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Sun, 29 Jan 2023
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High tech internet scam defrauds dozens

Dozens of people who sold hi-tech items on the internet site leboncoin.fr have been defrauded in a complex scam that involved fake PayPal accounts, a fake job and a fake British company linked to traders in Ghana.

The fraud was discovered by police in Brest after a woman living at the other end of the country complained that she had not been paid for a tablet computer she had sold on the site. The woman, from Saint-Raphael in the Var, said she had sent the tablet to an address in Brest but the PayPal payment she got in return was from a false account.

Police discovered that the Var complaint was just one of many and each person had sent the items to the same address in Brest. They raided the address and discovered a woman who said she had been hired just a fortnight previously to post the goods to Ghana.


French police seek a nicer image

Gendarmes in the Var have decided to go for a friendlier image by warning of road checks via a Facebook page.

The Gendarmerie du Var Facebook page, which has 2,140 "likes", is a "way of being a bit nicer [sympa]", said the brigade's chief Colonel Damien Choutet.

Last Friday, for example, officers posted that "with the good weather back again, and this weekend a lot of coming and going for the All Saints' holiday, we suggest you take care on the roads. We'll obviously be checking on speed, with lots of checks in places like Saint-Maximin, Le Luc, Roquebrune-sur-Argens or La Londe-des-Maures".

Alarm Clock

Minnesota officials: Starving of boy 'egregious'

Minneapolis -- Officials are asking a judge to terminate the parental rights of a Minnesota couple accused of starving one of their four children, saying the 8-year-old boy suffered egregious harm and it's not in the best interest of any child to be in their care.

The boy, who weighed less than 35 pounds last month, was released from the hospital Wednesday, Mayo Clinic officials said Thursday. He's now in foster care, and his siblings remain with their parents, Russell and Mona Hauer.

The Hauers, of North Mankato, are charged with six felonies, including neglect and malicious punishment of a child. Authorities said they spanked the boy with a 2-by-4, made him sleep in a sled because he wet the bed and put an alarm on his door so he would not steal food. He was given a bucket to urinate in, and was taken outside to be hosed off on some mornings, the complaint said.

"He was treated like an animal," said Nicollet County Sheriff's Investigator Marc Chadderdon.

Eye 1

Murdered British businessman Neil Heywood 'was MI6 informant'

© REUTERS/China.org.cn
British businessman Neil Heywood poses for a photograph at a gallery in Beijing, in this handout picture dated April 12, 2011.
Neil Heywood, the 41-year-old British businessman who was murdered in China, had been providing information to the British secret service, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Heywood, who drove around Beijing with a "007″ licence plate, had been giving information to MI6 about top politician Bo Xilai for about a year before he died, according to the newspaper.

Bo's wife, Gu Kailai, was sentenced to death for Heywood's murder in August, although her execution was suspended. Heywood's initial cause of death in November 2011 was listed as alcohol poisoning, but at her trial, Gu admitted to poisoning him.

Bo was the Communist Party chief of the southwestern city of Chongqing and a leading contender for the leadership of China. His former police chief, Wang Lijun, has also been jailed over Heywood's death.

Black Cat

Mobster's murder may be start of bloody Mafia war in Montreal

© Postmedia news files
Legendary mobster Joe Di Maulo, left, who was murdered at the weekend.
Giuseppe "Joe" Di Maulo, a venerable lion of the Montreal Mafia, was an amazing acrobat, or so went an unkind joke among mob hangers-on, although usually said in whispers. It was not because of any prowess in gymnastics but his ability to be so flexible - his speed at flipping to support a winning side.

Mr. Di Maulo's ability to spot and back a winner may have backfired Sunday night when someone killed him outside his large home in a suburb of Montreal, on a street nestled in the woods of a well-manicured golf course, where almost every home has a swimming pool.

And while the death of Mr. Di Maulo, 70, ended the life of a legendary mobster, it is the prospect of his murder being the beginning of something more that most concerns police.

It is precisely one month since Vito Rizzuto, long the overlord of organized crime in Montreal, returned to Canada from a U.S. prison, where he served eight years for three racketeering murders.


Australia abandons Internet filter proposal after public outcry

Labor was forced to abandon its promised mandatory internet filter because it would never have worked and would not have got through parliament, opposition communications spokesman Malcolm Turnbull says.

Communications Minister Stephen Conroy has abandoned the proposed filter five years after it was promised by Labor, following an outcry from civil libertarians and technology businesses.

Senator Conroy had not reinvented himself as a libertarian, "he's just been obliged to recognise reality", Mr Turnbull said.

"It was always a bad idea," he told The Australian.

"It would never have been effective. It would have just given parents a false sense of security. There is no substitute for parents taking responsibility for their children.

"It's an overdue acknowledgment that they don't have the numbers in either house to get their legislation through."

Che Guevara

100,000 clash with police in Athens; Greece could descend into civil war, says analyst

Greece risks sliding into a civil war, unless officials in Athens follow Iceland's example and default on the country's loans, journalist Charlie McGrath told RT.

­Charlie McGrath from Wide Awake News says Greece needs to admit to bankruptcy and start fresh from scratch.

"The financial health is not going to change in the country until they realize that they are in default - that they are bankrupt - and tell the banks that are holding their debt, and the European Union and the ECB, that they're going to default," he stressed.

Che Guevara

Protests explode in Athens as Greek austerity measures passed

© Dimitri Messinis/AP
Whoa! A riot police officer engulfed in flames after protesters fight back outside parliament.
Petrol bombs thrown and teargas and water cannons used during protests as draconian cuts pass narrowly

It came after a night of rain, tear gas and clashes. But after four months of tortuous negotiations and a rancorous parliamentary debate, the Greek parliament finally announced late on Wednesday night that it had passed the most draconian package yet of austerity measures needed to keep Europe's weakest economy afloat.

Following heady scenes inside and outside the 300-seat house, 153 MPs supported the €13.5bn (£10.8bn) package in a vote that will be remembered as perhaps the most electrifying in the history of the three-year Greek debt crisis.

Approval of the spending cuts, tax rises and labour reforms was given with a weakened majority - seven rebels voted against the measures - but on trade markets around the world there were signs of relief. Mandarins in Brussels said the ballot would pave the way to the release of €31.5bn in EU and IMF sponsored rescue funds - desperately needed to keep bankruptcy at bay.

Heart - Black

Piedmont mom gets $2,500 ticket after son, 3, urinates in front yard

© 9 News
Dillan decided to be a big boy, stop what he was doing and pee in the yard so he wouldn't wet his pull-up.
Oklahoma - A 3 year old gets his mom in trouble with the law when he gets a ticket from police. Now the little boy's mother will have to pay thousands of dollars for what the toddler did in their own front yard.

Dillan is being potty trained. His mother says he wasn't playing outside and wasn't near the facilities, so he unzipped.

News 9 was told before he could pee, a Piedmont police officer stopped him. It's a bathroom break that cost mom $2,500.

"Dillan pulled down his pants to pee outside. I guess and the cop pulled up and asked for my license and told me he was going to give me a ticket for public urination," the boy's mother, Ashley Warden, said.

"I said really, he is 3 years old, and he said it doesn't matter," said Dillan's grandmother, Jennifer Warden. "[He said] It is public urination. I said we are on our property and he said it's in public view."

Cloud Lightning

Naomi Klein: Superstorm Sandy - a people's shock?

© AP Photo/Craig Ruttle
Rockaway resident Christine Walker walks along the beach under what is left of the boardwalk in the borough of Queens, New York, Monday, November 5, 2012, in the wake of Superstorm Sandy.
Seizing the climate crisis to demand a truly populist agenda

Less than three days after Sandy made landfall on the East Coast of the United States, Iain Murray of the Competitive Enterprise Institute blamed New Yorkers' resistance to big-box stores for the misery they were about to endure. Writing on Forbes.com, he explained that the city's refusal to embrace Walmart will likely make the recovery much harder: "Mom-and-pop stores simply can't do what big stores can in these circumstances," he wrote.

And the preemptive scapegoating didn't stop there. He also warned that if the pace of reconstruction turned out to be sluggish (as it so often is) then "pro-union rules such as the Davis-Bacon Act" would be to blame, a reference to the statute that requires workers on public-works projects to be paid not the minimum wage, but the prevailing wage in the region.

The same day, Frank Rapoport, a lawyer representing several billion-dollar construction and real estate contractors, jumped in to suggest that many of those public works projects shouldn't be public at all. Instead, cash-strapped governments should turn to "public private partnerships," known as "P3s." That means roads, bridges and tunnels being rebuilt by private companies, which, for instance, could install tolls and keep the profits.