December 20, 2012

    Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Park Ranger Killed in the Congo

Ambushed by Mai-Mai rebels

The chief warden of Upemba National Park was killed Sunday after being ambushed by members of the Mai-Mai militia in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Atamato Madrandele was returning to the park’s headquarters on his motorcycle when he was ambushed and shot. He was 43.

Mai-Mai rebels have been linked to the killing of six people last June at the Okapi Wildlife Reserve in Epulu in response to a crackdown on elephant poaching and illegal gold mining. Fourteen rare okapi, a kind of forest giraffe, were also killed. In October, the Mai-Mai attacked a ranger patrol, killing two park staff and a soldier. More than 120 park rangers have been killed in the Congo over the past decade.

Madrandele leaves behind a wife and two children. is asking for contributions to provide for the family.

Via Monga Bay


Suzy Favor Hamilton     Photo: Gregg Michael Photography/Flickr

Suzy Hamilton Working as an Escort

U.S. Olympian struggling with depression

Well, this is sad. The Smoking Gun has revealed that former U.S. Olympic runner Suzy Favor Hamilton has been working as a high-paid escort in Las Vegas since December. Hamilton, 44, is said to have worked for the escort service Haley Heston's Private collection for upwards of $600 per hour.

The three-time Olympian took to Twitter this afternoon to respond to the story. "I cannot emphasize enough how sorry I am to anyone I have hurt as a result of my actions and greatly appreciate the support from family and those closest to me," she wrote. "I fully intend to make amends and get back to being a good mother, wife, daughter, and friend."

Prostitution is illegal in Las Vegas, but Hamilton said that she had not considered the legal repercussions of her activities, describing them as a "coping mechanism" for her depression. The Smoking Gun reported that Hamilton's financial records did not indicate financial distress.

Hamilton ran in the 1992, 1996, and 2000 Olympics, and has nine individual NCAA titles, the most in NCAA history.

Via The Smoking Gun

For Hamilton's tips on *running,* see "Masters of the Sandlot."


Cessna 172

Cessna 172     Photo: redlegsfan21/Flickr

Small Plane Goes Missing Over Yosemite

Snow hampers search

Officials are searching for a small plane that disappeared over Yosemite National Park near Tioga Road on Tuesday. Nicol Wilson, the 60-year-old pilot, was the only person on board the single-engine Mooney M20 as it flew from Santa Barbara en route to Mammoth Lakes. Snow and cloud cover have hampered the search, which encompasses the North Dome area of the park, around Tioga Pass, between 8,000 to 10,000 feet.

Via CBS SF Bay Area


FIS World Cup skier     Photo: ashraful kadir/Flickr

Mikaela Shiffrin Nabs 1st World Cup Win

U.S. teen takes slalom

American skiing prodigy Mikaela Shiffrin nabbed her first World Cup win on Thursday, edging out favorite Frida Hansdotter on her home turf in Are, Sweden. The 17-year-old blitzed the night slalom with a combined time of 1 minute, 45.36 seconds, 0.29 seconds faster than Hansdotter, who took second. Lindsey Vonn is currently on a break from the World Cup to recover from recent illness and did not race.

For more on Shiffrin, read Gordy Megroz's profile of the up-and-coming athlete "Groomed for Success" and check out her photo gallery:

“For her age, she’s the best I’ve seen,” says Burke Mountain headmaster Kirk Dwyer, who has mentored hundreds of ­racers, including Daron Rahlves, Jeremy Nobis, and A. J. Kitt. “We’ve had kids who are better natural athletes, but a lot of them stop working. Even if Mikaela is winning, and you tell her she could work a little harder, she will. She doesn’t want to know how great she is. She wants to know how she can improve.”


    Photo: aurĂ©lien./Flickr

7 Sports Vie for Spots in 2020 Olympics

Bidders give presentations to IOC

Seven sports bodies made their pitches to the International Olympic Committee on Wednesday for inclusion in the 2020 Olympics. The program commission in Lausanne, Switzerland, heard pitches from the newly created baseball-softball joint confederation, karate, roller sports, squash, sport climbing, wakeboard, and wushu. In May, the commission will give a report to the IOC Executive Committee, which will then recommend one sport for inclusion. IOC members will then vote to confirm the new sport in September, as they also select the host city from candidates Istanbul, Madrid, and Tokyo.

Based on this pitch video, if it isn't squash, the IOC better get ready for some steely indignation.

Via Associated Press