Police Handcuff Enraged Autistic Boy, 9

TORONTO, Aug. 31 (UPI) — Toronto police are defending two officers’ decision to briefly handcuff a 9-year-old autistic boy who was on a rampage at a daycare center.

Two workers at the Fairbank Memorial Day Care Center made separate 911 emergency calls July 28, saying they couldn’t control the boy who was throwing tables and chairs, the Toronto Sun reported.

The boy used chairs to barricade himself in a classroom, police said. The first lone officer to arrive called for backup and they kicked the door in.

The officers said the boy was throwing paint around, spokesman Constable Victor Kwong said. The child was told to lie on the ground and then handcuffed, he said.

Officers said the boy quieted down and was talking about his hobbies when the police mobile crisis intervention team arrived and the handcuffs were removed.

The boy told them other children had been bullying him during lunch hour, which can spark outbursts in children with Asperger’s syndrome, said psychologist Glenn Rampton, the chief of Kerry’s Place Autism Services.

“Why would two great big policemen need to put handcuffs on a 9-year-old when they should be fully capable of calming that child down?” he said.

Regardless, Kwong said officers did everything right.

“We don’t like to handcuff children but safety is the No. 1 issue here and if it’s called for, we will do it,” he said.

Jordan’s King Warns Abbas Against U.N. Bid

AMMAN, Jordan, Aug. 31 (UPI) — King Abdullah of Jordan advised Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to reconsider next month’s planned statehood bid at the United Nations, al-Madina reported.

Abdullah warned Abbas declaring statehood could jeopardize the right of return for Palestinian refugees, the Saudi Arabian daily reported Tuesday.

Abdullah said if a Palestinian state is approved before negotiations are complete, the refugees will lose all chance of returning to their previous homes or receiving compensation, Arutz Sheva said.

“The refugees are the only ones who will suffer,” Arutz Sheva quoted Abdullah as saying.

The Saudi daily said Abbas rejected the warning and intends to pursue statehood as planned.

“The Israelis these days deal with us on a basis we are not a state and that the Palestinian lands are disputed territories. But when the recognition of our state on the 1967 borders happens, we will become a state under occupation, and then we would be able to go to the U.N. We will remain under occupation but our legal status will change,” The Jerusalem Post said Abbas told the Saudi daily.

Abbas Sunday said Palestinians will continue to demand the return of some 5 million Palestinian refugees to their original homes inside Israel, even after the Palestinian state is recognized, the Post said.

“This case must be placed at the negotiating table and the difference between us and the Israelis is they don’t want to talk about this issue,” Abbas said.

Suicide Bomber Kills 11 In Quetta

QUETTA, Pakistan, Aug. 31 (UPI) — Eid festival turned tragic Wednesday in Quetta, Pakistan, where a car bomb went off near a group of worshippers, killing several of them, police said.

CNN, quoting police, reported at least 11 died in the blast and 21 others were injured.

Eid al-Fitr marks the end of the fasting month of Ramadan.

Police spokesman Abdullah Afridi said the suicide bomber driving his explosives-laden car tried to get deeper into the crowd of worshippers offering prayers but set off the blast when security stopped him, CNN reported.

“The strength of the explosion blew body parts and glass from nearby shops into the air,” Afridi said.

Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari, traveling in northwest China, strongly condemned the attack and asked provincial authorities to investigate, the state-run Associated Press of Pakistan reported.

Quetta is the capital of southwest Pakistan’s Balochistan province, which has been the scene of much sectarian and militant violence. Resource-rich Balochistan has also been a troubled province in Pakistan with armed Baloch rebels demanding a greater share of the region’s income from Islamabad and autonomy.

Petraeus Retires From Army; CIA Job Awaits

WASHINGTON, Aug. 31 (UPI) — U.S. Army Gen. David Petraeus trades in his uniform for civvies Wednesday, retiring from military service in advance of becoming director of the CIA.

He assumes his role as America’s spy chief Sept. 6.

As the top commander on the ground in Iraq, Petraeus is credited for turning around a seemingly lost battle, CNN reported.

He took top command in Afghanistan in July 2010 after Gen. Stanley McChrystal retired following an article published in Rolling Stone magazine. Petraeus turned over the Afghan command to Gen. John Allen July 18.

With Petraeus’ retirement, the Army loses the architect of modern counterinsurgency operations, CNN reported. Petraeus, 58, wrote his doctoral dissertation on the lessons learned in Vietnam and later developed the Army-Marine field manual that challenged military thinking on how it relates to civilian populations in addressing an insurgency.

Quake Aftershocks Still Rumble In Va.

MINERAL, Va., Aug. 31 (UPI) — The Washington area has experienced 19 aftershocks since an earthquake rattled the region eight days ago, the U.S. Geological Survey said.

The most recent aftershock was Tuesday, a 2.1-magnitude jolt that was less than the 5.8-magnitude quake Aug. 23, The Washington Post reported.

As was the Aug. 23 quake, Tuesday’s aftershock was centered near Mineral, Va., in Louisa County in the central part of the state.

The county still is recovering from the quake, an emergency official told the Post. And the aftershocks — also felt around northern Virginia and other parts of the Washington metro area — aren’t helping.

“People are absolutely feeling them,” Scott Keim, chief of the Louisa County fire and emergency medical services department, said. “Quite often they’ll wake us up.”

“I think that there’s a fair amount of anxiety in the community,” Keim said, “about when they will stop and how bad they’ll get.”

In Louisa County, authorities still are compiling a damage assessment from the Aug. 23 quake. So far, estimates top $17.5 million, the Post said.

That amount, Keim said, “is a lot for a county of 35,000 people.”

Tropical Storm Katia Intensifying

MIAMI, Aug. 31 (UPI) — Tropical Storm Katia is expected to intensify and may become a hurricane later Wednesday, the National Hurricane Center in Miami said.

No coastal watches or warnings are in effect.

Katia, with maximum sustained winds of 65 mph, is about 985 miles west of the southernmost Cape Verde Islands, moving west-northwest at 21 mph, the center said in its 5 a.m. EDT advisory.

Forecasters said Katia was expected to remain on its current track, gradually decreasing in forward speed during the next two days. The storm is expected to strengthen during the next 48 hours and could reach hurricane status later Wednesday, the center said.

Obama’s Schedule For Wednesday, Aug. 31

WASHINGTON, Aug. 31 (UPI) — President Obama will urge Congress to pass clean extensions of two bills that expire in September, the White House said Wednesday.

The daily agenda indicates Obama will:

— Receive the daily briefing.

— Meet with senior advisers.

— Hold an event to call on Congress to pass clean extensions of the Surface Transportation Bill that expires at the end of September and the Federal Aviation Administration Reauthorization that expires in mid-September.

Indian Protests Mount Over Planned Hanging

NEW DELHI, Aug. 31 (UPI) — A woman burned herself to death near Chennai, India, in protest at the planned hanging of the killers of Rajiv Gandhi, India’s prime minister, in 1991.

The woman, 27, poured gasoline on herself in front of the local tax office in Kancheepuram, around 70 miles from the Tamil Nadu state capital Chennai.

Witnesses said she shouted, “free Perarivalan, Murugan and Santhan” and then she set herself on fire.

Bystanders and the police doused the flames but she died on the way to hospital, a local newspaper report said.

A note wrapped in plastic found on her body said she was a member of Tamil nationalist group Makkal Manram.

“If my life can save their three lives, I will die happily,” the note reportedly said.

It also urged Tamil Nadu state chief minister J. Jayalalithaa to free the three convicts, who have been in jail for 20 years since receiving death sentences.

Last week the government announced the hanging will take place early Sept. 9 at Tamil Nadu’s Vellore Central Prison in Vellore, around 85 miles north of Chennai.

The planned hanging comes after India’s president rejected mercy pleas from the men found guilty of plotting the assassination of Gandhi by a Tamil Tiger suicide bomber.

All three of the condemned men were members of Sri Lanka’s militant Tamil Tigers group. Murugan and Santhan are from Sri Lanka and Perarivalan is an Indian Tamil.

Immediately after Gandhi’s death, the Tamil Tigers claimed he was assassinated as a protest over what they claimed was India’s interference in the Sri Lankan civil war.

However, in 2006, the Tigers, which by then had stopped its armed struggle for a separate state called Tamil Eelam, expressed “regret” for the murder.

The announcement of the hangings has polarized many people, groups and political parties in the state and across India where the last execution was in August 2004 in the state of West Bengal. A 41-year-old former security guard was hanged for the rape and murder of a 14-year-old schoolgirl. It was the first execution since 1995.

The assassins of India’s independence leader, Mahatma Gandhi, and former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi were among those executed in the past 60 years.

At Vellore jail, where the last hanging was nearly 30 years ago, officials are busy getting the “rusty” gallows back into shape, a report in The Telegraph newspaper in Kolkata said.

The gallows are in “an asbestos-roofed shed over an iron beam and two trap doors. As the last hanging took place 28 years ago, the trap doors’ hinges and lever have become stiff.”

Prison officials are doing the refurbishment themselves because they couldn’t find a contractor that would be associated with the hanging, The Telegraph said.

“Our own staff repaired and lubricated the mechanism. We have now placed an order for the ropes,” a jail official said.

Although the gallows are designed for two simultaneous hangings, the jail plans to carry out the executions separately at 30-minute intervals beginning 4.30 a.m. Prison officials will draw lots to decide the order in which the trio will be hanged.

The situation at Vellore is typical of many jails across India. A 2010 article in New Delhi’s Open magazine said India is a nation that allows capital punishment, is holding in jail many condemned to death but is a country with no hangmen.

The last hangman in the state of Maharashtra retired in 1995 and since then, there have been no takers for the job, the article said.

A hangman is not a full-time government employee but a sanctioned volunteer where his pay — equivalent to a little more than $3 — is a special allowance, the article said.

Prison officials will train a new hangman in things such as tying the noose. But the toughest part of the job isn’t about ropes and levers, it is about conscience, a former inspector general of police prisons said.

“The moment a hangman starts thinking about karma, he should be retired. Till the lever is pulled, the prison officials are on tenterhooks as you cannot say how the hangman will react at the last moment,” he said.

A few months before the death of the hangman Nata Mullick, who conducted India’s last hanging in 2004, Open magazine interviewed him about the job.

Mullick, whose father was a hangman in the British colonial days, died in December 2009 after 25 hangings.

“The preparation of the noose is very important,” he told Open magazine.

“If the noose is right, the person will feel less pain. I used fewer knots when a prisoner was heavy and more knots for a prisoner who weighed less. If the lever is pulled too hard, the head can be severed.”

Nanmadol Makes Landfall In Fujian

BEIJING, Aug. 31 (UPI) — Nanmadol hit east China’s Fujian Province early Wednesday as a tropical storm, after killing several people in the Philippines and wreaking havoc in Taiwan.

The storm landed in Fujian’s Jinjiang city after 2 a.m. Wednesday, bringing heavy rains as it weakened into a tropical depression, Chinese meteorologists said. There were no immediate reports of injuries, China’s state-run Xinhua news service reported.

The storm was expected to weaken further before leaving Jinjiang. Authorities issued flood and landslide warnings as more rains were in the forecast.

Nanmadol struck the Philippines with typhoon force last week and the death toll since then has risen to at least 25, the country’s National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council was quoted as saying Tuesday. The storm was named Mina in that country.

The agency said another 12 people remained missing as of Tuesday, and another 30 were injured. The storm affected more than 70,000 families, with about 800 families placed in evacuation centers.

In Taiwan, the storm was blamed for at least one death. Several hundred homes were leveled there and some essential services were disrupted.

Irene Havoc Persists In N.J., Vermont

NEWARK, N.J., Aug. 31 (UPI) — Three days after Hurricane Irene passed through, some towns in Vermont could still be reached only by helicopter Wednesday.

In New Jersey, where thousands of people were evacuated from two high-rise buildings in Paterson Tuesday, floodwaters were not expected to recede for several days along the Passaic River, The Star-Ledger of Newark reported.

Irene, which tracked up the coast from the Carolinas to New York and then moved inland, did less damage than expected in many seaside areas. But the storm, which moved slightly west of its predicted track, brought heavy rain to areas in New Jersey, New York state and Vermont, where rivers were already high and ground was saturated.

The storm has been blamed for at least 43 deaths, CNN reported. In Lawrenceville, N.J., it claimed one more life Tuesday when a man trying to clear standing water from his property was sucked into a storm drain, WCAU-TV, Philadelphia, said. His body was found hours later.

Marc Leibovitz of New York told CNN he is stranded in Pittsfield, Vt., with his new wife and their wedding guests.

“There’s several bridges down on Route 100. There’s a road that just caved in,” he said. “There’s several houses in town that we watched floating. It’s been scary.”

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said most of the area struck by Irene is now in the cleanup and repair phase, CNN reported. The Passaic River area and Vermont are the big exceptions.

In Fairfield, N.J., downstream from Paterson, Deputy Police Chief Anthony Manna told the Star-Ledger much of the town could remain underwater for six to eight days.

“I’ve been here since 1955 and I’ve never seen Fairfield get this flooded,” said Stephen Conte, 61. “I’m astounded by it. It’s like the Twilight Zone. It’s surreal.”

In Trenton, floodwaters from Assunpink Creek that covered the rail lines at the train station finally receded Tuesday, allowing rail service to resume Wednesday on the Northeast Corridor for the first time since the storm.