Magazine

Iranian man sentenced to having his eyes gouged out, right ear and nose cut off after hurling acid in young girl’s face, court rules

Perpetrator will also have an ear and his nose cut off, opposition group says. President Hassan Rohani won a surprise election last year, after pledging more openness with the West. But an increased use of the death penalty has dashed hopes the country’s will improve its human rights record, the UN said. An Iranian man who poured acid on a young girl’s face should be punished by having his eyes gouged out and his right ear and nose cut off, an Iranian court ruled, according to an opposition group. The group, the National Council of Resistance of Iran, said the man was convicted last October of intentionally attacking the girl with acid, causing her to lose her eyesight and right ear. Last month, another Iranian man was condemned to have one hand and one foot cut off as punishment for an unspecified crime, the state-run Mehr news agency reported. The national council said that Iran’s high court has publicly defended cutting off body parts and removing eyes as part of the country’s judicial system. At least 80 people and perhaps as many as 95 have been executed in Iran this year, a surge in the use of the death penalty that has dampened hopes for human rights reforms under President Hassan Rohani, the United Nations said last month. Rohani, who won a surprise election last year on a platform of more openness with the West, clinched an interim deal in November with world powers over Iran’s nuclear program. In September, dozens of political prisoners were released, raising hopes that he would also improve human rights. “There were some encouraging signs last year where political prisoners were released … But it appears at least in the past seven weeks that in fact executions have been scaled up,” UN human rights spokeswoman Ravina Shamdasani told a news briefing. “We regret that the new government has not changed its approach to the death penalty and continues to impose capital punishment for a wide range of offences. We urge the government to immediately halt executions and to institute a moratorium.” Last year Iran executed between 500 and 625 people, including at least 28 women and two juveniles, Shamdasani said. Reuters

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Love across the barricades: Ukrainian protester falls for the policeman she confronted when he texts her to say ‘I want to marry you’

A police officer and a journalist acting as a human shield during violent protests in Ukraine have fallen in love. Journalist Lidia Pankiv, 24, had been one of the protesters out on the streets campaigning against corruption and demanding a change the day she met police officer Andrei Lidia Pankiv, 24, was speaking on the phone to one of her friends during a stand-off in Kiev, and was forced to shout out her phone number within earshot of the policeman. She had been expecting her friend to call her back, but instead she got a text message from an unknown number. “Despite all the commotion I remembered your phone number when you gave it to your friend. I don’t even know your name,” the text message read. A young Ukrainian woman protester who fell in love with a police officer after she and a group of female friends faced him unarmed in the capital Kiev “I was standing in the night with a shield in front of you. When you stopped us from advancing, I realised that I want to marry you. Andrei.” Pankiv did not know who the message was from, but agreed to meet him in an effort to convince him he was on the wrong side of the protests. “I was really surprised at the message and don’t know why I agreed to meet him, I thought perhaps it might be possible to convince him that the side he was on was wrong and I certainly didn’t expect to find myself falling in love with him,” she said. “But when I saw him when I started to speak to him – that is what happened.” Andrei has not revealed his last name for fear of losing his job. The couple met in December but it did not become well-known until Pankiv appeared on a television panel show to talk about her romance. However instead of speaking of the unlikely love, she took the opportunity to slam Inter, the channel on which the program was broadcast. “I came here today only because I found out that this is a live broadcast,” she said.

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EasyJet refused to refund widower’s Malta flight for his dead wife

A British pensioner whose wife died from cancer after he booked EasyJet flights to Malta was refused a refund by the airline, until the matter was taken up by the press. EasyJet ignored Mr Douglas-Woods’ request for a refund for months – until the media stepped in and took up the case Thomas Douglas-Woods, 85, told UK newspapers that he had booked the flights several months before his wife Margaret became too ill to travel. She died before the planned trip in October. Mr Douglas-Woods said the airline ignored his request for a refund for months until the media took up his case. “‘I think it’s absolutely disgusting. This is a genuine case, it’s not someone who’s broken down on the way to the airport,” he told the Daily Star. EasyJet eventually relented and refunded the airfare. A spokesman for the airline said: “EasyJet is a no-refunds airline, however we fully understand that our customers’ travel plans and circumstances may change due to a bereavement. “We can confirm that the refund has now been processed in full.”

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Thieves in Australia steal 10 tonne ‘The Big Mango’

As thefts go, it was rather an unusual one – thieves made off with a 10 metre high, 10 tonne mango replica from a town in northern Queensland, Australia. The Big Mango is a nod to the thriving fruit industry in Bowen and is one of 150 Big Things erected as tourist attractions across the country. CCTV footage appears to have captured the robbery during the early hours of Monday morning. A crane was used to rip the three-storey giant fruit from the concrete platform on which it had stood since 2002. The Big Mango was nowhere to be seen when staff showed up for work on Monday morning. But Bowen Tourism chairman, Paul McLaughlin, told Sky News that he was optimistic about the mango being recovered. “At the end of the day it’s a bloody big mango and I’m sure someone will see it and we’ll find it anyway,” he said. As thefts go, it was rather an unusual one – thieves made off with a 10 metre high, 10 tonne mango replica from a town in northern Queensland, Australia. The Big Mango is a nod to the thriving fruit industry in Bowen and is one of 150 Big Things erected as tourist attractions across the country. CCTV footage appears to have captured the robbery during the early hours of Monday morning.

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Police pay compensation to woman who called 999 to report her boyfriend for throwing wine in her face….because they arrested HER for smelling of…

A victim of domestic violence has been awarded £2,350 from Gwent Police after she was arrested when she phoned for help. Kristy Robinson said she felt humiliated and confused during her arrest Kristy Robinson, 26, dialled 999 at 4am after being punched in the head by her ex-boyfriend and having red wine thrown over her. But she was taken into custody alongside her attacker because there were no witnesses. Gwent Police said the officer acted in good faith in a challenging situation. A civil court hearing in Cardiff heard that Ms Robinson spent six hours in a police cell before being released without charge. Her former boyfriend was given a 20-week suspended prison sentence for assault. Ms Robinson said she felt frightened and confused at her arrest, and let down by police when she needed help. “It was the lowest point of my life. I was utterly devastated by the way I was treated,” she said. “I called the police for help and I was being treated like a criminal. Challenging situation “When the police arrived my ex said that I had hit him and the police took his word for it. They said I smelled of alcohol, I was bleeding and they were taking me in. “I was humiliated and confused,” she added. Ms Robinson, from Newport, won a civil justice case against Gwent Police for false arrest and received £2,350 damages after a four year legal battle. A spokesman for Gwent Police said the force was disappointed by the result but recognised the court judgment. “The arresting officer acted in good faith and in accordance with what she considered right and proper in all the circumstances,” the spokesman added. “The officers needed to act quickly in a challenging situation where those present had consumed alcohol, were making counter allegations of assault and where no independent witnesses were present.” BBC

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‘Hello Boyos’ billboard of The Valleys stars is put up on border with England

MTV has given the traditional ‘Welcome to Wales’ road signs a makeover to mark the new series of reality show ‘The Valleys’. The sign that has been put up to publicise the new series of The Valleys on MTV The cheeky, double sided signs pay homage to the iconic Wonderbra Adverts of the mid 90’s and feature three of the show’s biggest stars Natalee Harris, Lateysha Grace and Jenna Jonathan in their underwear. One side shows them from the front, and the other from the back. The design is being trialled on the A465 on the Welsh boarder and is planned to be rolled out to several crossings into Wales later this week, in advance of the new series airing. Jo Bacon, Vice President, Marketing, Creative & Press, MTV UK said: “We wanted to extend a warm Welsh welcome to everyone entering the country and put an entertaining spin on the boring traditional signs that clog up our roads. “I hope we succeed in putting a smile on the faces of passers by and if people like what they see then they can see a lot more by tuning into The Valleys on MTV! “We plan to roll out our sexy road-side marketing campaign across the Welsh border in the run up to the first episode.” But the idea has not gone down well with everyone, as these Facebook post reveal: Rhianna Woodham: Those roads are dangerous enough as it is, thats just making things 100 times worse!! What a joke!! I can imagine it now, men driving past, slow down to take a gorp and a photo not looking at the road and crash into innocent people. Kerry Farrell: Yeah great way to start an accident haha. Marie Rees: Now theres an accident w8n to happen. The Valleys follows people from the South Wales Valleys as they move to Cardiff to live out their dreams.

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Secret Diamond Club, new dating site that pairs rich men with beautiful women sparks controversy

Secret Diamond Club – a dating website for wealthy men and beautiful women – caused a scandal when it launched in Denmark, and now it’s after a slice of the UK market. The Secret Diamond Club has spread across Europe and America has just launched here in the UK to a rather mixed response Are you a man who thinks it’s reasonable to spend £60,000 on the off-chance you might get a date, or a woman who doesn’t mind her looks being rated by a panel of independent experts? If so, Secret Diamond Club – a dating website aimed at pairing wealthy males with attractive females – may be for you. The site, which originates from Denmark, launched in the UK this week. To enter its ‘elite’ club, women must submit three photos of themselves – one face, one full body, one of their choice – and then wait to hear if they are beautiful enough to be accepted. Of the ones who pass, the most attractive pay the least for their membership, while those judged the least attractive pay the most (up to the £30 a year). Men pay between £6,000 a year for a local membership and £60,000 a year for a global one and remain anonymous until they decide to make contact with a female member. Founder, Gus Terkelsen, left says British women are ‘unattractive’ so men with money can’t find suitable dates here When an article for a Danish website brought Secret Diamond Club to the public’s attention there three years ago, it was more shared and commented on than the same day’s news that the country’s Crown Princess had given birth to twins. Gus Terkelsen, the entrepreneur behind the matchmaking scheme, admits few of those comments were positive. “Some people called it a prostitution ring, but that’s not true,” the 33-year-old says over a phone call from Copenhagen. “Others took a feminist approach, saying it was degrading towards women, that it supports the notion women are worth nothing apart from their looks.” Well, doesn’t it? “Some people don’t like getting the truth told too obviously. Women will always look for wealthy partners, and the most attractive will get them. It comes from the Stone Age and survival of the fittest, where if women were not able to mate with successful men they would not have children and they would die. “Obviously we don’t live in that kind of society now, but millions of years of evolution have pushed women into being that way – even if they’re not aware of it.” With the high concentration of wealthy men in London, Gus explains the UK was the next logical step for the club before expansion into Eastern Europe and Asia, and development of its existing presence in America. As for British women, “There’s nothing particularly special about them. Just as women anywhere in the world, they are interested in meeting men of success and wealth. It’s how the female mind works – a genetic thing that goes beyond cultures.” One thing that isn’t immediately obvious from a video promoting the site to “prestigious entrepreneurs and… the most beautiful women in the world” is why these financial and aesthetic alphas need to go through the expense or potential humiliation of using a site like this (though apparently a couple of thousand people have already done so in Denmark). Gus describes it as a time-saver or “convenience thing.” His approach to matchmaking also makes a bit more sense when you understand this dating site owner’s approach to love: “I believe that love is a trading relationship. It’s the exchange of emotional security, finance or sex; a conditional relationship in which I give you something and I get something in return.” And has he met anyone through Secret Diamond Club willing to complete this transaction with him? “Obviously, I’m single,” he says. Source The Telegraph

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