Power outage sparks chaos
Power was restored to Darwin yesterday after a 12-hour outage across the city caused chaos, with schools and public-sector offices closed and traffic lights knocked out. A tripped circuit blacked out the city of about 120,000 people and towns up to 320km away, with the government mobilizing emergency management protocols as technicians desperately worked to fix the problem. The Northern Territory Government said all schools were closed for the day and the public bus network suspended. The local hospital and airport operated as usual, although some hotels were evacuated as customers sweltered through the night with air conditioners out of action in the steamy, tropical city. Water and sewage services were supported by generators.
Hangman quits after a week
The prisons department is searching for a new hangman after the latest recruit got upset on seeing the gallows for the first time and quit, officials said on Tuesday. The new hangman was appointed last week, the third most qualified from 176 applicants, months after two hangmen chosen late last year failed to show up for work. “We gave him one week’s training, but he resigned after seeing the gallows, saying that he didn’t want the job,” Commissioner General of Prisons Chandrarathna Pallegama said. “He told me that after seeing the gallows he got upset... Next time, we will show the gallows to the new recruits before giving them basic training.” It is not as if he would have been likely to hang anyone anyway. The job is light administrative work only. The nation has not carried out an execution since 1976, despite the fact that there are at least 405 convicts on death row.
Prostitutes demand to work
A group of prostitutes on Tuesday demanded to be allowed back to work, 18 months after their brothel in the resort town of Sousse was attacked by hardline Salafists and closed down. A delegation handed Deputy Parliamentary Speaker Meherzia Laabidi, a woman, a petition signed by 120 prostitutes calling for their brothel in the popular coastal resort to be allowed to reopen. “We know the state cannot help us financially, because the current economic situation is so bad. That’s why we’re calling for the brothel to be reopened, so we don’t have to ask for charity,” one of the delegation, calling herself Souhir, said by telephone. Souhir said that, in 2012, radical Islamists had attacked the building, “looted everything they found there... and put us out of work.” Prostitution is regulated by the state. “I listened to their demand and I will... write a letter as a lawmaker to the secretary of state for women and to the interior ministry, to see how we can preserve the dignity of these Tunisian citizens” Laabidi said.
Mussolini’s husband probed
The husband of Mussolini’s granddaughter is being investigated as part of a probe into under-age prostitution in the most upmarket district of Rome, judicial sources said on Tuesday. Mauro Floriani, the husband of Alessandra Mussolini, is suspected of being among the well-heeled clients of two minors, who offered their services in a flat in the Parioli neighborhood that is home to some of the Italian capital’s wealthiest residents. Six people, including the mother of one of the two girls, have been formally charged in connection with the investigation. Floriani has been linked to the probe by phone taps, photographs and records of his mobile calls, judicial sources said.
Nude film scandal hits army
The court in the city of Nantes has suspended the resignation of an army trainee who said she was pressured to leave after complaining about a sergeant who filmed her nude in the shower. The court ruled against the departure of the 25-year-old woman who was undergoing training as a cook in an army training center in the Vendee region, her lawyer said on Monday. The recruit from the French Caribbean island of Martinique made an official complaint on Nov. 20 after she realized she was filmed in the communal showers. Following her complaint, she said she was pressured into resigning. “I was made to think that I had done something wrong and at no time did I feel supported in any way,” she said. She was summoned by a colonel who told her: “For you, it’s over. For the well-being of the training program, the students and the teachers.” She then filed a lawsuit last month.
Girl arrested over death
A teenager has been arrested on suspicion of bludgeoning her mother to death and living with her corpse for two months, police said on Tuesday. The 14-year-old, who is suspected of carrying out the murder on Jan. 11 with her boyfriend, attempted to conceal her mother’s death by using insecticides and air fresheners to mask odors, police in the town of La Molina said. Her father, an octogenarian suffering from Alzheimer’s, had continued to live in the house unaware that the killing had taken place. Commander Rafael Moron said the girl told officers that her 16-year-old boyfriend had committed the killing, attacking her 63-year-old mother with a dumbbell after she had reacted angrily to finding the couple alone in a locked room of the family home. However, her boyfriend, who surrendered to authorities on Tuesday, has denied the killing, insisting the girl, identified only as Stephanie, was responsible. Police said after the killing, the daughter continued her life as normal, entertaining friends at home and regularly posting updates to Facebook.
Man fined over plane row
A judge fined a Louisiana man US$600 on Tuesday for forcing a Delta Air Lines flight to make an emergency landing after he got into a drunken argument with his wife aboard the plane on their anniversary. Michael Foret, 33, was escorted from the plane by police when it landed in the Cayman Islands on Sunday. The flight was traveling from Atlanta en route to Costa Rica. His wife remained aboard the plane and continued traveling to San Jose, Costa Rica, police said. On Tuesday, Foret, who had been held in police custody, appeared before a judge, said his lawyer, Ben Tonner. Foret was fined for disruptive behavior aboard a commercial flight, he said.
Drugs found on toddler
A New Jersey man has been charged with endangering the welfare of a child after his toddler was found with dozens of heroin packets at daycare, police said on Tuesday. A worker at the childcare center in Paterson, New Jersey, discovered 48 glassine envelopes of heroin stuffed in the two-year-old’s jacket on Monday, Paterson Police Lieutenant Bert Ribeiro said. The employee called police, who determined the father had accompanied the child to the center that day. There was no indication the child was aware the drugs were in his jacket, police said. The child’s father, identified by police as Phillip Young, 27, was arrested and being held on US$85,000 bail, authorities said.