‘Goblin’ manual wins award
A supernaturally tinged barnyard manual has won an award for the year’s oddest book title. Goblinproofing One’s Chicken Coop by Reginald Bakeley was awarded the Diagram Prize on Friday by trade magazine the Bookseller. The book took 38 percent of the votes in a public ballot, beating finalists including How Tea Cosies Changed the World and Was Hitler Ill? Goblinproofing editor Clint Marsh said he and the author were honored to receive a prize that “celebrates the playfulness that is at the heart of much of the world’s best book publishing.” The prize was founded in 1978. Its rules say the books must be serious and their titles not merely a gimmick. Previous winners include Bombproof Your Horse and Managing a Dental Practice: The Genghis Khan Way.
Priest may not preach
The Roman Catholic Church is forbidding a priest from preaching to his flock at Easter Mass, because of his comments against homosexuals and Muslims. The move comes after the priest, Karl Tropper, described homosexuality as “perverse” in a recent newspaper interview. He has also described Islam as “pure racism.” Spokesman Georg Plank of the south-eastern Graz-Seckau diocese said on Friday that Tropper, 75, has repeatedly used an “unacceptably simplistic and inciting tone” about homosexuality and Islam. He adds that this can no longer be explained away to the “obstinacy of old age.” Plank also said that Tropper is to be pensioned on Aug. 31.
Acupuncturist gets jail
A court has found a self-styled acupuncturist guilty of intentionally infecting 16 people with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. A regional court in the canton of Bern said the man was sentenced on Friday to 12 years and nine months in prison. Prosecutors had asked for a 15-year sentence for causing serious bodily harm and spreading human diseases. They accused him of using various pretexts to prick his victims with a needle and infect them with HIV between 2001 and 2005. The man, who has not been identified because of privacy laws, denied the charges.
Rap singer sentenced
A court has sentenced a rap singer in absentia to two years in jail for insulting the police in a case likely to fuel debate over free speech under the Islamist-led government. The singer, known as Weld el 15, is on the run. Two of his associates, singers Mohamed Hedi Belgueyed and Sabrine Klibi, were in court when they received suspended sentences of six months each, a justice ministry source said on Friday. Belgueyed and Klibi were arrested earlier this month for a music video in which lyrics sung by Weld el 15 describe police as dogs and accuse them of using violence unjustifiably.
Jail battle leads to escapes
At least 11 inmates escaped from a prison after gunmen brazenly attacked the site with grenades and automatic weapons, inciting a nightlong standoff between police and prisoners. Two guards were injured, one of them seriously. A senior police official said yesterday that 11 inmates were missing after the gun battle and standoff, which ended at dawn when police special forces entered the prison. He spoke on condition of anonymity because an official announcement was still pending. The incident occurred near the town of Trikala, in central Greece, about 320km northwest of Athens.