Guests enjoy warm conversation and a really cold beer at the Alpeniglu Hotel's ice bar in Brixen im Thale, Austria. The hotel, built solely out of snow and ice, includes a bar, restaurant, sleeping accommodations, and a wedding chapel! We love Winter weddings, but this might be taking it too far. Check out more pics, including some of the "honeymoon suite" below.
Josef Fritzl changed his mind and decided to plead guilty to all charges today after watching his daughter's video testimony in court. The powerful interview was played yesterday, and the verdict and sentencing will happen tomorrow.
While pleading guilty to the death of his newborn son, Fritzl said:
I was hoping the little one would survive, but I should have done something. I don't know why I didn't help. I just lost sight . . . sorry.
The court doctor has recommended that Fritzl be sent to a secure psychiatric facility, even though he's not insane in the legal sense of the word. Fritzl faces life in jail for the murder conviction.
Josef Fritzl kept his daughter from seeing the light of day for 24 years, and now he's trying to prevent us from seeing his face in court. Fritzl's lawyer says his client uses the blue ring binder to cover his face because he is simply embarrassed.
Fritzl, who imprisoned his daughter and three of the seven children he fathered with her, has plead guilty to incest and partially to rape. He's plead not guilty to enslavement and not guilty to the murder of one of his newborn sons. The trial began this week.
I guess we should expect such bizarre behavior from this disturbed man.
Former Mrs. Mick Jagger has been brought into court after a man found her $250,000 platinum ring in Austria. Reinhard Ringler (appropriate name) is suing human rights activist Bianca Jagger for his $12,000 reward.
Under Austrian law Ringler is due five percent of the value of the returned object. Jagger argues that he took too long to return the ring — she got it back in eight days. Jagger unsuccessfully offered to pay $11,000 to Amnesty International and $1,000 to Ringler's daughter.
Do you think mandatory reward laws should be enforced as a positive incentive to return lost property? Maybe I should move to Austria and start a business "finding" lost property and returning it for a reward.
Josef Fritzl, the man who imprisoned and abused his daughter for 24 years and later blamed Hitler, has been charged with murdering one of the children he fathered with his daughter.
Fritzl, 73, was found to be responsible for the death of a newborn in 1996 after he neglected to seek medical help when he knew the baby might die. Fritzl previously told police that the baby, one of twins, was born dead and he had burned the body. To learn some of the heartbreaking details uncovered from the case files (warning: they are truly awful), read more
Front Page: Key al-Qaeda Leader Killed, Bush, Paulson Promise Improvements, Austrian Incest Dad Fit For Trial
- Key al-Qaeda Leader Killed:
The US military has announced that the second-in-command of al-Qaeda in Iraq has been killed. The militant leader Abu Qaswarah had ties to senior al-Qaeda leaders in Afghanistan and Pakistan. He was killed in a raid on Oct. 5 in Mosul, a city described as the military as one of the group's last strongholds.
- Bush, Paulson Promise Improvements:
President Bush and Treasury Secretary Paulson said today that confidence and cash will rehabilitate the economy, but that improvements will take time and patience. Bush said he's confident the economy will "come back" in the long run. Speaking on the $250 billion bank investment announced yesterday, Paulson said, "There's no doubt that the way to get the maximum bang for the taxpayers here was to invest in banks."
- Austrian Incest Dad Fit For Trial:
Josef Fritzl, the Austrian man accused of holding his daughter in the cellar for 24 years and fathering seven children with her, has been declared mentally fit to stand trial. The court said the psychiatric evaluation of the 73-year-old found him lucid enough, but that he suffers from a "profound personality disorder."
Remember Madeline, Austria, and Cato from Vogue's new modeling reality show, Model.Live? The online show is now four episodes in, but last night at the Bowery Hotel in NYC, Vogue.TV and IMG hosted a celebration for the launch. Of course, the models and now-reality-starlets showed up looking gorgeous in different variations of LBDs. Cato (right) is my favorite; who's yours?
Actress Becki Newton was also there, as were famous models Jacquetta Wheeler, Kristy Hume, Elettra Rossellini Wiedemann, and socialite Olivia Palermo. As you can imagine, there was lots of posing, smiling, and socializing. Sounds like my kind of party.
To get a closer look at the celebration, read more
- Austria Cellar Daughter Awake: Kerstin Fritzl, the 19-year-old woman, and the oldest daughter kept in the cellar in Austria, has regained consciousness. Her illness in April tipped Austria's authorities to the incest scandal. Kerstin is the oldest of seven children fathered by Josef Fritzl, her grandfather, during the 24 years he kept his daughter Elisabeth in his cellar, captive while raping her repeatedly. Doctors say Kerstin still requires intensive medical care. Let out of the cellar because of her illness, Kerstin has been unconscious and in intensive care since then.
- China Drains Quake Lake: China declared victory today over the brimming lake formed by landslides from the massive earthquake, threatening to flood downstream communities. Sichuan province's top official claimed a "decisive victory" over the potential crisis. A manmade channel caused the water to pour out and into the mostly evacuated town of Qinglian, a resident who remained in the area said. More than 250,000 people downstream had moved to high ground due to fear that the lake could breach its banks entirely. About 1.3 million people total live downstream.
- Phillipine's TV Crew Captured: A TV news team from the Philippines’s largest network along with one of the country’s most famous journalists is believed to have been abducted by members of the militant group Abu Sayyaf. The journalist, a cameraman, and driver were on their way to meet with Abu Sayyaf when they were intercepted on Sunday by armed men in a province where Abu Sayyaf, which is fighting for a separate Muslim state in the southern Philippines, are known to operate. Abu Sayyaf is notorious for its kidnap-for-ransom activities and has terrorized Filipinos and foreigners alike. The militants have been blamed for several major terrorist attacks across the Philippines in recent years. The abductors have not yet made contact.
Paula Stibbe, an Englishwoman living in Austria, wants to adopt Matthew — a 26-year-old chimpanzee — when his habitat sanctuary closes. The problem? Austrian law says only humans are allowed guardians.
Not satisfied with Austria's Supreme Court's rejection of their request to give the chimp legal standing, Matthew's advocates are appealing to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, France. Stibbe explained that they are not trying to get him declared a human, just a person. (I guess that must be a legal distinction.) She has argued:
Everybody who knows him personally will see him as a person. In his home in the African jungle, he would have been well able to look after himself without a guardian. But since he was abducted into an alien environment, traumatized and locked up in an enclosure, it did become necessary for me to act on his behalf to secure the donation money for him and to avoid his deportation. Since he has no close relatives, I am doing this as the person closest to him.
Matthew was captured as a baby and smuggled into Austria to be used for pharmaceutical research. If he is not recognized as a person, he could be sold or killed for economic profit.
Does Matthew's predicament require a less extreme solution? If he is considered a person, is he entitled all human rights? Should there by a separate framework for animal and human rights, or should we all be treated with the same level of dignity?