Boy guilty of shooting father
An abused 12-year-old boy who shot his neo-Nazi father dead while he was sleeping at their California home was found guilty on Monday of second-degree murder. Joseph Hall was 10 at the time of the killing, in which he shot his 32-year-old father, Jeff Hall, in the head in the early hours of May 1, 2011, as he slept, drunk, on a sofa. He used his father’s .357 revolver. “The minor knew what he did was wrong,” said judge Jean Leonard of the Riverside County Superior Court, Los Angeles, adding that Hall planned the attack after his father threatened to break up his marriage and abandon the family.
Court rejects Berlusconi bid
A Milan court on Monday rejected a bid by former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi to halt his sex-for-hire trial for the nation’s general election campaign, a ruling that makes a verdict likely before next month’s vote. Berlusconi’s lawyer accused the court of “interfering heavily” in the political campaign by refusing to suspend the trial so Berlusconi can dedicate himself to campaigning for his center-right coalition. Berlusconi denounced the trial as “a comedy, a farce, a defamatory hoax,” in an interview with Sky TG24. He is accused of having paid for sex with a Moroccan woman, Karima el-Mahroug, when she was 17, during racy “bunga bunga” parties with attractive young women at his villa near Milan, and then using his influence to cover it up.
Native chief steps aside
The national chief of the Assembly of First Nations stepped aside on Monday, after emergency talks with the prime minister last week failed to stem growing native unrest. Chief Shawn A-in-chut Atleo cited health woes for his sudden but temporary departure related to “many long conference calls, late-night meetings, and frustrations in the past two weeks.” Atleo said in a statement that his doctor ordered him over the weekend to “take some time now to rest and recover.” Atleo had led a delegation of 20 chiefs to meet with Prime Minister Stephen Harper on Friday after an escalation of nationwide demonstrations and highway blockades over squalid living conditions on reserves.
Maduro to give speech
Vice President Nicolas Maduro was to deliver the annual state of the nation address to lawmakers yesterday in place of cancer-stricken President Hugo Chavez, who is convalescing in Cuba. Maduro, Chavez’s chosen political heir, will give the speech in accordance with the constitution, due to Chavez’s authorized leave of absence, the first vice president of the National Assembly, Dario Vivas, told Venezuelan radio. The constitution stipulates that the president “personally” deliver the state of the nation address within 10 days of the swearing-in of the legislature, which took place on Jan. 5.
Court clears escapees
A group of illegal immigrants was justified in escaping from a police lockup last year because of the miserable conditions in their overcrowded cell, which was filthy, ridden with disease and had no running water, a court has ruled. The court in Igoumenitsa said the 15 adults — from Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Egypt and Morocco — had been held for up to six weeks in “wretched and highly dangerous” conditions.