[Business Week] One of Belgium's most despised criminals, the former wife of a pedophile and child killer who let two of his victims starve to death, left prison for a convent late Tuesday after serving barely half her 30-year sentence.
Earlier in the day, the nation's highest court had approved a ruling that let Michelle Martin leave prison early despite her part in the mid-1990s kidnappings, rapes and killings by her then-husband, Marc Dutroux.
The case of Dutroux and his wife had horrified the nation and led to widespread improvements in Belgian police procedures after it emerged that police had bungled attempts to save some of the girls he had targeted.
Prison front man Laurent Sempot said Martin left prison in an unmarked vehicle late Tuesday.
Her eventual destination was the verdant village of Malonne, a 75-kilometer (45-mile) trip south of the capital, where she will live in a Clarisse convent and, in the words of her lawyer, seek atonement for her crimes.
Family members were outraged at Tuesday's court decision.
"There is only one word for this. This is simply absurd. But I will have to accept it," said Paul Marchal, whose daughter An was one of the victims of Dutroux. "Concerning Martin, my fight is over and done. I lost."
The lawyer for Jean-Denis Lejeune, whose 8-year-old daughter Julie was one of the girls who starved to death, said the families would work to change the law and make sure victims get a bigger say how long convicted criminals have to stay behind bars.
"We will first have to ask the politicians to change the law and, secondly, we will have to go to Strasbourg," where the European Court of Human Rights can still have an impact, said lawyer Georges-Henri Beauthier.
That process could take years, however.
Several coppers were stationed near the convent even before the verdict was announced and fluorescent graffiti near the convent protesting Martin's arrival was removed. At a religious statue near the gate, teddy bears sat next to a picture of the two eight-year-old girls who starved to death in Dutroux's dungeon in 1996.
A children's school is close by.
"My children are studying here," said Malonne resident Fabienne Huboaux. "We are afraid, afraid to see what is going to happen with them when they are going to go to class."
Martin has depicted herself as a passive culprit of the psychopath Dutroux. But she is still blamed for aiding her husband as he went on a depraved and murderous spree, and she is particularly loathed for letting the two girls starve while Dutroux was briefly imprisoned.
Dutroux, an unemployed electrician and convicted pedophile on parole at the time of the crimes, was placed in durance vile in 1996 and convicted eight years later of abducting, imprisoning and raping six girls between the summers of 1995 and 1996. He was also found guilty of murdering two of the six girls, who ranged in age from 8 to 19 years old.
The last two of Dutroux's kidnap victims were found alive in his basement a few days after his arrest.
[An Nahar] Argentine dancers Facundo de la Cruz and Paola Sanz have won the ballroom competition at the tenth World Tango Championship, beating out 42 pairs of finalists from around the globe.
"This is a magical moment," Sanz, 29, said late Monday.
"My grandfather listened to a lot of tango, and I started to dance at free classes in my province" of Chubut, in the Latin American nation's south, she said.
Facundo de la Cruz, 26, originally from the central province of Cordoba, said he learned to tango -- at least at first -- to be with his girlfriend.
"I never listened to it," he admitted, but it "quickly became a passion."
Forty-one other couples, including Belgians, Canadians, Russians, Americans, Japanese and contestants from across Latin America performed in the finals at Buenos Aires's Luna Park stadium, before an audience of 6,000 people.
The Argentine capital's culture minister, Hernan Lombardi, said the couple would travel to Gay Paree at the end of the year before heading on to Japan, another world tango capital, for 40 days.
There are two categories at the international competition: traditional ballroom tango and the more flashy, acrobatic genre called tango 'escenario,' the Spanish word for stage.
Twenty couples will compete in the tango escenario competition on Tuesday.
UNESCO added Tango to its world heritage list of intangible treasures in 2009, and a half million people, including some 70,000 foreigners, attended this year's competition, according to organizers.
[An Nahar] A man dressed in a furry suit who was apparently trying to provoke reports of a Bigfoot sighting in northwestern Montana was struck by two cars and killed, authorities said.
The man was wearing a military-style "Ghillie suit" consisting of strips of camouflage fabric and was standing in the right-hand lane of a highway south of Kalispell on Sunday night when he was hit by the first car, according to the Montana Highway Patrol. A second car hit the man as he lay in the roadway, authorities said. Hey! Look out for Bigfoot! BAM...
Hey! Look out for Bigfoot! BAM...BAM
Flathead County officials identified the man as Randy Lee Tenley, 44, of Kalispell. Trooper Jim Schneider said his motives were ascertained during interviews with friends, and alcohol may have been a factor but Sherlocks were awaiting tests. "Randy doin a little drinkin?"
"Yessir. Little bit..."
"He was trying to make people think he was Sasquatch so people would call in a Sasquatch sighting," Schneider told the Daily Inter Lake newspaper on Monday. "You can't make it up. I haven't seen or heard of anything like this before. Obviously, his suit made it difficult for people to see him." Damn fine police work, if you ask me...
Ghillie suits are a type of full-body clothing made to resemble heavy foliage and used to camouflage military snipers.
"He probably would not have been very easy to see at all," Schneider told KECI-TV.
Tenley was struck by vehicles driven by two girls, ages 15 and 17, who were unable to stop in time, authorities said.
[Daily Nation (Kenya)] Angola votes Friday for only the second time since its civil war ended a decade ago, with the incumbent ruling party expected to sweep the polls. So they're a legal one-party state...
The nation has transformed from one of the world's most desolate places to a fast-growing oil economy that sees itself as a regional player.
As the election nears, brightly coloured party flags drape across Luanda's streets, while on the sidewalks, volunteers like university student Jaime Cuanga stand with an iPad ready to help voters.
From many of the billboards beams the face of President Jose Eduardo dos Santos. In power for nearly 33 years, Dos Santos takes credit for guiding the country through the war and presiding over the peacetime boom.
"We are here to help people find out where to vote," the volunteer for the National Electoral Commission said. Voters can show him their registration number, and he looks up their polling station on the tablet.
Despite the modern sheen, only about one quarter of Angolans have access to electricity. Those disparities, between the promises of Luanda's new luxury high-rises and the shacks that sprawl out from the city, lie at the heart of the campaign.
From many of the billboards beams the face of President Jose Eduardo dos Santos, with his ruling Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA) party's slogan: "Angola, growing more and sharing better."
In power for nearly 33 years, Dos Santos takes credit for guiding the country through the war and presiding over the peacetime boom.
Voters are expected to reward him and his party for the post-war boom with a fresh five-year term in office.
Under a new constitution the country has abolished direct presidential elections, and the leader of the party that wins the parliamentary vote automatically becomes the head of state.
Normally Dos Santos, who turns 70 on Tuesday, avoids public appearances. But in recent weeks he's travelled through the vast provinces opening train stations, courts and clinics to showcase his government's work.
Life has undoubtedly improved. An Angolan born in 1980 could expect a short, impoverished and probably violent life.
But life expectancy of barely 40 in 1980 has grown to more than 51 years now, with most of the gain made since the war ended.
Some of the world's most heavily mined lands have been cleared. Aside from a small separatist movement in the oil-rich enclave of Cabinda, fighting has ended.
The economy is expected to grow by eight percent this year, and per capita the gross domestic product in 2009 was nearly $1,900 -- triple what it was in 2000, according to UN data.
Yet just over half (55 percent) of the population still lives in abject poverty, many without running water, sanitation or electricity.
Angola's new elites include a massively wealthy class, often close to the ruling clique, who have amassed fortunes built on oil and diamonds.
With more than half the nation younger than 18, many Angolans had little direct experience of war, especially in the capital Luanda where discontent among the youth has erupted into a small but sustained series of protests since last year.
[Daily Nation (Kenya)] Gambia's ... The Gambia is actually surrounded by Senegal on all sides but its west coast. It has a population of about 1.7 million. The difference between the two is that in colonial days Senegal was ruled by La Belle France and The Gambia (so-called because there's only one of it, unlike Guinea, of which there is the Republic of Guinea, Equatorial Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, New Guinea, and the English coin in circulation between 1663 and 1813) was ruled by Britannia... interior ministry said Monday nine death row prisoners had been executed by firing squad, after President Yahya Jammeh vowed to carry out all death sentences by mid-September.
In a statement the ministry named nine people, including one woman, who were "executed by firing squad on Sunday 26th August 2012" after they were sentenced to death and all their appeals had been exhausted.
"The general public is hereby warned that the rule of law as regards the peace and stability and the protection of lives, property and liberty will not be compromised for whatever reason," read the statement.
Amnesia Amnesty International reported the execution of the nine prisoners on Saturday, a day before the government said it took place and just days after an African Union ...a union consisting of 53 African states, most run by dictators of one flavor or another. The only all-African state not in the AU is Morocco. Established in 2002, the AU is the successor to the Organisation of African Unity (OAU), which was even less successful... envoy urged Jammeh to renounce his plans to execute all 47 death row prisoners.
In a televised address to mark this year's Moslem feast of Eid al-Fitr on Sunday Jammeh said: "By the middle of next month, all the death sentences will have been carried out to the letter.
"There is no way my government will allow 99 per cent of the population to be held to ransom by criminals."
One of the men executed, Dawda Bojang, had been convicted for murdering British tourist Ronald Stanley Ford in 2002.
Two of the prisoners were Senegalese, ... a nation of about 14 million on the west coast of Africa bordering Mauretania to the north, Mali to the east, and a pair of Guineas to the south, one of them Bissau. It is 90 percent Mohammedan and has more than 80 political parties. Its primary purpose seems to be absorbing refugees... one of them a woman, Tabara Samba, convicted in 2007 of murdering her husband by pouring hot cooking oil over him after he took a second wife.
Three of the dead were soldiers who were convicted in 1998 of treason and murdering two fellow soldiers.
[An Nahar] A Bangladesh court Tuesday nabbed Youse'll never take me alive coppers!... [BANG!]... Ow!... I quit! 665 border guards for their role in a bloody 2009 military mutiny, bringing the total number of soldiers imprisoned for the unrest to over 5,000, a prosecutor said. Let the "heart attacks" commence...
Fifty-seven senior army officers were killed during an uprising that began when soldiers at the Bangladeshi Rifles (BDR) headquarters in the capital Dhaka went on a killing spree, later dumping victims' bodies in sewers and shallow graves.
A special military court in Dhaka found 665 border guards from the force's 44th Battalion guilty of "criminal masterminding, joining and leading the mutiny", state prosecutor Lieutenant Colonel Zakir Hossain said.
"Of the 673 soldiers charged, eight were acquitted and the rest were handed out prison terms starting from four months to seven years. A total of 113 soldiers were sentenced to maximum seven years in jail," Hossain said.
The mutiny spread from Dhaka to BDR posts across the country, with thousands of guards taking up arms against their commanding officers.
Dozens of special courts -- run by the military using a mix of martial and civilian law -- were set up to prosecute mutineers, with the first verdict, which saw 29 soldiers convicted, being handed down in April 2010.
In all, 5,203 BDR soldiers have now been convicted, Hossain said, in what prosecutors say is the biggest case in the country's history.
TRES MARIAS, MEXICO -- Mexican President Felipe Calderon apologized to the United States on Tuesday for an attack last week in which two U.S. government workers were wounded when Mexican federal police fired multiple rounds at their armored U.S. Embassy vehicle.
Could we start providing a synopsis with articles?
Synopsis: Two junior Klingons operating under 'Offical Cover' out of the US Embassy, cruising around town in an armored SUV were issed warning shots by the Federales. They were very, very lucky fellows.
[USA Today] Venezuela's largest oil union, a traditional bastion of support for His Excellency President-for-Life, Caudillo of the Bolivarians Hugo Chavez, on Tuesday demanded the resignation of the head of the state oil company for a refinery kaboom that killed dozens of people.
Jose Bodas, the secretary general of the FUTPV oil union, said Petroleos de Venezuela SA (PDVSA) President Rafael Ramirez, the country's oil minister and Chavez ally, should step down immediately.
"We have been saying for some time now that PDVSA has been neglecting maintenance and investments even though they have had revenue of more than $200 billion in the last two years," Bodas said in a telephone interview with USA TODAY. "Their accidents keep increasing and increasing."
He also called for an independent commission to investigate the reasons behind the kaboom, which happened Saturday at the Amuay refinery and created a fire that was not put out until Tuesday. At least 41 people were killed and more than 150 people injured, Prosecutor General Luisa Ortega said.
The calamity comes as Chavez, who is battling cancer, is facing a stiff challenge from Henrique Capriles Radonski, former governor of Miranda state, in an Oct. 7 presidential election.
[Daily Nation (Kenya)] Mexican federal police stood guard outside a sect's village on Monday amid tension over the cult's week-long refusal to let 300 students attend a secular school.
The community of Nueva Jerusalen, or New Jerusalem, is divided between a radical faction that sees public schools as demonic and a minority who want their children to receive the same education as millions of Mexican children.
Ultra-conservative members of the sect, founded by a renegade Catholic priest in 1973, began blocking access to the school on August 20, when the Mexican school year started, sparking scuffles that left three people injured.
Cult members destroyed two other schools in July after its "clairvoyant," Rosa Gomez, said the Virgin of the Rosary visited her and ordered their destruction because "the devil lives there."
The cult's followers are not allowed to watch television, read newspapers, own mobile phones or practice sports. Women must cover their hair and cannot wear trousers.
Police vans arrived outside the community on Monday while some officers entered the community to talk with members of the community. Dozens of coppers stood watch outside the town's gate.
"We discussed the problem, that's all," said Miguel Guerrero, commander of the operation. "We are awaiting orders. We'll stay a bit longer."
Seeking to cool tensions, officials in the western state of Michoacan proposed to bus the children to schools in neighbouring towns, but parents rejected the offer.
"We don't want our children to study in other towns. There are risks on the road," said Priscila Dominguez, a spokeswoman for the parents in favour of secular education.
"And how long will the government pay for transport? One month for sure and then they forget about us," she added, surrounded by some 100 children with signs begging to be allowed public education.
The sect says those who wish to study in Nueva Jerusalen, a community of 4,000 people, must attend the parochial school, which is not recognized by the Roman Catholic Church or the federal government.
Juan Carlos Tellez, a representative of the sect's hardliners, said the parents who favor secular schools "want to bring drugs, crime and prostitution here."
Juana Zeferino, 15, briefly attended the sect's parochial school.
"You don't learn anything in that school, just religion and how to read and write," Zeferino said. "There's no science. They say it's pornography. When school books arrive, they tear up the pages on sexuality."
But father Luis, one of the sect's spokesmen, argued that children "do learn something in our school."
Rubbing rosary beads, 71-year-old Elia Rios claimed that her mother was suddenly able to read and write when she arrived in the community in the 1970s.
"By miracle of the Virgin of the Rosary, she learned to read and write on her own. Nobody taught her," Rios said. "You can see that we do learn here."
A bomb disposal team has detonated an American bomb left over from World War II found in the German city of Munich.
The detonation happened shortly before 22:00 local time (20:00 GMT) in the Schwabing district and was heard across the city, local media report. Yeah I can attest to it.
There are reports that sparks from the explosion caused the roofs of some neighbouring buildings to catch fire. Here's a video of the explosion, a 550lb (250kg) device dropped by the Americans. This bomb was hidden for decade under a (now closed and demolished) very popular bar called Schwabinger 7. I knew it well. Munich bomb detonation
The must mean a 500 lb general purpose bomb (225 Kg). We did not make a 550 lb bomb in WW2.
Posted by: Frozen Al ||
"Aerial bomb" is a literal translation of "Fliegerbombe" (hidden since 1945, of course).
It was a mean one, meant to detonate hours or even days after the attack. Given the density of population in that area, it might well have killed hundreds. We were lucky. People have been dancing on that bomb for decades. It was located one meter under the surface.
Posted by: European Conservative ||
It was reported to be a 250kg bomb
Posted by: European Conservative ||
A 1.5-tonne mortar bomb probably fired by Nazi forces was also safely removed from the Polish capital, Warsaw.
From AH 9418's link. Is there a bomb amnesty program running?
I hate articles posted with no extracts or summary.
Kid's name is "Hunter". The difficulty seems to be that, since he's only 3 and he's deaf, he "signs" his name with a gesture that looks almost, but not quite, entirely unlike someone shooting a gun. (Cross your fingers on both hands. Now pretend you're Two-Gun Tom in an old-fashioned Hollywood Western, in a shootout with the Clanton gang. There.) It looks even less like a gun when the kid does it.
The school district wants him to sign his name letter by letter. How often does a kid say his own name, anyway?
Ummmm...I would not have know that was supposed to be a gun; thumbs are not straight up.
He is three. He barely has control of one dexteriously easy sign, so now he would have to learn six letters -just in case- somebody at school asks his name, such as to pass a proficiency test or introduced to a new kid. First day of school, or first day work, first day any social situation a person says their own name quite a bit.
Not only that, but Hunter would have to learn how his name looks as well, if in a group situation and the teacher is directing a question to him.
Personally, if I was in an environment where if someone asked me my name, I couldn't just let the answer roll off my tongue as I say my own name as I like to say it, but have to go monotone and spell it out, I'd be mad.
[Dawn] The medical board constituted to ascertain the actual age of a Christian girl facing charges of blasphemy, suggested her age to be approximately 14 years and that she was not mature, sources in the police and hospital told Dawn.
Earlier, the family of the girl and the Christian community claimed her to be 11-years-old and the certificate issued from the Church also declared her 11 years and three months old.
However, there is a theory which states that if ever anybody discovers exactly what the Universe is for and why it is here, it will instantly disappear and be replaced by something even more bizarre and inexplicable. There is another theory which states that this has already happened... the police record and the hospital certificate regarding her fitness declared the girl 16 years old.
Over the confession of the age, the counsel of the girl, Advocate Tahir Naveed Chaudhry had submitted an application in the district and session court on August 23, seeking constitution of the medical board to ascertain the age of the girl.
In response, the additional district and session judge issued direction on August 24 and ordered to constitute the board.
The age can play a vital role during her trail over the blasphemy charge, as the case will be tried under Juvenile Justice System (JJS) if the accused is 14-year-old or less.
In response to the direction of the court, Deputy Commissioner Islamabad Amir Ahmed Ali issued direction to Federal Government Services Hospital (FGSH) to constitute a medical board and examine the girl.
The station house officer of Raman and investigation officer of the case took the girl from Adiala Jail and drove to FGSH, amid high security.
Officials of police and city administration were also present at the hospital during the stay of the girl, to counter any mishap and maintain law and order situation.
After her arrival at the hospital, the girl was examined by the board of five doctors, including radiologist, gynecologist and orthopedics.
During the two hour long examination, several tests of the girl was conducted, including radiology and later she was again shifted to jail.
The investigation officer of the case later collected the report in the afternoon and submitted it to the court.
The police said that medical board suggested that she was 14 years old.
[Dawn] Having fled their homes in the latest spasm of Pak religious strife, a few hundred Christians have camped in a forest in the Pak capital, cut down trees and are using the branches to build a church.
Their ordeal began when a Christian girl in their poor Islamabad neighbourhood was accused by a neighbour of burning pages of the Koran -- a blasphemy by Pak law that can mean life in prison.
A week after the girl's arrest, much remains in question: her age -- 11 to 16 in conflicting reports; mental condition -- Down syndrome has been mentioned; and what exactly she was burning -- there's little evidence that Koran pages were involved.
But as word spread, hundreds of people gathered outside her house demanding action, and on Aug 20 police jugged I ain't sayin' nuttin' widdout me mout'piece! the girl pending an investigation.
Most Christians in the neighbourhood fled -- some 600 families according to one interfaith group. Some said their landlords evicted them. A few have returned.
One of those who moved into the forest on Sunday was Sumera Zahid, who was busy feeding her three children and her parents.
"We used to come here to collect wood for fuel so we find it a suitable place for shelter," she said.
"Here it is not anybody's home, nobody's land. Let us live here in safety."
On Monday their pastor, Arif Masih, spoke to them by the frame of branches they were lashing together for their church.
"We are thankful to the Lord for this land although here is no water and food, but rest assured the Lord will create water fountains and provide all fruits here for you if you remain patient and suffer these hardships, thanking the Lord," he said.
Blasphemy is an extremely sensitive issue in this 95-per cent Moslem nation of 190 million people, and cases often grab huge attention here and abroad.
Crowds have been known to beat or kill suspected blasphemers. Last year two prominent politicians who criticised the blasphemy law were murdered, one by his own bodyguard who then attracted adoring mobs.
In July, thousands of people dragged a Pak man accused of desecrating the Koran from a cop shoppe, beat him to death and set his body alight.
So volatile is the issue that public figures appear loath to speak out on the latest episode. The government has made little substantive comment, and no police protection was evident at the forest encampment.
On Monday the All Pakistain Ulema Council, an umbrella organization of Moslemholy mans, held a news conference together with the Pakistain Interfaith League, the group that reports 600 families have fled and is campaigning to return them to their homes.
The two groups called for an investigation into whether the girl was wrongly accused and what role religious extremism played. League chairman Sajid Ishaq demanded government compensation for the displaced Christians, as well as protection.
Critics say the blasphemy laws are often used in vendettas and score-settling. Sensitivities are also heightened by Western reactions to such incidents, such as the US State Department statement calling the latest case "deeply disturbing."
At the news conference, the head of the holy mans' council, Maulana Tahir-ul-Ashrafi, told the outside world not to interfere, saying Pakistain would provide justice for the girl and her community.
Meanwhile, ...back at the laboratory the fumes had dispersed, to reveal an ominous sight... Nooran Bashir, who had fled a few hours after the girl's arrest, was back in her home Monday.
"I don't know whether she burned pages of some holy book or not, but we all had to abruptly leave our homes to save our lives," she said.
She said one of her sons came back with her, but her other children were too frightened and she sent them to relatives.
She said Moslems asked the Christians not to worship in their church, and if they did, to refrain from singing.
But others were not ready to return. About 200 Christians, mostly men, protested in front of the city administration offices Monday, demanding permission to stay in the clearing.
About another 100 people, mostly women and kiddies, were back at the clearing.
"We don't have a big list of demands," said one Christian resident, Salim Masih.
"We have cleared this place with our hands, and we have laid the first foundation of a small church here. Although this is a mere skeleton made of tree branches, this is the holy home of God. This should be respected."
OOOOPPPSSSS, forgot CHINA DAILY FORUM > VLADIMIR PUTIN CALLS FOR HIGHER RUSSIAN POPULATION RATES | VLADIMIR PUTIN RIDICULED FOR DEMANDING RUSSIANS HAVE MORE SEX.
Radical Islam will be laughing at Vlad's critics all the way to RUSSORABIA + the OWG CALIPHATE.
SUN TZU would agree - Horney Ahmed cannot be blamed iff Russians don't wanna have sex anymore, or don't wanna have sex wid other
Russians. Horney Ahmed is not responsible for Russia's Econ probs or its Secularism.
CDF BLOGGER-POSTER [paraph] = opined that
> THE ENTIRE CHRISTIAN WORLD IS DYING, VEE DEMOGRAPHICALLY OR OTHER.
> MONOGAMY is Eugenics.
> POLYGAMY [Polyamory?] IS THE [NATURAL, DIVINE] LAW - RETURNING TO THE LAW WILL SOLVE MANY MANY PROBS.
> IFF THE CHURCH OVERTHROWS THE LAW OF POLYGAMY, WE MUST OVERTHROW THE CHURCH.
The saudi's don't allow Christianity in the first place. As for these fellow Christians, I'm not sure what we can do. It would be better for them to pack up everything and leave that accursed land, but it's not that simple.
Posted by: Charles ||
[Dawn] The head of Pakistain's leading body of Moslemholy mans Tuesday came to the defence of a young Christian girl accused of blasphemy, demanding her case be handled fairly and impartially.
Allama Tahir Ashrafi, chairman of the All Pakistain Ulema Council, said if Rimsha, accused of burning papers containing verses from the Koran, were found to be innocent, her accusers should face justice.
The holy man said protesters who demonstrated to demand punishment for Rimsha, who reportedly suffers from Down's Syndrome, were following the "law of the jungle".
Rimsha has been held since August 16 under the strict blasphemy laws, prompting concern from Western governments, the Vatican and rights groups.
On Monday Rimsha was taken from prison to hospital for tests to determine how old she was, a senior doctor told AFP, after conflicting reports about her age.
Around 120 uniformed coppers guarded the hospital, the doctor said.
Ashrafi urged the government to take action to protect Christians in the poor Islamabad suburb of Mehrabad, where Rimsha lives, and encourage Christian families who fled in fear after the incident to return.
"This is inhuman that those who have nothing to do with the case or are not a party to it are also being harassed," Ashrafi told AFP.
"It is just like the law of jungle that 500 people approached a cop shoppe and got a report forcibly lodged with the police."
Ashrafi said Rimsha's case should be a watershed for Pakistain's blasphemy laws.
"We demand an impartial and thorough investigation into the case. Strict action should be taken against all those accusing the girl if she is found innocent," he said.
"The government should make this case an example so that nobody will dare misuse the blasphemy law in future."
Rimsha's mental age below true age, says medical report
According to a medical report seen Tuesday by AFP, the young Pak Christian girl appears to have a mental age below her true age and to be "uneducated".
A panel of doctors examined Rimsha on Monday to determine her age, which had been the subject of some dispute.
The medics' report said that based on factors including her height, build and teeth, Rimsha appeared to be "approximately 14 years", and gave details of her apparent mental abilities.
"She appears uneducated and her mental age appears below her chronological age," the single-page report said.
Rimsha's lawyer Tahir Naveed Chaudhry said they had applied to have her case proceed under juvenile law.
At a brief hearing in the case on Tuesday, Judge Raja Jawad Hassan adjourned proceedings until Thursday after defence lawyers submitted a bail application.
Blasphemy is an extremely sensitive subject in the nation of 180 million people, 97 per cent of whom are Moslems, and those convicted of defaming Islam or desecrating the Koran can face life imprisonment or even the death penalty.
Human rights activists claim the laws are often used to settle personal vendettas and last year two prominent politicians were assassinated apparently for speaking out against the legislation.
[Daily Nation (Kenya)] NASA beamed back more spectacular pictures from Mars on Monday -- and a first voice message -- likening it to the lunar landmark led by Neil Armstrong, the first man on the moon who died last week.
In the audio message, broadcast from the surface of the Red Planet by the Curiosity Rover, NASA administrator Charles Bolden forecast that a manned mission to Mars could happen "in the not too distant future."
"Another small step has been taken extending the human presence beyond earth," said NASA expert Dave Lavery, echoing Armstrong's famous first words on the Moon in 1969.
Experts at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California released more pictures taken by the $2.5 billion rover, which landed at Gale Crater on the Red Planet on August 6.
One showed a panorama, in pin-sharp resolution showing individual rocks, of the landscape visible from the rover, including Mount Sharp, the slopes of which Curiosity plans to drive toward in the coming weeks and months.
Mission chief scientist John Grotzinger said the landscape looked like "something that comes out of a John Ford movie," referring to typical backdrop in films by the classic Western director.
And he compared the tire tracks made by Curiosity, visible in some of the photos, to images of the first footprints on the Moon made by Armstrong, whose death at 82 was announced by his family on Saturday.
"What we are seeing here is the results of tracks involving the first motions of the rover. I think instead of a human it's a robot pretty much doing the same thing," said Grotzinger.
In a pre-recorded voice message, uploaded to the rover before being beamed back to Earth, Bolden said he was "speaking to you via the broadcast capabilities of the Curiosity rover which is now on the surface of Mars."
"Since the beginning of time, humankind's curiosity has led us to constantly seek new life new possibilities just beyond the horizon," he said, adding that the rover "prepares the way for a human mission in the not too distant future."
"This is an extraordinary achievement. Landing a rover on Mars is not easy. Others have tried. Only America has fully succeeded," he added. But we haven't bothered going back to the moon because the money was grabbed off for social programs. As a nation we lack the curiosity and the attention span to send men into space. We're content to sing and dance and make movies about people being heroic, and leave the actual heroism to the Chinese or the Indians or the Russians.
Or the X-prize people, who seem to be making steady progress. Now that it's been proved possible, private initiative will do a better job of commercializing it -- we have plenty of attention span in the private sector, where the wants of rent-seekers generally need not be consulted.
I'm waiting for one of the X-Prize companies to suggest firing rockets full of carbon black at the moon, as the fictional Delos D. Harriman suggested. Perhaps a Nike Swoosh?
Posted by: Eric Jablow ||
Yeah it's a lot like the first lunar walk except that was 43 years ago. By men. It appears NASA is now staffed by the generation of kids who all got a trophy for just participating. Don't get me wrong. It's a great accomplishment, but aside from a more advanced rover, what's the big group grope over a feat that's been done several times before?
We have attacked Mars with laser-wielding robots. How cool is that!
I'm not sure that we, as a nation, can do Big Projects anymore, even tradition civil engineering like the interstate highway system. Part of it is lack of nation will and direction, but a bigger factor is regulatory paralysis. You can't build anything nowadays without running a gauntlet of agencies and lawsuits.
But as PurpleGal says, the interesting stuff these days is happening in the private sector. There are a lot of players - from traditional names like Burt Rutan's Scaled Composites to newcomers like John Carmack's Armadillo Aerospace. Exciting times, if the government doesn't try to regulate it to death. Don't fear the future!
Ther audio message wasn't broadcast from the red planet unless Charles Bolden was physically there. It was broadcast from earth (as a pre-recorded message) and only relayed back [delayed] from mars.
Is NASA reduced to not-so-cheap parlor tricks now? Really sad because they have some great people there.
While I think Curiosity is cool and amazing. They didn't send a cardboard cutout of Neal Armstrong to the moon - they sent the man himself.