Bomb ‘selfie’ teen dies
A teenager seen posing for a group “selfie” in front of a bomb-laden car moments before it exploded in Beirut died of his wounds on Saturday. “The number of victims from the attack rose to seven after the death of young Mohammad al-Chaar this morning, succumbing to his injuries at the American Hospital in Beirut,” NNA news agency said. Following Friday’s bombing in the heart of Beirut, which targeted and killed Mohammad Chatah, an influential economist and former finance minister, photographers saw the 16-year-old lying on the pavement, his head bloodied, before he was taken to hospital with severe injuries. Chaar had been identified online as one of four youths seen posing in a group selfie posted on social media networks in front of the car that exploded moments later. The picture went viral on the Internet, and the confirmation of his death sparked an outpouring of tributes on social media Web sites.
Suicide bomber kills 18
A female suicide bomber blew herself up in the entrance hall of Volgograd Station yesterday, killing at least 18 people in the second deadly attack in the space of three days as the country prepares to host next year’s Winter Olympics. The state Investigative Committee said the bomber detonated her explosives in front of a metal detector just inside the main entrance of the train station. Footage on TV showed a massive orange fireball filling the hall and smoke billowing out through shattered windows. A Ministry of Health spokesman told Rossiya-24 television that as many as 50 people were wounded. If the explosion is found to have been another strike by Islamist militants, it will bolster fears of attacks as the country prepares to host the Olympics in the Black Sea resort city of Sochi in less than six weeks’ time.
Pickup hits truck, 18 dead
Police yesterday said an overcrowded pickup van with dozens of mourners has slammed into a truck on Java, killing 18 people and injuring 14 others. On Saturday, police officer Captain Mustofa said the pickup was carrying a group of 29 mourners from East Java’s Probolinggo, who were on their way to pay respects to their relative. He said the vehicle was moving uncontrollably and collided with a trailer truck. The occupants were thrown from the pickup and 15, including two children, died instantly. The others died in the hospital. Mustofa said the driver of the pickup was arrested for reckless driving.
Troops fire on protest
Troops opened fire on a protest against the army’s deadly shelling of a funeral tent erected by the Southern Movement, killing two people on Saturday, an activist said. Four demonstrators were also wounded when the troops opened fire outside the provincial governor’s office in Daleh, activist Majed Shuaibi said. Hundreds of residents joined the protest against Friday’s shelling of the funeral tent, which killed 19 people, four of them children, medical sources said. The Southern Movement — which is campaigning for autonomy or outright secession of the formerly independent south — had set up the tent for mourners paying their condolences after a man was killed in clashes with security forces in Daleh on Monday last week. Those clashes erupted when secessionists tried to storm the governor’s office to hoist the flag of the former South Yemen. The fighting left two policemen and a civilian dead.
Fire breaks out on ferry
Police have arrested two men in connection with a fire aboard a North Sea ferry which forced the ship to return shortly after embarking from northern England. The fire broke out late on Saturday, causing seven people to be airlifted to hospitals suffering from smoke inhalation, coast guard officials said. Two Royal Air Force search-and-rescue helicopters and two lifeboats were scrambled after the blaze was detected in the accommodation block as the ferry sailed off the coast of Yorkshire. About 946 passengers and 127 crew were on board the MS King Seaways, a DFDS ferry traveling from Newcastle to Amsterdam, according to a statement issued by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency. “Six crew members and a passenger have been airlifted to hospital after a fire on board a ferry approximately 30 miles [48km] north east of Flamborough Head,” it said.
Five men found drowned
Police say the bodies of five drowned men have been found along the coast and they suspect the men could have traveled from a Caribbean island in an attempt to reach Central America. Uraba police Colonel Raul Antonio Riano told Caracol Radio that the men’s bodies show no sign of violence. The bodies were found on Saturday at the mouth of the Atrato river in the Gulf of Uraba. Riano says officials are trying to identify the five, who were found with no documents.
Farmers torch offices
Police say angry farmers in the northern jungle state of Amazonas torched the offices of the federal indigenous affairs agency and several of its vehicles because they were convinced that members of the Tenharim tribe kidnapped three residents of the town of Humaita. Police officer Everton Cruz said on Saturday that the attack occurred on Christmas, nine days after the three men disappeared as they were driving through the Tenharim reservation. He said farmers believe the three were kidnapped and killed in retaliation for what they say was the Dec. 3 murder of an indigenous leader. Police said at the time the leader was killed in a motorcycle accident. Cruz said the Tenharim deny kidnapping the three men. He said federal and state police officers and army troops are searching for the men.
Headless corpses in public
Authorities found five decapitated bodies in the west of the country on Saturday, with letters left with the corpses purportedly signed by a drug cartel, officials said. The bodies, with their heads laying nearby, were found shortly before dawn in two different locations in Michoacan state, a region struggling with gang turf wars. Three headless corpses were found on a bridge’s traffic circle in Tarimbaro, a suburb of Morelia, the state’s capital, Michoacan chief prosecutor Marco Vinicio Aguilera said. “A knife that may have been used to cut the heads was found in the area,” he said. About an hour later, two more were found in a Morelia public square, with the heads on a sidewalk a little further away, Aguilera said. A letter signed with the initials of the Jalisco New Generation drug cartel were found with all the bodies. The gang, which operates in the neighboring state of Jalisco, is engaged in a heated turf battle with the Knights Templar cartel, which has dominated Michoacan’s drug trade in recent years.
Since her personal telephone number was posted online, Hong Kong democracy advocate and Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions chairperson Carol Ng has received menacing calls from strangers and been bombarded with messages calling her a “cockroach.” She is not alone. A sophisticated and shady Web site called HK Leaks has ramped up its “doxxing” — where people’s personal details are published online — of Hong Kong democracy advocates, targeting those it says have broken Hong Kong’s National Security Law. Promoted by groups linked to the Chinese Chinese Communist Party and hosted on Russia-based servers, HK Leaks has become the most prominent “doxxing”
A Malaysian student whose cellphone was stolen while he was sleeping has tracked down the culprit: a monkey who took photo and video selfies with the device before abandoning it. Zackrydz Rodzi, 20, on Wednesday said that his mobile phone was missing from his bedroom when he woke up on Saturday. He found the phone’s casing under his bed, but there was no sign of robbery in his house in Johor state. JUNGLE When his father saw a monkey the next day, he searched in the jungle behind his house. Using his brother’s cellphone to call his own device, he found it covered
‘CONFESSED’: A court in Beijing said that former CCP member Ren Zhiqiang abused his power at a state firm and embezzled almost US$7.14 million of public funds A Chinese tycoon who called Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) a clown and criticized his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic was yesterday jailed for 18 years for corruption, bribery and embezzlement of public funds. Ren Zhiqiang (任志強) — once among the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) inner circle — disappeared from the public eye in March, shortly after penning an essay that lambasted Xi’s pandemic response. His outspokenness had earned the former chairman of state-owned property developer Huayuan Group the nickname “Big Cannon.” Yesterday’s verdict said that Ren embezzled almost 50 million yuan (US$7.4 million) of public funds and accepted bribes worth 1.25 million
Australia is notorious for its venomous spiders, snakes and sea creatures, but researchers have now identified “scorpion-like” toxins secreted by a tree that can cause excruciating pain for weeks. Split-second contact with the dendrocnide tree, a rainforest nettle known by its Aboriginal name gympie-gympie, delivers a sting far more potent than similar plants found in the US or Europe. A team of Australian scientists said that they now better understand why the gympie-gympie’s sting haunts those unlucky enough to brush up against its leaves. Victims report an initial sting that “feels like fire at first, then subsides over hours to a pain reminiscent