IRANIAN COURT ISSUES DEATH SENTENCE FOR AMERICAN VIDEO GAME DEVELOPER
Gaming magazine site The Escapist has reported that Amir Mizra Hekmati, a former U.S. Marine-turned-video game developer, has been sentenced to death by Iran’s Revolutionary Court on charges of espionage. Hekmati was traveling in Iran in August 2011 when he was detained and “found guilty of charges that the CIA was paying him to make video games that would affect public opinion on U.S. policies in the region,” writes Mike Thompson.
Hekmati, at the time an employee of Kuma Reality Games, was developing different titles for the company, and is reported by the Tehran Times to have, “confessed that [Kuma] was receiving money from the CIA to (produce) and design and distribute for free special movies and games with the aim of manipulating public opinion in the Middle East,” reports The Escapist. According to the article, “the White House has repeatedly denied that Hekmati either worked for the CIA, or was sent to Iran by the organization.”
NEW STARTUP SEEKING ASPIRING CODERS
A New Year’s campaign launched by Codecademy, a New York-based startup that teaches novice programmers the basics of coding online, is catching fire and has attracted some 200,000 new coders, according to CNN Money. “Code Year” is the name of the drive, and is open and free to all who are looking to try their hand at programming for the first time: “Nearly 200,000 people have already joined, including New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who tweeted about his plan to participate,” wrote CNN reporter Laurie Segall.
FRONTRUNNER ROMNEY WINS NEW HAMPSHIRE PRIMARY
Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney won New Hampshire’s Republican primary on January 10. Unlike his photo-finish win in the Iowa Caucus over former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum, Romney enjoyed a sound victory in the Granite State, ending the night with about 40 percent of the vote. Texas representative Ron Paul placed second with about 23 percent, followed by former Utah governor Jon Huntsman’s 17 percent total. Rick Santorum and former House speaker Newt Gingrich each finished with 9 percent of the votes cast — while Texas governor Rick Perry registered a disappointing 0.1 percent.
The race moves next to South Carolina, which will hold its primary toward the end of January. With Romney’s consecutive wins in Iowa and New Hampshire, and the key endorsements of congressman John McCain and South Carolina governor Nikki Haley, his bid for the Republican nomination could be all but certain if he captures South Carolina.
TWO WARSAW STUDENTS ACCUSED OF HAZING
The Democrat and Chronicle (D&C) has reported that two unnamed Warsaw High students have been arraigned in court and charged with first-degree hazing. Because the students are legal minors, their names have not been released — however, the 16- and 17-year-old students are being charged as a minor and an adult, respectively. The elder student is also being charged with tampering with evidence, as police say “he erased videos off his phone that showed fighting.”
According to the D&C, the two teenagers have been charged with, “forcing two younger players on the [wrestling] team, who had been bullied for long periods of time, to punch each other in the face to avoid further harassment.” The hazing of the two victims — aged 14 and 15— continued after the suspects “didn't think a punch was hard enough, [and] start[ed] beating the 15-year-old victim 'all over his body,' before forcing the 14-year-old victim to again punch the other victim, causing a broken jaw,” writes Michael Wooten of WGRZ TV, a local Buffalo-area news station.