An appeals court on Friday acquitted former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi in a sex-for-hire case, reversing a lower court conviction that had carried a seven-year prison sentence and a lifetime ban on holding political office. The prosecution alleged that Berlusconi had paid for sex with underage Moroccan prostitute Karima el-Mahroug, better known as Ruby the Heartstealer, and then used his influence to cover it up. Berlusconi denied the charges, saying the case was politically motivated. The acquittal was announced just as Berlusconi was leaving a facility for Alzheimer’s patients where he is performing community service for a separate conviction.
Highway blast claims 38
At least 38 people were killed when a van carrying inflammable liquid hit a bus on a highway in central China early yesterday, state media reported. The collision in Hunan Province triggered a fire and explosion which destroyed five vehicles, the Xinhua news agency said. Another five people were injured in the accident, which occurred at about 3am, Xinhua said, citing police. The fire was finally put out by about 8am. The double-decker long-distance bus, with capacity for 53 occupants, was traveling between China’s Fujian Province and Guizhou in the southwest when the crash occurred. Senior work safety and transport ministry officials and police were heading to the site to investigate, Xinhua said.
Buses crash, killing nine
Several buses crashed on a highway near the eastern city of Dresden, leaving nine people dead and 43 injured, police said yesterday. The crash, which happened at about 2am, involved a Polish bus, a Ukrainian bus and a Polish minibus, Dresden police said. According to a preliminary investigation, the Polish bus hit the rear of the Ukrainian bus and then broke through the median barrier, crashing into the oncoming minibus. Six of those killed were Polish citizens. public broadcaster MDR reported that most of those who died were in the minibus. The injured people were taken to hospitals in Dresden and Radebeul, police said.
Police identify remains
Officials have confirmed that the mummified remains of a woman found in the garage of a suburban Detroit home in March were those of the woman who lived there alone. Authorities this week notified the relatives of Pia Farrenkopf that she had been positively identified using DNA testing, the Detroit Free Press reported. Oakland County deputy medical examiner Bernardino Pacris said the cause and manner of death could not be determined because the body was mummified. Investigators said in March that they believed the remains were Farrenkopf’s, a self-employed financial troubleshooter who would have turned 50 this year. A message posted on Tuesday on a Facebook page set up by a relative said arrangements were being made to lay the remains to rest. Her body was found in the rear seat of her Jeep, inside the garage of her Pontiac home. Officials said she could have been dead for more than five years and that there was no evidence of foul play. They sought help from dentists who might have treated Farrenkopf, but could not secure the necessary records. Oakland County authorities say Farrenkopf paid her mortgage and other bills through a checking account that once had a balance of US$54,000. The money ran out last year, and the Pontiac home went into foreclosure.
FRENCH AID: Paris has sent a navy ship and aircraft from Reunion Island with some pollution control equipment, but rough seas are spreading the oil spill The operator of a Japanese bulk carrier which ran aground off Mauritius in the Indian Ocean yesterday apologized for a major oil spill, which officials and environmentalists say is creating an ecological disaster, as police prepared to board the ship. The MV Wakashio, operated by Mitsui OSK Lines, struck the reef on Mauritius’ southeast coast on July 25. “We apologize profusely and deeply for the great trouble we have caused,” Mitsui OSK Lines executive vice president Akihiko Ono said at a news conference in Tokyo. The company would “do everything in their power to resolve the issue,” he said. At least 1,000 tonnes of
They stand as eyesores to most passers-by and potential public health risks to authorities, decaying buildings wrapped in tangles of exposed wire, studded with protruding leaky plastic pipes, vegetation billowing from cracks and terraces where particulates from polluted air have accumulated over time. With skyscrapers and ultramodern developments on every side, some of these “nail houses” are also sitting on land worth millions of dollars in Shenzhen’s inferno of a property market, where new-unit and second-hand home prices rival London. In battles over land and development, the nail house phenomenon has become widespread throughout China over the past two decades, with owners
An Italian alpine resort on Friday remained on high alert over fears that a vast chunk of a glacier on the slopes of the Mont Blanc massif could plummet in high temperatures. “No one gets through! No cars, bikes or pedestrians,” was the message at a checkpoint where an automatic barrier and two guards blocked the small road snaking up into a lush valley below the Planpincieux glacier, near the town of Courmayeur and the Italian-French border. The blockade has largely been greeted with contempt by the locals, one of whom said: “It’s a joke.” The huge ice block measuring around 500,000 cubic
The Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Hong Kong (FCC) yesterday said that reporters in the territory were experiencing “highly unusual” visas problems, and called on the US and China to stop using the media as a political weapon. Journalists have been caught up in US-China tensions, with both sides placing limits or expelling reporters from their territories in the past few months. Now the spat is filtering into Hong Kong, a regional press hub nominally in charge of its own immigration policies. The FCC said in a statement that multiple media firms had reported delays getting visas in recent months. “The delays have affected journalists