News & Current Affairs

June 23, 2009

R&B singer admits Rihanna assault

Filed under: Entertainment News, Latest — Tags: , , , , , , , , — expressyoureself @ 7:02 am

R&B singer admits Rihanna assault

Chris Brown in the LA courtroom

Brown will have to attend courses on domestic violence

R&B singer Chris Brown has pleaded guilty in the US to one count of assault on his former girlfriend, pop star Rihanna.

Brown, 19, was sentenced to five years’ probation and ordered to do six months of community service.

Brown had faced charges of assaulting Rihanna, 21, during a row in February.

The last-minute plea deal came before a hearing at a Los Angeles court at which Rihanna was due to give evidence. She said the sentence was “fair”.

Brown had been facing a potential jail sentence of four years.

His sentence involves five years of supervised probation and six months of community labour, such as picking up litter or removing graffiti.

He will also have to attend courses on domestic violence.

The Los Angeles County Superior Court judge also ordered Brown and Rihanna to stay at least 50 yards from each other, except at entertainment industry events when the distance is reduced to 10 yards.

Judge Patricia Schnegg told him: “I think it’s commendable that you took responsibility for your conduct, sir.”

Rihanna’s lawyer, Donald Etra, said the singer believed it was a “fair and just resolution” to the case.

Brown, singer of the hits Run It and Kiss Kiss, was questioned by police on 8 February over a complaint of assault.

Rihanna attended the court hearing on Monday

Rihanna was due to give evidence in court

Police said he had been in an argument with an unidentified woman in a parked car in the Hancock Park area of Los Angeles, which escalated after they left the vehicle.

Both Brown and Rihanna, whose hits include Umbrella, pulled out of that night’s Grammy awards, where they had been due to perform.

He has since said he was “sorry and saddened” by the incident and was seeking counselling.

After reports of the assault emerged, a photograph was posted on a US gossip website which purported to show Rihanna, who hails from Barbados, in the hours after the incident with welts, scratches, bruises and swelling on her face.

After it appeared, the Los Angeles Police Department launched an internal investigation and asked for the public’s help in finding the person who leaked it.

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September 7, 2008

New charges for actor accused in stabbing

New charges for actor accused in stabbing

VISTA, California (AP) — Prosecutors have brought additional charges against a Hollywood actor accused of stabbing his ex-girlfriend 20 times.

Shelley Malil portrayed the character Haziz in "The 40-Year-Old Virgin."

Shelley Malil portrayed the character Haziz in “The 40-Year-Old Virgin.”

Shelley Malil, 43, who played a supporting role in “The 40-Year-Old Virgin,” was charged Friday with residential burglary and assault with a deadly weapon for allegedly attacking a man who with Malil’s ex-girlfriend, Kendra Beebe, on August 10.

Prosecutors say that was the day Malil stabbed Beebe with two knives while chasing her in and around her San Marcos home as her two children slept.

A man who was with Beebe at the time grabbed one knife, but Malil found another and continued the attack until a neighbor disarmed him, prosecutors said.

Malil previously pleaded not guilty to one count of attempted murder with a special circumstance of premeditation and one count of personal use of a knife and inflicting great bodily injury. He faces life in prison if convicted.

During a Superior Court hearing Friday, a judge reduced his bail from $10 million to $3 million. Malil’s attorney, Steve Meiser, argued that the higher figure was unreasonable and that his Indian-born client was not a flight risk.

Malil has been jailed since August 11.

Beebe, 35, suffered deep wounds to her lungs and throat, but prosecutors said she was expected to recover.

Malil played a co-worker, Haziz, to comedian Steve Carell’s title character in “The 40-Year-Old Virgin.” He has appeared on dozens of TV shows, including “NYPD Blue” and “Scrubs.”

August 25, 2008

No leads on Thailand disappearance

No leads on Thailand disappearance

Courtesy BBC News

Danny Hall on The Weakest Link

Danny Hall is a former winner of TV quiz show The Weakest Link

How can someone disappear without trace on a small island?

That is the question nagging the family and friends of Danny Hall, a British backpacker who went missing in the southern Thai resort of Koh Pha Ngan six months ago.

The disappearance of the 36-year-old – last seen on 25 February – has baffled investigators and loved ones alike.

A roadie and former winner of TV quiz show The Weakest Link, Mr Hall had been on his third trip to Thailand when he was last seen after the island’s world-famous Full Moon Party.

Every month, it is estimated up to 25,000 revellers descend on Koh Pha Ngan for the all-night beach rave.

For most of the party-goers their worst experience is likely to be waking up with a hangover.

But the British foreign office website warns that incidents of date rape have been reported at the event.

Danny Hall
I’ve kind of accepted I’m never going to see him again. But someone must have seen something, someone must know something
Roy Twemlow
Danny Hall’s friend

The Bangkok Post reported in April that a Koh Pha Ngan police chief had recently been transferred amid a rising crime rate and complaints about visitors’ safety.

Meanwhile, a number of accounts of tourists being attacked on the island can be found on internet travel chatrooms.

Mr Hall’s friend, Roy Twemlow, was one of the last people to speak to him when he rang Mr Twemlow from a bar, in the afternoon following the Full Moon Party.

The pair became friends at Birmingham University, where Mr Hall, from Norwich, England, graduated with an honours degree in history.

The 36-year-old said: “It was about 2pm when [Danny] rang me and he sounded fine, he didn’t sound panicked. It’s just not like him to vanish without trace.

“I’ve kind of accepted I’m never going to see him again. But someone must have seen something, someone must know something.

Full Moon Party reveller

“Danny’s very sociable, makes friends easily and is highly intelligent. He’s also very non-confrontational.”

On arriving in Thailand at the end of January, Mr Hall, who had worked as a roadie for The Rolling Stones and at England’s Glastonbury music festival, spent a week in Bangkok at Mr Twemlow’s home.

“He wasn’t moping around or depressed,” recalls his friend. “It was just the same old Danny.”

Mr Twemlow, a teacher who has lived in Thailand for a decade, travelled down to Koh Pha Ngan to investigate after Mr Hall had been reported missing.

He expected to find police on the island in the midst of a full investigation when he arrived at the end of April.

‘Disgrace’

But he says: “When I got to Koh Pha Ngan, the police knew very little about the case, they hadn’t even searched the area where Danny was last seen. It’s a bit of a disgrace really.”

Danny Hall

Mr Hall (right) on the day he was last seen in the Backyard Bar

Mr Twemlow found his friend’s possessions – a backpack and an acoustic Yamaha guitar – left in his accommodation, a hut at the island’s secluded Hat Yao beach. But Mr Hall’s passport and money belt have not been found.

American backpacker Chris Chester, who met Mr Hall on Koh Pha Ngan a week before his disappearance, but did not attend the Full Moon Party, raised the alarm within three of four days of the Briton vanishing.

The 39-year-old said he and his German girlfriend had met up with Mr Hall almost daily, going to the beach, relaxing with a massage and shopping.

“He had been in regular contact with us the whole time, so when we didn’t hear from him for a couple of days I thought it was pretty strange. I started trying to find him and asking around,” he said.

Mr Chester checked hospitals and clinics on Koh Pha Ngan and neighbouring Koh Samui in his search for the missing tourist, but to no avail.

“There was nothing to suggest he was depressed. I really can’t fathom what happened to him,” he said.

‘Totally bizarre’

Mr Hall is known to have joined dozens of party-goers at the Backyard Bar for an “after-party”, on the morning after the Full Moon rave.

Danny Hall

Thai police say Mr Hall’s bank account remains dormant

Niki Kursakul, 45, from Sydney, Australia, who is married to the Thai owner of the bar, described Mr Hall’s disappearance as “totally bizarre”.

The mother-of-two, who has lived in Thailand for 16 years, said: “It’s very, very strange. The bar isn’t near a beach but I suppose it’s possible he could have wandered down to the sea, gone swimming and got into difficulty.

“But a body would usually get washed up if someone drowned. If he’d fallen or had an accident near the bar he would have been found by now.

“There can be the occasional fight [in the Backyard Bar] but no-one saw any argument taking place that day as far as I know.”

Bangkok’s ministry of foreign affairs said the Thai authorities were working closely with Mr Hall’s family and friends and the British embassy to investigate his disappearance.

Danny Hall

Mr Hall’s friends have launched an appeal to help find him on Facebook

Spokesman Tharit Charungvat said: “The safety of tourists in Thailand is a matter of great concern to the Royal Thai Government.”

He said the number of visitors to Thailand was on the rise and that the country’s popularity was “due, among other things, to the hospitality and safety tourists can expect when visiting Thailand”.

Thai Police Colonel Chataree Pandum said Mr Hall’s bank account remains dormant since he disappeared and investigators believe the Briton did not leave the island.

Norfolk Constabulary in England said they were treating Mr Hall as a missing person – as is the UK foreign office – but that officers currently had no plans to travel to Thailand.

In the meantime, the agony for Mr Hall’s loved ones continues.


Have you ever been to Koh Pha Ngan’s Full Moon Party? What was your experience? Tell us

August 17, 2008

Murdered man ‘conned’ university

Murdered man ‘conned’ university

Xi Zhou and her boyfriend Zhen Xing Yang

Xi Zhou and her boyfriend Zhen Xing Yang studied at Newcastle University

A Chinese student who was tortured and murdered along with his girlfriend may have lied about his qualifications to get into university, police have said.

Zhen Xing Yang and girlfriend Xi Zhou died after a “frenzied” knife attack at a flat in Newcastle’s West End.

Police believe the pair, both 25, were involved in a betting scam, which may have been a motive for their murders.

Officers are now investigating whether Mr Zhen forged documents to enroll on a masters course at Newcastle University.

Police are in telephone contact with the couple’s families and are trying to speed up Visa applications so they can come to the UK.

Police said Mr Zhen dropped out of a Cardiff University undergraduate degree course in 2005.

A university spokesperson said: “Cardiff University can confirm that Zhen Xing Yang, born 1 February, 1983, attended Cardiff Business School from 2004-5.

He may have gained entry to his MA degree course at Newcastle University as a result of producing fraudulent documentation
Det Supt Steve Wade

“Mr Yang did not continue with his course and left without an award.”

Mr Zhen then gained a place on a postgraduate course at Newcastle University, gaining a masters degree in 2006.

Det Supt Steve Wade, leading the investigation, said: “We can confirm new evidence has been provided about Zhen Xing Yang.

“It suggests he may have gained entry to his MA degree course at Newcastle University as a result of producing fraudulent documentation stating he had successfully completed an undergraduate degree.

“Officers are continuing to work with Newcastle University to establish if this information is correct.

“Community intelligence supported by the examination of computer equipment and mobile call data has shown that both of the victims have been involved in fraudulent activity which has angered and upset a number of people.”

Murder scene

The bodies were discovered in a ground floor flat

One line of inquiry into the murders is that Mr Zhen recruited spectators online to send live updates from UK football matches as part of a betting scam.

It is claimed syndicates in China, where matches are televised a minute behind, could take advantage of this.

The couple were found dead in separate bedrooms at the downstairs flat by friends.

Police said Mr Zhen was assaulted for more than an hour before being stabbed.

Examinations also showed Miss Xi may have been asphyxiated as well as stabbed during the attack.

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