Heiress left millions to city
A shy New York woman whom no one took to be wealthy left a shockingly happy surprise when she died: US$20 million in donations to the city’s libraries and main park. Mary McConnell Bailey lived modestly and volunteered at a hospital and schools, before dying at 88 last year, the New York Post newspaper reported on Tuesday. Now, the Post says, it emerges that the New York Public Library and Central Park Conservancy recently received checks from her estate worth US$10 million apiece. “You would have never known” she was rich, the Post quoted her former best friend and neighbor, Lizanne Stoll, as saying. According to the Post, Bailey came from a wealthy family and moved to New York in the 1940s, then inherited a fortune. However, she spent little and lived in a basic Manhattan apartment.
Ten dead in stampede
Ten people, including four children, died and 120 were hurt in a stampede at an evangelical vigil in Luanda on New Year’s Eve, the news agency Angop reported. It quoted civil protection spokesman Faustino Sebastiao as saying the victims were crushed by the crowd and asphyxiated at the entrance to the Cidadela Desportiva stadium after only two of the four gates had been opened. Twelve of the injured were still in hospital on Tuesday. “We were expecting 70,000 people but far more turned up,” said Ferner Batalha, a bishop of the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God.
Raid triggers confrontation
An raid by undercover soldiers disguised as vegetable vendors ignited rare clashes in the northern West Bank on Tuesday, residents said, leaving at least 10 Palestinians wounded. The clashes began early on Tuesday after special forces troops disguised as merchants in a vegetable truck arrested a man. Regular army forces then entered the town, prompting youths to hurl rocks to try to prevent more arrests. The troops fired tear gas, rubber bullets and live ammunition as youths set tires and garbage cans on fire to block the passage of military vehicles. In several hours of clashes, dozens of masked youths hid behind makeshift barriers, hurling rocks and firebombs at soldiers. Tamoun resident Faris Bisharat said 10 men were wounded, some by live fire. Bisharat said the wanted men belong to Islamic Jihad, a violent group sworn to the country’s destruction. It was not clear how many men the troops sought to arrest.
Palestinian numbers surge
The Palestinian statistics bureau estimates that Arabs will outnumber Jews in the country by the end of the decade, a scenario that could have grave implications for the Jewish state. The bureau on Tuesday said 5.8 million Arabs live in Israel, the West Bank, Gaza and east Jerusalem. That compares with about 6 million Jews, according to government data. It said that based on current birth rates, the two populations would be equal in 2016, and in 2020, Arabs would outnumber Jews by 7.2 million to 6.9 million.
Paparazzo hit by car, dies
Police say a paparazzo was hit by a car and killed after taking photographs of Justin Bieber’s white Ferrari in Los Angeles. Los Angeles police officer James Stoughton said the photographer, who was not identified, died at a hospital shortly after the crash on Tuesday evening. Stoughton said Bieber was not in the Ferrari at the time.