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Tue, 26 May 2020
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Media floods Berlusconi sex trial

Ruby

Moroccan pole dancer Karima El Mahroug, also known as Ruby, denies that Silvio Berlusconi had sex with her while she was still underage.
The trial of Italian prime minister and media mogul Silvio Berlusconi on charges of sex with an underage prostitute and abuse of power opened Wednesday and was rapidly adjourned as throngs of journalists and international TV crews crowded the Milan courthouse.

Neither Berlusconi nor Moroccan pole dancer Karima El Mahroug, known as Ruby, attended the first hearing of one of Italy's most anticipated courtroom events, which the judge postponed until May 31.

Prosecutors in the case, which touches tangentially on Berlusconi's Mediaset TV empire, accuse the TV-tycoon-turned-politician of paying for sex with Mahroug when she was 17.

The alleged sexual encounters supposedly took place at Berlusconi's villa at Arcore, outside Milan, during sex parties attended by dozens of women, some of whom were aspiring TV starlets, according to local reports.

Laptop

Georgian Woman Cuts off Web Access to Whole of Armenia

internet interruption
© turn2-10.com
Entire country loses internet for five hours after woman, 75, slices through cable while scavenging for copper

An elderly Georgian woman was scavenging for copper to sell as scrap when she accidentally sliced through an underground cable and cut off internet services to all of neighbouring Armenia, it emerged on Wednesday.

The woman, 75, had been digging for the metal not far from the capital Tbilisi when her spade damaged the fibre-optic cable on 28 March.

As Georgia provides 90% of Armenia's internet, the woman's unwitting sabotage had catastrophic consequences. Web users in the nation of 3.2 million people were left twiddling their thumbs for up to five hours as the country's main internet providers - ArmenTel, FiberNet Communication and GNC-Alfa - were prevented from supplying their normal service. Television pictures showed reporters at a news agency in the capital Yerevan staring glumly at blank screens.

Nuke

South Korea shuts schools amid Japan radiation fears

Image
© Ahn Young-joon / AP
South Korean students holding umbrellas go home amid fears that the rain may contain radioactive materials from the crippled nuclear reactors in Japan at Midong elementary school in Seoul, South Korea, on Thursday.
Dozens of schools in South Korea closed Thursday amid concerns about radioactive fallout from Japan's nuclear disaster.

Classes were canceled or shortened at more than 150 schools as rain fell across the country.

Authorities said radiation levels in the rain posed no health threat.

However, school boards across the country - Japan's closest neighbor - advised principals to use their discretion in scrapping outdoor activities to address concerns among parents, an education official said.

"We've sent out an official communication today that schools should try to refrain from outdoor activities," the official added.

Pistol

Gunman opens fire in Brazil school; 11 dead

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© Victor R. Caivano/AP
Parents of children at the school where a gunman killed at least 12 gather outside Thursday in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Rio De Janeiro - A gunman opened fire Thursday in a public elementary school in Rio de Janeiro, killing at least 10 people before taking his own life, officials said.

The dead included nine children between the ages of 12 and 14, the O Globo news website in Rio de Janeiro reported.

The gunman, identified as Wellington Menezes de Oliveira, was a 23-year-old former student at the school.

O Globo reported the gunman was shot by police in the leg and then killed himself with a shot to the head.

Officials told O Globo that 18 children were hospitalized after Thursday's shooting.

The man left a letter explaining his actions, O Globo said, including a reference that he had contracted the AIDS virus. Other details were not immediately available.

Initial reports said the gunman had killed at least 12 people but that was later corrected by officials to 10.

Bizarro Earth

Couple's Honeymoon Covers Cyclones, Fires, Floods, Quakes and a Nuclear Disaster

People queue for hours in downtown Sendai
© AP
People queue for hours in downtown Sendai, Japan after the massive earthquake
Couple endures nightmare honeymoon- Happy to be home safe at last

A Swedish couple are glad to be safely home after completing their four-month honeymoon trip - which took in the sights of a blizzard in Munich, a cyclone in Cairns, bushfires in Perth, floods in Queensland, an earthquake in New Zealand and then a nuclear disaster in Japan.

Stefan and Erika Svanstrom set out - along with their baby girl, Elinor - on December 6, following their November wedding, and were immediately stranded in Munich, Germany, due to snow from a so-called "storm of the century".

The 32-year-old bride told The London Times that despite the rocky start, the couple thought "things will get better. We're in love. And just think of the beaches we're heading for in southeast Asia."

Life Preserver

Woman plunges into icy North Sea during dramatic cruise ship rescue

cruise passenger in sea
© Colin Prescott
The moment the cruise passenger was accidentally dropped into the sea, captured on camera by Champion reader Colin Prescott
A Burscough couple were among the horrified witnesses of a bungled cruise ship rescue in freezing waters off the coast of Norway.

Colin Prescott, of Langdale Drive told The Champion that he and his wife Sheila were passengers on the Ocean Princess when a sick British woman being taken off the ship by Norwegian emergency crews was dropped on her stretcher into the icy sea.

Mr Prescott said: "The vessels, which hadn't been latched together, suddenly moved apart by several feet just as they were transferring her, which caused the rescue crews to drop the stretcher into the sea.

"We'd been told the sea was about minus three degrees that day. The rescue boat came back round to pick her up and she was taken to hospital, but she was in the water for about eight minutes or so, and I really want to find out whether she's okay."

Mr Prescott said that he and his wife had travelled on the Ocean Princess from Hull on March 20 to fulfill a lifetime ambition see Norway and the Northern Lights, which he described as "an unforgettable experience".

Newspaper

Quebec, Canada: Police comb icy river for signs of missing boy

Adam

Adam Benhamma is seen in this undated handout photo
A search for a missing autistic boy remains focused on a part of the Mille Iles River, near a waterfront property where three-year-old Adam Benhamama was last seen alive.

Police increasingly suspect that the young boy, who is also unable to speak or hear, fell into the river after he went missing on the weekend.

Benhamama was playing outside with his sister at a home of a family friend in Laval, Que., whom the two siblings were visiting with their father.

The boy slipped out of sight during a game of hide-and-seek while his father was momentarily inside the house.

The boy's absence was quickly reported to police, who brought in dogs, ATVs, extra officers and eventually divers to try to find him.

Bad Guys

Teens who killed classmate are psychopaths, sexual sadists, court heard

VICTORIA - The teen killers who raped and murdered 18-year-old Kimberly Proctor are psychopaths and sexual sadists with little or no capacity for remorse and almost no chance of rehabilitation in the next 25 to 30 years, various psychologists and psychiatrists testified at their trial.

Kruse Wellwood, 17, and Cameron Moffat, 18, were sentenced this week to life in prison with no chance of parole for at least 10 years for killing Proctor, whose charred remains were discovered on a popular Victoria-area hiking trail on March 19, 2010, one day after her family reported her missing.

The disturbing details of her death, and the twisted young minds that planned and carried out the horrific slaying, emerged after a publication ban was lifted in the case.

Documents released by the court Wednesday include transcripts of police interviews, in which Moffat describes how he and his friend bound Proctor's ankles and wrists with duct tape and then took turns sexually assaulting her.

"If you're gonna restrain anything you know, like, um, shackles in prison you know," Moffat tells RCMP interrogator Martin D'Anjou. "Legs and arms and like, when you hog-tie a hog, you use ex-... extremities."

During a long interview in which Moffatt is too immature to even say out loud what he did to the young woman, he later tells the officer he sat in the living room watching TV while Wellwood beat and sexually assaulted her in another room.

"I went and sat in the living room just, the TV was on and, just sittin' there wholeheartedly... tryin' to forget what's happening and uh, watching the TV," Moffat said.

Alarm Clock

Of the 1%, by the 1%, for the 1%

Image
© Unknown
The Fat and the Furious: The top 1 percent may have the best houses, educations, and lifestyles, says the author, but “their fate is bound up with how the other 99 percent live.”
Americans have been watching protests against oppressive regimes that concentrate massive wealth in the hands of an elite few. Yet in our own democracy, 1 percent of the people take nearly a quarter of the nation's income - an inequality even the wealthy will come to regret.

It's no use pretending that what has obviously happened has not in fact happened. The upper 1 percent of Americans are now taking in nearly a quarter of the nation's income every year. In terms of wealth rather than income, the top 1 percent control 40 percent. Their lot in life has improved considerably. Twenty-five years ago, the corresponding figures were 12 percent and 33 percent. One response might be to celebrate the ingenuity and drive that brought good fortune to these people, and to contend that a rising tide lifts all boats. That response would be misguided. While the top 1 percent have seen their incomes rise 18 percent over the past decade, those in the middle have actually seen their incomes fall. For men with only high-school degrees, the decline has been precipitous - 12 percent in the last quarter-century alone. All the growth in recent decades - and more - has gone to those at the top. In terms of income equality, America lags behind any country in the old, ossified Europe that President George W. Bush used to deride. Among our closest counterparts are Russia with its oligarchs and Iran. While many of the old centers of inequality in Latin America, such as Brazil, have been striving in recent years, rather successfully, to improve the plight of the poor and reduce gaps in income, America has allowed inequality to grow.

Bizarro Earth

The Peasants Need Pitchforks

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© Associated Press/Jason deCrow
Protesters yell at people looking out from the windows of an AIG building in New York during a 2009 rally against government bailouts for corporations.
A "working class hero," John Lennon told us in his song of that title, "is something to be/ Keep you doped with religion and sex and TV/ And you think you're so clever and classless and free/ But you're still fucking peasants as far as I can see."

The delusion of a classless America in which opportunity is equally distributed is the most effective deception perpetrated by the moneyed elite that controls all the key levers of power in what passes for our democracy. It is a myth blown away by Nobel Prize winner Joseph E. Stiglitz in the current issue of Vanity Fair. In an article titled "Of the 1%, by the 1%, for the 1%", Stiglitz states that the top thin layer of the superwealthy controls 40 percent of all wealth in what is now the most sharply class-divided of all developed nations: "Americans have been watching protests against repressive regimes that concentrate massive wealth in the hands of an elite few. Yet, in our own democracy, 1 percent of the people take nearly a quarter of the nation's income - an inequality even the wealthy will come to regret."