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World's 'longest-serving' death row inmate granted retrial in Japan

A man believed to be the world's longest-serving death row inmate was Thursday granted a retrial in Japan over multiple murders in 1966, decades after doubts emerged about his guilt. Shizuoka District Court decided to "start the retrial over the case" of Iwao Hakamada, 78, who was convicted for the grisly murder of his boss and the man's family, a court official said. Delivering his ruling, presiding judge Hiroaki Murayama cited possible planting of evidence by investigators to win a conviction as they sought to bring closure to a crime that shocked the country.

Accused killer of NY mother, toddler now on FBI most wanted list

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A reputed member of the murderous international gang known as MS-13 was added to the FBI's list of "Ten Most Wanted Fugitives" for his role in the 2010 killing of his girlfriend and her toddler son, federal authorities said on Wednesday. Accused of the execution-style shooting of the mother and child, who was clinging to his leg, is Juan Elias "Cruzito" Garcia, 21, a reputed member of MS-13 with ties to El Salvador, Nicaragua, Honduras, Guatemala and Panama, the Federal Bureau of Investigation said in a press release.

Yemen security forces free Western hostages soon after kidnap

SANAA (Reuters) - Yemeni security forces freed two Westerners unharmed on Tuesday shortly after they were kidnapped by gunmen in the capital Sanaa, police sources said, in an incident highlighting the growing security threat in the country. Kidnapping is common in U.S.-allied Yemen, where the government is struggling to contain an insurgency from Islamists linked to al Qaeda, a southern separatist movement, fighting in the country's north and sporadic conflicts with armed tribes.

Spain cracks down on South American criminal gangs

Spain Tuesday arrested 35 people from a violent street gang born in San Salvador as part of a major police crackdown on the growing threat from Latin American crime groups. Some 300 Guardia Civil police carried out 28 raids against the notorious Mara Salvatrucha, or MS-13, in their first such strike against the group, police said in a statement. Law enforcement officers have reported a mounting threat from Latin American gangs in Spain, where economic hardship and high unemployment have left many young people feeling marginalised.

Former Madoff associates found guilty of fraud

By Joseph Ax NEW YORK (Reuters) - Five former aides to investment manager Bernard Madoff were convicted on Monday of charges that they helped their boss conceal his multibillion-dollar Ponzi scheme for years. A federal jury in New York found back-office director Daniel Bonventre, portfolio managers Annette Bongiorno and Joann Crupi, and computer programmers Jerome O'Hara and George Perez guilty on all counts, including securities fraud and conspiracy to defraud clients.

Cybercrime part of sophisticated online economy

The dark world of cybercrime has evolved from one of rogue individuals to a functioning market-based economy with its ups and downs, code of conduct and "innovation." A study by Rand Corp. and commissioned by the security firm Juniper Networks found a well-organized, multibillion-dollar underground economy that has become "a playground of financially driven, highly organized and sophisticated groups." The evolution of cybercrime creates new challenges for security professionals trying to protect computer networks, says Nawaf Bitar, Juniper's general manager for security.

'Stop doing evil,' pope tells mafia

Pope Francis called on the mafia to "stop doing evil" as he met relatives of their victims on Friday to demonstrate the Catholic Church's opposition to organised crime. Over a thousand people attended prayers with the pope at a church near the Vatican, where a list of 842 names of victims of mafia violence were read out -- including butchered toddlers and renowned anti-mafia Judge Giovanni Falcone, blown up in his car in 1992. The meeting was an attempt to draw a line under the Church's historic ties with dons claiming to be God-fearing Catholics.

Ukraine oligarch freed on record 125-mn-euro bail in Austria

Ukrainian oligarch Dmytro Firtash has been released from prison in Austria after paying a record 125 million euros ($172 million) in bail and promising not to leave the country, authorities said Friday. "The bail was credited to the bank account of Vienna's higher regional court after its provenance was checked by the police (money laundering section). Dmytro F. was therefore released," the court said in a statement.

Pope meets mafia victims in stand against underworld

Pope Francis plans on Friday to demonstrate a stand against organised crime by meeting with relatives of mafia victims, a step to help overcome the Church's historic ties with dons claiming to be God-fearing Catholics. Over a thousand people are expected to attend prayers with the pope in a church near the Vatican, where a list of 900 names of victims of mafia violence will be read out -- from butchered toddlers to renowned anti-mafia Judge Giovanni Falcone, blown up in his car in 1992.

Greenpeace activists plead not guilty to Ohio charges from Procter & Gamble protest

CINCINNATI - Attorneys have entered not-guilty pleas for nine Greenpeace activists facing felony charges following a protest at Procter They were arrested March 4 after protesting the consumer products company's use of palm oil from a supplier Greenpeace says is tied to tropical forest destruction. Protesters slipped past security and used zip lines to unfurl giant banners from P A Hamilton County grand jury indicted them on burglary and vandalism counts carrying possible sentences of nine-plus years in prison and $20,000 in fines with convictions.
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