A Danish man convicted of torturing and murdering a Swedish journalist on his homemade submarine made a dramatic but brief escape from a suburban Copenhagen prison Tuesday, reportedly taking a hostage to break out before police recaptured him.
Peter Madsen was quickly apprehended near the Herstedvester prison where he is serving a life sentence for the killing of Kim Wall.
Justice Minister Nick Haekkerup called the escape attempt “very serious.”
“It goes without saying that convicted prisoners who have committed the worst possible crimes should not be able to escape from the custody of the authorities,” Haekkerup tweeted.
Police said Madsen appeared to be carrying fake weapons, including a “bogus” explosive belt.
“When we came, he threw away something that looked like a firearm,” said Mogens Lauridsen, operations chief of the suburban Copenhagen police.
Madsen, one of Denmark’s most notorious criminals, was captured about five minutes after the escape and around 500 metres from the facility. Prison personnel who followed him saw that he had jumped into a passing white van and informed police.
Lauridsen said that they don’t believe Madsen had an accomplice.
Police officers then found on Madsen “what seems to be a belt with explosives,” Lauridsen said. He was handcuffed, officers stepped back and Madsen was left on the side of a road while a bomb squad investigated the belt, Lauridsen said.
“It seems to be a bogus belt,” he said, adding it was unclear whether Madsen had made it or the object which looked like a firearm.
Prison head Hanne Hoegh Rasmussen told a news conference that the escape was being investigated and that she couldn’t immediately confirm media reports that Madsen took a female prison psychologist hostage inside the prison.
“No one has been injured physically,” Hoegh Rasmussen said, adding that prison staff were getting psychological support.
The facility has 161 cells and has a wing with inmates who have psychiatric, psychological or sexual behaviour problems.
In 2018, Madsen was sentenced in the Copenhagen City Court to life in prison for killing Wall, a 30-year-old reporter from Sweden who he lured aboard his homemade submarine in 2017 with the promise of an interview. He dismembered her body and dumped it at sea.
Madsen lost his appeal, shortly after apologizing to the victim’s family who were present in the appeals court. The sensational case has gripped Scandinavia.
Madsen has denied murdering Wall. He claims she died accidentally inside the submarine, but he has confessed to throwing her body parts into the Baltic Sea.
Life sentences in Denmark usually mean 16 years in prison, but convicts are reassessed to determine whether they would pose a danger to society if released and can be kept longer.
A self-taught engineer, Madsen built rockets in his spare time but never went to college. In 2008, he launched his homemade UC3 Nautilus submarine.
Wall had planned to interview Madsen for a story on a rocket program he founded in 2014, with the goal of building a crowdfunded rocket to launch himself into space. But by the time he finally texted her, his cash flow had dried up and he had cancelled the planned test launch.
An ex-police officer accused of being the Golden State Killer, a serial predator who terrorized much of California with a string of slayings, rapes and break-ins over 10 years, pleaded guilty on Monday to multiple murder and kidnapping charges.
Joseph James DeAngelo, 74, entered the plea as part of a broader agreement with prosecutors from 11 California counties to admit to all allegations against him, charged and uncharged, in a crime wave dating back to the mid-1970s, prosecutors said at a hearing.
Under the terms of the plea deal, as outlined by prosecutors and a judge at the hearing, DeAngelo will face a sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole.
While sparing the defendant from a potential death sentence, the deal also saves a dwindling number of aging survivors, victims’ families, witnesses and law enforcement officers involved in the case from prolonged legal proceedings, prosecutors said.
The plea hearing was held in a ballroom at Sacramento State University, rather than a courthouse, to allow for more distanced seating space amid the coronavirus pandemic.
DeAngelo, dressed in orange jail garb and slumped in a wheelchair with his mouth agape, answered “guilty” in a raspy voice when the judge asked his plea to the first of 13 counts of first-degree murder and kidnapping charges he faced, most of which also encompassed rape allegations.
WATCH | ‘Golden State Killer’ Joseph DeAngelo admits guilt in court:
Forty years after terrorizing parts of California, 74-year-old Joseph DeAngelo plead guilty to the first of several charges of murder and sexual assault. 1:00
He went on to plead guilty and admit to additional charges and allegations as prosecutors from 11 California counties took turns presenting “factual basis” statements graphically detailing every rape, murder and home invasion of which DeAngelo was accused.
The hearing wore on for more than three hours before the judge recessed the proceedings for a lunch break.
DeAngelo’s arrest in 2018 capped more than 40 years of investigation in a case that authorities said was finally solved by comparing crime-scene DNA evidence to information on genealogy websites that track ancestry.
In addition to 13 murders and kidnappings, prosecutors said DeAngelo was known to have committed nearly 50 rapes in all and more than 120 burglaries in and around Sacramento, the eastern San Francisco Bay area and Southern California.
The crimes spanned an 11-year period — from 1975 to 1986 — and began while DeAngelo was a police officer, authorities said. He served on two small-town departments during the 1970s.
The breakthrough came about two months after the case gained renewed national attention in the bestselling book I’ll Be Gone in the Dark by Michelle McNamara, which was published posthumously two years after the author’s death and has recently been made into an HBO documentary series.
Earth has been in the crosshairs of dangerously large asteroids in the past, and it will be again. The impact of such objects has historically led to mass extinctions, but there’s a chance humanity could work to stop such an event. Various methods of deflecting Potentially Hazardous Asteroids (PHAs) have been suggested, but an international team of researchers has a deceptively simple suggestion: Tie them to another space rock.
Astronomers around the world scan the skies in search of dangerous space rocks on a collision course. Luckily, we haven’t found any on course for an impact, but that could change at any time. The key to all the proposed methods of deflecting asteroids is having enough time to implement a plan. If we learn about the threat a week in advance, it’s game over no matter what we do. Even with time to prepare, many proposals come with their own risks. For example, techniques that rely on high-energy impacts or explosives to destroy or deflect the object risk breaking it into parts that could hit Earth anyway.
The team behind the new study suggests simply tethering a small asteroid to a larger, more dangerous one. The orbit of PHAs, like all objects in space, is a function of gravity. These objects swing around the solar system endlessly, unless they get caught in another object’s gravity and spiral into a collision. If we know far enough in advance an asteroid is headed for Earth, we can use gravity to our advantage. Connecting a smaller space rock to the dangerous one with a harness would create a binary system with a different center of mass. Over time, the asteroid’s orbit would change and avert disaster.
This is all purely theoretical, but the team did produce a compelling simulation using the asteroid Bennu as an example. We know a great deal about Bennu thanks to the recent NASA OSIRIS-REx mission to collect samples from the surface. The simulation examined how Bennu would behave under several collision conditions, and then added the mass of another asteroid between 1,000 and 3,000 kilometers away with masses between 1/1000 and 1/10,000 of the PHA.
The study claims that tethering these objects together is sufficient to alter the orbit of a PHA and avoid collision over the course of years. However, we’d better hope the solar system waits a bit longer to throw an asteroid our way. While this approach is novel and low-risk, we don’t have the technology to capture an asteroid (even a small one). Connecting two objects with a 1,000-kilometer tether may also be too great of an engineering feat. At least for now.
Stig Engstrom, a graphic designer, was the man who shot dead Swedish Prime Minister Olof Palme in 1986, prosecutor Krister Petersson said on Wednesday, closing the case that has haunted Sweden for decades.
“The person is Stig Engstrom,” Petersson told a news conference. “Because the person is dead, I cannot bring charges against him and have decided to close the investigation.”
Palme was fatally shot in central Stockholm in 1986 after a visit to the cinema with his wife and son. The murder sparked a massive manhunt and a plethora of conspiracy theories involving shadowy forces ranging from the CIA and Kurdish separatists to the South African security services.
While a petty criminal was convicted of Palme’s killing, the judgment was later overturned and the police’s failure to identify the culprit has left a scar on the psyche of a country that still prides itself on how safe it is to walk its streets.
Palme was prime minister between 1969 and 1976 and between 1982 and 1986. Some hail him as the architect of modern Sweden, but conservatives hated his anti-colonial views and criticism of the United States.
So many years after the killing, few Swedes had expected a resolution of the nation’s most high-profile murder case, and Petersson’s announcement in February that he was close to wrapping it up ignited a storm of debate.
He has been tight-lipped since then, but on Wednesday, Petersson will announce his conclusions at a news conference that has attracted huge media attention, knocking coronavirus updates off many newspaper front pages.
A comment by Petersson that he may not be able to bring a prosecution has been seen as a suggestion that the suspected killer is already dead.
And naming a suspect may not end put an end to the conspiracy theories.
“If we get a clear answer, it will mean that one of the biggest political and judicial mysteries in Sweden has finally been solved,” Gunnar Wall, a journalist who has written several books about Palme’s killing, said.
“If what is put forward now is another uncertain hypothesis …it will just strengthen the feeling that many people have that the Swedish justice system does not work very well.”
It’s not a matter of if a large asteroid hits Earth — it’s when. Space rocks have rained down on Earth long before humans were here, and they’re not going to stop now. However, a team from MIT has conducted a study of all the current plans for deflecting an asteroid and developed a model to determine the best course of action based on several crucial variables. We might not have much chance if we spotted a large asteroid on a collision course tomorrow, but the new study provides a path to potential salvation.
The analysis points out there are two points at which we could attempt to stop an asteroid destined to hit Earth, one of which would be much easier but requires additional planning. We could try to deflect an asteroid as it hurtled toward us, but that would require much more force. Alternatively, we could nudge a space rock aside as it passed through a gravitational “keyhole.” That’s simply a location in Earth’s gravity field that pushes an asteroid into a collision course on its next orbit.
Lead author Sung Wook Paek notes that a “last-minute” deflection is where most research has focused. However, intercepting an object before it passed through a keyhole could be much smarter. The main drawback here is that we need more data about the asteroid and its orbit. The study used two near-Earth asteroids about which we know a great deal: 99942 Apophis and 101955 Bennu. Apophis will pass near a keyhole in 2029, but it’s not currently predicted to hit us. Bennu is even less likely to find its way into a keyhole, but we have good data on this object as it’s the target of NASA’s OSIRIS-REx mission.
Bennu, one of the two objects used as a test case in the MIT study.
Paek and his team considered three basic mission profiles to deflect asteroids from a keyhole. The simplest is a single kinetic impactor, which we would fire into the object shortly before it reaches a keyhole to push it off course. Another option is to send a scout to inspect the asteroid to zero in on how a second spacecraft could knock it off course. The third consists of two halves: a scout and small impactor to potentially deflect the asteroid in the first phase, and then a second larger impactor to make completely sure the asteroid is no threat.
Based on the test cases, the team determined five years is enough time to go for the most elaborate mission profile. If we knew five or more years in advance that Apophis was headed for a keyhole, we could send a scout and small impactor, followed later by a large impactor. With two to five years, we could still send a scout to hone the eventual impactor mission. Less than that, and we’d have to send a single impactor. With less than one year of notice, it’s unlikely we could do anything to stop an asteroid from passing through a keyhole.
For an object like Bennu, we might be able to skip the scout missions. NASA will soon have a very good understanding of its composition thanks to the OSIRIS-REx mission. It all goes as planned, a sample of Bennu will arrive on Earth in 2023.
Cancer has overtaken heart disease as the leading cause of death in wealthy countries and could become the world’s biggest killer within just a few decades if current trends persist, researchers said on Tuesday.
Publishing the findings of two large studies in The Lancet medical journal, scientists said they showed evidence of a new global “epidemiologic transition” between different types of chronic disease.
While cardiovascular disease remains, for now, the leading cause of mortality worldwide among middle-aged adults — accounting for 40 per cent of all deaths — that is no longer the case in high-income countries, where cancer now kills twice as many people as heart disease, the findings showed.
“Our report found cancer to be the second most common cause of death globally in 2017, accounting for 26 per cent of all deaths. But as [heart disease] rates continue to fall, cancer could likely become the leading cause of death worldwide, within just a few decades,” said Gilles Dagenais, a professor at Quebec’s Laval University in Canada who co-led the work.
Of an estimated 55 million deaths in the world in 2017, the researchers said, around 17.7 million were due to cardiovascular disease — a group of conditions that includes heart failure, angina, heart attack and stroke.
Around 70 per cent of all cardiovascular cases and deaths are due to modifiable risks such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diet, smoking and other lifestyle factors.
In high-income countries, common treatment with cholesterol-lowering statins and blood-pressure medicines have helped bring rates of heart disease down dramatically in the past few decades.
Dagenais’s team said their findings suggest that the higher rates of heart-disease deaths in low-income countries may be mainly due to a lower quality of healthcare.
The research found first hospitalization rates and heart disease medication use were both substantially lower in poorer and middle-income countries than in wealthy ones.
Improve education for impact
The research was part of the Prospective Urban and Rural Epidemiologic (PURE) study, published in The Lancet and presented at the ESC Congress in Paris.
Countries analyzed included Argentina, Bangladesh, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, India, Iran, Malaysia, Pakistan, Palestine, Philippines, Poland, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Sweden, Tanzania, Turkey, United Arab Emirates and Zimbabwe.
Despite including as many as 21 countries, the researchers said to exercise caution in generalizing the results to all countries, particularly since they lacked data from west Africa, north Africa or Australia with few participants from the Middle East.
The effect of risk factors such as poor diet and household air pollution varied by the economic level of the countries, the journal’s editors said. Global health policies should be adapted to different groups of countries based on factors such as the expected benefit and access to health care.
Presenting now <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/ESCCongress?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#ESCCongress</a>—<a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/CVD?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#CVD</a> remains leading cause of mortality globally, accounting for 40% of deaths, but in HIC, <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/cancer?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#cancer</a> is now responsible for twice as many deaths: findings from <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/PUREStudy?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#PUREStudy</a><br><br>Free to read with reg until Sept 10 <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/LancetCardiology?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#LancetCardiology</a> <a href=”https://t.co/iXSfIio77D”>https://t.co/iXSfIio77D</a> <a href=”https://t.co/eHEJ0kWWfa”>pic.twitter.com/eHEJ0kWWfa</a>
Stephanie Read of Women’s College Research Institute in Toronto and Sarah Wild of the University of Edinburgh, U.K., wrote a journal commentary published with the research.
“[T]heir findings can inform the effective use of limited resources — for example, by indicating the importance of improving education across the world and improving diet and reducing household air pollution in less developed countries. The value of collecting similar data to inform policy in a wider range of countries is clear, while improving lifestyle choices and modifying their social and commercial determinants remain a challenge,” Read and Wild wrote.
They said the findings suggest that improving education in low-income countries and middle-income countries might be expected to have a larger effect on mortality than reducing prevalence of diabetes, abdominal obesity, depression, or low physical activity.
Jeremy Pearson, associate medical director at the British Heart Foundation, said heart and circulatory diseases remain the leading cause of death and disability worldwide.
As the population grows and ages, more people can expect to survive heart attacks and strokes, and the number of people living with the debilitating after-effects of the two conditions will continue to rise, Pearson said in an email calling for research into the prevention, treatment and cures for all heart and circulatory diseases.
Ontario must increase funding and staffing at the province’s nursing homes to help prevent future serial killers from harming the most vulnerable, the final report into former nurse Elizabeth Wettlaufer’s crimes recommends.
And nursing homes must limit their use of temp agency nurses and improve how medication is stored and tracked.
Those are just some of the 91 recommendations made by Justice Eileen Gillese in her four-volume report, stemming from the Public Inquiry into the Safety and Security of Residents in the Long-term Care Homes System.
“We cannot assume that because Wettlaufer is behind bars, the threat to the safety and security of those receiving care in the long-term care system has passed,” Gillese said in her public remarks today in Woodstock, Ont., where Wettlaufer committed most of her crimes.
“People are now worried about whether the long-term care system can safely provide care for their loved ones and for themselves as they age.”
Wettlaufer was a nurse in the province’s nursing homes and, at the end of her career, a home-care nurse.
She committed her crimes from 2007 to 2016, mainly at Caressant Care nursing home in Woodstock, Ont. Her killings would not have come to light had she not confessed.
“There is no simple ‘fix’ in terms of avoiding similar tragedies in the future,” Gillese said.
“The offences were a result of systemic vulnerabilities in the long-term care system and not the failures of any individual or organization within it. Systemic issues demand systemic responses.”
Gillese’s recommendations focus on how to prevent, deter and detect health-care serial killers, as well as how to create enough awareness about the possibility that a health-care practitioner could be harming patients.
“While the long-term care system is strained, it is not broken,” Gillese said, adding that the regulatory regime that governs the system and the people who work within it provide a “solid foundation” from which to address the systemic issues.
Gillese’s recommendations will take political will and money. Among them:
The ministry of Long-Term Care should conduct a study to determine adequate staffing levels on day, evening and night shifts — and report on that study by July 31, 2020.
Increase funding for staffing as determined by that study. At times, Wettlaufer was the only nurse working on a night shift, overseeing 99 patients with no oversight.
Increase the number of registered nurses and registered practical nurses in long-term care homes.
Limit the use of temp-agency nurses, who go into long-term care homes with little knowledge of the residents and procedures, to fill staffing holes. Wettlaufer worked as an agency nurse when she tried to kill a patient in a Paris, Ont., nursing home in 2015.
Give grants ranging from $ 50,000 to $ 200,000 per long-term care home, depending on the size, to improve the infrastructure around medication, including how it is stored and tracked. That could include installing glass doors or windows onto medication rooms, installing security cameras in rooms where medication is stored or hiring a staff pharmacist. Wettlaufer herself told inquiry lawyers in an interview that glass doors on medication rooms would have made accessing insulin more difficult.
Give long-term care homes more flexibility to use funds to pay for a broad spectrum of staff, including porters or pharmacists.
Increase funding for training, education and professional development for everyone who provides care to residents in nursing homes.
Make free counselling services available for two years to Wettlaufer’s lone surviving victim, the victims’ families and their loved ones.
Ontario’ Long-Term Care Minister Marilee Fullerton said later Wednesday that the province will act on the first two recommendations of Justice Eileen Gillese’s 91 recommendations to fix long-term care immediately.
The government will review the long-term care system and will spend the next year acting on the recommendations contained in the report. It will deliver an update on its progress next year, as requested by Gillese.
That review will come with new funding for the province’s long-term care facilities.
“This will be a government-wide approach. It will not be limited to one ministry,” Fullerton said.
The province will also provide free counselling for the next two years for Wettlaufer’s surviving victim and the family and loved ones of her victims, Fullerton said.
“Today is a solemn day, and I want to acknowledge the pain and the trauma and the impact this has had in the province,” Fullerton said. “To the families, I want to say, your loved ones mattered, they had meaning, and they will make a difference.”
More robust investigations
Gillese recommends the College of Nurses of Ontario, the profession’s regulatory body, educate its members about the possibility of health care serial killers, and encourage nurses to work in long-term care homes.
The Office of the Chief Coroner is asked to redesign how it records patient deaths and to create a more robust investigation process for deaths, and to increase the number of death investigations it conducts in long-term care homes.
The coroner’s office should also train staff within the homes on how to assess whether a resident’s death is outside of the norm or “sudden and unexpected.”
During the course of the inquiry, the commission heard that some coroners thought no death in a nursing home was “sudden and unexpected” because of the complex health needs of residents, and therefore didn’t prompt any investigations.
Gillese didn’t touch on the role the Ontario Nurses Association, the union that represents nurses, played in the system. During the inquiry, there was a lot of testimony about ONA’s role in grieving Wettlaufer’s suspensions and eventual firing. Gillese said the union’s role was outside the scope of her report.
Gillese dedicates her report to Wettlaufer’s victims and their loved ones, saying “they serve as a catalyst for real and lasting improvements to the care and safety of all those in Ontario’s long-term care system,” she said. “Your pain, loss and grief are not in vain.”
To the nurses who work in long-term care homes, Gillese says, “In opening our eyes to the one nurse who harmed, we must not forget the work of the many who are a credit to their profession.”
The two-year inquiry was launched in August 2017 to look at the events that led to Wettlaufer’s offences and the contributing factors that allowed the crimes to happen, and to make recommendations to prevent similar crimes.
The report examined how Wettlaufer, a nurse at several long-term care facilities in southwestern Ontario, was able to access lethal doses of insulin to kill her patients, to steal opioids to feed her own addiction and to continue being employed despite numerous reported flaws in her work.
She committed her crimes between 2007 and 2016, with most of the murders happening at Caressant Care in Woodstock, a city about 140 kilometres southwest of Toronto.
Wettlaufer quit her nursing job in 2016, checked herself into a psychiatric hospital and confessed her crimes.
She pleaded guilty in 2017 to eight counts of first-degree murder, four counts of attempted murder and two counts of aggravated assault.
Sullen and speechless, the Tampa Bay Lightning had little explanation for how they followed up a glorious regular season by getting bounced from the playoffs with record-setting haste.
The Columbus Blue Jackets capped a stunning sweep of the Presidents’ Trophy winners with a 7-3 victory Tuesday night. Tampa Bay became the first team in the expansion era, which began in 1967-68, to go winless in the first round of the playoffs after leading the league in points during the regular season.
And what a season it was. Tampa Bay tied the NHL record for wins with 62 and amassed 128 points, fourth in NHL history.
“Yeah, it sucks,” said Lightning forward Nikita Kucherov, who had 128 points in the regular season but was kept off the scoresheet until Tuesday night.
“Nothing was our way in the series,” he said. “I don’t know what to say.”
The Blue Jackets, meanwhile, didn’t clinch the second Eastern Conference wild-card spot until the 81st game. But they outplayed the Lightning with a smothering forecheck and stellar goaltending by Sergei Bobrovsky.
Columbus won its first-ever playoff series on its fifth try and advances to play the winner of the Boston-Toronto series, which the Maple Leafs lead 2-1.
“It’s a great feeling to finally get one,” Blue Jackets defenceman David Savard said. “The job’s not done. We have to keep going.”
Bobrovsky carried the day again for the Blue Jackets, finishing with 30 saves.
With Columbus clinging to a 4-3 lead in the third period, Tampa Bay had wrested the momentum from the Blue Jackets but still couldn’t solve Bobrovsky. The Blue Jackets’ final three goals came late in the period after the Lightning had pulled goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy for an extra skater.
“They were the better team,” said Tampa Bay captain Steven Stamkos, who also didn’t score until Game 4. “They executed their game plan. I don’t know what to say. If we had the answers we would have found a way to win a game.”
Oliver Bjorkstrand celebrates his goal that gave the Columbus Blue Jackets the lead on their way to 7-3 win and a sweep of the Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday. (Kirk Irwin/Getty Images)
Rookie Alexandre Texier, who was brought over after his season ended in the Finnish league, scored his first NHL goal and later added one of the empty-netters. Pierre Luc-Dubois had a goal and a pair of assists.
A dozen different players scored for Columbus in the series.
“I’m so happy for them because I think they really can see if you’re a unit you can get some things accomplished,” said Columbus coach John Tortorella, who led Tampa Bay to a Stanley Cup championship in 2004. “As we approach the second round, wherever it may be, it’s going to have to be even tighter. I think this is a really good foundation, (and) you can do some really crazy things if you stay together as a unit.”
Stamkos, Cedric Paquette and Brayden Point scored for Tampa Bay, which never led in this elimination game. The Lightning tied it at 3 on Point’s goal late in the second period , but Oliver Bjorkstrand scored 54 seconds later to put Columbus ahead for good.
“A bounce here, a bounce there maybe it’s a different game,” Lightning wing Ryan Callahan said. “But at the end of the day it wasn’t good enough top to bottom from our team. A very structured team over there, played to their systems, didn’t waver and outplayed us for four games.”
We don’t have any words and we know you don’t want to hear them.<br><br>We understand your anger, your frustration, your sadness. Everything you’re feeling – we get it.<br><br>This isn’t the ending we imagined, and certainly not the one we wanted. Thank you for being there the entire way.