World News Quick Take

Agencies

Thu, Apr 18, 2013 - Page 7

AUSTRALIA

Woman pimped daughter

A Thai-born woman was jailed on Tuesday for prostituting out her own daughter from the age of nine, marketing her to clients as the “new girl” in crimes condemned as “despicable.” The woman, 41, was jailed for nine years by the Brisbane Supreme Court after pleading guilty to 20 offenses, including child trafficking and prostitution for putting her daughter into sex work at her massage parlor and brothel. It started when the girl, then just nine years old, visited her mother on holidays from Thailand in 2004 and continued when she moved to Australia two years later through to September 2011. The court heard that her mother advertised her as the “new girl” and sent her on call-outs from as young as 11, threatening her with violence if she did not comply. She eventually complained to a family friend who reported it to police. Judge David Boddice said the woman had engaged in “systemic behavior of increasing depravity for financial reward,” regarding her daughter as a “commodity for use.”

INDIA

‘Witch doctor’ convicted

A “witch doctor” who beheaded an 11-year-old boy and offered the head as a sacrifice to a goddess to improve his fortunes has been sentenced to death, police said on Tuesday. A court in impoverished Chhattisgarh state in central India convicted 32-year-old Dilip Rathia on Monday of murder and sentenced him to hang for beheading the boy, police said. “We proved the man beheaded the boy and his head was offered to the local goddess to obtain better luck,” police officer Praful Thakur said by telephone. The case came to light when police found the child’s headless skeleton in the tribal-dominated village of Barpali in Raigarh district. Forensic tests proved the skeleton was that of an 11-year-old boy named Praveen, who disappeared in February last year while visiting a village fair, Thakur said.

SOUTH AFRICA

Handler killed by elephants

A handler at an elephant park was trampled to death while taking elephants out for exercise, the park’s owner said on Tuesday. The accident happened at about 7am on Monday at the Elephant Sanctuary near Hartbeespoort Dam, west of Pretoria. Craig Saunders, owner of the elephant sanctuary, said the handler, who had been working with African elephants for four years, slipped off the back of an elephant that was engaging in “boisterous behavior” with another elephant. The handler ended up in the midst of the altercation, which happened during an exercise program for the elephants that is closed to guests, Saunders said. Paramedics arrived within 10 to 15 minutes, but they were unable to revive the handler. “It was a pure chance accident,” Saunders said. “There was no maliciousness of any sort displayed by the elephants.”

SOUTH AFRICA

Police seize mobile phones

Police have seized 49 mobile phones belonging to officers after they were used to photograph athlete Oscar Pistorius soon after his arrest for murder, the police ministry said on Tuesday. The phones — four official and 45 private handsets — were confiscated nearly a week after the Paralympian sprinter’s arrest for the Valentine’s Day killing of his girlfriend. The confiscation was revealed in a written parliamentary reply by Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa on Monday. It was the latest police blunder to hit the Pistorius case after it was revealed that the lead detective in the investigation, Hilton Botha, was also facing charges of attempted murder. He later quit the force.

UNITED STATES

Judge fines himself

A judge whose smartphone disrupted a hearing in his own courtroom has held himself in contempt and paid US$25 for the infraction. Judge Raymond Voet has a posted policy stating that electronic devices causing a disturbance during court sessions will result in the owner being cited with contempt, the Sentinel-Standard of Ionia and www.MLive.com reported. On Friday afternoon, during a prosecutor’s closing argument, Voet’s smartphone began to emit sounds. “I’m guessing I bumped it. It started talking really loud, saying ‘I can’t understand you. Say something like Mom,’” he said. Over the years, the judge has taken phones away from police officers, attorneys, witnesses, spectators and friends. Voet held himself in contempt, fined himself and paid the fine. “Judges are humans,” Voet said. “They’re not above the rules. I broke the rule and I have to live by it.”

UNITED STATES

Cleaver case deadlocked

A jury has deadlocked in the murder trial of a mental patient who slashed a New York City psychotherapist to death with a meat cleaver. A judge declared a mistrial on Tuesday after jurors said they could not reach a verdict in David Tarloff’s case. Tarloff did not dispute that he killed Kathryn Faughey in February 2008. However, defense lawyers say Tarloff’s schizophrenia made him so psychotic that he could not tell that what he was doing was wrong. Tarloff told authorities he set out to rob Faughey’s officemate, encountered her instead and thought she was evil. Tarloff envisioned getting money from the hold-up to whisk his sick mother away to Hawaii.

UNITED STATES

Prayer-rug fire leads to jail

A man who set fire to a prayer rug in an Ohio mosque was sentenced to 20 years in prison after pleading guilty to hate crime charges, officials said on Tuesday. “Hate crimes like this seek to damage more than buildings, they take aim at our American way of life,” Steven Dettelbach, US Attorney for the northern district of Ohio, said in a statement. “But today’s 20-year prison sentence and the coming together of this community to support our Muslim neighbors show that our freedoms are stronger and more resilient than this man’s hatred.” Randolph Linn, 52, admitted to going to the Islamic Center of Greater Toledo with the intent to damage a Muslim house of worship on Sept. 30 last year. He tried several times to get into the center before he finally managed to break in, prosecutors said. Linn admitted walking through rooms with a handgun before stepping back outside to grab a red gas can. He then poured the gasoline over a large rug in the prayer room and set fire to it.

UNITED STATES

‘Star Wars’ actor passes

Character actor Richard LeParmentier, who as a young Death Star commander learned the hard way that Darth Vader brooks no disrespect, died on Tuesday. He was 66. LeParmentier died unexpectedly on Tuesday morning in Austin, Texas, while visiting his children, his publicist Derek Maki said. Maki said he does not know the cause. LeParmentier was born in Pittsburgh, but moved to Britain in 1974 and had been living in Bath, England, before he died. As Admiral Motti in 1977’s Star Wars, LeParmentier’s character mocks Vader’s “sad devotion to that ancient Jedi religion.” Vader responds with a demonstration, using the force to choke the young commander, but allowing him to live. LeParmentier was working as a screenwriter when he died.