Chef jailed for bullying
A pastry chef has been sentenced to two months in prison for systematically humiliating a young apprentice in incidents that were filmed and posted on social media. Two other apprentices were found guilty of going along with the 46-year-old chef’s persecution of the 17-year-old victim in a bakery in Narbonne. Over the course of several months, the teenager was regularly pelted with flour, food coloring and eggs for the amusement of his colleagues, and an incident in which he was dumped in a bin was posted online, prompting the victim to go to the police. The two apprentices who were convicted, a 20-year-old man and a 19-year-old woman, received a six-month suspended sentence and 150 hours of community service respectively. All three convicted were ordered to pay 1,500 euros (US$2,000) each in damages to their victim.
Child sex ring busted
Seven people, most from the US, have been arrested for alleged links to child prostitution in Puerto Vallarta, a popular tourist destination, a Jalisco State official said on Friday. The seven were arrested in separate raids since last week for alleged crimes including corruption of minors, Jalisco General Secretary Arturo Zamoro said. “Two of them are directly linked to international pedophile rings,” Zamoro said. He said the detainees are wanted in other countries and that most are Americans, without giving specifics or any other nationalities.
‘Cathedral’ carved for royals
An oak cradle designed to resemble a Gothic cathedral is headed from the country to London for the birth next month of the first child of Prince William and his wife, Kate. Dariusz Bergier, a carver and furniture maker in Tuszyn, hopes to send the cradle off to Britain on Wednesday. For the 2011 royal wedding, Bergier’s workshop was commissioned to make furniture for a hotel in Stafford where Kate Middleton’s family stayed. However, the cradle was intended as a gift, Bergier said. For the design, he drew his inspiration from 15th-century Gothic cathedrals. “A cradle for the heir to the British throne can’t be made in a common style,” he said.
Smugglers fined US$29.5m
A New York judge has ordered three men who pleaded guilty to smuggling South African rock lobsters to the country to pay the South African government nearly US$30 million in restitution. State Attorney Preet Bharara said on Friday the US$29.5 million is the largest sum ever ordered under the Lacey Act. That law makes it a crime to import illegally obtained fish, wildlife or plants. Defendants Arnold Bengis, David Bengis and Jeffrey Noll will get credit for US$7 million already paid in another case. The men were charged in 2003 with importing lobster harvested in violation of South African law and pleaded guilty the following year.
Hasan defense inadmissible
Army psychiatrist Major Nidal Hasan, 42, cannot argue at trial that he was defending the Afghan Taliban when he opened fire in a 2009 shooting rampage at Fort Hood, Texas, that killed 13 people, a military judge ruled on Friday. “There was no evidence that there was any immediate threat to others from your fellow soldiers,” Colonel Tara Osborn said, denying Hasan’s request to use the defense as he represents himself at his upcoming trial on 13 counts of first-degree murder.
Boat capsizes in Ganges
A boat crowded with passengers capsized on Friday in the Ganges River, a state official said. At least four people drowned and 25 others were feared missing. State official Anil Kumar said the boat was carrying about 50 people when it capsized because of heavy winds and rain in West Bengal state’s Malda District. He said 20 people were rescued and four bodies were recovered. The state government ordered an investigation into the accident. The motorized boat was carrying villagers and contract workers who travel frequently in the area looking for work.
Leader’s numbers posted
A hacker has posted online what he claimed to be the president’s personal mobile telephone numbers, with President Benigno Aquino III’s spokesman yesterday denouncing the act as “cybervandalism.” Aquino spokesman Ricky Carandang would not confirm if the numbers were really the president’s, or if their release on the Internet had compromised the leader’s personal security or state secrets. “It’s cybervandalism plain and simple,” Carandang said. “We’re dealing with it. That’s all I can say for now.” The three “Personal Mobile Number(s)” were posted late on Friday on the Facebook site of a user named “#pR.is0n3r.” The site owner urged his followers, who numbered more than 9,000 as of yesterday, to communicate directly with their president. All three phone numbers were apparently no longer working yesterday morning when dialled by Agence France-Presse.
Men escorted from Malaysia
Police have escorted two men accused of involvement in economic crimes back from Malaysia, including one who fled China eight years ago, the Ministry of Public Security said. The Malaysian law enforcement authorities helped the police to apprehend the suspects who were hiding in Malaysia, the ministry said in a statement on Friday on its Web site. Li Yansong (李岩松) fled China last year and is accused of amassing 350 million yuan (US$57 million) in loans by defrauding financial institutions in 2011 and last year, the statement said. In a separate case, Wang Jianguo (王建國) allegedly used bogus invoices to claim more than 7 million yuan in export tax refunds between August 2004 and January 2005, and fled China in 2005. Authorities have dispatched police liaison officers to 23 countries to cooperate with international law enforcement, the Ministry of Public Security said earlier this year.
Rally against extradition held
Hundreds of protesters staged a rally yesterday to urge the government not to extradite former CIA technician Edward Snowden and slam the US for its surveillance programs. Snowden, 29, has gone to ground in the territory after blowing the lid on the US’ vast electronic surveillance operation and has vowed to fight any extradition request. The first major demonstration on the issue saw protesters, including pro-democracy lawmakers, activists and a large number of expatriates march to the US consulate holding banners and shouting “Defend Free Speech,” “Protect Snowden,” “No Extradition” and “Respect Hong Kong Law.” Many blew whistles and wore masks with Snowden’s face on it. One protester held a sign of US President Barack Obama’s famous “Hope” poster, edited to show the leader as a spy wearing large headphones. Another sign read: “Betray Snowden, Betray freedom.”