Diplomats owe millions in parking fines
Diplomats posted in Britain owe more than $44 million in unpaid parking tickets, traffic fines and fees for driving in London's so-called congestion zone, according to figures released by Foreign Secretary David Miliband to lawmakers on Thursday. The United States owes about $4.9 million, more than any other country. The congestion zone charge is a daily tariff of $13 levied on cars that drive through central London during business hours. U.S. diplomats have refused to pay the charge since 2005, claiming it is a tax from which diplomats are exempt. Kazakhstan tops the list with 528 fines for outstanding parking tickets and other minor traffic violations.
Mom gets 8 years for killing 3 babies
A French court convicted Veronique Courjault, 41, of murdering three of her newborn children and sentenced her Thursday to eight years in prison. Courjault was accused of burning one of the bodies and stashing two others in a freezer. In France, murder charges carry a maximum penalty of life in prison. But the prosecutor in the case on Wednesday had recommended Courjault be given a 10-year-prison sentence. During the trial, psychiatrists testified that Courjault suffered from a psychological condition known as "pregnancy denial," and family members pleaded for clemency on her behalf.
Fewer seals killed in Canadian hunt
The global recession, plummeting pelt prices and the prospect of a European ban on seal products dramatically lowered the number of seals killed in this year's hunt, Canadian officials said Thursday. About 70,000 harp seals were hunted this year out of a commercial quota of 273,000 animals, said Fisheries and Oceans Canada spokesman Scott Cantin. The seven-month hunt ended earlier this week. Last year, 217,857 harp seals were hunted out of a commercial quota of 275,000. The price of seal pelts has fallen to $12 from a high of more than $88 per pelt some years ago.
Man shot dead at funeral for priest
Gunfire broke out during a funeral procession Thursday for the Rev. Gerard Jean-Juste, killing a man and prompting angry protests. Marchers accused United Nations peacekeepers of killing the unidentified man. U.N. peacekeeping spokeswoman Sophie Boutaud de la Combe said the shooting was under investigation. Jean-Juste, a close ally of exiled former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, died May 27 at a Miami-area hospital after complications from a stroke and respiratory problems. He was 62. He was known for fighting on behalf of migrants in Florida.
Myanmar: Opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi spent her 64th birthday locked in prison today as global campaigns demanding her freedom erupted across Twitter, Facebook and other Web sites and at rallies worldwide. Suu Kyi, who has now spent 14 birthdays in detention, planned to mark the day by sharing food with her prison guards.
Algeria: Al-Qaida-linked militants ambushed a convoy of Algerian police escorting Chinese construction workers near a highway building site, killing at least 19 people and wounding several others, a local official and Algerian newspapers said Thursday.