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Posts Tagged ‘appeal’

Amanda Knox appeal starts in Italy sex-murder case

In Uncategorized on November 24, 2010 at 6:19 am

The appeal trial of Amanda Knox over the sex-murder of a British student in Italy gets underway on Wednesday, as prosecutors seek a harsher sentence and Knox’s family protests her innocence.

Knox, 23, was sentenced to 26 years in prison last year for killing Meredith Kercher in the cottage they shared in the medieval city of Perugia as part of what prosecutors described as a gruesome, drug-fuelled sexual assault.

“We believe that if the judges and the jury take a look at just the evidence and what we’re bringing up in the appeal it’s a no-brainer and they will let Amanda go,” her mother, Edda Mellas, said on British television this week.

File picture shows a weeping Amanda Knox (L) being helped during her murder trial in 2009 in Perugia, Italy.

Her father Curt Knox told channel ITV1: “I look at it as this is a point that is Amanda’s next chance to be found innocent, which she is.”

But Italian prosecutors have said they will seek a longer sentence for Knox if the conviction is upheld by the Perugia appeals court.

Knox’s then boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito, who was sentenced to 25 years for the 2007 murder, is appealing at the same time. An Ivorian man, Rudy Guede, who fled Perugia and was arrested in Germany, has also been jailed for the murder.

Wednesday’s hearing is expected to be technical in nature and the appeal trial proper is set to start next month, lasting possibly into next year.

Kercher was found on November 2, 2007, half-naked in a pool of blood with stab wounds to the neck in her room in the cottage she shared with Knox.

Knox, a Seattle native, has repeatedly protested her innocence and her case has continued to garner large-scale media attention, particularly in the United States where many people are convinced of her innocence.

Earlier this month she was indicted on additional charges of slander for claiming that police beat her during questioning soon after the murder. She said then that she had been in the house at the time of the killing.

Knox faces a separate trial on the slander charges on May 17 next year.

She has spoken in detail of her imprisonment in a book of interviews by Italian lawmaker Rocco Girlanda, president of the Italy-USA Foundation, who has taken a personal interest in the case and has visited Knox in prison.

Knox is quoted in the book as saying that she longs to live a normal life and hopes to one day become a mother and start a writing career.

“I want to live… I’m thinking about when I will be out of here,” Knox is quoted as saying during one of the visits in her cell in Perugia.

“Living here is like being in limbo,” she said.

Girlanda said he brought Knox numerous classic works of world literature during his visits, including works by Dostoyevsky, Hemingway and Kafka.

The case is also serving as the basis for a television film currently being shot in Italy called “The Amanda Knox Story,” starring US actress Hayden Panettiere as Knox. It is expected to screen in the United States next year.

Source: SGGP

UN to launch appeal as Pakistan disaster deepens

In Uncategorized on August 10, 2010 at 11:20 am

SUKKUR, Pakistan (AFP) – The United Nations is launching an appeal to help the millions of people hit by Pakistan’s worst ever floods which have cut off swathes of the country and raised fears of a food crisis.

A UN official said the disaster has affected almost 14 million people, eclipsing the scale of the devastating 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, as the deadly floodwaters sweep south and rescuers battle to bring aid to survivors.

Pakistani flood survivors take refuge on a small patch of land in the middle of floods water on the outskirts of Sukkur on August 9, 2010. AFP

“We will soon issue an… appeal for several hundred million dollars to respond to immediate needs,” UN chief Ban Ki-moon told a press conference on Monday.

“I appeal for donors to generously support Pakistan at this difficult time.”

The Pakistani government and UN officials have appealed for more urgent relief efforts to cope with the catastrophe.

The entire northwestern Swat valley, where Pakistan fought a major campaign to flush out Taliban insurgents last year, was cut off at the weekend as were parts of the country’s breadbasket in Punjab and Sindh provinces.

“This disaster is worse than the tsunami, the 2005 Pakistan earthquake and the Haiti earthquake,” Maurizio Giuliano, a spokesman for the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), told AFP.

He said the 13.8 million affected outstripped the more than three million hit by the 2005 earthquake, five million in the 2004 tsunami and the three million affected by the Haiti earthquake in January this year.

The United Nations estimates 1,600 people have died in Pakistan’s floods and the Pakistani government has confirmed 1,243 deaths. About 220,000 were killed in the December 2004 tsunami in Asia.

“This is the worst ever flood of our history. The nation needs to come together at this crucial time,” said Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani after visiting flood-hit areas of Punjab province on Monday.

“Rehabilitation of the affected people is a challenge. We are facing a bigger challenge than 2005 earthquake. It is a catastrophe.”

Pakistan’s meteorological office on Monday forecast scattered rain in the next 24 hours and said the intensity of monsoon showers was lessening.

But with floods sweeping south, hundreds of thousands of people have fled to seek safety as heavy rains lashed Sindh and water levels rose further in the swollen Indus river.

“We have evacuated about one million people but hundreds of thousands of people left their houses alone,” Jam Saifullah Dharejo, irrigation minister for Sindh, told AFP.

Ban also stressed the need to consider medium- and long-term assistance to Pakistan, warning that this “will be a major and protracted task.”

Food prices are skyrocketing, compounding the misery as the floods ravage the country’s most fertile lands and wipe out crops.

“Roads are closed. Fields are under water and it has affected the markets badly,” Amir Zada, 35, a fruit and vegetable seller in the garrison city of Rawalpindi.

The government said foreign donors including the United States have pledged almost 93 million dollars in aid, but on the ground Islamic charities with suspected extremist links have been far more visible in the relief effort.

US military helicopters supporting relief and rescue operations have rescued more than 1,000 people, the White House said Monday.

In a northern area of Sindh, hundreds of farm workers were stranded on a bridge in the highway town of Karampur, camped out with utensils and bedding while the road beyond lay flooded and the main Indus highway blocked.

“We fled to save our lives. We thought we would get relief goods but we got nothing,” said Dodo Khan, 50, an agriculture worker.

“We haven’t eaten for three days. My younger son, who is just five years old, is crying with hunger.”

Gnawing on a piece of onion, the child winced at the bitter taste, crying and visibly unable to swallow.

Survivors have lashed out at authorities for failing to come to their rescue, piling pressure on Pakistan’s cash-strapped administration straining to contain Taliban violence and an economic crisis.

“We voted for this government. We made (President) Asif Ali Zardari our ruler but we don’t know why he is so unconcerned,” cried Mahi Bacchi, 45.

“We are here without food and water. Our children are sick but no one comes from the government to help us.”

Zardari has been in France and Britain, courting massive criticism for not returning at a time of national disaster. One protester threw a shoe at him in England.

The United Nations estimated that up to 500,000 people are homeless and 1.4 million acres of agricultural land destroyed in Punjab, but said damage was worst in the northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.

Source: SGGP

Prosecutors to appeal Russian spy case bail ruling

In Uncategorized on July 7, 2010 at 4:13 am

In this undated file photo, Peruvian-born journalist Vicky Pelaez, one of the defendants in the Russian spy case, is seen on assignment in Lima,

The government said Tuesday it planned to appeal a decision to release one of the defendants in the Russian spy case on bail.

The announcement came from U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, four days after bail was set for a U.S. citizen charged in the case.

A magistrate judge in Manhattan had said the woman, Peruvian-born Vicky Pelaez, could be released on $250,000 bail with electronic monitoring and home detention. The judge said when he set bail that she could not be released before this week because it would take time to set up the bail requirements.

An appeal means that a bail hearing will occur before a federal judge, who will decide whether to uphold the findings of the magistrate judge.

Defense attorney John M. Rodriguez said Tuesday that he received a copy of a letter prosecutors had sent the court saying they were appealing. He said he expected his client to remain jailed pending the outcome of a hearing Wednesday afternoon.

Pelaez is among 11 defendants charged with being part of a spy ring that prosecutors say for the past ast decade has engaged in secret global travel with false passports, secret code words, fake names, invisible ink and encrypted radio.

The government has opposed the release on bail of any of the defendants, saying they would flee if they had the opportunity. Defendant Christopher Metsos disappeared on the Mediterranean island nation of Cyprus soon after a judge there freed him on $32,500 bail. He had been charged by U.S. authorities with supplying funds to the other members of the alleged ring.

Pelaez, a prominent Spanish-language journalist, is the wife of a defendant identified in court documents as Juan Lazaro. Prosecutors say he has admitted that his wife passed letters to the Russian intelligence service on his behalf.

They say he also has admitted that the name Juan Lazaro is fake, that he wasn’t born in Uruguay and that he is not a citizen of Peru, as he had long claimed.

Prosecutors say he also admits his home in Yonkers, N.Y., has been paid for by Russian intelligence.

Source: SGGP

Asian filmmakers must broaden appeal: Zhang Yimou

In Uncategorized on March 24, 2010 at 5:15 am

 Acclaimed “Raise the Red Lanterndirector Zhang Yimou says Asian filmmakers have made great strides but they must broaden their reach for Western audiences.

“Definitely, Asian films are gaining a higher status and making a bigger impact on the world,” the Chinese director told reporters at the Asian Film Awards held in Hong Kong Monday night.

“But Asian filmmakers still have a lot of work to do before they can truly turn their movies into a medium through which ordinary people in other parts of the world can acquire a good understanding of Asian culture.”

Zhang, who directed the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics and whose films have catapulted Chinese actresses Gong Li and Zhang Ziyi into international stardom, received the award for outstanding contribution to Asian cinema.

China’s Zhang Yimou is pictured with his Outstanding Contribution to Asian Cinema award at the 4th annual Asian Film Awards presentation ceremony at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, on March 22.

The 58-year-old said his hopes were pinned on a new generation of Asian directors.

“The younger generations will do better (than us). This is a liberal era and an era of diversity… They have the Internet. Their horizon and knowledge are well ahead of their previous generations.”

China and South Korea blitzed the Asian Film Awards by taking home the best picture, best actor, and best actress titles.

“Mother”, a South Korean mystery thriller about a woman’s quest to exonerate her mentally incapacitated son by taking it upon herself to investigate the murder of a teenage girl, grabbed the best film award.

Producer Moon Yang-Kwon said despite the rising status of South Korean filmmakers, it was still difficult to make money out of quality movies.

“Films that do well at box office are often not the best of our works. We must find a way to make art movies that are also blockbusters,” he said.

Kim Hye-Ja, who played the mother in the South Korean drama, beat China’s Li Bingbing and Japan’s Matsu Takako to the best actress award.

Chinese director Lu Chuan won the best director award for his feature film “City of Life and Death”, which tackles the Nanjing Massacre in 1937, when hundreds of thousands of Chinese civilians were killed by Japanese soldiers.

China’s Wang Xueqi won the best actor award for his starring role in “Bodyguards and Assassins” as a businessman who provided financial aid for the revolutionary movement led by Sun Yat-sen in the early 20th century.

Hong Kong singer-cum-actor Nicholas Tse was crowned best supporting actor for his part in “Bodyguards and Assassins”. Tse starred as a rickshaw puller who sacrificed himself to protect Sun Yat-sen from assassins.

Best supporting actress went to Hong Kong television veteran Wai Ying-hung, for playing an emotionally disturbed single mother in “At the End of Daybreak”.

The prize for top-grossing film director for 2009 went to action supremo John Woo for “Red Cliff”, which is reportedly the highest-grossing Chinese-language film in cinema history.

Woo, originally from Hong Kong, is best known for directing Hollywood blockbusters such as “Mission: Impossible II“.

Veteran Indian film producer and actor Amitabh Bachchan, dubbed the “Godfather of Bollywood”, was given the lifetime achievement award.

Source: SGGP Bookmark & Share