January 23rd, 2014
07:11 AM ET

Pharaoh's Tomb Sheds Light on Shadowy Egyptian Dynasty

A newly found pharaoh's tomb in Egypt has historians scrambling to rewrite the chronicles of the ancient kings of the Nile.

Researchers with the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology recently discovered intricate and vibrantly colored pictures in the tombs of Abydos in the Egyptian desert, and what they read in the pictographs astounded them.

The team leader found the name of a previously unknown pharaoh who ruled the area 3,600 years ago, and the first proof of the suspected but shadowy Abydos Dynasty.

Josef Wegner, working with the Egyptian Supreme Council of Antiquities, discovered a previously looted tomb that unusually still had its pictures and writing in tact. The pharaoh's name is Woseribre Senebkay, described as the "king of upper and lower Egypt."

"It's exciting to find not just the tomb of one previously unknown pharaoh, but the necropolis of an entire forgotten dynasty," Wegner said in a statement from the Penn Museum, where he is associate curator in the Egypt Section.

Tomb raiders had looted the chambers of any valuable gold and left the bones of the pharaoh's mummy scattered about. That gave the team the opportunity to reassemble most of the body, along with his funeral mask.

It turns out Woseribre Senebkay was 5 feet, 9 inches tall and died some time in his mid-40s, the team determined.

The discovery shows that during a fractured period of time around 1600 B.C. during which the north and south of the Nile were split into rival kingdoms, there was a middle kingdom that may have survived for several generations.

Wegner suspects there will be much more evidence to uncover at the sprawling site buried under the hot Egyptian sand.

"Continued work in the royal tombs of the Abydos Dynasty promises to shed new light on the political history and society of an important but poorly understood era of Ancient Egypt," said Wegner.

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January 23rd, 2014
06:32 AM ET

Convicted Cop killer Edgar Tamayo Arias Executed

A last-ditch push to keep a convicted cop killer alive failed Wednesday night when the U.S. Supreme Court denied a motion to stay his execution.

Edgar Tamayo Arias, a Mexican national, was executed at 9:32 p.m. CT, the Texas Department of Criminal Justice said.

His execution marks the first of the year in Texas and the 509th in the state since the death penalty was reinstated in 1976.

Tamayo did not make a statement before his death, department spokesman Jason Clark said.

Mexico's government had been pushing to block Tamayo's execution, arguing that it would violate international law.

Lawyers for Tamayo criticized the Supreme Court's ruling.

"He will be executed tonight, despite the indisputable fact that his right to consular assistance was violated," attorneys Sandra L. Babcock and Maurie Levin said in a statement before Tamayo's lethal injection.

Tamayo, 46, was convicted of the 1994 murder of a Houston police officer.

Officer Guy Gaddis was fatally shot after arresting Tamayo and another man for robbery.

Tamayo's supporters say he was denied access to his consulate when arrested, as required by an international treaty.

In the past five years, Texas has executed two other Mexicans convicted of murder who raised similar claims. The Supreme Court refused to delay either of those executions, which took place in2008 and 2011.

Tamayo's lawyers argued the consulate access violation was more than a technicality - that Mexican officials would have ensured he had the most competent trial defense possible, if they had been able to speak with him right after his felony arrest.

Earlier Wednesday, the state's Board of Pardons and Paroles denied Tamayo's clemency request.

The Bush and Obama administrations had urged Texas and other states to grant Tamayo and inmates in similar situations new hearings, fearing repercussions for Americans arrested overseas.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has also weighed in on Tamayo's case, arguing that setting an execution date is "extremely detrimental to the interests of the United States."

"I want to be clear: I have no reason to doubt the facts of Mr. Tamayo's conviction, and as a former prosecutor, I have no sympathy for anyone who would murder a police officer," Kerry wrote. "This is a process issue I am raising because it could impact the way American citizens are treated in other countries."

Lucy Nashed, a spokeswoman for Texas Gov. Rick Perry, said the state was committed to enforcing its laws.

"It doesn't matter where you're from — if you commit a despicable crime like this in Texas, you are subject to our state laws, including a fair trial by jury and the ultimate penalty," she said.

Tamayo was one of 40 Mexican citizens awaiting the death penalty in U.S. prisons.

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January 23rd, 2014
06:09 AM ET

"Morning Minute" with Michaela Pereira – January 23, 2014

Need to get today's top stories on-the-go? Watch Michaela Pereira's morning minute now!

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January 23rd, 2014
05:21 AM ET

Animal Planet Show Investigated for Animal Abuses

One of Animal Planet's hit shows, "Call of the Wildman," is under scrutiny this morning for alleged animal abuses.

The show centers around a Kentucky wildlife rescuer called "Turtleman"  who bills his business as catching "nuisance" animals and releasing them back into the wild, giving them a "second chance."

But, according to a "Mother Jones" investigation,  that "second chance" may come with a price.


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