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Why Faking Your Own Kidnapping Is Always a Bad Idea

 

Every now and then, news stories emerge about people who fake their own kidnappings. They never have happy endings.

The latest person to attempt an abduction caper and fail is 40-year-old Sherri Papini of Redding, California, who faces a year and a half in prison. Papini received that sentence on Sept. 19 for staging an elaborate hoax in 2016 to receive disability payments.

Papini pleaded guilty in April to one count of making false statements to FBI agents about her disappearance and one count of mail fraud. Papini disappeared in November 2016, prompting her husband to issue a public plea for her return.

Three weeks later, a truck driver spotted her at the side of a road 140 miles from her last known location. She had “various bindings” on her body, including a chain around her waist, authorities said. Papini told them two Hispanic women abducted her at gunpoint, tied her up, and beat her.

Papini repeated the story for more than four years while law enforcement continued to investigate, hoping to identify her kidnappers. In time, though, they learned the truth: It was all a hoax. Her goal was “to receive benefits as a result of her alleged ‘post-traumatic stress’ from being abducted,” prosecutors said in a statement announcing her recent sentencing.

In addition to the 18-month-sentence, Judge William B. Shubb ordered Papini to pay $309,902 in restitution for losses incurred by the California Victim Compensation Board, the Social Security Administration, the Shasta County Sheriff’s Office, and the FBI.

Public Costs

Papini’s tale demonstrates the risk of faking one’s abduction. Although disappearing for a while without telling anyone might be insensitive, there’s nothing illegal about it — even if you fabricate a story to explain it. The legal problems arise when the disappearance involves a lie and results in harm or unnecessary public costs.

In most states, lying to law enforcement is called “filing a false report,” which is usually a misdemeanor. Typical penalties for a conviction are up to a year in jail and fines of up to $1,000.

A person who makes a false report knowing that it is likely to cause harm or death to someone, however, faces much more serious consequences. Filing a false report with the intention of harming someone is a felony, which means that jail time and fines can be significantly higher.

Also, as the Papini case makes clear, the faker can also be held liable for the costs incurred by law enforcement and other agencies that wasted time and resources searching for nonexistent wrongdoers.

Self-Kidnappers’ Mixed Motivations

Some of the people who fake their own kidnappings create tales and schemes, often elaborate, to enrich themselves.

  • A 37-year-old Florida mother of two, Quinn Gray, went missing in 2009 after posting a ransom note on the front door of her family’s $4 million home in Ponte Vedra. She said she’d been abducted by thugs who demanded that her husband pay $50,000. As it turns out, she hatched the scheme in cahoots with her lover, a 25-year-old gas station employee. In 2011, Gray received a sentence of seven years’ probation. The sentencing judge also ordered her to pay $43,000 to the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office for the cost of the investigation.
  • In 2018, a 32-year-old California woman, Maria Gonzales, claimed she was kidnapped and robbed by two men who forced themselves into her car at gunpoint. She told authorities she was carrying a large amount of money with which she intended to make payments to subcontractors of her trucking company. Investigators determined she made up the story to get out of making payments of $9,000. Police charged her with a misdemeanor.
  • In 2020, police in Chula Vista, California, arrested a 34-year-old man for filing a false kidnapping report after they’d spent hours trying to rescue him. Police learned that he’d staged the kidnapping in an attempt to extort money from his family.
  • In January of this year, authorities in South Dakota charged a 22-year-old woman with attempted grand theft and filing a false report of kidnapping. She created the fake tale to extort money from her husband, telling him that kidnappers would kill her if he didn’t send money.

While many fake kidnappers target money as their primary motivation, others create their fabrications for purposes that are sadly amusing:

Whatever your motivations might be, the message should be clear: Faking your own kidnapping is never a good idea. Even if it’s just because you didn’t want to go to work, or if you feared your parents or your girlfriend, you will now have a misdemeanor on your record.

The police will get involved. And they don’t like wasting their time chasing after kidnappers who don’t exist.

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Japan Month 2024

Japan Month 2024 (Open for Registration)

Japan Month 2024

September-October 2024 has been designated as ‘Japan Month‘ with the objective of advancing bilateral relations between India and Japan across multiple areas, including politics, security, economics and culture. Many events focusing on trade, investment, culture, people-to-people exchanges and other fields including seminars, symposia, exhibitions, etc., will be organized.

The Embassy extends invitations to companies and organizations to participate in the Japan Month. Kindly register in accordance with the guidelines below if you are interested in further deepening Japan-India relations. For details on application, please refer to the ‘Participation Guidelines‘.

Once the registration of an event is successfully completed, the Embassy will extend various supports including advertising the event through Embassy’s website and social media. For further details, please refer to the section ‘After registration.’

[Participation Guidelines]

<Application>

Kindly fill this form to register an event for the Japan Month by providing event description and other information. (Questions can also be submitted using this form).

Please review the following points before applying:

  1. The event should contribute to the deepening of India-Japan relations. The events should primarily be held in September or October 2024*

*Events scheduled before September 2024 or after October 2024 are also acceptable. However, please apply as early as possible, at least one month prior to the event.

  1. Events can be organized anywhere in India (events outside India are not eligible).
  2. Application and registration is free.
  3. You may apply even if a few details of your event are tentative. Further, please note that there is an internal review after the submission of the application (see ‘After application’ for details).
  4. If you need to make any changes to the contents of an already submitted application, please indicate in the ‘General Inquiry about Japan Month’ section at the end of a new form, indicating that the current submission is an amendment to the previous application.
  5. After the event, please complete the questionnaire. (Ex: the number of visitors to the event)
  6. By submitting your application, you pledge to comply with the following:

(1) Not to implement any project that offends public order and morals.

(2) Not to implement any project that violates or may violate the laws and regulations of Japan or India.

(3) Not to implement any project that does not align with the goal of promoting friendly relations between Japan and India.

(4) Not to implement any project that aims to propagate a particular principle, political statement or religion.

(5) The applicant must not be an anti-social force and must not have any relationship with anti-social elements.

<After Application>

  1. Once the application has been submitted, the Embassy of Japan will conduct an internal review before registration.

(1) The Embassy staff may contact the applicant to ask and confirm the purpose and details of the event. Tentative details about the event such as timing and content might also be considered for registration.

(2) The registration may be declined if the target audience of the event is extremely limited, if the content of the event is considered to be merely an advertisement for an individual company or in case the purpose or target of the event is unclear.

  1. Once the internal review has been completed, the Embassy staff will contact the person in charge of the registered event by e-mail with the results of the review.
  2. If you wish to make any amendments to your application after the internal review, please submit a new application form and indicate the same in the ‘General Inquiry about Japan Month’ section at the end of the application form, mentioning that “amendments have been made after the completion of the internal review.

[After Registration]

  1. Once your project has been approved, the Embassy will send you the Japan Month logo by email along with the “Terms of Use.” The event organizers can use the logo on social media for advertising.

2. The event outline will be posted on the Embassy of Japan’s website and SNS accounts.

<Supports from the Embassy>

  1. The Embassy will respond to requests for consultations regarding the implementation of the event.
  2. The Embassy will extend its cooperation for the success of the event. For instance, it will ensure the attendance of either an official/s from our mission or request the Indian Government to send a high-level official to the event.
  3. The Embassy will also assist you in selecting the venue for the event.
  4. The Embassy will facilitate your communication with other companies and organizations for event collaborations.
  5. Please note that the Embassy of Japan will not be able to provide any financial support or human resources, regardless of the nature of the event.

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Japan Desk

Introduction: Japan Desk (日本デスクを紹介します)

Introducing “Japan Desk”

Welcome to our Japan Desk, your go-to destination for all things Japan – India related!

At our Japan Desk, we aim to provide comprehensive coverage and insights into the vibrant culture, rich history, and dynamic developments shaping Japan and India today.

What We Offer:

  1. Latest News and Updates: Stay informed with our timely coverage of breaking news, current events, and noteworthy happenings across Japan and India. Whether it’s politics, economy, technology, or culture, we’ve got you covered.
  2. Cultural Insights: Delve into the fascinating world of Japanese culture, from traditional arts such as tea ceremonies and kabuki theater to modern phenomena like anime, manga, and pop culture trends.
  3. Business and Economy: Explore Japan’s bustling business landscape in India and vice versa, from innovative startups to established corporations. Gain valuable insights into market trends, investment opportunities, and economic developments driving Japan & India’s growth.
  4. Language and Lifestyle: Learn more about the Japanese language, customs, and way of life.

Why Choose Our Japan Desk:

  • Expertise: Our team of seasoned colleagues, cultural experts, and industry insiders bring you in-depth analysis and firsthand knowledge of Japan and India.
  • Diverse Perspectives: We strive to present a balanced and diverse range of perspectives on Japan, reflecting its multifaceted nature and complex societal issues.
  • Engaging Content: From informative articles and interviews to immersive multimedia features, we deliver engaging content that educates, entertains, and inspires.

Join us at the Japan Desk as we embark on a journey to explore the captivating world of Japan and India together. Arigatou gozaimasu (Thank you) for choosing us as your trusted source for all things Japan!

当社の”ジャパンデスク”をご紹介します

当社のジャパンデスクへようこそ。日本とインドに関連するすべての情報を提供する場所です!

当社のジャパンデスクでは、日本とインドの今日の活気ある文化、豊かな歴史、そして動きのある展開について包括的なカバレッジと洞察を提供することを目指しています。

提供するもの:

  1. 最新ニュースとアップデート:日本とインド全体での破壊的なニュース、現在の出来事、注目すべき出来事に関するタイムリーなカバレッジで情報を得てください。政治、経済、技術、文化など、幅広く取り扱っています。
  2. 文化の洞察:茶道や歌舞伎などの伝統芸術からアニメ、マンガ、そしてポップカルチャーのトレンドなど、日本文化の魅力的な世界に深く入り込んでみましょう。
  3. ビジネスと経済:革新的なスタートアップから確立された企業まで、日本とインドの活気あるビジネスの景色を探索してください。市場のトレンド、投資機会、日本とインドの成長を牽引する経済的展開に関する貴重な洞察を得ることができます。
  4. 言語とライフスタイル:日本語、習慣、生活様式についてさらに学びましょう。

当社のジャパンデスクを選ぶ理由:

  • 専門知識:経験豊富な同僚、文化の専門家、業界の内部者からなるチームが、日本とインドに関する熟知した分析と第一手の知識を提供します。
  • 多様な視点:日本の多面的な性質と複雑な社会問題を反映した、バランスの取れた多様な視点を提供することを心がけています。
  • 魅力的なコンテンツ:情報提供の記事やインタビューから没入型のマルチメディア特集まで、教育的で楽しい、そしてインスピレーションを与えるコンテンツを提供します。

一緒に日本とインドの魅力的な世界を探求する旅に、当社のジャパンデスクで参加しましょう。日本に関するすべての情報源として当社を選んでいただき、ありがとうございます!

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Fali S Nariman

Eminent Jurist And Senior Advocate Fali S Nariman passes away

Renowned legal scholar and Senior Advocate, Fali S Nariman, passed away on Wednesday morning at the age of 95.

A graduate of Government Law College, Mumbai, Nariman initially practiced in the Bombay High Court before relocating to Delhi upon his appointment as Additional Solicitor General (ASG) during the tenure of the Indira Gandhi government.

During the national emergency imposed by Gandhi, Nariman resigned from his ASG post and continued his distinguished career in private practice.

His son, Rohinton Nariman, later ascended to the position of Solicitor General of India and subsequently became a judge at the Supreme Court.

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Chandigarh Mayor Poll

Supreme Court Quashes Chandigarh Mayor Election Result, Declares AAP Candidate as Winner

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court quashed the decision by the Returning Officer (RO), Anil Masih (the Presiding Officer), declaring a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) candidate as the Chandigarh Mayor on January 30.

[Case: Kuldeep Kumar vs UT Chandigarh and ors]

A panel comprising Chief Justice of India (CJI) DY Chandrachud and Justices JB Pardiwala and Manoj Misra issued the directive subsequent to rejecting RO Masih’s rationale for deeming eight votes cast in favor of the AAP candidate as invalid.

“The eight votes, which were deemed invalid through specific markings… Inclusion of these eight votes in favor of the petitioner (AAP candidate Kumar) results in a tally of 20 votes. We hereby annul the election outcome declared by the presiding officer. The AAP candidate is officially declared the triumphant participant in the mayoral elections of Chandigarh,” decreed the Court.

The Court expressed strong disapproval of the actions of Returning Officer Anil Masih.

The Court asserted that Masih had “illegally altered the trajectory of the mayoral election” and made a statement before the Court that was deemed a “manifest falsehood.”

Consequently, the Court issued a show cause notice to Masih.

“Masih could not have been oblivious to the making of a false statement. The Registrar Judicial is directed to issue a show cause notice to Anil Masih, compelling him to demonstrate why proceedings should not be instituted against him under Section 340 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (pertaining to Section 195, which addresses ‘Prosecution for contempt of lawful authority of public servants’). Anil Masih shall be afforded an opportunity to submit a reply to the show cause notice,” mandated the Court.

The Court was in the process of adjudicating a petition filed by AAP Councillor Kuldeep Kumar, who alleged fraudulent conduct in RO Masih’s decision to declare Manoj Sonkar of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), who has since resigned, as the Mayor of Chandigarh on January 30.

On January 30, BJP’s Manoj Sonkar was officially declared the winner of the mayoral elections with 16 votes, surpassing the 12 votes received by the Congress-AAP candidate, Kuldeep Kumar. This outcome transpired despite the AAP-Congress alliance holding a majority in the house with 20 members. Out of a total of 36 votes cast, 8 votes were rejected during the counting process as invalid.

Subsequently, AAP councillor Kuldeep Kumar contested the mayoral election results initially before the Punjab and Haryana High Court. Upon the High Court’s refusal to stay the election results, Kumar filed a plea before the Supreme Court. Notably, during the pendency of the matter before the top court, Manoj Sonkar resigned from the position of Mayor, and three AAP councillors defected to the BJP.

This development was acknowledged by the Supreme Court, expressing distress over what it termed as “horse-trading.”

During the Monday hearing, Anil Masih, the Returning Officer, asserted that he had marked the eight ballot papers submitted by the AAP-Congress alliance with ticks and “x” marks to distinguish them as they were allegedly “defaced.” The Court then directed the production of the ballot papers and the video recording of the counting process.

Upon receiving the ballot papers during the subsequent hearing, the Court observed that the invalidated ballots, as marked by Masih, were evidently votes in favor of the AAP candidate, Kuldeep Kumar. Chief Justice of India (CJI) Chandrachud questioned Masih’s claim of defacement, asking where the alleged defacement was present.

Senior Advocate AM Singhvi, representing Kuldeep Kumar, criticized Masih for repeating this assertion before the Court. Senior Advocate Mukul Rohatgi, defending Masih, argued that the disqualification was based on a small dot and folded ballot papers, suggesting a fair assessment by Masih.

Rohatgi claimed that Masih, seen looking at CCTV cameras, was responding to commotion outside, and he emphasized that no guilty person would act in such a manner with cameras present.

However, after the Court played the video of the January 30 vote count, it countered Rohatgi’s argument, noting that Masih had made the marks and declared the result before any commotion or attempts to snatch the ballot papers occurred.

Punjab’s Advocate General (AG) Gurminder Singh contested Masih’s explanation, asserting that the RO was well aware of the procedure and misled his counsel, emphasizing that voters were instructed to fold the slips laterally. The AG argued that Masih’s claim of defacement was misleading, as the RO himself explained the folding procedure on video.

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