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Heart - Black

Death of a campaigner: corrupt Indian officials blamed in killing of activist

Arup Kalita's body was found this week, his skeletal remains finally recovered from the shallow depths a pond in the small village of Kukurmara in India's north-eastern fringes.

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© UPEN/DEKA/BISWAJIT DAS
Arup Kalita, left, and his belongings that were found with his remains
His mobile phone, motor bike keys, driving licence and trousers were all discovered along with his bones.

How he got there was no surprise to his grieving family. They knew the 29-year-old anti-corruption campaigner was dead when he disappeared in August last year. They had heard he had been beaten, tortured and then his corpse dumped into the pond where it was apparently trampled deep into the mud below by an elephant.

But what may be surprising to some is the location of his resting place - in the official grounds of Assam's forestry department.

His family and supporters say that location is the key. All believe he has paid the price for India's failure to tackle corruption at all levels.

Mr Kalita's apparent murder makes him the 18th anti-corruption crusader to be killed in India since 2008. Others include several campaigners who used Right to Information legislation to uncover corruption in government aid schemes for India's poorest, one of the country's leading crime reporters who exposed Mumbai's 'diesel mafia,' and a civil servant who was burned alive by oil smugglers.

Sherlock

Is this Jack the Ripper? Scotland Yard's Chief Inspector Frederick Abberline named as serial killer in new investigation

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Culprit? Chief Inspector Frederick Abberline has been named as Jack the Ripper by a Spanish investigator
  • Spanish handwriting expert claims to solve 120-year-old murder mystery
Suspects have ranged from a member of Royal Family to a local butcher - but it is now claimed that Jack the Ripper was the very detective who led the hunt for the killer.

Chief Inspector Frederick Abberline of Scotland Yard was the man who murdered and mutilated at least five women in Victorian East London - at least according to Spanish writer Jose Luis Abad, 84.

He makes the claim in his book Jack the Ripper: The Most Intelligent Murderer in History, published in Spain this week.

Mr Abad is a handwriting expert and has compared Abberline's writing with that in the Ripper's diary - which surfaced in Liverpool in 1992.

Mr Abad, says: 'I have no doubt Abberline was the Ripper. Handwriting does not lie.'

The diary was attributed to a Liverpool cotton dealer called James Maybrick - whom others have identified as the Ripper.

But many experts say the diary is a hoax. Mr Abad believes it is real, but that the author was Abberline, not Maybrick.

Other theories link the Ripper murders to Queen Victoria's grandson, Prince Albert Victor.

The detective was placed in charge of the Ripper investigations following the murder of Mary Ann Nichols in August 1888. He died in 1929 aged 86 at his home in Bournemouth.

Che Guevara

Ukraine: Tymoshenko Backers Start Sit-In in Kiev

Supporters of former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko have started an indefinite sit-in to protest her detention until she is released.

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© unknown
Supporters of former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko gather outside the Kiev court where her trial is being held on August 5, 2011.
Over 100 supporters, including members of parliament, have pitched about 30 tents near the courthouse in Kiev, vowing to continue their sit-in until Tymoshenko is released, AFP reported.

Meanwhile Tymoshenko's right-hand man, Olexander Turchinov, has said the protests could lead to a repeat of the 2004 Orange Revolution that could be victorious by September.

Ukrainian prosecutors have charged Tymoshenko with abuse of office, accusing her of illegally forcing state energy company Naftogaz to sign a gas supply contract with Russia in 2009.

Bizarro Earth

New 5-Star Hotel in Blockaded Gaza Amid Poverty

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© The Associated Press / Adel Hana
In this photo taken Friday, July 15, 2011, showing a general vista of Gaza beach and the Mediterranean Sea below the balcony of Gaza Strip's first five-star Arcmed Al Mashtal hotel in Gaza City, which was recently opened. The eight-storey structure is an anomaly in Gaza, where most local people live in poverty and ride donkey-driven carts past the opulent luxury of this hotel which remains mostly unused by tourists who don't seem to be attracted to visit Gaza.

The Gaza Strip's first five-star hotel gleams with marble floors, five luxury restaurants and a breezy cafe overlooking the territory's white sandy beaches and sparkling blue Mediterranean Sea. The only thing missing are guests.

Nearly all of the newly opened hotel's 222 rooms, decked out with ornate metal-worked lamps, flat screen televisions, oversized beds and sea views, sit empty. The tourists whom the developers expected to flood to Gaza when they launched the project 13 years ago are nowhere to be seen. Local residents, most of them living in poverty, can only dream of staying in the gleaming complex.

The eight-story structure is an anomaly in Gaza, yet it cannot escape its surroundings. Residents riding donkey-driven carts occasionally trot by. Women cannot swim in the pool, in a nod to conservative Gaza tradition. There is no alcohol - banned by Hamas in line with Islamic law. On a recent day, two women in conservative Islamic headscarves and loose gowns sipped drinks by the pool, as children splashed inside.

Earlier this month, the hotel's developer, Palestinian investment company Padico decided to finally open it. The company, controlled by politically independent billionaire Munib al-Masri, hopes to recover at least some of its costs and hopes that Gaza's knotty problems may finally be solved in the coming years.

"Its risky - but we need to have a change in Gaza," said public relations manager Shadi Agha.

Hardhat

Protesters Throw Fruit at Chile's Rescued Miners

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© The Associated Press / Luis Hidalgo
Police officers scuffle with demonstrators outside a museum that was hosting an event honoring the trapped miners of the San Jose mine, in Copiapo, Chile, Friday Aug. 5, 2011. The protest was directed at Chile's President Sebastian Pinera, who was attending the inauguration of the museum, marking the first anniversary of the mine collapse. The 33 miners survived 69 days, 700 feet deep after an unprecedented and dramatic Oct. 13, 2010 rescue.
It has been a bittersweet anniversary for Chile's rescued miners, who were honored as heroes in their hometown only to come under attack by anti-government protesters who threw fruit and small stones at them, accusing them of being ungrateful, greedy sellouts.

Chilean President Sebastian Pinera and his ministers joined most of the 33 miners Friday at a Catholic Mass and then the inauguration of a regional museum exhibit recognizing their remarkable survival story.

But the events were marred by scuffles between riot police and students, teachers, environmentalists and other miners, all trying to make Pinera bow to their pressure on issues from reforming public education and increasing miners' pay to stopping controversial dams and power plants.

Some of the activists threw oranges and apples at the miners, accusing them of getting too cozy with Pinera's government and trying to cash in on their fame.

The treatment shocked rescued miner Omar Reygadas into silence. His son told The Associated Press in an interview that his father was deeply hurt to be accused of selling out to the government. Other activists shouted that the miners were trying to get rich with their $17 million lawsuit accusing Chile's mine regulator of failing to enforce safety requirements.

Pistol

US: Teen struck by Ohio campus officer's stun gun dies

taser
© Unknown
Police say an 18-year-old attending summer classes at the University of Cincinnati was struck by a campus officer's stun gun and died of cardiac arrest.

Officers received a 911 call about an assault at Turner Hall early Saturday. The university's assistant police chief, Jeff Corcoran, tells The Cincinnati Enquirer that the teenage boy approached officers in the dorm hallway, appearing agitated and angry.

Corcoran says officers ordered the teen to back off, but he refused. He was then hit once by an officer's stun gun.

Afterward, the teen appeared incoherent. He went into cardiac arrest after paramedics arrived and was pronounced dead at University Hospital.

The department has suspended the use of stun guns until his cause of death is determined. Authorities are also investigating the original 911 call.

Attention

UK: Riot Blaze: North London in Flames as Police Cars, Bus and Shops Burn Over Police Shooting of 'Gangster'

  • Mob of 500 people protest about death of father-of-four Mark Duggan who was shot by officers
  • 100 riot police on the streets as Tottenham burns
  • Fears that violence was fanned by Twitter as picture of burning police car was re-tweeted more than 100 times
  • Shop looted and youths storm McDonalds and start cooking their own food
  • Mail on Sunday photographers beaten and mugged by masked thugs
Police came under attack from petrol bombs hurled by rioting mobs in North London last night as hundreds took to the streets following the shooting of a man by Scotland Yard marksmen.

Patrol cars, a shop and a double-decker bus were set ablaze and there were reports of looting amid scenes reminiscent of the violent unrest in the same area 26 years ago when PC Keith Blakelock was hacked to death.

Last night the Tottenham area erupted once again as more than 100 officers and specialist riot police faced crowds of more than 500 people protesting about the death of Mark Duggan, who lived on the estate and was described last week by police sources as a 'gangster'.

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© Matrix
Tottenham's burning: Riot police on horseback are drafted in as a double decker bus is alight in the background

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© Getty Images
London's burning: Building are alight after being torched by youths during an attempted arrest last night

People

The Tent City of New Jersey, US: Desperate victims of the economic slump forced to live in makeshift homes in forest

In scenes reminiscent of the Great Depression these are the ramshackle homes of the desperate and destitute U.S. families who have set up their own 'Tent City' only an hour from Manhattan.

More than 50 homeless people have joined the community within New Jersey's forests as the economic crisis has wrecked their American dream.

And as politicians in Washington trade blows over their country's £8.8 trillion debt, the prospect of more souls joining this rag tag group grows by the day.

Building their own tarpaulin tents, Native American teepees and makeshift balsa wood homes, every one of the Tent City residents has lost their job.
 Destitute: Charlie Errickson, 54, sat eating his lunch outside his shelter as he struggles to survive
© James Ambler/Barcroft USA
Destitute: Charlie Errickson, 54, sat eating his lunch outside his shelter as he struggles to survive

Bad Guys

Africa: Niger Delta villagers go to the Hague to fight against oil giant Shell

Nigeria oil spill
© Pius Utomi Ekpei/AFP/Getty Images
A man walks on slippery spilled crude oil on the shores of the Niger Delta swamps of Bodo, a village in Niger's oil-producing Ogoniland.
This once self-sufficient community suffered from the excesses of oil firms and corrupt officials. Now, the villagers are blamed for everything and the arms dealers are having a field day

Goi is now a dead village. The two fish ponds, bakery and chicken farm that used to be the pride and joy of its chief deacon, Barrisa Tete Dooh, lie abandoned, covered in a thick black layer. The village's fishing creek is contaminated; the school has been looted; the mangrove forests are coated in bitumen and everyone has left, refugees from a place blighted by the exploitation of the region's most valuable asset: crude oil.

Last Thursday, a long-awaited and comprehensive UN study exposed the full horror of the pollution that the production of oil has brought to Ogoniland over the last 50 years.

The UN report showed that oil companies and the Nigerian government had not just failed to meet their own standards, but that the process of investigation, reporting and clean-up was deeply flawed in favour of the firms and against the victims. Spills in the US are responded to in minutes; in the Niger delta, which suffers more pollution each year than the Gulf of Mexico, it can take companies weeks or more.

"Oil companies have been exploiting Nigeria's weak regulatory system for too long," said Audrey Gaughran of Amnesty International. "They do not adequately prevent environmental damage and they frequently fail to properly address the devastating impact that their bad practice has on people's lives."

Goi, 40 miles from Port Harcourt, is a typical case. Just a few miles from where Shell first found oil in Ogoniland in 1958, it is only 20 miles from Bane, the ancestral home of Ogoni writer and leader Ken Saro-Wiwa. People from Goi joined the great Ogoni protest march of 1994, when one in three people from the small kingdom of 900,000 rose peacefully against the company, preventing it from working any of its 30 wells in the area. Two years later, Saro-Wiwa and eight Ogoni leaders were tried on a fabricated murder charge and executed.

A quiet fishing community of fewer than 100 people, Goi was steadily weakened and then broken by a series of oil spills that, over 20 years, made the network of swamps, lagoons, rivers and creeks around it unusable. "People used to drink the water in the creek, fish, cook and swim in it. It was a perfect place," says Dooh. "We wanted for nothing, but the spills came, the tide washed in pollution from elsewhere and in 1987 a massive oil fire burned uncontrolled for weeks. By 2008, most people had left."

Chess

Belarus, South Ossetia cool on joining Russia

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© Unknown
Belarus and South Ossetia have reacted cautiously after Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin suggested he would like to see them join the Russia Federation.

Putin, speaking to a youth forum Russia's Monday, indicated he held out hope that Belarus, South Ossetia and Russia could join a common state.

"It is possible, very desirable and fully depends on the Belarusian people's will," ITAR-Tass reported Putin as saying.

The prime minister added that Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko deserved praise for "consistently moving along the path toward integration with Russia."