Glasses blur sight of ladies
It is the latest prescription for extreme Orthodox Jewish men who shun contact with the opposite sex: glasses that blur their vision, so they do not have to see women they consider to be immodestly dressed. In an effort to maintain their strictly devout lifestyle, Orthodox Jews have separated the sexes on buses, sidewalks and other public spaces in their neighborhoods. Their interpretation of Jewish law forbids contact between men and women who are not married. The Orthodox community’s unofficial “modesty patrols” are selling glasses with special blur-inducing stickers on their lenses. The glasses provide clear vision for up to a few meters so as not to impede movement, but anything beyond that gets blurry — including women. It is not known how many have been sold. For men forced to venture outside their insular communities, hoods and shields that block peripheral vision are also being offered.
Blackwater fined US$7.5m
The security firm formerly known as Blackwater has agreed to pay a fine of US$7.5 million to avoid US prosecution for smuggling arms, the Department of Justice said in a statement on Tuesday. The company, now known as Academi, will pay the fine in addition to a previously agreed US$42 million settlement with the Department of State over violations of the Arms Export Control Act, the Department of Justice said.
‘Disabled’ man executed
Authorities in Texas executed an African American man on Tuesday despite protests from human rights groups that said he was mentally disabled. Marvin Wilson, 54, who was condemned to death for a murder committed in 1992, was declared dead by lethal injection at 6:27pm, according to a release from the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. Amnesty International called the execution “highly disturbing” and several other rights groups criticized the sentence. In 2004, Wilson was diagnosed with mild mental retardation, with an IQ of 61, according to Amnesty. Prior to his execution, Wilson told family members he loved them. “Take me home, Jesus. Take me home, Lord. I love you all. I’m ready,” Wilson reportedly said in his final statement.
Tucson shooter pleads guilty
The accused gunman in the Tucson shooting spree that left then-representative Gabrielle Giffords gravely wounded said on Tuesday he has agreed to plead guilty to 19 criminal counts stemming from the killing of six people and wounding of 13 others. The statement in federal court by college dropout Jared Loughner, 23, came after a US district judge ruled that his mental fitness for trial had been restored, more than a year after the defendant was found incompetent to face criminal charges in the case. As outlined by the judge, the plea deal would spare Loughner from facing the death penalty.
Jennifer Lopez files suit
Singer-actress Jennifer Lopez has filed a US$20 million lawsuit against a former driver whom she claims threatened to spill her secrets if she did not pay him US$2.8 million, court records showed on Tuesday. Lopez, 42, maintains that Hakob Manoukian, who was in charge of her security and transportation, engaged in extortion, attempted extortion and conspiracy.
New HQ for military chiefs
The nation’s military chiefs yesterday moved to a new high-security building that features resistance against electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attacks and against powerful quakes, officials said. The 10-story building for the joint chiefs of staff, with four underground floors, was built next to the defense ministry’s headquarters in central Seoul at a cost of 187.5 billion won (US$166.5 million). Military officials said key facilities are equipped with a system to guard against EMP attacks, which could shut down electronic equipment including weapons systems within tens or even hundreds of kilometers. The new building is also capable of withstanding a magnitude 8.38 earthquake.