Murderer to marry
Convicted Dutch murderer Joran van der Sloot is planning nuptials with a Peruvian woman in the prison where he’s serving a 28-year sentence. His attorney Maximo Altez tells the Associated Press they are awaiting permission from penal authorities for a wedding within two weeks in Piedras Gordas prison in Lima. Altez would not name the bride. Press reports say she is Leydi Figueroa Uceda, who has visited Van der Sloot often. Altez denied press reports that she bore Van der Sloot a son. Altez sought on Wednesday a sentence reduction for Van der Sloot, who pleaded guilty to the brutal 2010 murder of a young Lima woman. Van der Sloot remains the chief suspect in the 2005 disappearance in his native Aruba of U.S. teen Natalee Holloway.
Pot plan rejected
Spain’s judiciary on Friday rejected a plan by a small town in northeastern Catalonia to ease its municipal debt and help lift itself out of the financial crisis by growing marijuana. When the seven-member town council of Rasquera — population 960 — voted in favor of cultivating cannabis just over a year ago in order to create jobs and shore up its finances, the news flashed around the world. In April 2012, 56 percent of Rasquera’s inhabitants gave support in a referendum to the plan to rent land to the Barcelona-based pot-smoking group ABCDA which agreed to pay $750,000 per year for two years. The payment would have been roughly equal to the debt owed by the town.
Police raid ends sit-in
Turkish riot police used tear gas and water cannons Friday to end a peaceful sit-in by hundreds of people trying to prevent trees from being uprooted in an Istanbul park. The dawn raid ignited a furious anti-government protest that took over the city’s central square and spread to other cities. In a victory for the protesters, an Istanbul court later ordered the temporary suspension of the project to uproot the trees. But demonstrators around the country kept up protests denouncing what they called a heavy-handed crackdown and a government seen as displaying increasingly authoritarian tendencies.
Compiled from wire reports.