Runner charged in killing
Oscar Pistorius, the double-amputee sprinter dubbed the Blade Runner, was charged Thursday in the Valentine’s Day slaying of his girlfriend at his upscale home, a shocking twist to one of the feel-good stories of last summer’s Olympics. Pistorius buried his face in the hood of his workout jacket as officers escorted him from a police station after his arrest in the shooting death of Reeva Steenkamp, a 30-year-old model who had spoken out on Twitter against rape and abuse of women. Police said she was shot four times in the pre-dawn hours at Pistorius’ villa in a gated community in the capital, Pretoria. Officers found a 9 mm pistol inside the home and arrested Pistorius on a murder charge. What sparked the shooting remained unclear, but police said they had received calls in the past about domestic altercations at the home of the 26-year-old athlete, who has spoken publicly about his love of firearms.
Outburst at military court
A pretrial hearing in the Sept. 11 war crimes case started Thursday with an angry outburst from one of the defendants complaining about searches of his cell and the confiscation of personal papers by guards at the Guantanamo Bay prison. Walid bin Attash stood to address the court about the searches. The military judge, Army Col. James Pohl, cut him off and told him to sit down. “In the name of God, there is an important thing for you,” he began as Pohl interrupted, telling the defendant’s lawyers that the only way bin Attash could address the court would be to testify from the witness stand.
Fire destroys 70 homes
A forest fire that engulfed a hill in the port city of Valparaiso destroyed at least 70 homes and forced the evacuation of more than 500 families, officials said Thursday. Chile’s emergency office issued a red alert after the fire broke out on the city’s San Roque hill, some 75 miles northeast of the capital, Santiago. Strong, changing winds and high temperatures at the peak of the Southern Hemisphere’s summer holiday season stoked the fire. Valparaiso Regional Gov. Raul Celis called it “the city’s worst blaze in two decades.”
Compiled from wire reports.