Saturday, January 11, 2003

News Feed 20111225

»Christmas Day Massacre at Grapevine Apartment
»Woman Files Fake Rape Report on Lover When Husband Finds She’s Cheating
Europe and the EU
»Cyprus to Privatize the Stock Exchange, FinMin Says
»Turin Declared Italy’s Most ‘Sustainable’ City
North Africa
»Tunisia: Yazaki Closes Factory in Om Larayès
Middle East
»Iranian Woman to Face Death by Stoning or Hanging
Sub-Saharan Africa
»Clashes in Nigeria Leaves More Than 60 Dead


Christmas Day Massacre at Grapevine Apartment

GRAPEVINE (AP) — Seven people believed to be related had opened their Christmas gifts and started cleaning up the wrapping paper when they were shot to death in a suburban Texas apartment, police said Sunday.

Authorities said they believe the shooter is among the dead, but got a warrant before doing a full search on the small chance that it was otherwise.

Four women and three men, aged 18 to 60, were found in an adjoining kitchen and living room area when police entered the apartment around midday, said Police Sgt. Robert Eberling. Two handguns were found near the bodies in the apartment that was decorated for the holiday with a tree, he added.

“It appears they had just celebrated Christmas. They had opened their gifts,” Eberling said.

The victims have not yet been identified, but Eberling said it appears they all died of gunshot wounds. He said authorities still don’t know what sparked the incident.

Grapevine Police Lt. Todd Dearing said investigators believe that all the victims were related, but that some were only visiting and didn’t live in the apartment. He said police are looking for other relatives to inform.

“Seven people in one setting in Grapevine, that’s never happened before. Ever,” Dearing said.

He said police were performing a “meticulous” search of the apartment and he expects them to be on the scene for many hours.

Police and firefighters first rushed to the Lincoln Vineyards complex after receiving an open-ended emergency services call at about 11:30 a.m., Eberling said.

“There was an open line. No one was saying anything,” he explained.

So police went into the apartment, located in a middle-class, suburban neighborhood of Grapevine, not far from the upscale Fort Worth neighborhood of Colleyville…

[Return to headlines]

Woman Files Fake Rape Report on Lover When Husband Finds She’s Cheating

A woman in Fort Myers, Florida, hoped to cover her tracks and appease her angry husband by telling police her lover — her husband’s best friend — had raped her.

But now 18-year-old Jody Mary Ryan is the one in jail, arrested on a charge of making a false police report, after investigators discovered her sex assault claims were bogus, cops said.

Ryan later confessed her husband, 27-year-old Mahmoud Koush, put her up to making the phoney claims when he found out about about the extra-marital tryst. It was his way of getting back at his adulterous pal.

           — Hat tip: Nilk[Return to headlines]

Europe and the EU

Cyprus to Privatize the Stock Exchange, FinMin Says

(ANSAmed) — NICOSIA, DECEMBER 23 — Nicosia’s government will turn the state-controlled Cyprus Stock Exchange (CSE) into a company, as a first step towards privatization, daily Famagusta Gazette reported quoting minister of Finance Kikis Kazamias as saying. “The Council of Ministers adopted Wednesday the Finance Ministry’s proposal that will proceed with the change in the law on the Stock Exchange,” he said, adding that initially the state will be the sole shareholder but gradually the CSE will be privatized. According to Kazamias, the CSE is the only state-controlled Bourse in Europe. The Minister said that the Parliament approved the law creating a state-controlled CSE in the 90s as there were no safeguard clauses for its correct supervision. “Today we have a supervising authority which performs its duties in an exemplary manner and we cannot be the pan-European exception,” he went on to say. Concluding, Kazamias said he will send letters notifying the CSE Chairman of the Board, its administration, as well as the staff unions of the government decision, adding the staff jobs will be secured.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Turin Declared Italy’s Most ‘Sustainable’ City

Praise for good public transport, car- and bike-sharing schemes

(ANSA) — Rome, December 21 — Turin has been declared Italy’s most environmentally sustainable city.

The northern metropolis came top of a ranking compiled by the Euromobility association ahead of Venice in second place and Milan in third.

The capital Rome came 20th out of the 50 cities surveyed by Euromobility, while the southern cities of Campobasso and Foggia came bottom.

Turin prevailed thanks to its good public-transport system, its bike-sharing and car-sharing schemes and the city’s high number of low-environmental-impact vehicles, thanks in part to public incentives to use cars powered by natural gas rather than petrol. Euromobility’s Scientific Director Lorenzo Bertuccio said that Italy on the whole was making progress in adopting greener transport systems.

“Steps forward are being made on the road of environmentally friendly transport,” Bertuccio said.

“Over the last year there has been a big increase in the use of bike sharing and in the number of methane and liquid propane gas cars”.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

North Africa

Tunisia: Yazaki Closes Factory in Om Larayès

Following strikes

(ANSAmed) — TUNIS, DECEMBER 20 — Yazaki, a Japanese company and global leader in the production of cables, has decided to close its factory in Om Laraye’s in the Gafsa mining region. The statement to the Tunisian Ministry of Industry and Technology indicated that the decision comes following “irregular strikes which were not announced by workers at the production site on 15-16 December 2011”, resulting in damages to the clients and “requiring the company to pay enormous penalties” and with significantly negative implications for the image of the group on the global market, in which the company holds a 23% stake. In 2009, the group announced a series of investments amounting to 25 million euros and the creation of 5,000 jobs in the region of Gafsa.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Middle East

Iranian Woman to Face Death by Stoning or Hanging

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Authorities in Iran said Sunday they are again moving ahead with plans to execute a woman sentenced to death by stoning on an adultery conviction in a case that sparked an international outcry, but are considering whether to carry out the punishment by hanging instead.

Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani is already behind bars, serving a 10-year sentence on a separate conviction in the murder of her husband. Amid the international outrage her case generated, Iran in July 2010 suspended plans to carry out her death sentence on the adultery conviction.

On Sunday, a senior judiciary official said experts were studying whether the punishment of stoning could be changed to hanging.

“There is no haste. … We are waiting to see whether we can carry out the execution of a person sentenced to stoning by hanging or not,” said Malek Ajdar Sharifi, the head of justice department of East Azerbaijan province, where Ashtiani is jailed.

“As soon as the result (of the investigation) is obtained, we will carry out the sentence,” he said, according to the semi-official ISNA news agency.

The charge of a married woman having an illicit relationship requires a punishment of stoning, he said.

           — Hat tip: KGS[Return to headlines]

Sub-Saharan Africa

Clashes in Nigeria Leaves More Than 60 Dead

Fighting between a radical Muslim sect and Nigerian troops have left more than 60 people dead.

Several days of violence in the Nigeria’s northeast has left churches bombed and people hiding in fear.

The country’s authorities said at least 61 people have died in the violence.

The government has now ordered a dusk until dawn curfew in the Yobe state, where at least 50 people died, following attacks by the sect known as Boko Haram.

In Maiduguri, the capital of neighbouring Borno state, bombs reduced at least three churches to rubble and raised fears of further attacks by a group that claimed Christmas Eve bombings last year that killed dozens.

The fighting began Thursday in the two states, with gunfire and explosions heard into the night and the following day in an arid region that borders Cameroon, Chad and Niger.

In Damaturu, residents fled their homes near the city’s central mosque ahead of a combined attack by soldiers and the federal police’s feared Mobile Police, known as “kill-and-go” for their propensity for violence.

The paramilitary forces raided the area in armoured personnel carriers and tanks, with heavy gunfire marking their arrival.

“We were able to kill 12 of the Boko Haram armed sect and bombers,” said local police commissioner Lawan Tanko.

He added that officers also recovered Kalashnikov rifles, ammunition and explosives.

There were fears that the death toll could rise to more than 100.

Authorities have blamed Boko Haram for firebombing at least three churches around the capital, attacks that killed one pastor and his young child.

This is just the latest in a series of bombings over the last year by Boko Haram.

The group, whose name means “Western education is sacrilege” in the local Hausa language, wants to implement strict Shariah law across a nation of more than 160 million people that is home to both Christians and Muslims.

Boko Haram claimed responsibility for an attack in Damaturu, Yobe state’s capital, that killed more than 100 people in November.

The group also claimed responsibility for a suicide car bombing of the UN headquarters in Nigeria’s capital in August that killed 24 people and wounded 116 others.

While initially targeting enemies via hit-and-run assassinations from the back of motorbikes, violence by Boko Haram has developed a new sophistication and apparent planning that includes high-profile attacks with greater casualties.

The sect is responsible for at least 465 killings in Nigeria this year alone.

Boko Haram has splintered into three factions, with one wing increasingly willing to kill as it maintains contact with terror groups in North Africa and Somalia, diplomats and security sources say.

That, as well as its increasingly violent attacks, have some worried the group will carry out further attacks around Christmas and New Year’s.

Last year, a series of Christmas Eve bombings in the central Nigerian city of Jos claimed by Boko Haram killed at least 32 people and wounded at least 74 others.

With those attacks in mind, the U.S. Embassy in Nigeria’s capital of Abuja issued a warning Friday to citizens to be “particularly vigilant” around churches, large crowds and areas where foreigners congregate.

Analysts say the government’s response remains strained as President Goodluck Jonathan, a Christian from the country’s south, remains worried about alienating the country’s predominantly Muslim north with heavy-handed tactics.

In 2009, a military and police crackdown following rioting by Boko Haram members in and around Maiduguri left 700 people dead.

Yet since Thursday, authorities have been using paramilitary police and soldiers more freely. Tanko, the Yobe state police commissioner, said joint patrols by the military and police would continue.

“When you are fighting people you don’t know, you cannot say that’s the end of the exercise,” Tanko said. “We are trying to ensure that will be the end, but we are monitoring what is going on.

“But we know we cannot specifically say that will be the end.”

           — Hat tip: Gaia[Return to headlines]