NEW YORK: New York police said that they have arrested a man who confessed to sexually abusing and murdering a little girl found stuffed in a picnic cooler 22 years ago. Local media identified the suspect, Conrado Juarez of the Bronx, as a cousin of the four-year-old victim, who was named for the first time as Anjelica Castillo. Police said Juarez, 52, was arrested late Friday near the restaurant where he was working in Manhattan, and has been charged with second-degree murder. New York police chief Ray Kelly said Juarez had confessed to the crime. “Early this morning, Juarez admitted that he sexually assaulted Anjelica, that he smothered her and then disposed of the body with the aid of his sister (Balvina Juarez-Ramirez), who is now deceased,” Kelly said. The break in the case came thanks to a tip that enabled police to track down the girl’s now adult sister and her mother. For more than two decades, Castillo was known only as “Baby Hope,” the name given to her by detectives who buried her in 1993, after none of her relatives came forward. Her father had previously been the prime suspect.
Valencia mayor held for graft
CARACAS: State security agents have arrested the mayor of Venezuela’s third-largest city for alleged corruption after President Nicolas Maduro asked lawmakers to grant him decree powers he says he needs to fight graft. Valencia mayor Edgardo Parra, a member of the ruling Socialist Party, was picked up at his home late on Saturday by the national intelligence agency Sebin, the attorney general’s office said. It was the most high profile arrest so far in the president’s anti-corruption campaign. Venezuela’s opposition says Maduro’s request last week for fast-track powers is aimed at targeting them under the guise of battling graft. The government denies this, and says Parra’s arrest proves it will go after corruption wherever it exists. “We will not protect anyone who commits a crime involving public funds, which are sacred because it’s the people’s money. There are no untouchables here,” said Francisco Ameliach, the governor of Carabobo state.
Australia’s Labour elects new leader
CANBERRA: Australia’s Lab-our Party yesterday elected Bill Shorten to lead it in opposition, help it rebuild support and end bitter divisions after suffering its worst election defeat in a century. Shorten will be the party’s third leader in four months and takes over as new conservative Prime Minister Tony Abbott prepares for the first sitting of parliament since winning a general election on September 7. Labour was thrown out of office after six years in power after the party dumped the country’s first female prime minister, Julia Gillard, and restored a former prime minister, Kevin Rudd, to power just weeks before the election.