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Archive for November, 2010

Illegal Immigrant Killed Chandra

Posted by admin On November - 23 - 2010 ADD COMMENTS

Even though there were no direct evidence against him, Ingmar Guandique, an illegal immigrant from El Salvador, was found guilty of murdering Chandra Levy ten years ago. He faces a minimum of 30 years or the maximum of life imprisonment when he reappears before a judge for sentencing on February 11, 2011.

Ingmar Guandique

Guandique (gwahn-DEE’-kay), 29, was convicted of first-degree murder for attacking Levy while she exercised in the Washington Rock Creek Park in May 2001. Her body was found one year after she was reported missing. The story of her sudden disappearance had gripped headlines throughout America and destroyed the political career of California congressman Gary Condit. He was believed to be romantically involved with her. His DNA was found on underwear at Levy’s apartment after she went missing. He was once a suspect but police have since dismissed him as such.

On Monday November 22, 2010, the jury returned guilty verdicts on two counts of first-degree murder; one alleging death as part of a kidnapping and one alleging the death as part of an attempted robbery. The jurors had the option to convict him on a lesser charge of second-degree murder. They chose not to exercise that right.

Last year investigators formally charged Guandique with Levy’s murder. While they had no direct DNA evidence linking him to her murder, Prosecutors Amanda Haines and Fernando Campoamor-Sanchez said Levy’s death fitted a pattern of other crimes committed by Guandique in the park. He was imprisoned for attacking two female joggers in the same park.

While the prosecutors were able to obtain a conviction even though they produced no eyewitnesses and no DNA evidence connecting Guandique to Levy’s murder, defense attorneys argued that they (prosecutors) used him as a scapegoat for a botched investigation.

Guandique had never confessed to police. However, the prosecutors based the greater part of their argument on testimony from Armando Morales, who once shared a cell with Guandique. He told the court that Guandique had admitted to killing Levy when he attempted to rob her, but said he never raped her.

Chandra Levy (web photo)

The defense attorneys further argued that Morales concocted the confession story to curry favor with prosecutors in the hopes of getting his sentence reduced. They pointed out that DNA from an unknown male found on Levy’s black running tights did not match Guandique or Condit. That, they argued, was powerful evidence that the wrong person was on trial. Prosecutors argued the DNA was the result of contamination during the testing process.

During the month long trial Condit testified and denied any involvement in Levy’s disappearance or her death. He, however, refused to answer questions regarding whether he had an affair with her.

The government also presented testimony from two women who were attacked by Guandique in May and July of 2001 in Rock Creek Park. In both cases, Guandique attacked the women from behind while they jogged on isolated trails but ran off after each woman fought him off.

Susan Levy who had been outspoken in her suspicions of Condit’s involvement in her daughter’s disappearance said she believed the jury’s verdict was correct.  “It makes a difference to find the right person who is responsible for my daughter’s death,” she said.

First Lady Dances in India

Posted by admin On November - 22 - 2010 ADD COMMENTS

US First Lady Michelle Obama described dancing with children in India as fun. President Barack Obama and Michelle danced with a group of children at a Divali festival at the University School in Mumbai during their trip to India in early November, 2010.

Michelle Obama in India. Image Credit: dailymail.co.uk

“I love dancing. Oh that was fun!” Mrs. Obama said after she danced with the children as they performed before a large crowd of dignitaries and visitors. She matched their hands and feet movements as she joined them in their performance to a Marati folk song. She also danced with the children when the title song from the Bollywood movie “Rang de Basanti,” was played. Nearing the end of the song the president joined the group. But it was Michelle that made the bigger hit. The crowd cheered and clapped as the first lady shifted smoothly between the various dance moves.

In the midst of the political backlash his Democratic Party suffered in the US Midterm elections 2010, the president and an entourage which included 40 planes embarked on a three-day visit to India on November 6, 2010.

An Indian newspaper reported that six armoured cars and 40 aircrafts that were used for the visit of the most powerful political figure in the world.  The armoured cars were used by Obama as he traveled around India. He was accompanied by Michelle and their two daughters Sasha and Malia.

The objective of the visit was to build a more crucial economic relationship with India which has been rising fast as a world economic powerhouse.

The visit is said to have cost some $200 million a day.

In the following video of Michelle Obama dances with Mumbai children.

Aishwarya’s Smoking Worries NOTE

Posted by admin On November - 20 - 2010 ADD COMMENTS

The National Organisation for Tobacco Eradication (NOTE) has taken issue with Bollywood actress Aishwarya Rai Bachchan’s smoking character in Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s upcoming film Guzaarish. It particularly objects to posters of the star smoking a cigarette.

Dr. Shekhar Salkar, general secretary of NOTE fears the display of the posters showing Aishwarya smoking could become a trend-setter. He said the organisation has written to the actress asking her to have the poster withdrawn.

Salkar said many film stars, who confess to having an aversion to smoking in private, routinely smoke on screen and

Aishwarya and Hritik in a scene from Guzaarish.

take refugee in such phrases like ‘freedom of expression’. “There are innumerable posters of Guzaarish all over Mumbai. There would be many other scenes which could convey the storyline of the film, yet the producer has chosen this particular one, quite oblivious to its after-effects,” Salkar said.

NOTE has in the past dragged Bollywood superstars Amitabh Bachchan and Shah Rukh Khan to court for over promoting tobacco. It had also complained against Ajay Devgan, who was photographed smoking while shooting in Goa for Golmaal 3.  He was fined Rs.100 for his indiscretion.