Eleven die in drugs clashes
Police and army troops squared off with presumed hitmen working for drug traffickers in two deadly incidents that left 11 gunmen dead, authorities said on Saturday. In Puente Nacional, Veracruz State, armed men attacked army troops, who responded by killing six of the gunmen. In Culiacan in Sinaloa State, police and army troops clashed with gunmen, and five more gunmen were killed in the incident. Drug violence has claimed more than 70,000 lives across the country since 2006.
Singer in abortion scandal
Police have charged Portuguese singer Maria Adelaide Mengas Matafome with helping her 15-year-old daughter get an abortion, local media reported on Saturday. Abortion is only legal in cases of rape or when the mother’s life is in danger. The Portuguese teenager has been in Cuiaba, Mato Grosso State, since September last year with her boyfriend, a 21-year-old Brazilian. She learned she was pregnant last month, the reports said. Police in Mato Grosso have charged the singer, 53, known for her 1981 hit Baby Suicida, in connection with the abortion, and have also charged the boyfriend. Officers said the singer gave permission for her daughter to take a drug to induce a miscarriage. The girl was put in hospital for hemorrhaging on Jan. 4, which caused her to lose the baby.
Batmobile sells for US$4.2m
An Arizona man with a special fondness for caped crusader Batman and his sidekick Robin bought the original Batmobile driven in the iconic television series with a bid of US$4.2 million at an auction on Saturday. Rick Champagne, a Phoenix-area logistics company owner, came away with the black, futuristic two-seater featured in the Batman series starring Adam West and Burt Ward from 1966 to 1968, after a flurry of spirited bidding at the Scottsdale, Arizona, auction. “I really liked Batman growing up and I came here with the intention of buying the car,” Champagne, 56, said in an interview moments after buying the car. “Sure enough, I was able to buy it. That was a dream come true.” The Batmobile is based on a 1955 Lincoln Futura, a concept car built in Italy by the Ford Motor Co. In 1965, the concept car was bought for a nominal US$1 by noted customizer George Barris, who had just 15 days and US$15,000 to transform the vehicle for the show. The car has a V-8 engine and instruments in the steering wheel, plus innovative items like a push-button transmission. However, generations may remember it best for Bat gadgets added for the series, including a car phone and the ability to deploy such things as oil, smoke and nails to thwart villains
Action figures discontinued
The Weinstein Co has asked a toy maker to discontinue a line of Django Unchained action figures after receiving complaints that they were offensive. The studio on Friday said that such collectibles have been created for all of director Quentin Tarantino’s films and that they were meant for people 17 and older, the audience for the film. Django Unchained is a violent mix of spaghetti Western and blaxploitation genres about a freed slave who becomes a bounty hunter. Civil rights groups said the toys trivialized the horrors of slavery. “We have tremendous respect for the audience and it was never our intent to offend anyone,” the Weinstein Co said in a statement.