Jan. 26, 2013 Reuters
MOSCOW - Police raided a restaurant near Moscow and arrested four alleged crime bosses and 19 others as they met to plan strategy after the killing of a criminal godfather known as Grandpa Hassan, the interior ministry said on Saturday.
The police swooped on the Family Elite-Club restaurant in the town of Nikolina Gora after learning that suspects from Russia and Belarus would meet there to discuss "a series of questions of a criminal character," a ministry statement said."During the secret meeting, held under the cover of a celebration of the birthday of a senior so-called 'criminal authority,' the plan was to discuss next steps after the recent assassination of the head of the Aslan Usoyan 'clan'," it said.
Usoyan was the real name of Grandpa Hassan, 75, considered one of the most influential kingpins of organized crime in the former Soviet Union. He was shot dead on a Moscow street on January 16 in what authorities said was a contract killing.
Jan 26, 2013 CNN
Cairo -- A stern Egyptian court ruling tied to a soccer riot spurred clashes that left at least 30 people dead on Saturday, the latest round of violence in the unsettled North African nation.
In addition to those killed, more than 300 were wounded when people in the northeastern city of Port Said clashed with authorities outside a prison where their kin were being held, the head of Port Said hospitals told state-run Nile TV.
They were angry because 21 of their relatives had just been sentenced to death for their role in a February 1 riot in a Port Said stadium.
That 2012 incident -- during a game between Cairo's prestigious Al-Ahly football club and the host Al-Masry team -- ended with 73 dead.
Two months later, Egypt's general prosecutor charged 75 people with "premeditated murder and attempted murder," while three Al-Masry officials and nine police officers were charged with "assisting the murderers."
CARACAS, Venezuela— Venezuelan media reported Friday that dozens were killed in a bloody prison riot, and the government said it was investigating.
Vice President Nicolas Maduro called the violence tragic early Saturday on television and said the authorities had launched an investigation.
He and other officials did not give a death toll from the riot at Uribana prison in the central city of Barquisimeto.
The newspaper Ultimas Noticias reported on its website that 54 were killed. The television channel Globovision reported about 50 killed. Both cited Ruy Medina, the director of Central Hospital in the city, who also said that dozens were hurt.
Penitentiary Service Minister Iris Varela said earlier on television that the riot broke out when groups of inmates attacked National Guard troops who were attempting to carry out an inspection.
Varela said the violence had affected a number of prisoners and officials, but said the authorities would hold off until control had been re-established at the prison to confirm the toll. She said the government decided to send troops to search the prison after receiving reports of clashes between groups of inmates during the past two days.
Jan. 24, 2013 Yahoo
Thomas Jefferson once said, “If you want something you’ve never had, you must be willing to do something you’ve never done.” But one Florida man says he’s the rightful owner of a $2.5 million mansion because he walked through the front door and never left.
The Orlando Sentinel reports that 23-year-old Andre “Loki” Barbosa is a squatter trying to cash in on a Florida law which says an individual may claim ownership of a property if they have lived there for seven years.
Sunrise real estate lawyer Gary Singer told the paper Barbosa is arguing that a Florida law known as “adverse possession” applies to him. The foreclosed, 7,522-square-foot property has reportedly been empty for about 18 months.
Jan. 24, 2013 CNN
Philadelphia -- The unsettling case of a doctor killed and set on fire in her Philadelphia home took another turn Thursday as police identified her alleged killer as an exterminator sent to her home to help clear it of rodents.
Jason Smith, 36, of Levittown, Pennsylvania, was charged Thursday with murder and other counts after detectives, using surveillance video and tips, identified him as the alleged killer of Melissa Ketunuti, a well-liked doctor and researcher at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.
Police say Smith got into an argument with Ketunuti in the basement of her row home in an affluent area of downtown Philadelphia. He knocked her down, then strangled her and then set her body on fire, police Capt. James Clark said at a news conference.
He declined to elaborate on the argument but said Ketunuti and Smith had never met.
"We're glad for the family we're at least able to give some closure with the arrest of this individual," Clark said.
Surveillance video shows Smith approaching her home and going inside at Ketunuti's invitation, he said.
Jan. 24, 2013 CBS/AP
PHILADELPHIA - Federal prosecutors said Wednesday that a Philadelphia woman targeted mentally disabled adults and confined them like "zoo animals," forcing some into prostitution and causing the deaths of two victims, in a scheme to steal their Social Security benefits.
Linda Ann Weston, 52, was indicted on charges including hate crimes, kidnapping, murder in aid of racketeering, and forced human labor. Authorities said this is the first time the federal hate crimes statute has been used to protect the disabled.
"Shocking does not begin to describe the criminal allegations in this case, where victims were tied up and confined like zoo animals and treated like property akin to slaves," U.S. Attorney Zane David Memeger said.
The investigation began in October 2011 after a landlord discovered four malnourished victims locked in the basement of a Philadelphia apartment building, including one who was chained to a boiler. Authorities soon began untangling a complicated web of relationships among victims and their alleged captors in an investigation that spanned several states.
Weston has been jailed since then and pleaded not guilty to related state charges. Her lawyer, George Yacoubian, said Wednesday that federal prosecutors had "over-reached for effect" with the new charges and that Weston maintains her innocence.
The 150-page grand jury indictment describes Weston as the ringleader of a "family" that included her daughter and three men who prosecutors say helped control and subjugate the victims.
Weston used "cunning, trickery, force and coercion" to get mentally disabled people to designate her as their caretaker, allowing her to illegally collect about $212,000 in Social Security payments over 10 years, Memeger said.
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