News Briefs

A look at significant current news events from around the globe:

United States

Parents of a 6-year-old boy who died after a fall down the stairs in a historic San Diego mansion July 11 had been involved in previous altercations. According to police records, in 2008, Jonah Shacknai, a pharmaceutical tycoon, reported that his wife Dina Shacknai had tried to choke him.  In 2009, Dina told police that her husband had elbowed her in the chest after she refused to read her son a bedtime story. No arrests were made in either incident. Two days after Shacknai’s son fell down the stairs, his girlfriend, Rebecca Zahau was found dead, hanging from the second-floor balcony on the mansion with her wrists and ankles bound. Suicide has not been ruled out. Investigators have not made any connections between the two incidents.


Tropical Storm Dora has reached near-hurricane force in the Pacific Ocean on Tuesday, but the storm would not affect Mexico. The storm’s proximity to the Mexican coastline prompted Mexican authorities to issue heavy-rain warnings in the Pacific Mexican states of Oaxaca amd Guerrero. The storm could become a major hurricane Wednesday.


President of  Guinea survived an assassination attempt Tuesday when a gunman came to his home and pounded his bedroom with  heavy artillery. The attack throws doubt into the country’s first democratically elected government. President Alpha Conde was saved because he was sleeping in a different room at the time. Grenades landed inside the compound, killing one  of the president’s bodyguards.The president addressed the nation, instructing to remain calm and that the attack would not alter any of the democratic changes that took place seven months ago.


Young, female fans of Vladimir Putin have gathered together in a group called “Putin’s Army” to support his return to presidency. Members of the group shot a racy video of women who tout Putin’s virtues as a national leader and an “awesome man.” The video has since gone viral. Putin served a double term as president from 2000 to 2008. It is unclear how the group began, but a website called “Putin’s Army” claims it has 800 members.


A maritime industry group posted videos on YouTube Tuesday of four Filipinos and two Danes being held hostage by Somalian pirates. Pirates from East Africa often seek millions of dollars to release the ships and crews that they hijacked off the coast. Though the group has made hostage videos in the past, they have never posted them to websites like YouTube. In the videos, the pirate is  asking the crew questions. One crew member is asking for government help in freeing them. He said that the crew is suffering heath problems and they are often afraid. The six men seen in the video are being filmed by a pirate, while three masked men hold weapons in the background. There has not been a demand for ransom in this particular case.