Disabled activist freed
Disabled activist Ni Yulan (倪玉蘭) yesterday said she had been freed from jail, but was in very poor health after spending more than two years locked up for “picking quarrels.” Ni has been confined to a wheelchair since sustaining serious injuries during an earlier stint in jail. “Right now I’m in a very poor state of health because on top of the injuries I suffered when I was tortured before going to prison, I’m suffering from thyroid cancer and a lymphoma behind my left ear,” said Ni, who is in her 50s. “It’s been a year since I’ve seen the sun and I’m very weak.”
Yousafzai wins rights award
The Pakistani schoolgirl who survived a Taliban assassination attempt has won an award named for a murdered Russian journalist. Malala Yousafzai was shot as she traveled to school in northwest Pakistan in October last year. She was declared winner of the Anna Politkovskaya Award on Friday. The award is given annually by group RAW in WAR to a female human rights defender. RAW in WAR says 16-year-old Yousafzai was chosen “for her courage to speak out when nobody else dared, for her strength to give a voice to the many women and girls, whose voices cannot be heard, and for her passionate belief in promoting education for girls.”
Man crushed by grapes dies
Emergency services say a man has died after being crushed by grapes during the annual harvest in the central wine producing region of Castilla-La Mancha. A local rescue service center said on Friday the man was pulled out of a winery grape reception bay that he fell into the day before, just as a truck unloaded 5 tonnes of grapes ready for crushing into juice for winemaking. Ambulance operators and firefighters tried to resuscitate the man, but he was declared dead just before midnight on Thursday.
Syrian refugees depart for UK
Dozens of Syrian migrants hoping to flee to Britain have left a northern port they were occupying after the government said it would consider emergency lodging for them. A humanitarian aid group official said the 50 to 60 migrants were likely to spend the night in the city streets of Calais after authorities in Britain refused to grant them legal entry there. Vincent Deconinck, a regional official with the Secours Catholique charity, said nearly all had left the port on Friday and many were now likely to try to sneak across the English Channel illegally. Deconinck said only a few were likely to take up an offer from the government for temporary housing in the nearby city of Arras, giving them the time to formally request asylum.
New accusation in Knox trial
A mobster has testified in Amanda Knox’s third trial, saying the US student did not kill her British roommate and that it was his brother who did it. Luciano Aviello’s testimony on Friday at an appeals court marks the latest flip-flop by the convicted mafioso. Aviello testified previously that his brother killed Meredith Kercher in 2007, but later recanted. Neither the defense nor the prosecution view Aviello’s testimony as reliable, but the nation’s highest court said it should be revisited at the new appeals trial. Knox and co-defendant Raffaele Sollecito were convicted in the murder, and then acquitted on appeal in 2011. Knox has not returned to the country for her third trial.