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e landmark trial of a former
Rwandan army captain charged with
complicity in the genocide that left
800,000 dead has opened in Paris, the
rst of its kind in France.
e trial of Pascal Simbikangwa ---
who denies all accusations against him
--- is being watched closely in France,
which has long stood accused of failing
to rein in the Rwandan regime at the
time of the 100-day genocide in 1994.
e 54-year-old defendant appeared
in court in a wheelchair after a 1986 car
accident that left him a paraplegic. He
faces life in prison.
Arrested in 2008 on the French Indian
Ocean island of Mayotte, he is accused of
inciting, organising and aiding massacres
during the genocide, particularly by
supplying arms and instructions to
militia who were manning road blocks
and killing Tutsi men, women and
"I was a captain in the Rwandan
army then in the intelligence services,"
Simbikangwa told the court in a brief
After his arrest, France refused to
extradite him to Rwanda and decided
to try him under laws that allow French
courts to consider cases of genocide,
crimes against humanity and war crimes
committed in other countries.
e trial is expected to last six to eight
weeks and will be lmed.
Rwandan Justice Minister Johnston
Busingye said the trial was "history
"We have always wondered why it has
taken20years. . .itislate,butitisa
good sign," he said.
Simbikangwa acknowledges being close
to the regime of Hutu president Juvenal
Habyarimana, whose assassination on
April 6, 1994, unleashed the genocide, in
which most of the victims were members
of the minority Tutsi community.
But he denies participating in or
He was initially charged with genocide
and crimes against humanity but the
charges were downgraded to complicity.
Abbott government attacking penalty rates: Labor
e federal government is using a
review of the award system to "lean
on" the industrial commission in a
campaign to remove penalty rates,
the Labor opposition says.
e Fair Work Commission's full
bench today begins hearings as part
of its review of modern awards, which
will allow it to vary minimum pay
rates and conditions.
In a submission to the commission
the Abbott Government said
awards needed to re ect a softening
economic environment and labour
market and the impact on employers.
" e commission must balance
(penalty rates) against other elements
of the objective when considering
whether modern awards provide a
fair and relevant minimum safety
net," the submission says.
Opposition workplace relations
spokesman Brendan O'Connor said
the coalition had an agenda to force
changes to penalty rates.
"Clearly it is trying to use the award
modernisation as a vehicle to lean on
the independent statutory body to
remove penalty rates," O'Connor told
" ey made clear before the
election they would not be looking to
undermine employment conditions,
but I'm afraid it's clear now that as far
as Tony Abbott is concerned Work
Choices was not cremated --- it had
just been sedated until he was elected."
A spokesman for Employment
Minister Eric Abetz said it would
be inappropriate to comment on
the submission while the review was
Greens senator Richard Di Natale
said it was "hard to escape the
conclusion" the government wanted
to target penalty rates.
"If we're talking about an age of
entitlement, if we're talking about
penalty rates, why aren't we talking
about the huge subsidies that go
to the mining industry, the huge
subsidies that go to other sectors of
the economy?" Senator Di Natale
told ABC radio. --- AAP
can mean sin: Pope
Queen to meet Pope
Queen Elizabeth II and her
husband, Prince Philip, will
visit Rome on April 3, where
they will meet Pope Francis
and Italian President Giorgio
Napolitano, Buckingham Palace
Queen Elizabeth, who is also
head of the Church of England,
is to have a private lunch with
Napolitano at his Quirinale
palace followed by an audience
with Pope Francis at the Vatican.
She was expected in the Italian
capital in March 2013 but had
to cancel her visit after being
admitted to hospital with a
e 87-year-old has recently
scaled back her overseas
over more responsibilities and
engagements to her son and heir
But yesterday the palace said
the Queen would also make a
three-day State visit to France
in June, where she will attend
events commemorating the
70th anniversary of the D-Day
Queen Elizabeth last met
a pope in 2010, when Pope
Benedict XVI made the rst
o cial papal visit to Britain,
which has been predominantly
Protestant since King Henry
VIII split from Rome in the 16th
century. --- DPA
e Prince of Wales has o ered
his support to ood-hit residents
in Britain by pledging a £50,000
e Duke of Westminster will
match the funding with an additional
£50,000, taking the total donation to
Prince Charles, patron of the Prince's
Countryside Fund, which will provide
the donation, braved heavy rain and
winds in the area to attend a reception
in Stoke St Gregory and visit local
residents a ected by the ooding.
Dozens of schoolchildren, residents
and campaigners greeted him as he
arrived in the small Somerset village,
Communities from local areas
including Muchelney, orney and
other isolated hamlets have been cut
o by the waters, with major roads
e Somerset Levels su ered "once
in 100 years" ooding in 2012, with
conditions returning to the area in
More than 51,800ha are ooded,
about 40 homes are under water and
approximately 200 houses are cut
o . In total, around 350 people are
e Prince's Countryside Fund,
founded by Charles, has supported
Britain's hard-pressed rural areas
since being set up by Business in the
Community in July 2010.
Twice a year, the fund allocates grants
to rural projects but it also reserves
a portion of its income to be used in
times of crisis. --- PA
Prince Charles tours flooded areas
PICTURE: Getty Images
Prince Charles disembarks from a police boat as he visits ood a ected parts of Somerset Levels in Muchelney,
Pope Francis has extolled
the bene ts of sharing wealth
with the poor, warning that
"unjust" social conditions like
unemployment can lead to sin,
nancial ruin and even suicide.
e Jesuit Pope has frequently
railed about the excesses of
capitalism and income disparity
in a globalised world, and
his message for Lent issued
overnight echoed those same
Lent is the solemn period
leading up to Holy Week and
Easter, when the faithful recall
Christ's death and resurrection.
It is a time when Christians
often fast, and Francis urged
the faithful to deny themselves
certain things this Lent "to help
and enrich others by our own
"When power, luxury and
money become idols, they take
priority over the need for a fair
distribution of wealth," he said in
the short message.
"Our consciences thus need to
be converted to justice, equality,
simplicity and sharing."
He said it was not enough to
just make charitable o erings.
"Let us not forget that real
poverty hurts: no self-denial is
real without this dimension of
penance. I distrust a charity that
costs nothing and does not hurt,"
While calling for Christians
to actually touch poverty
and make it their own, Pope
Francis distinguished material
poverty or destitution from
moral destitution, which he said
"consists of slavery to vice and
"How much pain is caused in
families because one of their
members --- often a young person
--- is in thrall to alcohol, drugs,
gambling and pornography," he
Sometimes "unjust social
conditions" like unemployment
lead to this type of destitution by
depriving people of the dignity of
work and access to education and
health care, he said.
"In such cases, moral destitution
can be considered impending
suicide." --- AP
Majuro (Marshall Islands)
A castaway who claims to have sur vived
13 months adrift in the Paci c says he
thought about suicide but was sustained
by dreams of eating his favourite food ---
tortillas --- and reuniting with his family.
Fisherman Jose Salvador Alvarenga
said his strong religious faith helped as
he drifted some 12,500km from Mexico
to the Marshall Islands, and described
being forced to dump the body of his
teenage companion overboard when he
starved to death.
"I didn't want to die of starvation," he
told AFP overnight through a Spanish
interpreter at Majuro Hospital, where
he is recuperating after being found
disoriented last week at a remote coral
" ere were times I would think about
killing myself. But I was scared to do it,"
Alvarenga said he would dream of
eating all his favourite foods.
sun, sky and the sea," he said.
"My dream for over a year is to eat a
tortilla, chicken and so many other types
"I would imagine and dream a lot
about my family --- my mother and my
father," he said.
Alvarenga said he was not married but
has a daughter named Fatima who he
was anxious to see again.
His parents feared he had been killed.
" ank God he is alive. We are
overjoyed. I just want him here with
us," his mother Maria Julia Alvarenga
told CNN in his homeland El Salvador,
whose government says it is working
with Mexico to bring him home.
Alvarenga said he set out on a shark
shing expedition in late December
2012 with a teenager named Xiguel,
when they became lost in their 7m
e 37-year-old's mood darkened as
he described how the boy, who he says
was aged 15 to 18, died four months into
their voyage, unable to survive on a diet
of raw bird esh, turtle blood and his
He said the teenager died of starvation
and he pushed his body into the ocean.
Alvarenga said he tried to keep track of
time as the sun moved across the sky but
weeks and months eventually blurred.
Every so often he would hear
something bump the side of the boat.
Invariably it was a sea turtle.
"I was able to reach over the side of the
boat and grab them," he said.
" e hardest thing I had to do to
survive was to drink my own urine."
is was during a period when "for
three months it didn't rain". When it
did, he used the hull of his boat to store
Alvarenga described his joy at nally
making landfall at Ebon Atoll after so
long at sea, saying he spotted a house
and crawled up the beach towards it.
"I went towards it and began yelling
for help," he said.
Two Marshallese came out and helped
the stranger, who was clad only in a
ragged pair of underpants, by giving him
e stockily built Alvarenga looked in
remarkably good physical shape when
he arrived in the Marshalls capital
Majuro ve days later aboard a police
Sporting a bushy beard and with his
hair bleached a ginger colour by the sun,
he did not appear to have chapped lips,
blistered skin or other signs of severe
"He looked better than one would
expect," US ambassador omas
Armbruster said earlier. --- AFP
Dreams of family, food kept castaway alive Canberra
e brother of a Queensland
mother who, along with her
daughter, died from food
poisoning in Bali says it was
unlikely the pair would have
sur vived had they contracted the
illness in Australia.
Autopsies on the bodies of
Noeline Bischo , 54, and her
14-year-old daughter Yvana have
shown they likely died from a rare
form of food poisoning after eating
sh in a Bali restaurant, according
to the family.
Ms Bischo 's brother Malcolm
Bischo told ABC Radio it was
believed a rare bacteria caused what
is known as "scombroid poisoning",
and the fact both mother and
daughter also su ered from asthma
may have contributed to the severe
reaction they had.
He said the doctors who
conducted the autopsy --- which
the family pushed to be held in
Queensland --- were "stunned" by
"It's just one in millions of chance
that could all come together for
that to happen with two people at
the same time," he said.
" ere's a few governing factors.
e age of the llet and also the
handling through lleting. Any
part of the llet that is close to
the intestines could have a greater
concentration of this scombroid
"It is also possible that other
people ate pieces of the sh further
away from that that may have been
Bischo said he originally
suspected foul play, saying he
thought it did not make sense for
two people to die of food poisoning
in such similar circumstances.
However, he said doctors
believed the bacteria was so rare
Noeline and Yvana would probably
not have survived if they had
contracted scombroid poisoning in
"More than likely it wouldn't
have been diagnosed here anyway,
so more than likely the same result
would have happened," he said.
Bischo called on the federal
government to update its travel
advice to Bali, to warn of the risk of
However, he stopped short of
blaming the Bali restaurant for the
death of his sister and niece.
"Any overseas travel in a third
world country is dangerous to some
point," he said.
"It's probably just the luck of the
draw who gets what where.
"It is one of those things that it is
a lucky dip, I suppose." --- AAP
Rare poisoning claimed pair
Woman charged with mutilating son's remains
A Michigan woman charged with
mutilating and illegally removing a
corpse after her 32-year-old son's body
parts were found in bags along two rural
roadways was his legal guardian when he
died, a judge has con rmed.
Donna Scrivo petitioned Macomb
County's probate court last May
for "temporary guardianship on an
emergency basis because her son was
suicidal and despondent over the illness
of his father," who later died, Probate
Judge Carl Marlinga said.
" e original hearing had two clinical
certi cates from doctors stating he did
su er from psychosis and that he was
a danger to himself, and that he had
expressed suicidal thoughts," Marlinga
said. " ere was obviously su cient
evidence to consider emergency
"He consented to having a guardian
appointed and his preference that it
would be his mother."
Marlinga isn't involved in the criminal
case against Donna Scrivo, who was
arraigned yesterday in St Clair Shores
e mutilation charge is a felony
carrying up to 10 years in prison upon
conviction. e second charge, removing
a body from the place where death
occurred, is a one-year misdemeanor.
Prosecutors said Ramsay Scrivo's
mother led a missing person's report
on January 27, claiming he had left his
St Clair Shores home and failed to
ree days later, someone reported
seeing a woman dumping trash bags from
an SUV along roadsides in China and
St Clair townships in St Clair County,
about 80km north-east of Detroit.
Police found body parts inside the
bags. e FBI later identi ed the body
as belonging to Ramsay Scrivo through
A cause of death has not been released.
Surveillance video from a business
near where the bags were found
showed Donna Scrivo was in the area
at the time, a prosecutor said during her
A search of the man's home in St Clair
Shores found "blood evidence" and
"bleach stains," the prosecutor said.
District Judge Mark Fratarcangeli
ordered Donna Scrivo held on $100,000
bond and said he would appoint a lawyer
for her. Her next court date is February
11. A preliminary hearing is scheduled
for Februrary 14. --- AP
British military advice had a
"very limited" impact on India's
1984 Amritsar Golden Temple
assault that left 500 dead, a British
government investigation has
Foreign Secretary William
Hague said overnight the probe,
ordered after newly-released
documents revealed an elite
British o cer had advised New
Delhi on plans for the raid, has
concluded that the advice had
only "limited impact on the
tragic events that unfolded at the
" e United Kingdom's
assistance was purely advisory,
limited and provided to the
Indian government at an early
stage," Hague said as he presented
the report to parliament.
e report says three months
before the June 1984 assault,
the o cer from Britain's elite
Special Air Service (SAS) advised
the Indian military to launch a
surprise helicopter attack to ush
out militants who had occupied
the temple in north-west India
--- considered Sikhdom's holiest
But the eventual assault,
codenamed Operation Blue Star,
"was a ground assault without the
element of surprise and without
a helicopter-borne element",
Hague told parliament.
British advice therefore had only
a "limited impact on Operation
Blue Star", Hague said.
e raid on the militants, who
were demanding an independent
Sikh homeland, left at least 500
people dead and triggered a cycle
of bloody revenge attacks.
India's then-prime minister
Indira Gandhi was assassinated
four months later by two Sikh
bodyguards, sparking anti-Sikh
riots in which thousands of
people were killed, mostly in New
British role in
A 16-year-old Texas girl who
plummeted about 1000m to the
ground in a skydiving accident walked
with assistance yesterday and is
expected to fully recover, her doctor
Dr Seema R Sikka with the Baylor
Institute for Rehabilitation in Dallas
said at a news conference that
Makenzie Wethington is likely to
be in hospital for a few more weeks
following the January 25 accident.
"She is doing well. She's had
multiple traumas but actually has
been staying in good spirits," Sikka
said, adding the hospital was still
evaluating her injuries, which include
damage to her liver and a broken
pelvis, lumbar spine in her lower back,
shoulder blame, several ribs and teeth.
Her parents agreed to allow her to
skydive as a 16th birthday present,
and her father jumped ahead of her.
When the teen jumped, her canopy
opened but with a malfunction that
she was unable to correct, and she did
not deploy a reserve parachute as she
had been taught to do.
Her father, Joe Wethington, has said
she told him she blacked out as she
plummeted to the ground. She landed
Sikka said that Makenzie
Wethington will work on tasks like
being able to get out of bed, brush her
teeth and get dressed.
"From what we are seeing now, we
expect and hope for a full recovery,"
e girl's mother, Holly
Wethington, said that her daughter
was in good spirits and had lots of
visitors over the weekend. "She is
ready and eager to get well," she said.
Teen recovering from 1km fall
Mackenzie Wethington recovering from her skydiving plunge.
A thief who kissed the owner of a
Paris jewellery shop he was robbing was
arrested with the help of the DNA he left
on her face, a French newspaper reported.
Last April, two masked men tied the
jeweller up in her apartment, poured
what they said was petrol over her head
and threatened to ignite it if she did not
tell them the codes for the alarm in her
shop, Le Parisien said.
One of the thieves then headed to the
store, stealing cash and jewels while the
other stood guard over the 56-year-old
jeweller, identi ed by the paper only as
Anne. Before releasing her, he kissed her
on the cheek.
Police extracted DNA from the kiss
and it later led them to a man who
was detained in the south of France on
suspicion of another crime.
e man, 20, has said he was just a
lookout and that he kissed the jeweller
to "allay her trauma". Police were still
looking for his accomplice, Le Parisien
said. --- Reuters
Jewel thief betrayed by kiss
A treasure trove of fossilised dinosaurs
and other long-extinct species in
north-eastern China was created,
Pompeii-style, by an erupting volcano,
A seam of rock known as the Yixian
and Jiufotang formations, in western
Liaoning province, is the burial ground
of an astonishing array of creatures that
lived around 120 million years ago in
the Early Cretaceous.
Called the Jehol Biota, it is the
richest and widest source of fossils ever
It has yielded the remains of
dinosaurs, pterosaurs, early birds and
mammals, as well as turtles, lizards,
freshwater sh, frogs, plants and insects,
which inhabited a long-gone vista of
lakes and conifer forests.
Many of the specimens are
astonishingly well preser ved,
revealing even scales, feathers, hair
or skin --- a precious nd indeed for
e secret of the preservation,
according to a study led by Baoyu Jiang
of Nanjing University in Jiangsu, lies in
a brutal volcanic episode.
Jiang's team looked closely at 14 bird
and dinosaur fossils and the thin layer
of darkish sediment in which they were
found, at ve locations.
e big killer, they believe, was
pyroclastic ow --- a vicious outpouring
of hot, su ocating gas and super- ne
dust, moving at gale-force speed.
e biggest indicator of all came
from criss-crossed cracks in fossilised
skeletons, caused by heat stress --- a
phenomenon that was also found in the
bones of victims at Pompeii, the Roman
town that was buried by an eruption of
Vesuvius in 79 AD.
Suspicions that an eruption was
to blame at Jehol Biota lacked hard
evidence until now.
e dust ow from the volcano swept
many dead creatures into lake beds,
where they were immediately buried in
oxygen-starved conditions, according
to the new study.
"Terrestrial vertebrate carcases
transported by and sealed within the
pyroclastic ows were clearly preserved
as exceptional fossils through this
process," the paper, published in the
journal Nature Communications, said.
Volcano gave China dinosaur fossil trove
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