King appeals for unity
King Juan Carlos used his annual Christmas Eve message to appeal for national unity to overcome the economic crisis engulfing the country. The message was broadcast on TV and for the first time through YouTube. The 74-year-old king called on politicians to work together to avoid “unnecessary confrontations,” a reference that most will interpret as being aimed at political parties seeking a referendum on whether Catalonia should split from the country.
Two nabbed in death scam
Two people have been arrested for allegedly “borrowing” a corpse from a funeral parlor to complete an elaborate life insurance scam, police said on Monday. After a tip-off, police arrested a 35-year-old woman and a 42-year-old funeral parlor owner as they tried to pick up a body for burial. The pair are accused of creating a fake woman called “Aphiwe Ntombela,” insuring her with three different companies and then declaring her dead. Hoping to claim US$11,000 in life insurance, the unnamed 35-year-old managed to secure a birth certificate, insurance and even pay the premiums on time for the fake Aphiwe. She then approached the funeral parlor owner near Durban and according to her police statement, asked him “to ‘borrow’ her a female body from his mortuary.”