Feminists pan sexist talk
About 500 people turned out in Paris on Sunday for a protest by feminist groups against a wave of sexist commentary generated by IMF managing director Dominique Strauss-Kahn’s arrest. Strauss-Kahn, who had been favorite to win next year’s French presidential election, was charged with sexual assault, kidnapping and attempted rape in New York last week after an alleged assault on a hotel maid. While he was pilloried abroad, many of his French supporters took to the airwaves, blogs and newspaper columns to defend him, attack US justice and, in some cases, to question the integrity of the alleged victim. The feminists anger was turned on male commentators in the media — one magazine editor dismissed the attack as “touching up the help.”
EU condemns Sudan action
The EU on Sunday condemned the fighting in Sudan’s flashpoint Abyei district, where government troops earlier overran fighters of the south’s Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA). EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said it violated the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) signed between the two sides to end the civil war. EU foreign ministers would be considering the crisis at their scheduled meeting in Brussels, she added. Ashton’s statement followed an appeal earlier on Sunday by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who condemned the fighting in Abyei district, calling for an immediate ceasefire and pullout from the district. Abyei was granted special status under the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement that ended 22 years of devastating civil war between north and south, and it requires both sides to keep their troops out until a vote on its future.
Al-Qaeda talks about Libya
Al-Qaeda’s likely next leader says NATO’s operations in Libya are meant to topple Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi so the West can install a puppet government and control the country’s oil wealth. In a 49-minute audio recording, Ayman al-Zawahiri, the No. 2 man in al-Qaeda, called on Libyans to acquire weapons to use in a guerrilla war against the Western coalition. The audio was posted on militant Internet forums late on Saturday. The sites said it was recorded before US commandos killed al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden on May 2 in his hide-out in Pakistan. Al-Zawahiri is widely believed to be a leading candidate to replace bin Laden as head of the group. He is believed to be operating from somewhere near the Pakistan-Afghanistan frontier.
Father left baby to die in car
A distraught Italian father who left his baby in a hot car for five hours after forgetting to drop her off at daycare may face manslaughter charges after the 22-month-old died early on Sunday. Elena was barely breathing when her father, Lucio Petrizzi, rushed her to hospital on Wednesday. The professor of veterinary medicine said he was convinced he had dropped her off at daycare on his way to work. An initial charge of abandoning a minor may be changed to manslaughter, ANSA news agency reported, quoting Italian prosecutor Bruno Auriemma. The toddler’s grieving mother, Chiara Sciarrini, who is eight months pregnant, publicly stood by her husband, telling reporters that what happened to him “could have happened to anyone.”