Home' Greymouth Star : February 11th 2015 Contents Greymouth Star
Wednesday, February 11, 2015 - 7
Dominique Strauss-Kahn told a French
court overnight he did not know the women
at “festive and playful” sex parties he attended
were prostitutes, saying that would have been
too risky given his then-role as head of the IMF.
Strauss-Kahn, 65, is accused of instigating
about a dozen parties he knew involved
prostitutes from 2008 to 2011 in the northern
French city of Lille, Paris, Washington and
Speaking in a calm, confident voice and
wearing a sober black suit, he acknowledged
his fondness for “libertine” parties with a small
group of friends who at times invited him to
join “a lunch or something more festive and
playful” in Paris.
He never organised the parties nor asked
others to organise them, and would not have
attended had he known the women were
prostitutes, Strauss-Kahn said, expressing a
“ horror for paid sexual relations”.
“It would be really too dangerous” to consort
with prostitutes given his elevated position at
the International Monetary Fund and their
susceptibility to pressure from police and pimps,
The question of whether or not Strauss-
Kahn knew the women were prostitutes and
who organised the parties is central to the
three-week trial, in which he is charged with
“procuring with aggravating circumstances”, or
Strauss-Kahn played down the frequency of
the parties, and cast them as casual meetings
between like-minded people.
“ When you read the criminal complaint you
get the impression it was this frenetic activity,”
Strauss-Kahn said. “ But it was four times a year,
not more than that. It wasn’t this out-of-control
activity that the complaint suggests.”
Strauss-Kahn was tipped to become French
president before being accused of sexual assault
by a New York hotel chambermaid in 2011.
United States criminal charges were dropped,
and the allegations that he participated in a
French sex ring emerged later.
Earlier in the day, three topless protesters from
the FEMEN group, their chests and torsos
painted with slogans, threw themselves on
Strauss-Kahn’s car as it arrived at court.
One ex-prostitute hired for one of the sex
parties in Paris said it was different from normal
“I found myself in the middle of all these girls
around this man,” she said, referring to Strauss-
Kahn. “ There weren’t other men so it wasn’t a
libertine gathering, at least my definition. ”
She and another woman who attended the
same gathering — both of whom are civil
parties in the case — said Strauss-Kahn must
have known he was dealing with prostitutes.
The second woman, also a former prostitute,
described what happened when she was left
alone with Strauss-Kahn in a bedroom.
“There were activities . . . against nature. I
wasn’t used to doing things of that nature,” the
woman said, speaking softly and hesitantly. “It
wasn’t violence, it was a relationship of force.”
Despite crying and gesturing to him that
she was uncomfortable with the practice, she
consented “because I really needed that money
and I was scared maybe not to leave with it.
“He was smiling from the beginning until the
Strauss-Kahn, asked about her testimony, said
he had not seen her crying and didn’t realize she
was trying to say no.
Strauss-Kahn, who says his political career is
already over, could face 10 years in prison and a
fine of up to 1.5 million euros ($2.29 million)
Investigating magistrates who sent the matter
to trial say the procuring charge applies because
in France it covers any activity seen as facilitating
prostitution. This could include the fact that the
parties sometimes took place at Strauss-Kahn’s
rented apartment and that they were expressly
organised for him.
Because he did not pay the prostitutes himself,
he is alleged to have received benefit in kind
Fourteen people in all, including Strauss-
Kahn, are defendants in the “Carlton Affair”
trial, so named after the hotel in Lille that
sparked the investigation into a sex ring.
Strauss-Kahn, who was French finance
minister in the late 1990s and headed the
IMF from 2007, had been expected to run for
French president in 2012 but withdrew after
being accused of sexual assault by chambermaid
That allowed Socialist Francois Hollande to
come for ward and beat conser vative incumbent
After criminal charges were dropped, Strauss-
Kahn settled civil proceedings brought against
him by Diallo in New York. — Reuters
found in Neil
Prosecutors seeking a
lengthy prison term for Costa
Concordia skipper Francesco
Schettino have summed up
their case by saying there was
a “tsunami of evidence” against
Schettino’s 19-month trial
will come to an end tomorrow,
just over three years after a
disaster that left 32 people
dead and led to the ship’s
captain being charged with
manslaughter, causing a
shipwreck and abandoning his
Prosecutors have asked
judges to impose a sentence
of 26 years and three months
for the man dubbed “Captain
Coward” over his actions in
the aftermath of the giant liner
striking rocks off the Tuscan
island of Giglio on the evening
of January 13, 2012.
“Against Schettino there is a
tsunami of evidence,” prosecutor
Stefan Pizza said, urging the
judges to convict before adding:
“It is easier for a lawyer to fly
than to defend Schettino.”
Schettino told reporters he
would be in court to hear the
verdict and would make a
statement after wards.
His defence team concluded
their arguments yesterday
by insisting that Schettino,
54, could not be held almost
exc lusively responsible for the
disaster and arguing that his
conduct may actually have
prevented a greater loss of life.
In particular, Schettino’s
lawyers have attacked the
prosecution’s assertion that he
negligently delayed issuing an
order to abandon ship after
it was holed below water and
began to list dangerously.
They say the skipper correctly
calculated the prevailing tide
and wind conditions would
carry the listing ship towards
the shoreline, at which point an
evacuation order would be much
safer and quicker to implement.
The captain has defended
sailing close to Giglio as
standard practice and also
disputes abandoning ship,
saying he fell off as a result of it
listing. — AFP
Costa Concordia cruise liner captain Francesco Schettino enters court during his trial in Grosseto. An Italian prosecutor has
asked a court to sentence Schettino to more than 26 years in jail for his role in the 2012 disaster that killed 32 people.
Concordia captain faces ‘tsunami of evidence’
A treasure trove of objects that were
supposed to have been left behind after
the first moon landing have turned up
in the closet of Neil Armstrong, the first
man to step onto the lunar surface, the
Smithsonian Institution says.
Armstrong died in August 2012 and
his wife, Carol, found the items from the
1969 lunar landing as she was cleaning
out one of his home closets in Cincinnati,
Allan Needell, a space history curator at
the National Air and Space Museum,
wrote in a recent blog.
Among the objects are a camera that
was mounted in the window of the Eagle
lunar module to record the landing and
two waist tethers. Armstrong used one of
the tethers to support his feet during his
rest period on the moon, Needell said.
The items were stashed in a white
stowage bag informally known as a
McDivitt Purse used aboard Eagle to
“ Needless to say, for a curator of a
collection of space artefacts, it is hard
to imagine anything more exciting,”
The items were intended to be left
behind on the moon but were instead
brought back. Needell said that as far as
he knew Armstrong had never discussed
them and no one had seen them in the
45 years since he returned to Earth.
According to mission transcripts,
Armstrong described the objects to
astronaut Michael Collins, who stayed
in orbit around the moon aboard the
command ship, as “just a bunch of trash
that we want to take back — LM parts,
odds and ends, and it won’t stay closed
The camera and the tether Armstrong
used during his rest break are part of a
temporary exhibition at the National Air
and Space Museum. — Reuters
‘Fatberg’ clogs Cardiff sewer
A giant deposit of fat has been found
clogging up a Welsh sewer.
Utility staff found the 1m “fatberg” while
attempting to clear a blockage under Mill
Lane in Cardiff.
Officials say they believe the obstruction
was caused by a mixture of cooking fats
and oils — made worse by wipes and other
sanitary products collecting behind it.
Dwr Cymru Welsh Water, which is running
a new campaign called Let ’s Stop The Block,
said blocked sewers were causing major
problems and cost more than £7 million
($14.43 million) a year to clear.
The not-for-profit firm’s director of waste
water ser vices Steve Wilson said most of the
blockages were caused by everyday items put
down the toilet, such as wipes, cotton buds
and dental floss mixed with cooking oils and
“It doesn’t take much for any of these to
cause flooding to a home,” he said.
“A lot of people are not even aware that
these items can cause sewer flooding and
pollution in their homes and communities.”
A toddler and a baby were stuck in a
car for up to nine hours beside their dead
mother after a crash on the New South
Wales south coast.
Jacqui Britton, 33, died when her car hit
a tree and rolled down an embankment
on Monday morning.
She was not found until the evening
after her husband went to Bega police
when she did not come home with their
The children, two girls aged three
months and two years, were still in their
restraints when the car was found on its
roof after it ran off Tathra Road, on the
outskirts of Bega.
The family’s pet dog was also found
alive in the car.
O’Brien said there was no doubt the
restraints saved the children’s lives.
The girls were a little distressed and
slightly dehydrated, he said.
“ However, from the ordeal they went
through, they were relatively unscathed,”
he told said.
Mrs Britton’s body was found in the
O’Brien said she may have overcorrected
or been distracted on a corner before the
“ It hit the tree and rolled down an
embankment. It was difficult to see
from the road, hence the time delay in
locating the vehicle was about eight or
nine hours,” he said.
“ If you weren’t looking for that
particular vehicle, you would not find it.”
Relatives and friends joined the
frantic search for the Brittons and were
tracing their route home from the local
swimming pool when they found the
family’s Mitsubishi Outlander.
A relative, Emma Britton, had earlier
on Monday posted a message on social
media: “Has anyone seen Jacqui Britton
The toddler has been reunited with her
father but the baby was taken to a Sydney
hospital for further tests. — AAP
Sierra Leone says it has cleaned
up a list thought to contain
thousands of “ghost workers”
on its Ebola staff and would
prosecute those who sought
to swindle money from the
government, tackling a problem
that has dogged its fight against
More than 10,000 Ebola cases
have been reported in Sierra
Leone since last May, making
it the hardest hit country in the
world’s worst outbreak of the
hemorrhagic fever. The epidemic
has been concentrated in west
Africa and killed nearly 9000
people out of 22,495 known
cases since December 2013.
In Sierra Leone, payments to
Ebola staff have repeatedly been
frozen because of the difficulty
distinguishing between genuine
workers — such as ambulance
drivers and grave diggers — and
those forging their identities
to claim hazard bonuses or
registering twice to claim double
The delays in payments have
by Ebola workers in the
impoverished country, in some
cases leaving patients untreated
and highly contagious bodies
“The issue of ghost workers
has been disingenuous on the
part of some Sierra Leoneans
who think this is time to make
money when we are in a crisis,”
government spokesman Abdulai
Bayraytay said overnight. “ They
were identified by the Anti-
Corruption Commission (ACC).
They are being charged and
Bayraytay said that more than
95% of the thousands of declared
had now been verified, a factor
expected to make payments
He did not say how many
“ghostworkers” had been weeded
out of the system but a senior
Sierra Leonean official said late
last year there could be as many
as 6000, split between fraudsters
and administrative errors.
A second source familiar
with the matter said the ACC
planned to bring charges against
two people for fraud this week,
and suggested the problem was
not that widespread.
“There were isolated cases
of people playing smart and
getting double pay,” the source,
requesting anonymity, said.
He said some rice stockpiles
intended to feed people in
quarantine had also gone missing,
although denied there was a
systematic attempt to exploit
Ebola funds in the country.
Donors have so far paid
or committed more than
$530 million to Sierra Leone’s
Ebola response, although only a
fraction of that has been allocated
directly to the government.
Sierra Leone to prosecute Ebola fraudsters
Fugitive US mum caught in Aust jailed
A South Carolina judge has sentenced fugitive
mother Dorothy Barnett, who kidnapped her
baby daughter two decades ago and lived a
secret life in Australia, to 21 months’ jail.
The sentence came after Barnett ’s daughter,
Savanna Todd, who grew up in South Africa,
New Zealand and Queensland not knowing her
real name or history, gave emotional testimony
to the Charleston court.
Savanna, now 21, realised her mother was
a fugitive only when Australian authorities
and the Federal Bureau of Investigation
tracked them down in Mountain Creek, on
Queensland’s Sunshine Coast, in 2013.
Savanna overnight asked US District Court
Judge Richard Gergel to treat her mother
“I was loved beyond belief,” Savanna, who still
goes by the alias Samantha Geldenhuys her
mother gave her, told the court, The Post and
Courier newspaper reported.
The testimony came after Barnett entered
guilty pleas to international parental kidnapping
and falsifying two passport applications.
Barnett fled the US in 1994 after her marriage
ended to husband Benjamin Harris Todd III
and she lost full custody of Savanna.
Todd never gave up looking for his daughter
during the 20 years Barnett was a fugitive.
Todd’s lawyer, Graham Sturgis, told the court
“ very few of us” would know the pain his client
suffered while attempting to find his child.
Barnett has been in custody since her
November, 2013, arrest in Q ueensland and
Judge Gergel said he has not decided if she will
receive credit for the time she has ser ved.
A woman notorious for sneaking on to
commercial flights has been caught in Florida,
wchecking into a beach resort under a false
name, authorities said overnight.
Marilyn Hartman managed to board a flight
from Minnesota to Jacksonville, F lorida on
Sunday without a ticket, according to an arrest
report from the Nassau County Sheriff ’s Office.
At the north-east Florida airport, the 63-year-
old stowaway was asked by a resort shuttle driver
if she was another woman with a reser vation
at the Omni Amelia Island Plantation Resort.
Claiming she was, Hartman checked into a
$300 per night villa.
Later that day, the real woman with the
reser vation arrived, and hotel staff called the
room and requested she come to the front desk.
Hartman then disappeared, and was found the
next day in a resort room undergoing renovation,
at which time she was detained by security, the
arrest report said. Her bond was set at over
$50,000 during a court hearing, according to
the Nassau County clerk’s office. — Reuters
Serial flight stowaway held
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