Italian Mafia killings drop
Italian Mafia homicides have fallen by almost half in recent years, underscoring the organization’s ongoing shift into what look like legitimate business sectors, researchers said on Tuesday. Anna Alvazzi del Frate, research director of the Geneva-based Small Arms Survey think tank, said that Mafia killings in Italy dropped by 43 percent between 2007 and 2010, and that the trend was continuing. “We think that this may be related to the increasing involvement of Mafia groups in business relations, for example through money laundering, including involvement with the white-collar sector,” Alvazzi del Frate said.
Dozy woman survives fall
A woman beat the odds in the Prague underground on Monday when she fell under an oncoming train, but then crawled out from between carriages unscathed, police said on Tuesday. The young woman — who appeared to be dozing on her feet — fell off the platform into a deep groove between the subway rails, saving her from the impact of the undercarriage zooming by overhead. A video shows a bystander springing forward to grab the woman, but failing by a whisker. She falls into the track just moments before the train rumbles through.
Mandela grave row deepens
Former president Nelson Mandela’s family sought criminal charges of grave tampering against his eldest grandson on Tuesday amid an escalating row linked to the eventual burial site of the ailing anti-apartheid hero. The grandson, Mandla, allegedly had the remains of three of Mandela’s children moved from his ancestral village of Qunu in 2011 without the rest of the family’s consent. A complaint of tampering with a grave was made against Mandla on Tuesday by family members at a police station near Mthatha. Mandla is fighting a court order to return the remains to Qunu, where Mandela’s parents are also interred at the family gravesite.
Critical minister sacked
President Francois Hollande on Tuesday sacked Minister for the Environment Delphine Batho for describing this year’s belt-tightening budget as a “bad” one for her ministry. Batho, whose ministry’s budget was cut by 7 percent, is the first minister in the Socialist government to be axed for criticizing policy. French ministers are traditionally not supposed to criticize policy decisions publicly, even if they are personally opposed to them. However, the outspoken Minister for Industrial Renewal Arnaud Montebourg has not been dropped despite criticizing his peers several times and even questioning economic policy.