Seven members of Bolivian Mennonite colony jailed for serial rape

A court in Bolivia has sentenced seven members of a reclusive conservative Christian group to 25 years in prison for raping more than 100 women. The men, members of a Mennonite group, secretly sedated their victims before the sex attacks.

The victims’ lawyer said the 2000-strong Mennonite community where the rapes happened welcomed the sentence.

The group follows a strict moral code and rejects modern inventions such as cars and electricity.

An eighth man was sentenced to 12-and-a-half years for supplying the sedative used to drug the women.

The rapes happened in the Mennonite community of Manitoba, 150km north-east of the city of Santa Cruz.

The court heard that the men sprayed a substance derived from the belladonna plant normally used to anaesthetise cows through bedroom windows at night, sedating entire families.

They then raped the women and girls. The youngest victim was nine years old…

Prosecutor Freddy Perez said colony elders suspected something was wrong when they wondered why one man was getting up so late in the mornings, and they decided to shadow him.

He was then spotted jumping through a window into one of the victim’s houses.

Tough enough being part of a non-Catholic religion in most of Latin America. An often-reclusive group like these Mennonites will now have to deal with years of innuendo and rumor – even though they caught these thugs and turned them over for prosecution.

Doesn’t have to be that way. There are some really successful Mennonite communities in northern Mexico. They coexist peacefully with local Catholic families and provide full employment at many of their organic farms.

Asian hornet invasion claims first victims in France

The death of a man stung by an Asian hornet has exacerbated fears over the invasive species that has taken France by storm and could reach Britain within three years.

Patrice Verry, 38, was stung by one of the predators on Saturday after trying to wave it away with a kitchen towel at a barbecue in Lherm, in the Haute-Garonne region of southwestern France.

He collapsed minutes later and never regained consciousness, police said. In June another man died in the MĂ©doc region after receiving several stings.

The local mayor said the number of hornet nests had “exploded” in the area. “Our villages are powerless,” said Jean Aycaguer…

The bee-eating invaders, unmistakable due to their dark hue and yellow feet, first settled in the forests of Aquitaine, but quickly spread to surrounding areas along waterways, thriving due to a total lack of indigenous predators.

There are now thought to be 2,000 nests and the voracious insects’ battlefront has reached the shores of northern Brittany. Two nests were recently found in Spain…

“We have modelled its potential spread by cross-checking data from France and Asia, and concluded it is capable of living anywhere in Europe and certainly in Britain,” said Mr Muller.

Its widespread presence means it is now impossible to eradicate. “This species is now part of French fauna. We’ll just have to get used to living with it,” said Claire Villemant of the Museum of National History.

I know you can’t get it right every time; but, don’t the French inspect shipping containers for non-native flora and fauna? Back in the day I recall being notified by the Department of Agriculture that a non-native species of termite was discovered in wooden packing crates from Japan. We were required to provide several samples of crates from our warehouses for testing by the USDA – and then destroy all the crates by burning them.

That happened more than once. Incoming traffic might not be caught on the spot; but, within a reasonable period of time, everything was checked.

For all I know, we may not be doing that anymore in the US either.

PowerBuoy device – electricity from waves – commences sea trials

Maritime surveillance and monitoring systems that require remote power at sea often rely on diesel generators that need frequent maintenance and fuel replenishment. Now New Jersey-based wave energy company Ocean Power Technologies (OPT) has commenced sea trials of an autonomous wave energy device that provides clean energy for sea-based radar and communications systems in remote ocean locations and in all wave conditions.

…Like the company’s existing PowerBuoy offerings, the autonomous PowerBuoy generates electricity via a piston-like structure located below the surface of the water that rises and falls as the PowerBuoy bobs up and down with the waves to drive a generator. For the sea trial, the PowerBuoy has been fitted with radar network and communications technology from Rutgers University’s Institute of Marine and Coastal Sciences in partnership with CODAR Ocean Sensors.

Designed for maritime surveillance in the near coast, harbors and beach zones, the PowerBuoy provides power at the lower levels needed for the vessel detection and tracking systems and includes power management and energy storage capabilities that ensure operation in extended periods of zero wave activity. The system has also been designed to remain maintenance-free for three years…

The autonomous PowerBuoy was deployed on August 11, 2011 by a U.S. Coast Guard vessel approximately 20 miles off the coast of New Jersey. The ocean testing will see it being integrated with the Rutgers University-operated, land-based radar network that provides ocean current mapping data for NOAA and U.S. Coast Guard search and rescue operations.

Rock on! Wave power makes so much sense.

Face it folks, this planet is mostly ocean. Skipping the advantages of wave power is like some of the idiots who own public utilities in the American Southwest skipping solar power.

It takes firefighters an hour to rescue truck driver – very carefully!

Click on photo for video story

For more than an hour Friday morning a driver was stuck inside his tractor-trailer as it balanced precariously on the edge of a raised section of Interstate 40, with only thin air between portions of the truck and the pavement 40 feet below.

Firefighters not only freed him, but kept the rig from falling off the I-40 Crosstown bridge after a multiple-vehicle accident triggered by an erratic driver during morning rush hour downtown, an Oklahoma Highway Patrol trooper said.

Firefighters broke a window and spoke to the driver as wreckers got into position and crews used cables and chains to secure the rig after the 8 a.m. crash. The driver, whose name has not been released, was lodged in the sleeping compartment of the cab and waited to be freed.

“He was scared to death in the truck thinking he was going to fall over the edge,” patrol Capt. Chris West said…

Fire Deputy Chief Marc Woodard said about 30 firefighters were involved in rescuing the driver.

Scary situation. I’d be afraid to fart.

Pediatrician gets life in the slammer for molesting patients

A Delaware pediatrician accused of molesting more than 100 of his patients was sentenced Friday to serve his lifetime in prison.

Earl Bradley, whose practice was in Lewes, was given the maximum sentence of 14 life terms, plus 164 years in prison without the possibility of parole, according to a statement from the office of state Attorney General Beau Biden.

He originally had faced 529 counts of rape, sexual exploitation of a child, unlawful sexual contact and other charges. In June, he was found guilty of 24 counts.

The charges include first-degree rape, forcing girls to perform oral sex on him and filming dozens of children engaging in sex acts.

Police officers and detectives, but none of the alleged victims, testified in June at a bench trial, which is held before a judge without a jury. Bradley’s attorneys did not call any witnesses, nor did they make closing arguments.

The evidence against Bradley is based on video seized from his home and office, Biden has said. Public defenders in April challenged the scope of a search warrant used to acquire these tapes, but the judge ruled against them.

Throwing away the key is an unnecessary suggestion, I guess. But, I have to wonder if any of those kids complained to mom and dad and were ignored because the doctor must know best?

This went on, after all, for eleven years.