BY Wire reports
Thursday, January 17, 2013
1/17/13 at 3:04 AM
New York: Court upholds geriatric gangster conviction
A 95-year-old mob boss who authorities say boasted about killing 60 people in a lifetime of crime must serve his eight-year prison sentence after his racketeering conspiracy conviction, a federal appeals court said Wednesday.
John "Sonny" Franzese was sentenced last January after his conviction for extorting Manhattan strip clubs and a Long Island pizzeria while he was underboss of the Colombo crime family.
The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld his conviction, finding that it resulted from a fair trial and his sentence was proper.
An FBI agent testified that Franzese bragged about killing 60 people over the years and once contemplated arranging his own son's death after the son became a government cooperator.
London : 2 die after helicopter crash in central London
A helicopter crashed into a crane and fell on a crowded street in central London during rush hour Wednesday, sending flames and black plumes of smoke into the air. The pilot and one person on the ground were killed and 13 others injured, officials said.
The helicopter crashed in misty weather close to the headquarters of spy agency MI6.
The pilot, Peter Barnes, 50, who was killed, had requested to divert and land at the nearby London Heliport because of bad weather, the heliport said.
Nairobi, Kenya : Coffin burning a protest of outgoing legislators
Hundreds of demonstrators angered at outgoing Kenyan legislators doused 221 coffins with gasoline and set them on fire Wednesday, causing an inferno outside parliament's main entrance.
Organizers of the protest said the coffins represented the end of an era of parliament's 221 legislators and burning the coffins symbolized the start of a new era away from the dishonorable acts that parliament was known for in the last five years. The legislators' terms ended earlier this week.
Kenyans say their legislators are seen as lazy, greedy and self-centered for often improving their welfare lavishly at the cost of taxpayers. A Kenya legislator earns about $175,000 a year in a country where the average annual wage income is $1,700. Last week Kenyan legislators attempted to award themselves a $ 110,000 bonus, but the president vetoed the legislation.
Baghdad: String of attacks across Iraq kill at least 33
A suicide bomber driving a vehicle packed with explosives blew himself up outside the offices of a major Kurdish party in northern Iraq early Wednesday, the deadliest in a wave of morning attacks that killed at least 33 people across the country.
The violence comes amid rising tensions among Iraq's ethnic and sectarian groups that threaten to plunge the country back into chaos nearly a decade after the U.S.-led invasion.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility, but car bombs and coordinated attacks are favorite tactics of Sunni insurgents, such as al-Qaida's Iraq branch. They seek to exacerbate divisions within Iraq in an effort to undermine the Shiite-led government.
Damascus, Syria: Car bombs kill at least 22 in northern Syria
Suicide bombers driving vehicles packed with explosives blew themselves up near security targets Wednesday in northern Syria, killing at least 22 people, state-run media and activists said.
The near simultaneous attacks in the city of Idlib brought the carnage of Syria's civil war to a second major urban center in northern government-held areas in as many days. Massive blasts devastated the main university in the commercial hub of Aleppo a day earlier, killed 87 people.
Alexandria, Egypt: 25 die as apartment building collapses
An eight-story apartment building collapsed Wednesday, killing at least 25 people and injuring 12, officials said.
Mohammed el-Sharqawy, a senior official at the Health Ministry, said rescue teams were searching for survivors under the rubble. Military police from a nearby naval base cordoned off the area to help the rescue operation.
Pedestrians watch a fire after a helicopter crashed Wednesday in the Vauxhall area of central London. According to witness reports, the helicopter hit a crane on top of a tower near the River Thames. TOBY SCOTT/Press Association/AP