Witchcraft murder trial in London
A 15-year-old boy was tortured and drowned by his sister and her boyfriend because they believed he was a witch, the Old Bailey has heard.
Kristy Bamu, from Paris, was found dead in Newham, east London, on Christmas Day in 2010.
The boy had 101 injuries and died from being beaten with a metal bar and drowning, the court heard.
His sister Magalie Bamu and her boyfriend, Eric Bikubi, both Congolese and aged 28, of Newham, deny murder.
Prosecutors told jurors of acts they described as "depraved", "wicked" and "cruel".
Mr Bikubi admitted manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility, a plea not accepted by the prosecution.
'Armoury of weapons'
Kristy Bamu Kristy Bamu and his siblings were visiting London from Paris during the Christmas holidays
Kristy and his siblings were visiting the couple for Christmas, but Mr Bikubi had accused the boy and two of his siblings of witchcraft, the court heard.
All three were beaten and other children were forced to join in the attacks. But it was Kristy who became the focus of Mr Bikubi's attention, the prosecution said.
The teenager was said to be in such pain after days of being hit with an "armoury of weapons" including sticks, pliers, a metal bar, hammer and chisel that he begged to die.
Brian Altman QC, prosecuting, said: "Eventually Bikubi took him into the bathroom, put him in the bath and started to run the water.
"Kristy was just too badly injured and exhausted to resist or to keep his head above the water.
"It was only when he [Mr Bikubi] realised that Kristy was not moving that he stopped what he was doing and pulled him from the water."
He added: "By then it was too late."
The youngsters were forced to lie to their parents about what was happening when they phoned home, the jury heard.
Mr Altman said of Kristy's father: "He had sent his children on holiday, not to a torture chamber."
When police arrived they found Kristy and his siblings - brother Yves, 22, and and sister Kelly, 20, and other children.
Mr Altman said: "All were standing in the living room, hysterical, terrified and soaking wet.
"None of them spoke any English."
Kelly Bamu said Mr Bikubi and Ms Bamu accused Kristy, herself and a third child of "being witches or sorcerers - practising witchcraft" which adversely influenced another child.
"Despite her own siblings' denials that they were sorcerers, Magalie Bamu joined her boyfriend in repeating these fantastic claims and participating in the assaults," Mr Altman said.
The three were beaten and refused food, drink and sleep and eventually, to stop the torture, they admitted being sorcerers, the jury was told.
Mr Altman said Mr Bikubi's admission of manslaughter was rejected by the prosecution, which argues the couple carried out "the very deliberate murder" of Kristy.
'Feral and evil'
Ms Bamu also denies two charges of causing actual bodily harm to her other siblings.
The defendants are originally from the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
The jury heard that witchcraft or sorcery - called kindoki - is practised in Congolese Christian churches.
Mr Altman said that taken out of the church's control "it may take on a feral and indeed evil character, as we suggest it did here".
The court heard that in 2008 Mr Bikubi had accused a family friend of being involved in witchcraft and had forced her to cut her hair short to purge herself.
The trial continues. - BBC
Argentina: The New UFO Museum (Museo OVNI)
Source: Diario Victoria
Argentina: The New UFO Museum (Museo OVNI)
Last night was the official inauguration of the Museo OVNI in the city of Victoria, at which provincial and local authorities were on hand.
This new site is located at Calle Sarmiento between Além and 25 de Mayo streets, being more centrally located and spacious than the former facility.
A more tourist-oriented approach is offered to visitors, including such amenities as, for example, being photographed while “traveling” aboard a flying saucer. It is also possible to find journalistic material, photographs, curios, information on cattle mutilations, crop circles and other strange phenomena.
The inauguration was presided by Ruben Dario Garcilazo, intendente (mayor) of the City of Victoria, who praised the efforts made by Silvia Pérez Simondini. “This is important for both Victoria and Silvia, a way of appreciating her research endeavors, which she has carried out with great seriousness. It pleases me that this result has been achieved,” beamed the mayor.
Furthermore, Garcilazo took the opportunity to add: “We hope that this helps to bring visitors to Victoria, and to this end, we shall be aiding and supporting this new attraction for the city, so that it may be declared of municipal interest and appreciated by tourists to Victoria.
The “Museo OVNI” is the result of years of virtually pro-bono dedication on the part of Silvia Perez Simondini, her relatives and friends, who came to Victoria as a result of public awareness of the phenomenon in the vicinity in late August 1991.
Raul Gonzalez, the provincial secretary of tourism, confirmed that the opening of the Museo OVNI in the “city of the seven hills” is a new alternative of great worth for tourism. “This is a new stage for family-oriented tourism visiting the city of Victoria,” assured the provincial official.
Thanks to Scott Corrales at Inexplicata
Scientology civil war ready to erupt
Hold on tight to your leather-bound edition of Dianetics and hope for the best. A rift between two top members of the Church of Scientology is causing the controversial religion to be bought to the brink of civil war.
Debbie Cook, a former top-dog among the bureaucracy within the Church of Scientology, started off her 2012 with an email blast to followers of the religion in which she blasts current leader David Miscavige on corruption.
According to Cook, who at one time was the top officer in the church’s Sea Org group, Miscavige is hoarding over $1 billion that he acquired through church fundraising. Additionally, says Cook, the leader has blown millions on ridiculous facilities and the rest of the church must become aware of his misdoings.
“Only a tiny fraction has ever been spent… Only the interest earned from the holdings has been used very sparingly to fund projects through grants,” adds Cook.
Graeme Wilson, a spokesperson for the church, has fired back and tells the New York Times that Cook’s email reflects “a small, ignorant and unenlightened view of the world today” and are not representative of “the thousands of Scientologists who are overjoyed by our 27 new Churches and what they mean to the communities they serve.”
Cook, however, knows the ins and outs of the Scientology biz and is a force to be reckoned with within the church. From 1993 through 2008, she sat on the board of directors of the Church of Scientology Flag Service Organization, Inc. — a position that puts an awful mount of clout behind her recent words. Cook also served as “captain” of the Flag Organization from 1989 through 2006.
In an almost apocalyptical forewarning of what’s to come, Cook emailed a list of 12,000 scientologists on New Year’s Day cautioning them of the leader’s corrupt cash-grabbing, but stayed optimistic, saying, “We are a strong and powerful group and we can effect a change. We have weathered many storms. I am sorry that I am the one telling you, but a new storm is upon us.”
Cook says that she was drawn to the religion years ago thanks to the writings of founder and science fiction author L Ron Hubbard. That determination to keep his beliefs going is what motivated here to address the corruption coming from the church’s corporate headquarters.
“I dedicated my entire adult life to supporting L Ron Hubbard and the application of LRH technology,” Cook’s email reads, “And if I ever had to look LRH in the eye I wouldn’t be able to say I did everything I could to Keep Scientology Working if I didn’t do something about it now.
“We all have a stake in this. It is simply not possible to read the LRH references and not see the alterations and violations that are currently occurring,” warns Cook.
Miscavige has led the church since Hubbard passed away 26 years ago. According to Cook, the current leader has since dismantled the "complete and brilliant organizational structure” set in place by Hubbard. - RT
Prof. Stephen Hawking urges human colonization of space
"It is possible that the human race could become extinct but it is not inevitable. I think it is almost certain that a disaster, such as nuclear war or global warming, will befall the earth within a thousands years," Professor Hawking, the Cambridge University cosmologist and theoretical physicist said.
"It is essential that we colonise space. I believe that we will eventually establish self-sustaining colonies on Mars, and other bodies in the solar system, although probably not within the next 100 years.
"I am optimistic that progress within science and technology will eventually allow humans to spread beyond the solar system and out into the far-reaches of the universe," he said.
Professor Hawking was answering questions submitted by listeners to BBC Radio 4's Today programme to mark his seventieth birthday.
But if man should meet alien life on its journey into space, the consequences for humanity could be grave, Prof Hawking warned.
"The discovery of intelligent life elsewhere in the universe would be the greatest scientific discovery ever. But it would be very risky to attempt to communicate with an alien civilisation.
"If aliens decided to visit us, then the outcome might be similar to when Europeans arrived in the Americas. That did not turn out well for the Native Americans."
He said did not believe the results of the CERN experiments which appeared to show particles travelling faster than the speed of light - in defiance of the known laws of physics.
"Einstein's theory of relativity predicts that nothing can travel faster than the speed of light. Thus if the Opera experiment is correct, and neutrinos do travel faster than light, then relativity theory is wrong.
"However, I don't believe the Opera results, because they disagree with the detection of neutrinos from supernova SN 1987A."
Bursts of neutrinos detected in 1987 from that stellar explosion suggested neutrinos travel at the same speed of light. If CERN's experiment is correct, they would have been detected on earth years before the light from the explosion was seen on earth, physicists believe. Instead, they arrived within hours of one another.
A listener from Lagos asked Hawking, Britain's most celebrated physicist, whether there "was a time when there was nothing".
"The origin of the universe can be explained by the laws of physics, without any need for miracles or divine intervention," replied the professor, who uses a speech synthesizer due to his debilitating Motor Neurone Disease.
"These laws predict that the universe was spontaneously created out of nothing in a rapidly expanding state. It's called inflation, because it's like the way prices go up at an ever increasing rate. Time is defined only with the universe, so it makes no sense to talk about the time before the universe began. It would be like asking for a point south of the south pole." - telegraph
Doctors set to remove Vietnamese man's massive 138 pound tumor
A man with a tumour tipping the scales at 198 pounds on his right leg is set to go under the knife in Vietnam today to have the growth removed, it has been reported.
Left unable to walk by the swelling that weighs more than the rest of his body, Nguyen Duy Hai's enormous tumour is to be cut away by a team of medics in ten hour operation that only has a 50 percent chance of success.
Hai, 31, who suffers from a rare genetic disorder, has been living with the tumour since he was four years old, a statement from the France-Vietnam hospital in Ho Chi Minh City detailed.
"This is a huge procedure with many risks, including the risk of death during surgery or post-operative care," the hospital said.
The hospital added that despite being warned of the potential problems with the surgery, Hai has nonetheless decided to proceed with removal.
Lead doctor McKay McKinnon successfully removed a tumour weighing over 176 pounds from a Romanian woman in 2004.
McKinnon has reportedly waived his fee for the operation, with remaining costs expected to be covered by donations.
Last October it was reported that a grandmother from Berkshire had dropped seven dress sizes after surgeons removed a 39lb tumour from her stomach.
“The weight of it meant the pressure on my legs became unbearable.,” said Jayne Grainger..
“By the end, I could barely walk and couldn’t get down the stairs in my house.” - mirror
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