...where failure is documented
4 kids strapped to car; driver arrested
9 May 2012
Aaron S. Stefanski, 29, and Jessica A. Clark, 29
FORT WAYNE – FORT WAYNE – Police have charged a man accused of driving three blocks with four young children strapped to the hood of his vehicle with driving while intoxicated and neglect of a dependent.
Fort Wayne police were called about 5:30 p.m. Monday after someone saw a man and woman strap four children to the hood of a car in the parking lot of a liquor store at 2116 Fairfield Ave. and then drive away, according to a statement from police spokesman John Chambers.
Medvedev quits Kremlin with a whimper
5 May 2012
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin review honour guards in Moscow.
AFP - When the Kremlin door slams shut on Dmitry Medvedev after Vladimir Putin returns to the presidency on May 7, the sound reverberating off the ancient red-brick walls may be one of bitter failure.
Post-Soviet Russia is set to remember its only one-term president as a man whose biggest achievement was keeping the Kremlin seat warm for Putin when he was barred by the constitution from running for a third consecutive term. Youthful, interested in technology and apparently open to the West, Medvedev's promises to make Russia a freer, more democratic country created unprecedented hopes when he took office in 2008.
Russian activist convicted under 'anti gay' law
4 May 2012
A Saint Petersburg court has fined prominent gay rights activist Nikolai Alexeyev, seen here in 2011, for "propaganda of homosexuality" to minors, in its first conviction under a controversial new city law.
AFP - A Saint Petersburg court on Friday fined a prominent gay rights activist for "propaganda of homosexuality" to minors, in its first conviction under a controversial new city law.
Nikolai Alexeyev, the organiser of numerous unsanctioned gay pride marches in Moscow, was fined 5,000 rubles ($169) under a new city law that bans propaganda of homosexuality and paedophilia to minors, he told AFP.
The judge "opened a Pandora's box" by issuing the first such ruling, he said, adding that he will appeal and plans to contest the law at the Constitutional Court and the European Court of Human Rights. "I think it will be viewed very negatively and it will show the absurdity of what's going on in 21st-century Saint Petersburg," he said, calling the law "absolutely arbitrary."
Asia's architectural treasures 'vanishing': experts
3 May 2012
A view of Buddha statues discovered inside an ancient monastery in Mes Aynak, in the eastern province of Logar in Afghanistan in 2010.
AFP - Asia's architectural treasures, from a Buddhist monastery in Afghanistan to an ancient city in China are in danger of vanishing under a tide of economic expansion, war and tourism, experts said Thursday.
The Global Heritage Fund named 10 sites as the most in danger of "irreparable loss and destruction."
"These 10 sites represent merely a fragment of the endangered treasures across Asia and the rest of the developing world," the fund's executive director Jeff Morgan said in presenting a report. The architectural gems from across Asia's ancient and sophisticated cultures are struggling in the face of economic expansion, sudden floods of tourists and areas of lawlessness and war.
Medvedev: The man who kept the seat of power warm for Putin
His four years as president are four days from an end. But why did Dmitry Medvedev fail to transcend his mentor and become a Russian figurehead in his own right?
by Shaun Walker Author Biography
Thursday 03 May 2012
Medvedev was carefully manoeuvred into the Kremlin by Vladimir Putin in 2008. AFP/Getty Images
Previous inhabitants of the Kremlin, whether it be Ivan the Terrible, Joseph Stalin or Vladimir Putin, have tended to inspire both awe and fear. Even with Boris Yeltsin in the late, vodka-infused years, there remained an aura of residual respect for someone who was essentially the most powerful person in the biggest country in the world. But with four days left of his four-year tenure as President, Dmitry Medvedev evokes rather different emotions in his citizens.
Green groups say Indonesia deforestation ban 'weak'
3 May 2012
File photo shows Greenpeace activists displaying a protest banner with a message "APP stop destroying tiger forest" at the PT. Tebo Multi Agro concession affiliated with Asia Pulp and Paper (APP) in the province of Jambi.
AFP - A coalition of green groups in Indonesia on Thursday criticised a moratorium on deforestation as "weak", saying the year-long ban still excludes large tracts of the country's carbon-rich forests.
Greenpeace, which is leading the coalition, said government maps that mark protected areas exclude 3.5 million hectares (8.6 million acres) of peatland -- biodiverse swamp-like forests that hold rich carbon reserves. Greenpeace said the government must review all existing logging permits on the country's natural forests and peatland, and improve governance based on an accurate set of maps. "The government cannot hope to improve forest governance and ensure the effectiveness of the moratorium without taking these crucial steps," Greenpeace Southeast Asia political campaigner Yuyun Indradi said in a statement.
Concern in New Zealand at 'possum' drinking craze
3 May 2012
AFP - Authorities in New Zealand raised concerns Thursday about a student drinking game called "possum", in which participants sit in trees downing alcohol until they fall to the ground in a drunken stupor.
The craze has reportedly swept the South Island city of Dunedin, which has a large student population, leaving public parks strewn with glass, litter and vomit.
N. Korea camps 'house the desperate, not dissidents'
3 May 2012
North Korean soldiers march with a portrait of the country's founder Kim Il-Sung during a military parade in Pyongyang on April 15, 2012.
AFP - A new report on North Korea's notorious political prison camps shows that many of those jailed in recent decades were desperate people seeking food or work overseas rather than dissidents.
Other offences were even more trivial, it says: one female former student was serving a term for having a western-style dance with a foreigner, another student was incarcerated for singing a South Korean song. An entire family was thrown into a camp after the father forgot to refer to the state's late founder Kim Il-Sung as "Great Leader" during an ideological session.
Azerbaijan accused of silencing dissent before Eurovision
3 May 2012
Azerbaijani opposition supporters hold posters and flags during a protest rally in Baku in April 2012.
AFP - International rights groups on Thursday accused Azerbaijan of silencing dissent and free speech as the former Soviet state gets ready to host the prestigious Eurovision song contest this month.
In reports to mark World Press Freedom Day, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International said that energy-rich Azerbaijan was stifling media freedoms and called on the European Broadcasting Union, the confederation of national TV and radio stations which organises Eurovision, to take a stand on the issue.
Sunset isle Santorini tries to ignore Greek debt crisis
3 May 2012
This undated photo shows tourists at the island of Santorini.
AFP - Twenty euros ($26) for a pair of flip-flops, 10 euros for a five-minute taxi ride and store prices that send even locals to Athens. Welcome to Santorini, the island that forgot Greece's economic crisis.
Voted the world's best island by Travel + Leisure magazine in 2011, the Cyclades tourism powerhouse continues to live in an inflation bubble as the rest of the country sees salaries and pensions plummet by up to 40 percent. The enduring boom is built on money spent by thousands of travellers who flock to Santorini by cruise ship, ferry and plane each day, drawn by the island's whitewashed villages, volcanic beaches and jaw-dropping sunset vistas.