Nation & World briefs, 2-17-14


MIDDLESBORO, Ky. -- Jamie Coots, a snake-handling Kentucky pastor who appeared on the National Geographic television reality show "Snake Salvation," died Saturday after being bitten by a snake.

Coots was handling a rattlesnake during a Saturday night service at his Full Gospel Tabernacle in Jesus Name Church in Middlesboro when he was bitten, another preacher, Cody Winn, told WBIR-TV (

"Jamie went across the floor. He had one of the rattlers in his hand, he came over and he was standing beside me. It was plain view, it just turned its head and bit him in the back of the hand ... within a second," Winn said.

When an ambulance arrived at the church at 8:30 p.m., they were told Coots had gone home, the Middlesboro Police Department said in a news release. Contacted at his house, Coots refused medical treatment.

Emergency workers left about 9:10 p.m. When they returned about an hour later, Coots was dead from a venomous snake bite, police said.

Kickstarter hacked: Online fundraising site Kickstarter says hackers got some of its customer data. Kickstarter co-founder Yancey Strickler said in a blog post that hackers accessed usernames, email addresses, phone numbers and passwords. The passwords are encrypted, but the company said it's possible for a hacker to guess a weak or obvious password. It recommended that users change their passwords. Hackers did not get credit card information, said New York-based Kickstarter, but two accounts saw unauthorized activity. Kickstarter is one of dozens of crowdfunding websites that let people raise money from donors for projects.

Kerry accusations: U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is accusing Syrian President Bashar Assad of stonewalling in peace talks and is calling on Russia to push its ally to negotiate with opposition leaders. Kerry says Assad's team "refused to open up one moment of discussion" during meetings last week in Geneva, which ended with no progress toward breaking the impasse in the nearly three-year-old conflict in Syria. Kerry says Assad is "trying to win this on the battlefield instead of coming to the negotiating table." The top U.S. diplomat is asking Russia to "be a part of the solution."

Airliner hijacked: Police arrested a hijacker who forced an Ethiopian Airlines plane to land in Geneva today. The airline said that all passengers and crew of the Rome-bound plane were safe. The airline said one of its planes flying from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, had been "forced to proceed to Geneva." Its website said the flight landed safely. It gave no further details.Police escorted passengers one by one, their hands over their heads, from the taxied plane and into a waiting bus. Swiss police said the plane made an unscheduled landing in the Swiss city at 6 a.m. and the hijacker was arrested. Police spokesman Jean-Philippe Brandt told Associated Press that "the situation is under control" and nobody on the flight was injured.

He said the plane was a Boeing 767-300, but had no immediate information on the number of people aboard.

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