Victim set to marry rapist... for child's sake

Woman set to marry her rapist

AFGHANISTAN: A woman in Afghanistan, jailed for adultery after being raped and then pardoned and set free, sees herself forced to marry her attacker after her brothers are threatening to kill her and she has nowhere else to go.

Gulnaz, who does not know her exact age but is 20 or 21, has told her story in a quiet voice with her blue burqa pushed up over her face, as her baby daughter, the child of her rapist, played on the floor at her feet.

She has told the French newsagency AFP she will have to marry the man as she needs a father for her child and to give both of them a home.

The woman says she no other place to live as her brothers have vowed to kill her, her attacker and her daughter.

Gulnaz was freed from prison on Tuesday, two years after she was jailed for a so-called moral crime, being raped by her cousin's husband.

9-year-old boy chokes in school cafeteria

US: Family members and a witness say a New York City fourth grader choked on meatballs during lunch while school cafeteria workers stood by. The boy later died.

The New York Post reported Saturday that 9-year-old Jonathan Jewth fell to the ground during lunch Dec. 5 at Public School 47 in the Bronx. He was unconscious before help arrived.

A parent at the school, Andrea Perez, told the newspaper she saw the boy choking but cafeteria workers did nothing. She said at one point they yelled at him to put his fingers down his throat. Jonathan's family says he suffered brain damage and died Monday.

Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott says his death was a tragedy. Education officials haven't responded to requests for comment about the family's and Perez's account.


Man charged with stealing woman's car during date

RUSSIA: A boyfriend was charged with stealing a woman's car during a movie date, the St. Petersburg Times reported.

The 35-year-old woman was watching a movie with the culprit Michael Pratt at a theater. Pratt asked his date for her car keys during the movie, saying that he needed to get something from the vehicle.

The 27-year-old then went outside -- and did not return. When she called him, he laughed and said he had stolen the silver 2012 Ford Focus, then disconnected the phone, the newspaper said, citing the sheriff's office.

The victim told investigators that she attempted to call Pratt for two days after the date before alerting the sheriff's office. Pratt finally called her four days later and told her that he abandoned the car in a parking lot.

Officials found the car arrested the car thief.


Woman set afire in elevator of her building

NEW YORK: Police say a woman burned to death in the elevator of her New York City apartment building after a man ambushed her, sprayed her with liquid and set her afire with a Molotov cocktail.

Police spokesman Paul Browne says the unidentified man was waiting for the woman when the elevator doors opened to her floor of the Brooklyn building Saturday afternoon.

Browne says the unidentified woman was returning with grocery bags when the elevator doors opened to the fifth floor and she was sprayed by the assailant. The woman tried to protect herself, but the man sprayed her directly in the face.

After spraying her again, the suspect used a lighter to ignite a rag in a bottle and set her aflame.

Police are searching for the suspect, who they say knew his victim. 


Look, no hands! Italian driver caught on two phones

ROME: An Italian driver was stopped by astonished police in the southern city of Bari on Saturday when they saw him speaking on two phones with a handset in each hand and no control of the wheel.

Asked to explain his actions, the 43-year-old driver of an Alfa Romeo 166 saloon car said he was speaking to his wife when his mother called and he could not hang up on either of them, the Corriere Della Sera daily reported.

The man -- a professional truck driver -- made matters worse when he admitted that he frequently spoke on two handsets while on work trips.

Police fined him 152 euros (ê198) and took five points off his licence.

Driving while speaking on even one mobile phone is officially banned in Italy and speaker systems should be used but the law is widely flouted.

An amateur video of a bus driver in Rome steering with his elbows while using two phones went viral in May and forced his suspension.




"Whatever" deemed most annoying word: poll

 Do you want to kill a conversation? Try saying "whatever."

Words like "you know" and "like" might be irritating to hear, but for the third year in a row, it's "whatever" that holds the most power to annoy, according to an annual survey by the Marist College Institute for Public Opinion.

Nearly four in ten adults named "whatever" as the most annoying verbal filler in casual conversation, while one in five adults had similar disdain for "like" and 'you know." "Just sayin'" and "seriously" were more forgiving to the ears, though still quite irritating, Marist found.

The telephone survey of 1,026 adults nationally had a margin of error of three percentage points.

Man dies while reporting assault

AUSTRALIA: An elderly gentleman, 78, collapsed and died while reporting an assault in a police station in Croydon. The paramedics were unable to revive him, reports Herald Sun.

The deceased man may have been involved in an altercation, say those investigating the case.


Pakistani family guilty of Belgian honour killing

BRUSSELS: A Belgian court on Monday sentenced four members of a Pakistani family to prison for the murder of their law student daughter and sister in the country's first "honour killing" trial.

After pronouncing the family members guilty for the shooting death of 20-year-old Sadia Sheikh in October 2007, the jury sentenced father Tarik Mahmood Sheikh to 25 years behind bars, mother Zahida Parveen Sariya to 20 years, brother Mudusar to 15 and sister Sariya to five years, media reported.

Lawyers for the family said brother Mudusar, who confessed to pulling the trigger on the three bullets that killed his sister, was handed a lesser jail term than his parents as they were considered to have ordered the girl's death.

Sadia Sheikh, who defied the family by living with a Belgian man and refusing an arranged marriage, was shot dead on October 22, 2007.

Mudusar admitted before the jury of five women and seven men to killing his sister, attempting to shield the rest of his family from any blame.

His parents and remaining sister stood accused of aiding and abetting the killing which took place when their victim visited her family in the hopes of patching up their quarrel.

Questioned during Belgium's first "honour killing" trial in south-western Mons, Mudusar said the killing was premeditated "for a long time."

The trial also involved rights groups pleading for gender equality as part of a civil suit at the hearings.

Sadia Sheikh left the family home to study after her shopkeeper parents tried to arrange a marriage with a cousin living in Pakistan whom she had never met.

Before moving in with a Belgian man her age named Jean, she was helped by fellow students and teachers and also spent some time in a centre for victims of domestic violence, where she drew up a will as she felt threatened.

She had nonetheless agreed to visit the family hoping to reach some form of reconciliation the day she was shot.

During the trial the brother surprised his own lawyer by suddenly confessing also to the attempted murder of his second sister and fellow defendant Sariya, now 22.

"I left you for dead," he told his sister beside him in the dock as his parents broke into tears.

On the subject of the honour killing he told the court; "I didn't want to take her (Sadia's) life, but to make her feel as bad as I felt."

His 61-year-old father and 59-year-old mother as well as sister Sariya, also face charges of "attempting to arrange a marriage."

They all denied involvement in the murder, saying Mudusar killed his sister in a fit of rage.

Prosecutors had asked for a life sentence for three of the defendants, and between 20 and 30 years behind bars for Sariya.

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