Aquarium Weens Fish Off Kit Kat Habit

LONDON, Aug. 2 (UPI) — Workers at a London aquarium said they have successfully broken an 8.8-pound fish of its addiction to Kit Kat chocolate bars.

Rebecca Carter of the Sea Life London Aquarium said Gary the gourami had been raised on a diet of Kit Kat pieces by his former owners but she and her fellow handlers managed to ween him onto grapes by initially putting crushed Kit Kat into the fruit, Sky News reported Monday.

“I have never heard of a fish being fed chocolate, let alone being brought up entirely on the stuff,” Carter said. “Gouramis usually eat a diet of fruit but Gary doesn’t appear to have suffered any ill effects from his chocolate addiction.”

“However, we would not recommend feeding fish confectionery of any kind,” she said.

Reid: No One Happy With Budget-debt Deal

WASHINGTON, Aug. 2 (UPI) — No one’s happy with the budget deal to raise the U.S. debt limit and cut spending, the Senate majority leader said ahead of his chamber’s vote on the measure.

“Everybody had to give something up,” said Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev. “People on the right are upset. People on the left are upset. People in the middle are upset.”

The Senate, where approval of the deal is considered likely, was to vote on the measure around noon EDT Tuesday.

Approval would send the measure to President Barack Obama and give the U.S. Treasury an immediate $400 billion in additional borrowing authority, less than 12 hours before a midnight deadline when the department has said it could become unable to meet all its financial obligations.

The compromise measure passed the House, despite grumbles, 269-161 Monday night, with 95 Democrats joining 66 Republicans in voting no.

The plan raises the $14.3 trillion debt limit $2.1 trillion to $2.4 trillion in three steps.

Besides the $400 billion released upon Obama’s signature, $500 billion would be available in the fall, unless two-thirds of both chambers vote to prevent it, and a final increase would come early next year, giving the Treasury enough borrowing power to pay bills into early 2013, after the 2012 presidential election.

The measure cuts $917 billion in spending over 10 years, starting with a $21 billion in the fiscal year that starts in October. The $21 billion is less than 1 percent of next fiscal year’s $3.7 trillion budget.

Of the initial $917 billion in cuts, $350 billion come from defense.

The bill creates a congressional committee charged with closing the deficit an additional $1.2 trillion to $1.5 trillion. If the panel deadlocks or Congress doesn’t accept its plan, a prearranged set of spending cuts would kick in.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., pointed out the “trigger” would exempt programs for people with low incomes, including Medicaid, Social Security, food stamps and children’s health and nutrition programs.

Despite her yes vote, she criticized the agreement for asking nothing of the wealthy, The Wall Street Journal reported.

House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, told reporters: “We are cutting spending. We are spending less money next year in discretionary spending than we spent last year. You haven’t heard that kind of a statement before around this town.”

“Did we get 100 percent of the discretionary cuts we were looking for? No, we got two-thirds,” House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., said at the same news conference. “That’s better than zero. I’ll take two-thirds in my direction than anything else, and we’re going in our direction.”

Compared with Ryan’s GOP budget blueprint — released in April and passed in the House but rejected in the Senate — the new agreement provides about $44 billion more for domestic programs, including Pell grants for students going to college, and $10 billion less for defense, The Washington Post reported.

The House partisan rancor halted briefly near the end of the vote for the measure when Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., made an unexpected appearance in the chamber to cast her first vote — in favor of the debt deal — since she was shot in the head in an assassination attempt in Tucson in early January.

The full chamber erupted in loud applause as Giffords walked tentatively to her seat.

Pelosi said: “There isn’t a name that stirs more love, more admiration, more respect.”

“Thank you, Gabby,” she added.

“The Capitol looks beautiful tonight,” Giffords later posted in a message on Twitter, “and I am honored to be at work tonight.”

Officer: Raid Was Always To Kill Bin Laden

NEW YORK, Aug. 2 (UPI) — The raid that killed Osama bin Laden was always meant to kill him, and capturing him alive was never an option, a U.S. Navy special-operations officer claims.

“There was never any question of detaining or capturing him,” the officer told The New Yorker. “It wasn’t a split-second decision. No one wanted detainees.”

The account conflicts with the Obama administration’s claim the raid was “a kill-or-capture mission.”

John Brennan, President Barack Obama’s counterterrorism chief, said May 2 — the day of the raid — the commandos would not have killed bin Laden if they had been confident he was not wearing an “improvised explosive device on his body” or “some type of hidden weapon.”

“If we had the opportunity to take him alive, we would have done that,” Brennan told reporters at the White House that day.

U.S. officials also said that day it was clear no one at the compound intended to surrender.

The plan was for the Navy SEALs to drop from the helicopters into the compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, overpower bin Laden’s guards, shoot and kill him at close range and then take the corpse back to Afghanistan, The New Yorker said.

When two of the SEALs raiding bin Laden’s complex entered his bedroom, one shot one of bin Laden’s two wives in the calf and then tackled them both, said the officer, described as “deeply familiar with the bin Laden raid.”

The other pointed the infrared laser of his M4 carbine onto bin Laden’s chest and fired twice, the officer said.

The first 5.56mm bullet struck bin Laden in the chest, the officer said. As bin Laden, who was unarmed, fell backward, the SEAL fired a second round into his head, just above his left eye.

On his radio, he reported, “For God and country — Geronimo, Geronimo, Geronimo,” The New Yorker said. After a pause, he added, “Geronimo EKIA,” for “enemy killed in action.”

In the 18 minutes that passed during the assault part of the raid, four men were shot and killed — bin Laden’s courier, the courier’s brother, bin Laden’s son and bin Laden. An additional 20 minutes were devoted to intelligence gathering, The New Yorker said.

Before dumping bin Laden’s corpse into the sea, Brennan, who was earlier a CIA station chief in Saudi Arabia, phoned a former counterpart in Saudi intelligence to find out whether the Saudi government had any interest in taking bin Laden’s body.

After all, Brennan said, Bin Laden’s relatives were still a prominent Saudi family and bin Laden had once been a Saudi citizen.

“Your plan sounds like a good one,” the Saudi replied.

Netanyahu: 1967 Border OK, With Conditions

JERUSALEM, Aug. 2 (UPI) — Israel will resume peace talks based on its 1967 borders if the Palestinian Authority stops seeking U.N. Palestinian state recognition, Israel’s leader said.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has said his organization would abandon its efforts for a statehood vote if Israel agrees to the 1967 borders and the right of Palestinian refugees to return to the new Palestinian state. Israel will agree to both of these terms, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said late Monday.

Palestinian leaders would also need to recognize Israel as a Jewish state, Netanyahu told the Israeli Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee.

Netanyahu said Jerusalem was putting together a document with Washington its hopes will lead to talks with the Palestinian Authority, the administrative organization that governs parts of the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

The authority did not comment early Tuesday on Netanyahu’s statements. It told Britain’s Independent and Daily Telegraph it had not received Israel’s proposal.

The proposal is based on the second of two speeches U.S. President Barack Obama made within three days in May about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Netanyahu told the legislative Knesset committee.

The second speech, May 22, before an influential American-Israel lobbying group, elaborated on a May 19 U.S. State Department speech in which Obama declared the prevailing borders before the 1967 Arab-Israeli war — adjusted with mutually agreed land swaps to account for Israeli West Bank settlements — should be the starting point for peace talks.

The first speech drew an angry rebuke from Netanyahu, who claimed returning Israel to its prewar 1967 borders would leave the country “indefensible.”

But in his second speech, Obama elaborated, saying, “let me reaffirm what ‘1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps’ means.”

It means “the parties themselves — Israelis and Palestinians — will negotiate a border that is different than the one that existed on June 4, 1967,” Obama said, referring to the day before the war in which Israel took effective control of the Gaza Strip and the Sinai Peninsula from Egypt — known then as the United Arab Republic — the West Bank and East Jerusalem from Jordan and the Golan Heights from Syria.

“It is a well-known formula to all who have worked on this issue for a generation,” Obama said of the border-negotiation idea. “It allows the parties themselves to account for the changes that have taken place over the last 44 years.

“The ultimate goal is two states for two peoples — Israel as a Jewish state and the homeland for the Jewish people and the state of Palestine as the homeland for the Palestinian people, each state enjoying self-determination, mutual recognition and peace,” Obama said.

That is the aim of the new U.S.-Israeli document, Netanyahu said.

But he said he didn’t foresee talks with Abbas if the Palestinian Authority, which has renamed itself the Palestinian National Authority, continues to press for a U.N. vote next month to recognize Palestinian statehood.

The Palestinian Authority has said it will seek state recognition based on the prewar 1967 borders, and claim East Jerusalem as its capital, if Israel refuses to negotiate its postwar borders.

East Jerusalem includes Jerusalem’s Old City and some of the holiest sites of Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

Washington plans to veto the measure if it reaches the Security Council, “but that will not prevent a majority in the General Assembly,” The Jerusalem Post quoted Netanyahu as saying.

A successful application for U.N. membership requires Security Council approval and a two-thirds General Assembly majority.

Teachers Aide Gets 8 Years On Guns Charge

MANCHESTER, England, Aug. 2 (UPI) — A teacher’s aide at a Catholic school in England was sentenced to eight years in prison Monday for allowing her boyfriend to stash weapons in their home.

Kimberley Bray, 46, of Newall Green was convicted of possession of some of the weapons, the Manchester Evening News reported. Bray said she did not know Paul Taylor, 46, kept a large stash of weapons in their house but witnesses testified police who raided their home found some guns hidden under a duvet, suggesting they had been hastily concealed.

Taylor, who investigators said allowed criminal gangs in the Manchester area to keep their weapons in his house, received a 17-year sentence. One weapon, a 9 mm handgun believed to have been smuggled into Britain from Iraq, has been linked to at least three shootings, police said.

A defense lawyer said Taylor was forced into hiding the weapons because he owed money for illegal drugs.

Bray worked at St. Paul’s Catholic High School in Wythenshawe.

Extremists Trained In Pakistan Blamed

BEIJING, Aug. 2 (UPI) — Islamic extremists trained in Pakistan were blamed Tuesday for deadly violence in Kashgar in ethnically tense Xinjiang-Uighur region in China’s northwest.

Pakistan is a close ally of China but Beijing has been trying to contain growing violence in the border Xinjiang-Uighur region, where the Turkic-speaking Muslim Uighurs resent being ruled by Han Chinese.

In the Kashgar incident that erupted during the weekend, China Daily said the violence started after a truck hijacking and attacks on civilians.

“According to suspects captured after the attacks, the group’s leaders learned how to make explosives and firearms in camps run by the East Turkistan Islamic Movement, a terrorist group in Pakistan,” China Daily said quoting the Kashgar government. “The acts of terror were intended to sabotage ethnic unity … instigate hatred and see Xinjiang secede from the country.”

Xinjiang-Uighur is close to Pakistan and several central and west Asian countries.

The Los Angeles Times reported the violence has so far left at least 19 people dead.

Chinese media said the city remained under curfew Monday with schools and many shops closed.

In a similar incident last month in the same region, at least 20 people died in Hotan city. The region also was the scene of rioting in July 2009 in the capital Urumqi, where 197 people died and about 1,700 were injured in the worst such ethnic violence.

“The suspects harbored thoughts of religious extremism. The outbreak of violence was absolutely no random occurrence,” the Kashgar municipality said.

The LA Times it could not le to independently confirm Chinese accounts.

A Pakistani Foreign Ministry spokesman said all incidents of terrorism are deplorable, adding his government “will continue to extend its full cooperation and support to” China against the ETIM.

Chinese counterterrorism expert Li Wei told China Daily the attacks in Kashgar and Hotan cities were coordinated and warned of more such incidents.

“The attacks inside China must have connections with anti-China forces based overseas,” he said.

Local Communist party secretary Zhang Chunxian ordered a crackdown on terrorists, religious extremists, and illegal religious activities, China Daily said.

Indian sources in Beijing told the Times of India that local authorities would not issue sensitive statements on Pakistan without the approval of Beijing which describes Islamabad as its “all-weather” friend.

Police Officer Facing DUI Kills Self

SAN DIEGO, Aug. 2 (UPI) — A San Diego police officer facing felony drunken driving charges apparently took his own life Monday, police said.

Officers responding to an emergency call from his wife found David C. Hall’s body in the backyard of his home in Claremont, The San Diego Union-Tribune reported.

Hall, 41, who had been a police officer in San Diego for 14 years, had been suspended with pay since his arrest. He was allegedly involved in a crash Feb. 22 while driving with a blood alcohol level of 0.32 percent — well over the legal limit — and then left the scene.

Hall — who faced two charges of felony drunken driving causing injury, one charge of hit and run — pleaded not guilty in May. He faced a possible prison sentence because of a charge that his blood-alcohol content at the time of the crash was greater than 0.15 percent.

“The San Diego Police Department was very aware of the stress he was under and had taken every effort to get Officer Hall the help he needed,” Police Chief William Lansdowne said. “In fact, our newly formed wellness unit had met with him just yesterday. Unfortunately, even with the help and support provided, Officer Hall unexpectedly decided to take his own life.”

Canada Deports Suspected War Criminal

WINNIPEG, Manitoba, Aug. 2 (UPI) — Canadian Public Safety Minister announced the deportation of a man accused of being a war criminal.

Public Safety Minister Vic Toews announced Sunday that Manuel De La Torre Herrera, from Peru, was arrested July 25 in Toronto and has been deported, the Winnipeg Free Press reported. Herrera and 29 other people were listed on the Canadian Border Services Agency Web site as being in the country illegally and were accused of war crimes.

The 30 men were listed on the Web site because “the CBSA has concluded they’ve reached the end of their usual investigative techniques in finding individuals and therefore it was seen as a mechanism to see if they could be located through other means,” Toews said.

Five of the 30 men on the list have been arrested in Canada since the list was created last week.

“It has been both a surprise and a pleasure to see the volume and rapidity of responses from concerned Canadians across the country,” Toews said.

Critics of the CBSA say the men shouldn’t be tied to war crimes without facing trials. Amnesty International said that the men should be tried in Canada, as it is not guaranteed that they will even stand trial in their home countries.

“Some say we are wrongly accusing these individuals of crimes before they have been tried and found guilty in a court of law. In fact, we are not here to pass legal judgment on whether or not these individuals committed crimes,” Toews said. “The purpose of this list is to remove individuals who are here illegally who are inadmissible by reason of implication in war crimes or crimes against humanity.”

Tugboat Mate Admits Role In Duckboat Crash

PHILADELPHIA, Aug. 2 (UPI) — The first mate of a tugboat involved in a fatal collision with an amphibious tour boat in Philadelphia pleaded guilty Monday during an emotional hearing.

Matthew R. Devlin of Catskill, N.Y., admitted he was using his cellphone while he was responsible for steering the tugboat, which was moving a barge, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported. He said he had just learned of complications in surgery his son was undergoing in an Albany, N.Y., hospital.

The barge crashed into a Ride the Ducks boat, sinking it. A teenage girl and young man, both part of a Hungarian church group, were killed.

“I got news that my son had gone 8 minutes without oxygen, and I didn’t know what that meant. The only connection I had was my cellphone and I used that, and I really wish I hadn’t,” a tearful Devlin said. “I really wish I could take it all back.”

Devlin faces 37 to 46 months in prison for misconduct by a ship operator causing death. He is to be sentenced in November.

A federal investigation found Devlin bore the most blame for the collision. But investigators said a mechanic failed to replace a radiator cap properly on the duck boat, causing a steam leak that led the crew to believe, wrongly, there was a fire and to come to a full stop in the middle of the river.

Man Receives $0 9/11 Settlement Check

NEW YORK, Aug. 2 (UPI) — A cancer-stricken Ground Zero cleanup worker from Queens says he received a $0 settlement check.

Edgar Galvis, 51, who suffered sinus problems, had trouble sleeping and later developed throat cancer after months of clearing dust and rubble from Merrill Lynch offices at the World Financial Center, received a settlement check cut down to $0, the New York Post reported Monday.

In May 2005, Galvis was given the business card for the firm Worby, Groner, Edelman & Napoli Bern from a friend. A representative from the firm visited his home.

“The man told me that more than likely I will get sick and I would get 60 percent of whatever he won,” Galvis said. “He even mentioned the words ‘millions of dollars.'”

In April 2010, the firm came to Galvis with a settlement offer of $10,000 and said should he take it and could expect about $5,000 after expenses and fees. Galvis decided to settle.

When Galvis got his check in the mail, he was excited, as he is currently jobless and $30,000 in debt. However, the law firm took out $2,579 for non-itemized legal expenses, a 33.3 percent fee of $2,124, $352, a fee to the lawyer who referred him, and $4,950 was withheld for unspecified “liens,” leaving Galvis with nothing from the settlement with Merrill Lynch.

“I have hit rock bottom,” said Galvis. “I was expecting a check, and you can imagine how I felt when I opened it. I couldn’t believe it. I thought it was a joke.”

Other clients of the Napoli Bern have been voicing complaints after only receiving 40 percent of their total reward, saying they feel duped.

“I think they are taking advantage of the ignorance of people such as myself,” Galvis said.