Home' Greymouth Star : November 22nd 2013 Contents Greymouth Star
8 - Friday, November 22, 2013
Italy’s Silvio Berlusconi, found guilty in
June of paying for sex with an underage
prostitute, falsified evidence and corrupted
dozens of witnesses in a bid to escape jail, a
court report says.
Judges discovered “persistent delinquency
. . . c on sisting of the systematic falsification of
evidence . . . and the paying off of witnesses,”
the court said in summing up its decision to
sentence the former premier to seven years
behind bars and ban him from public office.
The 77-year-old playboy orchestrated the
“sexual exhibition of young ladies” which
turned into “so-called bunga bunga sessions
in which the female guests competed to do
the accused’s bidding,” the court said.
The two-year trial had been rich with
allegations of raunchy parties held in the
billionaire’s mansion, complete with strippers
dressed as nuns and erotic party games with
Berlusconi was found guilty of paying for
sex on several occasions with Moroccan-born
Karima El-Mahroug, a then 17-year-old
exotic dancer and glamour girl nicknamed
“ Ruby the Heart Stealer”.
El-Mahroug had described the “ bunga
bunga” sessions of erotic dancing to
interrogators in 2010, saying Berlusconi had
picked up the custom from former Libyan
dictator Muammar Gaddafi.
The trial “proved that the accused engaged
in sexual acts with ‘Ruby’ in exchange for
enormous amounts of money and other
benefits, such as jewels,” the court said in the
report, published by Italian media.
Under Italian law, Berlusconi’s prison
sentence is suspended until the appeals
process is exhausted.
The case is expected to go before an appeal
court in 2014.
The three-time premier’s allies slammed the
“Falsehoods, mud and vulgarities. There
are no other words to describe the report,
published today, on the so-called Ruby trial,”
said Renato Brunetta, head of the Forza Italia
party in the lower house of parliament.
Loyalist Sandro Bondi said the report
showed that “in Italy, sentences are
completely unconnected to facts and rights,
but instead are motivated by furore and
political prejudice.” — AFP
Berlusconi paid off witnesses, court says
Three “traumatised women”
kept as slaves in L ondon have
been freed after spending three
decades imprisoned against their
will, police say.
A 30-year-old British woman,
a 57-year-old Irish woman and
a 69-year-old Malaysian woman
are believed to have walked to
their freedom from a property
in south London after media
coverage on forced marriages
gave them the courage to contact
a support charity.
A man and a woman, both 67,
were arrested at the home as part
of the investigation into slavery
and domestic ser vitude, Scotland
supports victims of forced
violence, contacted police after
receiving a call from one of the
women following television
coverage on forced marriages
She told the charity she had
been held for 30 years.
Aneeta Prem, Freedom Charity
founder, said the alleged victims
were believed to have suffered
physical and mental harm,
but were able to walk out of
the property after repeated
but tentative contact with the
organisation’s call centre.
“ We started in-depth to talks
to them when they could, it had
to be pre-arranged. They gave us
set times when they were able to
speak to us,” Prem told Sky News
“It was planned that they
would be able to walk out of
the property. The police were on
Prem said the two people
arrested were considered the
“ heads of the family”, and that
the women were “absolutely
terrified” of them.
“They felt they were in massive
Prem said she did not believe
the neighbours were aware of the
“It was just an ordinary house
in an ordinary street,” she said.
“They were very restricted on
everything they could do.
“ We absolutely thrilled this has
All three women, who police
described as “highly traumatised”,
were taken to a place of safety
where they remain.
The call from one of the alleged
captives, which triggered the
police investigation, is believed to
have been prompted by a feature
on television news channels
and in the media during the
summer, which investigated
false marriages in the United
Scotland Yard said further
inquiries by police revealed
the location of the house, and
“sensitive negotiations” were
conducted by the charity.
Officers said the two suspects
have been taken to a south
London police station where
they remain in custody. — PA
Women held for 30 years
Pope Francis says the Catholic Church
will not accept a Middle East without
Christians, who often find themselves
forced to flee areas of conflict and unrest
in the region.
“ We will not resign ourselves to
imagining a Middle East without
Christians,” he said overnight, after
meeting with Patriarchs from Syria,
Iraq and Egypt, before calling for “the
universal right to lead a dignified life
and freely practise one’s own faith to be
The Arab Spring uprisings which
revolutionised the region have increased
tensions between Christians and
Pope Francis said he had spoken to the
Patriarchs about “those who live in the
Middle East, often in small flocks, in
environments marked by hostility and
conflicts” and “the size of the diaspora,
which is notably growing”.
He said he was concerned by “the
situation of Christians, who suffer in a
particularly severe way the consequences
of tensions and conflicts in many part of
the Middle East ”.
“Syria, Iraq, Egypt and other areas of
the Holy Land sometimes overflow with
tears,” he said.
The revolts in the region, which
saw Islamist parties sweep to power,
left many minority Christians scared
of persecution from fundamentalist
outgrowths, and sporadic violence
against them has driven some to
Pope Francis said he “will not rest while
there are still men and women, of any
religion, whose dignity is affronted, who
are stripped of the basics necessary for
sur vival, whose future is stolen, who are
forced to become refugees or displaced
Last year, Pope Francis’s predecessor,
Benedict XVI, used a trip to the
Middle East to offer support to
Christian minorities, calling on them
not to emigrate or give in to a sense of
“ victimisation” amid the rising tide of
Islamism. — AFP
The remaining members of British comedy
troupe Monty Python announced overnight
they would regroup for the first time since the
1980s to stage a comedy and musical show
next year at one of London’s biggest venues.
The one-off show on July 1 will be tailored
to fit the massive O2 Arena and feature some
of the group’s most famous material, but also
will include skits never before performed
on stage, the five Pythons said at a news
“ We just thought it would be fun to try
and see if we were still funny and that is our
intention so far, just to do the O2 and see if
we can fill it,” Eric Idle, one of the members
of the group who are all now in their 70s, said.
Asked what the show would offer, he said:
“I expect a little comedy, pathos, music and a
tiny piece of ancient sex.”
John Cleese said they wanted to include
some of their most famous routines, such as
the “Dead Parrot ”, but would work in new
material as well.
“People do really want to see the old hits
but we don’t want to do them in a predictable
way,” Cleese said.
“The main danger we have is that the
audience know the scripts better than we do. ”
The group said tickets would range in price
from £27.50 to £95 ($45-$150) — “only £300
less than the Stones” — a reference to prices
of almost £400 for the last Rolling Stones
concert tour. The O2 can seat up to 20,000.
The comedy team made its name in the
BBC television sketch series Monty Python’s
Flying Circus in the 1970s and went on to
make offbeat feature films such as Monty
Python And The Holy Grail and Monty
Python’s Life of Brian.
Graham Chapman, one of the original
members, died of cancer in 1989 at 48, but
the Pythons said he would be there in spirit
— a nd perhaps in person. “ We’ve told him
we’re going on and if there is a God he’ll be
turning up,” Idle said. — Reuters
Monty Python members reunite
PICTURE: Getty Images
Michael Palin, left, Eric Idle, Terry Jones, Carol Cleveland, Terry Gilliam and John
Cleese attend the Monty Python reunion announcement at the Corinthia Hotel in London
A Boeing cargo aircraft that was stranded
overnight at a Kansas airport too small to
handle the giant aircraft took off safely early
today and landed a short time later at what
had been its intended destination, officials
The Dreamlifter, bound for McConnell
Air Force Base in Wichita, Kansas, had
inadvertently landed instead at the nearby
Colonel James Jabara Airport run by the
city, according to a statement by Boeing Co
spokesman Doug Alder.
A Boeing 747 freighter was to deliver parts
for the company ’s new 787 Dreamliner.
The 747 freighter landed at Colonel James
Jabara Airport, about 13km north of its
intended target, the McConnell Air Force
Base in Wichita. Jabara’s runway is just
1860m long, much shorter than is ideal for
an aircraft of that size.
Roger Xanders, chief of the Wichita Airport
Authority’s police and fire department, told
KMBC-TV that nonetheless the plane took
off later. The plane was operated by Atlas Air
“ We’ve been in contact with Atlas company
headquarters in New York. They ’ve assured
us they ’ve run all the engineering calculation
and performance and the aircraft is very safe
for a normal departure at its current weight
and conditions here,” Brad Christopher of
the Wichita Airport Authority said before
the aircraft departed.
The two crew members were not injured
and the aircraft and airport property were not
damaged, Christopher said.
The modified 747, one of a fleet of four
that hauls parts around the world for the
production of the Dreamliner, was bound
for McConnell because it is adjacent to
Boeing supplier Spirit Aero Systems. Spirit
makes the for ward section or nose area of the
These aircraft, which the company
refers to as Dreamlifters, are crucial to the
Dreamliner’s construction. Boeing is using
a global network of suppliers to develop
and build most of the new plane’s parts in
locations as far away as Germany, Japan and
Sweden. Boeing says the Dreamlifter cuts
delivery time down to one day from as many
as 30 days. The final aircraft is assembled
at plants outside Seattle and in North
Charleston, South Carolina.
It is not the first incident of a large
aircraft landing at an airport ill equipped to
accommodate a plane of that size.
In July last year, a freighter plane bound
for MacDill Air Force base in Tampa,
Florida, landed without incident at the small
Peter O Knight Airport nearby. An
investigation blamed confusion identifying
airports in the area and base officials
introduced an updated landing procedure to
mitigate future problems. — AP
Big plane lands at wrong airport
A Boeing Dreamlifter freighter.
Vancouver shows doorknobs the door
The city of Vancouver has banned doorknobs
in new constructions.
Wrist-twisting doorknobs will be replaced
with levers to make it easier on seniors and
those with disabilities, city spokeswoman
Viviana Zanocco told AFP overnight.
The new rules are included in an amended
building code, which takes effect March 1,
2014, but will not apply retroactively to older
“This is very progressive of Vancouver,”
Howard Gerry, a design professor at Toronto’s
OCAD University, told the daily Toronto Star.
“It makes good sense, even for private houses.
Think about an ageing population or an
individual carrying groceries or small children.
Levers make access easier. ”
Others, however, such as antique doorknob
sellers, were flying off the handle at the measure.
“I can understand if you have a public building
where everybody wants to have free access and
that is a problem,” Allen Joslyn, the president of
the Antique Door Knob Collectors of America,
told the Vancouver Sun. “ But to say that when
I build my private home and nobody is disabled
that I have to put levers on, strikes me as over-
reach.” — AFP
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