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  1. Britain says it will continue to press for an independent investigation into the case of three British citizens who say they were tortured before being sentenced Monday to four years in prison on drug charges in the United Arab Emirates. Grant Cameron, Karl Williams and Suneet Jeerh, all in their mid-20s, say they have been subjected to electrical shocks and other abuse.

     

    In a letter to London-based legal charity Reprieve, British Prime Minister David Cameron wrote that "our concerns about the allegations of torture ... have been repeatedly raised with the Emirati authorities, including by the Foreign Secretary and (Foreign Office Minister) Alastair Burt." The prime minister added that "the absence of an independent medical examination (of the men) remains a concern," and that Britain continues to press for evidence of a full, impartial and independent investigation. The manager of the Dubai police human rights department, Mohammad Al-Mur, said investigators looked into allegations that the men had confessed after being tortured and found no evidence to support the claims.

     

    Al-Mur told CNN Arabic that men's accusations "were rejected after being investigated in accordance with international standards by Dubai police." The developments come a day ahead of UAE President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed al Nahyan's scheduled state visit to Britain. Cameron, Williams and Jeerh were arrested in July and charged with consumption and possession of the synthetic cannabis product known as spice. Their conviction Monday on the consumption charges carries a minimum of four years of imprisonment.

     

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  2. Who doesn't love in-flight shopping? Indulge in a nice tube of lipstick. Maybe a bottle of whiskey. Or a new car.

    No, we haven't been swilling too many duty-free spirits. 

    According to a report in Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post, low-cost Chinese carrier Spring Airlines will soon be adding a selection of automobiles to its in-flight shopping catalogue.

    "We have been in talks with a wide range of mainland car makers for a long period of time," Spring Air spokesman Zhang Wuan told the SCMP. 

    From April, the airline will allow passengers to use their credit cards to make payments on the automobile of their choice.

    But selling cars in the sky isn't without road bumps.

    The toughest problem being encountered by Spring is how to train its 500-plus cabin crew on the different models so that they can promote and sell the cars in a professional manner, reports the SCMP.

    It will also be interesting to see how many passengers will take the bait, given buyers won't be able to kick any tires or take their potential new ride for a spin.

    The first batch of car models would be priced at 100,000 yuan (US$16,000), reports SCMP, which is considered to match the level Spring's passengers can afford.

    No word on how the vehicles will be delivered to buyers, what brands are on offer and whether the flight attendants will get a commission like their car dealing counterparts back on the ground. 

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