NEWARK, N.J. — Unnamed and unwanted, the young beagle mix was left anonymously in a drop box outside an Alabama pound. His life was supposed to end in a gas chamber.
Instead, the young stray emerged frightened but unscathed, wagging his tail. Now, he’s being hailed as a miracle dog, given the name Daniel after the biblical figure who survived the lion’s den.
And he has a fresh start in New Jersey, where a rescue group hopes to find him a good home.
Only three animals have survived the gas chamber at the Animal Control facility in Florence, Ala., in the past 12 years. “Maybe God just had a better plan for this one,” said city spokesman Phil Stevenson.
Daniel’s tail never stopped wagging as he stepped off a plane at a New Jersey airport, where he was flown Wednesday by the nonprofit Eleventh Hour Rescue group and placed with volunteer Jill Pavlik until he can be adopted.
Justice Department: Muffins weren’t $16 after all
WASHINGTON — The $16 muffin that became a reviled symbol of government waste didn’t cost $16 after all, say Justice Department auditors, who last month had criticized the department for spending $16.80 apiece for the notorious pastries at a conference at the Capitol Hilton in Washington.
On Friday, acting Justice Department Inspector General Cynthia Schnedar issued a revised report on the department’s conference expenditures. Her new finding: The muffins were part of a continental breakfast that also included items such as fruit, coffee, tea, juice and other pastries.
The new report does not break out a cost for the muffins alone, but a Hilton spokesman said the entire breakfast cost about $16 per person, including taxes and service charges.
The new audit attributed the error to the Justice Department itself. It still described beef Wellington hors d’oeuvres at $7.32 per serving, and a $76-per-person lunch at a conference at a Hilton in San Francisco, featuring slow-cooked Berkshire pork carnitas, hearts-of-romaine salad — and coffee at $8.24 a cup.
NATO announces end of Libya mission
BRUSSELS — NATO has announced it will end its air campaign over Libya next Monday, following the decision of the U.N. Security Council to lift the no-fly zone and end military action to protect civilians.
NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said Friday that the operation was “one of the most successful in NATO history,” one which was able to wind down quickly after the death of former Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi.
Monitoring air patrols are expected to continue until Monday to make sure there are no more threats to civilians.
NATO’s 26,000 sorties, including 9,600 strike missions, destroyed about 5,900 military targets since they started on March 31.
Syrian security forces fire on rallies, killing 30
BEIRUT — Syrian security forces opened fire Friday on protesters and hunted them down in house-to-house raids, killing about 30 people in the deadliest day in weeks in the country’s 7-month-old uprising, activists said.
The U.N. estimates the crackdown by Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime has killed 3,000 people since March.
Much of the bloodshed Friday happened after the protests had ended and security forces armed with machine guns chased protesters and activists, according to opposition groups monitoring the demonstrations. Authorities disrupted telephone and Internet service, they said.
The flashpoints were Homs and Hama in central Syria, where opposition to the regime is strong. Hama is the site of a massacre nearly 30 years ago which has come to symbolize the ruthlessness of the Assad dynasty.
Higgins to win Irish presidency as rival concedes
DUBLIN — Human rights activist and poet Michael D. Higgins headed for victory Friday in Ireland’s presidential election as the Irish picked a left-wing idealist to be the new face of a debt-struck nation.
Higgins’ main challenger, business guru and reality TV celebrity Sean Gallagher, conceded defeat in a telephone call to Higgins. Gallagher said he expected Higgins would be, as his own campaign slogan promised, “a president to be proud of.”
Higgins, 70, was mobbed by well-wishers and journalists as he arrived at the Dublin Castle count center.
Final results were expected Saturday because of Ireland’s complex voting system, which permits voters to rank candidates in order of preference.