Judge kills self: reports
Supreme Court Justice Cesar Barrientos, known for revoking dozens of death penalty sentences in a single year, reportedly committed suicide on Sunday by shooting himself in the head. Relatives said the incident occurred as Barrientos rode in the back of his car with two bodyguards, in the southwestern town of San Francisco Zapotitlan, media reports said. In 2012, the Supreme Court’s criminal chamber, led by Barrientos, revoked 53 death sentences on the ground that they violated prisoners’ “due process” and replaced them with 50-year prison terms, the maximum allowed in the country. Police and prosecutors are probing his death.
Spanish journalist freed
A Spanish journalist kidnapped by militants crossed the border into Turkey on Sunday, his newspaper, El Periodico, reported. The news of the Marc Marginedas’ freedom came as his captors, fighters from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, fled areas near the Turkish border, leaving behind at least two mass graves, with one reportedly containing 17 bodies, activists said. Marginedas was abducted on Sept. 4 near the city of Hama by the fighters. He was “moved repeatedly” while in captivity and his captors accused him of being a spy before his release, the report said. The newspaper did not elaborate on how the reporter was released. It said he was undergoing medical tests in Turkey.
Activists continue marches
Thousands of antigovernment activists marched peacefully on Sunday to an upper-class Caracas district shaken by more than two weeks of unrest, trying to maintain the movement’s momentum during a long holiday break. Afterward, several hundred protesters erected barricades, burned tires and threw rocks and fireworks at National Guard troops, who responded with tear gas in what has become an almost nightly ritual of clashes. Two people were wounded by shotguns, district Mayor Ramon Muchacho tweeted.
Filmmaker Resnais dies
Alain Resnais, the filmmaker whose cryptic Last Year at Marienbad extended its influence across generations, has died at 91. Resnais was editing drafts of his next project even from his hospital bed, said producer Jean-Louis Livi, who was working on the film with him. Resnais, who died on Saturday, was renowned for reinventing himself during each of his full-length films, which included the acclaimed Hiroshima Mon Amour in 1959 and most recently Life of Riley, which was honored at the Berlin Film Festival just weeks ago.
Iditarod launches in Alaska
Nearly 70 competitors from around the world set off from a frozen lake in Willow, 80km north of Anchorage, on Sunday to challenge reigning Iditarod champion Mitch Seavey at the true start of Alaska’s famed and grueling sled-dog race. The 1,569km Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race symbolically began a day earlier when 69 mushers and their canine teams made a ceremonial jaunt through Anchorage. The race commemorates a 1925 rescue mission that carried diphtheria serum by sled-dog relay to the coastal community of Nome, which remains the final destination in the 42nd edition of the event. The mushers will travel in stages of between 29km and 137km as they guide teams of dogs from Willow northwest through 21 other villages on the road to Nome.
Zhou’s brother detained
A brother of former security chief Zhou Yongkang (周永康) has been detained by investigators, the Beijing News reported yesterday, after a government spokesman declined to deny the retired political heavyweight was under investigation. Zhou Yuanqing (周元青) and his businesswoman wife, Zhou Lingying (周玲英) were taken away from their home in Wuxi, Jiangsu Province, on Dec. 1 last year by “discipline investigators from Beijing,” the Beijing News said. The wife was a major investor in a multimillion-dollar Audi dealership and her success “had a lot to do” with Zhou Yongkang’s son, Zhou Bin (周濱), the newspaper added.