Chief Wahoo protester pleads guilty to theft of $180K in grants


Chief Wahoo protester pleads guilty to theft of $180K in grants

CLEVELAND

A man who has had protests saying the Cleveland Indians’ Chief Wahoo mascot is racist has pleaded guilty to stealing money from federal grants aimed at helping Native Americans.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Cleveland said Wednesday that 71-year-old Robert Roche pleaded guilty to two counts of theft from programs receiving federal funds.

Prosecutors say the Cleveland man conspired to divert money from the American Indian Education Center where he served as executive director.

They say Roche and a consultant embezzled at least $180,000 from Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration grants and that Roche diverted $77,000 for his personal use.

Sentencing is set for Aug. 29.

Hawaii volcano spews cloud of ash

HONOLULU

A volcano on Hawaii’s Big Island erupted anew Thursday with little sound and only modest fury, spewing a steely gray plume of ash about 30,000 feet into the sky that began raining down on a nearby town.

The explosion at the summit of Kilauea came shortly after 4 a.m. after two weeks of volcanic activity that sent lava flows into neighborhoods and destroyed at least 26 homes. Scientists said the eruption was the most powerful in recent days, though it probably lasted only a few minutes.

Geologists have warned that the volcano could become even more violent, with increasing ash production and the potential that future blasts could hurl boulders the size of cows from the summit.

Ebola spreads to big city in Congo

KINSHASA, Congo

Congo’s Ebola outbreak has spread to a crossroads city of more than 1 million people in a troubling turn that marks the first time the vast, impoverished country has encountered the lethal virus in an urban area.

“This is a major, major game-changer in the outbreak,” Dr. Peter Salama, the World Health Organization’s deputy director-general of emergency preparedness and response, warned Thursday.

A single case of Ebola was confirmed in Mbandaka, a densely populated provincial capital on the Congo River, Congo’s Health Minister Oly Ilunga said late Wednesday. The city is about 93 miles from Bikoro, the rural area where the outbreak was announced last week.

Late Thursday, Congo’s Ministry of Health announced 11 new confirmed Ebola cases and two deaths tied to cases in the country’s northwest, including one in a suburb of Mbandaka.

A total of 45 cases of Ebola have now been reported in Congo in this outbreak: 14 confirmed, 21 probable and 10 suspected, the ministry said, after results from lab tests returned Thursday.

Syria’s Assad meets with Putin in Russia

MOSCOW

Syrian President Bashar Assad made a surprise visit to Russia to meet President Vladimir Putin on Thursday at his summer residence in the Black Sea resort of Sochi.

A transcript of Thursday’s meeting released by the Kremlin quoted Assad as saying that Syria is making progress in fighting “terrorism,” which “opens the door to the political process.”

Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Assad informed the Russian leader of his decision to “send a delegation to the U.N.” to discuss reforming the country’s constitution. The U.N. has hosted several rounds of peace talks in Geneva that have made no progress toward ending the conflict.

A posting on the Syrian presidency’s Facebook page said the two leaders consulted on various issues of mutual interest and the latest political and military developments in Syria.

Associated Press

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