4 jailed in murder of Nevada official

Reno, Nev.

4 jailed in state official's murder

Investigators believe four suspects stole property in the apartment of Nevada's chief insurance examiner before killing him and dumping his body in a river, authorities said Sunday.

Carson City Sheriff Ken Furlong said all four suspects have been booked on murder charges in the death of William McCune, 62, whose blanket-wrapped, duct-tape-bound body was found Saturday.

Initially, Michael Evans, 23, and Anthony Elliot, 20, were booked on murder charges, while Raul Garcia, 22, and Makyla Blackmore, 20, were arrested on burglary charges. Furlong said Sunday that Garcia and Blackmore were later booked on murder charges.

Furlong said the case isn't related to McCune's work for the state.

Detectives believe McCune knew two of the suspects socially, Furlong said, and the possible motive was the theft of property or money from him driven by illegal drug use.

Ukraine

President pardons political prisoner

In a possible sign that political tensions are easing in Ukraine, President Viktor Yanukovich pardoned the country's second-most prominent political prisoner, Yuri Lutsenko, on Sunday.But Yanukovich's intentions concerning his biggest rival, Yulia Tymoshenko, who is also in custody, remained unclear.

Lutsenko is a former interior minister whose arrest in December 2010 on charges that he had abused his office raised concerns in the European Union and the United States that Ukraine's democracy was at risk. Those worries were heightened the following year when the police arrested Tymoshenko, a former prime minister and the leader of the political opposition.

Italy

Francis honors John Paul II at installation

Pope Francis was formally installed as bishop of Rome on Sunday in a ceremony characterized by simplicity.

In yet another sign that Francis sees his mission as pontiff as one of humble service, he used his arrival at St. John in Lateran Basilica to honor a past pope who remains wildly popular in Rome. Francis arrived a half-hour early to bless a plaque renaming a corner of the piazza outside the church after Pope John Paul II, who died in 2005.

China

Officials report 3 more cases of bird flu virus

China reported three more cases of human infection of a new strain of bird flu on Sunday, raising the total number of cases to 21.

Six of those who contracted the H7N9 virus have died. All 21 cases have been reported in the eastern part of the country.

Health officials believe people are contracting the virus through direct contact with infected fowl and say there's no evidence the virus is spreading easily between people.

China's official Xinhua News Agency reported two new cases in Shanghai and one in east China's Anhui province on Sunday, citing local authorities.

Gaza Strip

Hamas shaves heads of men with long hair

Police in Hamas-ruled Gaza have started grabbing young men with long or gel-styled spiky hair off the streets, bundling them into jeeps, mocking them and shaving their heads, two of those targeted and a rights group said Sunday.

It is the latest sign that the Islamic militants are imposing their strict practices. The crackdown on long hair and tight or low-waist pants — in several cases accompanied by beatings — appears to be one of the most aggressive phases so far.

Times wires

4 jailed in murder of Nevada official 04/07/13 [Last modified: Monday, April 8, 2013 12:36am]

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