Library lifts Twain book ban
A Massachusetts library has put the Mark Twain work Eve’s Diary back on the shelf more than a century after it was banned. The Charlton Public Library’s trustees this week unanimously voted to return the book to circulation, reversing the board’s 1906 decision to ban the 1905 short story. Trustee Richard Whitehead said the move was made to coincide with the American Library Association’s Banned Books Week. The story was written from the perspective of the biblical Adam and Eve. It was banned because trustee Frank Wakefield objected to nude illustrations of Eve.
‘Living statue’ ban mulled
Culture officials in Rome are mulling a ban on “living statues,” arguing that dressing up in costume and standing on the street to solicit spare change has no artistic merit, media reported on Friday. “Living statues demonstrate no artistic activity, to the extent that they can’t be compared to mimes, and they amount to a veritable racket,” said Federico Mollicone, deputy culture head in Rome’s mayorship. The proposed ban is part of a broader bill from Mollicone’s office, which aims to regulate activity on Rome’s streets, reports said. Under the proposal, street musicians could have their instruments or speakers confiscated, and “deafening” music would be banned after 10pm.
Former drug czar jailed
A federal judge in Miami on Friday sentenced Bolivia’s former anti-drug czar to 14 years prison on drug trafficking charges, court sources said. General Rene Sanabria, who was Bolivian President Evo Morales’s top anti-drug official from 2007 to 2008, was arrested in Panama in February and extradited to Miami to face the charges. US District Judge Ursula Ungaro also sentenced Sanabria’s accomplice, Marcelo Foronda, to nine years in prison. According to trial testimony by the US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), last year Foronda made contact with US agents posing as Colombian drug traffickers who offered to distribute cocaine in Florida. Sanabria agreed to make sure the shipment was protected. In September last year, 144kg of cocaine was shipped to Miami.
Coal mine death toll rises
The death toll from an explosion at a coal mine in the north, believed to have been caused by an accumulation of methane gas, has risen to seven, authorities said on Friday. The country’s mining regulator Ingeominas had last put the death toll from Wednesday’s incident at El Diamante mine in the town of Socha at three. Emergency personnel subsequently retrieved the bodies of four more miners who had been trapped under the rubble, Ingeominas said.
US$16 muffin claim denied
Auditor claims of a whopping US$16 per muffin at a US government seminar are half-baked, the global hotel chain Hilton said on Friday. In a report, auditors at the Justice Department said the muffins were among several “extravagant and potentially wasteful” food items served at the training conference in August 2009 at the Capital Hilton in Washington. Not true, Hilton Worldwide shot back in a statement. “In Washington, the contracted breakfast included fresh fruit, coffee, juice, muffins, tax and gratuity, for an inclusive price of US$16 per person,” said the corporate parent of the Hilton, Conrad and Waldorf Astoria hotels. The inspector general’s office of the Justice Department said it stood by the 148-page report.