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Delhi gangrape: Accused plead not guilty

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Anti-rape protest in Delhi after the gangrape of a 23-year-old student.
Five men pleaded not guilty on Saturday to charges they gangraped and murdered a 23-year-old physiotherapy student, in a case that led to a shake-up of laws against sexual crimes after protests about a rising number of attacks on women.

"After the judge read out the charges, the five pleaded not guilty and walked out" said A P Singh, a lawyer defending two of the accused, Vinay Sharma and Akshay Thakur.

A Delhi court on Saturday framed charged against five accused in gangrape-murder of a 23-year-old student in New Delhi in December 2012.

The accused have been charged under 13 sections of the Indian Penal Code by the fast track court. Next day of hearing has been fixed as February 5.

The accused will now face trial for which maximum sentence is death.

The case brought thousands of protesters onto the streets and ignited intense public debate over the failure of the police and the government to stem rampant violence against women in India.

Handcuffs

San Francisco nude activists cited by police

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© Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
Nude activist Trey Allen helps a blind woman through the front door at San Francisco City Hall as he protests San Francisco's new ban on nudity on February 1, 2013 in San Francisco, California.
Public nudity in San Francisco did not go away quietly on Friday, as police began enforcing a controversial new ordinance that prohibits baring all outdoors.

Nude activists Gypsy Taub, George Davis, Trey Allen and Dany DeVero were detained and cited by police after they stripped down in front of City Hall on a mild and sunny afternoon. A handful of other nudity proponents, some topless, carried signs and hurled insults at the dozen police officers who led the full-frontal offenders away.

"Freedom of expression is dead in this country," Davis shouted as he was taken into a police van.

The nudity ban went into effect Friday. On Tuesday, a federal judge dismissed a lawsuit filed by nudity activists who said outlawing public genital exposure violated their First Amendment rights.

Arrow Down

Faith healer convicted of sexually abusing clients pleads case

Faith Healer
© The Sudbury Star
When Trina Breault began to suffer from chronic pain, she tried everything to make it go away. She talked to every specialist she could find and tried every treatment they recommended.

When nothing seemed to work, she turned to Claude Provencher, a self-proclaimed faith healer with offices in Sudbury and New Liskeard. Provencher has said he believes he has a God-given gift to heal people with a touch of his hands.

A family friend recommended Provencher to Breault, who did not advertise his services.

"I had been told he had these special gifts from God," Breault said. "Some had even referred to him as being God's second son."

Breault said the sessions, which lasted about 30 minutes and cost $40 a pop, got progressively more uncomfortable. "You're expected to get naked and you would lay on a table," she said. "You weren't covered. You were exposed."

It was the last session, Breault said, when Provencher crossed the line. Breault had asked for her husband to be present for the session. She said that upset Provencher, "and (he) ranted at me."

After that meeting, she pressed charges of sexual assault.

On Jan. 21, Provencher was convicted of six counts of sexual assault and 22 counts of breach of recognizance and probation at the Superior Court in Haileybury. He will be sentenced May 27.

Cult

Radio host: Women on birth control pill have wombs 'embedded' with 'little tiny fetuses'

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© Shutterstock
Conservative radio host Kevin Swanson claimed Friday that "certain doctors and certain scientists that have done research on women's wombs after they've gone through the surgery" found "little tiny fetuses" were "embedded" into the wombs of women on birth control pills, according to Right Wing Watch.

But his guest - who made an anti-contraception documentary, Birth Control: How Did We Get Here? - wouldn't say that he agreed, only, "We've actually heard on both sides of that. We're researching that and want to make sure we speak correctly to that in our second film. But we have medical advice on both sides of the table there, so we want to make sure that we communicate that properly."

Some antiabortion advocates claim that birth control can prevent fertilized eggs from implantation, which they say means it is an abortofacient.

Question

Missing Irish millionaire found after eight months with 'thief' reportedly carved in forehead

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Kevin McGeever, 68, was reported missing in June 2012.
Tycoon found wandering dazed in road in County Leitrim, claiming to have been thrown out of van by kidnappers

The dishevelled and emaciated figure standing in the middle of the road did not look like a millionaire. Barefoot, with long hair and an unkempt beard, the man looked more like a vagrant than the missing property tycoon he was.

When Catherine Vallely stopped her car after spotting him in the middle of the road, she had initially thought the outline of the scrawny figure ahead of her was a traffic cone. "He had red trousers that made me think it was a cone in the middle of the road," she said.

But this roadside debris turned out to be Kevin McGeever, an Irish property developer who went missing more than eight months ago and had not been heard from since June last year, when he was reported missing in County Galway by his partner, Siobhan O'Callaghan.

When Vallely and her partner Peter Rehill picked him up on the Leitrim-Cavan border, he had a one-word insult - reported to be "thief" - carved into his forehead. He told them that three men had thrown him out of a van.

Stock Down

French employment minister declares France 'totally bankrupt'

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French Employment Minister Michel Sapin
French Employment Minister has questioned the economic policies of President Francois Hollande, admitting that the European country is "totally bankrupt."

Michel Sapin's remarks were made during a radio interview on Tuesday, where he also warned against Hollande's controversial "tax and spend" policy, which has made many high-profile people move abroad.

"There is a state but it is a totally bankrupt state," said Sapin, adding, "That is why we had to put a deficit reduction plan in place, and nothing should make us turn away from that objective."

France's Finance Minister Pierre Moscovici gave an immediate response saying the remarks were 'inappropriate.'

Meanwhile, a recent poll in the French daily Le Figaro showed that 80 percent of the population agree with Sapin's viewpoint.

Comment: The question then is: how do we square up 'bankruptcy' with 'humanitarian intervention' in North Africa?

The only plausible conclusion is that the French government is leading the assault in North Africa because it wants a share of the spoils of war.


Cell Phone

Twitter says hackers compromise 250K accounts

Twitter
© Alamy
San Fransisco - Twitter confirmed Friday that it had become the latest victim in a number of high-profile cyber-attacks against media companies, saying that hackers may have gained access to information on 250,000 of its more than 200 million active users.

The social media giant said in a blog posting that earlier this week it detected attempts to gain access to its user data. It shut down one attack moments after it was detected.

But it discovered that the attackers may have stolen user names, email addresses and encrypted passwords belonging to 250,000 users. Twitter reset the pilfered passwords and sent emails advising affected users.

The online attack comes on the heels of recent hacks into the computer systems of U.S. media and technology companies, including The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal. Both American newspapers reported this week that their computer systems had been infiltrated by China-based hackers, likely to monitor media coverage the Chinese government deems important.

China has been accused of mounting a widespread, aggressive cyber-spying campaign for several years, trying to steal classified information and corporate secrets and to intimidate critics. The Chinese foreign ministry could not be reached for comment Saturday, but the Chinese government has said those accusations are baseless and that China itself is a victim of cyber-attacks.

"Chinese law forbids hacking and any other actions that damage Internet security," the Chinese Defense Ministry recently said. "The Chinese military has never supported any hacking activities."

Although Bob Lord, Twitter's director of information security said in the blog that the attack "was not the work of amateurs, and we do not believe it was an isolated incident."

Red Flag

Elyse Cromwell, New Jersey teacher, accused of having sex with 14-year-old student

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A 27-year-old Newark, N.J., English teacher has been arrested and charged with aggravated sexual assault and endangering the welfare of a child in an allegedly ongoing sexual relationship with a 14-year-old student.

Elyse Cromwell is accused of having sex with the boy on multiple occasions over last summer in Jersey City, Hudson County Assistant Prosecutor Gene Rubino told the New Jersey Star-Ledger.

According to a criminal complaint obtained by the Jersey Journal, Cromwell "performed prohibited sexual acts" on the male student, who is now 15, "while acting in the position of said victim's homeroom and English teacher."

Bizarro Earth

Oregon Walmart worker disciplined for attempting to help distraught puppy

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Reports have surfaced that a worker at an Oregon Walmart was sent home and possibly even terminated after attempting to care for a puppy that had wandered into the store.

The female worker apparently tried to help the puppy, who was reported to be "obviously scared and hungry and cold" after it walked into Walmart Supercenter Store #1817.

Unfortuntaely, the worker's actions didn't fly with her manager, Ken. According to The Examiner, Ken told her she needed to "put the puppy back outside." When the woman attempted to call a rescue group to pick the dog up, the manager "told her she was 'disgusting' for holding the puppy in a check stand." Ken then allegedly told the employee to "get out."

Bizarro Earth

Indiana murderer mistakenly released by Chicago authorities

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© Cook County Sheriff's Office/AP
This photo provided by the Cook County Sheriff's Office shows Steven L. Robbins, a convicted murderer police in Indiana and Illinois are searching for after he was mistakenly released from custody in Chicago.
A dragnet has been launched for a convicted murderer serving a 60 year prison term who was mistakenly released from a Chicago jail this week.

Steven Robbins, 44, was convicted of shooting a man in 2002 in Indiana when the man tried to intervene in a fight Robbins was having with his wife. The dead man, Rutland Melton, scolded Robbins telling him he should not hit a woman. Robbins shot Melton in the chest.