US man accused of faking death to avoid charges jailed in UK

Nicholas Alahverdian. (Photo/Wikipedia)
Nicholas Alahverdian. (Photo/Wikipedia)
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Updated 22 January 2022

US man accused of faking death to avoid charges jailed in UK

Nicholas Alahverdian. (Photo/Wikipedia)
  • Noble ordered Alahverdian to be held without bail because he “cannot be trusted”

LONDON: An American man who authorities say faked his own death to evade prosecution for rape and financial fraud before fleeing to Scotland was jailed Friday after he failed to show up for an extradition hearing.
Nicholas Alahverdian, who has used a number of aliases including Nicholas Rossi, was denied bail at Edinburgh Sheriff Court after being arrested in Glasgow on Thursday. The 34-year-old will be back in court on Feb. 10 for a preliminary hearing, with a full hearing scheduled for Feb. 17, Scottish court officials said.
His attorney, Fred Mackintosh, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Alahverdian was first arrested on Dec. 13 at Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow, where he was being treated for COVID-19. The suspect, who was using the name Arthur Knight, appeared in court by video link on Dec. 23 and was granted bail so he could keep receiving medical treatment while awaiting extradition proceedings.
Prosecutors allege Alahverdian discharged himself the following day and returned to his home in Glasgow. He was arrested Thursday after failing to attend a hearing in the extradition case.
Sheriff Alistair Noble, the Scottish judicial officer who presided over Friday’s hearing, said bail was initially granted on the understanding that Alahverdian would need to remain in the hospital for “at least a few weeks.” But Noble said a doctor at the hospital has indicated that the suspect can now receive the treatment he needs while in prison.
Noble ordered Alahverdian to be held without bail because he “cannot be trusted.”
Utah County Attorney David Leavitt’s office, which has charged Alahverdian in connection with a 2008 rape in Utah, confirmed Alahverdian’s arrest but said it wouldn’t comment on the extradition proceedings.
Leavitt’s office says Alahverdian, who was then using the name Nicholas Rossi, sexually assaulted a former girlfriend in Orem, Utah. The office has said its investigation found other complaints alleging abuse and threatening behavior against women in other states.
Authorities in Rhode Island have said Alahverdian is also wanted in their state for failing to register as a sex offender. The FBI has said he faces fraud charges in Ohio, where he was convicted of sex-related charges in 2008.
In recent years, Alahverdian had been an outspoken critic of Rhode Island’s Department of Children, Youth and Families, testifying before state lawmakers about being sexually abused and tortured while in foster care.
Then in 2020, he told local media he had late-stage non-Hodgkin lymphoma and had weeks to live.
An obituary published online claimed he died on Feb. 29, 2020. But by last year, Rhode Island state police, Alahverdian’s former lawyer and former foster family were publicly doubting whether he actually died.


Manal Rostom becomes first Egyptian woman to reach Everest summit

Manal Rostom becomes first Egyptian woman to reach Everest summit
Updated 17 May 2022

Manal Rostom becomes first Egyptian woman to reach Everest summit

Manal Rostom becomes first Egyptian woman to reach Everest summit
  • Rostom took two months to complete her journey to the top of the tallest mountain on Earth
  • In 2019, Nike chose Rostom to be the first veiled Egyptian Arab woman to serve as the face of their international women's sportswear brand

LONDON: Extreme climber, marathon-runner and mountaineer Manal Rostom has become the first Egyptian woman to reach the summit of Mount Everest.

Rostom reached the world's highest peak earlier this week, and in the weeks beforehand shared a social media video on her thoughts and fears ahead of the final push to the top. 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Manal A Rostom (@manirostom)

 

Rostom took two months to complete her journey to the top of the tallest mountain on Earth, which stands 8,849 meters tall.

Rostom has previous taken part in marathons around the world including in New York City, Berlin, Chicago, Boston and London, as well as the Great Wall of China.

She has also previously climbed some of the world's other highest mountain summits, namely Mount Kilimanjaro, Mount Kenya and Elbrus, and made it to the Mount Himalaya base camp in 2016.

In 2019, Nike chose Rostom to be the first veiled Egyptian Arab woman to serve as the face of their international women's sportswear brand.


I need a shot of tequila for my knee pain, pope jokes

I need a shot of tequila for my knee pain, pope jokes
Updated 17 May 2022

I need a shot of tequila for my knee pain, pope jokes

I need a shot of tequila for my knee pain, pope jokes
  • The pope said: "Do you know what I need for my leg? A bit of tequila"
  • One of the seminarians posted the exchange, which took place at the general audience last Wednesday, on TikTok

VATICAN CITY: His doctors probably don’t agree but Pope Francis thinks a shot of tequila just might help his painful knee.
While his popemobile stopped in St. Peter’s Square at his last general audience, a group of Mexican seminarians shouted out to him, asking how his leg was doing.
“It’s being naughty,” the Argentine pope replied in Spanish. A flare up of pain in his knee and existing leg problems have forced the pope to use a wheelchair at times recently.
One of seminarians then thanked the seated pope for continuing to carry out his duties despite the pain, telling the 85-year-old Francis that his persistence was an example for them as future priests.
Noting that they were Mexican because of the flag they were carrying, the pope said: “Do you know what I need for my leg? A bit of tequila.”
After much laughter, one of them shouted back: “If one day we go to Santa Marta, we’ll bring you a bottle,” referring to the guest house where Francis lives in the Vatican.
One of the seminarians, Rodrigo Fernández de Castro, posted the exchange, which took place at the general audience last Wednesday, on TikTok.


Tinder Swindler’s Scandinavian victims to speak at the Arab Women Forum in Dubai

Norwegian TV star Cecilie Fjellhøy and Swedish business owner Pernilla Sjöholm were the Tinder Swindler's victims. (Supplied)
Norwegian TV star Cecilie Fjellhøy and Swedish business owner Pernilla Sjöholm were the Tinder Swindler's victims. (Supplied)
Updated 15 May 2022

Tinder Swindler’s Scandinavian victims to speak at the Arab Women Forum in Dubai

Norwegian TV star Cecilie Fjellhøy and Swedish business owner Pernilla Sjöholm were the Tinder Swindler's victims. (Supplied)

LONDON: Two women who were defrauded by Simon Leviev — notoriously known as the Tinder Swindler — are to speak at the Arab Women Forum in Dubai next week.

Norwegian TV personality Cecilie Fjellhøy and Swedish business owner Pernilla Sjöholm rose to fame after the Netflix documentary “The Tinder Swindler” told the story of how they were swindled by the Israeli conman through the popular dating app Tinder.

Leviev emotionally manipulated Fjellhøy, Sjöholm and others into giving him millions of dollars to support his lavish lifestyle and, as he claimed, to escape his “enemies.” Reports show that Leviev conned his victims out of more than $10 million.

The Arab Women Forum – a thought leadership platform for women — is taking place in Dubai on May 17 and will form part of the annual “Top CEO” awards and conference event organized on May 17 and May 18 by the Dubai-based publisher and event management company, Special Edition.

Julien Hawari, CEO of Special Edition, told Arab News he was fascinated by the strength the women showed in fighting a man with a long scamming experience.

Arab News is cooperating with the annual women-focused forum as its exclusive media partner. The event is held at a time of significant social change in Saudi Arabia and the UAE. Both countries have seen major reforms in recent years, including unprecedented freedoms granted to women in Saudi Arabia and the establishment of a gender balance council in the UAE.

The editorial cooperation includes moderating, participation, and special coverage of the event which also features leading international female executives and policymakers.


Lebanese activists launch mock ‘lollar’ currency

Lebanese activists launch mock ‘lollar’ currency
Updated 13 May 2022

Lebanese activists launch mock ‘lollar’ currency

Lebanese activists launch mock ‘lollar’ currency
  • The Lebanese Transparency Association (LTA) decided to take the joke to the streets, with a stunt encouraging people to use “lollars” for the day
  • The “monetary disobedience” campaign, entitled “Currency of Corruption,” encourages people to print their own “funny money” at home

BEIRUT: Lebanese activists Friday rolled out mock banknotes featuring paintings of a gutted central bank or the Beirut port explosion to denounce high-level corruption that has helped to wreck the country.
The collapse of the Lebanese pound and frozen bank accounts have left Lebanon with a confusing currency system, with a multitude of exchange rates applying to various situations in daily life.
The dollars stuck in accounts that citizens can only withdraw in Lebanese pounds at a fraction of their original value are known locally as “lollars.”
With parliamentary elections two days away, the Lebanese Transparency Association (LTA) decided to take the joke to the streets, with a stunt encouraging people to use “lollars” for the day.
The “monetary disobedience” campaign, entitled “Currency of Corruption,” encourages people to print their own “funny money” at home and try to use it as a means of raising awareness.
“We will not adapt to this mockery anymore, we are #NotPayingThePrice,” the LTA said in a statement unveiling the campaign and its hashtag.
The mock banknotes feature paintings by acclaimed Lebanon-based artist Tom Young depicting calamities that have hit Lebanon in recent years, from the deadly August 2020 port blast to forest fires, solid waste pollution and shortages.
On one of Beirut’s main squares Friday, organizers installed a fake ATM from which passers-by could withdraw “lollars.”
LTA communications officer Hazar Assi said the campaign was aimed at reminding voters that their current plight was to blame on the country’s corrupt hereditary leaders.
“When people vote, they should make a choice based on accountability and rejecting the corruption that is affecting all of our lives,” she said.
Lebanon’s traditional sectarian parties will seek extend their stranglehold on power in parliamentary elections on Sunday but a new generation of independent candidates are hoping for a breakthrough.


Movie critics gush over Tom Cruise’s return in ‘Top Gun’ sequel

Movie critics gush over Tom Cruise’s return in ‘Top Gun’ sequel
Updated 12 May 2022

Movie critics gush over Tom Cruise’s return in ‘Top Gun’ sequel

Movie critics gush over Tom Cruise’s return in ‘Top Gun’ sequel
  • "Top Gun: Maverick" earned a 96% positive rating on the Rotten Tomatoes review aggregation website among 57 reviews as of Thursday
  • The movie debuts in theaters on May 27

LOS ANGELES: It took Tom Cruise 36 years to head back to the danger zone to bring a “Top Gun” sequel to the screen, and the first reviews from movie critics said it was well worth the wait.
“Top Gun: Maverick” earned a 96 percent positive rating on the Rotten Tomatoes review aggregation website among 57 reviews as of Thursday. The movie debuts in theaters on May 27.
Cruise returns in the film as Pete Mitchell, the cocky Navy pilot, codenamed Maverick, who has never risen through the ranks because of his penchant for bucking authority.
Mark Kennedy of the Associated Press called the movie “a textbook example of how to make a sequel.”
“The movie satisfies with one foot in the past by hitting all the touchstones of the first film,” Kennedy said, “and yet stands on its own.”
Box office analysts project the movie from Paramount Pictures will rank as one of the biggest box office hits of the summer.
The movie had been scheduled for release in June 2020, but Paramount delayed its debut multiple times during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Critics said the movie offers thrilling flight scenes, an emotional story and strong performances by supporting cast including Miles Teller, who plays the son of Goose, Maverick’s partner who died in the original 1986 film.
But most of the praise was reserved for Cruise.
“It’s a fresh-faced gloss on the original ... powered, like the original, by a star who’ll simply never stop being a star,” wrote K. Austin Collins of Rolling Stone.
Leah Greenblatt of Entertainment Weekly said the movie “belongs in almost every scene to Cruise.”
“At this point in his career, he’s not really playing characters so much as variations on a theme — the theme being, perhaps, The Last Movie Star,” she said. “And in the air up there, he stands alone.”