World Briefs

Six Spaniards detained for alleged Chilean sea bass poaching 

MADRID (AP) — Six Spaniards accused of running a lucrative international poaching operation that captured Antarctic fish prized in top restaurants have been ordered into prison detention with bail set at 100,000 euros ($110,000) each.

Court documents say that five members of the same family and one who married into it are linked to the Vidal Armadores SA fishing company in northwestern Spain accused of poaching Antarctic toothfish, a delicacy marketed in North America as Chilean sea bass.

They were placed in detention after appearing Tuesday before a Madrid judge who ruled they posed a flight risk.

The documents say they face charges of crimes against the environment, money laundering and falsifying documents.

A lawyer who previously represented the company did not reply to an email seeking comment.

 

German town reviewing award to Nazi war crimes suspect 

BERLIN (AP) — A small town in Germany’s Black Forest is reviewing its decision to award an elderly resident with an honorary medal, after learning from outraged Italian authorities he’d been convicted there of a wartime Nazi massacre.

Engelsbrand mayor Bastian Rosenau told the dpa news agency Wednesday the regional council would review the case and decide what to do with 94-year-old Wilhelm Kusterer’s social service award.

He says they were unaware of the Italian verdict convicting the former SS man in absentia of participation in the 1944 Marzabotto massacre of some 770 people, saying “we understand the emotional reaction and we’re sorry.”

The medal was awarded a year ago, but it only recently came to light in Italy when a photo of the award ceremony was noticed online.

 

UN torture expert decries failed efforts to visit US prisons 

GENEVA (AP) — A U.N. expert on torture, degrading and inhuman treatment is decrying “unsatisfactory results” following years of efforts to visit prisons in the United States.

Special rapporteur Juan Mendez says U.S. officials continue to set what he considers excessively strict conditions for his visits, such as on which inmates he could see.

Mendez told reporters Wednesday: “If I accept terms like that, every other government is going to demand the same treatment, and rightly so.”

Mendez mainly wants to examine use of solitary confinement. He said he received a letter Tuesday from the U.S. mission in Geneva indicating U.S. officials were “still working” on his request to visit the super-maximum-security ADX facility in Colorado.

He said one “good thing” in the letter was authorization to visit Riker’s Island in New York.

 

Zimbabwean demonstrators protest activist’s disappearance 

HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) — Dozens of protesters have marched in the Zimbabwean capital to mark one year since the abduction of an anti-government activist.

Police kept their distance on Wednesday from the Harare demonstration, which sought to focus attention on the disappearance of Itai Dzamara, a former newspaper reporter who was grabbed by assailants when he was in a barbershop and was bundled into a waiting car. The government has denied responsibility; police say they are still searching for leads.

The march only proceeded after a judge overturned a police ban on the event.

Joining the march, opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai accused the government of using forced disappearances to silence President Robert Mugabe’s critics.

Two days before his abduction, Dzamara said at a rally organized by Tsvangirai that Zimbabweans should rebel against Mugabe.

 

Luxury carmaker BMW reports record $6.6 billion profit for 2015 

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — German luxury carmaker BMW AG has reported a record profit of 6.0 billion euros ($6.6 billion) for last year, a 10 percent increase, as sales grew in all major regions.

The Munich-based company, celebrating its 100th birthday this week, said Wednesday that profits were boosted by stronger sales of its X5 and X6 sport-utility vehicles. It also widened its appeal by introducing the 2-Series Gran Tourer, a family-style van.

Consumers worldwide bought 6.1 percent more of the vehicles with the distinctive kidney-shaped grille, bringing sales to 2.24 million units. Revenues rose 14.6 percent to 92.17 billion euros.

The company is raising its dividend to 3.20 euros per share from 2.90 euros from the year before.

CEO Harald Krueger said it was “another set of impressive figures” and that the company “met all of our ambitious targets.”

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