Tourist arrested for scaling Brooklyn Bridge

NEW YORK: A French tourist was arrested Sunday for scaling the Brooklyn Bridge, apparently to take photos, police said, in the latest such incident at the iconic New York landmark.

The man, identified as Yonathan Souid, 23, from Esnandes in southwestern France, faces charges of reckless endangerment and criminal trespassing. He was arrested after jumping a fence and climbing up a beam on the famous bridge that connects Manhattan and Brooklyn, a police spokesman told AFP.

The incident occurred around 12:30 pm (1730 GMT). Souid climbed back down at the request of a patrol officer who saw him and was detained. He was due to be formally charged Monday, said a spokesman from the Brooklyn prosecutor’s office, who added that he would remain in custody Sunday night.

“The Brooklyn Bridge must not be trespassed upon, no matter who does it or for any reason,” said Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson. “In this age of terrorism, it’s very important that we protect the security of the bridge at all times and under all circumstances,” he added.

“This defendant blatantly compromised that security for his own selfish reasons and will now be prosecuted for his foolish and unlawful conduct.”

This is the third similar incident at the Brooklyn Bridge in the last four months, in a city highly sensitive to security risks. In late August, a Russian tourist, Yaroslav Kolchin, 24, was arrested and charged for climbing to the top of one of the towers supporting the mighty structure to take photos.  And in late July in the middle of the night, two German artists climbed to the top of the bridge to hoist two massive white flags in place of the US stars and stripes.–AFP

The appearance of the white flags prompted a police investigation, who ruled out any terrorist link.

The Berlin-based artists, Mischa Leinkauf, 37, and Matthias Wermke, 35, later claimed the stunt, saying they wanted to honor the beauty of public space.

Spanish celebrity duchess hospitalized

MADRID: Spain’s Duchess of Alba, the eccentric 88-year-old with more titles than any other aristocrat, has been hospitalised with pneumonia, a spokeswoman for her charitable foundation said Monday.

Maria del Rosario Cayetana Fitz-James-Stuart was admitted to the emergency ward at Sagrado Corazon hospital in Seville on Sunday evening, the spokeswoman for the Fundacion Casa de Alba told AFP.

The duchess last came to international attention in 2011 when she danced flamenco at her wedding to Alfonso Diez, a civil servant 25 years her junior.

Well-known from the pages of celebrity magazines with her frizzy white hair, she lives in the southern city of Seville in one of her various palaces. “She had suffered a stomach virus a few days earlier but had recovered from it. Now she has pneumonia. At her age, one thing leads to another,” the spokeswoman said. “She is weak,” the spokeswoman added. “We are worried because we love her very much.”

The 18th Duchess of Alba has more titles than any other noble on Earth according to Guinness World Records, which lists 57 titles for her due to her complex international ancestry. Spanish media have estimated her fortune at between 600 million and 3.5 billion euros ($5.0 billion). Spaniards followed with fascination the story of her last wedding - the third marriage for the twice-widowed duchess - which she admitted caused her to fall out with her children.–AFP