Kerry regales Berliners with tales of divided city

Updated 26 February 2013
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Kerry regales Berliners with tales of divided city

BERLIN: US Secretary of State John Kerry told young Germans on Tuesday of his adventures as a 12-year-old son of an American diplomat in divided postwar Berlin, and urged them to be true to their ideals and values as Europe struggles to emerge from economic doldrums and deal with the threat of terrorism.
Speaking at a town hall meeting Tuesday, Kerry spoke a few sentences of passable German to the delight of a crowd in a packed Internet cafe before regaling the audience with tales of his boyhood in Berlin in 1954.
He drew laughter when he said a clandestine bicycle ride into Soviet-run east Berlin had badly upset his father, who took away his diplomatic passport and grounded him for almost causing an international incident.
Kerry urged Germans to be tolerant of all points of view and noted that in America “you have a right to be stupid.” He said tolerance of unpopular, offensive or otherwise objectionable views was a virtue and “something worth fighting for.”
Kerry also took the opportunity to plug a New England clothing line after one audience member complimented him on his pink tie. A graduate of the noted St. Paul’s School in New Hampshire and Yale University, Kerry extolled the sartorial virtues of Vineyard Vines, a Connecticut purveyor of — in its own description — “preppy” clothes that has a pink whale for a logo.
“I don’t own any stock in the company,” he said to laughter.


Indian court finds spiritual guru guilty of raping devotee

Updated 25 April 2018
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Indian court finds spiritual guru guilty of raping devotee

NEW DELHI: An Indian court on Wednesday found a high-profile spiritual guru Asaram Bapu guilty of raping a teenage female devotee in 2013 and he faces a maximum of life in prison.
The verdict against 77-year-old Bapu was read out inside a prison in the city of Jodhpur in Rajasthan state because of fears that his followers may resort to violence.
The case is the latest in a series of high-profile rape cases in India that have fueled public protests and raised questions about how police handle the cases and treat the victims.
In August last year, another popular and flamboyant Indian spiritual guru, Dr. Saint Gurmeet Singh Ram Rahim Insan, was sentenced to 20 years in prison on charges of raping two female followers.
Judge Madhusudhan Sharma will announce the prison term for Bapu later after hearing arguments from the prosecution and Bapu’s attorneys.
Bapu has denied the rape and can appeal his conviction in a higher court.
The girl in her complaint to the police in 2013 accused Bapu of raping her when she visited his retreat in Jodhpur with her mother. The girl’s family said they had been followers of Bapu for more than a decade.
Bapu has been in prison since his arrest in the case in 2013.
On Wednesday, security was tight around the prison complex and in states where the self-styled guru has a considerable following.
Religious sects also wield considerable political clout in India with several politicians as followers. Asaram is also on trial along with his son Narayan Sai in a separate rape case where two sisters have accused the two men of sexual assault.