Six arrested in lotto scam
Police have arrested six people accused of stealing tens of thousands of dollars from US citizens through a lottery scam. Saturday’s statement from police said that one of the men had more than US$60,000 in an account believed to belong to the victims. Police also seized computers, information on the lottery scam and lists of US victims, with their addresses and other personal information. The arrests came after police contacted a US victim they said had lost US$120,000 through the scam.
National Xmas tree dies
Federal officials said the national Christmas tree planted near the White House a year ago has died and is being removed. The National Park Service said the Colorado blue spruce died of “transplant shock.” It came from a tree farm in New Jersey last year and was planted just south of the White House in March last year. The tree replaced one that had stood in the same location since 1978, but was destroyed by high winds in February last year. The National Park Service said it had already identified a Colorado blue spruce to replace the tree and would plant the new national Christmas tree in October, just in time to be decorated for the holiday.
Paintings found in carpark
Four paintings, including one by 17th century French painter Nicolas Poussin, have been found undamaged in a carpark in the Corsican capital, Ajaccio, police said on Saturday. Ajaccio public prosecutor Thomas Pison said police were told by an anonymous telephone caller on Friday where to find the missing works, which include Poussin’s Midas at the Source of the River Pactolus and Mariotto di Nardo’s 14th century Pentecost. The other works are Giovanni Bellini’s 15th-century Virgin and Child and Virgin with Child in a Glory of Seraphins by an anonymous 16th--century Umbrian artist. The four are estimated to be worth about 10 million euros (US$13 million) and disappeared from the island’s Fesch museum of fine art in February last year.
Medical plane crashes
Four people died when their medical evacuation plane plunged into the Caribbean shortly after taking off from the Franco-Dutch island, the health ministry said on Saturday. A sick Greek Cypriot tourist, the pilot, a doctor and a nurse, all French, were on board the small plane when it crashed before dawn, five minutes after take-off. The sick man had been transferred to the French part of the island after a plane on the Dutch side could not take off because of technical problems. The cause of the crash was under investigation, the ministry said in a statement.