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Sunday 20 October 2019

In Brief: $3m kidnap ordeal

A businessman was snatched from a New York City street and held for more than a month in a warehouse where he was bound and burned with acid for a $3m (€2.3m) ransom his family in Ecuador did not have.

Pedro Portugal (52) was found by detectives who had been monitoring phone calls and noticed pizza deliveries to a deserted area in Queens. Three men were arrested and charged with kidnapping and unlawful imprisonment; one is believed to be at large in the US; and three fled to Ecuador. Mr Portugal is in hospital.

The prosecutor in former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi's sex trial has received a series of anonymous letters of threats, including one with two bullets, Milan's chief prosecutor has said.

The letters against Ilda Boccassini have become more frequent since she requested a six-year jail sentence and a lifetime ban on holding public office for Mr Berlusconi.

WRITER'S RECORD CHAT

Popular Norwegian crime writer Hans Olav Lahlum set the world record for the longest interview on Thursday after spending more than 30 non-stop hours chatting.

Mr Lahlum discussed topics ranging from US presidents to his fictional characters during the online show hosted by VG Nett.

BOMB GIRL IN RECOVERY

The younger sister of the eight-year-old boy killed in the Boston marathon bombings has left hospital to begin rehabilitation.

The family of Jane Richard (7), whose left leg was amputated below the knee, said she was transferred to Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital from Boston Children's Hospital. Her brother Martin was killed in the April 15 explosions.

POWS MARK RELEASE

Two-hundred Americans who were prisoners of war during the Vietnam conflict arrived in California to mark the 40th anniversary of a White House dinner that celebrated their release.

The three-day gala will include a military fly-past, wreath-laying ceremony and tours of a special exhibit on the prisoners' return home.

SPACED OUT WITH LEO

Leonardo DiCaprio is taking a trip into space with one lucky bidder who won the spaceship seat next to him at a charity auction.

The prize was up for grabs at the 20th amfAR gala in Cannes, which raises money for Aids research, and was won with a bid of €1.2m, according to reports.

Irish Independent

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