Alligator bites off Fla. airboat captain’s hand

By From wire service reports,
Posted June 14, 2012, at 12:31 a.m.

EVERGLADES CITY, Fla. — Wildlife officials say an alligator has bitten the hand off an airboat captain in southwest Florida.

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officials say wildlife officers tracked and euthanized the alligator after the attack Tuesday afternoon in Everglades City.

Commission spokeswoman Carli Segelson tells the Naples Daily News the hand was pulled from the alligator’s stomach and taken to the hospital where the captain was being treated.

No additional details about the attack were immediately available. It was unclear if anyone else was in the boat.

The commission identified the captain as 63-year-old Wallace Weatherholt of Captain Doug’s Everglades Tours.

Survey: US drone program unpopular overseas

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration’s increasing use of unmanned drone strikes to kill terror suspects is widely opposed around the world, according to a Pew Research Center survey on the U.S. image abroad.

In 17 out of 21 countries surveyed, more than half of the people disapproved of U.S. drone attacks targeting extremist leaders and groups in nations such as Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia, Pew said Wednesday.

But in the United States, a majority, or 62 percent, approved the drone campaign, making American public opinion the clear exception.

“There remains a widespread perception that the U.S. acts unilaterally and does not consider the interests of other countries,” the study authors said, especially in predominantly Muslim nations, where American anti-terrorism efforts are “still widely unpopular.”

Syria overruns rebellious village, violence spikes

BEIRUT — Syrian forces overran a mountain enclave near the Mediterranean coast Wednesday, seizing the territory back from rebels as a serious escalation in violence signaled both sides are using more powerful weapons.

With the bloodshed ramping up, France joined the U.N. peacekeeping chief in declaring Syria was in a state of civil war.

“When many groups belonging to the same people tear each other apart and kill each other, if you can’t call it a civil war, then there are no words to describe it,” French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius told a news conference in Paris.

The battle for Haffa, in the mountains of Latakia province, raged for eight days as regime forces shelled the village to drive out rebels. The operation apparently was part of a larger offensive to retake areas that had fallen into rebel hands.

State television said regime forces had “cleansed” Haffa of “armed terrorist groups” and the Foreign Ministry urged U.N. observers to immediately head there “to check what the terrorist groups have done.”

Bombs target pilgrims in Iraq, killing scores

BAGHDAD — Car bombs ripped through Shiite and Kurdish targets in Baghdad and other cities Wednesday, killing at least 66 people, wounding more than 200 and feeding growing doubts that Iraq will emerge as a stable democracy after decades of war and dictatorship.

The latest bloodshed comes against a backdrop of sharpening political divisions that show Iraq has made little progress in healing the breach among its religious and ethnic communities that once pushed the country to the brink of civil war. The coordination, sophistication and targets of the attack bore the hallmarks of al-Qaida and its Sunni militant allies seeking to exploit these tensions.

Iraqi authorities played down any suggestion that the devastating attacks that have taken place every few weeks or so since the U.S. military withdrew in mid-December portend a return to the all-out, tit-for-tat violence that tore the nation apart in 2006-2007.

Altogether, 17 explosions struck Baghdad and six other cities and towns some 300 miles apart, from Mosul in the vast deserts of the north to Hillah in the fertile plains of the south. Most targeted Shiite pilgrims between 5 and 8 a.m. as hundreds of thousands were making their way on foot to the capital.

http://bangordailynews.com/2012/06/14/news/nation/alligator-bites-off-fla-airboat-captains-hand/ printed on September 21, 2014