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The News Hole

What a Wonderful World

Posted 10/4/2006

Former double agent George Blake recently won a judgment from the European Court of Human Rights over proceeds from his long-planned autobiography. Erstwhile British spy Blake was convicted of spying for the Soviet Union in 1961 and is believed to have revealed the identities of dozens of British agents around the world; he escaped from prison in 1966 and fled to Russia, where he still lives. In 1991, the British government filed suit to block him from receiving any royalties from sales of his memoirs and won a judgment in 2000. The European court, however, recently awarded Blake over $9,000 in damages and costs because the British courts took too long to decide the case. (The Guardian/United Kingdom)

China has been accused of running a lucrative trade in the organs of executed criminals for transplant operations. More than 1,770 convicts were executed in 2005. (BBC)

It has been widely reported that sharks are overfished worldwide, but researchers recently finished a study of international seafood auctions that concluded that the actual number of sharks killed might be quadruple official figures or more--at least 73 million animals per year. (NewScientist.com)

The tourism minister for the Indian state of Chhattisgarh, Brijmohan Agrawal, recently had words of praise for the violent Maoist guerrillas who operate in the area. "Despite [the] Maoists’ strong presence in [our] forests for at least three decades, not a single tourist has ever been threatened," Agrawal said. Tourism was up 18 percent from 2005 in the first half of this year. (IndiaeNews.com)

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