Trial to be closed to public
Lawyers for the US soldier accused of aiding the enemy by leaking thousands of classified documents raised no objection on Tuesday to a government proposal to temporarily close his trial to the public and press, possibly as early as this week, to protect evidence. As Bradley Manning’s trial entered its fourth week, defense attorney David Coombs told the military judge in Fort Meade, Maryland, that he had no objection to closing the courtroom while prosecutors read aloud the classified sections of written witness statements. Prosecutors have said they expect to present as many as 17 such statements this week. The statements may include evidence about more than 250,000 US Department of State diplomatic cables Manning is accused of stealing from a classified computer database. Manning denies the theft charge, but has acknowledged he sent the cables, along with hundreds of thousands of classified war logs, and some Iraq and Afghanistan battlefield videos, to the anti-secrecy organization WikiLeaks.
Nine shot in slum violence
Nine people, including one police officer, were fatally shot during gunbattles that erupted in a slum complex near Rio de Janeiro international airport, authorities said in an updated toll on Tuesday. The deaths were not linked to the mass street protests against government waste and corruption currently sweeping the country, but will add to concerns about security in Brazil in the run up to next year’s soccer World Cup finals. “Five suspects, three residents and one elite policeman died in total,” a military police spokeswoman said. At least nine people were injured and nine others detained on Tuesday, including the main suspect in the killing of the police officer, she added. Police said cocaine, marijuana and weapons were also seized.
Tourists trapped on ice floe
Police said a group of tourists on an ice floe in the Canadian Arctic would likely be stranded there until early yesterday morning. They were set adrift when a 50km long slab of ice broke away from Baffin Island sometime between Monday night and early Tuesday, and floated several kilometers out to sea. Royal Canadian Mounted Police spokeswoman Corporal Yvonne Niego said on Tuesday that the 20 people trapped on the ice floe include local guides, and Canadian and foreign tourists. They have a camp, shelter and supplies. Niego said 10 hunters who were also trapped managed to cross over onto land after the chunk of ice split and their end floated close to shore on Tuesday afternoon. The floe the tourists are on remained afloat.
Game lampoons mayor
A mobile game for Google Android devices has been released lampooning Toronto Mayor Rob Ford and the purported video that appears to show him smoking crack cocaine. In Stay Mayor! by Toronto-based app developer Extra! Extra! Games, the player controls a cartoon mayor being pursued by a pack of “bloodthirsty”’ reporters and cameramen. Players must dodge crack pipes littered on the ground while being chased by the media. The player’s mission is to collect US$201,255 to buy the alleged video before gossip Web site Gawker does. In May, Gawker sought US$200,000 in donations to buy the video. The money was raised, but the Web site has been unable to obtain it. Gawker’s editor and two Toronto Star reporters said they had viewed the video. Ford says it does not exist.