Crazy World: Babysitter abused 50 kids...

Dutchman held over sexual abuse of up to 50 children   

Dutch police said on Sunday they had arrested a 27-year-old man on suspicion of sexually abusing up to 50 children at childcare centres in Amsterdam, and for the distribution of child pornography.

The man, who was arrested on December 7, worked as a substitute carer at creches in the Dutch capital from February 2007, but also advertised for work as a babysitter over the Internet.

At a late-night press conference, Amsterdam police chief Bernard Welten said the man is suspected of abusing between 30 and 50 children, but stressed investigations were ongoing.

Referring to a "large and complex" case, Amsterdam chief public prosecutor Herman Bolhaar said the man is suspected of abusing children aged up to the age of four and published a photo of the suspect to warn parents of possible victims.

"At this moment we do not precisely know how many children are the victims of this 27-year-old man," Bolhaar said.

The investigation was launched after child pornography believed to have originated from the Netherlands was found in the United States. The man was arrested after a victim of sex abuse was identified in a Dutch television crime show.

The man's 37-year-old male partner has also been arrested on suspicion of possession of child pornography. He is not suspected of sexual abuse and will appear in court on Monday.

Dozens of parents were informed about the case in two meetings at an Amsterdam hotel on Sunday night.

The case comes just months after 60-year-old swimming teacher Benno Larue was sentenced in July to seven years in jail for the sexual abuse of 40 girls over a period of many years. Most of the girls were very young and had learning difficulties.  

Is John Travolta gay?


How does it make a difference to his fans and audience as long as he can justify his presence in a film.

Carrie Fisher insinuates that John Travolta is secretly gay in an interview with gay and lesbian magazine Advocate.

Travolta, 56, took legal action against website Gawker after it published author Robett Randolph's allegations that the Pulp Fiction and Grease star's private life.

Randolph claimed that Travolta used to meet men in saunas.

German city pares budget deficit with "sex tax"

Challenged with a 100 million euro ($133 million) deficit, one western German city has introduced a day tax on prostitutes to help whittle down its budget gap.

The new "pleasure tax" requires prostitutes in Dortmund to purchase a 6 euro "day ticket" for each day they work, or face a potential fine. The city estimates that the new tax will add some 750,000 euros to its coffers each year.

"Dortmund has financial problems like many cities in Germany," city spokesman Michael Meinders told Reuters. "We considered several sex taxes but this was the most practical proposal."

The new tax went into effect in August but the day tickets have not been available until this week.

An alternative proposal was to charge a 1 or 2 euro fee to anyone entering Dortmund's red-light district, but this idea got little political support, Meinders said.

Such taxes are not unusual in Germany where prostitution is legal and sex workers must pay tax on their income. Cologne introduced a 150 euro "pleasure tax" on sex workers in 2004 and later added a 6 euro day tax option for part-time prostitutes.

Instructor gropes students for 'bad driving'


A driving instructor was sacked from his job for sexually assaulting four women while working for the British School of Motoring.

Barry Morgan would grope women learners - after telling them it was "punishment" for motoring mistakes, reports The Sun.

He would turn the heating up in his car so that his young victims would remove their tops. Then he would insist on squeezing "their wobbly bits" if they made driving errors, the court was informed.

The former soldier, who lost a foot in the Falklands War, tried to put his hand in a 17-year-old's bra and ran his hand up her skirt, the daily said.

She cancelled her next lesson - but Morgan still made her pay. The dad of one had been a driving instructor for 17 years before the first complaint.

Cops then checked with other learners and found three women with almost identical experiences.

Prosecutor Jonathan Barnes said: "He accompanied the touching with banter, saying he was squeezing them as a penalty for mistakes in their driving."
Ginger the cat dials 999


Police responding to a 999 call from a house in Swansea realised they'd been summoned by Ginger the cat when they showed up on the doorstep, reports Metro.

The police officers encountered a confused resident who'd been fast asleep in bed. Howard at a loss to explain how the 999 call had been traced to his house.

Attention soon turned to the feline lying fast asleep with one of his paws across the unhooked phone.

South Wales Police, for their part, took the false alarm in good humour. They told the daily it a " purrfect ending for everyone".

Jackpot! Fugitive traced via lottery ticket


A notorious Italian mobster who dodged justice for 20 years was reportedly finally under lock and key overnight after he was traced via a lottery ticket, reports Herald Sun.

Convicted double killer Riccardo Piras went on the run in the late 1980s before he could be locked up for life for the brutal murders of two drug dealers.

One victim's corpse was reportedly dissolved in acid, while the other was tossed on a garbage dump as a chilling warning to rival gangs, the newspaper said.

Piras has evaded capture for two decades but was finally undone by his "passion" for gambling, Italian police told the daily.
Mandurah love story takes world by storm 

A Mandurah electrician has been dubbed a modern-day Romeo after flying to the US and dressing as Rudolph the Reindeer to deliver a surprise marriage proposal in one of the world's busiest plazas, reports The Sunday Times.

Shane Fallon has received global media coverage for the unusual way he popped the question to Rae Taylor, his girlfriend of four years.

He dressed in a reindeer suit and soon found his long-time girlfriend shopping.

Unaware who was inside the costume Taylor posed for a photo.

Fallon got down on one knee and pulled out the ring, before taking off the top of the reindeer costume to reveal his romantic surprise.

His stunned girlfriend fell to her knees and cried while shop owners and onlookers cheered.

Watch the video here

Mugging victim Ecclestone in watch ad


Savvy Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone's badly bruised face cropped up in adverts for a Swiss watchmaker and sponsor this week reputedly thanks to a quip after Ecclestone was mugged in London.

The diminutive 80 year-old was kicked unconscious by a gang of muggers who attacked him outside his offices in Knightsbridge last month, stealing his possessions including a limited edition 20,000 dollar (15,314 euros) watch.

A spokeswoman for watchmaker Hublot - a sponsor of Formula One motor racing - said Ecclestone e-mailed company chief executive Jean-Claude Biver, a friend of his, afterwards, including a picture and the quip "see what people will do for a Hublot".

"The two men know each other well and have a sense of humour," she said.

"The idea of making an advert from it came from Mr Ecclestone," the spokeswoman explained.

The muggers also snatched girlfriend Fabiana Flosi's earrings.

Ecclestone, the commercial rights holder for motor racing's elite, had compared London to Sao Paolo earlier last month after Formula 1 driver Jenson Button escaped a roadside assault ahead of the Brazilian Grand Prix.
Obama hasn't had a smoke in months


His hair may have turned gray and he may have a little less spring in his step after almost two years in office, but US President Barack Obama has one thing to be proud of - he hasn't had a cigarette in months.

"I've not seen or witnessed evidence of any smoking in probably nine months," White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said Thursday.

Asked if Obama, who has acknowledged being a smoker, has actually kicked the habit, Gibbs said: "For that nine months, yes."

Obama has made little secret that he used to enjoy a puff or two, and that First Lady Michelle Obama had made various attempts to get him to quit.

The US president was urged by his doctor in February to stop smoking for good after his first health check-up when he was otherwise found to be in "excellent health" and "fit for duty."

Gibbs admitted that for Obama smoking was "not something that he's proud of. He knows that it's not good for him... He doesn't like children to know about it, obviously, including his."

Despite a series of stressful political negotiations such as the tax deal struck with Republicans or talks on a landmark arms reduction treaty with Russia, Obama never once gave into temptation, Gibbs said.

"Even where he might have once found some comfort in that, he's pushed it away," Gibbs said.

"He understands its dangers and I think has done a lot of extraordinary work to wrestle with that habit, as millions of Americans have," Gibbs said.

And asked how Obama had managed to stub out cigarettes when millions fail to quit, Gibbs replied: "He's stubborn."


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