Suspect Admits Frankfurt Airport Shooting

FRANKFURT, Germany, Sept. 1 (UPI) — A Kosovo man admitted in court he killed two U.S. airmen in an attack at a Frankfurt, Germany, airport but said he doesn’t know why he did it.

Arid Uka, made the admission as his trial began in Frankfurt Wednesday. He told the court he had been radicalized by jihadist propaganda he had been exposed to on the Internet, the BBC reported.

“What I did was wrong, but I cannot undo what I did,” Uka told the court.

Prosecutors called Uka, 21, an Islamic “lone wolf” who had no contact with any known militant groups, and said he had been enraged by footage of U.S. servicemen raping a Muslim girl in Iraq. The footage in question turned out to be a scene from a movie by Hollywood director Brian De Palma, the BBC said.

“I thought what I saw in that video, these people would do in Afghanistan,” Uka said Wednesday.

Prosecutors alleged Uka wanted to kill the airmen because they were going to join coalition forces in Afghanistan. They said Uka confessed at the scene.

Two other U.S. airmen were seriously injured in the attack in March.

The indictment said Uka entered the airport terminal and then followed U.S. military personnel to their military bus. It said he asked one for a light and inquired where the bus was going, and then fatally shot him.

The indictment said Uka then boarded a military bus, shouting “Allah-u akbar” (God is great), and shot and killed a second victim.

Prosecutors said the gun jammed and Uka fled into the terminal where he was captured.

Police Officer Charged With Squad Car Rape

PHILADELPHIA, Sept. 1 (UPI) — A Philadelphia police officer was charged Wednesday with raping a woman after offering her a lift from the stop where she was waiting for a bus at 3:30 a.m.

Keith Corley II, 27, who has been with the police department for four years, was arrested and suspended, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported. He was charged with rape and a number of related counts.

Corley was on duty at the time of the alleged rape, investigators said. A woman told police he offered to drive her home but instead sexually assaulted her in the back of his squad car and then dropped her at a mass transit station.

The woman reported the assault that morning.

Corley is the third Philadelphia police officer to be arrested in two weeks. The other two were charged with assaulting their girlfriends.

Double Trouble For Washington Monument

WASHINGTON, Sept. 1 (UPI) — Hurricane Irene revealed new cracks in the Washington Monument, which was already closed following the Virginia earthquake, the National Parks Service said.

Spokeswoman Carol Johnson told CNN Wednesday Parks Service employees found standing water in the monument when they inspected it Monday. She said engineers tried to find holes following last week’s 5.8 magnitude earthquake and in advance of the hurricane.

“There were some leaks that we were not able to identify or able to plug,” Johnson said. “What happened was a lot of mortar popped out, so much so that you can see sunlight above 450 feet in the monument.”

The monument has been closed until all damage is repaired. Johnson said engineers determined the earthquake caused no structural damage.

The 555-foot memorial to George Washington, the first U.S. president, was built over several decades in the mid-19th century.

N.Korea, Russia Consider Naval Cooperation

PYONGYANG, North Korea, Sept. 1 (UPI) — North Korea and Russia plan to increase their naval cooperation, a Russian military spokesman said.

Senior commanders from the two nations have been considering such steps and the issue was discussed during the current North Korea visit of Adm. Konstantin Sidenko, commander of Russia’s Eastern Military District, China’s state-run Xinhua news agency reported, quoting Sidenko spokesman Lt. Col. Igor Muginov.

Sidenko and senior North Korean military commanders also discussed the possibilities of holding joint search and rescue exercises and humanitarian drills in the open sea, Muginov told reporters.

Among those Sidenko met was Ri Yong Ho, chief of the general staff of the Korean People’s Army, the spokesman said. Sidenko also visited a KPA unit.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Il visited Russia for a week last month, and later visited China.

Nurse Pleads Guilty To Medicare Fraud

MIAMI, Sept. 1 (UPI) — A Miami-area nurse pleaded guilty Wednesday to billing Medicare $118,000 for home health services that were unneeded or never provided.

Farah Maria Perez, 40, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud before U.S. District Judge Joan A. Lenard.

Perez, who worked for Florida Home Health Care Providers Inc., and co-conspirators at the company billed Medicare for costly physical therapy and home health care services that were medically unnecessary or never provided from about January 2006 until about March 2009, plea documents indicate.

A U.S. Justice Department news release said Perez recruited Medicare beneficiaries who allowed Florida Home Health to bill Medicare for the services. In exchange, the release said, she solicited and received kickbacks and bribes from the owners and operators of Florida Home Health.

Court documents indicate Perez and co-defendants falsified patient files so it appeared they qualified for home health care and therapy services from Florida Home Health. Perez, the release said, admitted she knew the beneficiaries didn’t qualify or didn’t receive the services.

She and other nurse co-defendants listed symptoms including tremors, impaired vision, weak grip and inability to walk without assistance when the patients didn’t have the symptoms, the Justice Department said.

Perez is scheduled to be sentenced Nov. 14.

Ex-senator Pleads Guilty To Wire Fraud

BOSTON, Sept. 1 (UPI) — Former Massachusetts state Sen. Bernard Joseph Tully pleaded guilty to a bribery scheme in which he and a co-conspirator split about $12,000 from a landlord.

In exchange for the payments, Tully, 84, told the landlord he would pay off state lawmakers to ensure the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles did not discontinue the lease of Lowell, Mass., space the landlord owned, court documents and testimony at a plea hearing indicated.

The RMV had announced in July 2009 it needed to discontinue the lease because of a lack of funds, federal prosecutors and the FBI said in a news release.

Tully pleaded guilty Tuesday to one count of wire fraud. As part of a plea deal, he will receive a maximum penalty of home confinement, three years of supervised release, a fine and restitution, the release said.

Tully, who served as Lowell city manager from 1979 to 1987 and a state senator representing Lowell before that, had contacted the landlord, who was not identified, and said he would need to pay $20,000 to keep the RMV in the leased space, the news release said.

Unknown to Tully, the landlord became a prosecution witness.

Tully admitted he never actually paid any off any legislators and said he and the co-conspirator split the estimated $12,000 in cash and checks from the businessman, Tully told FBI agents in May 2010, the release said.

Aquino, Hu Discuss Sea Dispute

BEIJING, Sept. 1 (UPI) — China and the Philippines agreed to find a peaceful resolution to a South China Sea dispute that has raised international concerns.

The issue was discussed by visiting Philippine President Benigno Aquino III and his Chinese host, President Hu Jintao. The two leaders stood firm about their countries’ territorial claims in the Spratlys, but decided to resolve the dispute peacefully, the Philippine Star reported Thursday.

The official Chinese news agency Xinhua reported Hu and Aquino agreed to strengthen economic and trade cooperation while minimizing the impact of the sea disputes.

Xinhua quoted Hu as saying China’s stance on the South China Sea issue has been consistent and explicit.

“The South China Sea disputes should be resolved peacefully through consultation and negotiation” between the two countries, Hu said.

Hu also was quoted as saying China is ready to work with the countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), including the Philippines, to develop the waters jointly into “a sea of peace, friendship and cooperation.”

The sea dispute has become tense, as China repeatedly asserts its “indisputable sovereignty over the Nansha Islands [Spratly Islands] and the surrounding waters” of the South China Sea, and has asked all other claimant countries to stop drilling there for oil and gas. Those countries include Vietnam, Malaysia, the Philippines, Brunei and Taiwan.

The U.S. Senate has passed a resolution deploring the recent use of force by Chinese maritime security vessels against a Vietnamese exploration ship, and calling for a peaceful resolution of the dispute through multilateral efforts.

The Philippine Star quoted Aquino spokesman Edwin Lacierda as saying it was Aquino who raised the Spratlys issue, saying as the issue was a regional problem, it required a regional solution.

“So both sides were very positive in addressing the issue in the South China Sea,” the Star quoted Lacierda as saying.

Aquino and Hu also attended the signing of nine agreements on a number of issues regarding economic, cultural and friendly ties.

Xinhua reported the two sides have pledged to double their trade volume to $60 billion in five years. The report said Aquino was accompanied by a 300-strong delegation that included more than 200 business executives.

Jamaican Drug Kingpin Pleads Guilty

NEW YORK, Aug. 31 (UPI) — Christopher Coke, who prosecutors said led a violent international drug and arms trafficking enterprise, pleaded guilty Wednesday to racketeering conspiracy.

Coke, whose June 2010 arrest in Kingston, Jamaica, followed a battle between his supporters and police and military troops that left 73 people dead, also pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit assault with a dangerous weapon in aid of racketeering before U.S. District Judge Robert P. Patterson in New York, the U.S. Justice Department announced.

“For nearly two decades, Christopher Coke led a ruthless criminal enterprise that used fear, force and intimidation to support its drug and arms trafficking ‘businesses,'” U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said in a news release. “He moved drugs and guns between Jamaica and the United States with impunity. Today’s plea is a welcome conclusion to this ugly chapter of criminal history.”

Coke, the Justice Department said, led the “Shower Posse” organization, also known as “Presidential Click.”

Since the early 1990s, members of Coke’s organization in the United States and other countries controlled the Tivoli Gardens neighborhood in inner-city Kingston, guarded by gunmen, and trafficked drugs including marijuana, cocaine and crack cocaine, the news release said. Members sent the proceeds back to Coke in Jamaica and supplied him with firearms they obtained in the United States, the release said.

Coke, 42, faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison on the racketeering conspiracy charge and three years on the conspiracy to commit assault in aid of racketeering charge when he is sentenced Dec. 8.

China Says Sabotage Thwarted

BEIJING, Aug. 31 (UPI) — Police in northwest China’s Xinjiang-Uighur region, home to Muslim Uighurs, thwarted attempts to sabotage public safety, a local Communist Party official said.

The report by China’s official Xinhua news agency comes as Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari was visiting Urumqi, capital of the violence-hit region, where the Turkic-speaking Muslim Uighurs resent being ruled by Han Chinese.

Speaking on the reported sabotage attempts, Zhu Hailun, party chief of Urumqi, told reporters Wednesday separatists, religious extremists and terrorists have been plotting to sabotage the China-Eurasia Expo trade fair opening Thursday, Xinhua said.

Zhu said Urumqi airport security staff had recently arrested a man who attempted to take a knife on board a plane.

“There have been many similar cases of attacks being blocked by police,” Zhu said. “Hopefully we have intervened in time to nip the violence in the bud.”

Xinhua said authorities have tightened security in Urumqi and at airports including in Beijing and Shanghai to screen flights bound for Urumqi.

Xinjiang was rocked by violence in August that left at least 40 people dead in the cities of Kashgar and Hotan, the report said. The Kashgar violence was blamed on Islamic extremists trained in Pakistan, which is a close ally of China.

Official Chinese media have reported suspects captured after the attacks had said their group’s leaders learned how to make explosives and firearms in camps run by the East Turkistan Islamic Movement, a terrorist group in Pakistan.

Xinjiang-Uighur is close to Pakistan and several central and west Asian countries. China describes Pakistan as its “all-weather friend.”

Zardari, accompanied by several of his top officials, described China as Pakistan’s closest friend and a strategic partner, the state-run Associated Press of Pakistan reported.

Zardari “expressed his confidence that the government and the patriotic people of China would succeed in frustrating designs of the evil forces of terrorism, extremism and any attempt to undermine territorial integrity” and said Pakistan is “committed to fighting terrorism in all its forms and manifestations.”

Ex-Canadian Official’s Son Sent To Prison

OTTAWA, Aug. 31 (UPI) — John “Jack” Tobin, the son of ex-Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Brian Tobin, was sentenced to three years in prison Wednesday for a drunken driving death.

The 24-year-old also was banned from driving for seven years, the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. reported.

Tobin pleaded guilty to impaired driving causing death in the Dec. 24 incident in which his friend, Alex Zolpis, 24, was fatally pinned under a truck in an Ottawa parking garage.

Authorities say the two had been drinking with friends at a bar before going to the parking garage where Tobin began driving a pickup truck in wild 180-degree turns and hit Zolpis. Another man also was hit but survived.

In sentencing Tobin, Judge Lise Maisonneuve said he had been “gravely irresponsible.”

Prosecutors sought at least five years in prison and a 10-year driving ban, noting Tobin had a history of driving offenses and license revocations.

Tobin’s attorney requested his client receive no more than 30 months behind bars and his license lifted for five years.