Missionaries plead guilty
Two British missionaries pleaded guilty to sedition charges on Wednesday, asking the court for a lenient sentence. David and Fiona Fulton were arrested late last month in the predominantly Muslim nation after allegedly sending a letter to individuals and groups criticizing Gambia’s government. The pair have been held separately — David in solitary confinement at Gambia’s high-security Mile Two prison and Fiona at a the police station, the Web site of the Westhoughton Pentecostal Church in Bolton, UK, said, which has supported the couple in the past and is lobbying for their release. The Fultons had originally maintained their innocence. Westhoughton’s pastor, Martin Speed, said the changed plea caught him off guard. “I was surprised they’d pleaded guilty,” he said, adding that neither he nor the family member he spoke to knew why. In a statement read out in court, David Fulton apologized to the public and to Gambian President Yayha Jammeh.
King’s ancestor not amused
A French heir of Louis XIV has taken the current management of his ancestor’s palace to court to ban an exhibition by modern US artist Jeff Koons that he feels dishonors his family’s illustrious past. Since September, half-a-million non-aristocrats have visited the Palace of Versailles to see several of Koons’ major works displayed amid the former royal family’s formal gardens and magnificent galleries. His playful pop art — including a giant topiary puppy’s head, an inflatable lobster and a figurine of Michael Jackson and his pet chimp Bubbles — has proven so popular that the show has been extended until Jan. 4. But Prince Charles-Emmanuel de Bourbon-Parme is not amused. On Wednesday, judges at Versailles’ administrative court were examining his request for an emergency injunction to halt the show.
Nine hanged for murder
A state-owned newspaper said yesterday that Iran hanged nine people, including a woman, convicted of murder. A report by the IRAN newspaper said all the convicts were hanged in Evin prison, north of Tehran. They were identified only by their first names. The hangings took place on Wednesday after the country’s Supreme Court approved the death sentences. The woman, whose first name was Tayyabeh, was found guilty of burying her eight-year-old stepdaughter alive in a forest near a Tehran suburb.
Impotent but not firing blanks
A man shot and wounded a saleswoman in a sex shop on Wednesday after the impotence tablets he bought failed to have the desired effect, Russian media quoted police as saying. The man walked into the “Intim” shop in a Moscow suburb on Wednesday evening and demanded a refund for the tablets he had bought there a day earlier, Interfax news agency quoted law enforcement sources as saying. He shot the shop assistant with a pistol when she refused to give him back his money, the agency said.
Homeless tuck into caviar
Down-and-outs and hard up pensioners in Milan received a rare Christmas treat this year — choice beluga caviar confiscated from traffickers. Italian police seized more than 40kg of the delicacy, worth some 400,000 euros (US$558,000), from two men who last month smuggled it into the country from Poland for sale in the shops of Milan and the rest of the wealthy Lombardy region.
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