The world at a glance . . . United States
Inyo National Forest, Calif.Fossett wreck found: A hiker in a remote section of the Sierra Nevada Mountains last week stumbled across $1,005 in cash and a pilot’s license belonging to Steve Fossett, the billionaire adventurer who vanished without a trace on a solo flight more than a year ago. Search teams quickly located the wreckage of Fossett’s plane nearby, as well as bone fragments, which they sent for analysis. The small aircraft apparently crashed directly into a mountainside, scattering debris over 100 yards. “It was a hard-impact crash, and he would have died instantly,” said Jeff Page, an emergency management coordinator. “I hope now to be able to bring closure to a very painful chapter in my life,” said Fossett’s widow, Peggy.
Las VegasRaiding ACORN: Nevada authorities this week seized records from a major pro–Barack Obama group they accused of submitting fraudulent voter-registration forms. State officials say they raided the offices of the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, known as ACORN, after an investigation revealed that some ACORN workers had submitted bogus registration applications, including several for members of the Dallas Cowboys who do not live in the state. “Anyone trying to pose as [wide receiver] Terrell Owens won’t be able to cast a ballot on Nov. 4,” said Nevada Secretary of State Ross Miller, a Democrat. ACORN called the raid “a stunt” and says it will work with officials to weed out bogus applications.
OmahaAn abandonment epidemic: A state law intended to protect unwanted infants has had unintended consequences, with parents abandoning 16 children, most between the ages of 11 and 17, at local hospitals. All states have “safe haven” laws that allow mothers to deposit infants at hospitals without fear of prosecution rather than leave them in trash bins. But the Nebraska law, enacted in July, covers children as old as 18, and some overwhelmed parents are using it to dispose of children they feel they can no longer care for. “I was able to get the kids to a safe place before they were homeless,” said Gary Staton, who abandoned nine of his 10 children.
Las VegasSimpson convicted: Thirteen years to the day after he was acquitted of two murders in the so-called trial of the century, O.J. Simpson last week was found guilty of armed robbery, kidnapping, and 10 other felonies as part of a plot to reclaim his sports memorabilia from two Las Vegas dealers. Simpson was “extremely upset” over the conviction but not surprised, said his lawyer, Yale Galanter. Galanter insisted that the all-white jury was punishing Simpson as “payback” for his acquittal in the 1995 murders of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown, and her friend Ron Goldman. Simpson now faces a prison sentence of two years to life. “We’re absolutely thrilled to see the potential that he could serve the rest of his life in jail, where the scumbag belongs,” said Fred Goldman, Ron’s father.
AkronThat’s one way to get a bailout: Mortgage giant Fannie Mae this week said it would forgive the debt of a 90-year-old woman who shot herself in the chest to avoid being evicted. Rep. Dennis Kucinich mentioned Addie Polk’s desperate gambit in speaking out against the $700 billion bailout package last week. Polk, who has lived in her home for nearly 40 years, refinanced several times since 1997 after lending rules were relaxed, incurring a $45,000 debt she could not repay. She shot herself as deputies came to escort her from her home. “She said it was a crazy thing to do, now that she’s had time to think about it,” said a neighbor, Robert Dillon.
Washington, D.C.Salmonella outbreak: The Agriculture Department last week warned consumers to follow the directions on their frozen chicken dinners more closely after 32 people in 12 states were sickened with salmonella poisoning. Officials linked the outbreak to people who microwaved their meals, even though the instructions were to cook them in an oven. Microwaving for a short period of time does not get meat hot enough to kill salmonella bacteria, which can cause diarrhea, cramps, and fever. Many of the dishes included meat that had been pre-browned to make it appear more appetizing. “The issue is that people think it’s cooked and it just needs to be heated up,” said Carlota Medus of the Minnesota Department of Health.