Hot Links: Cappie Pondexter, Snakes, and Gang Rape

A 15-year-old Liberian boy pleaded guilty in a juvenile court to his role in the July, 2009 gang-rape of an 8-year-old girl. The teenager pleaded to charges of kidnapping, sexual assault, three counts of sexual misconduct with a minor, and one count of attempted sexual misconduct with a minor. His equivalent of a sentencing will be April 27, and his attorneys say he'll most likely be sent to a residential treatment center for a year or more...The Phoenix Mercury traded All-Star guard Cappie Pondexter to the New York Liberty as part a major three-team trade. In exchange for Pondexter, the Mercury got Liberty players Shameka Christon and Cathrine Kraayeveld. They were both promptly traded to the Chicago Sky for All-Star Candice Dupree. According to Mercury guard Diana Taurasi, Dupree "has proven herself to be one of the most dominant players in the world."...The shovel-nosed snakes of Tucson won't be receiving statutory protection in Arizona. The snakes warrant federal protection, but the Arizona Department of Game and Fish says other endangered species are a bigger priority. The department has, however, added the snakes to a list of species eligible for protection under the Endangered Species Act...

Arizona is eligible for $150 million in federal funds to help the unemployed, but so far, state lawmakers have rejected the money. The offer would require Arizona to change the rules about who can qualify for unemployment, and would extend help to people employed part-time. But when the federal funds run out, local businesses would be responsible for continuing support for the under- or unemployed...A great-horned owl lost an eye after being struck by a golf ball in Surprise. Doctors at the Eye Care for Animals Clinic in Phoenix say the bird has a good chance of surviving, and the tissue in the empty eye socket will heal.

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