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Something rotten in France? Trial of 70 parents caught prostituting and raping their own children in Idyllic Angers

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© Franck Prevel / AP
France was shocked by the involvement of mothers in the abuse
Angers embodies everything the world loves about France. Water gushes from stone cherubs on its Beaux Arts fountains as mothers sit in the sun, watching their small children spin gleefully on a painted carousel, to the sounds of My Boy Lollipop. Picture-perfect vineyards announce the town's current prosperity; a Gothic cathedral and 13th century chateau commemorate its noble past. Just 265 km from Paris, the gateway to the bucolic Loire Valley, Angers offers four museums, a feast of theater and music, and canoeing on nearby Maine Lake. "This isn't the overcrowded Paris suburbs," sniffs Angers' deputy prosecutor Hervé Lollic. "This is a place of fine wine and history; calm and quiet." The official town website boasts that this is an excellent place to raise a family, too.

Yet what occurred here between 1999 and 2002, years when surveys named Angers as one of the best places to live in France, has horrified the nation. In what could become the biggest French criminal proceeding ever, 39 men and 27 women went on trial last month for involvement in a massive prostitution trade of 45 children - many of them their own. At least 26 men and 13 women are accused of directly prostituting and raping girls and boys, some of whom were still in kindergarten. Prosecutors say that over three years, some 21 couples traded their children for cash, groceries and, in one case, a new car tire. According to prosecutors, Marine V., a pretty blond girl who's now 9, was just one of the victims. She was allegedly raped by about 30 men, including neighbors, uncles, her father and grandfather. Marine's mother acted as banker, allege prosecutors, collecting envelopes full of cash.

Butterfly

Computer Legend and Gaming Pioneer Jack Tramiel Dies at Age 83

Tramiel
© Wikipedia
Jack Tramiel founder of Commodore International, speaking at the C64 25th Anniversary.
Jack Tramiel, founder of Commodore International and crucial figure in the early history of personal computing, passed away surrounded by his family on Sunday, his family confirms. He was 83 years old.

Tramiel was born in Poland to a Jewish family in 1928. During World War II, he and his family were sent to Auschwitz, after which he and his father were sent to a labor camp called Ahlem, near Hannover. Tramiel was rescued in April 1945 and emigrated to the United States in 1947.

In America, Tramiel started a typewriter repair business. Staying in the forefront of technology, his typewriters morphed into calculators, and later computers. In 1982, Commodore International launched the Commodore 64, which went on to the best-selling personal computer of all time. In 1984, after being forced to leave the company he founded, Jack bought the crumbling Atari Inc.'s Consumer Division and formed Atari Corporation.

Comment: History remembers Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Paul Allen, Steven Wozniak, Gordon Moore, and Steve Ballmer. History has forgotten Chuck Peddle, Jack Tramiel, and Irving Gould. And that's how the winners have written it for the last 25 years. Steve Jobs has been so brazen that he was claiming to be selling the #1 computer on the market when in fact the Apple II had less than 1/10th the market of the Commodore VIC-20. Hollywood has released revisionist tales such as Pirates of Silicon Valley which completely left out the world's largest computer maker during the time of the movie.


Heart - Black

In Fallujah Those Laboratory Mice Were Children

child in Basra fighting leukaemia
© Karlos Zurutuza/IPS
One among an unusually high number of children in Basra fighting leukaemia.
At Fallujah hospital they cannot offer any statistics on children born with birth defects - there are just too many. Parents don't want to talk. "Families bury their newborn babies after they die without telling anyone," says hospital spokesman Nadim al-Hadidi. "It's all too shameful for them."

"We recorded 672 cases in January but we know there were many more," says Hadidi. He projects pictures on to a wall at his office: children born with no brain, no eyes, or with the intestines out of their body.

Facing a frozen image of a child born without limbs, Hadidi says parents' feelings usually range between shame and guilt. "They think it's their fault, that there's something wrong with them. And it doesn't help at all when some elder tells them it's been 'god's punishment'."

The pictures are difficult to look at. And, those responsible for all this have closed their eyes.

"In 2004 the Americans tested all kinds of chemicals and explosive devices on us: thermobaric weapons, white phosphorous, depleted uranium...we have all been laboratory mice for them," says Hadidi, turning off the projector.

Pistol

Man with same gun used in Toulouse shootings scares Paris metro commuters

Police in Paris on Friday arrested a man who took out a pistol and threatened commuters on one of the capital's busiest Metro lines, ligne 13. The 30-year-old unidentified man of Moroccan origin, was detained by police mid-morning between Metro stations Saint-Denis Basilique and Université.

According to an official source, he pulled out a Colt 45 and began to threaten a passenger saying "I am Mohamed Merah and I am going to kill you" in reference to the young Islamist killed by police in Toulouse three weeks ago after the murder of seven people.

The gun did not appear to be loaded, but the man was carrying two rounds of ammunition and was described as "not being in full possession of his mental faculties".

Disaster was avoided when one of the passengers pulled the emergency cord and the man used the opportunity to escape into a train tunnel where he was eventually caught by police.

The man, who refused at first to reveal his identity, is already known to the authorities in connection with a number of petty crimes.

Bad Guys

Man Denies Sex Abuse in Rochdale Trial

A Rochdale man is denying having sex with an underage girl and attacked his accuser for holding a grudge against him.

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© Unknown
DENIED: Abdul Rauf denies charges.
Abdul Rauf, 43, a father-of-five, is on trial with ten other men at Liverpool Crown Court charged with conspiring to engage children in sexual activity and being part of a child exploitation ring.

Rauf repeatedly dismissed accusations of having sex up to 30 times with a girl, who is one of five alleged victims between 13 and 15 who were given alcohol, food and money in return for sex.

The victim said she had sex with Rauf '10, 20, 30, times', the court heard. Rauf told the court: "No, no. That's not true. I never had sex with her."

Giving evidence on Tuesday, he told the jury he arrived in Rochdale from Pakistan in 1993 and began working as a religious studies teacher at a mosque.

Bizarro Earth

Australian Mother Shares Sexual Abuse Footage With Sex Ring

An Australian woman, 31, who sexually abused her two children and broadcast the sex acts on the Internet has been sentenced to a minimum of 13 years in jail.

An Australia woman who sexually abused her two children and broadcast the sex acts on the Internet has been sentenced to a minimum of 13 years in jail.

According to the Australian Broadcasting Authority, she was part of an international network of parents who carried out sex acts on their own children and often posted them on the Internet.

The woman, 31, carried out the sex acts against her son, 12, and daughter, 11, during a span of more than six months in 2010 in the Central Coast, an urban region in New South Wales north of Sydney, the Newcastle Herald reported.

Bad Guys

Number of Victims Doubles in Oxford Child Sex Ring

A suspected sex trafficking ring in which girls as young as 11 were allegedly targeted was far larger than previously feared, according to police.

As many as 50 young girls have come forward claiming to have been sold for sex in Oxford, detective confirmed today.

It was originally thought that 24 girls, aged between 11 and 16 years, were the only victims but more youngsters have since contacted the police alleging they were also victims.
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© INS
Last-minute preparations: Police prepare to carry out the raid in connection with the sex abuse ring, over which 13 men have been questioned.

Eye 2

Norwegian Mass Killer Anders Breivik to Argue 'Self-Defense' When Trial Begins Monday

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© Heiko Junge/AP
P s y c h o p a t h
Norwegian mass killer Anders Behring Breivik plans to argue that his July 2011 shooting spree -- in which he killed 77 people, most of them teenagers -- was carried out in self-defense when his trial begins Monday.

The 33-year-old, who has a strong desire to be judged as sane, according to one of his lawyers, is looking forward to detailing why he carried out his bloody spree in downtown Oslo and at a political youth camp on nearby Utoya Island, Dagbladet newspaper reported.

"He wants to explain everything with why he did what he did," lawyer Tord Jordet said. "It's a pretty long and complicated explanation, with lots of historical elements, experiences from his own life and political persuasions. It is not easy to explain in a concise manner."

He said the notion that the attack was carried out in "preventative self-defense" was important to Mr Breivik.

Bug

'Black Widow' Sentenced to Death in Japan

Kanae Kijima
© Agence France-Presse
Kanae Kijima
A Japanese "black widow" who killed three men after dating them for their money was sentenced to death on Friday in a case known by the name of the female spider that eats its partner after mating.

Kanae Kijima, 37, was convicted of murdering the three men, aged 41, 53 and 80, whom she met through Internet dating sites.

Kijima, who has a past as a paid-for mistress, killed the men by poisoning them with carbon monoxide from burning charcoal briquettes after giving them sleeping tablets.

Saitama district court heard how she had wanted to stop them from demanding back money she had taken from them over the course of brief relationships.

"Three times she carried out extremely serious and vicious crimes," presiding judge Kazuyuki Ohkuma said.

The thick-set Kijima, who according to media reports appeared in court wearing a short skirt, committed the crimes "in order to maintain her luxurious life full of vainglory without working", the judge said.

Eye 1

'Millionaire Matchmaker' Contestant Pleads Guilty to Fraud

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© Florida Mugshots
Michael A. Prozer III
Michael A. Prozer told matchmaker Patti Stanger he was worth hundreds of millions of dollars, now he faces years in jail


This may come as a shock but reality TV isn't always as real as it may seem.

One of the "millionaires" who appeared on Bravo's hit show The Millionaire Matchmaker in 2009 has pleaded guilty to bank fraud among other charges and he is definitely not worth a million dollars.

Michael A. Prozer III obtained a $3 million loan just months before his television appearance by pretending he had millions of dollars in other banks.

The Tampa resident was on trial and while the lawyers were picking a jury, he presented his open plea.

Prozer's lawyer told the Tampa Bay Times his client decided to make the plea because the risk of losing was too great.