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Sun, 24 Oct 2021
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Pussy Riot member Maria Alyokhina released from Russian jail

© Guardian
Alyokhina released early under amnesty from two-year sentence for protest against Vladimir Putin

A member of the Russian punk band Pussy Riot, Maria Alyokhina, walked free from jail on Monday under an amnesty allowing her early release from a two-year sentence for a protest in a church against president Vladimir Putin.

"They've just released her," Pyotr Verzilov, the husband of fellow band member Nadia Tolokonnikova, who is also due to be released under the amnesty, told Reuters.

Alyokhina, 25, and Tolokonnikova, 24, were convicted of hooliganism for performing a "punk prayer" in a cathedral against Putin's ties to the Russian Orthodox church.

Bad Guys

Alabama man again avoids prison for series of rapes

A north Alabama man convicted in a series of rapes has again avoided a prison sentence for the assaults.

Limestone County Circuit Judge James Woodroof suspended a 35-year sentence for Austin Clem and ordered him to spend five years on probation for a series of assaults on a former neighbor.

Woodroof issued a written order Monday. Prosecutors appealed after Woodroof's original sentence didn't require prison time for the 25-year-old Clem. They claimed the sentence violates state law. An appeals court ordered another sentencing, and Woodroof again let Clem stay out of prison. The victim says she is "extremely upset" and feels like she's been punched in the face.

Clem was convicted of sexually assaulting the woman three times. Prosecutors say the assaults began seven years ago when the victim was 13

Comment: More on Austin Clem: Man avoids prison for raping teen, but attorney laments he can't drink beer or go buy lottery tickets


Plane wing clips building at Johannesburg airport

B747 Wing Into Building
© Associated Press
The wing of a British Airways Boeing 747-400 passenger aircraft is seen after it clipped a building, slightly injuring four members of ground staff.
The wing of a British Airways Boeing 747 crashed into a Johannesburg airport building, slightly injuring four ground staff.

The accident at Johannesburg's OR Tambo airport was caused by the plane using the wrong taxi way which was too narrow for the passenger jet, the South African Civil Aviation Authority said.

Air traffic control had instructed the crew of the British Airways Boeing 747-400 departing for London to use a specific taxi way, said SACAA spokeswoman Phindiwe Gwebu in a statement. However, the plane travelled on a different taxi way that was narrower.

This resulted in the plane's wing clipping a building behind the SAA technical hangars, she said.

Arrow Down

Death on the U.S.-Mexican border: The killings America chooses to ignore

CBP officers
© The Independent, UK
Since 2005, patrol agents and CBP officers have killed some 42 people along the US-Mexican border without facing any public consequences – or any large-scale media coverage.

On 28 May 28 2010, 42-year-old Anastacio Hernandez Rojas was detained by US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents while attempting to enter California from Mexico, at the San Ysidro border crossing near San Diego. Hernandez Rojas had previously spent 25 years living as an undocumented immigrant north of the border, where he worked as a swimming pool plasterer and fathered five American-born children.

That evening, he was in the process of being deported back into Mexico when he was handcuffed and hog-tied on the tarmac close to the border, and surrounded by more than a dozen CBP agents and Border Patrol officers, who kicked and beat him until several of his ribs were broken.

As he pleaded for help, one officer reportedly yanked down the Mexican's trousers and shocked him with a taser gun at least five times. All told, the attack went on for almost half an hour. Hernandez Rojas was admitted to hospital, where, three days later, he died of his injuries.

San Ysidro is the busiest border crossing on Earth, so there were numerous eyewitnesses to the incident, several of whom recorded the violent scene on their phones.

Their videos undermine the official report, which claimed that Hernandez Rojas was hostile and combative. The San Diego medical examiner ruled his death a homicide, but the US attorney decided that the CBP response had been "appropriate".

When the victim's widow filed a wrongful death suit, her attorney Eugene Iredale asked to view the footage from the CBP's own closed-circuit cameras. "There are video cameras throughout the facility," Iredale recently told the Arizona Republic.

"But somehow, the video cameras weren't turned on, or they were facing the other way. I could say something cynical, but I don't need to."

Black Cat 2

Italian army medical officer faces jail for saving life of pregnant cat

Rescued Cat
© The Independent, UK
Lieutenant Barbara Balanzoni, a reservist who works as an anaesthetist in Tuscany, rescued the dying animal at a Nato base in Kosovo.
A medical officer in the Italian army is being prosecuted for saving the life of a pregnant cat while on duty at a Nato base in Kosovo.

According to the military prosecutor's indictment, Lieutenant Barbara Balanzoni violated a written order not to "approach or be approached by wild, stray or unaccompanied animals" near the army facility known as the "Italian Village".

Lt Balanzoni, a reservist who has since gone back to her civilian job as an anaesthetist in Tuscany, stands accused of "gross insubordination" for disobeying the order, signed by the commanding officer of the base in May 2012.

If found guilty, she faces a minimum one year jail sentence.

Speaking to the Guardian, Lt Balanzoni said that at the time there were a lot of cats on the base and that while they were theoretically strays, they were treated affectionately by the troops and belonged there.

She said that on the day of the alleged incident, army personnel phoned the infirmary for help after they were concerned by the noises made by one cat, later named Agata.

Lt Balanzoni said the veterinary officer was in Italy when she received the call. "Far from disobeying orders, I was following military regulations, which state that, in the absence of a vet, the medical officer should intervene."

She arrived to find the cat had taken refuge in an army pavilion to give birth, but got into difficulties with the final, stillborn kitten. Without help, Agata was certain to die.


Did pilot deliberately crash Africa airliner that killed 33? Black box recordings show rapid descent while co-pilot was in the toilet and repeated banging on the cockpit door

  • Herminio dos Santos Fernandes sent plane into descent when co-pilot was in the toilet
  • Repeated banging on cock-pit door can be heard on black box recordings
  • Officials claim the pilot 'intended' to cause accident that killed 33 people
An airline pilot intentionally crashed a plane that killed 33 people in Africa, air officials have said.

Herminio dos Santos Fernandes sent the Mozambican Airlines plane in a rapid descent from 38,000 feet while his co-pilot was in the toilet.

Repeated banging on the cockpit door can be heard on recordings from the recovered black box. It isn't known if the banging was from the co-pilot or passengers.


All 27 passengers and six crew members were on board when the plane crashed in the Bwabwata National Park in Namibia


More than 80 demonstrators and 100 police injured in Hamburg riots

  • Rioters attacked forces in most violent demonstration in 10 years
  • Fireworks were thrown at officers as well as paint and petrol bombs
  • Squatters protesting after being told to move out of cultural centre
German police suffered 117 casualties during the country's worst night of rioting for a decade near the infamous Reeperbahn in Hamburg.

Officials said police officers were pelted with petrol bombs, bricks, bottles and stones on Saturday night.

They were then attacked on the ground when they fell and 16 were hospitalised for their injuries. More than 80 rioters were injured and needed medical treatment in running battles.


Mystery of man and woman shot dead at point blank range in Paris bar

  • Both were hit by one bullet outside the Cafe Chineur bar in Paris
  • The gunman then fled the scene on foot on Sunday night
  • The man died at the scene and the woman died on the way to hospital
  • Police have no motive for the crime which they describe as 'mysterious'
A man and a woman were shot dead at a Paris bar on Sunday evening by a gunman who then fled on foot, it emerged this morning.

Police have described the crime as 'mysterious' and admitted they do not yet any motive for the murders.

The two were shot at point-blank range with one bullet each as they were in the outside terrace of the Cafe Chineur bar in a residential part of the French capital's southern 14th arrondissement, or district.


'Mysterious' shooting: A man and woman have been shot dead at blank point range outside Cage Chineur, pictured, in Paris's 14th residential district
They tried to take refuge inside the bar but the man died at the scene and the woman died as she was being taken to hospital, said police investigator Jean-Jacques Herlem.

Brick Wall

Young-adult author who wrote of depression commits suicide

Ned Vizzini, a popular young adult author and television writer who wrote candidly and humorously about his struggles with depression, has committed suicide. He was 32.

Vizzini jumped off the roof of his parents' home in Brooklyn on Thursday, said his brother, Daniel Vizzini. New York City's medical examiner's office confirmed Friday that Vizzini took his own life and had sustained blunt impact injuries consistent with a fall. Daniel Vizzini said his brother had battled mental illness for much of his life and had "taken a turn for the worse" in recent weeks.

Ned Vizzini's autobiographical novel "It's Kind of a Funny Story" was adapted into a feature film of the same name. A resident of Los Angeles in recent years, he was a prolific author of fiction and nonfiction and spoke around the country about mental health and the healing effects of writing. On his website, he recommended Andrew Solomon's "The Noonday Demon" and the Dalai Lama's "The Art of Happiness" to readers coping with depression.

Comment: See: Mass nervous breakdown: Millions of Americans on the brink as stress pandemic ravages society
To paraphrase Krishnamurti, Big Government and Big Pharma have teamed together to ensure that you can readjust and reintegrate into a profoundly sick society - and that, surely, is no measure of health.


Getting drunk on God? Or possession?

God is descending on Minneapolis in the form of invisible spliffs and imaginary lines of coke. The Drunken Glory movement - spawned by events like the Florida Outpouring and Toronto Blessing in the 90s, at which people appeared to be inebriated and high purely off the power of God - is on the rise, as godly YouTube channels find innovative ways of reaching their younger audience.