The mother of a 20-year-old U.S. soldier who is charged with killing Afghan civilians for sport and staging the murders to look like legitimate casualties, is demanding answers from his commanding officers. In an exclusive CNN interview from her Idaho home, Holmes describes how her son came back from war a different person. Pvt. Andrew Holmes went into the Army a healthy 185-pound 18-year-old and came back 50 pounds lighter, unable to sleep and eat and acting paranoid, constantly asking his family where they were because he believed they would be harmed.
Holmes and four others face numerous charges, including drug use, premeditated murder, possessing body parts and possessing photos of corpses. Seven others in the platoon are charged with various other crimes, from assaulting a fellow soldier who blew the whistle on the group's hashish smoking to collecting body parts as war trophies and posing them in grisly photos.
"If they were smoking that much hashish, you can smell it," said Dana Holmes. "Where was the command? Did they just dump these boys off and say go forth and conquer?"
The mayor of an Italian seaside town is making it easier for tourists to pack for a visit. Women leave your short skirts, low-slung jeans and plunging neckline tops at home. Men, bring plenty of shirts.
Bobbio, mayor of Castellammare di Stabia on Italy’s southwestern coast between Naples and Salerno, says he wants it to be "a civilized city," so he’s clamping down on 41 things he believes infringe on public order. The town council has concurred.
That means, for visitors and residents alike, no revealing clothing for women and no going without a shirt for men. Public blasphemy and pickup soccer games in the park are also outlawed. As is sunbathing. Police will levy 300-euro ($415) fines on violators.
Bobbio says he wants to draw more tourists to the town, but decorum comes first. No word on what he expects well-behaved tourists to do there.
As a Senate subcommittee examines Tuesday how chemicals in everyday life harm children and fetuses, Gray’s testimony from earlier this year, outlining a saga she has called “scary and disheartening,” should be key.
Gray participated in a Washington Toxics Coalition study focused on toxins to which fetuses are exposed during pregnancy. The study focused on several chemicals, and Gray’s were higher than the national average, she told senators in February.
She also had the highest mercury count of all the pregnant women tested.
“During the five years preceding the study, I struggled with fertility and repeated miscarriages. As I searched for an answer to why I was having such a hard time bringing a child to term, I discovered the connection between our external environment, chemical exposures and their effect on our health, particularly reproductive systems,” she said.
Gray began eating organic food and low-mercury seafood, while avoiding personal care products with “phthalates and fragrances,” she told the subcommittee, but her toxin levels remained high.
She concluded her February testimony telling senators that she was disappointed such chemicals were so prevalent in our environment, clothes, toys, furniture and things we consume. Babies like her son, Paxton – who is now 1 – “deserve to grow and develop in a healthy environment, in utero and out. ... Safe until proven harmful is not good enough for my baby or me.”
Gray, a doctor in naturopathic medicine, works for West Seattle Natural Medicine in Washington state and practices nutritional healing, botanical medicine, homeopathy and detoxification.
Among the witnesses appearing at Tuesday’s hearing before the Senate Subcommittee on Superfund, Toxics and Environmental Health are Environmental Protection Agency administrator Lisa Jackson and CNN chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta.