- - Tuesday, June 12, 2012


CANBERRA — The dingo really did take the baby.

Thirty-two years after a 9-week-old infant vanished from an Outback campsite in a case that bitterly divided Australians and inspired a Meryl Streep film, the nation overwhelmingly welcomed a ruling that finally closed the mystery.

A coroner in the northern city of Darwin concluded Tuesday that a dingo, or wild dog, had taken Azaria Chamberlain from her parents’ tent near Ayers Rock, the red monolith in the Australian desert now known by its Aboriginal name Uluru.

That is what her parents, Lindy Chamberlain-Creighton and Michael Chamberlain, had maintained from the beginning.

The first inquest in 1981 also had blamed a dingo. But a second inquest a year later charged Mrs. Chamberlain-Creighton with murder and her husband with being an accessory after the fact. She was convicted and served more than three years in prison before that decision was overturned.

A third inquest in 1995 left the cause of death open.


Moscow sending Syria attack choppers, Clinton says

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton accused Russia Tuesday of sending attack helicopters to Syria, saying Moscow is lying about its arms shipments.

“We are concerned about the latest information we have that there are attack helicopters on the way from Russia to Syria, which will escalate the conflict quite dramatically,” Mrs. Clinton told a think-tank discussion in Washington.

“There’s no doubt that the onslaught continues, the use of heavy artillery and the like. We have confronted the Russians about stopping their continued arms shipments to Syria,” she told an audience at the Brookings Institution.

“They have from time to time said that we shouldn’t worry, that everything they’re shipping is unrelated to their actions internally. That’s patently untrue.”

Mrs. Clinton pointed out that U.N.-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan is trying to organize a contact group to work for a political transition that would see Syrian President Bashar al-Assad step aside.

The Obama administration agreed to “include Russia” in the group, she said.


Islanders hope referendum will reject Argentine claims

LONDON — The Falkland Islands government said Tuesday it plans a referendum next year on the political future of the tiny south Atlantic archipelago, seeking to end Argentina’s claims of sovereignty and to secure its status as a British territory.

Gavin Short, chairman of the Falklands’ legislature, made the announcement ahead of Thursday’s 30th anniversary of the end of the brief 1982 war between Britain and Argentina over the islands, which saw more than 900 people die.

Tensions have risen ahead of the June 14 anniversary, with Argentina’s President Cristina Fernandez planning to press her country’s case at a meeting of the U.N.’s decolonization committee to be held on Thursday in New York.

Mr. Short said he hoped that a referendum would help the Falklanders “convey a strong message to the outside world,” about their desire to retain ties to London.

Argentines insist Britain has illegally occupied the islands they call the Islas Malvinas since 1833. Britain accuses Buenos Aires of ignoring the wishes of the island’s population of about 3,000 people.


Authorities doubt U.S. child-porn charges

KIEV — Ukraine authorities on Tuesday cast doubt on child pornography charges brought by U.S. prosecutors against a Ukrainian man, saying local investigators have found no evidence that the suspect has committed a crime.

Maksym Shynkarenko, a 33-year-old from the eastern city of Kharkiv, was charged in New Jersey on Monday with founding and operating a Ukraine-based child pornography website that had customers around the world and has resulted in 560 convictions throughout the United States alone.

A 32-count indictment against Mr. Shynkarenko says he traded in tens of thousands of hardcore pornographic images and videos that depicted children ranging from infants to toddlers and teenagers being graphically sexually assaulted or abused, in most cases by adults.

Mr. Shynkarenko was extradited to the United States from Thailand over the weekend, where he had been in custody since his 2009 arrest while he was on vacation.

Ukraine Foreign Ministry spokesman Oleksandr Dikusarov said on Tuesday that local investigators had found no evidence to support U.S. charges.

“Our law enforcement bodies have investigated this and did not find anything,” he said. “We will be defending the rights of our citizen.”

• From wire dispatches and staff reports

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