Man pleads guilty to IS plot
A man charged with plotting to help the Islamic State (IS) group pleaded guilty on Thursday to conspiracy charges, including a plot to behead conservative blogger Pamela Geller. Nicholas Rovinski, of Warwick, Rhode Island, admitted he conspired with two Massachusetts men to kill Geller and attempted to recruit others to carry out additional violent attacks in the US. The plots were never carried out. A plea agreement between Rovinski, 25, and federal prosecutors calls for a sentence of between 15 and 22 years. Judge William Young set sentencing for March next year. Rovinski, who has cerebral palsy and walks with a limp, answered softly when asked by the judge why he decided to plead guilty instead of going to trial. “I feel that in the interest of myself and the people of the United States I should pay for the crimes that I have committed,” he said. Prosecutors said Rovinski plotted with David Wright, of Everett, and Wright’s uncle Usaamah Rahim, of Boston, to kill Geller, who angered Muslims when she organized a Prophet Mohammed cartoon contest in Garland, Texas, in May. The contest ended in gunfire, with two Muslim gunmen shot to death by police. Assistant US Attorney Stephanie Siegmann said Rovinski told authorities after his arrest that he, Wright and Rahim had agreed to kill Geller, who is from New York. Siegmann said Rahim later told Wright he wanted to go after “those boys in blue,” a reference to police.
Storm causes severe flooding
More than 60 people had to be rescued on boats because of flooding in parts of North Carolina on Thursday as the remnants of Tropical Storm Julia lingered off the Atlantic Coast with days of rain. Schools in North Carolina and Virginia also canceled classes as localized flooding blocked roads and inundated parking lots. North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory declared a state of emergency for 11 counties, saying the state had not seen flooding so severe since Hurricane Floyd in 1999. The hardest hit area of North Carolina appeared to be around Bertie County in the northeastern part of the state. McCrory said five swift water rescue teams helped people who were stranded. A medical evacuation bus was also sent to help evacuate a nursing home with 52 residents. The 67,000-student school district of Virginia Beach canceled classes for a second day because of “widespread flooding.” McCrory said that between 12cm and 30cm of rain fell over eastern North Carolina. The National Weather Service reports that about 46cm of rain has fallen in some parts of Virginia’s Hampton Roads region. What is left of Tropical Storm Julia has been spinning off the coast. It was expected to move out to sea yesterday.
FBI-wanted fugitive detained
Prosecutors say they have detained one of the FBI’s 10 most-wanted fugitives, a Mexican sought for kidnapping, rape and homicide charges in Chicago, Illinois. The federal attorney general’s office on Thursday said that Fidel Urbina was detained on a US extradition warrant in a tiny hamlet named El Polvo in a remote part of the border state of Chihuahua. According to the FBI wanted poster, “Urbina is wanted for allegedly beating and raping a woman in March of 1998. While out on bond, he also allegedly beat, raped and strangled a second woman to death in October of 1998. Her body was later found in the trunk of a vehicle that had been burned.”
‘LIKE A CASSANDRA’: Chinese residents of Prato went into self-imposed lockdown and warned their Italian neighbors about what was coming, but were ignored In the storm of infection and death sweeping Italy, one big community stands out to health officials as remarkably unscathed — the 50,000 ethnic Chinese who live in the town of Prato. Two months ago, the country’s Chinese residents were the target of what Amnesty International described as shameful discrimination, the butt of insults and violent attacks by people who feared that they would spread the coronavirus through Italy. However, in the Tuscan town of Prato, home to Italy’s single biggest Chinese community, the opposite has been true. Once scapegoats, they are now held up by authorities as a model for early,
Reporters Without Borders has accused the Algerian government of taking advantage of the COVID-19 pandemic to “settle scores” with independent journalists, including those covering long-running anti-government protests. In a statement signed with Algerian non-governmental organizations, the watchdog on Thursday called for the immediate release of its correspondent, Khaled Drareni, who has been in pretrial detention since Sunday after being charged with inciting an unarmed gathering and endangering national unity. Drareni has been arrested several times for covering the “Hirak” anti-government protests held in the capital, Algiers, every Friday since February last year. Imprisoning people during a pandemic is “an act of physical endangerment,”
Vietnam has lodged an official protest with China following the sinking of a Vietnamese fishing boat that it said had been rammed by a Chinese maritime surveillance vessel near islands in the South China Sea. The Vietnamese fishing vessel, with eight fishermen onboard, was fishing near the Paracel Islands (Xisha Islands, 西沙群島) on Thursday when it was rammed and sunk by the Chinese vessel, the Vietnamese Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement posted on a government Web site yesterday. All of the fishermen were picked up by the Chinese vessel alive and were transferred to two other Vietnamese fishing vessels
DIVIDED YOUTH: There is a belief that overseas students see themselves as superior, which is compounded by perceptions of their extreme wealth and multiple nationalities Chinese students flying home from overseas to escape the COVID-19 pandemic face a frosty reception from sections of the public who view them as wealthy, spoiled — and potentially contaminated. The number of officially reported cases in China has dwindled dramatically over the last month, but the country is now taking drastic steps to try and stem a second wave of infections brought in from abroad. With most international flights canceled and nearly all foreigners barred from entering the country, the vast majority of returnees are Chinese nationals, including many students. The situation has exposed animosities over class and privilege in Chinese society,