MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — A teenager who went for a swim at a Melbourne beach and emerged with his feet covered in blood has stumped marine experts.
Sam Kanizay’s legs felt sore after playing a game of football on Saturday, so he decided to soak them at the beach. About 30 minutes later, the 16-year-old walked out of the water with his feet and ankles covered in what looked like hundreds of little pin holes that were bleeding profusely. Upon returning home, his parents promptly took him to the hospital.
Kanizay’s father, Jarrod, said hospital staff had no idea what kind of creature could have caused the injuries. So Jarrod went back to the beach the following night with a pool net full of meat and captured the animals he believes could have been responsible. He took a video of dozens of the tiny bug-like creatures chomping on the chunks of meat.
“What is really clear is these little things really love meat,” he said.
Jeff Weir, executive director of the Dolphin Research Institute, believes the teen may have been attacked by crustaceans called amphipods, which usually eat decomposing plant and animal scraps.
But Thomas Cribb, a parasite expert from the University of Queensland, said it would be very unusual for amphipods to cause such extensive bleeding.
“It’s not a parasite I’ve ever come across,” he said.
Meanwhile, marine expert Michael Brown believes the small bugs eating the meat in the video could be jellyfish larvae.
“I’ve never seen anything like this,” he told Channel Seven’s Sunrise program.
Sam was still hospitalized on Monday, but had been taken off antibiotics.
TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — A 9-year-old New Jersey boy who described himself as a “Guardian of the Galaxy” is hoping to add the real-life NASA title “Planetary Protection Officer” to his resume.
NASA received an application for the position from fourth-grader Jack Davis, who asked to apply for the job. In a letter the agency posted online , Jack acknowledged his youth, but said that will make it easier for him to learn how to think like an alien. He said he has seen all the space and alien movies he can see, and he is great at video games.
“My sister says I am an alien also,” Jack wrote in the hand-written letter dated Aug. 3.
Jack received a letter from NASA Planetary Science Director James Green encouraging him to study hard so he can one day join them at the agency.
“We are always looking for bright future scientists and engineers to help us,” Green wrote his response, which was also posted online. Green told Jack the job is about protecting other planets and moons “from our germs” as the agency explores the Solar System.
Jack also received a phone call from NASA Planetary Research Director Jonathan Rall thanking him for his interest.
“At NASA, we love to teach kids about space and inspire them to be the next generation of explorers,” Green said.
NASA says the job might not quite live up to its thrilling title, but is important in preventing microbial contamination of Earth and other planets. The agency said it has had the position since the 1960s.
MADRID (AP) — Two-time Tour de France winner Alberto Contador will retire next month after riding in the Spanish Vuelta.
Contador announced his plan to stop racing on a video posted Monday on Instagram. The Spanish rider said the Vuelta “will be my last race as a professional cyclist.”
“It’s a decision that I have thought (about) very well and I don’t think there is a better farewell than in the home race and in my country,” he said.
The three-week Vuelta starts Aug. 19.
Second only to five-time Tour winner Miguel Indurain in Spanish cycling lore, the 34-year-old Contador has been one of the sport’s top riders for the last decade in a contentious career.
He accumulated seven grand tour titles, winning the Spanish Vuelta three times and the Giro d’Italia twice.
Only five other riders have ever won the three grand tours.
Contador won the Tour de France in 2007 and 2009. But in 2012 he was stripped of a third Tour title from 2010 and banned for two years for doping. The Court of Arbitration for Sport rejected Contador’s claim that his positive test for clenbuterol was caused by eating contaminated meat on a 2010 Tour rest day.
Contador is riding for Trek-Segafredo this season.
NEW YORK (AP) — The Dodgers had just crushed the Mets like refuse in a trash compactor when Justin Turner heard a teammate marveling in the clubhouse food room.
“How many wins is that?” the unidentified player said.
“It doesn’t really matter,” Turner remembered as the group response. “We’ve got to get ready to play on Tuesday.”
Turner’s caught stealing turned into a two-out stolen base when a video review determined he reached around Amed Rosario to evade the rookie shortstop’s tag. That sparked a three-run first inning in an 8-0 rout Sunday night that completed the Dodgers’ first season sweep of New York.
“We show up and regardless of the circumstance, the opponent, location, we expect to win,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said.
Hyun-Jin Ryu (4-6), Tony Cingrani and Kenley Jansen combined on a one-hitter and the Dodgers’ major league-high 12th shutout. New York’s only baserunners were on Travis d’Arnaud’s third-inning single and Brandon Nimmo’s ninth-inning walk.
Los Angeles outscored the Mets 57-15 over seven games this year and outhomered them 25-11.
“We were overmatched. They outplayed us in every facet of the game,” Mets manager Terry Collins said.
Los Angeles has won four straight, 13 of 14 and is 24-3 since July 4, losing three games to Atlanta. The Dodgers are 79-32, on pace for 115 wins, and they are just the fourth big league team to win 43 or more over a 50-game stretch — the first since the 1912 New York Giants, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. The others were the 1906 Chicago Cubs and 1884 St. Louis Maroons of the Union Association.
Rookie Cody Bellinger hit his 32nd homer, a 447-foot, two-run drive off Hansel Robles in the eighth. Exactly half his homers have come from the seventh inning on.
“Sick,” was his one-word response.
Turner, who like Bellinger homered for the second straight day, raised his NL-leading batting average to .349. He is hitting .346 (9 for 26) with four homers and seven RBIs this year against the Mets, who let him go after the 2013 season.
“Who knows? If I was still with the Mets, maybe I’d be completely out of baseball now,” Turner said.
Daniel Murphy, who left New York for Washington after the 2015 season, also has hit his former team hard.
“We text every night and give each other secrets on how to do damage against the Mets,” Turner deadpanned, before saying he was joking.
Ryu extended his scoreless streak to 15 innings, striking out eight over seven innings as Los Angeles opened a season-high, 15½-game NL West lead and moved 47 games over .500 for the first time since 1962.
Umpire Will Little called Turner out on the first-inning steal of second. Los Angeles credited video coordinator John Pratt for spotting the missed tag, leading to the overturned call.
“Probably the turning point of the game,” Roberts said.
Rosario’s translator, Edwin Gonzalez, said “not tonight” when a reporter asked to speak with the player.
Bellinger walked, the Dodgers pulled off a double steal and Logan Forsythe grounded the next pitch up the middle for a two-run single. Runners are 9 for 9 on steal attempts on Steven Matz this year and 32 for 38 in his big league career.
Austin Barnes followed with an RBI double, and Turner made it 5-0 in the third with a two-run, opposite-field drive to right-center off Matz (2-5).
New York has lost nine straight to the Dodgers and seven of eight overall. At 49-60, the Mets are 11 games under .500 for the first time since July 2014.
Matz was removed after 102 pitches and 5 1/3 innings, allowing five runs and six hits. He is 0-4 with an 11.03 ERA in his last six starts.
“It’s shocking,” Collins said.
RHP Yu Darvish played catch left-handed, two days after pitching seven shutout innings to win his Dodgers’ debut. “He’s got a three-pitch mix, and he can really do some things with the baseball left-handed,” Roberts said.
Dodgers OF Kike Hernandez wore the Yoenis Cespedes No. 52 chain, given to fans as a promotion Saturday. Hernandez said he got it from family who attended the game.
Dodgers: LHP Clayton Kershaw, who hasn’t pitched since injuring his back on July 23, will rejoin the Dodgers on Monday night in Phoenix. … C Yasmani Grandal was out of the starting lineup, a day after leaving in the ninth inning due to a sore back. “I expect him to be ready to start on Tuesday,” Roberts said. … Barnes was hit on the knuckles of his bare hand by Jose Reyes’ second-inning foul tip. X-rays after the game were negative. … LHP Alex Wood (13-1) threw a bullpen session and adjusted his mechanics, three days after feeling fatigue after beating Atlanta. He is to start Wednesday. … 1B Adrian Gonzalez, who hasn’t played for the Dodgers since June 11 because of lumbar disk herniation, went 2 for 5 with two RBIs in the first two games of a rehab assignment at Triple-A Oklahoma City.
Mets: RF-1B Jay Bruce missed his second straight games with a sore neck. … Neil Walker fouled out when he pinch hit in the sixth and is 3 for 28 since returning from a partially torn left hamstring on July 28. … RHP Matt Harvey (right shoulder stress injury) pitched a bullpen session and is to throw batting practice Tuesday. … RHP Robert Gsellman, on the DL since late June with a strained left hamstring, allowed six runs — three earned — and seven hits in 2 2/3 innings for Double-A Binghamton at Harrisburg.
Dodgers: RHP Kenta Maeda (10-4) starts Tuesday’s series opener at Arizona.
Mets: RHP Chris Flexen (0-1) pitches Tuesday against visiting Texas in his third big league start.
More AP baseball: https://apnews.com/tag/MLBbaseball
CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — As Venezuela’s political crisis spins further out of control, many are looking to the military to see if its once-unflinching loyalty to the socialist revolution might be fraying.
On Sunday morning, Venezuelans awoke to news that a small group of armed men tried to take over a major military base in the central city of Valencia after a long-mutinous national guard captain appeared in a video calling for rebellion.
The government said what it described as a “terrorist attack” led mostly by civilians dressed in fatigues and deserted officers, not active troops, was quickly put down and seven people were arrested. It wasn’t clear how much support existed for the so-called “Operation David,” but dozens of civilians startled by the sound of gunfire poured into the streets singing Venezuela’s national anthem to back the rebels.
Many people wonder whether the tension-filled incident could foreshadow a bigger uprising to come from a military with a long history of rebellion and whose troops — like many Venezuelans — are increasingly caught up in the nation’s economic and political crisis.
Analysts say that such a scenario is unlikely for now.
While signs of disgruntlement are growing as security forces come under a barrage of rocks and Molotov cocktails during almost-daily anti-Maduro protests, soldiers also fear persecution under an opposition government. In addition, they face risks that any plans for a secret uprising would be found out.
“They feel trapped,” said former army Gen. Hebert Garcia Plaza, a former Maduro minister. Since seeking exile in Washington in 2015 following accusations of corruption by Maduro, he has emerged as a sought-after filter of information for journalists, the opposition and, increasingly he says, distraught soldiers.
“There’s lots of unease, but they can’t provoke a political change without a clear horizon of what comes after Maduro,” Garcia Plaza said.
Venezuela’s military accumulated unmatched power and privilege in the past two decades of socialist rule, and Maduro has been increasingly relying on the armed forces as his own grip on power weakens. Last week, with the support of top generals, he plowed forward with a plan to seat an all-powerful assembly mandated with rewriting the constitution. Political opponents and dozens of foreign governments consider it an illegitimate power grab that will strip Venezuela of its last vestiges of democracy.
The opposition is urging the military to switch loyalties and pressure Maduro to cede to its demands, including freeing hundreds of political prisoners and setting a timetable for presidential elections. But many in the military, especially higher-ranking officers, have already hitched their fate to the revolution.
Following a 2002 coup, then-President Hugo Chavez, himself a former tank commander, carried out a deep purge of the military and promoted loyal officers to top positions in the government.
Maduro has expanded the military’s political power even further, giving them control of key sectors of the economy, such as food importation. He also rewarded soldiers with pay raises and bonuses that are the envy of civilians struggling amid triple-digit inflation and widespread shortages.
Even before the ballots were counted in the July 30 election for the constitutional assembly, Defense Minister Gen. Vladimir Padrino Lopez went in front of the cameras accompanied by the top military brass to celebrate the results as a defeat for imperialism.
Despite the outward loyalty, some cracks began to appear even before Sunday’s attack. At least 106 members of the armed forces, some of them junior officers, have been jailed for alleged crimes such as rebellion and treason since protests began in April, according to the lists provided by an army official on the condition of anonymity for fear of reprisal. There also have been a few high-profile defections from lower-ranked soldiers that have become social media sensations.
One is Giomar Flores, a low-ranking naval intelligence officer who in June released a video calling for the armed forces to uphold the constitution. Before fleeing to Colombia, where the video was recorded, he was assigned to policing food lines in Falcon state, a job that in theory afforded access to hard-to-find staples but which ended up turning him against the institution he loved.
“I decided my future was worth more than a bag of food,” the 25-year-old Flores said in an interview with The Associated Press from Bogota.
He said the top military command was corrupted by the government and divisions within the institution more apparent than ever.
“The armed forces today are like a snake, whose head is the top command that sadly is subordinated to the regime,” Flores said. “If you cut off the head, you’ll find us the troops.”
But a full-grown rebellion such as the one led by then-Lt. Col. Chavez in 1992 faces enormous obstacles, not the least of which is a dedicated counterespionage effort by Maduro.
“It’s very hard to create critical mass without being found out,” said Ivan Briscoe, head Latin American analyst for the International Crisis Group. “In an era of instant digital communications, authorities can be alerted to the risk of destabilization very quickly.”
Far from resolving Venezuela’s problems, a coup would trigger a full-blown international crisis and likely split the military, leading to even higher levels of violence approaching a civil war, Briscoe said. Opposition leaders, wary of awakening ghosts in a region that has turned its back on a century of military takeovers, are instead calling for behind-the-scenes pressure and restraint on using force against protesters.
A failure of the socialist system also could expose many senior officers to prosecution for human rights abuses and corruption. Several have already been targeted by U.S. sanctions, including the head of the army and national guard.
The opposition has gone to great lengths to say it will avoid a witch hunt if it gains power. But many in the military are unconvinced that any promises from the traditionally fragmented opposition can be taken seriously, given the huge challenges it would face governing, Garcia Plaza said.
“Many would rather trust the devil they know then the one they don’t,” he said.
Associated Press writer Jorge Rueda reported this story in Caracas and AP writer Joshua Goodman reported from Bogota, Colombia.