Tag Archives: years

Ronnie Barker’s son arrested on child porn charges after 8 years on the run

LONDON, ENGLAND (BNO NEWS) — The son of British comedian Ronnie Barker appeared in a London court Tuesday after being on the run for more than eight years, police said. He has been charged with producing child pornography and was remanded in custody while awaiting trial.

Adam Barker, 44, attended a west London police station by appointment on Tuesday morning and was charged with five counts of making indecent images of children. Two of the charges refer to child pornography in the most serious category, reflecting child pornography showing sadism or penetration of or by an animal.

Barker appeared at Uxbridge Magistrates’ Court in London several hours after being taken into custody. “We are remanding you in custody because there are strong grounds to believe you would fail to surrender and not attend court as required, due to the fact you escaped the jurisdiction in 2004,” Magistrate Joanna Milan said during the court appearance, according to the British tabloid newspaper the Daily Mail.

He will appear in court again on August 21.

Barker, who previously appeared in TV shows such as “Casualty”, “Monarch of the Glen,” and “Wycliffe,” was first arrested on suspicion of possessing child pornography in June 2003 following an investigation into some 7,000 British men who used their credit cards to access child pornography on the internet.

He was bailed to return to a west London police station in June 2004 but failed to appear, reportedly leaving a note telling his parents he would not be able to contact them for a while. Police had previously said they found around 1,200 images of child pornography on Baker’s computer.

It remained unclear on Tuesday where Baker spent the more than eight years on the run, during which he missed the funerals of both his father and mother. Father Ronnie Barker was well known for his roles in various British comedy television series such as “The Frost Report”, “Porridge”, “The Two Ronnies”, and “Open All Hours.”

International court sentences ex-Congolese warlord to 14 years

THE HAGUE, NETHERLANDS (BNO NEWS) — The International Criminal Court (ICC) on Tuesday sentenced former Congolese warlord Thomas Lubanga Dyilo to 14 years in prison.

Lubanga Dyilo was found guilty on March 14 of conscripting and enlisting children under the age of 15 and using them to participate in hostilities in the Ituri region of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) from September 1, 2002 to August 13, 2003.

The ICC’s Presiding Judge, Adrian Fulford, said the sentence considered the gravity of the crimes and the damage caused, specifically, “the harm caused to the victims and their families, the nature of the unlawful behavior and the means employed to execute the crime; the degree of participation of the convicted person; the degree of intent; the circumstances of manner, time and location; and the age, education, social and economic condition of the convicted person.”

Fulford added that the “vulnerability of children mean that they need to be afforded particular protection that does not apply to the general population, as recognized in various international treaties.”

Nonetheless, Fulford said authorities took note of Lubanga’s cooperation with the Court and his respectful attitude throughout the proceedings. During the sentencing, the ICC’s Chamber also ordered that the time of Lubanga’s surrender to court authorities since March 16, 2006, until Tuesday be deducted from the sentence.

UN: Eurozone could lose 4.5 million jobs in four years

NEW YORK (BNO NEWS) — The 17-nation euro area may lose 4.5 million jobs over the next four years if current policies continue unchanged in the region, the United Nations (UN) warned on Tuesday.

A report released by the International Labor Organization (ILO) outlined that further employment problems would increase the risk of social unrest and would further erode citizen’s confidence in their governments, the financial system and European institutions.

With labor markets in Europe not yet recovered from the late 2008 global crisis that hit the world economy, the report, called ‘Eurozone job crisis: Trends and policy responses,’ stressed that there is ‘mounting evidence’ that a prolonged labor market recession may be developing.

According to the report, the total employment in the euro area remains 3.5 million lower than before the crisis, and that employment has actually fallen since the start of the year in half of the area’s countries, resulting in a total of 17.4 million people looking for jobs in the region.

In addition, the report noted that it will be difficult to implement the reforms necessary to put the euro area back onto a path of stability and growth without a prompt policy turn in order to address the crisis and to regain the trust and support of workers and enterprises.

The report adds that by embracing a euro area growth strategy with jobs at its core, a recovery is still possible within a single-currency setting – however, to do this, austerity approaches need to be abandoned and countries must urgently reform their financial systems.

“Repairing the financial system, promoting productive investment, reinforcing effective employment programmes, maintaining social protection, fostering social dialogue and undertaking job-friendly fiscal plans would bring the Eurozone our of the austerity trap and pave the way for a sustainable recover with social cohesion,” the report states, adding that new regulation to prevent inappropriate financial practices is also needed.

UN: Ugandan rebel army abducts nearly 600 children in 3 years

NEW YORK (BNO NEWS) — The United Nations (UN) on Wednesday warned that ‘grave’ violations are continuing to be carried out against children by the Ugandan rebel group known as the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), which was thrown into the spotlight earlier this year by an online video campaign.

In the report, which is UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s first to the UN Security Council on the situation of children affected by the LRA, violations committed against children, and measures taken to address the LRA threat between July 2009 and February 2012 are documented.

According to the report, at least 591 children, including 268 girls, were abducted and recruited by the LRA during the investigative period. Most of the victims were abducted in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), but children have also been taken in the Central African Republic (CAR) and South Sudan.

The Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict, Radhika Coomaraswamy, spoke at the UN headquarters and stated that the LRA “continues to cast a long shadow across central Africa, causing enormous suffering for children.” She said that due to protection activities and the military operations being carried out in the affected areas, the LRA is weakened but it continues to be able to carry out random attacks.

Nonetheless, the report noted that the LRA no longer attacks schools and hospitals, although Coomaraswamy added that despite this, the attacks keep thousands from attending schools because of displacement.

The LRA, which was formed in the 1980s, mainly directed its attacks against Ugandan civilians and security forces for over 15 years. By 2004, it had largely been driven of the area through a sustained military effort. It then exported its activities to Uganda’s neighboring countries, with practices that include the recruitment of children, rapes, killing and maiming, and sexual slavery. Currently, there are between 200 and 500 fighters in the LRA, the UN estimates.

In 2010, a trend appeared in the DRC, although it was more apparent in 2011, as children were being abducted for very short periods to carry loot before they managed to escape or were left behind. The information was released by a news release on the report that added that this suggests a change in the modus operandi of the LRA.

All girls mentioned in the report were forcibly married to combatants, the UN said, and those who escaped with their babies born of rape were stigmatized by their communities.

In March, the United Nations and the African Union (AU) launched the UN-supported and AU-led Regional Cooperation Initiative against the LRA (RCI-LRA) and its military component, the RTF, with the aim of bringing an end to the LRA’s activities. The RTF is comprised of 5,000 soldiers drawn form the four countries affected by the LRA – Uganda, DRC, CAR and South Sudan.

Strongest earthquake in years hits northwest of Norway, no damage

OSLO, NORWAY (BNO NEWS) — A strong earthquake struck the Norwegian Sea northwest of Norway on late Thursday evening, making it one of the strongest tremors to hit the region in recent years, seismologists said on Friday. There were no reports of damage or casualties.

The 6.2-magnitude earthquake at 10:47 p.m. local time (2247 GMT) was centered in the Norwegian Sea about 600 kilometers (373 miles) northwest of Tromsø, a city in Troms county in northern Norway. It struck about 8.8 kilometers (5.5 miles) deep, making it an extremely shallow earthquake, according to the United States Geological Survey (USGS).

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said there was a small possibility of a local tsunami due to the shallow depth of the earthquake, but no unusual waves were observed on nearby coastlines. “A destructive tsunami threat does not exist based on historical earthquake and tsunami data,” the center said in a bulletin.

Geoscience Australia said very light shaking may have been felt as far away as the Norwegian island of Jan Mayen, a small region of mainland Norway, and a tiny part of the thinly populated Svalbard archipelago. But the USGS, on the other hand, said this was unlikely due to the earthquake’s distance from those locations. There were no known reports of anyone having felt the earthquake.

In February 2008, a strong 6.2-magnitude earthquake struck the Svalbard archipelago in the Arctic, making it the largest earthquake in Norwegian history but causing no damage or casualties. A 5.8-magnitude earthquake which struck the coast of central Norway in August 1819 caused landslides, rock slides and a small tsunami.

10 years for Dutch man who impregnated 11-year-old daughter

GRONINGEN, NETHERLANDS (BNO NEWS) — A 53-year-old man from the Netherlands who repeatedly raped his daughter and eventually impregnated her when she was just 11 years old has been sentenced to 10 years in prison, prosecutors said on Friday.

Calix W., whose last name was withheld under Dutch privacy laws, was arrested in April 2011 after a DNA test confirmed he is the father of his daughter’s child, who was born several weeks earlier during a school trip. The girl, who gave birth at the age of 12 but became pregnant when she was 11, was unaware that she was pregnant.

The victim told police in February that Calix began sexually abusing her when she was just 6 years old. “The statement is sufficiently supported by witness testimony and factual information,” prosecutors said on Friday, rejecting allegations from the defense that the statement was not credible because the victim did initially not want to talk to police. “The statement is also largely supported by the fact that on March 22, 2011, the victim gave birth to a child and research has shown the accused is the father.”

Court documents detail the graphic confession made by Calix, who admitted to having sex with his daughter on one occasion but claimed she consented to it. “We had sex on the couch,” he told police in a graphic statement which blames the girl for the pregnancy. “I had a t-shirt on, my pants were off. She was also only wearing a t-shirt, I remember that. We held hands, stroked each other, hugged, and then it happened: we had sex.”

But the statement from the victim painted a completely different picture of the abuse. “I always thought it was normal, so to speak. That all fathers did that with their daughters,” she told investigators. “He usually turned on the TV. Then he put it on a TV channel where people did the same. Then he asked if I wanted that (have sex). And I thought it was supposed to be like that, so I always said yes.”

The girl said her father raped her more than 10 times a month, and prosecutors believe the victim was abused at least 300 times over a period of nearly six years. “I had a lot of pain and I had to scream, so to speak,” the victim told police, recalling the first time when she was 6. “And then he said I had to be quiet. And then he became very angry at me.”

There had been suspicions of sexual abuse in the past, and an anonymous tip in February 2009 led to a brief investigation which found no evidence of actual abuse. “To [school, redacted] for conversation with girl [victim's name, redacted],” an investigator said in his or her report at the time. “When asked she said her younger brother sleeps on the couch in the living room and her father sleeps with her in her room. She sometimes sees weird things, such as sex.”

Prosecutors said the victim’s accounts are very similar to those made by Calix’s other daughter from a previous marriage, who was raped by her father at least five times in 1994. Calix served two years in prison for the abuse in the 90s. “Some of the details from the (1995) statement are remarkably consistent with the statement of [victim, redacted],” prosecutors said. “These details can not be known by [victim, redacted].”

A Dutch court sentenced the man on Friday to 10 years in prison, as had been demanded by the prosecutor’s office. “In determining the length of the punishment, the court took into account the fact that it involves very serious offenses and suspect was previously convicted of abusing his other daughter,” the court said in a statement. “The court charges the suspect that he has not taken full responsibility for his actions and gave no sign of understanding for the suffering he has caused.”

UK police: Madeleine McCann may ‘still be alive’ 5 years after kidnapping

LONDON, ENGLAND (BNO NEWS) — British police have uncovered new evidence which suggests missing girl Madeleine McCann may have been abducted and is currently living with her abductor, five years after the incident, officials said on Wednesday.

McCann was almost four years old when she was kidnapped on May 3, 2007, while vacationing at a holiday apartment in the beach resort of Praia de Luz in Portugal. “As a result of evidence uncovered during the review, [detectives] now believe there is a possibility Madeleine is still alive and are appealing for anyone who is able to provide direct information as to her whereabouts to contact the team,” police said in a statement.

Detectives from the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS), which is best known as Scotland Yards, also released an age progression image of Madeleine on Wednesday. The image was released after close collaboration with the parents of Madeleine, whose ninth birthday approaches on May 12.

Investigative efforts have been carried out in close collaboration with a senior investigating officer from Portugal’s Policia Judaria and British detectives have traveled to the country on several occasions. Officers are currently reviewing approximately 40,000 pieces of information equating to approximately 100,000 pages in the investigative process. In addition, they have also identified around 195 items within historic material which are also believed to be ‘genuinely new material.’

The objective of the review team is to work with the Portuguese authorities with a view to having the case, which has remained closed since 2008, re-opened in due course. “We are working on the basis of two possibilities here,” said Detective Chief Inspector Andy Redwood. “One is that Madeleine is still alive; and the second that she is sadly dead.”

“Based on the former we are releasing the age progression image today with a specific appeal,” Redwood added, requesting anyone who has new direct information or evidence regarding McCann’s whereabouts to contact authorities.

U.S. court sentences Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout to 25 years

NEW YORK (BNO NEWS) — A federal court in New York on Thursday sentenced Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout to 25 years in prison, prosecutors said. He arrived in the United States in November 2010 after being extradited from Thailand, where he had been imprisoned since 2008.

Bout, dubbed as the “Merchant of Death”, had been charged by U.S. prosecutors for conspiring to sell millions of dollars worth of weapons, including hundreds of surface-to-air missiles and over 20,000 AK-47s to Colombian militant group Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (FARC), which the U.S. has designated a foreign terrorist organization.

Bout, who is also a former Soviet air force officer, had repeatedly denied the charges and claimed he was on a business trip to sell planes. During the sentencing on Thursday, Bout stated that he did not intend to kill anyone or to sell any weapons.

The Russian arms dealer was extradited from Thailand to the United States in November 2010 after a long episode in which both the United States and Russia fought for his extradition. Bout had been imprisoned since March 2008 when he was arrested during a joint U.S.-Thai operation at a Bangkok hotel.

“Viktor Bout has been international arms trafficking enemy number one for many years, arming some of the most violent conflicts around the globe,” U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Preet Bharara said. “He was finally brought to justice in an American court for agreeing to provide a staggering number of military grade weapons to an avowed terrorist organization committed to killing Americans.”

“Today’s sentence is a fitting coda for this career arms trafficker of the most dangerous order,” Bharara added.

Bout, who is accused of trafficking arms to warlords around the world since the 1990s, had been facing up to life in prison for four terrorism charges in the United States, including conspiracy to kill U.S. nationals, conspiracy to kill U.S. officers or employees, conspiracy to acquire an anti-aircraft missile and conspiracy to provide material support to a designated foreign terrorist group.

In addition to his 25-year prison term, Judge Shira A. Scheindlin sentenced Bout to five years of supervised release and ordered him to forfeit $ 15 million and pay a $ 400 special assessment fee.

Malév Hungarian Airlines shuts down after 66 years

BUDAPEST, HUNGARY (BNO NEWS) — Hungary’s state-run Malev airline company on Friday announced it would immediately cease its operations as Europe’s economic crisis claims its second airline.

With debts totaling up to 60 billion forint ($ 270 million), Malév Hungarian Airlines grounded its aircraft at around 6 a.m. local time on Friday without prior notice. The airline’s official website only shows an ‘important passenger notice’ which informs customers of refund options as a consequence of the company’s closure.

In a statement, Malev director Lóránt Limburger apologized to passengers, describing the closure as ‘unfortunate’ and adding that advance payments from worried suppliers caused an accelerated outflow of money, ultimately causing the airline’s shutdown.

The sudden closure of Malév, which was founded in 1946 and has a fleet of 22 aircraft, left more than 7,000 passengers stranded on Friday.

Former Irish priest sentenced to 3 years for child porn collection

DUBLIN, IRELAND (BNO NEWS) — A former priest and convicted child abuser was sentenced to three years in jail in Ireland on Tuesday for possessing child pornography, court officials told a local newspaper.

Oliver O’Grady, 66, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to three counts of possessing child pornography. Police said O’Grady possessed thousands of explicit images of children, some as young as two, which were stored on computers and USB drives.

Police also found more than six hours of child pornography videos and more than 500 pages of online discussions about children engaged in sex, the Irish Times reported. An audio file was also discovered in which O’Grady discussed religious matters and the sexual abuse of a male child.

“If people didn’t download child pornography, there is a good chance that those children would not be abused in the first place, said Judge Martin Nolan, as quoted by the newspaper.

The images were discovered when O’Grady left his laptop on an Aer Lingus flight in 2010 and a staff member alerted police after coming across the files. Aer Lingus rules state that if lost property is not claimed within three months, the staff member who found it is allowed to keep it.

O’Grady was born in Limerick and emigrated to California after joining the priesthood. He was previously sentenced to 14 years in prison in California for abusing children while a priest. He was deported to his native Ireland in 2001 after serving seven years of his sentence.

After leaving the priesthood, he moved to the Dutch capital of Amsterdam for several years before returning to Ireland on the flight where he left his laptop behind.