1.) Prosecutor: Teen-ager charged in Indiana highway shootings had been on hunting trip
By Rick Callahan
Associated Press July 27, 2006
A teen-ager accused of killing a man and wounding another in a series of highway shootings had argued with relatives during a hunting trip and drove off in anger shortly before the attacks, a prosecutor said Wednesday.
Zachariah Blanton, 17, pleaded not guilty Wednesday to charges of murder, attempted murder and three counts of criminal recklessness. He stared at the sidewalk as officers led him into the Jackson County Courthouse where Circuit Judge William Vance set a tentative Dec. 13 trial date.
Blanton could face life in prison without parole.
2.) House concurs with accord on polar bears
By Jim Abrams
Associated Press July 18, 2006
The House gave its approval Monday to a U.S.-Russia treaty to help protect polar bears from overhunting and other threats to their survival.
The House bill puts into effect a 2000 treaty that sets quotas on polar bear hunting by native populations in the two countries and establishes a bilateral commission to analyze how best to sustain the polar bear habitat. It passed by voice vote.
The Polar Bear Specialist Group of the World Conservation Union estimates the polar bear population in the Arctic at 20,000 to 25,000, and projects a 30 percent decline in that number over the next 45 years. Climatic warming that melts the bears' sea ice habitat is regarded as the main threat, but pollution and overhunting are other major concerns.
On the United States side, only subsistence hunting by native peoples is legal, but there is an illegal market in Asia for gall bile and gall bladders from polar bears and other bears because of their uses in medicine.
3.) Spokesman for Spanish King Juan Carlos denies monarch shot inebriated Russian bear
By Paul Haven
Associated Press Oct. 20, 2006
The king says it didn't happen. And the bear isn't around to talk about it anymore.
A spokeswoman for Spanish King Juan Carlos said Thursday that Russian reports the 68-year-old monarch brought down a tamed and inebriated bear during a visit in August were "ridiculous."
The palace confirmed the king, who is known to enjoy hunting, was in Russia at the time of the alleged shooting, but it says he didn't kill any bear, let alone one that was fed vodka-spiked honey.
"He neither hunted with (Russian President Vladimir) Putin nor killed a bear," a spokeswoman for the palace told The Associated Press.
But those denials are apparently not enough to stop regional Russian authorities from launching an inquiry into how the bear met its end.