Thieves steal park sculpture
Thieves have stolen a large bronze sculpture by one of the country’s most important modern sculptors from a London park. The sculpture by Barbara Hepworth, called Two Forms (Divided Circle), was discovered missing on Tuesday morning after it was ripped from its plinth in south London’s Dulwich Park. Local government officials said they would ask police and their metal theft unit to investigate the matter immediately. The theft came after Metropolitan Police on Monday dedicated a unit to tackle those who steal cables and car metal parts for scrap metal — a growing problem as prices for copper, lead and bronze soar. The sculpture had been insured for ￡500,000 (US$783,080) and is considered one of Hepworth’s most important later works. Local officials are offering a reward of ￡1,000 for information leading to the arrest of the thieves.
George Michael doing well
British pop star George Michael is doing well in hospital in Vienna, but whether he will be able to spend Christmas back in Britain was still uncertain, one of his doctors said on Tuesday. “We know that he is doing well, and we are generally optimistic,” Christoph Zielinski of Vienna’s General Hospital told ORF radio. On whether Michael would be able to return home for the holidays or have to spend Christmas in hospital, Zielinski only said that the matter still had to be decided with the patient. The 48-year-old former Wham! singer was admitted to hospital last month with a severe bout of pneumonia, forcing him to postpone the rest of his “Symphonica” tour, having performed 45 shows to date. Little news has since filtered out over his condition, with all eyes directed instead on Michael’s Web site and the Twitter postings of his partner Fadi Fawaz for updates.
Defectors protest Kim
A small group of North Korean defectors held a protest outside the country’s London embassy on Tuesday, leaving an ironic tribute to recently deceased North Korean leader Kim Jong-il, police said. Officers from the Metropolitan force were called to the embassy, which is situated among residential homes in the western suburb of Ealing, at about 12:45pm, but no offenses were recorded, a police spokesman said. Embassy staff contacted the authorities after the group, which numbered about 10, reportedly began ringing the doorbell, clapping loudly and pasting anti-Kim documents on the door. Police also confirmed that a mocking tribute was left outside the building, but no arrests were made.
A British court on Tuesday jailed four men and one woman for committing “horrific” crimes against two children, one in Australia and one in Britain, after meeting via the Internet. Judge Roger Hetherington sentenced 37-year-old Robert Hathaway, a member of an international ring of pedophiles who used a nudist Web site as a cover for their activities, to 12 years in prison. His partner, 30-year-old Melissa Noon, was sentenced to four years at Portsmouth Crown Court, southern England, after the court earlier heard how the group had repeatedly subjected the two children to “horrific” abuse. The other three defendants, who all met the couple via the Internet, were given varying custodial sentences. Stephen Fraser, 42, and Simon Hilton, 29, were both jailed for four years, while Lee Parson, 38, received a three-year sentence. All five