Also trending on your TGIF: San Diego woman living in van gives up all 300 of her rats, fighting continues in Syrian border town despite cease-fire, White House acknowledges Ukraine aid held up partly over election probe.
San Diego woman living in van gives up all 300 of her rats
SAN DIEGO (AP) — A woman living in a van in San Diego with her pet rats has agreed to give them up — all 300 of them.
The San Diego Union-Tribune says the San Diego Humane Society went to the woman's van near Del Mar on Oct. 8.
Authorities found rats had clawed into upholstery, burrowed into the seats and gnawed the engine wiring.
Capt. Danee Cook says the woman wasn't hoarding the animals — she'd started with just two pet rats. But rats can give birth every four weeks and produce a dozen in a litter.
Cook says the woman acknowledged things had gotten out of control.
Authorities collected about 320 rats, and more than 100 are currently ready for adoption.
The woman, meanwhile, has found a new place to stay.
Colorado woman indicted in attempted sale of 1920s fetuses
CANON CITY, Colo. (AP) — A Colorado woman suspected of trying to sell three human fetuses from the 1920s and a fetal skeleton online has been indicted in California on charges of violating a U.S. law prohibiting the transfer of human fetal tissue.
Emily Suzanne Cain, 38, pleaded not guilty to charges Tuesday, KUSA-TV reported .
The case has been delayed until Nov. 20 in U.S. District Court in San Francisco, according to court records.
The fetuses are believed to be from stillborn infants from the 1920s, court records said.
Cain attempted in October 2018 to mail a package from Canon City in central Colorado to an address in the United Kingdom, according to a criminal complaint.
The package, labeled "school teaching aids and T-shirts," caught the attention of U.S. Postal Service workers who noticed there was no signature on a customs form certifying the package did not contain dangerous contents, authorities said in the complaint.
An X-ray of the package revealed a human-like shape, according to U.S. customs agents at the San Francisco International Airport cited in the complaint.
Cain posted on Facebook that she acquired the fetuses from a university lab collection and was selling them for $20,000, the complaint said.
The specimens were traced to Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska, the complaint said.
University policy calls for specimens that are no longer needed to be cremated and not sold, university officials told investigators. The university is cooperating with authorities, a spokesperson said.
Cain was first arrested in Fort Collins and released on a $5,000 bond with a GPS monitor.
Florida man captures 185-lb alligator by playing with it until it tired
PARKLAND, Fla. (AP) — A Florida animal trapper says he corralled a large alligator by playing with it until it got tired after it hopped into a residential swimming pool.
Celebrity trapper Paul Bedard, who is contracted with the state's nuisance alligator program, said Thursday that he was dispatched to a house in Parkland, Florida.
Bedard said he was able to pull the nearly 9-foot (2.7-meter) animal out of the water once it grew tired from playing with him in the pool on Wednesday. He put a snare on its mouth and taped it.
He described the reptile as "mellow" and named it Cool Hand Luke after the 1967 film starring Paul Newman.
Bedard said the alligator weighed 185 pounds (83.92 kilograms).
Bedard starred in Animal Planet's reality show "Gator Boys.
Fighting continues in Syrian border town despite cease-fire
CEYLANPINAR, Turkey (AP) — Fighting continued Friday morning in a northeast Syrian border town at the center of the fight between Turkey and Kurdish forces, despite a U.S.-brokered cease-fire that went into effect overnight.
Shelling and gunfire could be heard in and around Ras al-Ayn as smoke billowed from locations near the border with Turkey and the Turkish town of Ceylanpinar. The fighting died down by mid-morning while smoke continued to rise.
Elsewhere along the border calm seemed to prevail, with no fighting heard along the border from Ras al-Ayn to Tal Abyad, a Syrian border town about 100 kilometers to the west.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a war monitor, reported intermittent clashes in Ras al-Ayn but relative calm elsewhere since Thursday night, when Turkey and the U.S. agreed to a five-day cease-fire to halt the Turkish offensive against Kurdish-led forces in the region.
The agreement — reached after hours of negotiations in Turkey's capital of Ankara between Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and U.S. Vice President Mike Pence — requires the Kurdish fighters to vacate a swath of territory in Syria along the Turkish border. That arrangement would largely solidify the position Turkey has gained after days of fighting.
The shelling Friday came even after the commander of Kurdish-led forces in Syria, Mazloum Abdi, told Kurdish TV late on Thursday: "We will do whatever we can for the success of the cease-fire agreement." But one Kurdish official, Razan Hiddo, declared that the Kurdish people would refuse to live under Turkish occupation.
Kurdish fighters have already been driven out of much, but not all, of a swath of territory that stretches about 100 kilometers (60 miles) along the middle of the Syrian-Turkish border, between Ras al-Ayn and Tal Abyad.
But Kurdish forces are still entrenched in Ras al-Ayn, where on Thursday they had been fiercely battling Turkish-backed Syrian fighters trying to take the town. Whether the Kurdish fighters pull out of Ras al-Ayn will likely be an early test of the accord.
Turkish troops and their allied Syrian fighters launched the offensive two days after U.S. President Donald Trump suddenly announced he was withdrawing American troops from the border area.
The Kurds were U.S. allies in the fight against the Islamic State but came under assault after Trump ordered U.S. troops to pull out. The Kurdish-led forces have since invited the Syrian government's military, backed by Russia, to deploy there to protect them from Turkey. Syrian troops have already rolled into several key points along the border.
White House: Ukraine aid held up partly over election probe
WASHINGTON (AP) — The White House acknowledged that President Donald Trump's decision to hold up military aid to Ukraine was linked to his demand that Kyiv investigate the Democratic National Committee and the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign, a shifting new explanation about events at the heart of the impeachment inquiry.
The Thursday admission from acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney undercut the president's position that there was no quid pro quo during Trump's phone call with the Ukraine president that sparked the House investigation.
The sudden turn of events had immediate fallout. Trump's lawyer distanced the Republican president from Mulvaney's account. The Justice Department said the explanation was news to them. And Democrats cast Mulvaney's remarks as further evidence of wrongdoing as Trump sought a "favor" from Ukraine.
Trump, traveling in Texas, appeared to stand by his top aide, calling Mulvaney a "good man."
"I have a lot of confidence" in him, Trump said.
But Mulvaney's initial remarks, made during a rare appearance by an administration official in the White House briefing room, spun open a new phase of the impeachment inquiry.
He indicated that a quid pro quo was at play for the military aid — but a different one than Democrats initially highlighted as they probed Trump's efforts to have Ukraine investigate a company linked to the son of his Democratic rival Joe Biden.
"The look back to what happened in 2016 certainly was part of the thing that he was worried about in corruption with that nation," Mulvaney told reporters, delivering the White House's most granular explanation yet of the decision to withhold military assistance.
"Did he also mention to me in the past the corruption that related to the DNC server? Absolutely, no question about that," Mulvaney continued. "That's why we held up the money."
Trump's personal lawyer Jay Sekulow issued a pointed statement distancing the president's legal team from Mulvaney's comments.
"The President's legal counsel was not involved in acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney's press briefing," it said.
Within hours, Mulvaney issued a separate statement claiming his remarks were misconstrued.
"Let me be clear, there was absolutely no quid pro quo between Ukrainian military aid and any investigation into the 2016 election," he said. "The president never told me to withhold any money until the Ukrainians did anything related to the server."
The first all-female spacewalk makes 'HERstory' today
(CNN) -- Early Friday, NASA astronauts Jessica Meir and Christina Koch will conduct the first all-female spacewalk outside of the International Space Station. The spacewalk will begin at 7:50 a.m. ET and last for about five or six hours.
NASA, meanwhile, is asking schoolteachers to share photos of their students celebrating “HERstory in the making.” The pictures might end up on the spacewalk broadcast.
In order to tell the astronauts apart, Koch's helmet camera views will bear the number 18 and Meir's will be number 11. Koch's spacesuit also has red stripes on it.
This will be the fourth spacewalk for Koch and the first for Meir. You can watch the spacewalk live, HERE.
The first woman to conduct a spacewalk was Russian cosmonaut Svetlana Savitskaya in 1984, followed closely by NASA astronaut Kathy Sullivan. An additional 12 US women have conducted 40 spacewalks over the past 35 years. Koch and Meir will be 13th and 14th, respectively.
Koch and Meir spoke about women working in human spaceflight during a recent news conference.
"I think it's important because of the historical nature of what we're doing and that in the past, women haven't always been at the table," Koch said. "It's wonderful to be contributing to human spaceflight at a time when all contributions are being accepted, when everyone has a role and that can lead, in turn, to increased chance for success.
"There are a lot of people that derive motivation from inspiring stories from people that look like them and I think it's an important aspect of the story to tell," Koch said.
"What we're doing now shows all the work that went in for the decades prior, all of the women that worked to get us where we are today," Meir added. "I think the nice thing for us is we don't even really think about it on a daily basis, it's just normal. We're part of the team, we're doing this work as an efficient team working together with everybody else, so it's really nice to see how far that we've come."
Koch and Meir will be replacing a faulty battery charge/discharge unit that failed to activate after a spacewalk October 11, according to the agency. Because the unit is faltering, it's keeping newly installed batteries from providing an increase in power to the station.