UN gives rebels ultimatum
The UN on Tuesday gave M23 rebel forces 48 hours to disarm in the area around the city of Goma in the volatile east or face “the use of force.” A new UN intervention brigade will be used for the first time to help the army set up a “security zone” in the city, the international body said. A statement by the UN Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) gave M23 rebels around Goma until 4pm today “to hand in their weapon to a MONUSCO base” and join a demobilization program.
Stoppard wins Pinter prize
Oscar-winning playwright Tom Stoppard has been awarded a major freedom-of-speech prize for his determination to “tell things as they are,” writers organization PEN said in a statement yesterday. The PEN/Pinter prize was established in 2009 in memory of Nobel Prize-winning playwright Harold Pinter. It goes jointly to a British writer seen as sharing Pinter’s” unflinching unswerving” gaze on society, and a “writer of courage” who has faced persecution, chosen by the British winner and PEN. Stoppard, who scripted Oscar-winner Shakespeare in Love, is the author of plays including Arcadia and The Real Thing. The co-winner will be announced at a ceremony at the British Library on Oct. 7, when Stoppard accepts his award.
Train driver was on phone
The driver of the train that derailed in the northwest last week, killing 79 people, was talking on the telephone with state train operator Renfe at the time of the accident, a court said on Tuesday after analyzing the train’s data recording devices. The initial reading of the so-called black boxes said driver Francisco Garzon received a call from Renfe minutes before the accident to discuss the path to Ferrol, the final destination for the high-speed train that departed from Madrid on Wednesday last week with 218 passengers aboard. The court investigating the case said that by the conversation and background noise picked up on the black boxes, the driver appeared to be consulting a map or some kind of paper document while on the telephone with Renfe staff. The train was traveling at 192kph in the minutes before it derailed in a curve where the speed limit is 80kph.
Weiner vows not to quit
New York City mayoral hopeful Anthony Weiner has released a new campaign video saying he will not quit the race. Last week, Weiner acknowledged exchanging sexually explicit messages online after similar behavior spurred his resignation from Congress in 2011. He says in the video that when “embarrassing” things in a person’s private life become public, the person should talk about it. The one-minute video was posted on his campaign’s Web site on Tuesday evening. A poll released on Monday found Weiner’s support fell from 26 percent last week to 16 percent.
Porn spoofs discontinued
The days of pornographic videos with names based on Ben & Jerry’s ice cream flavors are over. Caballero Video has agreed to stop marketing Boston Cream Thigh, Peanut Butter D-Cup and other films spoofing the names of the venerable Vermont ice cream maker’s products. The Los Angeles Times reported on Tuesday that the agreement settles a lawsuit Ben & Jerry’s brought against Caballero last year. According to the suit, 10 titles in Caballero’s Ben & Cherry’s series besmirched the ice cream maker’s name and infringed its trademark.