MADMAN OF NORWAY
Anders Behring Breivik, a 31-year-old Norwegian ultranationalist obsessed with the Muslim presence in Europe, allegedly killed eight people in a bombing of government buildings in Oslo and 69 more in a shooting rampage. Most of the victims were teenagers attending a summer camp held on the island of Utøya by the youth wing of the country’s Labour Party. “I had to save Norway and Western Europe from Muslim takeover,” Breivik later told a court. “Labour has betrayed the country and the people.”
HAREM COULDN’T SAVE HIM
U.S. Navy SEALs killed 9/11 mastermind Osama bin Laden after the CIA discovered him living in a three-story compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, 1,300 m from the national military academy. The SEALs chosen to enter Pakistan without notifying the country’s compromised government cheered when told, “We think we found Osama bin Laden and your job is to kill him.” Bin Laden’s last line of defence ended up being two shrieking wives who unsuccessfully tried to shield him as SEALs broke into his bedroom.
THEY CRIED CANCER
Canada saw a wave of cancer fraudsters this year, including their photogenic queen, Ashley Kirilow of Burlington, Ont., who was convicted of raising $12,000 from unsuspecting marks. Kirilow’s artistry fell far short of Douglas Clark’s, however. The Port Coquitlam, B.C., man reportedly claimed to be an ex-admiral needing cancer treatment in the U.S., and is said to have raised $460,000 from just two friends. Meanwhile, in St. Catharines, Ont., Michelle Clemmer-Meller is accused of using false cancer claims to scam $200,000.
SECRET LIFE REVEALED
Canadian Forces pilot Col. Russell Williams, former wing commander of CFB Trenton, pleaded guilty to two counts of first-degree murder and 80 other charges arising from his secret life as a pathological rapist. Williams, a highly decorated ofﬁcer, had begun perpetrating break-ins and thefts of women’s underwear in September 2007, but quickly ascended through a scale of horrors that ended with the murders of Jessica Lloyd and his air force colleague Cpl. Marie-France Comeau.
ANGER IN THE AGORA
The public ﬁnances of Greece continued to rage out of control as its government tried to impose austerity measures on a culture pervaded by habitual tax evasion and rich entitlements. The continuing threat of Greek default—a possibility long concealed through ﬁnance market trickery as the state funded expensive measures of social-democratic “inclusion”—sent repeated jolts through the economies of weak EU partners like Portugal and Italy.
Al-Shabaab militants continued to sow anarchy in Somalia, alternately allowing aid groups into the famine-stricken region and keeping them out. Al-Shabaab, which enforces a form of sharia law that is strict even by Islamist standards, outlawed samosas in its territory in July over concerns the triangular shape might be a coded reference to the Holy Trinity.
Dr. Conrad Murray, physician to Michael Jackson, was convicted of involuntary homicide for giving the ailing 50-year-old pop star a fatal dose of a powerful anaesthetic, propofol. A jury found, after deliberating for two days, that Murray had been careless in giving Jackson anaesthesia as an insomnia aid. Propofol is normally administered with an anesthesiologist present to monitor vital signs, but Murray was alone with Jackson in his bedroom the day the star died. In a sad sign of Jackson’s ruined state, the prosecution succeeding in arguing openly that leaving the pop magnate alone in a room with drugs was, in itself, a criminally culpable error.
Former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich, impeached for influence peddling by the state assembly, was found guilty of 17 federal corruption charges. Brazen “Blago,” whose predecessor George Ryan was already in prison for corruption, came under scrutiny when investigators recorded him ranting that his right to appoint Barack Obama’s interim successor in the
state U.S. Senate was “f–king golden” and that he would want consideration in exchange for his choice. Sentencing has been delayed indefinitely, but the oddly charming Chicago politician is expected to receive a sentence of around 10 years.
Penn State’s football program came under searing criticism for covering up long-time sexual abuse of children by a former assistant coach, Jerry Sandusky. Prosecutors contended that Sandusky was caught molesting boys on campus by other Penn State employees in 2000 and 2002—not long after his unexplained retirement—but the rapes were never reported to police. Sandusky, who ran a charity for troubled children, allegedly continued using Penn State facilities as a venue for enticing underage males until at least 2008.
POPPY BOX BANDITS
In what may be a sign of economic torpor or a collapsing social contract, Canadian Legion poppy-fund boxes became targets for theft, with one bandit snatching six boxes in Hamilton. Police busted a suspect in the Hamilton thefts on Nov. 9 after receiving a Crime Stoppers tip. Others suspected of poppy-fund thefts were caught in Toronto, Nanaimo, B.C., Trenton, Ont., and North Bay, Ont. Unidentified snatchers are still at large in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., and Orangeville, Ont.
FIT TO STAND?
Jared Lee Loughner, the schizophrenic Tucson man who wounded congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, remained in legal limbo while federal courts debated whether he can be forced to take antipsychotic medication. Loughner was ruled temporarily incompetent to stand trial on 49 counts of murder, attempted murder and other counts. While his right to refuse treatment is hammered out, Loughner, who is accused of killing a nine-year-old as well as U.S. District Court judge John Roll and four adults, is a guest of the U.S. Medical Center for Federal Prisoners in Springfield, Mo.