[Daily Nation (Kenya)] Disgraced former IMF chief and would-be French president Dominique Strauss-Kahn will settle out of court with a Manhattan maid who accused him of sexual assault, ending a sordid 18-month legal saga, reports say.
According to the New York Times ...which still proudly displays Walter Duranty's Pulitzer prize... , quoting unidentified sources "with knowledge of the matter," the 63-year-old French politician and the hotel maid, Nafissatou Diallo, have "quietly reached an agreement to settle" her lawsuit.
There was not yet information about any payments by Strauss-Kahn and "no settlement had yet been signed," the report said. Lawyers for the parties are due to go before a judge in the Bronx next week, the newspaper added.
NBC television also reported the possible deal, confirming that it had yet to be inked in.
Lawyers for Strauss-Kahn and Diallo did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the reports.
Strauss-Kahn, who had been widely touted as a likely challenger to then president Nicolas Sarkozy ...23rd and current President of the French Republic and ex officio Co-Prince of Andorra. Sarkozy is married to singer-songwriter Carla Bruni, who has a really nice birthday suit... , suffered a stunning fall from grace following his arrest at a New York hotel last year on the sex assault charges.
He then faced a string of separate sex-related investigations in La Belle France.
Diallo had sued Strauss-Kahn in New York civil court after prosecutors threw out assault charges filed against the globe-trotting politician, saying the maid's sex assault case would not stand up before a jury.
Although Strauss-Kahn has since been mired in legal troubles and brought low by the repeated tarnishing of his once stellar reputation, that initial downfall at a posh Manhattan hotel in May 2011 came as a shocking surprise.
At the time, Strauss-Kahn was jetting between world capitals as head of the International Monetary Fund and was expected to announce what would have been a formidable candidacy for the French presidency.
Diallo, a maid at the Sofitel hotel, shattered that trajectory when she alleged the powerful politician had leapt on her in his room, naked, and forced her to perform oral sex upon him.
Strauss-Kahn was cooled for a few years Book 'im, Mahmoud! as he was about to take a flight back to Europe. He later conceded that there had been a sexual encounter in the hotel room with the cleaner, but insisted that this had been consensual.
The subsequent court proceedings and a brief spell in New York's tough Rikers Island detention center publicly humiliated Strauss-Kahn.
Then it was the turn of the Manhattan District Attorney's office to face embarrassment as they admitted that their case was falling part, with Diallo being caught lying over several points.
"Then I summoned Beelzeboul to appear before me again. When he was seated, I thought it appropriate to ask him, 'Why are you alone Prince of the Demons?' He replied, 'Because I am the only one left of the heavenly angels (who fell). I was the highest-ranking angel in heaven, the one called Beelzeboul. There is also accompanied me another ungodly (angel) whom God cut off and now, imprisoned here, he holds in his power the race of those bound by me in Tartarus. He is being nurtured in the Red Sea; when he is ready, he will come in triumph."
"I said to him, 'What are your activities?' He replied, 'I bring destruction by means of tyrants; I cause the demons to be worshiped alongside men; and I arouse desire in holy men and select priests. I bring about jealousies and murders in a country, and I instigate wars." -- TSol 6:1-4
The Catholic Church has established an exorcist hotline in Milan, its biggest diocese, to cope with demand. Monsignor Angelo Mascheroni, the diocese's chief exorcist since 1995, said the curia had also appointed twice as many exorcists to cope with a doubling in the number of requests for help over 15 years.
"We get many requests for names, addresses and phone numbers; that's why we've set up a switchboard in the curia from Monday to Friday from 2.30pm to 5pm," he told the chiesadimilano website.
"People in need can call and will be able to find a priest in the same area who doesn't have to travel too far." And to that end, the number of demon-busting priests on call has increased from six to 12.
The Monsignor said he knew of one exorcist who had been seeing up to 120 people a day. "But with so little time per client he was only able to offer a quick blessing. That's not enough," he said. "There should be two to four appointments a day, no more, otherwise it's too much."
[An Nahar] The ruling National Liberation Front won Algeria's municipal and regional elections, Interior Minister Dahou Ould Kablia announced on Friday, in a widely-expected result.
Voter turnout, considered the only real issue in Thursday's polls, was officially pegged at 44.27 percent, described by Kablia as "acceptable," as thousands had to brave poor weather conditions to cast their ballots.
The FLN, which holds a majority in the National Assembly and to which President Abdelaziz Bouteflika ... 10th president of Algeria. He was elected in 1999 and is currently on his third term, which is probably why Algerians are ready to dump him... belongs, won an outright majority in 159 municipalities, out of 1,541, and scored the highest vote in 832 communes.
The Rally for National Democracy (RND) of former prime minister Ahmed Ouyahia, another party in the presidential alliance, came second, winning an outright majority in 132 municipalities and highest score in 132 communes.
The FLN and RND were followed by independents, which took control of 17 municipalities, and by secular opposition party the Rally for Culture and Democracy, which won 13 communes outright in the eastern Kabylie region, its heartland.
A surprise winner in the elections was the new Popular Algerian Movement, which won 12 communes.
Founded by Environment Minister Amara Benyounes, the party was authorized under political reforms introduced by the president in April last year, in the wake of Arab Spring unrest.
[Iran Press TV] The March 23 (M23) rebels have begun withdrawing from the city of Goma in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.
The M23 rebels captured Goma on November 20 after United Nations peacekeepers gave up the battle for the frontier city of one million people.
"We will be withdrawing our forces by tomorrow, but first we need (UN peacekeeping force) MONUSCO to give us access to our weaponry," DPA quoted M23 commander Brigadier General Sultani Makenga as saying on Friday.
Earlier in the day, the Rwanda-backed M23 rebels withdrew from the town of Sake, located some 30 kilometers west of Goma, the capital of mineral-rich North Kivu province.
During a weekend summit in Uganda, regional heads of state called on the M23 rebels to withdraw from the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) by Monday.
The M23 rebels defected from the Congolese army in April in protest over alleged mistreatment in the military. They had previously been integrated into the Congolese army under a peace deal signed in 2009.
they are standing in the middle of the Sahel in 136* F and they want to "improve" the situation? I am sure they do. And their chances of doing that are about as good as camel bones at the far end of the Bakili Inferno.
[Latino.Fox News] Venezuela President Hugo Chavez is now battling bone metastasis from his pelvic cancer, according to a report by Spanish newspaper ABC. Citing an unnamed intelligence source, ABC's Washington correspondent Emil J. Blasco says there has been a recurrence and spread of the tumor, which was detected in a test performed on a trip to Havana just after the elections on October 7.
Blasco said the metastasis is causing Chavez "severe pain in the left femur and serious walking difficulties." He also says that Chavez passed out twice in August, losing consciousness briefly, and that doctors determined that his situation was deteriorating slowly but steadily.
Chavez last appeared publicly during a televised meeting on Nov. 15, prompting some critics to publicly wonder where he went after his election win.
During the electoral campaign, he repeatedly dismissed rumors that he had not been cured of his cancer, and vowed to serve out his six-year term.
The treatment that Chavez is said to be undergoing in Havana involves breathing pure oxygen while in a pressurized, sealed chamber. Its value is well-established for treating burns, carbon monoxide poisoning and some other medical conditions, and to aid wound healing and help repair bone and tissue damaged by radiation treatments.
However, Caliphornia hasn't yet slid into the ocean, no matter how hard it's tried... the American Cancer Society says there is no evidence the treatment can cure cancer. And Blasco notes that if hyperbaric oxygen treatment were the case, Chavez could have stayed in Venezuela, since the country boasts of having the latest technology on this kind of equipment (his brother Adam presented a "next generation" of those chambers in 2009 as governor of Barinas state).
[Dawn] The mysterious metallic objects, which fell from the sky baffling villagers in Dadu late Wednesday night, were parts of Pakistain's Hatf V Ghauri missile, a front man for the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said on Friday.
"The metal parts found in a remote area of Dadu, as reported in media today, were part of the motor body, which separated from the missile as planned, well within the safety corridor," said a statement by the ISPR.
"It was ensured that at no point, would human life or property be at risk. There is no cause for alarm or concern," the front man concluded.
Pakistain conducted a test of the mid-range nuclear capable ballistic missile on Wednesday. The liquid-fuelled missile, capable of carrying both conventional as well as nuclear payload, has a range of 1300 kilometres.
Fear and bewilderment overtook some parts of Dadu district after the mysterious objects fell on a number of villages late on Wednesday, the Dawn newspaper had reported.
The biggest fragment weighing 187 kilograms fell on a ground in Allah Jurio Lund village, 30 kilometres from Dadu. Other pieces fell on Pir Mashaikh, Shehak Rodnani and Khandhani villages.
There were no injuries or damage to property.
Military authorities were reported to have taken possession of the "heavy pieces of engine and other metallic objects, believed to be splinters of a satellite or missile".
[An Nahar] Scientists Thursday announced new evidence that Mercury, the planet orbiting nearest the Sun, hosts massive caches of ice and revealed new information on how water reached our solar system's inner planets.
"The new data indicate the water ice in Mercury's polar regions, if spread over an area the size of Washington DC, would be more than two miles (3.2 kilometers) thick," said David Lawrence, a researcher participating with NASA's mission to study Mercury.
Though much of Mercury is boiling hot, its axis of rotation is nearly parallel to the Sun -- which means the poles of the planet are never hit by the Sun's heating rays.
Scientists have long hypothesized these shadowy poles could harbor frozen water and other interesting materials.
In 1991, that theory got a boost when a powerful telescope in Puerto Rico detected "radar-bright patches" at the poles, often in spots where a previous mission in the 1970s had found large impact craters.
For the first time, new data from the MESSENGER spacecraft, which landed on Mercury in 2011, allows for a detailed model of just what's going on at Mercury's mysterious poles.
Images from MESSENGER confirmed that the radar-bright patches are all within cooler, shadowed regions, consistent with the theory they could be ice spots.
The spacecraft's neutron spectrometer also analyzed hydrogen concentrations as a way of determining the presence of water, which is a molecule composed of hydrogen and oxygen.
In the coldest spots, the water was on the surface, but in slightly warmer regions, where the ice might have melted, it was covered by a dark material with a lower concentration of hydrogen.
The researchers said this dark material could actually be the key to explaining how the water got there in the first place.
The dark material, which serves as insulation, is likely a mix of complex organic compounds, which were "delivered to Mercury by the impacts of comets and volatile-rich asteroids," explained David Paige, another researcher involved in the project.
Those comets and asteroids, he added, were "the same objects that likely delivered water to the innermost planet."
"For more than 20 years the jury has been deliberating on whether the planet closest to the Sun hosts abundant water ice in its permanently shadowed polar regions," said Sean Solomon of Columbia University's Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory.
"MESSENGER has now supplied a unanimous affirmative verdict," said Solomon, the principal investigator of the MESSENGER mission.
"But the new observations have also raised new questions," he added. "Do the dark materials in the polar deposits consist mostly of organic compounds? What kind of chemical reactions has that material experienced?
"Are there any regions on or within Mercury that might have both liquid water and organic compounds? Only with the continued exploration of Mercury can we hope to make progress on these new questions," he said.
A multi-volume chronology and reference guide set detailing three years of the Mexican Drug War between 2010 and 2012.
Rantburg.com and borderlandbeat.com correspondent and author Chris Covert presents his first non-fiction work detailing
the drug and gang related violence in Mexico.
Chris gives us Mexican press dispatches of drug and gang war violence
over three years, presented in a multi volume set intended to chronicle the death, violence and mayhem which has
dominated Mexico for six years.