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Berlusconi sex conviction is overturned in appeals court


Silvio Berlusconi

Silvio Berlusconi


Silvio Berlusconi

An Italian appeals court has acquitted former premier Silvio Berlusconi in a sex-for-hire case.

The court's decision also throws out his seven-year-prison sentence and lifetime ban on holding political office handed to him by a lower court when it convicted him last year.

Mr Berlusconi had been accused of paying for sex with an under-age prostitute and then using his influence to cover it up.

The case revealed details of sex-fuelled "bunga-bunga" parties at Mr Berlusconi's private villa.

The acquittal came as he was leaving a facility for Alzheimer's patients where he is performing a community service sentence in a tax fraud conviction.

14 quizzed in school abuse probe

Fourteen suspects have been questioned as part of a fresh investigation into alleged child abuse at a residential school where Sir Cyril Smith is accused of targeting young boys.

Greater Manchester Police confirmed that the men, aged between 35 and 66, were interviewed under caution over a range of allegations including physical and sexual abuse at Knowl View School in Rochdale between 1969 and 1990.

The claims relate to alleged abuse of pupils by adults at the residential school, but also among the boys themselves.

Eighteen more victims have come forward following publicity about the alleged abuse at the school.

Detective Chief Superintendent Russ Jackson said: "The investigation into abuse at Knowl View School continues and, since the start of the inquiry, further victims have come forward.

"These are serious allegations made against both staff and pupils at the school and are being thoroughly investigated.

"We are working through the allegations and as a result 14 people so far have been interviewed under caution. If anyone has been a victim of abuse, we ask them to contact us."

5,500 civilians die in Isis offensive

Violence has killed more than 5,500 civilians over the first six months of this year, the UN says.

The time period corresponds with an offensive by the Islamic State extremist group and other Sunni militants which has overrun a huge chunk of northern and western Iraq.

A report from the UN mission to Iraq said that at least 5,576 civilians had been killed and 11,665 wounded in Iraq since the beginning of the year.

In all of 2013, the UN reported just over 7,800 civilians killed, the highest annual death toll in years. The new report also documents human rights violations by the Isis group as well as Iraqi security forces and associated groups.

Sunni insurgents seized control of Fallujah and part of the nearby city of Ramadi in Anbar province in January. The militants then launched a massive blitz in June that has brought a huge swathe of northern and western Iraq under their control. About 1.2 million people have been driven from their homes by the violence.

'100 killed' after jihadi militants seize gas field

About 100 soldiers, guards and employees have been killed as jihadis seized a gas field, activists say.

Militants from the Islamic State group attacked army checkpoints and seized the Shaer gas field in the desert region of Palmyra, according to Beibares Tellawi, an activist in the central province of Homs.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said 115 people were killed. The Syrian government has not commented.

German sculpture artist Otto Piene dies aged 86

German artist Otto Piene, known for his colourful paintings and gigantic open-air sculptures, has died at the age of 86.

He died yesterday, shortly after the opening of an exhibition of his work at Berlin's Neue Nationalgalerie.

His death was confirmed by Markus Farr, a spokesman for the group Friends of the Neue Nationalgalerie, which organised the exhibition.

Along with Heinz Mack, he founded the influential European post-war movement Group Zero.

Belfast Telegraph