Johnson re-elected as mayor
Boris Johnson, re-elected as Mayor of London in the city’s Olympic year, is famed for his colorful oratory, his shock of wild, blond hair and his lack of concern for political orthodoxy. The Conservative returned to City Hall late on Friday with 51.5 percent of the vote in a closely fought runoff with Labour rival Ken Livingstone. While Johnson, 47, is known as much for his bizarre and comic behavior as for his policies, he is nevertheless seen in political circles as an ambitious operator. Some commentators even regard him as a potential threat to party leader and British Prime Minister David Cameron.
Militants free inmates
Nigeria’s Boko Haram militants stormed a prison in their northeastern heartland on Friday, killing two guards and freeing the inmates, police said, in the latest in a surge of attacks blamed on the Islamist group. A police spokesman for Borno State, in the northeast of Africa’s top oil producer, said 23 suspects had since been arrested. “The BH [Boko Haram] first attacked the Banki police station, but they were repelled ... They then went to Kumshe, a nearby town, and attacked the prison lockup, killing two officials before setting all the inmates free,” he said. There was no immediate claim of responsibility, although Boko Haram has been blamed for several prison breaks in the past. The groups has said it is fighting to free imprisoned members and to carve out an Islamic state in Nigeria — a country nearly evenly split between Muslims and Christians.
Two soldiers die in attack
Two British soldiers were killed on Friday in a Taliban attack on their base in southern Afghanistan, the Ministry of Defence said. The two, from the Royal Logistic Corps, died in a mortar or artillery attack in the northern part of Nahr-e-Saraj district in Helmand Province, the ministry added. “The soldiers were serving as part of Combined Force Burma when they were killed in an indirect fire attack on Forward Operating Base Ouellette,” it said in a statement. “It was Taliban fire,” a Ministry of Defence spokesman said. The families of the soldiers, who had been attached to 1st Battalion The Royal Welsh Battlegroup, have been informed, the ministry said. Their deaths bring the number of British personnel killed in the Afghan war to 412, after a British soldier was shot dead in Helmand on April 27.
Nuclear physicist gets jail
A Paris court sentenced a Franco-Algerian nuclear physicist to four years in jail on Friday after he was convicted of plotting with al-Qaeda’s north African branch to carry out terror attacks. Police arrested Adlene Hicheur, a researcher studying the Big Bang at the European Organisation for Nuclear Research (CERN), in October 2009 after intercepting e-mails to an alleged contact in al-Qaeda. Hicheur, 35, who has been behind bars since his arrest, admitted at the start of his trial in late March that he was going through a “turbulent” time when he wrote the e-mails, but denied he intended to carry out any attacks. His lawyer said the verdict was “a legal scandal” because his client had been convicted merely on “words exchanged on the Internet.” Hicheur’s trial began a week after police shot dead Franco-Algerian gunman Mohamed Merah, who killed seven people in and around the city of Toulouse.