Photograph sparks protests
A photograph of an actor posing naked as Christ with a religious painting over his private parts sparked a petition signed by more than 40,000 people who brand it blasphemous, the protesters said. They urged Madrid City Hall to ban the work by photographer Sergio Parras from a municipal exhibition at the national Spanish Theater. The offending photograph shows an actor preparing for his role as Christ with a wound in his side and a reproduction of religious masterpiece Christ Crucified by the Spanish painter Diego Velasquez covering his genitals. Conservative religious rights group Mas Libres said it has given city hall a petition signed by 41,600 people protesting at the inclusion of the image in a publicly funded exhibition. “It is a photograph that offends religious sensibilities, which is a crime under the penal code in Spain,” Mas Libres spokesman Nicolas de Cardenas said. Madrid city hall said it would not cede to the petition, reiterating recent comments to the media by the authority’s arts director Fernando Villalonga, who said the exhibition includes a warning about the photo’s content.
Elephants killed for meat
A new taste for eating elephant meat — everything from trunks to sex organs — has emerged in the country and could pose a new threat to the survival of the species. Wildlife officials said that they were alerted to the practice after finding two elephants slaughtered last month in a national park in the west of the country. “The poachers took away the elephants’ sex organs and trunks ... for human consumption,” wildlife agency director-general Damrong Phidet said in a telephone interview. Some meat was to be consumed without cooking, like “elephant sashimi,” he said. Poachers typically just remove tusks, which are most commonly found on Asian male elephants and fetch thousands of dollars on the black market. However, a market for elephant meat could lead to killing of the wider elephant population, Damrong said. Damrong said the elephant meat was ordered by restaurants in Phuket.
Children found in trunk
A court has banned a man from driving for a year after he was caught traveling with four children in the trunk of his car. The Press Association news agency said on Thursday that police found 11 people in Zoltan Lakatos’ Audi A4 when they stopped him in Leicester last year. One passenger was in the front seat, three adults and two children were squeezed into the back, and officers discovered four more children in the trunk. The news agency says Lakatos was convicted of endangering his passengers and of driving without insurance earlier this week at Leicester Magistrates’ Court.
Boy, 10, caught driving
A 10-year-old boy was apprehended by police on Thursday after taking his father’s car and trying to drive it to school when he missed the bus. The boy, who brought along a nine-year-old friend who also missed the bus, managed to make it more than 2km in his father’s Renault Megane before crashing into a roadside pylon, police in the southeastern town of Valence said. “I had my seatbelt on,” the boy pleaded to police when they arrived at the scene. Neither of the boys was injured during the crash. Police said the boy could face charges of driving without a license and damaging public property, but that prosecutors would decide whether to press ahead with the case.