Sectarian bloodshed kills 52
A wave of violence on Friday killed 52 people, most of whom were kidnapped and shot dead with their corpses abandoned, in scenes harking back to the country’s sectarian war. The killings come amid a surge in violence that has left more than 600 people dead this month, including several who were snatched from their homes, only for their bodies to be found later. Violence on Friday struck in Baghdad and mostly Sunni Arab parts of the north and west, with shootings and bombings targeting civilians, local officials, security forces and even a brothel.
Rebels end ceasefire
Separatist Tuareg rebels said on Friday they were ending a five-month-old ceasefire with the government and taking up arms following violence in the northern city of Kidal. The declaration came a day after troops clashed with stone-throwing protesters who blocked a visit by the prime minister to the city, a northern rebel stronghold. Several demonstrators were wounded, but there were conflicting accounts of how the incident started.
Child rapist, killer freed
A court on Friday ordered the immediate release of a man who raped and killed three children, cutting his prison time by 10 years in line with a European human rights ruling. The killer, Miguel Ricart, was the latest convict to benefit from an Oct. 21 ruling by the Strasbourg-based European Court of Human Rights. The Strasbourg court said the country had acted illegally by retroactively cutting short the years of remission that an ETA prisoner had earned from good behavior. Ricart raped and killed young girls Miriam, Toni and Desiree in 1992 in the eastern Valencia region, a crime that shocked the country. He was condemned to 170 years in jail in 1997, although he actually faced a maximum of 30 years.
Erotic frescoes brought to life
Naked artists posing as cavorting nymphs and satyrs star in a new exhibition that opened this week that features adapted images of some of the eye-catching erotic frescoes from the ancient Roman city of Pompeii. Among images that leave little to the imagination are a man having sex with a goat, a transsexual posing and a naked woman straddling a supine Roman god. “Even today when we talk about erotic works, it is difficult to show them, but as a politically incorrect museum, we thought that it was really interesting,” said Antonio Manfredi, director of the Contemporary Art Museum in Casoria and himself a model in one work. Manfredi said the culture ministry had attempted to “censor” the exhibition by initially giving the artists permission to photograph the frescoes, but then withdrawing approval when their intent became clear.
No Lawson drug use: Saatchi
Charles Saatchi says he has no knowledge of his ex-wife Nigella Lawson ever taking drugs — days after the release of an e-mail in which he referred to the celebrity chef as drug-addled. Saatchi testified on Friday at the fraud trial of two former personal assistants, who are accused of spending the former couple’s money on luxury goods. They deny wrongdoing. When asked if he believed allegations Lawson was so high she allowed the assistants to spend freely, Saatchi told the court “not for a second.” The art baron said it was a “terrible mistake” that an e-mail he had sent Lawson claiming she was on drugs was made public in court. Saatchi says he has “never, never seen any evidence of Nigella taking any drug whatsoever.”