Students strip for education
Two students stripped off their clothes and posed for a sketch session in a Vienna tram on Wednesday to call for free and unrestricted access to higher education. The stunt was part of a countrywide campaign by students to end university tuition fees and to focus on problems such as overflowing lecture halls and run-down campuses. As the tram toured central Vienna, organizers handed astounded passengers pencils and paper to sketch the two male models, who wore nothing but G-strings. One of them had “Education is free” printed across his chest; the other had “Access to All” emblazoned on his torso.
■ SIERRA LEONE
Jail terms extended
A UN-backed war crimes court on Wednesday more than doubled the prison terms for two former militia leaders convicted of overseeing hundreds of killings and mutilations during the country’s 11-year war. An earlier ruling sentencing Moinina Fofana to six years and Allieu Kondewa’s sentence to eight years was far too light, the judges ruled. Fofana’s term was increased to 15 years, Kondewa’s to 20. The two men were leaders of the pro-government Civil Defense Forces, which used a network of tribal-based hunters known as the Kamajors to fight various rebel groups during the 1991 to 2002 war.
■ UNITED KINGDOM
Murder trial opens
The husband of a part-time police officer faces life in prison after a British court on Wednesday convicted him of organizing her murder to pay for his extravagant extramarital affair. Fadi Nasri, 34, asked a drug dealer to kill 29-year-old Nisha Patel-Nasri so he would profit from a £350,000 (US$690,000) life insurance policy. The Old Bailey court in London heard Nasri wanted to clear massive debts and fund his affair with a Lithuanian prostitute. A jury also found 38-year-old Rodger Leslie, a drug dealer, and Jason Jones, the 36-year-old nightclub bouncer who carried out the killing, guilty of murder. The three men will be sentenced on June 20.
Islamic agency under fire
A state body regulating the role of Islam has come under fire over an article on sexual behavior that equated flirting with adultery and condemned women for wearing perfume. Secularists and women’s groups hit out after the directorate of religious affairs published the article on its Web site setting out recommendations for proper sexual conduct. Invoking the prophet Mohammed, it put the onus squarely on women by urging them to cover up and behave modestly to avoid provoking male sexual desires. “Women have to be more careful, since they have stimulants,” the article said.
Police in Sharjah arrested a German doctor of Arab descent on Wednesday for performing hymen reconstruction surgery and illegal abortions. Police investigation indicated that the 61-year-old gynecologist carried out surgery to restore a broken hymen for about US$1,000, a police statement said. The surgery known as hymenoplasty is illegal in many countries in the Middle East and the Gulf where women are required to prove their virginity when they get married. The surgery is usually done under local anesthetic.
Ten bodies found
Ten people were found shot execution style, including three beheaded bodies, in 24 hours of drug-related warfare in the north, the Juarez prosecutor’s office said on Wednesday. A police officer’s head was found inside a plastic bag with a note warning the Sinaloa drug cartel: “So you know we’re not playing around.” It was signed by La Linea, a drug group fighting for control of Ciudad Juarez, a city on the US border, the office said. The 10 bodies found late on Tuesday and on Wednesday included two in Ciudad Juarez, two in Loma Blanca, two in and around Durango, two on roads leading to Chihuahua, one in Casa Grandes and one in Ignacio Zaragoza, the office said. One of the decapitated bodies was topped by a pig’s head and laid out in a cemetery.