Bomb strikes German convoy
A suicide car bomber struck a German military convoy in Kunduz yesterday, detonating explosives that killed three Afghan civilians and overturned at least one armored vehicle, officials and witnesses said. Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid claimed responsibility for the attack. The bomber blew his vehicle up shortly before 10am on a busy road on the edge of Kunduz city, near the airport. Three civilians were killed and 11 were wounded in the blast, the Interior Ministry said in a statement.
Bomb in bar wounds four
An improvised bomb has exploded at a bar in the restive southern Mindanao region, wounding four people, police said yesterday. Witnesses saw a man acting suspiciously and leaving quickly before the bomb exploded at the Starlight Videoke bar in Tacurong city on Saturday evening, national police spokesman Chief Superintendent Agrimero Cruz said. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack, although Muslim separatist rebels and other armed gangs are known to operate in the area. The explosion came just days after the US Department of State warned of the risk of terrorist attacks in in parts of Mindanao, as well as in Manila.
Flooding affects 2.6 million
More than 2 million people have been displaced or otherwise affected by flooding in Zhejiang Province. Xinhua news agency says torrential rains have left huge areas of the relatively wealthy province underwater, with 171,000 hectares of farmland inundated. Xinhua reported yesterday that almost 1,000 businesses have been forced to suspend operations and 2.6 million people have had their lives disrupted. Direct financial damages were estimated at almost 5 billion yuan (US$772 million).
Plane crashes at airshow
A small plane lost control and plunged into a river on Saturday as it performed stunts at an air show. The pilot, the only person on board, was killed. The accident occurred in Plock as people gathered by the Vistula River for a picnic and the air show. The news station TVN24 broadcast images of the small plane doing aerobatics when it began spewing out plumes of dark smoke and then plunged into the water. Rescue workers pulled the pilot from the wreckage and tried to resuscitate him before sending him to a hospital. Several hours later, a hospital official said the pilot, Marek Szufa, died. The director of the Air Club of Mazovia that organized the show, Slawomir Adamkowski, said the cause of the crash was under investigation.
Camp needs monitors: group
A leader of an exiled opposition group says the UN must monitor its camp in Iraq after a deadly April attack by the Iraqi army. Maryam Rajavi of the People’s Mujahedeen of Iran told thousands of followers at a gathering on Saturday outside Paris that UN monitors in Camp Ashraf is the most expedient short-term way to protect the 3,400 people living there. The camp was installed under former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein and once used as a base to battle the clerical regime across the border in Iran. The US has labeled the Mujahedeen a terrorist group, and Rajavi says Washington is responsible for the situation in Ashraf because it has “shackled the main force for change in Iran.” An Iraqi army attack on the enclave killed up to 35 people and injured hundreds.
Clarence Clemons dies
A spokeswoman for Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band says saxophone player Clarence Clemons has died in Florida at age 69. Spokeswoman Marilyn Laverty confirmed the death on Saturday. Clemons was one of the key influences in Springsteen’s life and music. He was hospitalized about a week ago after suffering a stroke at his home in Florida. Known as the Big Man for his imposing 1.83m, 122.47kg frame, Clemons spent much of his life with “The Boss” and his solos became a signature sound for the E Street Band on many songs. Springsteen, in a statement on his Web site, expressed “overwhelming sadness” at Clemons’s passing. “He was my great friend, my partner,” Springsteen said. “He loved the saxophone, loved our fans and gave everything he had every night he stepped on stage. His loss is immeasurable and we are honored and thankful to have known him and had the opportunity to stand beside him for nearly forty years.”
Eleven killed in shootout
Eleven suspected crime syndicate gunmen were killed in a shootout with soldiers along a highway in the east of the country, a senior official said on Saturday. “During the encounter 11 heavily armed criminals were killed” and another eight arrested, Veracruz State Governor Javier Duarte told reporters. The gunfire erupted when soldiers conducting an operation against a suspected criminal cell were confronted by armed men in a group of vehicles.
Anti-fracking protest held
About 3,000 people marched on Saturday in Montreal to call for an end in Quebec to a technique known as “fracking” to get at natural gas reserves which faces strong opposition from environmental groups. The demonstrators marched through downtown Montreal, chanting slogans against drilling. “Quebec should take a turn for renewable energy, especially new energy sources which are green,” said Amir Khadir, a member of the provincial assembly who came on bicycle to join the protest. The Quebec Association to Combat Air Pollution, which organized the protest, said a decision by Quebec authorities to study the issue was insufficient, because eight of the 11 members of a study panel have ties to the oil and gas industries. Hydraulic fracturing involves forcing chemicals deep into a well to dislodge natural gas from shale thousands of feet below the surface. Backers say the vast reserves in North America could ease dependence on imported energy. However, some argue that the method risks contaminating underground water sources. In Quebec, large sources of shale gas are believed to be located in the St. Lawrence valley, and Quebec authorities are studying the potential environmental impact of drilling in the area.
Biggest emerald on show
A massive uncut emerald on exhibit in Bogota is being touted by its owners as the biggest in the world, officials said on Saturday. The 11,000 karat raw green gem weighs in at 2.27kg and is on show in the capital 12 years after it was mined in Muzo, in Boyaca Province. “It is priceless,” Santiago Soto, spokesman for the Minergemas gem industry trade fair being held in Bogota, said of the stone owned by the firm Coexminas. No more than 15 people at a time are allowed to view the stone, with five guards looking on. The nation produces 55 percent of the world’s emeralds, exporting them for about US$200 million a year.
India has moved additional troops along its northern border as it prepares for an extended conflict with China, after several rounds of talks failed to ease tensions between the nuclear-armed rivals. China has already placed about 5,000 soldiers and armored vehicles within its side of the disputed border in the Ladakh region, an Indian government official said, asking not to be identified, citing rules. India is adding a similar number of troops as well as artillery guns along the border to fend off the continuing incursions by the Chinese army, the official said. The standoff began on May 5, when troops clashed
CLOSELY TRACKED: A US officer said that the warplanes were watched as they flew from Russia by way of Iran and Syria to Libya and were photographed multiple times The US Africa Command flatly rejected Russian claims that Moscow did not deploy fighter jets to Libya, saying on Friday that the 14 aircraft flown in reflect Russia’s long-term goal to establish a foothold in the region that could threaten NATO allies. US Brigadier General Gregory Hadfield, deputy director of intelligence, said that the US tracked the MiG-29s and Su-24 fighter bombers flown in by Russian military, passing through Iran and Syria before landing at Libya’s al-Jufra air base. The base is the main forward airfield for Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar and his self-styled Libyan National Army, which has been waging an
Singapore’s otters, long adored by the city-state’s nature lovers, are popping up in unexpected places during the COVID-19 lockdown, but their antics have angered some and even sparked calls for a cull. With the streets empty, the creatures have been spotted hanging out by a shopping center, scampering through the lobby of a hospital and even feasting on pricey fish stolen from a pond. While many think of tiny Singapore as a densely populated concrete jungle, it is also relatively green for a busy Asian city, and has patches of rainforest, fairly clean waterways and abundant wildlife. There are estimated to be about
Indonesian officials are forcing people who break social distancing rules to recite Koran verses, stay in “haunted” houses and submit to public shaming on social media as the country battles to contain surging novel coronavirus infections. The Southeast Asian archipelago began deploying about 340,000 troops across two dozen cities to oversee enforcement of measures aimed at halting transmission of the disease, such as wearing masks in public. However, provincial leaders are buttressing these efforts with their own zealous campaigns to fight the coronavirus. Police in western Bengkulu Province have assembled a 40-person squad to find lockdown scofflaws and force them to wear