Happy birthday to the oldest panda
The oldest giant panda ever in captivity has tasted a vegetable ice cake and, of course, bamboo in celebration of her 37th birthday. Jia Jia was recognized Tuesday as holding two Guinness World Records, the oldest ever and the oldest living giant panda. Born in 1978, Jia Jia has lived at Hong Kong Ocean Park since 1999. The park's veterinary service director, Paolo Martelli, says typical panda life expectancy is around 20 years, and only eight of about 400 living in captivity today are older than 30. So, he says, "it's quite exceptional to reach such an old age for a panda." Jia Jia's age is equal to about 110 for humans. She suffers high blood pressure and arthritic pain, though her health is stable.
Prison worker pleads guilty in escape
A prison worker who was "in over her head" with two inmates convicted of murder tearfully pleaded guilty to charges of aiding them by smuggling hacksaw blades and other tools to the pair, who broke out and spent three weeks on the run. Joyce Mitchell, an instructor in the tailor shop at the Clinton Correctional Facility in upstate New York, faces 2⅓ to 7 years in prison. Sentencing is set for Sept. 28. Prisoner Richard Matt was shot and killed by searchers and prisoner David Sweat was captured near the Canadian border.
NTSB finds fault with spacecraft developer
The National Transportation Safety Board concluded that the developer of a commercial spacecraft that broke apart over the Mojave Desert last year failed to protect against the possibility of human error, specifically the co-pilot's premature unlocking of a braking system that triggered the in-flight breakup of the vehicle. The board took pains to make clear that Scaled Composites, an aerospace company that has partnered with Virgin Galactic to develop the spacecraft, should have had systems in place to overcome the co-pilot's mistake. The accident killed the co-pilot and injured the pilot.
Teen arrested after girl's body is found
A 15-year-old boy was arrested after police found the body of an 8-year-old girl in a dumpster Monday night, a day after she disappeared while riding her scooter in a Santa Cruz neighborhood, police said. The boy lives at the same apartment complex as the girl, Madyson "Maddy" Middleton, police said. His identity was not released because he is a minor, officials said.
One of Gadhafi's sons sentenced to death
A court in Libya sentenced a son of Moammar Gadhafi to death by firing squad after convicting him of murder and inciting genocide during the country's 2011 civil war. It is unlikely, however, that the sentence against Seif al-Islam Gadhafi will be carried out anytime soon, as a militia in western Libya has refused to hand him over to the government for the past four years.
Reporter's lawyer requests his release
The lawyer of detained Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian said her client should be freed in the wake of the nuclear deal between Iran and world powers, Iranian media reported. Both the semiofficial Fars and Tasnim news agencies quoted Rezaian's defense lawyer, Leila Ahsan, as saying Iran's new penal code also meant the Iranian-American journalist should be freed. New laws in Iran bar those on trial for charges other than murder from being in detention for more than a year before a verdict. Rezaian has been held for more than a year on charges that include espionage.
House of Lords member resigns
Two days after a newspaper reported that he had used cocaine with prostitutes, a senior member of the House of Lords in Britain resigned his seat, apologizing for the "pain and embarrassment" he had caused. The member, John Sewel, 69, had already given up leadership posts in the unelected upper chamber of Parliament, including the chairmanship of a committee that monitors standards. The revelations about Sewel, who is married, were published by the newspaper the Sun on Sunday.