February 19th, 2014
09:54 AM ET

Passenger Beaten Aboard Cruise Ship

The fight started because of an alleged slight - and ended with a crew member being accused of attempted murder.

Ketut Pujayasa, a 28-year-old room service attendant with Holland America's ms Nieuw Amsterdam, physically and sexually assaulted a female passenger while in international waters, according to a criminal complaint in which authorities say he confessed.

The 31-year-old woman, a U.S. citizen, was not identified in the complaint filed Monday in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida.

Pujayasa told authorities he delivered breakfast to the woman's room. He knocked three times before the passenger acknowledged him.

Outside the room, Pujayasa heard a female voice shout, "Wait a minute, son of a bitch!" according to the complaint. She later opened the door, and he left the food.

Pujayasa did not report the incident to a manager, but told authorities he found the woman's comment offensive. He returned to her room later. No one answered, and he left.

That same evening, he looked for the woman on a deck, "in order to punch her in the face for insulting him that morning," the complaint read. He left after realizing the location was too crowded.

That night, Pujayasa returned to the passenger's room and used his master key to enter.

He is accused of choking and punching the woman with whatever was available - a laptop, a curling iron. She fought back with a cork screw.

At one point, the fight moved onto a balcony, where Pujayasa tried to push the woman overboard, the complaint read.

She eventually was able to break free and ran from her room. Another passenger rendered aid.

Due to the severity of her injuries, the woman was transported via air ambulance to a hospital in Florida after the ship docked the next morning. Her condition was not immediately clear.

According to the complaint, Pujayasa returned to his room after the attack and told his roommate to contact ship security because he had killed a passenger. He was placed under guard on the ship.

Pujayasa, a citizen of Indonesia, was hired in 2012 following a screening that included a clean criminal history check, the cruise line said in a statement. He had no performance issues and came with good references.

Attempts to contact his attorney Tuesday were unsuccessful.

"At Holland America Line, the safety of our guests is our highest priority, and we are shocked and deeply saddened by this incident," said Stein Kruse, president and CEO. "To our knowledge, no incident like this has occurred in our company's 140-year history."

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February 19th, 2014
09:52 AM ET

Cathay Crew, Passengers Hospitalized After Turbulence

Two cabin crew and six passengers were hospitalized after a Cathay Pacific flight hit severe turbulence as it passed over Japan yesterday.

The aircraft, a 747-400 flying as flight CX879 from San Francisco to Hong Kong, flew into turbulence early Tuesday, six hours before it was due to land at Hong Kong International Airport.

"Regrettably, two cabin crew and a number of passengers were injured in the incident," Cathay Pacific said in a statement.

"Those injured were given preliminary treatment during flight. Medical assistance was provided for the injured passengers and cabin crew immediately upon arrival.

"After initial medical examination, two crew and six injured passengers required further examination and treatment at hospitals while one passenger with minor injury was released."

The South China Morning Post reports that one crewmember was seen heading to the hospital in a neck brace and wearing an oxygen mask.

It quotes a passenger as saying: "It was even more intense than sitting on a roller coaster."

Earlier this week, five people were injured when a United Airlines flight hit turbulence.

Last year, a similar incident on a Singapore Airlines flight during meal service was caught on camera and spread around the Internet.

Turbulence is the most common cause of injuries in flight, though severe turbulence, which can force aircraft to deviate in altitude by up to 100 feet, is rare.

The website Airsafe.com claims to have identified six fatalities caused by turbulence.

Cathay added that it's collaborating with the Hong Kong Civil Aviation Department as they investigate this latest incident.

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February 19th, 2014
09:50 AM ET

Venezuelan Opposition Leader Lopez Due to Appear in Court After Surrendering

Venezuelan opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez is set to appear in court Wednesday, a day after he turned himself in to authorities amid anti-government demonstrations in the country.

Charges against him include murder, terrorism and arson in connection with the protests, according to his party, Popular Will.

Lopez denies the accusations, the party said in a statement calling for witnesses of the protests to send their own accounts of what happened to be used in his defense.

"The last thing he said to me was for me to not forget what he is going through," his wife, Lilian Tintori de Lopez said in an interview with CNN en Español. "Not forget that he is arrested for things that he has asked for: the liberation of political prisoners, liberation of students, no more oppression, no more violence."

She called on his supporters to join her at the justice building for his appearance Wednesday morning.

Venezuelan protesters are demanding better security, an end to scarcities and protected freedom of speech.

President Nicolas Maduro and his supporters have also rallied, blaming the opposition for causing the very problems it protests.

Clashes during days of demonstrations have already left three anti-government protesters and one government supporter dead. And the simmering tensions show no signs of letting up.

The confrontation took a turn Tuesday, when Lopez, accused by the government over the recent violence, marched with a crowd of thousands of protesters before surrendering to national guard troops.

"The options I had were leave the country, and I will never leave Venezuela!" Lopez told the massive crowd. "The other option was to remain in hiding, but that option could have left doubt among some, including some who are here, and we don't have anything to hide."

Hours later at a rally with throngs of supporters, Maduro said the head of Venezuela's National Assembly had helped negotiate Lopez's surrender and was taking him to a prison outside Caracas.

Maduro described opposition leaders as right-wing fascists who plant seeds of fear and violence. He claimed they have U.S. backing and repeatedly tried to assassinate him and overthrow his democratically elected government.

And he compared the opposition to an illness plaguing the South American country.

"The only way to fight fascism in a society is like when you have a very bad infection ... you need to take penicillin, or rather the strongest antibiotic, and undergo treatment," he said. "Fascism is an infection in Venezuela and in the world. And the only treatment that exists is justice."

See more at CNN.com 

February 19th, 2014
09:47 AM ET

After 25 Die, Protesters Prepare to Stand Their Ground in Ukraine

They've given up their ground before - voluntarily, as a political concession. But that seems to be over.

After the deaths of 25 people in clashes a day earlier, Ukrainian protesters are prepared to stand and fight again Wednesday.

Police want to clear them out of central Kiev. Some of them died trying to stay put Tuesday - using projectiles and burning barricades to keep security forces at bay at Kiev's Maidan, or Independence Square.

In the aftermath of Tuesday's skirmishes, world leaders ratcheted up calls for sanctions on the Ukrainian government. European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton called the Political and Security Committee into "extraordinary" session to deal with the crisis, while leaders from France, Poland and the United States called for swift action.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry was expected to address the issue in remarks later Wednesday in Paris, a senior administration official told CNN. Included in the U.S. approach, the official said: the very real potential of sanctions.

See more at CNN.com 

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