Feature

The week at a glance...Europe

Europe

Swansea, U.K.
Jailed for tweeting: A British college student has been sentenced to eight weeks in prison for sending racist tweets about a soccer player. Liam Stacey, 21, was drunk when he used Twitter to express pleasure that Fabrice Muamba, a Congolese-born player for the Bolton Wanderers, had suffered a heart attack during a game. When other Twitter users criticized him, Stacey responded with racial epithets. “In my view, there is no alternative to an immediate prison sentence,” said District Judge John Charles. “It was not just the football world who was praying for Muamba; everybody was praying for his life.” The case has renewed a debate in Britain over jail terms for hate speech. Last fall a Glasgow soccer fan was jailed for eight months for comments on Facebook about Catholics and fans of a rival team.

Paris
Killer’s tape repressed: The pan-Arab satellite network Al Jazeera said it would not broadcast a video it had been mailed of French gunman Mohammed Merah murdering three French soldiers, a rabbi, and three Jewish children. The video included images from a camera mounted on Merah’s chest that captured his victims being shot, along with religious songs and Koranic verses. It was not clear whether Merah mailed off the video before he was killed by French police last week, or whether it was the work of an accomplice. “We are not a sensationalist channel,” said Zied Tarrouche, Paris bureau chief of the Qatar-based broadcaster. “We’re not looking to broadcast images without weighing the risks and the consequences.” Al Jazeera came to prominence during the Iraq War, when it frequently showed gruesome images of victims of U.S. attacks.

Bugarach, France
Alien rescue site: Thousands of New Agers are converging on a small town in France to await the apocalypse, which they believe the ancient Mayans predicted will happen on Dec. 21. They are drawn by the Pic de Bugarach mountain, which some say is one of the earth’s chakras, or force centers possessing special magnetic powers. Others believe aliens have hidden a spacecraft in the mountain and will emerge to beam believers to safety. Locals are cashing in on the influx of doomsayers. But the mayor of Bugarach is worried that he may have a mass suicide on his hands come December, and he has called for French army backup.

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