Priest held for pedophilia
Police yesterday arrested a Roman Catholic priest on pedophilia charges, following months of negotiations to have him returned from the Vatican. A police statement said the 67-year-old priest presented himself at Victoria State Police headquarters in Melbourne. His name has not been made public. The priest was charged with 10 counts of child abuse allegedly committed in Melbourne’s outskirts between 1976 and 1985. Police said they had been negotiating with the Catholic Church since July last year to have him returned to the country. Police said he was released on bail and will appear before a magistrate on Friday.
Hikers rescued after 10 days
Police yesterday found a group of hikers from the US and Finland who had been lost for 10 days in a rugged South Island nature reserve. The group, comprising two Americans and a Finn, set off on what was supposed to be a three-day walk in Kahurangi National Park on April 12, but failed to complete the trek as planned amid deteriorating weather. They were not reported missing until Sunday, prompting a major search and rescue operation in the area, which has been hit by heavy rain and flooding in recent days. Police said the trio were found in a hut located in the national park. They said all three were in good health, although one woman needed medical attention.
New arrest in rape case
A second suspect was arrested yesterday in the rape of a five-year-old girl who New Delhi police say was left for dead in a locked room and parliament was adjourned twice amid an uproar about the crime. Pradeep Kumar was arrested in Bihar State, about 1,000km from New Delhi, and was being brought to the capital, police said. Police said questioning of the first man arrested in the case, Manoj Kumar, led them to the second suspect. Manoj Kumar, 24, was arrested Saturday in Bihar and has since been flown back to New Delhi. The two men are not related. The men are accused of abducting, raping and attempting to murder the girl. D.K. Sharma, medical superintendent of the state-run hospital in New Delhi where the girl was being treated, said she was responding well to treatment and that her condition had stabilized. The lower house of parliament was adjourned twice after opposition politicians rushed into the building, some demanding discussion on the rape case. Others were protesting against corruption and other issues.
Fisherman fights off croc
A French fisherman was bloodied, but back on his fishing boat yesterday just hours after he escaped from the jaws of a young saltwater crocodile who attacked him on the northern coast. Yoann Galeran, 29, said he was swimminge to a dinghy about 15m away on Sunday night when a crocodile between 2m and 2.5m clamped down on his head and neck and attempted to drown him in a maneuver known as a death roll. “It went straight away to the top of my head and diving under the water he tried to do that spinning thing,” Galeran said. “It was going so fast — everything happened in less than five seconds and then I fell free. I’m very lucky.” Galeran was taken to a hospital in the remote town of Nhulunbuy, where he received stitches to wounds on his head and neck. Zoologist Charlie Manolis said the crocodile was too small to pose a serious threat, adding: “Had it been a 4m or bigger crocodile, there would have been a 100 percent chance that he’d be dead now.”
Threat closes schools
Police have arrested a former British School pupil in connection with a shooting threat that led to the closure of middle schools in Leiden. “We have been informed that a former student of the British School in the Netherlands has been arrested in connection to threats made against a Dutch school in Leiden,” a statement said. A Leiden police spokeswoman confirmed the arrest. The British School said that the pupil was expelled in October 2011 “after incidents regarding his behavior.” Armed police were deployed at middle schools yesterday after a tip-off by Swiss police that a threat had been made on US-based Web site 4chan.org, where the anonymous message was posted in English over the weekend.
Churchill most admired
Former British prime minister Winston Churchill on Saturday topped a poll of leaders most admired by chief executives. The survey of about 1,300 business leaders, carried out by PricewaterhouseCoopers, saw former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher place seventh. Apple founder Steve Jobs placed second and Jack Welch, who led General Electric for 20 years, came in fifth. Indian independence hero Mahatma Gandhi was third, former South African president Nelson Mandela was fourth, former US presidents Abraham Lincoln, Ronald Reagan, John F. Kennedy and Bill Clinton placed sixth, eighth, ninth and 10th respectively. Clinton shared the last spot with Napoleon Bonaparte.
Escaped pedophile caught
Police have captured a German man who escaped from jail in 2009 after being charged with being part of a prostitution and child pornography ring. Officials say 67-year-old Harry Walter Pfeil was arrested on Friday in Tlaxcala State. He is alleged to have been a business associate of Jean Succar Kuri in a Cancun-based sex ring that had branches in California. Quintana Roo state prosecutors said on Sunday that Pfeil paid US$4 million to five prison officials to help him escape while being held on pedophilia, rape and fraud charges.
Experts at Edinburgh Zoo in Scotland have artificially inseminated giant panda Tian Tian (Sweetie, 甜甜) after she failed to mate with her partner, Yang Guang (Sunshine, 陽光), the zoo announced on Sunday. Despite Yang Guang showing “consistently encouraging behavior,” the zoo decided to step in overnight on Saturday as Tian Tian’s hormones showed she was approaching her 36-hour fertile period. The pandas were acquired from China in December 2011. The zoo will not know until mid-July if Tian Tian is pregnant.
Graft trial begins
Former defense minister Akis Tsochadzopoulos and another 18 people facing corruption charges linked to kickbacks from defense contracts went on trial yesterday in Athens. Tsochadzopoulos, along with his wife, daughter and another five suspects have spent a year in jail awaiting trial. His daughter, ex-wife and another three defendants did not attend the trial opening. Tsochadzopoulos, 73, was sentenced last month to eight years in prison after being convicted of filing false income declarations. He allegedly received bribes for two defense contracts and then funneled the money into property purchases. The other defendants allegedly either helped him set up the system or also received part of the money.