Last First World War combat vet dead at 110
SYDNEY, Australia — Claude Stanley Choules, the last known combat veteran of First World War died Thursday at a nursing home in the Western Australia city of Perth, his family said. He was 110.
“We all loved him,” his 84-year-old daughter Daphne Edinger said. “It’s going to be sad to think of him not being here any longer, but that’s the way things go.”
Beloved for his wry sense of humour and humble nature, the British-born Choules — nicknamed “Chuckles” by his comrades in the Australian Navy — never liked to fuss over his achievements, which included a 41-year military career and the publication of his first book at the age of 108.
He usually told the curious that the secret to a long life was simply to “keep breathing.” Sometimes, he chalked up his longevity to cod liver oil. But his children say in his heart, he believed it was the love of his family that kept him going for so many years.
Choules and another Briton, Florence Green, became the last known surviving First World War service members after the death of American Frank Buckles in February, according to the Order of the First World War, a U.S.-based group that tracks veterans.
Choules was the last known surviving combatant of the war. Green, who turned 110 in February, served as a waitress in the Women’s Royal Air Force.
Suspect in Florida mosque bombing dies in shootout
ORIENTA, Okla. — A man wanted in the bombing of a Florida mosque was shot and killed Wednesday when he brandished a weapon as agents tried to serve an arrest warrant in northwest Oklahoma, FBI officials said.
Sandlin Matthews Smith, 46, of Florida, pulled out a firearm as federal and state law enforcement officers approached him in a field at Glass Mountain State Park near Orienta and asked him to surrender, said FBI Special Agent Jeff Westcott of Jacksonville, Florida.
Westcott said agents learned late Tuesday that Smith was staying in a tent in the park, located in the rugged foothills of the Glass Mountains in northwest Oklahoma.
“During the overnight hours, the Oklahoma City FBI SWAT team, along with the assistance of the Oklahoma Highway Patrol, set up a perimeter around the area,” Westcott said.
Agent Clayton Simmonds at the FBI’s Oklahoma City office said Smith was taken to a hospital in Fairview, where he was pronounced dead.
Grey wolves losing protections
BILLINGS, Mon. — The Obama administration says it is lifting endangered species act protections for 5,500 wolves in eight states.
The move will turn control over the predators to state wildlife agencies. Public hunts for hundreds of wolves already are planned this fall in Idaho and Montana.
Western lawmakers attached a rider to the federal budget bill mandating the move for 1,300 wolves in the Northern Rockies. The rider blocked legal challenges and marked the first time Congress has stripped a species of protections.
It came amid political pressure from agriculture and sporting groups to curb wolf attacks on livestock and big game.
About 4,200 wolves listed as threatened in the western Great Lakes also would lose protections following a public comment period.