Passengers face whip-round
The crew of an Air France plane that was rerouted via Damascus on Wednesday asked passengers how much cash they could stump up after Syrian authorities refused a credit-card payment to refuel the aircraft, the French airline said on Thursday. Ultimately it found an alternative arrangement, it said. The plane that was headed for Beirut on Wednesday night was diverted due to civil unrest in the Lebanese capital and it sought to go to Amman, but it was forced to land in Syria due to a lack of fuel. Air France stopped its flights to Damascus in March as fighting in the country escalated, and relations between France and Syria collapsed after Paris demanded that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad step down. On landing, the airport authorities said they could not accept a credit-card payment and would only take cash, an Air France spokeswoman said. “As a precaution, and in anticipation, the crew asked how much money the passengers had in cash to pay to fill up with fuel,” the airline spokeswoman said. She said the airline was eventually able to pay the bill without taking money from passengers, but she declined to say how it had paid or how much the fuel stop cost.
Minister sent severed finger
A prison inmate has mailed part of his own severed finger to the justice minister hoping the desperate gesture would help his plea to be moved to another prison, officials said on Thursday. An envelope containing the chunk of finger was delivered on Thursday to the offices of Justice Minister Christiane Taubira, accompanied by a letter arguing for a transfer to a jail nearer to the inmate’s family, a police official said. A Justice Ministry spokesman confirmed a piece of finger had been delivered. “It’s a sad affair, there are many inmates asking for transfers,” spokesman Olivier Pedro-Jose said. French jails are plagued by overcrowding, with the prison population hitting a record 67,000 this year compared with about 50,000 a decade ago, according to Justice Ministry figures.
Car misses moose, hits bear
A driver who swerved his car on a rural road to avoid running into a moose hit a bear instead, authorities said on Thursday. The driver spotted the moose on a country road near Hanestad, 225km north of Oslo, at about midnight on Wednesday and tried to go around the animal, not realizing that a bear was also nearby. “The driver had lost a bit of speed as he tried to avoid the moose, before hitting the bear,” said Svein Erik Bjorke of the local wildlife authority, who was out in the forest searching for the wounded animal. “We are currently tracking the bear and we have found traces of blood indicating internal injuries,” he said. The driver escaped uninjured, while his car suffered some damage.
Killer spills grave location
Notorious jailed killer Ian Brady, who murdered five children in the 1960s, may have revealed the grave site of one of his victims to a long-term visitor, police announced on Thursday. Greater Manchester Police (GMP) said in a statement that Brady, also known as the Moors Murderer, may have revealed the burial site of 12-year-old Keith Bennett, the only one of his victims whose body is yet to be found. The force also announced that it was questioning a 49-year-old woman after she was arrested in Wales on suspicion of preventing the burial of a body without lawful exercise. “On 30 July 2012, GMP received information that led officers to believe that Ian Brady had recently given details of the location of Keith Bennett’s body to one of his long-term visitors,” the GMP statement said. Officers made the arrest after working closely with Ashworth hospital, the psychiatric institution in northwest England where Brady, 74, is being held. Between 1963 and 1965, Brady and his partner Myra Hindley lured five children and teenagers to their deaths, burying four of them on remote moorland near Manchester. Hindley died in prison in 2002, aged 60.