- - Monday, April 16, 2012

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Amnesty International on Monday condemned a four-year prison term reportedly handed down to prominent human-rights activist Mohammed bin Saleh al-Bajadi in Saudi Arabia.

The sentencing to four years in prison followed by a five-year travel ban “demonstrates a blatant disregard for his fundamental rights,” it said.

Amnesty said it had “credible information” that the Saudi Specialized Criminal Court in a secret session April 10 imposed the sentence on Bajadi, believed to be in the sixth week of a hunger strike.

He was found “guilty of participating in the establishment of a human-rights organization, harming the image of the state through the media, calling on the families of political detainees to protest …, contesting the independence of the judiciary and having banned books in his possession,” Amnesty said.


Details of each killing opens trial in shooting rampage

OSLO — Prosecutors confronted a defiant Anders Behring Breivik with harrowing recordings of the slaughter of 77 people in Norway last July.

As Mr. Breivik went on trial Monday in the world’s deadliest solo shooting spree, the court was told that he was responsible for the bloodiest chapter in modern-day Norway as prosecutors detailed how he killed each of his victims.

They also showed footage of the bombing of government buildings in downtown Oslo and played an emergency call from a young woman dodging bullets at an island camp near the capital.

Mr. Breivik showed no emotion at the evidence of the killings, but his eyes welled up as the court viewed a 12-minute anti-Islam film summarizing his manifesto, which he posted online the day of the carnage.

“I acknowledge the acts, but not criminal guilt, and I claim legitimate defense,” the 33-year-old, who is accused of “acts of terror,” told the court at the start of his trial.


Prosecutors charge bloggers with spreading propaganda

HANOI — Prosecutors have charged three well-known bloggers with spreading anti-government propaganda.

The three are accused of posting 421 articles on their blogs that “distorted and opposed” the communist government, the state-run newspaper Ho Chi Minh City Law reported Monday.

They belong to the outlawed “Free Journalists Club.” All Vietnamese media outlets are under state control.

The three bloggers are in custody awaiting trial, where they face up to 20 years in prison if convicted.


Berlusconi’s strippers dressed as nuns, witness says

ROME — A model testified Monday that two female guests at Silvio Berlusconi’s parties dressed up like nuns in the “Sister Act” musical, then stripped to their underwear.

Mr. Berlusconi is on trial on charges that he paid a 17-year-old Moroccan girl for sex and then used his influence as Italian prime minister to cover it up. He has denied the charges.

State TV quoted witness Imane Fadil as telling the Milan court that two young women at the party wore black tunics, crosses and white head coverings and danced like “Sister Act” characters before stripping down to their underwear. Miss Fadil is also Moroccan.

At a different party, Miss Fadil said, another young woman donned a jersey and mask to dress up like Brazilian soccer star Ronaldinho.

Mr. Berlusconi did not attend Monday’s hearing.


Anglicans building cardboard cathedral

WELLINGTON — The world’s great cathedrals are known for their architectural statements: flying buttresses, soaring domes, Gothic grandeur. Not for their cardboard.

In the city of Christchurch, Anglican leaders are hoping to change that. On Monday, they announced plans to build a soaring 80-foot high cathedral with 104 tubes of cardboard as a temporary replacement for the iconic stone Christchurch Cathedral, which was destroyed last year in an earthquake that killed 185 people.

The temporary cathedral will cost about $4 million. It will include traditional structural materials such as concrete and steel, as well as a polycarbonate roof.

The Rev. Craig Dixon said it will be weatherproof and fire-resistant.

&bull From wire dispatches and staff reports

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