Principal arrested in lunch deaths
The principal of a primary school in eastern India where 23 children died last week after eating lunch prepared with contaminated oil was arrested Wednesday, nine days after she went into hiding, police said. Meena Kumari fled as soon as the children began falling ill after eating the lunch cooked at the school in Bihar state. Twenty-three children between the ages of 5 and 12 died after eating the meal and many others fell ill. Forensic tests have revealed that the lunch contained toxic levels of a deadly pesticide. Bihar's education minister, P.K. Sahi, has said the principal bought the ingredients for the meal from a shop owned by her husband, who also has fled.
Kennedy selected as ambassador to Japan
President Barack Obama on Wednesday nominated Caroline Kennedy to be ambassador to Japan, moving to give a scion of America's most enduring political dynasty a diplomatic post that has often gone to political heavyweights. In naming Kennedy, Obama is keeping with a long tradition of rewarding important campaign supporters with plum embassies. Kennedy, 55, a lawyer, author and director of numerous nonprofit organizations, has no special expertise in Japan. But some experts said her lack of knowledge was outweighed by her connections to the Oval Office.
Revelations expected to cost Weiner support
Anthony Weiner will have a difficult time holding onto supporters after his latest round of sexting revelations, political and crisis management experts said Wednesday, but they disagreed on whether it will be politically fatal. "People were willing to give him a second chance, but we don't know if they're willing to give him a third," Marist pollster Lee Miringoff said. In his run for New York City mayor and bid for political redemption, Weiner has found himself hovering at or near the top of the polls and enjoying a fundraising boom. But it won't last, said political consultant Bob Shrum. "We're going to see what support he has … cut rather substantially in a tidal wave in the last 24 hours," he said. "I think a lot of donors will just walk away or say, 'We've done our part,' and I think voters are going to be very uncomfortable with the idea of him being mayor." The creator of the gossip website that revealed the cyber-affair promised new revelations today. The woman who reportedly used the alias "Sydney Leathers" plans to come forward, said Nik Richie, 34, of thedirty.com.
Pope urges Catholics to shun materialism
Pope Francis made an emotional plea Wednesday for Catholics to shun materialism in the first public Mass of his initial international trip as pontiff, then met with drug addicts and denounced the "dealers of death" who fuel their suffering. In Brazil, Francis traveled from one of the most important shrines in Latin America, Our Lady of Aparecida, to what he called a "shrine of human suffering" — a hospital in Rio de Janeiro that treats substance abusers. Both encounters had a common theme that the humble pope has stressed: a denunciation of the "ephemeral idols" of money and power and a need for the Catholic Church to focus on the poor and outcasts of society.