly pounced so furiously on a group of teenagers in the Alaska wilderness Saturday that they did not have time to pull out their bear deterrent spray to defend themselves, the father of one of the boys said Monday.

The seven teenagers were in the last leg of a 30-day backcountry education course when they came upon the bear and its cub on Saturday night. The teens at the front of the pack bore the brunt of the attack, authorities said.

They were rescued early Sunday after activating their emergency locator beacon and tending to the wounded.

The bear attacked as the group lined up for a river crossing in the Talkeetna Mountains, north of Anchorage. Those in the back of the line heard the warning, and the two at the front were most seriously injured, authorities said.

The teens were taking part in an outdoor education course from the National Outdoor Leadership School, which leads many such excursions in Alaska and elsewhere.

The worst injured with bear bite wounds were Joshua Berg, 17, of New City, N.Y., and Gottsegen, according to a spokesman for NOLS. They were being treated at Providence Alaska Medical Center in Anchorage.

North Carolina family wins big lottery prize for third time

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — One Charlotte family has defied the nearly impossible odds of winning the lottery. And they’ve done it three times.

This month, Kimberly McCauley won $100,000 playing the new instant-scratch off game 10X the Money.

Her mother, Amy, of Fort Mill, won $161,172 playing Carolina Cash 5 in the North Carolina Education Lottery in April 2007.

But the family’s biggest prize came in 1991, when Amy won $15.5 million in the New York Lotto. She also snagged two $1,000 prizes playing the N.C. lottery’s $130 Million Blockbuster game in 2009.

Kimberly told lottery officials she initially thought she had only won $10,000. But she realized she had claimed one of the six top prizes when she was on the phone with her mom.

‘Killer bees’ attack California man

MODESTO, Calif. — African honey bees attacked a 70-year-old man walking his dogs near Modesto in the first known documented “killer bees” assault north of Madera.

Agricultural officials believe African bees have not colonized north of Tulare County and suspect that the July 5 attack, though savage, was isolated.

“It felt like my head was on fire,” said Jack McBride on Saturday, after a state laboratory confirmed the identity of the aggressive insects that stung him more than 50 times.

European honey bees, crucial for pollinating many California crops, “just don’t overdo it like that,” said Eric Mussen, a University of California at Davis apiculturist, or bee expert.

Mussen and Gary Caseri, Stanislaus County’s agriculture commissioner, said African bees likely swarmed, or escaped a hive to repopulate elsewhere, after being trucked in to pollinate almonds around Modesto. African bees edge out less aggressive species and can’t get along with people, making it difficult to work in fields, Mussen said.

Syria endorses law to allow political parties

BEIRUT — Syria’s government has endorsed a draft law that it says will allow the formation of political parties alongside President Bashar Assad’s ruling Baath Party, part of reforms that the opposition has dismissed as symbolic.

Meanwhile, security forces detained dozens of people in the capital Damascus and several other cities in search of anti-government protesters and regime opponents, activists said Monday. The National Organization for Human Rights in Syria said a 7-year-old child, a boxing champion and a writer were among those arrested.

The multiparty bill, approved by the Cabinet late Sunday, follows other concessions Assad has made as part of his efforts to quell more than four months of protests against his regime.

He has coupled his pledges of reform with a deadly crackdown on protesters that activists say has killed at least 1,600 people.

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