Teen From Titanic Project To Get Headstone

BELFAST, Northern Ireland, July 29 (UPI) — A teen who died of injuries suffered in a fall while building the Titanic in 1910 will get a headstone at his unmarked Northern Ireland grave, officials said.

Samuel Scott, 15, believed to be the first person killed in connection with the ill-fated ship, will get the headstone Saturday at Belfast City Cemetery during the Feile an Phobail festival, the BBC reported.

His body had lain in an unmarked grave in the cemetery since 1910, when he suffered a fractured skull in a fall while working with a riveting team at Harland and Wolff shipyard in Belfast, the Belfast Telegraph reported.

The headstone unveiling comes after publication of a new book, “Spirit of the Titanic,” in which Samuel, the main character, is a ghost that haunts the ship during its voyage. The book also includes characters such as the Titanic’s captain, Edward Smith.

“It really seems to have hit home,” said author Nicola Pierce. “The kids really do seem to like it.”

30 Egyptian Migrants Drown In Mediterranean

ALEXANDRIA, Egypt, July 29 (UPI) — Egyptian security forces said they found the bodies of 30 undocumented migrants floating in the Mediterranean Sea north of Alexandria.

The young men from the governorates of Kafr al-Sheik, Gharbiya, Damietta and Alexandria drowned in an attempt to emigrate from Egypt to Italy, al-Masry al-Youm reported Friday. They were aboard a fishing boat for a week before it sank, the report said.

Security officials arrested the vessel’s owner, who investigators said took $8,400 from each passenger and received a call from someone on board before the boat sank but didn’t alert authorities.

Brain Waves Activate Car’s Braking System

BERLIN, July 29 (UPI) — German scientists say an experimental driving simulator identifies brain waves of a driver about to press the brakes and can brake faster than the driver could.

The Journal of Neural Engineering described an experiment with 18 test subjects wearing a cap wired with EEG sensors.

When the drivers in the simulator thought about slamming on the brakes, the car did so automatically a fraction of a second more quickly than they could, ABC News reported Friday.

Brain waves told the car to hit the brakes an average of 130 milliseconds faster than the driver’s foot did, the researchers said.

In the experiments, that translated into a car doing 62 mph needing 12-15 fewer feet to come to a stop.

“Waiting for the driver’s response can lead to a slow response in emergency situations,” said Stefan Haufe of the Berlin Institute of Technology.

“Therefore, in order to obtain a faster confirmation, our study suggests that it is feasible to detect a driver’s intention to brake, which naturally precedes any observable actions.”

The researchers said the technology is far from real-world applications at this point.

“The EEG system has to cope with a multitude of artifacts” — random electronic noises — “that are stronger than the neural signals,” they said.

Judge Strikes Down Broad Florida Drug Law

ORLANDO, Fla., July 29 (UPI) — Florida’s main anti-drug law is unconstitutional because it makes no allowance for intent, a federal judge says.

U.S. District Judge Mary Scriven, ruling in Orlando earlier this week, said the Florida Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act is the nation’s only drug law to target people who possess illicit drugs unknowingly thanks to legislative action in 2002.

She called the statute “atavistic and repugnant to the common law,” the Palm Beach Post reports.

Prosecutors argued the law does not punish innocent conduct since possession of a banned drug is never legal.

Nellie King, president of the Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, hailed Scriven’s ruling as “courageous,” with “monumental” implications.

“What is surprising is the government’s belief that stripping the intent requirement from the drug statutes was lawful from the start,” she said.

The Legislature’s decision to deny its citizens basic rights dating back to English common law is “alarming and arrogant,” King said. “Judge Scriven’s ruling simply renews the mandates inherent in the Constitution which our Legislature opted to ignore.”

The state is expected to appeal.

Kendrick Given 1-year Ban From Tennis

LONDON, July 29 (UPI) — U.S. tennis player Robert Kendrick has been suspended for one year due to a positive test for a banned stimulant, international tennis officials said Friday.

Kendrick, a 31-year-old ranked No. 105 in the world, tested positive for the stimulant Methylhexaneamine during the French Open. He admitted taking the substance but said it was in a capsule he took to fight jet leg and he wasn’t seeking a performance advantage.

Kendrick lost his first-round match in Paris.

The International Tennis Federation accepted Kendrick’s explanation but said a player is responsible for any substance he consumes. Kendrick will be banned from competition until May 21, 2012.

Kendrick has been ranked as high as 69th in his career. A professional since 2000, he’s never won an ATP tournament and never advanced beyond the second round of a Grand Slam event.

Wind Farm Proposal Gains In Florida

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla., July 29 (UPI) — A wind energy farm with 500-foot towers on the edge of the Florida Everglades is closer to realization with a decision by Palm Beach County.

The county commissioners’ vote to amend development rules Thursday eases the way for 80 wind turbines on 16,000 acres of sugar cane land near Belle Glade.

The Sierra Club and Audubon Society warned rotating blades would threaten migrating birds such as eagles, wood storks and the Everglades snail kite, and their lights would disorient them, the South Florida Sun Sentinel reported.

“They will be drawn (to the towers), they will circle these and they will die,” said Drew Martin of the Sierra Club.

The wind arms can spin at almost 200 mph, with each tower expected to generate enough energy to power 400 homes.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service wrote to Wind Capital Group July 1, urging more study of potential wildlife threats.

“Collisions with turbine blades are often fatal, and usually resulting in the animal being effectively eliminated from the breeding population,” the agency said.

George Gentile, representing Wind Capital, said a yearlong review would determine the risk to wildlife.

Convicted Killer Guilty Of 1973 Murder

TUCSON, July 29 (UPI) — A man already convicted of rape and murder in Wisconsin has been found guilty in Arizona of kidnapping, raping and killing a young woman there in 1973.

William Floyd Zamastil, 57, was convicted Thursday after a trial in federal court in Tucson. He faces a life sentence with no parole when he is sentenced in October.

The victim, Leesa Jo Shaner, 23, vanished May 29, 1973, when she drove to Tucson International Airport to pick up her husband. Her car was found at the airport and her body four months later in a shallow grave at Fort Huachuca.

“The FBI is extremely gratified by this verdict,” Phoenix Division FBI Special Agent in Charge James Turgal Jr. said. “While there can be no real justice for Leesa Jo Shaner’s family, at least they were able to witness her killer being called to answer for his crimes.”

Shaner’s husband, son, mother and three sisters were in court almost every day during the trial, Turgal said.

Zamastil first became a suspect in the case in 1979, officials said. He was then serving a life sentence in Wisconsin.

‘Octomom': Drugged When Agreed To Implants

LOS ANGELES, July 29 (UPI) — Californian Nadya Suleman, known as “Octomom,” says she was drugged and didn’t know what she was signing when she agreed to be implanted with 12 embryos.

Appearing on Thursday’s “Dr. Drew” show, she said fertility doctor Michael Kamrava had handed her a note about what she would do if “too many [embryos] grew.”

“He gave it to me to sign right there while I’m laying down and I signed it and didn’t read it,” Suleman said, CNN reported.

Kamrava had his California medical license suspended July 1 for gross negligence, KABC-TV, Los Angeles, reported. The California Medical Board ruled Kamrava “did not exercise sound judgment” when he transferred the 12 embryos in 2008.

Suleman, 36. said she never intended to have eight children in January 2009 in addition to the six she already had.

The single mother living on public assistance conceived all 14 children through in vitro fertilization.

Suleiman said she had been turned into a “parody without permission.”

“I have the spotlight. I know it’s my responsibility [for my kids] to brush it away and get rid of the Octomom character,” she said.

Suleman said she suffers anxiety, panic attacks, hyperactivity and obsessive compulsive disorder and was taking a “cocktail of drugs,” including Valium.

Mich. Woman Attacked While Feeding Bear

ONTONAGON, Mich., July 29 (UPI) — A Michigan woman who suffered injuries to her arms, legs and back when she was attacked by a bear belonging to a friend said she is grateful to be alive.

Linda Beck of Ontonagon County in the Upper Peninsula said she has been feeding her friend’s bears for years, but she never had any problems with the animals until one of them ran at her July 18, WLUC-TV, Marquette, Mich., reported Friday.

Beck said she fled from the bear, but it caught up and knocked her to the ground.

“I knew I needed more help than what I could give to stop her. So, I started to pray. And all of a sudden, as soon as I was done praying, there was a little water bucket over there. And I grabbed it and put it over her face,” Beck said.

Beck said she didn’t have time to lock the gate while fleeing and the bear escaped.

“Michigan State Police arrived on the scene. I had radio contact with him and he had seen the bear outside of the larger fence. So, it was out and at large. We discussed it on the radio and felt that the best case was to euthanize the bear for public safety at that time,” said Sgt. Steven Burton of the state Department of Natural Resources Law Enforcement Division.

Beck was airlifted to Wausau, Wis., where she received surgery for her injuries.

“I’m alive, and I thank the Lord for that,” she said.

Loughner Lawyers Appeal Forced Medication

SAN DIEGO, July 29 (UPI) — Lawyers for Jared Loughner, accused in a Jan. 8, 2011, Tucson shooting spree, have appealed a judge’s order that allows him to be medicated without his consent.

In court papers, lawyer Judy Clarke argued Thursday that Loughner’s constitutional rights are being violated by forced treatment, the Los Angeles Times reported. U.S. District Judge Larry A. Burns said last month doctors at the federal prison hospital in Springfield, Mo., could force Loughner to take psychotropic medication but was reversed on July 12 by an appeals panel.

Doctors have continued to give Loughner medication, saying he could otherwise harm himself or others. Clarke, in her appeal, argued they could use less intrusive methods, giving him tranquilizers instead of “brain-altering chemicals.”

Loughner was found incompetent to stand trial for the Tucson shootings, which left six people dead and 13 injured. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., who was holding a constituent event, appears to have been the target and is still recovering from a gunshot wound in the head.