Schizo teen gets 13 years for killing girl
An Austrian court sentenced a schizophrenic teenager to 13 years in jail for murdering a seven-year-old girl, despite conflicting expert evidence.The boy aged 16 strangled and tried to decapitate his seven-year-old neighbour, who was playing video games at his home, before leaving her body in a skip in Vienna in May.The 16-year-old, who had no prior convictions, said he had been directed by "voices". Vienna's criminal court sentenced him on Wednesday to a 13-year prison term - close to the maximum that could have been given to an offender of his age. It ordered him to be transferred to an "institution for mentally troubled offenders". The court had found that the teenager could be held criminally responsible for his actions, even though two expert witnesses had given contradictory opinions on this point. - AFP
Inuit fear curse of 1845 voyage reawakened
The doomed 1845 Arctic voyage of Sir John Franklin to the Northwest Passage was one of the greatest disasters of British polar history, ending in the deaths of 129 crewmen. Now, the Inuit community where the wreckage of the HMS Terror and its sister ship, the Erebus, were found say its curse has been reawakened - and is claiming lives in the tiny indigenous settlement. Fear has gripped the remote settlement of Gjoa Haven, on Canada's King William Island, amid claims of "non-human" beings stalking the ice. The wrecks of Franklin's "lost expedition" were only discovered recently by Canadian divers near Gjoa Haven - Erebus in 2014 and Terror in 2016.Divers have been removing artefacts from the wrecks which are expected to go on show at a local museum. But six unexpected deaths in two weeks has led to a belief among the 1,000-strong Inuit community that the wrecks should not have been disturbed. – © The Daily Telegraph
Crackdown on rappers pointless: Putin
Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday he does not support concert bans and arrests of musicians, in response to a continuing crackdown on rap stars popular with Russian youngsters. Putin said he is not against rappers and even had a rapper on his campaign once who was covered with tattoos. "About detention of these rappers, I agree with you. That's just pointless … there is nothing good in that," he said. "We can't just jail, ban and punish, that's wrong." Last month popular rapper Husky was jailed after authorities disrupted his concert in southern Russia. Other performers have reported concert cancellations and blockages of online videos. - AFP
Baby Daniel’s mom ‘turned a blind eye’
The mother of a toddler who was abused by her boyfriend caused her child's death by keeping quiet about the abuse, the South Gauteng High Court has found. "Her silence caused the death of her son," acting judge Collin Matshitse said on Thursday as he convicted the boy's mother and her boyfriend. The couple was accused of beating the three-year-old and burning him with boiling water, ultimately leading to the boy's death. They are not being named to protect the identity of the woman’s other children. The child had become known as "Baby Daniel" in the media, and was referred to as "Baby R" in Matshitse’s judgment. Matshitse found the boy's mother guilty on two counts of child neglect, while her boyfriend – who is not the child’s father - was found guilty of child abuse, child neglect and murder.
Almost 800 dead on roads in 18 days
There have been 767 deaths on SA roads in just 18 days. Transport minister Blade Nzimande on Thursday released the annual mid-festive season preliminary road-safety report in Pretoria. The report looked at statistics involving road users from December 1 2018 - December 18 2108. According to the report, KwaZulu-Natal had the most deaths (162) followed by Gauteng (125). Limpopo and Eastern Cape had 89 fatalities each, while Mpumalanga had 82, the Western Cape 81, the Free State 78, the North West 57 and the Northern Cape 24. The minister noted that although the Northern Cape had the fewest road deaths, the province had the highest percentage increase of 71%, followed by Free State with 53% and KwaZulu-Natal with 46%.
Load shedding ‘could be back mid-January’
Eskom might need to reinstate rolling power cuts after factories and businesses reopen following the summer holiday period, said chief executive Phakamani Hadebe. The company is making progress in reducing unplanned outages and maintenance, he said in an interview on Radio 702. “From now up until January 15, the probability of load shedding will be very minimal,” he said. “As we work on the maintenance we hope the situation will be better, but after the 15th probably there might be stage-one load shedding.” Eskom announces stage-one load-shedding when it plans to cut up to 1,000 megawatts from the grid. The utility is mired in debt and isn’t selling enough power to cover all its costs, leaving it scrabbling for money to maintain and replace its ageing plants.