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World in brief: Easter Island statue vandalized

Wed., March 26, 2008

A Finnish tourist was detained after allegedly stealing a piece of volcanic rock from one of the massive Moai statues on Easter Island.

Marko Kulju, 26, faces seven years in prison and a fine of $19,100 if convicted of stealing pieces of the right earlobe from a Moai, one of numerous statues carved out of volcanic rock between 400 and 1,000 years ago to represent deceased ancestors.

A native Rapanui woman told authorities she witnessed the theft Sunday at Anakena beach and saw Kulju fleeing from the scene with a piece of the statue in his hand. Police later identified him by the tattoos the woman saw on his body.

Kulju used his hands to tear off the earlobe, which fell to the ground and broke into pieces measuring 8 to 12 inches each, said Easter Island Police Chief Cristian Gonzalez. Kulju ran away with at least one of the pieces from the 13-foot tall Moai, he said.

Authorities are inspecting the statue to see if it can be repaired.

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Bishop in Amazon gets death threat

A shadowy consortium of ranchers and loggers has put a $500,000 price on the head of a bishop who defends poor settlers and Indians in the Amazon, a human rights group said Tuesday.

The consortium has mapped out a detailed plan to kill Bishop Erwin Krautler, an Austrian national who has worked in the largely lawless southern state of Para since 1980, the Catholic Church-linked Indigenous Missionary Council said in a statement.

Powerful Amazon business interests have criticized the 69-year-old Krautler, who often protests land grabbing, debt slavery and environmental destruction.


Seal hunt starts Friday in Canada

Canada’s annual seal hunt will start at the end of the week and hunters will be employing a more humane way of killing them, the government said Tuesday, but animal rights activists condemned the planned killing as inhumane.

Phil Jenkins, a spokesman for the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, said the hunt would begin Friday if weather permits.

Jenkins said new rules have been implemented to ensure that seals are dead before they are skinned. Hunters will be required to sever the arteries under a seal’s flippers, he said.


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