Avalanche claims ‘no victims’ in French Alps ski resort

This file handout photo taken and realeased on February 13, 2017 and made available by Radio Val d'Isere in Tignes, in the French Alps shows an avalanche site in an off-piste area after an avalanche engulfed nine people, killing at least four. An avalanche on Tuesday morning crossed a slope of the Tignes station, and several people are feared burried, the French gendarmerie announced. (AFP / RADIO VAL D'ISERE)
Updated 07 March 2017

Avalanche claims ‘no victims’ in French Alps ski resort

TIGNES, France: An avalanche hit a ski slope in the popular French Alps resort of Tignes on Tuesday but no one was hurt, the resort said.
Police had told AFP earlier Tuesday that the avalanche, which hit at about 10 a.m. (0900 GMT), had engulfed “many” skiers.
Searches later found that no one had been hurt.
“Several skiers were affected who were cared for by resort staff,” the resort said in a statement.
“Rescue workers were immediately deployed. After search operations, no victims were found,” it said.
The slope is close to where an avalanche last month killed four people who were exploring in an off-piste area.
Rescue workers and sniffer dogs were sent to the scene but helicopters could not be scrambled because of poor visibility.
TV pictures showed firefighters’ vehicles and ambulances at the scene.
Tuesday’s avalanche risk — which is normally assessed only for off-piste and closed slopes — was at four on a scale of five.
At level five, all slopes are closed.
The avalanche on February 13, which hit during school holidays, was a “slab” avalanche, caused when dense wind-packed snow breaks off from a slope.
Rescuers quickly retrieved the bodies because the victims were carrying transmitters designed to assist in locating them.
They had been only a few dozen meters from a ski lift when the 400-meter-wide avalanche ripped down the mountain.
That incident brought to 14 the number of accidents recorded in the French Alps and Pyrenees so far this winter, claiming a total of seven lives.
Last winter there were 45 accidents and 21 fatalities.
One of the worst avalanches in the Alps in the past decade took place in the summer of 2012 in the Mont-Blanc range. Nine climbers from Britain, Germany, Spain and Switzerland were killed as they tried to scale the north face of Mont Maudit, which translates as Cursed Mountain.
Avalanches can travel at speeds of up to 400 kilometers (250 miles) per hour.
In January, 29 people died in Italy after an avalanche buried a hotel in the central town of Rigopiano.
The force of that impact was calculated by police as being equivalent to the three-story stone and wood structure being hit by 4,000 fully loaded trucks.
Most avalanches are the result of a combination of weather and geological factors. In general, an avalanche results from fresh heavy snowfall that fails to stick to snow already on the ground.


Harvey Weinstein found guilty of sexual assault, rape

Updated 24 February 2020

Harvey Weinstein found guilty of sexual assault, rape

  • Former movie producer Harvey Weinstein was convicted of sexual assault and rape by a New York jury
  • He was convicted of sexually assaulting former production assistant Mimi Haleyi in 2006 and raping Jessica Mann, a onetime aspiring actress, in 2013

NEW YORK: Harvey Weinstein was convicted Monday of sexual assault and rape but cleared of the most serious predatory sexual assault charges, a partial victory for the #MeToo movement that sparked a cascade of allegations against the disgraced Hollywood mogul.
The jury of seven men and five women found the producer guilty of criminal sexual acts in the first degree and rape in the third degree, a measure of vindication for the dozens of women who came out against the one-time all-powerful filmmaker.
However, the 67-year-old Oscar-winner who produced films including "Shakespeare In Love" was found not guilty of first-degree rape and predatory sexual assault charges that could have seen him jailed for life.
The Time's Up foundation, formed in the wake of the Weinstein case, hailed the verdict as marking "a new era of justice."
"Abusers everywhere and the powerful forces that protect them should be on notice: There's no going back," it said in a statement.
The limited win for #MeToo presents the most high-profile sex assault conviction in the United States since Bill Cosby was found guilty in 2018 of drugging and sexually assaulting a woman 15 years ago.
The decision was announced in a packed New York courtroom where some 100 people had gathered. The defendant, who attended the trial hunched over a walker, was shielded from view by police officers.
More than 80 women have accused Weinstein of sexual misconduct since allegations against him ignited the #MeToo global reckoning against men abusing positions of power in October 2017.
But the jury considered charges related to just two: ex-actress Jessica Mann and former production assistant Mimi Haleyi, with many claims too old to prosecute.
One of the predatory sexual assault charges also included testimony from "The Sopranos" actress Annabella Sciorra, who said Weinstein raped her in her New York apartment in the winter of 1993-94.
Six women took the stand from the opening of testimony on January 22, to say they had been sexually assaulted by Weinstein.
Weinstein's team subjected the women to ferocious cross-examination, as they argued that his relationships were consensual and transactional.
The prosecution cast Weinstein as a conniving predator who demanded sex in exchange for access to a film universe where he was king, but presented no forensic evidence or witness accounts.
The state's case instead rested on asking the jury to believe the women.
Weinstein, who has always said his sexual relations were consensual, was charged with raping former actress Mann in the DoubleTree hotel in midtown Manhattan in 2013.
He was also charged with forcing oral sex on former production assistant Mimi Haleyi at his New York apartment in July 2006 while she was on her period.
Mann and Young both testified that Weinstein's genitals appeared deformed, during graphic and at times uncomfortable testimony, as the prosecution showed jurors nude photos of Weinstein to corroborate their accounts.
The charges of predatory sexual assault, a serious sex crime committed against more than one person, were the most serious and carried a sentence of life in prison.
For the jury to convict Weinstein of that they would have had to believe either Mann or Haleyi plus Sciorra.
Sciorra's allegation was too old to be prosecuted as an individual crime but she was included in the indictment to bolster the predatory sexual assault charge.
Ex-model Lauren Young also told the court that Weinstein sexually assaulted her in the bathroom of a Beverly Hills hotel room in 2013 when she was a 22-year-old aspiring actress.
Judge Burke dismissed the jury just after noon Monday, thanking them for their "care" and "attention."
Eyes now turn to Los Angeles, where Young's allegations form part of a separate sex crimes investigation against Weinstein being carried out by prosecutors in the California city.
Los Angeles prosecutors accuse him of raping an Italian model in February 2013 and of assaulting Young the following night.