Church bans Facebook
Macedonia’s Orthodox Church on Friday ordered its priests and nuns not to use Facebook or be ready to face unnamed sanctions, church officials said. “Everyone among the clergy will face sanctions if using Facebook,” the church’s spokesman, Bishop Timotej, told reporters. The bishop did not reveal the reasons for the ban, but sources from the church said the measure would be “imposed especially for those expressing personal attitudes on Facebook.” Local media reported that the decision was proposed by one of the senior bishops, Petar, who defended the move saying it was meant to “protect [the faithful] from misleading and manipulations.” The ban seemed to show the rift between senior and junior priests, who have often used social networks to attract younger generations to the church by offering them religious education and advice. However, some of them also expressed their personal views on the political situation in the country, sometimes criticizing the government.
Man dangles from landmark
A Greenpeace activist suspended himself from the Eiffel Tower yesterday to call for the release of 30 people who have spent more than a month in a Russian jail over a protest against oil drilling in the Arctic. After lowering himself from the second tier of the Paris landmark, the man unfurled a large yellow sign saying: “Free the Arctic 30.” He was brought down without incident about two hours later by firemen. Twenty-eight Greenpeace activists and two journalists were arrested last month after trying to scale a Gazprom oil platform off Russia’s northern coast, the country’s first offshore oil platform in the Arctic. Original charges of piracy against the group were lessened on Wednesday to hooliganism, which still carry a maximum sentence of seven years in prison.
Massacre man paroled
One of three men convicted in the 1983 massacre of 13 people at a Seattle gambling club is being paroled. The Washington Department of Corrections parole board has decided to release Wai Chiu “Tony” Ng after 30 years in prison. He was convicted of robbery and assault for his role in the shooting at the Wah Mee club. Ng will be released within about a month to Immigration and Customs Enforcement and will be deported to Hong Kong. Fourteen people were tied up, robbed and shot in the head in the shootings at Seattle’s Wah Mee club. One man survived to identify the assailants. Ng appeared before the Indeterminate Sentence Review Board in August. He said if he was released, he would not fight deportation back to Hong Kong. Co-defendants Kwan Fai “Willie” Mak and Benjamin Ng were convicted of aggravated murder and are serving life sentences without chance of parole.
Man donates arthropods
A US biologist has donated 4,000 arthropods he collected over 62 years to Costa Rica. Richard Whitten has donated his collections of giant scorpions, tarantulas, grasshoppers, butterflies, beetles and other arthropods to the University of Costa Rica. Whitten, who has lived in Costa Rica for 16 years, said on Friday that he and his wife are moving back to the US, where several universities wanted to house the arthropods. Whitten says he decided to give the collection to the Costa Rican university because it promised to permanently exhibit it. He said that leaving his collection behind “is like leaving my children.”