Group seeks ransom return
The nation’s biggest Jewish community said on Monday it has taken Germany to the European Court of Human Rights, seeking the return of a huge ransom paid to Nazi occupiers more than 70 years ago to free thousands of slave laborers who were still sent to German death camps. The Jewish Community of Thessaloniki said it also wants “moral vindication” in a lawsuit tabled last week. In 1942, thousands of Thessaloniki’s Jewish men aged 18 to 45 were press-ganged into construction projects across the country by Nazi forces that had invaded the country a year earlier. Community officials eventually struck a deal with a regional Nazi commander, paying him 1.9 billion drachmas — about 50 million euros (US$69 million) yesterday — for their release. Soon after, the city’s entire Jewish population was sent to German death camps, which few survived. The community launched a legal fight for return the of the ransom through Greek courts in 1997, but after 16 years, the country’s Supreme Court rejected the bid, saying it lacked the authority to rule on the matter.
‘Ghostbuster’ actor dies
Comedy actor and director Harold Ramis, best known for films such as Ghostbusters, Groundhog Day and Caddyshack, died at his home in Chicago. Illinois, at the age of 69 of complications from a rare vascular disease, his agent said on Monday. Ramis passed away peacefully on Monday morning, surrounded by family members. A celebrated director, writer, actor and producer, Ramis grew up in Chicago and graduated from Washington University. He worked as an associate editor at Playboy Magazine before he got his start in comedy in 1969 with the city’s famous Second City improvisational theater group. He returned to Chicago in 1996 after 20 years in Los Angeles. He got his big break when he co-wrote the comedy hit, National Lampoon’s Animal House in 1978.
Penis tattoo man not guilty
A man accused of texting an unsolicited picture of his tattooed genitals to a married mother of young children did not commit a crime under Georgia’s nudity law, the state’s Supreme Court ruled on Monday, because the law did not cover photographs sent electronically through a cellphone text message. Charles Lee Warren faced up to three years in prison after being indicted under a 1970 law that makes it illegal to send unsolicited nude photographs by mail without a proper warning on the outside of the envelope. Prosecutors said he texted the picture of his penis tattooed with the phrase: “STRONG E nuf 4 A MAN BUT Made 4 A WOMAN” in October 2012 to a woman who then complained to police.
Vigilantes celebrate uprising
Hundreds of vigilantes marched in the western town of La Ruana on Monday with rifles slung over their shoulders to commemorate the first anniversary of their uprising against a cult-like drug cartel. About 800 people attended a mass held on a former altar that had been built by the pseudo-religious Knights Templar gang. La Ruana was one of the first towns to take up arms in the state of Michoacan on Feb. 24 last year. The self-defense militia destroyed the altar and its crusader red cross after chasing away gang members last year. Since then, the movement has spread to about 20 towns in the Michoacan region.